12 May 2011

New wives' tales

We all know that the old ladies are hopelessly wrong about whether it's OK to Jazzercise and put pots on high shelves and pet outdoor yetis while we're pregnant. Here are the things that our educated, scientifically advanced, medically informed populace is incurably right about.

1. If your first baby was late (or early), your other babies will be late (or early).

I have personally disproven this, having given birth at 40 weeks, 39 weeks 1 day, 41 weeks, 41 weeks, and 39 weeks. You tell me, genuises: do I have babies late or early? I know Reb. Mary would also like an answer to this question.

2. Babies' birth weights just keep getting higher the more you have.

Again selflessly and personally disproven by my. My fourth baby was my smallest. 2nd and 3rd tied for heaviest. My pregnancy weight gain is always the same. I do not know one single person, of my many friends with more than 2-3 kids, for whom the "they keep getting bigger" theory is true in any meaningful way (ie, she started at 8 pounds and is now up to 12--yup, that's just the way it goes. Everyone knows that).

3. Having a lot of babies is dangerous.

This is true, but there has never been a time in history when it was less comparatively true. How many people do we know who have actually (not almost or could have) died as a direct result of having a baby? How many did our great-grandmas know? It has NEVER been safer to have babies, any number of them.

And while we're on the topic, how many people do the new wives know who have actually had more than three kids? Why do we all think the personal stories we know constitute sufficient evidence for our scientific beliefs and medical convictions? How many of us can actually read and understand a medical study? Maybe none of us know much about what happens in that shadowy realm beyond 2.1. Maybe none of us know much at all.

32 comments:

Emily Cook said...

Bet this is one you haven't heard before:

If baby has his days and nights mixed up, here's the solution:

Simply lay the child in the crib, then rotate him counter-clockwise. 360 degrees. This will reset his clock.

:) Wouldn't that be NICE?!

Katy said...

lol @ Emily.

I've heard variations of these from OBs. I had mine at 40.5, 40 (on due date), and 42.5 weeks. My new OB was not happy that my last baby was born so late (I told her we didn't have any ultrasounds, so the date was probably wrong--she didn't like that, either). I hope this one comes at 39 weeks, to avoid an ugly pitocin battle.

HappyFox said...

After announcing our last pregnancy, we received a comment from a family member that went something like, "You know, that gets more dangerous as one gets older." Well, thanks for giving us that breaking news AFTER we're pregnant. Way to encourage! :)

Emily - I am SO gonna try that with the next one.

Cheryl said...

I had three babies. Gained exactly 40 pounds with each. They all weighed over 9 pounds. Biggest was #2 at 9 pounds, 12 ounces. Smallest was #3 at 9 pounds, 5 ounces. #1 and #2 were a week overdue, with #2 being induced. #3 came right on his due date.

Jody S. said...

So are there any old wives' tales you've found to be true? (So far, I have craved sweets for my only girl and salty/meaty with all three boys! Can anybody confirm this one?)

Untamed Shrew said...

Another one that's not true: Your labors will get faster/shorter with each child.

Don't. I. Wish.

Melrose said...

For that matter, how many of those medical studies are real, uninfluenced by medical bureaucrats whose only mission is to support higher intervention rates or drug use? Truth is that our Lord creates and takes away life when and where He pleases and we are simply called to live in our vocation trusting Him with each life He does or does not give.

Mine have been born at due date, 3 weeks early, and 1 day late in that order. Ironically the second was the one I gained the most weight with but he was smaller by a lb than the other two.

Melrose said...

U.S- so agreed! :)

etem said...

jazzercise. ha.

Linda Nehring said...

LOL - Love the rotating the baby idea!! First baby was 3 weeks late and had to be C-section...ultra sound and doc said 7 pounds...she was 5 pounds. Second and third were repeat section, both over 7 pounds. Only wives tale I found true was the one about having severe indigestion and the baby having a lot of hair. First two did, last one was bald. Bad indigestion with the first two. Very little with the last one.

Leah said...

(What's up with blogger?!?! I wanted to read the ten comments that I noticed on this post earlier! Oh well.)

As to the subject at hand:
All I know is that I've given up on guessing whether I'm having a boy or girl. Everyone (including the man at the dry cleaners - seriously!) had an opinion about the gender of my last baby based on of how I was "carrying it". Perhaps for some people this works, but I carried her like I carried the boys, which even had me tricked. And with Philip I was totally convinced he was a girl because of how sick I was the first four months. Tricked there too! So I give up!!!

Rebekah said...

Yeah, I set it and forget it on that post . . . came back that night and couldn't read the comments . . . came back later and the whole thing was gone . . . and now it's back?

Untamed Shrew said...

Another myth: Your labors will get progressively shorter with each baby.

Don't. I. Wish.

Rebekah said...

Shrew, and don't I wish they didn't. :P

Melrose said...

My question was how many of those medical studies are even reliable anyways...what with medical bureaucrats running around creating fear and further "evidence" on the "necessity" of interventions left and right. None of us knows much at all indeed. Excepting our Master Creator who knows every fiber of each of our beings.

My first and third were due date babies...2nd was 3 weeks early. Go figure :) They've all weighed the same except my early one. And I'm hoping birth 4 will be my least dangerous yet. Time will tell but should it not go that way, glory be to God.

Rebekah said...

Melrose, I'll still take a capitalist over a zealot. :P Plus there's something, be it ever so small, to be said for peer reviewing.

Melrose said...

I'm not a proponent for either. I guess I'm kind of a rebel. :)

Rebekah said...

Yeah, but if I had to pick? Which I do?

Melrose said...

Sigh. I see your point. I guess you find the happiest medium you can....or convince yourself you have. Either way we go back to the fact that God is in control and zealot or capitalist, we belong to God alone. And therefore, perhaps there really IS a happy medium.

Rebekah said...

>>...or convince yourself you have

Yup. :P And then not tell all the people who will think that what you've convinced yourself of is selfish, dangerous, and ignorant.

I really love all this.

Louise said...

My question is this: Have the people putting out the research had any babies of their own? :-)

Likewise, as messed up as our society is, I haven't yet run into anyone who could hold back from smiling or oogling at my baby.

Melrose said...

Rebekah, there was once a woman who did not receive ANY prenatal care (actually I'm sure there are plenty, but I'm thinking of one in particular). Yea, she did not even know she was pregnant until she found herself in the emergency room in labor. Her babe was whisked away at the moment of birth and kept in the NICU for an entire day: despite being big, pink, and breathing well. Mom was not allowed contact until the infant had undergone "sufficient" observation because, you know, any mother who has not been pricked a million times and ultrasounded more during pregnancy SURELY cannot have a healthy baby without the help of the medical gods. Who's really the zealot huh? And what's really dangerous/ignorant? But alas we coexist between the two worlds, being grateful for the good that exists in both and trying to avoid the bad. There are extremes and ignoramuses on both sides.

Rebekah said...

Louise, I'm sure if they did it was a very reasonable number. :P

Melrose: Indeed, zealots all around, and you'll notice my last comment didn't specify a side. ;) Doubtless your experience arriving at a maternity floor via the ER was even worse than ours.

Melrose said...

No, I realized you didn't, I just couldn't resist the opportunity to point out the idiocy :D Actually, my ER experience was...quite amazing. It turned out my Doc...who I had no prior experience with and was given "luck of the draw" was none other than a sister of Rev. Stuckwisch! She took one look at my husband's collar and asked if he was a Lutheran. She then asked if we new a certain nephew of hers from the sem, which of course we did, and then we figured out who her brother was :D She not only treated us so so nicely but now, a year later, I was told her work on me could not have healed better...that it was the hand of an expert. Praise God....and talk about comforting when put into an environment I had never been in before!

Rebekah said...

OH MY GOODNESS. I totally forgot she was out there baby doctoring. Well, I am glad for you for that! We got some creep who had apparently never dealt with an immediately postpartum woman, either personally or medically, in his life. ROAR. >:(

Melrose said...

oh no, that does NOT sound like a good situation. :( Roar indeed. And after having delivered in the car. good grief.

If it makes you feel better, in the first ER I was taken to here in town, I was greeted, or actually not greeted, by a doctor who refused to talk to me or look at me in the face because he decided I was a lunatic for having my baby at home and therefore did not deserve his attention. Instead he talked to me through a nurse after very roughly handling me without offering any pain med first. Thankfully my experience with him was very short and I was on my way to a REAL hospital.

Rebekah said...

Blech. Sounds like he went to the same Evil Medical School as the jerk we got.

Velicus said...

Does anyone (perhaps a doctor out there?) know why 41 weeks is the new "deadline" (esp. since worldwide statistics seem to show 37-42 week delivery is normal)? We have been trying to get a straight answer from someone since our firstborn was induced 4 years ago (at 40 weeks, 5 days). All we get is vague worries about placentas deteriorating and babies getting "too big" (I was told the ultrasound showed she would be 8+ lbs, she was 7.3, her brothers 7.2 and 7.9), and "you don't want anything bad to happen to your baby, right?"

I really sympathize with trained doctors' frustration/annoyance with patients coming in, their internet/chatroom/wikipedia "information" in hand, questioning every little decision the doctor makes. But I also am frustrated by the OB policies (in my town, anyway) that do not take into consideration my ob/gyn history, my age, our families' 'lifestyle,' etc.

My husband has only found two studies (one out of Berkley, one from Canada) associating post-40 week births with higher rate of stillborns. We would be quite happy to spend more money and monitor the baby very closely during weeks 41 and 42, inducing if there is a problem, and not automatically because of the calendar date.

Sorry--kind of off-topic and not in the spirit of "none of us know much at all." My daughter came a half-hour before "C-section time." I hate being on the clock.

Rebekah said...

Velicus, that definitely falls into the "I don't know much at all" category for me. When I started getting into "late" territory, my was OK with a couple of non-stress tests during week 42 but she wasn't OK with going past 42. I arrived for my week 41 induction already in labor so we were off the hook.

Untamed Shrew said...

Velicus, I could write a book! The only 1 of my 4 that wasn't induced came at 41w5d. My doc was fine with this, but another ob had her finger wagging in my face for an entire week prior. She told me how irresponsible and selfish I was, and that my baby would be a shriveled up 2-pounder because of placental deterioration-- even though I passed all their stoopid tests with flying colors. btw, that baby weighed 9.12 and was by far my easiest delivery.

Katy said...

oops, "Velicus" is me accidentally using my husband's account.


It was a bad experience for a number of reasons--after the nurse said my AFI was "dangerous at 7," I insisted on talking to the doc before inducing. She said I needed a non-stress test right away. The one at the clinic was in use,supposedly, so I should go to the hospital across the street to use theirs--and the doc was over there anyway, so I could talk to him there.

Long story "short": I didn't understand "going over to the hospital" and signing in meant being admitted. After arguing for 3 hours with the doc--and finding out the nurse had lied and my AFI was 11!--he threw AMA at us, and insulted us (and an entire state) by saying we wanted to endanger our child "like naked hillbillies in TN, birthing in a shed."

Anyway, someone on here once posted about mutual trust in a doctor/patient relationship. I really wish GPs/family doctors, healing 3 generations or so in their lifetime, were more common again (and they still delivered babies). I've had three docs deliver three kids, and now I'm starting all over again with #4. Hopefully this is "the one."

And really it was all my fault for not listening to my head--he said to skip the ultrasound; when I didn't, he said "don't go to the hospital." And he still gave me a kiss after driving all the way from work to find me admitted.

Untamed Shrew: I have group b strep for (it seems) every child, so I have to be hooked up to IVs, antibiotics, baby monitor, etc., etc. Huge incentive not to be induced. My mom had all her kids after 42 weeks, and my last one was (my guess) 42 weeks, 5 days (we refused an US, and we could only estimate the due date).

Untamed Shrew said...

Katy, I'm GBS+ as well. I'm in St. Louis. e-mail if you'd like: joy(dot)golden(at)juno(dot)com