Category Archives: OB

a rebel in maternity wear

I am feeling more than a little defeated. We just got back from today’s midwife appointment. We saw a different midwife–one we met and liked a couple of months ago. She’s a lovely person, but we’re learning she’s much more mainstream obstetrics than midwife.

Because we hadn’t seen her in awhile, she scanned my chart and quickly found the note the OB had written about suggesting induction at 38 weeks. She saw that it was likely because of the baby’s size, and she also saw the note from the other midwife stating that we wanted to wait. I told her that I wanted to avoid the downward spiral that is so often a pitocin-induced labor, and her response was that while she felt the same way when she had children, as a professional, she sees things differently. Ugh. Here we go again, I thought.

After measuring me and listening to Egghead’s heart, she concluded that we’re both still in great health. Then there was this throwaway comment–that since we’re both in good health, there is no medical reason for induction. It’s just that he’s big. Yes, he’s big. She made sure we knew that in another week he could grow half a pound or pound, and then when I asked when, in her opinion, we should really consider induction, she said, “Now.”

What. the. fuck?

At that point, she was ready to leave. No internal exam, just “Unless you have any other questions, we’ll see you in a week.” I asked if she had planned to do an internal exam–hell, they had already made me undress for it–so she did, and her news was even less encouraging. She thinks I might be one centimeter dilated, but the baby’s head isn’t far down at all, and she left me with the impression that no progress has been made whatsoever and that the only way this baby is coming out is through induction.

I would like to reintroduce one small piece of information: My due date is still eight days away. Eight days. They’re acting like I”m a month overdue with a fifteen pound child, and while Egghead is no waif, he’s likely at this point just barely nine pounds, and that is if we are to trust the ultrasounds, and of course, we’ve all heard the multitudes of stories of ultrasound weight predictions being more than a little off.

I’m livid and defeated, and I have only been able to stop crying for moments at a time since we left. I’m still not scheduling an induction, but I did schedule an appointment with the OB for next  Tuesday morning. I’m sick of so many mixed messages. The midwife we’ve been seeing most recently has been so positive and encouraging, and that is what we need right now. Instead, today, we have this midwife who seems just as fearful and controlling and by the book as any OB would be. It feels like they’ve got these sets of equations, and they’re just plugging my pregnancy into them without looking at me. Somehow, I’m not part of the equation. I don’t matter. All that matters is getting the baby out as simply as possible. I hate being treated like this; it’s so far from what I ever wanted, and I’m so tired of fighting.

To top things off, I’ve been fighting a cold for a couple of days. Why? Why?

I guess I respond best to things like this through action, so my next action is to try to get Egghead to do some dropping. As painful as it is on my pubic bone to do much walking, we’ll be walking as much as I can. I’m going to sit and bounce on the damn yoga ball throughout each day, and I’m starting a regimen of evening primrose oil. I just can’t sit around feeling defeated, feeling like yet another victim of our country’s broken obstetric system. I can’t do it. I want our son to come, but I want him to come naturally. I want to be allowed to trust my own body. Why is that such a crime? Why does this make me some kind of rebel?

I’ve also just got to escape some of the pressure to have this baby as soon as possible. I’m not a fast person. I don’t do things on other people’s timetables, and I don’t deal well with external pressure. The calls from my family, while sweet, are not helping any more than the pressure from the OB. I need to find my center, my power, my strength again. I need to remember that this is something I can do.

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Filed under Egghead, midwife, OB, the P word

Midwife Appointment

Well, today’s appointment was a little more eventful than I had anticipated. The midwife we had not yet met had discussed last week’s ultrasound with our OB, so when she came in, she told us she had some good news, some pretty good news, and some not-so-good news. I think I knew immediately what that not-so-good news was going to be. She told us that everything looked great with the baby, that I looked healthy, and that my fibroids haven’t grown at all, which meant that were posing less of a risk of interfering with delivery. But then came the not-so-good. The doctor wants us to start thinking about induction because Egghead is so large.

Honestly, I almost laughed.

J and I have been waiting for the OB to throw down her first intervention, and I had a strong sense after finding out how big Egghead is that this would be it. I was honest with the midwife, however, and I told her that I thought we would be fine. I talked about my mom’s history of having big babies and that I just don’t think my body will have an issue with it. Since we had to do the lovely Group B Strep swab today anyway, she told me she’d examine me, check on the fibroid position, Egghead’s position, etc. so that we could approach this with more information.

So we commenced with the exam (the swab was easy), my first internal since my first appointment. She could feel Egghead’s big head, and it has moved down some into my pelvis (she didn’t tell us which station, and I forgot to ask). What she didn’t feel were any fibroids (I knew they were out of the way!), nor did she find a lack of space. In fact, I have been informed that I have a “beautiful pelvis” with plenty of room to pass a big baby. Not only that, but I have a “beautiful cervix.” It apparently is softening nicely, and it’s about 60% effaced. It isn’t yet dilated, but she says it is starting to dilate on the outside. In other words, my body is getting ready. I told her about yesterday’s increased contractions, and she was thrilled (she may have almost clapped) to hear that they included some cramping. Overall, once the exam was complete, she seemed pretty confident that I wouldn’t need to really think about induction unless I go more than a couple of days past my due date. Phew!

So this is where we stand. I don’t think Egghead is coming this week, and I’m going to encourage him to stay put for one week longer so that we can finish up our preparations. After he reaches his 37 week mark, I’ll begin welcoming him, letting him know that it’s okay for him to come when he is ready. We’ll wait a bit longer to proceed with any of our own induction measures, but we’ll be welcoming suggestions as we get closer. The reality that we are soon going to have a baby is finally starting to sink in.

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Filed under Egghead, interventions, midwife, OB, the P word

34 week update and OB appointment

Amidst all of yesterday’s madness, we had an OB appointment. Originally, we were going to meet the last of the three midwives in the practice, but I had to reschedule, so we decided to see our OB. Honestly, I’m glad we did. We wanted to check in with her at least once before Egghead’s arrival, so it worked out well.

It was one of those days when the entire practice was running late, so we had to wait an eternity in the waiting room and then another eternity in the exam room, and if you’d like to know a little secret about my wife, she’s not so good at waiting. Still, we were able to amuse ourselves with photos of babies on the wall.

When the doc did finally arrive, she asked how I felt about my weight gain (or lack thereof). I told here I felt okay about it, that it seemed the baby was taking it all since everything but my belly appears to be shrinking. She thought that was likely as well. When she checked my fundal height, it was right on track at 34 weeks. This is the first time it has been on track for a couple of months though–he’s been measuring two weeks ahead. In my estimation, there are a couple of things that may have caused this: a slight difference in how the two practitioners measure or a difference in Egghead’s position (last appointment, he was bulging out of my upper abdomen, and this time he was settled in down low). There is, of course, the more obvious possibility that his growth is evening out. Whatever it is, the doc decided it would be a good time to order a new ultrasound–not there in the office, but at the big ultrasound place where they make me drink lots of water.

So, we’ll get to see our Egghead again this next Tuesday. They’ll take measurements and take a look at the fibroids too. The doctor is being very positive about the fibroids at this point, stating that she doesn’t think they’ll be a problem. I told her that’s what I felt too and that it was helpful to me to think positively about it. We’ve come a long way since the big fibroid reveal a few months ago, and I’m glad for that.

So this is where we stand. Both my health and that of Mr. Egghead seem to be great, and we’ll find out a little more on Tuesday. We’re both honestly quite excited to see him again. It’s been fourteen weeks!

This weekend, we’re making our last trek out of town to go to my parents’ house. My sister and mom are throwing us a family shower, and we’ll get to relax and soak in some quiet while we’re there. Once we come back, though, we’re staying. No more trips. It’s time to settle in, get our nest on, and wait for this baby to come.

Today marks 34 weeks. I can’t believe we’re just six weeks away from our due date. Generally, I’m feeling pretty good. I am still getting several swims in each week, and I feel best when I’m in the water. In fact, I feel almost normal–it’s a strange sensation. Normally, though, I feel heavy and big, and every once in awhile, I waddle a little. My hips hurt most of the time, and my pubic bone pain now causes me to have to sit down to put my pants on because otherwise, it hurts too bad. All of this, we’re told, is normal, that my body is just stretching and stretching for the big day. Luckily, I still sleep rather well. The body pillow has returned, and most nights I wrestle with it until it ends up on the floor. For the most part, though, 34 weeks is not so bad. Yes, I’m ready to have the agility, speed, and comfort of my prepregnant body (I realize this is a naive dream), but I’m also trying to soak up every last moment of this pregnancy, making the most of even the less comfortable situations. I can already tell I’m going to miss it.

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Filed under Egghead, OB, showers, the P word

curve ball

We had an OB appointment today, and to our surprise, we had more than five minutes with our doctor. She wanted to review our ultrasound results with us, and when she saw them, she said, “Oh, so you have some fibroids.” I just sort of stared at her and then asked, “Really? What does that mean right now?”

She talked a bit about what they are, how they grow, where my particular fibroids are and how big (one is 7cm!), and that she was frankly quite surprised that I didn’t know about them.

When it came to the bigger implications for this pregnancy, though, I started to get a little scared. She talked about the increased chances of difficulties in labor. When I asked if the likelihood of interventions during labor are increased, she didn’t mince words: “Yes” was her answer. She talked about the fact that labor can be slowed by these fibroids and that if I’m not following a “normal” labor “curve” that they’ll have to talk about intervening. And then she dropped the big bomb: c-sections are more likely.

Of course, the good doctor spent some time talking about how routine c-sections are now and how some women prefer them, and she was saying this, my lower lip betrayed me and started quivering like crazy. “Are you upset?” she asked. I told her I was, that this was not what I wanted to hear, that I so want a natural birth. She handed me some tissues and urged me to avoid looking at the worst-case scenario. She stressed that in this case, even though the process of birth is significant, I need to be focusing on product over process in order to avoid endangering my health or that of the baby. I honestly didn’t like hearing this at the moment, but I suppose I have to accept that this is the hand I’ve been dealt, and she really was trying to help me see that in the healthiest light possible.

This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up and going straight for the scheduled c-section, but it does mean I once again have to rethink things. J and I discussed that we really need to begin thinking about our birth plan and its various clauses (i.e. if this, then this). We are also certain now that we will hire a doula; we’re going to need an advocate through this. I was going to check out the midwives at this practice, but for now, I think I’m going to continue seeing the doctor. I’m really not sure what I need to do as far as my care goes, but I know I need to keep my worrying to a minimum and keep myself healthy. This has always been my priority, and it will continue to be so.

Some time spent with Dr. Google today has reassured me a bit. One source discussed a study revealing that 70% of women with fibroids larger than 10cm go on to have vaginal deliveries. Given that the c-section rate in the U.S. is just above 30%, this sounds like my chances of a vaginal delivery are fairly normal (especially considering my largest is 7cm, and most of the research claims they don’t grow much after the first trimester). Of course, when one spends time with ole Doc Google, one comes up with ugly information too–increased chances of preterm labor or premature membrane rupture were a couple of ugly ones I didn’t want to see–but these seem to be quite rare. In fact, from what I have read so far, the majority of women with fibroids don’t have any major complications. I needed to see that, and I’m hoping that this is my path. So far, this pregnancy has gone rather well, and I would like to keep it that way.

As for the rest of the appointment, my uterus is measuring 23cm, which is perfect for 23 weeks (one of the side effects of fibroids is that they can make one measure much larger, but this isn’t happening so far). Egghead’s heartbeat was 136–still mellow and strong. My blood pressure was great. Everything but these nasty fibroids seems perfect, and that is what I need to focus on.

All of that said, this wouldn’t be my life without the occasional curve ball. J and I seem to attract these. So far, we’ve managed to keep moving forward despite them, and I’m determined that this is what will happen now as well.

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Filed under birth, Egghead, OB, the P word

moving right along

The OB appointment today was uneventful, and when I say uneventful, I mean that I sat in a crowded waiting room for half an hour to be seen for three minutes by my OB. Lovely.

The nurse handed me a huge handful of co.lace for my next bout with the back-ups, and she was a little surprised to see that I had lost three pounds since my last visit. I’m eating constantly, and I’m eating really well, so there’s no concern.

The OB checked fundal height, which is right on target (almost to my belly button, which is shallower by the day), and Egghead’s heartbeat was easy to find this time. It was at 130, which I thought was a bit slow, but then my heart rate has always been on the slow side. According to the doctor, it’s just right.

And that was that. Next appointment: four weeks. Except that I’m now thinking that will be the last one with the OB. I’m tired of feeling like I’m on some sort of medical assembly line. Should everything work out with Medi-Cal, we’ll be on to the birth center and the midwives before we know it. I’m hoping to make an appointment with them soon for information and a tour. I’m so ready for a shift in the type of care we receive–so, so ready.

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15 weeks

Well here we are at 15 weeks. Unbelievable! We had an OB appointment today, which turned into a midwife appointment. Honestly, it was strange.

I got a call yesterday that my OB would be on call today, so they needed to either reschedule me or schedule me with a midwife. I was fine with the midwife; I’ve been curious about the midwives in this practice anyway. Well, we arrived today, and I attempted to check in at which point the stupid, rude receptionist (the one who made me fill out an entirely new medical history on my second visit because they lost my file–to a thief) told me that I was not on their schedule. I informed her politely about the phone call from their office just yesterday, but all she could say was, “I don’t see you on the schedule.” I started to get a little peeved and let her know that I did, indeed have an appointment, that this wasn’t my fault, that I had had an appointment for a full month. Finally, she sighed and said, “Well, I guess we’ll have to squeeze you in with whichever midwife is available.” Right. Don’t do me any favors, and certainly don’t apologize, you obnoxious woman. Grrr. I should have sneezed on her.

We were called back fairly quickly. I had my vitals taken. I’m still only up 2 pounds since the beginning of this pregnance, and my blood pressure was perfect and the same as the last time we were in. Excellent news. The midwife made her way in shortly. I introduced myself.

When she saw J, she started to say, “Oh, you must be her sis-”

“This is my partner, J,” I said, before she could embarrass herself.

She shook J’s hand, had me lie back, and immediately pulled out the doppler to probe for the baby’s heartbeat. This took some time. She told us which sound was movement, which sound was my heartbeat, and while she mentioned once that she could hear the baby’s heartbeat, she couldn’t ever get that sound to come through for us. She spent several minutes trying every angle possible, and I started to panic as I stared at the ceiling. While she was convinced everything was fine, she must have had some concern because she then ushered us over to the ultrasound room for yet another ultrasound.

I don’t mean to complain. I know a lot of people like having regular ultrasounds. I’m not fond of the ultrasound-every-visit pattern we have established. The studies on how it impacts the baby are inconclusive, but I just don’t feel the need to have a peak and a souvenir photo with every visit. At the same time, I was worried, and the only way I was going to stop worrying was if I either saw our Egghead on the screen or heard its heartbeat.

So we made our way to the ultrasound room, where she proceeded to not be able to use the machine. It wasn’t that she was inept. Someone else had messed with the controls and the computer froze up. So we waited. She brought a nurse in to help; she chatted about some of my test results (I finally got my blood type–A+ for those interested), said all looked good, and as this other person worked on getting the machine going, she tried the doppler again. Lo and behold, there was the heartbeat right away. Phew.

But because the machine was rebooting, and because we were already there, she wanted to go ahead with the ultrasound, and we soon discovered why she had a hard time finding the heartbeat. Our Egghead was wiggling all over the place. S/he was squirming and flipping and kicking.  It was fantastic. We got a look at its spine, its butt, its little legs and feet, and while she tried as hard as she could to see between the little one’s legs, Egghead would have none of it. His/her legs were crossed as though in the lotus position, and s/he would not move them until we stopped staring. Honestly, it was amusing, and it was such a relief after that moment of fear with the doppler. The midwife seems to think I’ll feel Egghead moving within the week. I can’t wait.

We have about a month until our big anatomy scan, and we’ve got the AFP blood draw coming up in a few weeks. It’s going to be a big month.

I have to say, though, I’m not happy with this OB practice. I like my doctor, the nurses, even the crazy scatterbrained midwife we saw today, but administratively they’re inept, and unfortunately, those administrative procedures impact us more often than I’d like. I am hoping that once we change our insurance at the end of the month that we’ll be able to transfer to the birth center and the midwives there. If so, we’ll move over there after twenty weeks. Wow, that’s a whole lot sooner that it seems, isn’t it?

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Introducing…

…our little Egghead. (That would be the white blob within the black blob below.) Isn’t s/he adorable? Our doctor says s/he is the cutest fetal pole she’s ever seen. How could we disagree?
Egghead
Egghead

Needless to say, we went for our second OB appointment today. It began with weird shit. I had to complete all of my paperwork over again, including my medical history, because they couldn’t find my chart. I was just there a week ago! J and I both complained, and when I finally completed the stack of papers again, I asked for copies. I had no idea what the hell was going on, but I was pissed.

I was finally sent back to do my weight and urine and all of that good stuff, and then we waited for the doctor in the ultrasound room. She came in very cheerful and ready to get started right away, so she pulled out the magic wand and immediately found the above. That would be our baby–measuring 6 weeks 5 days, which seems right on target. We also saw a strong flickering heartbeat, and to assure J that there were indeed no other babies in there, she swished the wand around (she also offered to give J a sympathy ultrasound to show her just how comfortable it all is. J declined.). The doctor, for whom I have got to figure out a name, was very pleased with the little one’s progress. It is truly remarkable how much it’s grown in just a week.
Then Dr. K said, “I need to tell you something.” I panicked for half a second, and then she informed me that they had a break-in, some files were stolen, and mine was likely one of them. Fuck. They gave me a credit agency’s number, apologized, etc. Honestly, I was relieved nothing was wrong with me, but I can’t believe my information was stolen. I suppose it explains the need for me to fill out all the same paperwork over again. Honestly, after seeing everything was okay with Egghead (more on that below), I didn’t care. It will be okay.
Other than this bit of news, the visit was wonderful. Our OB is so attentive. She talks with both of us equally, answers our questions, spends a good amount of time giving us information and talking about how things are going, and generally has a lot of fun with us. I don’t know what we’ll end up doing for the birth, but should we have to stick with an OB and hospital due to insurance purposes, I would feel great with her.
My other encounters with medical professionals today were not as joyful. After my appointment, I had the joy of going for my bloodwork. I’m frankly surprised that I didn’t step onto a conveyor belt when I entered the lab. I was in and out within fifteen minutes, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. J befriended a mom with a 6-week-old as I was called back by the butchest, meanest phlebotomist I’ve ever encountered. She sat me down, ordered me to take off my sweater, roughly cleaned the poke spot, jabbed the needle in (hard!), and proceeded to take about ten gallons of my blood without ever once looking at my face or acknowledging that I was a human being and not a large vein. She then ordered me to give them a urine sample. If I hadn’t been so irritated, I may have cried.
But now we’re home, and we have this picture of a .79 centimeter creature growing inside of my very own uterus. It’s crazy to think about.
Because we have a visible, viable fetus, we had to give it a name for the blog. At home, we have cutesy German names for it, but they would make no sense here, and I wouldn’t be able to spell them without umlauts. So we went for something more in keeping with the whole smartypants theme of the blog, hence the name Egghead. Somehow, this seems to make it that much more official. There really is a baby growing in there!

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first appointment

We just returned from our appointment with the OB. She was young-ish, warm, informal, smart, and she treated us like smart, informed women. J and I were able to ask questions, and she was able to calm some of my fears. She told us over and over that some spotting is very normal, that it was likely related to implantation.

And then we got to have an ultrasound! At this point, all we could see was the gestational sac and yolk sac, but she said both look great. She’s having us come back next week so that we can try to see our wee one. J and I swear, though, that we saw a little flutter in there. I would post the photo, but I am too lazy to scan it in right now. It’s really just a black blob (gestational sac) with a minuscule white blob (yolk sac), so you’re not missing much.

The crap part was having a pap–they always make me bleed, and she warned me that she angered my cervix quite a bit but not to worry for the coming day. I would rather not see any blood coming from my nether regions at the moment, but I’ll deal.

The best thing we heard her say is that everything looks good, that there is no sign of impending miscarriage. She thinks everything is going to be just fine. That’s just what we needed to hear, and I’m calmer already.

Next appointment is next Thursday when we’ll do all of the blood work and have another ultrasound.

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