Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just perfect.

On Monday I went to the hospital for a non-stress test. Just routine.

I got there and the nurse asked me about my pregnancies and why I was there for routine NST. I said I had had a previous baby with heart problems.

'oh so this is your second pregnancy'

'no, fifth'

'so four at home'

'no, three at home'

'so three term and one miscarriage'

'no, my daughter died when she was 10 months old'

'oh I'm sorry, so let's take your temperature'

She got me settled and strapped the monitors onto me. That was fine, although there was some sanitary drama that this hospital germophobe picked up on that no one else would likely have noticed.

After about 10 minutes on the monitor a loud alarm went off and another nurse came in. She quickly adjusted the machine and said the paper was stuck.

'the paper is stuck, people always freak out. They think their baby is dying or something'.

For the record I was actually not freaking out as the baby was kicking at the time of the alarm (or else I might have been). However her comment sent me for a loop at an already emotional time cause the last time I was in that room was with my sweet Eva still within.

So this nurse left and I started silently crying with the emotions of being there. It's not that I was particularly more sad than usual. It was just emotional. And, for me, the emotions come out of my eyes, more often than not.

And so the original nurse comes in and glances at the strip and cheerily says that everything is just perfect and baby is fine (which is great) but does not even look at me or she would have noticed that not everything is just perfect.

I have read several books lately about childbirth and midwifery. A recurring theme among them all is that with the advent of the strip medical professionals look only at the strip and don't even talk to the mom. I totally found that out first hand on Monday when everything was 'just perfect'.


  1. Em, I am so glad that my OB has agreed to just see me weekly and ultrasound the baby instead of these NSTs. I have read more horror stories about them! I am sorry that you have such an emotional experience and that the staff of the hospital was too oblivious to notice. I wish medicine were different.

    1. I'm glad you're staying with your OB too. Explaining everything again always sucks.

  2. Em, you’ve had all home births before is that right? And this one is to be a hospital birth?
    Can I offer you my perspective on hospital births? I’ve had two (yes, I have a son now, one year old) – at different hospitals. The first was truly amazing. I had a doula and there was NONE of that awful stuff you hear about and fear about hospital births – nobody yelling at me to push, or whipping out scary instruments, or whatever. I had a lot of fears about medical interference, but everyone was quiet and respectful, my birth plan was respected entirely, and the few instructions out of my obstetrician’s mouth were actually useful and appreciated. I felt really in control and for weeks after the birth, even though I was suffering with PPD and extreme sleep deprivation (turns out that babies who can’t breathe well also don’t sleep well, imagine that), I would often think of the birth with great pride and amazement. Birth # 2 was entirely different. I had no doula. The actions of the staff made me feel alarmed, annoyed, ignored, my wishes were not followed, and I felt like I had very little support and no control whatsoever (this was partly physical, as it was a fast intense birth, but in part had to do with how the hospital staff was). In the weeks following I often looked back on the birth and cried and felt so down about it, despite the fact that I was overall feeling amazingly well, despite the fact that I knew full well that the absolute most important thing was an alive and healthy baby. This was only about 2 weeks after my A’s hospitalization and diagnosis (finally, a correct one). I felt stupid and petty for feeling so sad and angry about the birth experience. Anyway, what I learned from this is that 1) Giving birth is an extremely emotional thing (ok maybe that’s obvious) and seemingly small actions from others can have a huge ripple effect on those emotions – for good or bad; 2) Hospital staff are generally well-intentioned, but it’s hit and miss as to whether they’re a good fit for the mom giving birth, or whether they “get it”. Making one’s wishes REALLY clear and having excellent personal support can probably buffer this to a large degree. Your support may need to respectfully remind staff of your birth plan (more than once), ask the questions that you aren’t able to at the moment, etc. I know you are way, way more experienced at giving birth than me and you know all this stuff already – it’s just that much more important in a hospital setting, in my humble opinion. Especially for you, since you are a home birth kind of gal (I envy you those experiences, by the way) and because you’ve lost Eva and will be that much more emotional and worried about it all. And even though your #1 priority is an alive and healthy baby, your emotional experience is important too. I wish you and your baby a birth that is wonderful in all ways. Soon you’ll be holding him/her.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment TS. I didn't know you had a son as well. A must be a very proud big sis. Congratulations.

  3. I wonder sometimes whether some people realise they are a human being before they are a profession I can't believe the face that they just dismissed the fact your beautiful girl had gone like that, and moved so quickly onto your temperature.

    When I was pregnant with Rhys a midwife who was covering my usual one had come to my house and remarked on how tidy and quiet it was considering I had a toddler I was so mad with her I asked her to leave

    1. Oh, Sally,
      I cannot believe that midwife said something as stupid as that. Good for you for telling her to leave. She should have read your chart bu your first midwife should have clued her in too. Charts are there for a reason!

  4. I'm so sorry more people don't look you in the eye. That's a very exasperating thing to me, in being a patient and also as a medical professional. Once upon a time.

    Much love to you. xoxo

  5. I didn't know you were in the medical field. Once upon a time.

    And yes, it was annoying but not too bad, considering. And the looking you in the eye thing. That sucks on every level, not just the medical level.
    Thank you for stopping in. I've missed you.