Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Contraception The Div Way

Way back in the early days of this blog, I briefly mentioned some thoughts on pregnancy. Specifically I suggested replacing sex education with pregnancy education, as a way of trying to keep the teenage birth rate down.

How naive I was. I barely scratched the surface - and I use that term advisedly!

If pregnancy one was tough for K, and pregnancy two heartbreaking, pregnancy three was an entirely new experience. One which I couldn't write about on here at the time, as it would have given the game away.

K suffers from bad morning sickness, but in pregnancy three this got to the stage of being classed as hyperemesis gravidarum.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is morning sickness on steroids.

Forget a quick puke in the morning then a relatively normal day to follow.

Think instead waking up and being sick; eating breakfast and being sick; having a glass of water and being sick; having lunch and being sick; having a nap, and waking up to be sick; etc.

The doctors prescribed various combinations of drugs, all of which proved entirely ineffective. One of the major drawbacks being they were orally administered and she puked most of them straight back up.

When it gets to the stage that even a glass of water is intolerable, and sucking an ice cube becomes an ordeal, all paths start to lead to hospital.

K finally got to the stage where she was so dehydrated she could barely stand. Her ketone levels were through the roof - as her body ran out of fuel and resorted to burning fat - and she was clearly dehydrated to the point of incapacitation.

The hospital admitted her, hooked her up to a succession of drips - saline, glucose, and a weird yellow coloured vitamin supplement which, she assures me, stings like hell as it enters the bloodstream.

They also injected anti-sickness drugs that had a more beneficial effect - whether through increased potency, or simply because they were actually absorbed into her system.

After a few days she was discharged, and within a few more days she was ill again.

Another cycle of admission, discharge and regression followed, culminating in a third and final stay of four nights in hospital.

By this time the medics were actually contemplating dispatching a midwife to our home twice daily to administer the anti-sickness injections, as they are not normally available outside hospital. Fortunately K made enough of an improvement to manage without the drugs after this last stay.

With an energetic two year-old to look after, and my job being of the pay-as-you-work variety, stressful barely begins to describe the scenario.

Primarily, of course, for her; but there was certainly an increased burden to be shared by myself and our families.

This is definitely not pregnancy of the movie variety. We are not dealing with Knocked Up or Look Who's Talking here!

If the pregnancy was of the horrendous variety, the labour and delivery went fairly well, particularly when taking into account V being 9lbs 1oz at birth and delivered face-to-pubis i.e. head down but facing the wrong way.

This didn't stop us being regaled with various horror stories from unexpected sources. Such as the lady in the local soft play area, who told us how her daughter's shoulder jammed, and 'ripped' her open during the delivery.

Or, my workmate whose child was wedged so tight the pregnancy culminated in him and a midwife pinning his wife down by the shoulders, while a doctor wielded forceps with his foot braced against the bed for extra leverage.

Amazingly she actually had another child after that ordeal. Women ARE tougher than men!

In my previous post I didn't do justice to the true horror of the forceps.

I'd imagined some delicate almost tweezer like instrument, on a lilliputian scale.

The reality is more akin to something a barbecue enthusiast may be found brandishing with vigour on a sunny weekend afternoon.

Add to that the ventouse cup, scalpels, and the possible side effects of an epidural, and we are into Vincent Price territory. For those who missed my earlier post, a phrase to haunt your nightmares - incise the perineum. Enough said!

If all that failed to discourage the average teenage girl from denying her boyfriend a home run for as long as possible, perhaps the ultimate deterrent is less about pain and more about presentation. Stretch marks!

K got off lightly on these, but while she was pregnant we watched a BBC documentary about a girl who had gotten pregnant at thirteen.

By the time she delivered the poor girl looked like she'd had a particularly extreme session with Max Mosley.

Stretch marks is such a bland term. In severe cases they resemble open welts or burns.

If all else fails, the thought of no more hipster jeans or crop tops would surely deter a high percentage of our fashion conscious female youth from allowing themselves to get impregnated, though it may leave the boys with arms like Rafael Nadal.

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