Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Twenty-Eight Weeks

Today I am twenty-eight weeks pregnant and having a really bad day. Probably the worst one I've had since before my BFP. It's really unlike me to feel down or pessimistic, but here I am, in the dumps. I cannot stop crying.

It started it started yesterday, actually. In the morning I had an appointment with our OB. We listened to Libby's heart beat, which was a good 143 bpm and we saw her moving on the u/s monitor. She is head down, which I knew because she's been tap dancing on my ribs for the past three days. The doctor took some measurements and said she is about three pounds now (up a half a pound from two weeks ago). My blood pressure is good and my weight is holding steady, which I think is excellent. I was able to also get the H1N1 shot, since they had just gotten in a new shipment and then I went on my way to the lab, where I was scheduled for the one hour Glucose Screening.

I drank the syrupy orange liquid waited around for an hour and had my blood drawn. Then my hubby took me to lunch and dropped me off for work. He picked my up 5 hours later and we had some dinner and headed to our scheduled hospital tour and orientation.

As soon as we got home from our hospital tour I burst into tears. I sobbed for an hour and finally fell asleep around 8 p.m. Long story short, I hate the hospital. I don't want to give birth there. As far as hospitals go, it's fine, I am sure, but the whole thing just terrifies me. The fluorescent lights, the stark linoleum floors, the beeping monitors, all of it. I have never stayed in a hospital, ever. And I feel an overwhelming sense of dread when I think about having to be there for 2-3 days to give birth. This is supposed to be a joyful event and it is now one that I dread with every fiber of my being. Don't get me wrong, I am not dreading meeting my LO, but I am dreading the entire process of getting her here.

Their simplest protocols bug me...for example, the mother in labor is only to receive ice chips. Why? Since when is starving yourself during a marathon recommended? And they require all patients (ugh, the fact that they call you patient bugs me...pregnancy is not an illness) to have an IV. It is not an option to maintain hydration orally. And you have to be continuously monitored by the fetal monitor. Their paper readout is a neccessary part of the baby's permanent medical record, they say. I say it's to cover their asses in case something goes wrong. They want to avoid any potential lawsuits.

That said, the IV and being hooked to the monitor will both severely restrict my ability to move about during labor. It seems to me that they basically want to plug you in and have you flat on your back, pump you full of chemicals until the baby pops out and if that means via c-section, well so be it. They also limit the number of support people to three, but only two can stay for the actual delivery. Well how is that supposed to work when I want my DH, mom and doula there?

We start our Bradley Classes on Saturday and I feel like it's going to be a big waste of time and money because our hospital is not going to even try to support our choice of an intervention-free birth. I am not even sure we should add the extra $350.00 to hire a doula at this point. Sure, the hospital will support a "natural childbirth" in that they don't require you to have pain medication, but that doesn't mean they support an intervention-free or non-medicated birth by any stretch of the imagination. They "allow" you to bring a doula, that you have to pay for yourself, but they'll restrict your movements and then when labor "stalls" they'll pump you full of chemicals like Pitocin and then, if you can handle the pain from an artificially augmented labor, they promise not to push the epidural on you.

Of course, you may need one anyway, and they do require you to pre-register and pre-pay for one, just in case. The fee is $200.00 upfront and they'll reimburse you once your insurance clears the claim. So now I have to find out what happens to my $200.00 if I chose not to use the epidural during labor. The whole process is ridiculous, if you ask me. My doctor confirmed that the anesthesiologists have denied epidurals during labor for those women who didn't register in advance. Oh, and they recommend you register no later than your 28th week, which I just found out yesterday, so in essence, I have already missed their "deadline." What's more, their office is only open M-F from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. so in order to sign up, I will have to take time off of work to do it.

On top of all this, I got a call today from my doctor's nurse saying I failed the one-hour glucose screen. She said my number was so high (182) that they don't even recommend my doing the three hour test. I burst into tears at my desk.

My mother is Type II and lives with us, so I have been using her glucose monitor throughout this pregnancy to test my blood and it's always been very good. My last reading, before eating a meal was 80, which is definitely below their setpoint of 95. So I don't understand how failing the screening with such a high number is possible, except for the fact that the glucola drink they give you is 50mg of sugar and I probably don't even consume that much in a day, let alone during a 5 minute period where they test you one hour later. We eat very clean and according to the low-glycemic index, which may account for my low glucose readings when I test at home.

I asked them to schedule me for the the three hour test anyway, which she said she will do as long as I take it later this week. So even though they didn't think I needed to do it, they scheduled me for it. They just want to proceed as if I have GD and go for the diabetic counseling and daily glucose monitoring for the rest of this pregnancy. According to research I've done online anything over 200 from the Glucose Screening means that it's safe to assume gestational diabetes. Anything from 140-200 means further testing is required. Yet they didn't offer it, I had to ask for it. So I am torn...what should I do? Go for the three hour test or go with their recommendation?

On top of it all, I am desperately trying to save my personal leave hours up from work so that I can use them for maternity leave. We're only "given" 120 hours of long term medical leave but that doesn't kick in until you've used 80 hours of your own, accrued leave, for a total of 25 days off work paid or 5 work weeks. We're a small company and don't qualify for FMLA. I have managed to squirrel away more hours from last year to add to that pot (an additional 80 hours or 10 days) and have saved all of my accrued annual leave from this year, as well as 57 of my 64 hours of comp time. So I am looking at about 440 hours total of leave for my maternity leave. That amounts to about 55 days off or 11 weeks total. But that time has to include any time I need off for illness, appointments, etc between now and when the baby comes. And God forbid, if I am required to stop working before my LO arrives, because it will come out of this 440 hours as well.

So each appointment including yesterday's and the possibility of the three hour one later this week is eating away at my carefully saved hours. The fact that mentally I probably shouldn't even be at work today (because I cannot stop crying) weighs on me too since that would mean using even more hours to go home and just cry it all out. One option I have is working extra hours during the week to offset the time I have to be out for my appointments. But that means I am looking at 9-10 hour work days and skipping my lunch hour, just to compensate for the time out. Not very appealing when I am already tired at the end of an 8-hour work day.

Oh, and my bloodwork is also indicating that I am anemic, so I have to add an iron supplement to my PNV. Not a huge deal, but given the day that I am having just another straw on the camel's back.

Finally, I feel like my daughter isn't even here yet and I am already a bad mother. My profile...being nearly 35 (my birthday is in two weeks), having immediate family with Type II diabetes (my mom...my maternal grandparents also had it) and having a BMI higher than 27 (quite higher actually...I am considered obese on the BMI chart) have put me in the risk category for GD and other complications.

Even though this pregnancy has been quite uneventful up until now (low BP, no spotting, no vomiting, no major weight gain...less than 10 lbs total, no swelling, consistent exercise, etc.) I cannot help but feel like the next 12 weeks are going to be doomed somehow. And I am afraid of how this all could affect the baby. I am also feeling like I should just "give in" and be like all of the other women who are okay with a highly medicalized birth. But somehow I cannot. At least not right now. Have I mentioned that I just found out last week that my step-sister, who's due with baby #2 in mid-January, has elected to schedule a c-section for December 28th so she and her husband can get the tax deduction for 2009? My father thinks it's a brilliant plan and asked if I could do the same. WTF? I am horrified. Am I the only one?

Why do I care so much? Why can't I just be okay with induction or scheduling an elective c-section. Lots of women do it. Lots of doctor's recommend it. And yet, I cannot get over my strong personal convictions that babies should be allowed to arrive when they are good and ready.

I hate to say this, but maybe I shouldn't have TTC'd. I never even had BOTB until December of last year. Maybe I didn't think this all the way through enough before doing it? Maybe I am not prepared for this. I should have tried to lose more weight before TTC (although I did lose 25 lbs in the three months before TTCing). I don't know. Right now I am just feeling very overwhelmed and very worried about the next three months and maybe beyond.


  1. Divasaur, I really wish we could talk on the phone, or at least via e-mail. What you are feeling is not abnormal at all - and I would feel exactly the same way in your situation. I have so much to say, I really don't want to say it all in this comment box - so please e-mail me. I just want to come and give you a big hug and say get thee away from the hospital and to a birth center! I know that's not necessarily an option for you, but I know you would have a much better experience with a midwife at a birth center.

    And you are NOT a bad mother, you are a wonderful mother! You're doing everything you should be doing for little Libby - even eating low GI foods and monitoring your glucose levels at home. You should be proud of that! And saving up all your hours of leave time - you should be proud of that too!

    I can't say enough how empathetic I am of your situation. Seriously, e-mail me at my citysaur address. We should talk. **HUGS**

  2. Don't be discouraged! I felt so down for you when I read your post. Check to see if the hospital will allow you to bring popsicles. Some hospitals have mini-refrigerator/freezer in the rooms. Most of my friends weren't hungry until after they delivered. Also, check to see if your doctor/hospital will allow you to just have the iv put in but not hooked up to anything. It will be good to have in place should you start to hemmorage post-birth. One of my friends wanted a more natural experience much like what you are describing and was able to just have it put in but not hooked up.

    If all else fails, resort to bribery! Works for me. Plan out little "Thank you" bags for your nurses and doctor so that you can earn some brownie points. Another friend packed mints, lotion, a $5 gift card to starbucks, chapstick, and hair ties in the goodie bags and felt like her nurses gave her plenty of attention and compassion (let's hope one would do so without bribery but it can't hurt).

    Seriously though, keep your chin up! All of this will be worth it when you get to see Libby for the first time :-)

  3. You're not a bad mom...we all have days like this. I hope that things start to brighten up for you.

  4. Don't be so hard on yourself! We've all had our bad days/weeks...especially with all the hormones through pregnancy!
    I'm an RN in Canada (I work in the OR) and I feel very much the same as you...no induction, no c-section. I gained 65 lbs during my pregnancy which put me/left me in the obese category. I also had a 9lb baby!!! I went into labor on my own at 38 wks, ended up with epidural/pitocin, membranes being ruptured, vacuum failed x 3, and finally forceps! I was so let down with my delivery...in fact I was traumitized by it...it was all I could think of for months! But I'm happy to report that I am now over it (my babe is 8 mths) and am looking forward to the next one. It's really true what they say...it's important to have a healthy baby--even if it means all the interventions. I know, as a nurse, that there are way too many interventions in deliveries now...but I also know as a nurse that they are doing it to protect themselves, but also to protect you and your baby. Just remember--you'll have a prize worth keeping at the end of the marathon!!!

  5. If you think there's a chance that the GD test was wrong, I'd absolutely do the 3 hour test - GD is no fun, so if it was just a testing error, I'd definitely want to be sure (even if it meant having to give up a little of my leave).

    I also agree with Anonymous - the end goal is a healthy baby. I know that may end up meaning that you might (might!) have to do things outside of your preferred birth plan, but keep your eye on the prize. I'm beyond terrified at the idea of giving birth to twins - sure it can absolutely happen the way I want it (no drugs, etc.) but there's also a 50% chance I'll need a scheduled C-section, and a chance that even if I can start naturally, I'll need an emergency C-section to get the second baby out (which, oddly, freaks me out more than the idea of the scheduled C-section). These are both FAR from my ideal, but I'm trying remember that what we want, in the end, are two healthy babies.

    You can do this - and even though it's hard, I know you can probably find a way to do it the way you want, too!

  6. I will send some hugs your way. I hate to hear you doubt yourself, you are already a great mother by taking such great care of yourself, and 25 pounds is a big deal you should be proud of that. I wish you the best and hope it all works out for you in the end.

  7. Hi Divasaur,
    I can totally understand where you are coming from! I did a ton of research before even thinking about trying to conceive, and I know that I would like a calming environment with as few unnecessary interventions as possible. It sounds like you feel the same way. I think a midwife might be able to help, and if you can find a hospital where they are in good standing they can act as a middle person to make sure your birth plan gets carried out as much as possible. I live in Canada and my midwife has assured me that unless something drastic happens herself and her assistant will be the ones to deliver the baby in a calm, safe, environment free of all medication etc.

    I would personally love to give birth at home, but my husband and his family will not even entertain that idea for a second. As much as a healthy baby should be the goal at the end of all this, everyone should keep in mind that that is hard to think about that while in the middle of such pain and unable to be in control of what is happening around you. It's a blessing that you know what doesn't feel right now rather than when it's too late. Make sure to talk to your Doula too as that's what she's there for- to support you, and she may have some ideas about different birth options.

    You sound like an incredibly strong woman, and I think you are doing a great job! I'm glad you know what you want and are fighting to get it. This is one example of how you are a great mother already, and your daughter will learn this from you.

    I felt the same way as Citysaur in that it's so hard to just write comments when it's so much easier to talk! My thoughts are with you and if you want to talk I'm here too just send me an email at my primaverasaur address!

  8. I'm one of those people who is terrified of hospitals. I went to the ER two years ago for an asthma attack. I went in not being able to breath but then had a massive panick attack (the one and only i've ever had) and even though they wanted to admit me I had to leave. So I'm going into this whole pregnancy thing PRAYING they don't find any reason to consider me "high risk" so I can just do it at home (or in a birthing center).

    But if a hospital is your only option there's realy not much you can do. I just question a lot of their procedures like you do. I also wonder, if you were to whip out a bag of chips to munch on, what are they going to do? If you remove the monitor, what are they going to do? Kick you out of the hospital? I don't think hospitals can really force you to do these things. They can suggest and tell you you HAVE to do them, but they can't actually force you. Create a birth plan and go over these things with your doctors and tell THEM what you are comfortable and not comfortable with. If they have a legitimate and good reason for a certain protocol, adjust your birth plan. But if they can't give you a good reason, request that you be allowed to labor your way. I don't know what you can get out of it, but at least you will know you tried.

    And you are NOT a bad Mom!!! You are and will be wonderful to little Libby!

  9. Sorry you're having such a tough time. Don't worry too much. You are going to do great. Be firm and stand your ground, don't be pushed into anything you are uncomfortable with, but you can still have a good hospital birth without compromising your wishes too much. Good luck and hope you feel better soon.