Prayers for BabyUnseen!

Dwija‘s facebook page informed me when I woke up that she had called the midwife in the wee hours of the morning. Her tapered-off and eventually halted Twitter feed informs me that labor is getting real at HouseUnseen. Will you please take a moment and say a prayer for the safe delivery of BabyUnseen, and that Dwija’s first homebirth experience will be smooth and joyful? Having a baby at home is utterly different than having one at the hospital, and I can sympathize with the combination of nerves and excitement that Dwija has been feeling for the last few days. I’m praying that her labor goes just as smoothly as mine did with Liam…except perhaps maybe it’ll be a bit longer. (Yes, I did feel disgruntled and kind of gypped because my labor with Liam only lasted four hours. I actually wanted it to go on a little longer. Extrapolate from that what you will about my psychological state.)

In other pregnancy-related news, look what the Danes have discovered! Earth-shattering.

Actually, I’ve been saying this for years. Nearly every OB I’ve ever been to has given me some variation of “if you have one single drop of alcohol during your pregnancy, your child will certainly be born without a head and it will be all your fault. How would you feel then?” Without being flip about the real risks of fetal alcohol syndrome and developmental delays that are caused by excessive drinking, this is a load of shite. Women have been drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy since forever. Probably since alcohol was first discovered. In Elizabethan times, they didn’t even drink water because it was contaminated. They drank small beer all day long. Lower alcohol content, sure, but if that’s all you’re drinking? I’d bet it pretty much evened out.

If you read the article, please notice that immediately after the results of the study are disclosed, several American doctors are interviewed who stress that this doesn’t change anything, drinking is dangerous in pregnancy, and even that “These findings can easily send a very dangerous message to pregnant women.”

Oh yes. Because we’re all so incapable of being rational and limiting ourselves to the occasional glass of wine. The second we hear that alcohol might not kill our developing offspring, we’re going to throw a kegger. Or several. (Seriously, though, does anyone have a beer bong I can borrow?)

This attitude drives me crazy. Pregnant women are already told that we can’t eat hot dogs, sandwich meat, soft cheese, prosciutto, fish, sushi, palatably prepared steak, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk, caffeine, and unwashed vegetables. It’s no wonder people treat pregnancy like a disease! If I ever listened to my doctors, I would be miserable! (Also, I think the blasphemy of a well-done steak definitely outweighs any health concerns.)

I was living in Rome with my sister-in-law when I found out I was pregnant with Charlotte. I took the test, we did the squeal-hug-jump-around routine, then I handed her the rest of my glass of wine. Her boyfriend at the time watched the exchange with a mystified expression on his face and then said, “perche?” (why?) My sister-in-law explained that American women are told not to drink alcohol in pregnancy. Her boyfriend got the most incredulous of expressions on his face and started laughing. “Meno, ma no basta!” he snorted. (Less, but don’t stop!) Then he made me a plate of mozzarella, tomatoes and prosciutto and glowered at me until I ate it all. Unbelievably, I didn’t die. `

So that’s been my attitude ever since. Aristotle called it centuries ago, when he said, “All things in moderation.” My husband has improved upon that a little. He says, “All things in moderation, including moderation.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to consume buckets of raw cookie dough and steak tartare. Though I may run by the liquor store first.

  • Courtney F.

    AMEN! Honestly, I wish I could give you the world’s biggest hug right now, because that’s exactly how I felt when I was pregnant with my little one. I think it has to do with how litigious Americans are–and OB’s have to cover their backsides more than any other kind of doctor, because babies are involved. I don’t think I would have survived my pregnancy without an occasional glass of wine and the occasional schmeer of goat cheese. So I used my own best judgement, and I wound up with a kidlet who is crazy active (walked at 10 months), and is so smart as to make her mama nervous. :)

  • Suzi

    Amen! And remember when you are all done being pregnant and avoiding all those bad things get right back on the very toxic pill!!! Isn’t it an odd world we live in?

  • Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

    Love this post. I was so worried about caffeine and alcohol during my first pregnancy. Second time around I savored my coffee and moderate amounts of wine and my pregnancy and labor were so much easier….coincidence? haha. I have a candle lit for Dwija and baby. Can’t wait to hear about her homebirth.

  • Mary

    I’m very sympathetic to you’re point, but given the population at large, I understand doctors taking the line they do. Prudence is a virtue that needs to be developed, in this case I’m talking about the prudence to know how much wine is too much. And doctors can’t know what ‘alcohol in moderation’ means to each patient. I’m also pretty positive that doctors are saying things like this as much to protect themselves as they are to protect the baby. Our society is way too fond of medical malpractice suits. (My father’s a doctor, so I’ve lived among this attitute for my entire life.)

    • MelanieB

      Doctors might not know what “alcohol in moderation” means to each patient; but my OB gave me very concrete advice when I was entering my second trimester right before Christmas time. He said I could have one–only one– glass of wine or beer (no hard alcohol) with a meal once or twice a week. What he might have said to other patients, I don’t know; but I presume he could have added many more cautionary statements to a younger mother to be or one who seemed less cautious. It doesn’t have to be vague statements. They can be very specific if they want to be. And yes, I drank my glasses of wine at family dinners and enjoyed them very much. And my daughter turned out fine.

  • jen

    Save me some cookie dough!

    Seriously, our sacristans flipped out when I was pregnant and they forgot to put the ring of grape juice in the tray for Communion (Lutheran). They were so worried about me because I had drunk a thimble-sized serving of wine. Oh well!

  • Kathleen Basi

    Amen! I have never been a big drinker–a small glass of wine 1-2 time a week at most. This last pregnancy I positively salivated over wine, but I didn’t figure it was worth the cultural (not to mention spousal LOL) disapproval.

  • ceciliamaria

    I love hearing about home births! My mom had my four younger siblings at home back in the 80′s when it was the thing to do. I got to meet each one right away, which was amazing! I hope it was a good experience for Dwija.

  • Steve Colby

    The Anchoress sent me over here a couple times, and now I’ve bookmarked your blog. Your presentation of your brood, the Ogre, and yourself is delightful.

    Psalm 104:14-15

  • Christy

    I definitely agree! By my third and fourth pregnancies I was ordering glasses of wine when we went out once in a blue moon to a good restaurant. Although I felt all judged by the waiters. But I thought -how the hell else am I going to get through my fourth pregnancy in 4 years huh??

  • The Ranter

    When I had a small glass of wine during my last full-term pregnancy, the looks on the faces of my family were horrified! When I rolled my eyes and said that one small glass of wine wasn’t going to harm the babe, they were incredulous. So I didn’t do it around them anymore.