I don’t know how many of you out there go to a chiropractor, but prior to today, I personally had never been to one. I didn’t have strong feelings about the practice one way or another, I just… never felt like I needed it. While my back does, on occasion give me some grief, it’s nothing two Advil can’t fix, and… uhhh, I can’t even think of another reason someone might go to the chiropractor. See, I have no preconceived notions of what chiropract-y (?? I don’t even know what the practice itself is CALLED) even is or does, so when I went today, I was a blank slate.
Look, here’s a piece of advice from me to you. Don’t go trying something totally new and unfamiliar to you when you are THIRTY SIX WEEKS pregnant. Your body is out of control, you are generally emotionally attached to the alien in your belly, and you’re on some wild hormonal roller coaster which is currently directing you to stuff your piehole full of ice cream.
But I am not a heeder of my own advice, so upon the every-visit urging of my midwife, I made an appointment with the chiropractor recommended by my doula. Here we have our first communication breakdown, because the midwife wanted me to see the chiropractor because the fetus is located on the right side of my belly, while the apparent optimal position for an “easy” labor and delivery would be for the baby to enter the pelvis from the left. And there is a “method” called the Webster method, by which a chiropractor can theoretically move the baby from one side to the other. My doula, on the other hand, wanted me to go to the chiropractor for hip-widening, or some such (honestly, I am not so sure), maybe hip-aligning? And the chiropractor she recommended is the traditional kind, not the trained in the Webster method kind.
Fine. This chiropractor, whom I will call Bob, because that is his name, explains to me that he is not a Webster method guy, but that he works with lots of pregnant women and can help with my aching back (which is not actually aching). Once he gets me in the room, he looks me over and he can tell that I am all tilted to the right.
Aside #1: I have known for ages that there is a little curvature in my spine that causes me to have one shoulder higher that the other, which leads to one hip higher than the other, and logically, one leg a little longer than the other, and you would never notice these things unless you were either on the lookout for them or I told you (so, uhhhhh, now you know). So the side that is lower than the other is the right, which, if you are a believer in gravity (as I am), means that you can see clearly why the fetus might end up lodged low on the right side.
Fine, apparently Bob can fix this hip misalignment with some adjustments, and perhaps, with more even hips, this mystery baby might find itself wandering over to the left side. Ok, then- this all aligns (OH HA HA HA) with what I had heard about what chiropracty (It’s a word now, bitches), so I was willing.
At which point Bob led me into a curtained off section of his office and put me on a table with some heated towels and some sort of vibrating roller beneath my back that rolls up and down the length of my spine, as I lay there, sweating in this nest of heated towels. There is, incidentally, another dude in this room with me, receiving the same treatment on a different table. I do not know why THIS doesn’t trip my weird-o-meter, but I am dumb, so it does not.
Aside #2: Anyone else sometimes flabbergasted at their own ability to gob WHATEVER comes out of the mouth of someone, just because they are in a supposed position of power over you? I am laying there, on my back (look, I know there’s nothing wrong or dangerous about a hugely pregnant woman laying on her back. But THIS pregnant woman finds that position to be highly uncomfortable), too hot, with a hard roller “massaging” my entire spine, which eventually turns into massaging bile up into my throat, so that I feel like I might vomit, and I CONTINUE TO LAY THERE. Like an idiot beached whale who can’t get up the nerve to get off the table because it hurts because a DOCTOR put me there. This insipid inability to advocate for myself is one of my most irritating character flaws. Christ, self, grow a pair, eh?
Aside #3: I have reached the age where my care providers can be either my age or GASP, younger than me, and it is a trippy, trippy sensation to be explaining your aches and pains to someone when it dawns on you that they are your YOUNGER BROTHER’S age, and what the fuck does this yahoo know about medicine?
Ok, finally, Bob pulls me off that table and puts me in a different room, where he gets down to the nitty-gritty, namely, these famous adjustments. Do you… have you ever… OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS HE DOING TO ME??!?! This is a direct transcript of what I am thinking during this adjustment. I am laying on my side, he’s cradling my hip and pinning the rest of me with his KNEE, and then he wrenches my hip off to the side, where it makes a sickening pop, and I decide that if I make it out of this office alive, I will never ever let someone chiropract me ever again. So, of course, I let him proceed with the same maneuver on the other side. In my continuing run of breath-taking stupidity, I then let him get a-hold of my neck.
Look, I have no frame of reference. Perhaps your chiropractor is the gentlest of sweet fawns, and his adjustments feel like the soft breath of angels. But not Bob. No, Bob has me by the neck, pulls up and over, and wrenches hard to the side. My neck does, indeed, crack. On the other side, the sensation is so strong it sends a sharp electrical ZING down to my fingertips. I should, to be fair, say that none of this actually hurts. It’s more that it… SHOCKS THE EVER LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF ME.
After all this, I, like the polite dumbass that I am, shake his hand and head out the door. Bob, you’re a nice guy, you really are. But your specialty is NOT MY FLAVOR.
Aside the… fuck, I forget: Why does everyone (friends, strangers, the UPS guy, and the other guy sitting in the chiropractor’s waiting room, which is how this is relevant) keep asking me what color I’ve painted the nursery? Is that a thing? We live in a tiny rented two bedroom house, so the “nursery” is just… the other room. It houses J’s closet and a fold out couch for guests, and a bookshelf filled with all that important paperwork a family accumulates- files and bills and blank CDs and a three hole punch I can’t fit into my desk drawer.
We rent this place, and I haven’t even inquired as to whether or not I could even paint if I wanted to, because at no point did it occur to me that I should even want to paint this room. So it’s a green that matches the rest of the place, and if the baby decides the color is really too much to abide by, well. I suppose it’s free to go to Home Depot and pick out its favorite paint color all on its own.
In any case- I am still deciding if I want to try one of these Webster method chiropractors, or just bag the whole thing and take my chances with a right side laying baby trying to come out the chute face up. Perhaps I’ll just try asking a few more questions before I let them put me on a table, so that when the chiropractor climbs on top of me, I at least see it coming.