Short Version: last-minute name crisis, and labour-inducing TCM.

So, several months ago - like, four or five months ago - we decided on the perfect name for this baby. Wait, no, that's the fantasy version we've been caught up in. What actually happened was we both thought we'd agreed on the perfect name for this baby, when in fact we had misunderstood each other entirely. Only recently did we discover this fact, which has led to much starting all over again from scratch. Obviously a good time to be starting from scratch on name choices, what with the baby overdue and visitors in the house and the subsequent not-having of private conversational moments. Does anyone know what cultural tradition withholds the name announcement for the longest time? Because I'm thinking of claiming that cultural tradition.


Everything is still fine enough in there to continue waiting, apparently. I've got to admit, this is starting to make me nervous. Mostly, I'm worried about the safety of The Foetus in utero, but I also have minor concerns about the level of intervention I'm looking at if labour doesn't happen as it should, mainly because I'm worried about the safety of The Foetus during a highly medicalised birth. Basically, I'm worried about the safety of The Foetus. I just think we'd all be better off if everything went normally, don't you?

This has led to much googling of terms such as "what does a mucus plug look like" and "ways of inducing labour". In terms of the former, it seems mucus plugs (should you see one prior to labour at all) can have anything from a distinctly, well, pluggy appearance, plus or minus a tinge of blood, all the way to the other end of the spectrum which is very nearly indistinguishable from globs of semen. The problem with which is, of course, that globs of semen are also very nearly indistinguishable from globs of semen.

On the "inducing labour" front, having ticked off all the at-home methods, I found myself reading about acupuncture. One article, based on an interview with an acupuncturist, raved that when labour-inducing treatment is given from 41 weeks, about 80% of women go into labour within 72 hours. The remaining 20% are given a followup round of treatment, and nearly all them will go into labour within 72 hours of round two. "Wow!" I thought. "So what he's saying is, nearly everyone he treats goes into labour by forty-two weeks! That's incredible!" So without pausing to so much as cynically ask what happened in the control group, I marched me off down to the clinic in Chinatown recommended by my yoga instructor.

I don't know what you're picturing here. I know when someone says "TCM practice in Chinatown" to me, I get visions of crowded and narrow alleyways punctuated by incense-spewing temples, wooden shopfronts decorated with lanterns and dragon motifs, mysterious little doors with bells on them leading into cluttered, poorly-lit dens, wizened old Chinese men with crazy beards and crazier mannerisms, and racks of pungent-smelling dried stuff, the origins of which you don't want to know.

It would be more accurate to picture a doctor's surgery. You know - blandly-coloured waiting area, polite nurses in crisp uniforms, practitioners strutting down the hallway in neat, white coats to their neat, white consult rooms with computer screens and tidily-framed certificates on the walls, the pungent smell of rubbing alcohol... doctor's surgery. I registered at the reception desk and cast around for a magazine. The nurses took my temperature and blood pressure, and I was called in by a young, female practitioner with neat, black spectacles, to whom I explained my situation.

"I see," she said, and wrote something in Chinese on my neat, white, patient card. "Could you stick out your tongue, please? Uhuh." More notes. "Now let me check your pulses..." What followed was a history of a vague range of medical conditions or complaints, at the end of which she announced that she would recommend a session of acupuncture, followed by "some herbs". You've gotta hand it to these TCM dudes. They don't hold with any of your new-fangled concepts like Explaining Things To Patients.

The acupuncture happened in a treatment room, and was augmented by a scary electrical device turned up high enough to make all four of my limbs twitch with every pulse. "Any pain?" she asked.

"It's not pleasant..." I replied diplomatically, hoping she would make it stop.

"Yes, but if no pain, then ok." And she left the room. For a loooooong time. And lo and behold, if my uterus didn't start to cramp and contract*.

Eventually she came back, switched off the torture device, and released me with my powdered... whateveritis which I am to take twice daily for four days, in a small amount of warm water, thirty minutes after a meal, and definitely not in conjunction with any "western" medicines.

My uterus stopped contracting on the way back down the hall.

I'll let you know how it goes.

*Although it has been doing this at random anyway.


Samantha said...

I think first babies like to take their time coming out into the world. It always seems like they're the ones that are late. My SIL was overdue by a week, and she decided to be induced. I guess it wasn't fun, but she didn't have any complications either (and called us at 3:00 in the morning last night to inform us that she'd given birth to a health boy). Not that I'm trying to recommend it, because I agree, it'd be best if it all went normally, but if things don't quite go the way you hope, it will still probably be fine.

ColourYourWorld said...

You are brave because Ouch! that device sounds painful.
I have my fingers crossed that if you have to go back for more torture it works !

You have already had a few extra days to come up with a name, I suppose if the torture device doesn't work quickly you may get a few more. Good Luck!

Serenity said...

When I did acupuncture regularly, they only pulled out that electrical device once. Coincidentally it was after that session where I decided that it wasn't worth the money to continue.

Really, it was a coincidence.

I'm hoping it does the trick so that you can avoid worrying about alternative plans.

No Minimom said...

Have your cute hubby give you a hearty foot rub. Reflexology is supposed to help kick start labor.

A friend of mine also recommends nipple stimulation. She says she went into labor 12 hours after she started that. Don't know if you're up for that at this point, but that's another fun job for hubby. ;-)

Unknown said...

Sounds, um, interesting!
I always digress to the Friends episode where Rachel was overdue. Recommended sex, spicy food, long walks.
Other then that I got nothin'.

You must have a comfy cozy uterus!

Caro said...

You've got 6 months to name your baby here in Denmark if that's any help.

Nearlydawn said...

Hope the baby is here soon, and as naturally as can be. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for birth on May 10th. It's the best day of the year :), ok I do understand that I don't have a vote in this.

Here in Sweden, you can take up to 3 month to decide on a name but I just read in our newspaper about a couple that still after 8 month had not decided on a name and the baby was stil called "little brother".

Good luck again, hope the TCM works :D

Anonymous said...

Can I read between the lines of this post and make note that swallowing prostaglandins don't bring on labour?

snowhite said...

Hey Bea,

My son was 9 days late. I was like you - starting to worry about the safety of the baby. Had everything arranged for an induction and then the labor started the day before.

You are a brave woman to try the mystery herbs - hope they get you going. Either way, I am so looking forward to baby Bea making its appearance.

All the best and keep us posted!

Schatzi said...

Here's hoping the needles and mystery powder do the trick. Starting naturally would definitely be the best. Sounds like you have some good suggestions in the comments...

Oh, and good luck on the name. Some of my friends have changed names after seeing the baby, so I am hoping that you will be inspired once the baby makes its debut!

Anonymous said...

i am a long time reader and first time commenter..
Just wanted to wish you all the best for your bubbas birth.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I've been missing lately and just happened by your blog tonight. By now you may in labor, but I have to comment...I 100% believe that acupuncture is what sent me into labor. I went on a Monday and while I was there felt tons of movement when she turned the needles-no labor. I was told it could take more than one visit and got a little skeptical-I mean at this point couldn't labor just be coming on its own. So the next day I went again. This time she used the electrical device (which I also had when I was doing IUI). Within 2 hours of leaving the office I began having very strong and consistant 5 minute apart contractions. I am a beliver because prior to this I wasn't really having anything other than BH contractions.

I hope by now you've met your little one!! I'll be checking back frequently...

Cibele said...

Good luck choosing a name ... as for the mucous plug, you will know itwhen you see it ... I can't wait to meet your baby

Stephanie said...

I thought i has saw my mucus plug weeks before I delivered by I was wrong. It was just CM stuff. I went in to my OB on a Wedn and had my membranes stripped and went into labor Thurs. during the night. When I lost my mucus plug i knew it without a doubt. It was huge, thick and tanish. If you loose yours I think you will know it.
Hope the accupunture works for you. I would have tried that before stipping of membranes if I would have thought of it.

Barb said...

I hope you're hanging in there ok! I can't imagine the wait. Sweet of you to still stop by and comment with all the stuff you're involved with right now.

My TCM practitioner was actually quite AWESOME at explaining things and making me comfortable. And you are BRAVE to be hooked up to that darn pulse thing. I refused to let it come within 10 ft of me. She never tried to set it up, but I always eyed it warily the whole time just in case I had to knock it out of her hand quick.

Good luck!

Piccinigirl said...

well I came back after the weekend hoping I'd see the Baby Bea was here.
I have no as*svice, since mine were early and my cervix started it's craziness at 24 weeks. I got nothin.

good luck the next few days. I know it will all go the way it should. *THINKING OF YOU*

Jackie said...

I used superstition as an excuse regarding not having/telling a name.

Acu did not work for me. Amazingly, I did manage to go into labor on my own.

Thalia said...

well, I guess it was worth a try. Colour me an acu sceptic, but at least I'm sure it does no harm.

Hoping this baby gets its act in gear soon.

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