Sunday, June 3, 2007

Obligatory heartbeat post

I recently had an appointment with the midwife. I was a little worried that she would be flaky. Her bio states that she used to run a health-food store and is an "unlimited body practitioner." Um, what? Google led me to this page, which is absolutely full of pseudoscience.
They are advised beginning in the First Healing Gift - the Safe Touch - "that the less you do, the more you get done." This paradox causes more than a little mental gymnastics for students. It challenges truths' that they have accepted without question for their entire lives. The Safe Touch is a hands-on technique that consists of allowing the tissue to move as it wants, which leads to trust. This in turn leads to surrender and natural healing.
Right... whatever that means. Anthropomorphized tissue, which needs to trust before it heals. So yeah, I expected some flakiness. Maybe an attempt to lay on hands. Maybe some crystals, or some herb recommendations.

What I got was a rather sweet, matter-of-fact older woman. She gelled me up, used the doppler to check the heartbeat, and estimated it to be in the 130s. She gave me a couple interesting pieces of information, such as how high the top of my uterus should be by the next appointment, and that I might get some round ligament pain. She told me that if I need a break from the nausea (which I still have, past 13 weeks now) I should take Benadryl. She urged me to get the AFP test and scheduled that and the routine screening/dating ultrasound.

No crystals, no weirdness. Then again, it was a very short appointment.

Some people get very verklempt about the first time they hear the heartbeat. Apparently there's a sudden realization that the fetus in there is going to develop into a real, honest-to-goodness person, or something. Didn't do much for me. Yep, it's a heartbeat.

On the way home I started telling my husband, A, what we learned from the existence of the heartbeat. It rules out a complete molar pregnancy, but not a partial molar pregnancy. It rules out a fetus that has already died, and since I'm past the 12 week mark significantly reduces the chances of a miscarriage. It doesn't rule out many of the other problems that can occur, like anencephaly (warning, scary pictures) and other problems incompatible with life.

A interrupted me. "Yes," he said, "I get it. Heartbeat good!"

Yes, I suppose. Heartbeat good.


emjaybee said...

There are still a lot of crunchy granola crystal midwife types, but I run into more of them now who talk about "evidence-based medicine" and cite stats about the problems with high c/sec rates, etc. That's the kind of midwife I hope to be when I get a chance to do my own schooling.

Dr. Confused said...


You're going to be a midwife? That's so cool.

The practice I'm going to, in general, seems to be that type: evidence-based, mostly-medicalized model. After all, they're CNMs, and they only deliver in the hospital. It was only that midwife (the second I saw, but she seems to be my regular midwife now, through no real choice of my own) that I worried about.

Ciarin said...

There are all kinds of midwives out there. Even CNMs (which I am one), while practicing evidence-based, believe in a holistic approach and use alternative therapies. I don't know about the midwife in this post cuz I didn't understand a damn thing she was talking about. Naturally there are always some who will stray to one extreme or the other (granola crunching crystal midwives vs medwives). I like to think I am somewhere in the middle.

Dr. Confused said...

I think it's important for midwives (CNMs or not) to understand alternative therapies, because many of their clients will use it. Just as long as it's not being pushed on me when it's really not my style.