On Pins and Needles

Yesterday, good friend and pro needler Mike Julien stopped by with his big plastic box of goodies. He had me sit comfortably on our couch and proceeded to pop needles an inch or so deep in ten different spots on my body.

This included the head, face, shoulders, hands, shins and feet. The needles stayed in for 20 minutes, occasionally getting "adjusted" which means tweaked 'til you feel them "sing" inside your fleshy bits. And no, it didn't hurt. Much.

The goal? Labor, my friends. Labor. Today is officially my due date. September 2-0. Which is 4-0 weeks since conception, which in any other realm totals 1-0 months, not nine, to build then carry this kid around - but for some reason, women just don't seem to get credit for that extra month - as if it never existed. Go figure. (Some man did the math on this one, I'm sure.)

I've got a doctor's appointment in a couple of hours. There, She of the Evil Rubber Glove and her sadistic implement of torture (known as a finger) will tell me that I'm such-and-such a percentage effaced and so-and-so centimeters dilated. This will tell us how much I've progressed since last week, when I was 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated. Then, the policy is to set up a time for me to be induced into labor, if things aren't rolling along all natural-like by whatever date we've chosen. Induction means I'll be getting shot full of synthetic hormones to jumpstart my body into labor (as if I'm not hormonal enough).

It also means there is no gradual ramp-up: It's sort of like being shot out of the comfort rocket and into the contraction stratosphere, no shields up.

Personally? I'm more comfortable having 10 twangy little needles painlessly inserted into me to spur things along more naturally than a bag full of chemicals. I really hope my body gets to choose the time that works best for the baby and me to start huffing it out, not the doctor.

Either way, I'll roll with it. I feel pretty zen about it all, as really, trying to control the situation will only increase the stress. I'm going to let my body do what it has been programmed for millennia to do.

That's not to say I'm going all eastern woo-woo with every aspect of this experience. When the bod's all occupied and smack in the middle of its ultra-heavy magical birthy action, if I need it, I'm going to get my western doctors to do what they do so well - and numb me up, but good. I like to think of it as my choosing the best of both eastern and western philosophies.

My motto? "Go natural - until you don't want to anymore." At that point, I'm hopping aboard the Epidural Express - choo! choo! [insert conductor whistle blowing arm-motion visual here]- and won't be giving my seat away for any price. Nope. Uh-uh. Noooooo way.

P.S. - For anyone out there busily firing off another email to me regarding the woes of unnatural childbirth or the lack of proof for the effectiveness of accupuncture - please save your fine efforts for someone who gives a damn.

Not only am I 100% certain of my personal health choices, but I am comfortable with my stance as a professional philosophical fence-sitter, too. There is no need for conversion, here, people. Like Gumby, I'm flexible. Plus, I find a pleasing shade of grey quite soothing during these troubled, far too black-or-white times. Muchas gracias.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >