"That's definitely a foot," the doctor laughs as she pushes on the left side of my abdomen. "And I think he's moved into position," she muses. "I would say his head is definitely engaged now."
Last time I was here -- a week ago -- she wasn't sure which end was up: the rump end or the head end.
She pushes on my side ligaments and pelvic bones, rocking them back and forth. I struggle to keep from laughing.
"Oh my, that tickles."
Curled up like a pretzel, she cracks my back from each side.
"O.K. That's it for today. You're good to go."
I hand over my co-payment check and head for the car, feeling an inch taller.
It's official: Chiropracty is the new black.
As the daughter of a nurse, there’s always been something about "the alternative" medical practices that I’ve never really trusted.
"I don't care if there's three million years of ancient wisdom behind it, there is no way in this lifetime anyone is going to stick pins in me."
I've listened, and tried to keep my eyes from rolling upward, as friends and family have told me all about the amazing results they've experienced with acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy, biofeedback, botanicals, kinesiology, chiropracty, massage therapy, reflexology and even primal scream therapy until I've wanted to scream.
It also didn't help that I once went to a chiropractor at the insistence of my husband, who has chronic low back pain and apparently wanted me to share in the joy of adjustment. I'll admit, the mobility I experienced after the visit was more than I'd thought possible. But the next day I woke up in the worst pain EVER. EVER!
Pain is bad: very, very bad. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
"Your body always wants to go back to where it's been," the doctor assured me as I walked back into the office sideways, like a crab, with my chin seemingly cemented to my shoulder.
In a few more visits, I was back to where I started: standing upright, pain free and feeling fine.
No more alternatives for me, I decided. Even though I've since experienced massage therapy and reiki with pleasing results, I will not be converted. I grudgingly get a massage, feel great for three days and never make another appointment. Reiki was the same. It just relaxed me to the point of not caring whether I ever made another appointment again.
Feeling good is one thing … having to make an appointment to feel even better seems, I don’t know, overly self-indulgent maybe?
So when I got up from my desk one day and felt my right hip slide over in protest, shooting sharp pain around the region like a pinball, I called the obstetrician.
"Unfortunately, it's a normal part of pregnancy, especially when you start to 'pop' out," she said. "Your center of gravity gets all out of whack. Very common in second pregnancies," she says, offering only time as a cure. "Once the baby comes you'll feel better."
Now I've put up with heartburn, leg cramps, pregnancy rashes, the dreaded tired and the indignities of having "cankles" connecting my feet to my legs, but another six weeks of near debilitating pain would not do. I was going to have to seek an alternative.
I swallowed hard and called a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy adjustments, justifying it in my head the whole time.
All my friends are doing it, and insurance kind of covers it so it can't REALLY be all THAT alternative right?
After only one visit I was feeling better but still worried about the dreaded "snap back." I walked around that whole weekend like an octogenarian on ice. The discomfort gradually moved back to the neighborhood during the course of the week, but only now it seemed to be a new and more agreeable tenant.
A few visits later, however, and I'm feeling so fine I'd considering naming the kid after her.
I know I'll probably revert to my old "I'd-like-massage-therapy-if-they-didn't-have-to-touch-me" self, but I've got to say I'm so glad there are alternatives, even if I'm usually to pig-headed to try them.