Thursday, October 13, 2011

Section: The Verb

Here on the hospital’s antepartum floor, there’s no talk of natural labor, or water breaking, or going into labor, or anything at all not having to do with a C-section. The precise timing of these C-sections is a regular topic of discussion among the high-risk doctors, who, I’ve gathered, regularly meet to discuss the case of each woman on the floor. My doctor stopped in this morning and told me there had been some discussion over whether my C-section should still happen at 37 weeks or should be pushed up to 36. The consensus was that as long as I’m in-house, we should hold out as long as possible (up to 37 weeks); if something happens, they can always just section me.

“Section” me. This is the lingo in the world of complicated pregnancies, a bizarre and somewhat violent-sounding verb that makes what’s happening sound a lot more aggressive than the alternative, “do a C-section” or “have a C-section.” “We’ll section you”—it sounds like something Solomon would propose. A C-section is a noun, an unremarkable procedure; the transitive verb “section” is an attack (albeit a routine and life-saving one).

Besides the language, I find all this discussion and debate almost unbelievable. I feel perfectly healthy. I look perfectly healthy. Nothing is wrong with me—and yet a very big thing is wrong with me. I asked my doctor this morning whether it was possible for someone with complete placenta previa (CPP, in message-board lingo) to get to 37 weeks without having a major bleed. She said no one can predict what will happen, but she seemed doubtful that I’d escape with only the one minor bleed I’ve had. All the doctors are in complete agreement that I cannot go home to Park Slope.

This all seems completely crazy. I don’t feel like a ticking bomb. I feel bored and sad and frustrated about not being with Andrew and Lucia; I feel beyond awful for being in the hospital over Lucia’s birthday (more on this in another post). But a ticking bomb? One errant contraction away from the Big Bleed? Insanity. I feel like I’m trapped in a Bizarro world where everything seems normal but I have oh, I don’t know, a huge horn growing out of my back, invisible to me but shocking and dangerous to everyone else.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I have a niece (born at around 30 weeks) who was a complete placenta previa baby. She spent a couple months in the NICU, but is now a beautiful, vivacious, intelligent first-grader. Apart from her premie start, she's had a completely normal life. Times like this are difficult and taxing, no doubt, but you're also very lucky. Best wishes to you and your family.