Monday, June 26, 2006

a p married to a j

"You know what?" Steve said this afternoon. "I'm a guy who feels more comfortable making decisions right away and sticking with them, and I'm married to a woman who likes to hold off on decisions until she has examined every angle. You can see how this creates some tension!"

I had to laugh because it hit me that this is a classic Myers-Briggs difference found in many couples. "You're a J, married to a P," I said.

It feels like we are in the midst of a pile of decisions we have to make ...
  • Which pediatrician will we choose? (The woman in the office in Midway? One of the doctors in the building next to United? Which one there should we try to meet with ahead of time? What issues do we ask about? What's most important to us?)

  • Will I deliver at United or St. Joseph's? (And when will we make that call? My gut tells me I will be more comfortable and calm in the atmosphere at St. Joseph's, and that says a lot. Our doula loves St. Joe's, too. But that means giving up the familiarity of the clinic where we've been getting our prenatal care. And Roxy said she had a good experience at United, even though she didn't have one of the all-in-one, labor-delivery-recovery rooms.)

  • If I switch caregivers, how will I go about it? (Cold turkey, or keep up a relationship with both of them until closer to the delivery? At which hospital should we preregister?)

  • Will we circumcise the baby? (I think I'm going to leave this decision up to Steve.)

  • Should I spring for one of those cute Fleurville or Bumble Bags diaper bags or go with one of the practical — and highly rated — Lands' End models? (Or both?! Or pick something up at Target?)

  • Should I get the chest xray now or wait until after the baby is born? (On one hand, there is this nagging, persistent cough that hasn't gone away since I had a bad cold in February. The doctor couldn't hear anything wierd through the stethoscope, yet if it's something else, like mild walking pneumonia, that could be bad. On the other hand, can an xray of this level hurt the baby? The doctor says no, but yet I worry. And is the chance of the xray finding something high enough to warrant the risk? Again, I wonder ...)

  • Today in the parking lot of the accountant's office, as we stood outside our cars getting ready to drive home, Steve and I revisited the latest developments on the hospital question. I mentioned I'd mailed in the request to have a copy of my prenatal records sent to the midwives' office and have another appointment with the midwife on Friday. I sensed him tensing up. My thought, I told him, is that we can go back and forth between our current clinic and the midwife for a few weeks until we have a clearer idea of how the end of pregnancy is looking and whether any problems crop up.

    Steve is a little resistant. It's harder for him to not know now. He likes certainty and finality. And the idea of changing hospitals and caregivers is stressful for him. (It is for me, too, truth be told, but I have more at stake.) It's hard for him to fathom having to get used to another parking ramp, another driving route, when he has timed out the drive from our house to United so well. (Eight minutes in light traffic on 35E. Ten to 12 minutes going up Grand.)

    Plus, he likes our doctor, and it's true we've had great care at Allina Parkview. But they only deliver at United, and United gave me the willies on our hospital tour. It turns out we aren't guaranteed one of the all-in-one rooms that initially attracted me to the hospital. We have a three-in-four chance of getting one of those rooms if my pregnancy remains normal. If I develop any problems, or if the seven all-in-one rooms are full, it's labor and delivery in one of the small rooms (which made me feel clausterphobic) without a tub or shower, and recovery in another room. On the other hand, at St. Joseph's, all maternity patients labor, deliver and recover in a comfortable, all-in-one room, with a private tub and shower. They were nice rooms. I got good vibes when Steve and I went to visit them. They felt calmer, and I got the feeling birthing at St. Joe's is not quite so adrenalin-charged as it could be at United. Plus, a midwife would likely deliver the baby. Yes, United has a Level III NICU. But St. Joe's has a Level II, which is not so bad. — and St. Joe's has a much lower c-section rate than United. I put these things on a scale and have to decide: What's more important? The highest-level NICU, or a calm birth environment that might make the delivery easier and less likely to need to interventions that could put the baby at risk or lead to a c-section?

    Anyway, I have spelled out these concerns plenty of times in the past month. They are written into my brain and infiltrate my dreams at night. I long for a clear sign from God telling me exactly what to do, but for now, I feel I just need to hold onto the questions and wait until I know more, feel more sure. Who knows? Maybe it will come down to the final hour when I'm in labor. ("You know what? Let's head over to St. Joseph's!") I think I'd be OK with that, but it will drive Steve up the wall if we don't make a decision soon. I feel awful knowing this ongoing discernment causes him stress. And, in fact, it's probably good for me to be married to someone who is good at making decisions — I have been known to dilly-dally (or obsess) too long over things. Yet I cannot let go of this quite yet.


    liz said...

    That's a P-J thing, huh? I have been described as "a classic J," but I would describe my style more as "make a decision quickly, then obsess for weeks over whether it was the right one, and change my mind 17 times before I actually have to have a final decision." Gah.

    So many decisions to make! The exciting part is that no matter how you come down on most of those decisions, at the end of the day you'll still have your baby son to show for it. :) Good luck with it all!

    Cynthia said...

    Good point, Liz.
    Just think in two months from now all of these questions would have been laid to rest.

    barbara said...

    I, too, am a p, so I sympathize. And identify. One comment, though, but please don't assign much weight to it, because I don't want to influence your decision--I just think it's significant that United gave you the willies. But you have a lot of factors to look at.

    And Liz and Cynthia are right...when you guys get too stressed about all of these decisions to make, just stop and imagine your wee one sleeping in his little crib in his nursery!!

    Ellie said...

    Ladies, I've been meaning to ask....did you stop drinking coffee when you were pregnant and nursing? I've heard it's not good and I'm trying to quit coffee anyway. Thanks!
    Em, you were the same way at Washington Square Mall with Sue trying to decide between two shades of lipstick ;-D
    And I am the same way too. I don't make decisions well at all and I wait and wait. But there have been times when I know right away what decision to make and I don't look back. So by now I have a system where if I'm having trouble making a choice and I don't feel 100% about any of my options, I go with the only option that I originally had before I started considering other options, unless it's just obvious.
    It seems you like St. Joe's better, so go with it proudly and I'm sure Steve will too, despite the adjustments. But if you do end up going to United, then my opinion is what the heck does it really matter in the end? If you want to avoid a c-section, use minimal drugs is what I've heard. Cuz the pain paradoxically causes you to push harder and if you have more drugs and less pain, the less you push and the more you need a C.
    Ya know, Target is where I would probably get my diaper bag, cuz it's cheap and they're all the same and you won't be using them for ever!
    Get an x-ray and trust your doc. The coughing could be unpleasant toward delivery time. Of course it might help you push, too!

    Emilie said...

    Ellen, you crack me up. I know ... I am just as indecisive about choosing lipstick!

    You know what? I talked to Mom about this tonight, and she made a good point that there's something to be said for continuity. It will be hard to change care providers at this stage, and I would really feel a loss if we gave up our clinic. And I have to remember that when Mom delivered her three oldest children, Dad wasn't even allowed to be with her during labor. Imagine how that must have been.

    And I also e-chatted with Roxy, and she had such a good birth experience at United, in such unexpected ways. She said one of her most treasured memories was the time she spent holding Eva as she was being wheeled from the delivery room to her recovery room. She never would have thought she wanted separate rooms, yet she made the best of that moment, and in the end, she has wonderful memories of it.

    I almost think it's a trust issue. My trust issue. If I can trust that my tribe (i.e. Steve, the doula) is going to look out for me, and that the nurses will respect our birth plan (and I have every indication they appreciate birth plans), then I think we will be OK whereever we go. At any rate, we're going to try to take another tour at United and see if they can answer some of my concerns. Steve is up for that, too. I'll keep you posted.

    As for these questions being laid to rest ... yes. But these questions will be followed by questions of how long to breastfeed, what do do after maternity leave is over, what to do about childcare, whether to try for No. 2 naturally or adopt, where to send the children to school. Life is full of decisions to be made. Bring it on ... :-)

    Emilie said...

    Oh, Ellen, my doctor says a little bit of coffee is OK. I still have a cup on occasion, and I have Earl Grey tea every morning at work.