Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meconium, Pitocin and Perineums OH MY?!!

Meconium, Pitocin, and perineum should ALL be SAT words as far as I'm concerned. Talk about words I hadn't given thought to much less ever heard before I got knocked up. Yet, these three things have captivated me this past week while I've been diligently studying and reading my Dr. Sears book: "The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth."

Since I love you, I'll start off slow 'til we're all on the same page. For those who aren't doctors, have never given birth to a baby or aren't close to anyone who has given birth you probably have no idea what meconium is.

If I were a contestant on Jeopardy and it came up I'd say, "Give me minerals for $500 Alex!" C'mon, doesn't it sound like something rich you'd find buried deep beneath the Earth's surface? Wrong! It's actually something rich you'd find deep inside your baby and it comes out hopefully after the baby is born otherwise this toxic waste could mean trouble and danger for baby if swallowed. If all goes well it comes out into your baby's diaper after a day or so out in the new world. I'll spare you a visual, but if you can imagine a black tar like blobby substance that obliterates a Huggie then you've pictured it correctly. Since I owe you the due diligence of being accurate, here is the exact definition  from the University of Maryland Medical Center: the first bowel movement a baby has is called meconium. Meconium is composed of amniotic fluid, mucus, lanugo (the fine hair that covers the baby's body), bile, and cells that have been shed from the skin and the intestinal tract. Meconium is thick, greenish black, and sticky. 
Hence why you want this coming out AFTER the baby has come out.

Now let's address Pitocin. It sounds like a drug because it is one, but I think it sounds like a "happy" drug kind of like Prozac- but it's not- it's a drug designed to help your body mimic labor. Pitocin is the synthetic version of the hormone Oxytocin which our bodies naturally create. Oxytocin is a "feel good" hormone that helps trigger contractions. Because it gives you a bit of a high when you're dealing with such a, shall we say uncomfortable physical experience, it actually helps you with the pain. When you are in labor naturally, your body responds to the contractions and Oxytocin with the release of endorphins, a morphine like substance that helps prevent and counteract pain. When you receive Pitocin, your body does not know to release the endorphins, despite the fact that you are in pain. Pitocin has it's purpose for sure, but from what I've read so far it is to be given to mothers who are way overdue or who have been laboring so long they're completely exhausted and can't trigger the Oxytocin on their own. When you're given Pitocin and don't really require it it makes the contractions come harder and faster than your body would do it on it's own generally causing so much discomfort you'd gladly trade one of your husband's testicles for an epidural.

And for our final new word of the day, let's take a deep breath. At lunch today one of my gay best friends knew exactly what I was talking about when I said the word perineum, cause he got this big ol' smile across his face. According to Wikipedia the perineum is generally defined as the surface region in both males and females between the pubic symphysis and the coccyx. The perineum is the region of the body inferior to the pelvic diaphragm and between the legs. Or in good old fashion basic hard core English it's often referred to as the "taint." Let me use in in a sentence for you. "It 'taint the front and it 'taint the back". I won't be showing that image here, but if you still don't know what I'm talking about just do a Google image search.

The best part is that I've been instructed by my midwives and all the books I've been reading to either massage my perineum on my own or have my darling husband, CJ on task.  Apparently 10-15 minutes a day should do the trick. This will not only help loosen me up getting me ready for a natural child birth so there's not as much stretching and pain down there, but it'll also make it MUCH easier for Baby Bean to come into the world. Since it's getting a tad more difficult for me to reach guess who has a new chore. But I have a sneaking suspicion he'll enjoy this task way more than mowing the lawn.

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