Since I’ve been feeling emotional and having a hard time at night, BFF and BabyGirlE spent the night. It was fun, but uneventful. I finally was able to get some good sleep.
Woke up early. BFF, BabyGirlE, and I headed to work. I was having strong, steady contractions every 15 minutes or so throughout the day. BabyGirlE was a pleasure as always. My preggo brain was in full effect, though, and I left my cell phone back at work. I didn’t realize it until BFF had me halfway home. Unfortunately, this meant turning around and driving all the way back to get my phone. We decided to have lunch at a local joint we had heard good things about. My amazing phone totally failed us. The GPS directions were inaccurate to say the least. After many days crossing the desert and mountains, we finally reached our destination. Lo, and behold… it was just okay. We were both ravenously hungry and still wouldn’t eat there again. We would, however, like to hunt down the young woman who felt it her place to comment on BabyGirlE’s footwear, or lack thereof as BabyGirlE has a decided preference for bare feet. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the “Get some socks on that baby!” comment that was so appalling, but her use of the F-word in front of an infant. BFF is, of course, the best mother BabyGirlE could ever wish for (or is ever going to get, so being content with her lot in life is important) and hopefully has moved on from the traumatic experience. I’m still pissed, though.
I finally got home from work and lunch around 4pm. Contractions had moved to 10 minutes apart. I tried to take a nap, but the pressure waves made that difficult. After an hour, I got in the bathtub, hoping they would slow down or drop off. They didn’t. Around 6pm, Mr. T phoned the midwife and left a message about my contractions. He did a wonderful job, simultaneously trying to finish up packing for birth and helping me cope. The contractions continued to move closer and closer together until they were about 3 minutes apart. And then we got in the van and drove down to The Farm.
BFF came along as well. It was an uneventful trip other than the fact that the contractions didn’t slow down. Okay, okay, before you get the wrong idea, I’m doing HypnoBabiesTM, so the ride down was very quiet. Totally unlike any movie, television show, dramatic reenactment you’ve ever seen. We arrived at The Farm, and the midwife checked me. I was 50% effaced and 1cm dialated. She suggested we rest and call her if things picked up. Otherwise, she would see us in the morning. Mr. T then spent the next hour unpacking the van he’d just spent an hour and a half packing up. My parents arrived around 2:30am. The contractions quit around 3. I woke up for the day around 7:30.
It was clear I wasn’t in labor, and while I was still having contractions, they were few and far between. Mr. T scrounged up some breakfast for me…my usual…a really crisply toasted English muffin. Around 9:30am the midwife came to check on us. She didn’t do an internal as there was little point. She did check my blood pressure though which was a little bit elevated (insert slightly elevated BP here). She said we needed to go to the hospital to make sure everything was okay. Thus beginning my epic journey of birth plan derailment.
My blood pressure wasn’t largely different from what it had been, so I was a little confused about the panic, but went with the flow. Mr. T drove us to the hospital; I did hypnosis on the way. We went up to labor and delivery, where my backup OB was on call. Eventually, after many attempts and false starts, we got AU on the heart monitor. The doctor came in, said she wanted to do a biophysical profile, a growth ultrasound, a urine check, bloodwork, and do some monitoring strips. I sent Mr. T to eat some of the breakfast my parents had picked up for him on their way to meet us at the hospital.
(Keep Mr. T’s usual midnight-shift schedule in mind. Normally, he’d have been in the middle of his “night’s” sleep about this time. He’d managed to nap a little when I was sleeping, but that really was just due to low blood sugar since he’d barely had a chance to eat anything since waking up the day before. By this time, he was crashing pretty badly. Shortly, he had to go to the van to get some rest before he passed out in labor and delivery.)
The midwife, BFF, and my Mom talked with me, fed me ice chips, gave me sips of water and Sprite, and kept me in good spirits. Finally, the blood work came back all normal. The urinalysis was negative for protein. AU was a 10/10 on the biophysical profile and “measured” 38 weeks, 3 days and 7 ½ pounds (give or take a pound or so). My blood pressure had come down during monitoring, so the OB came in to give me some choices.
1) Do a 24-hour urine catch for protein. If the results were normal, I could go home (to my house), but during collection I would have to be back at The Farm on bedrest with my blood pressure monitored. (Obviously, a positive protein result would be a game-changer.)
2) She could do an induction that day.
3) We could schedule an induction.
4) We could schedule a c-section.
Obviously, #1 sounded like a good plan to Mr. T and I, and fell in with our desire to have a low-intervention birth. I was released from the hospital with two 3000ml orange jugs, and it was a good thing that BFF insisted on the second one. I filled the first jug by midnight. Oh, you would think jugs meant to carry urine, or other liquid biohazard samples, would be water-tight. Unfortunately, that was so not the case, as I discovered in the bathroom of the O’Charley’s near the hospital. Luckily, the plastic bag I was carrying the jugs in proved to be less prone to leaks.
BFF went back to her house, Mom and Dad went back to their hotel, Mr. T and I returned to The Farm. We talked with the midwife for a little while. The doctor’s comments about my “small pelvis” had started to shake my confidence. While the midwife didn’t exactly give me a locker-room pep talk, I did at least feel that we were in the same camp. I considered calling the backup midwife, who I thought was more of a straight-shooter and asking her opinion, but I didn’t want to make waves. Mr. T and I settled in, and watched The Other Guys which we’d rented from Red Box. It was okay. Mr. T laughed out loud a few times; I wasn’t even really amused. We slept…
… and got jolted out of sleep by a knock on the door. It’s the midwife, here to take my blood pressure! Good morning! Not surprisingly, it read a little high ie the 140s/80s it had been reading from time to time.
Mr. T made oatmeal for breakfast and we watched Going the Distance. It was okay. Mr. T was appalled by a scene of casual drug use. I kept having flashbacks to the Drew Barrymore movie where her name is “Josie Grossie.” If I remember correctly, she played a reporter who went back to high school, which was unlike this film only in that she was in graduate school. Mr. T summed it up well: “Formulaic.”
Around 12:30pm, the midwife returned, this time with an entourage: the head midwife and an apprentice. First, she checked my blood pressure, which was lower. Then, they wanted to discuss the situation. The situation, unbeknownst to Mr. T and I, turned out to be that I was to have a scheduled c-section Wednesday morning. We were dumbfounded. Mr. T says I did a good job of asking questions and being calm, which isn’t easy to do when you haven’t had lunch and are trying to defend your position about not wanting unnecessary abdominal surgery while still wearing the pajamas you’ve been in all day. Some fear mongering, labeling of me as eclamptic, and inaccurate references to my nonexistent “blood-clotting problem” later, the plan was for me to contact my allergist in case I had to have a c-section, Mr. T arranging drop-off of the urinalysis, and the midwife phoning the OB to get an exact definition of “bed rest.” I suddenly understood the term “blowing up the phone” as, cell phone in one hand and the cabin’s phone in the other, I nearly melted The Farm’s phone lines with all the incoming and outgoing calls.
Mr. T and I thought we’d handled the situation well, although we still felt betrayed and confused. “Surprised” isn’t a strong enough word to describe what had unfolded and been proposed. Why the rush for a c-section when the 24-hour urine sample hadn’t even been collected yet, let alone analyzed? What had happened overnight, behind the scenes to eliminate the other options the OB had given us? Why had the location we’d chosen specifically for their practice of being low-intervention suddenly seem like scalpel-happy ACOG interns drunk on “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” Kool-Aid? And why did they seem so worried all of a sudden about things they’d known about for months?
Around 2:30, the midwife called and said, “I spoke with [OB], you aren’t going to like what I have to say. She wants you to have a c-section tomorrow morning.” I said, “That’s not going to happen.” I thanked her for her prenatal care for us and tried not to panic while quickly brainstorming options. Midwife asked me what we were going to do. I said we would drop off the urinalysis and, if the hospital would still processes it, we would know how to proceed ones those results were back. Midwife asked if she could come over to talk and I said, “sure.”
She started in on how she felt we were second-guessing the opinions of her, the OB, and the head midwife. Mr. T countered with how risky it would be for me to have a major surgical procedure given my (and possibly the baby’s – she’s got half my crazy DNA) extreme allergy to antibiotics. The impending stand-off was defused by a timely phone call from Mom, illustrating why we still hadn’t gotten in touch with the allergist. We were able to make it clear to our midwife that we had to consult with my allergist before proceeding with a c-section. I got ahold of the allergist’s office and was told I could be seen at 3:50 that afternoon – which was in about an hour, and back in Nashville. Despite the order for bed rest, we convinced the midwife it was imperative that I go (and, heck, the midwife had wanted me to walk outside and get my blood circulating, anyway) and that meant going right away.
Mr. T put the pedal to the metal and we were only 35 minutes late. I cried until I was told the allergist would see me. Despite the stress of the day, my blood pressure was only 126/80. (It was beginning to occur to us that perhaps there was something in the old cabin that I was allergic to, which would raise my blood pressure while I was there.) Though she couldn’t give a recommendation for or against a c-section, she wrote out a protocol for using Benadryl and steroids to counter any antibiotics I would have to have in the event of such a procedure. She also gave us a referral to a high-risk OB, which Midwife & Company were rapidly convincing me I needed to see. BFF met us at the office and brought us darling baby clothes! We decided to regroup and plan over dinner.
During dinner, I called a friend whose wife is an OB to ask her opinion. She agreed to see me the following morning (gosh, too bad that conflicts with my c-section…). Mr. T and I drove back down to drop the pee-pee jugs off at the hospital and collect our things from The Farm. Clearly, if The Farm wasn’t comfortable with me birthing there, I didn’t need to stay. The Midwife brought me a copy of my chart and asked what we were going to do. I explained we were going to get a high-risk consult and we talked a little more. I told her she seemed scared. She said she wasn’t, she was just cautious. I thanked her for the care she had provided for us, then Mr. T and I departed.
We decided to get a hotel near the hospital where our appointment would be the following morning. I took a swim and we slept poorly.
We dressed, packed up, and went down to the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. It was alright. For some reason I just wasn’t hungry. Not sure what that was about. Couldn’t have been stress or anxiety, right?
We arrived at the doctor’s office just after they opened and completed the initial paperwork and did some brief hypnosis to help me calm down. Not too long of a wait later (really! Despite not having an appointment!) we were taken back and I peed in the cup, weighed, and had my blood pressure taken. In the exam room I got to stay dressed! Yahoo! (I’m not sure interested reader if you’ve ever made a major decision being naked or semi-dressed with someone you’ve known for 5 minutes but it isn’t my idea of a good time!) The doctor came in and I summarized what here is a rather long story and we reviewed the backup OBs desire for an immediate scheduled c-section and my prenatal history. We discussed possibilities. I signed the paperwork to get my chart from the hospital sent to the consulting doctor and was hooked up to another non-stress test.
Once again AU did wonderful! She stayed on the monitor! Her heart was reacting just the way it should! While I was all belly and wires being monitored the results of the 24 hour urine collection were sent over.
Please know that I do not advocate the use of foul language. Please know I have rewritten these sentences about 15 times to ensure they are inoffensive and pure. Please know that there are lots of hidden profanities and unbecoming thoughts and feelings associated with the following sentences.
6. The test measures how much protein in in one’s urine. Anything under 300 reveals that there is no pre-eclampsia and that everything is just fine. My level was 6. 6!
So the consulting OB said that there was no need for an hysterical c-section, I don’t have pre-eclampsia, I might have gestational hypertension which as long as AU is doing well just isn’t a big deal. I cried.
Mr. T and I finally made it home where I spent the rest of the day per doctor’s orders in bed. Although far from seeming like everything was fine and dandy with the world there did seem to be significant improvement over the previous few days. Did I mention I avoided unnecessary surgery?!?
AU is kicking around, maturing more, I’m taking it easy trying to make new birth plans. Hopefully the next installment of “Birth Story” will not be nearly as harrowing, frustrating, or chaotic.