Thursday 19 May 2005

Home Visit

Elizabeth was here bright and early this morning for our home visit. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’d been up already since 6am, when our kitty-alarm-clock went off demanding that someone (anyone!) freshen up her food. So, needless to say, I got started on my day nice and early and managed to get in my morning exercises before Elizabeth got here.

(I will interject here that I bet everyone finds my mentioning of the kitty-alarm-clock very funny, especially since we will soon be acquiring a baby-alarm-clock that will probably go off even more than the kitty variety, so how can I complain? Well, all I have to say is at least the food needed to appease the baby-alarm-clock won’t smell like meat! Though after glibly writing this I realize that another reason for the baby-alarm to go off may well smell like poo.)

Apparently Elizabeth had no problem finding the place, which is good. She did, however, have problems finding the parking for our building, so when she came in I took her out on the balcony and showed her the back lot and the road leading up to it. I then proceeded to show her the apartment. She was impressed by our office/pool room and made a few suggestions as to how we can make it even more comfortable for the birth. After a quick tour of the rest of the apartment, we sat down and had our regular appointment in the living room.

We had a lot to talk about today. I asked her to tell me about the newborn procedures, which include the administration of a Vitamin K shot and some antibiotic eye goo. The Vitamin K shot is given because apparently newborn babies are deficient in Vitamin K naturally, and Vitamin K is a vital component in the blood’s ability to clot after some trauma (either a cut or bruising). So essentially, without the Vitamin K shot, a baby is like a hemophiliac. Due to the pressures of birth, the most sensitive areas of the baby—the head and the belly—are often the ones most affected by this vitamin deficiency, and the baby could develop something called “hemorrhagic disease of the newborn”, which is essentially uncontrolled internal bleeding. Apparently it’s not very common because most births aren’t quite that violent, but when it does happen the results are often very bad. It is said these days that the Vitamin K shot has no side effects (besides pain at the injection site), though previously it was thought to cause an increase in childhood leukemia. Apparently that’s all cleared up now, though.

The other newborn procedure—the administration of antibiotic eye ointment—is a little bit silly, and it is actually law. The midwives have to put this gunk in the baby’s eyes by law! The purpose of the ointment is to prevent the transmission of gonorrhea and chlamydia from an infected mother to her baby. Apparently these infections can cause blindness and other sight problems. It seems a little silly that it should be law, when obviously not every mother is going to have these infections; but apparently the law comes from post-WWII times when soldiers were coming back from overseas with these infections, knocking up their wives and giving them STDs all in one go. You’d think that this type of law would have been updated to reflect our current situation, but no. So, the baby must have eye goo. Apparently there are no side effects for this either, and Elizabeth tells me that she has put it in her own eyes just to see what it was like and she reports that it’s basically just like putting Vaseline in your eyes; it’s just blurry for a little while and then it’s ok.

Speaking of infections that I don’t have, Elizabeth reports that I don’t have Group B Strep, which I was tested for last week. This is a good thing! It means that I don’t have to worry about doing a round of antibiotics before or during labour and don’t have to worry about a time limit placed on me if my water breaks at the beginning of labour. It also means that everyone can be a lot less concerned about the baby getting an infection if labour lasts for a longish amount of time, which hopefully it won’t!

Everything just seems to be going along nicely, doesn’t it?

One thing that is a concern is that we don’t currently have the car seat in our possession even though one has been purchased for us. Elizabeth mentioned that we need to have it before labour starts and that we can’t just rely on not having any problems and just have someone go get it if complications arise as I sort of thought we could do. The problem is I don’t even know where it is and both Annie and Aunty Belle (who would know where it is) are in Florida. The car seat may be in Toronto with Annie’s nephew, or it may currently be at Aunty Belle’s (where I’m sure Win is happily sleeping in it). I guess I’m going to have to do some calling around, though I’m not sure what good that is going to do.

To end on a more positive note: blood pressure is good, baby’s heart rate is good, and as Elizabeth says, “this baby is loooow!” She got a good kick for saying that, too.

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