Tuesday, May 11, 2010

35 Wks, 1 Day: Really? #$%^&

So I called the doctor's office yesterday to speak to the high risk clinic nurse. The cramping and lower body pain reemerged sometime late yesterday morning. Either that or the narcotics all wore off. Of course I am told to go to fricken L&D. Couldn't I just come into the office? Ummmm, no! Because they wanted to monitor Zachary and make sure I wasn't "abrupting". So I go.

I'm leaning against the wall in triage, waiting to be signed in, when who comes walking around the corner but Dr. Surfer Boy. He is all smiles and says "What's upppppppp?" like it is a social visit. I just gave him my look--the look that says "do not #$%^& with me! I will kill you", and he just laughs. I really do like him, and could see hanging out and joking during an overnight shift, had we met under different circumstances. Instead, now everytime I run into him at work, I will do so with the knowledge that this man has seen my hoo-ha in all its glory. It is hard to work with someone who has literally had their hands inside of you. It's always been a problem for me. Almost to the point of a phobia. And since most hospitals' insurance plans require you to go to their docs, this means I am the worst patient ever when it comes to taking care of business down there. I mean, really---picture sitting next to someone in the office all day, every day, with someone who has had their face in your crotch with a bright exam light, and that is how I feel. And the c-section? They lay you down on the OR table, with nothing covered but your chest as OR nurses, techs, doctors and anesthesia people come and go. I will never be able to get my 3 AM grilled cheese in the cafeteria again!

So anyhow, back to yesterday...

They joke. There's the requisite "Oh my God, you're BACK?", to the "Where have you been all week?" Yep, I actually managed a full week at home without a trip in! And my fave? When they handed Dr. SB my chart--complete with a plastic bin full of all of my uterine monitoring done in-house. They actually have a bin of them. How sick is that? My nurse joked that she needed a cart to push my chart back to my room because of its heft. Then thrust it at Dr. SB again, telling him he had been working out and he could carry it himself. (I should remind you that I am one of them, and they would not do this to any other patient!)

So they put me in my bed, and I get strapped to a monitor by a nurse who doesn't know me. So I have to warn her about what she is going to see. And the contractions? It must have been monitor placement, because they were LITTLE! I gave her the rundown---that I was to have a c-section Friday after an amnio on Wednesday. And she said what I have been dying to hear all along: "You're past 35 weeks, and they're delivering you Friday! They should just do it now." Then she asked when I last ate. I really had my hopes up.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. We heard Brahms' Lullaby 4 times, which explains the wait. Dr. SB was most definitely busy with at least one of them. (If you don't know, they play the lullaby over the PA when a baby is born.) Finally, after 2 hours, he shows up, says the strip looks good, so I am not abrupting, and says he is letting me go. Yay for the going home part. Boo for the continuation of the pregnancy. He did ask who was doing my c-section on Friday, and when I told him, he looked at the nurse and said "I thought so. See?" Which tells you how paranoid I am, because this freaked me out. I sat up in bed and said "What?!? What's wrong? You better not renege on the plan. I may hang you up by these monitor cables!" His response? "Oh, but you're doing so well this week. Maybe we should postpone it to next week." I was rearing back, ready to let him have it, when he started cracking up laughing to let me know it was a joke. Then he asked if I could believe it was almost over. Really? This has had to be the longest pregnancy ever. Yes. Yes, I believe it is almost over. I'm done.

So I left. And came home. And slept for 4 hours. And woke to horrendous pain. I literally made a nest of sofa cushions on the living room floor and J spent hours massaging my hips and lower back while I cried. Then he started to get mad, saying they should have just delivered the baby yesterday. That he cannot watch me in this pain anymore. This is the first time he has had this reaction. Up until now, he has been torn between watching his wife suffer and having his son have a better chance, or them ending it and risking his son being severely ill. But even he is seeing that enough is enough. I couldn't agree more.

So am I angry? No, not really. I've done some research. ACOG has really tightened the belt on these docs when it comes to elective early c-sections. And hospitals follow ACOG guidelines. The head of OB at my hospital is actually one of the docs in the practice I go to, so how would it look if he bucked the guidelines? They are actually doing what they are supposed to at this point. C-section before 39 weeks only if medically necessary--as in an emergency where fetal or maternal health are at extreme risk. In the event that they have to deliver early electively, they should confirm lung maturity first via amniocentesis. Hmmmmm. Sound familiar? So really, I can cuss and gripe to ACOG, but really not to my team of docs. I hate to admit that, as I need a scapegoat right now, but it's true. And truthfully, it probably isn't ACOG's fault either. Instead it stems from all of the mothers before me, unable to hack the discomfort of last-trimester impatience and aches/pains, who insisted they be delivered early. Without all of the prenatal testing and drugs that comes with a high-risk pregnancy like mine, they drove up the rate of late-preterm babies, and people started to notice these babies that required more care after delivery because they just weren't ready. So now, people like me, who are safe to deliver, have to suffer. Because unlike mine, the standard pregnancy doesn't receive ultrasounds by the dozens, close monitoring, thorough testing, steroids and beta-adrenergics. There! I am now stepping down from the soapbox with this comment: The wussy women before me ruined it for me!

1 comment:

  1. There's nothing worse for husbands than watching their wives in pain and not being able to do anything about it. I think my husband can totally relate to yours - although it seems like you are in considerably more pain than me. Regardless, men like to fix something when there's a problem and they can't fix us. It must be scary for them.

    I understand the guidelines too, but it seems like there should be some loopholes/exceptions for patients like you.