Hospitals and doctors

I had to go to the hospital on Wednesday.

I hadn’t felt much movement from the baby for several days, and what I did feel was weak and rare, sometimes 16 hours between movements.  Cord compression is a very real fear for me since it’s very common when there is no amniotic fluid.  On top of that, I’ve had severe pain in my back, abdomen, and inner thighs (which are on the list of “signs of preterm labour”), and when I told my mum what I was feeling, she told me to call the hospital.  (I was complaining to her that I’d tried to call my specialists’ emergency number only to find out it was only for doctors, then tried calling my regular OB’s office and could never get through.)  The nurse at the hospital who answered cut me off before I was done telling her my symptoms and told me to come in immediately.  So I did.

Surprisingly, they didn’t even inspect me.  They hooked up a doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat for 10 minutes (it was between 120 and 160 the whole time, which they said was good), and of course that’s when baby decided it would be a good time to start kicking like crazy.  It kicked the device at least five times like it was a game.  The doctor came in eventually and said the baby looked fine and I needed to go home since it was silly to think I was in labour already at 30 weeks.  I didn’t think I was in labour; my symptoms are just on the hospital’s “come to the hospital if…” list and the nurse told me to come.  So I left.

The whole visit was another reminder of how much I hate medical personnel.  When I called in the first place, I told the nurse I was 30 weeks pregnant, and she argued with me that I was further along than that.  Incredulous, I said, “Really?” and she replied, “Yes, you are 30 weeks and 3 days.”  I could have told her that, I just didn’t know she needed me to be THAT specific.  When I got to the hospital, the registration insisted on calling me a man’s name (I reminded her twice that I am a female, believe it or not) and I learned that my paperwork has me listed as an Orthodox Jew with the indication that there are no clergy in the area to call should I have an emergency.  I tried to get them to change it to Orthodox Christian (I gave them lots of options: Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox), but they wouldn’t do it, and eventually changed my religion to “other.”  I don’t know who they intend on calling should I have an emergency (typically I would hope someone would be in the room with me to call themselves, but in light of the fact that the doctors want to separate me from my husband and baby immediately after birth, I’m not sure I will have anyone with me at all).

Just another bad medical experience to add to the list.  I’m not looking forward to the weeks to come any more at this point–not with a pushy, controlling doctor who won’t even discuss other options than what would be best for her and her research and all that would mean for us as a family.

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4 thoughts on “Hospitals and doctors

  1. I am so sorry that you are having such a struggle with your medical teams. Having to process and prepare for a baby in your situation is more than enough work. for any parent. I wish I could magically ship you some providers who will support you in your birth plan. I’ve been lucky in that respect and I wish you could experience the same. I hope hope hope a vaginal birth for you, if your team can manage to support that. Would they consider a planned induction if scheduling is their issue?? hang in there.

    1. Initially, the doctors I had (I have a team of specialists assigned to me from the big medical school across the state) were totally on board with whatever we wanted to do. We came up with a plan and had it mostly figured out. A week later, the director of the department assigned herself to me as my primary doctor and said we were scrapping what we had discussed before and she had ways she wanted to do things. Since we have to deliver early, she thinks C-sections are better than inductions (she obviously thinks C-sections are better anyway because they fit nicely into her schedule) and assures me I will be released in three or four days so that I can see my baby, who will likely die in a couple of hours after birth. This is not comforting to me and she lacks a lot of empathy that I saw in the other doctors who wanted whatever I wanted. Clearly I want what is going to be a good thing for the baby, but I also want what’s best for our family (all of us, as a unit) and I don’t think separating us is going to be good for our mental health. Thus far, the doctor won’t even discuss what our options are since she has a way she wants to do everything since it will be best for her and the other doctors. I already have had so many bad experiences with medical personnel throughout my life that I can’t stand being around doctors, and pushy doctors make me feel incapacitated. I’m really hoping that she relents and lets us actually voice our opinions and feelings and listens and will discuss with us our options (or why what we want to do is not possible, if it really isn’t). She says the baby will get stuck in transverse, so C-section is the only way (it’s common with no amniotic fluid, I’m aware), but since 24 weeks, baby has been head-down, so I’m not sure why she is adamant that it will move to another position and get stuck. Maybe it will, but what if it doesn’t?

      1. I dont know what she’s talking about- baby being stuck in transverse. As a nurse-midwife (I’ve caught about 600 babies in a large urban high risk hospital), I feel like I have a little knowledge on the subject. I assume by “transverse” she means the baby is sideways. If the baby’s head down, its unlikely to move with no fluid there. If she means “occiput transverse” (means the head down but looking to the side), then I still don’t know why labor couldn’t be attempted. The uterine contractions can turn that baby’s head to a more favorable position during labor and they could consider an amnio infusion. When people break their water, they don’t have a lot of fluid and their babies don’t all get stuck in transverse. There could be distress when there’s no fluid- but thats a different reason and you dont know that til it happens. I can understand her concern for a scheduled or planned delivery- only so that you can have the appropriate staff on hand to help care for your baby, but an induction is one way around that. (you may not know the hour you will deliver, but you’ll know the day more or less). ANd if there’s distress or the baby gets stuck, then c-section is always an option (as it normally would be). I know I’m no perinatologist, so clearly I dont want to overstep my role or provide you with “medical advice.” but it sounds like your doc is just not doing a good job communicating to you _why_ she thinks a c-section is necessary. I have no fluid and our plan is a planned induction if possible. I am delivering in a hospital that has 24/7 specialized newborn care, so maybe thats it? There might be a reason I dont understand. I just feel so frustrated on your behalf. It sounds like your doctor is very skilled and intelligent, but needs to communicate better and help you understand.

        And I feel for you regarding being separated from your baby- it seems just wrong if they truly think you might have only a few hours with your baby. It hurts me to think about.

        I hope that in all the experts you work with you find one that is compassionate and listens well. There are some out there.

        thinking of you.

      2. Yes, she means “sideways” when she says “transverse.” I’ve read lots of blogs about other women with babies with the same diagnosis as mine and many of them end up getting “stuck in transverse” like she says. I asked if we could do an amnio infusion to assist with delivery, but she kind of blew it off (says I’d have to start contracting first to do it, and she doesn’t want me to contract at all, etc.). I think she just doesn’t want to be bothered with a natural childbirth. She likes her schedules and being in control, so I guess it makes sense why childbirth would be an inconvenience! Both the hospital and the Children’s Hospital (3 miles away) have specialised newborn care, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I really think she just has one way she wants to do things and doesn’t want to be thrown off by our desires to do things differently. She’s kind of intimidating and I know I’m going to have trouble standing up to her and saying, “No I want this!” Hopefully I can get the courage to do it though and see what happens!

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