Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birth Story, Part One: Pressure

This whole mess started on Tuesday, January 5th when I went in for my 39 week (minus one day) appointment. This appointment happened to be with Dr. P, who I hadn't seen much, but she and I go way back. She was the one who discovered my septum and always seemed pleasant, if a bit different manner-wise, probably due to her being from a different culture.

Anyway, Erich came with me to this appointment but had trouble finding a parking space, so he dropped me off so I could go and check in. I went down the dark corridor to the office, opened the door, and was greeted immediately by the backs of at least six other people in line. In line to check in. JUST TO CHECK IN. I've often been annoyed by the check-in process at this practice. It seems like they see about a thousand patients at any given time, and there are only two people in the reception area, one checking in and one checking out while the phones blink, all the lines busy as people also wait on hold to talk to a human. Every time someone checks in, the receptionist will not even make eye contact with the next person in line until they have everything organized, forms and insurance cards copied, etc.

Lots of women see their gynecologist once a year. And for some dumb reason, it seems a lot of them go in the first week in January. And once the calendar changes, the office people have to check everyone's insurance again, even if they're huge and pregnant and are there every week. So! It took at least five minutes per person in front of me to check in. And by the time I checked in, I had been standing there for


And the waiting room was PACKED. And, as usual and for some unknowable reason, the heat was cranked ridiculously high. Far too close to 80 degrees for anyone, let alone the hugely pregnant. Erich offered to stand in line for a while, which I should have taken him up on (regret #1). But it started to feel like my battle. When I got to the front of the line and the chick finally stopped ignoring me, I politely asked if the wait was a "Tuesday thing, or a first week in January thing?" She said, "Both." The usual two doctors were in and seeing patients, and it's a day the NP and u/s tech are there. So there were all kinds of people to be seen, yadda yadda THIS PRACTICE IS TOO BUSY. I know a lot of OB practices are crazy busy, but I have hope for the future. I won't stand for this.

Understandably, I was pretty grumbly by the time I finally got to sit down. Unlike the week before, when Dr. B said everything was fine, this week I didn't focus enough on staying relaxed and focused for my blood pressure's sake (regret #2). Despite the large crowds, I didn't have to wait super crazy long before getting called back. Urine was fine (I think), weight was fine, BP... "Hmm," said the nurse. "Oh no, what is it?" I asked. 120-something/90. That "over 90" part is what they really don't like. Crap crap crap. And she didn't even let me relax for a minute then take it again. I was concerned but didn't know what to expect next, so I just waited patiently.

Erich joined me in the exam room, and Dr. P came in shortly after. She studied my chart, measured my belly, took about a zillion hours to find the heartbeat (thank goodness for movement, which helped me narrowly avoid a freak-out), checked my cervix--still barely 1cm--and then looked at my chart again. "You know," she announced, "I'm looking at your blood pressure and you've already been to labor and delivery and you're about 39 weeks, so I'm thinking to myself... I'm going to induce you. I think Thursday would be a good time to start."

She went on to briefly describe how the process works, but I didn't care to bother to hear over the roaring in my ears. Induction. My first thought was, I'm going to have a c-section. No no no no no. This is not what I want at all. A small part of me was so very ready to be done being pregnant, but I had resigned myself to 2+ more weeks of hugeness. Anything to let my body and my baby decide when to be born and not my doctor.

I asked if we could at least wait until my due date, and Dr. P immediately seemed annoyed. "Then I'll have to send you to Labor and Delivery right now, and you'll have to come in every few days to be monitored." Should have said, "Fine! I'll do that." But she was wearing me down. (Regret #3.) I don't like to make people annoyed at me. She said, "You have to weigh the risks versus benefits." However, she never explained to me what those were.

In fact, no one ever really explained to me what pregnancy-induced hypertension is all about. I can't work a regret into this one, though, because I did call and ask. And I was threatened with a stroke if I didn't consent to the induction. *eye roll* Don't get me wrong, risks are risks, but I've had major abdominal surgery now. Isn't that risky too? (The answer is yes. Yes, it is.)

So Dr. P left the room and I lost it. That evil I-word enveloped me in fear. So much for my natural, drug-free birth. Now drugs were going to START and control my labor. I was automatically signed up for a hospital stay, IV, continuous monitoring, and a feeling like I had no say in what was happening to me. Because their stupid office can't manage its patient load (okay, that may not have been the total cause of my high-ish BP, but it did NOT help), I was now merely a sick patient instead of a mother giving birth.

Erich and I sadly went home, signed up for an induction starting Thursday evening with Cervidil and Pitocin on Friday morning. DID. NOT. WANT. I thought about how excited Lily's grandparents would be to know when to expect her, but it was at least a few hours before we could let them know while I tried to process this game plan. I was looking forward to her arrival and genuinely happy that I knew when it was going to be, but I was extremely unhappy about the induction, for reasons I believe are obvious by now. :)

Throughout my work with Hypnobabies, I knew there were tools for dealing with fear. However, in these couple of days, I was too afraid to use them. Stupid. Regret #4. I'm sure half-expecting a c-section, if it did anything, only made it more likely to happen. Instead, I focused on the last few things I could do around the house to get it ready for baby. That was worthwhile, of course, but I did spend too much time worrying and frantically seeking out anecdotes of successful inductions.

And I gave active patient-hood the ol' college try, but was shut down when the nurse on the phone told me that the numbers from my PIH labs were "going up" and it's much safer for me and the baby to have her out. In the words of any petulant adolescent, FIIIIINE.

So we were stuck with the induction, and I tried to feel resigned. A big storm was predicted for Thursday, but it didn't much matter for us since we'd definitely be stuck in the hospital.

To be continued...

Part 2

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