Originally published January 24, 2020.
Pregnancy is an intensely personal time, and when it comes to caregivers, there are many options. I’ve decided to go with Wendy, a woman from my work. Some people may balk at the idea of outsourcing my prenatal care from a licensed OBGYN or midwife to a woman I barely know who mainly processes our company payroll. Still, Wendy seemed to really know what she was talking about when she found out I was pregnant. So I decided to go with her.
It all started when Wendy saw me drinking a mug of hot coffee shortly after I announced my pregnancy at 12 weeks. “Caffeine?” Wendy asked, “Are you sure that’s good for the baby?” That’s when it hit me: my doctor had said a little bit of coffee was nothing to worry about, but Wendy, who never attended medical school but did attend a conference in Reno last year on employee relations, seemed to know even more than my OBGYN about pregnancy.
I didn’t transfer my medical care to Wendy right away. It wasn’t until two weeks later, when she saw me eating a tuna fish sandwich and asked if I knew how much mercury could be in fish, then told me that she would never have eaten tuna when she was pregnant, that I decided to let Wendy be in charge of my pregnancy.
Wendy can’t legally give me ultrasounds, use a fetal doppler to check my baby’s heart rate, or have access to my medical history, but she always knows exactly what I need. Like when she told me it was irresponsible to dye my hair while pregnant or take a warm bath. My doctor said those things were safe to do, but Wendy said she “wasn’t so sure about that,” so I stopped. Most importantly, she explained the reason it took me so long to get pregnant in the first place was that I “looked really stressed.” I ended up conceiving via IVF, but that was before I was in Wendy’s care. Next time, I’ll try to breathe deeply instead.
I was amazed that, without an ultrasound, Wendy could determine the sex of my unborn baby. As soon as she saw acne forming around my jawline, she knew I was having a girl. “They steal your prettiness,” she explained and diagnosed me as “ugly now.” I’d have never known!
I can rest assured thanks to Wendy’s care that I will deliver naturally, without a C-section. Wendy says that I am “lucky to be born with hefty birthing hips,” which should make for a smooth labor. A few weeks later, she told me that I “must be giving birth to a linebacker” because I’ve gained so much weight. Typically, I’d be concerned, but coming from Wendy, I feel confident knowing that my massive hips will help with the birth of my massive baby.
Before I met Wendy, I’d been planning to breastfeed. She told me that she never breastfed her children, and they’re just fine, so I now know bottle feeding is right for me too. Plus, Wendy says too much nursing time spoils the baby, and if there’s one thing Wendy hates, and I think I hate, it’s a spoiled newborn.
Of course, I don’t let Wendy make all my prenatal decisions. That would be crazy. I often consult specialists as well, like the woman at my gym who saw me running on the treadmill and told me, “bouncing around that much can’t be good for the baby.” She’s my labor and delivery nurse now, and I couldn’t be more confident in my choice. I think her name is Brenda. I also consult with a man who goes to my local coffee shop (for decaf tea only ever since Wendy set me straight!) who recommended I didn’t eat the blueberry scone I ordered because he thinks pregnant women should “try to keep their figure.” He’s my dietician. And, of course, my second cousin Mary, who made a huge production of pouring everyone at Thanksgiving a glass of wine, then handed me a glass of milk, patted my belly, and said, “No wine for this mama!” I’m lactose intolerant, but Mary knows what’s best. She’ll be my lactation consultant after the baby is born.
I’ve been lucky to have this group, but I’m looking forward to having the baby. Once the baby comes, my mother-in-law is staying with us for a few weeks. I will let her know I’m open to pediatric advice, in case she doesn’t think to step in.
Read an interview with the authors over on out Patreon page.