Wednesday, December 2, 2009

33 weeks, 4 days ~ The Rollercoaster

Today began with yet another trip to the hospital, sent by my OB. A regular monitoring appointment with higher than usual blood pressure combined with a splitting headache that did not respond to multiple doses of tylenol over 14 hours or so (headaches can be a sign of pre-eclampsia) - and off I was sent. I really don't mind - at this stage I'll take all the poking, prodding and monitoring in the world if it means I get a live baby at the end. But I think both my OB and I knew what the likely result would be: blood pressure came down again once I was lying on my left side in the hospital, headache responded to migraine medication and all the labs came back totally normal. So home again. I slept the whole afternoon like I was sleeping off a bad bender.

This rollercoaster ride is no fun. It feels like I'm riding blindfolded, and have no clue when the double loop or death defying plunge is about to come. I don't mind being at home reading and watching movies - that part is fine with me. But I hate the uncertainty that each day brings - things are fine at the moment, but what about 2 hours from now...2 days?...2 weeks? I never liked rollercoasters anyway.

While at triage this morning, I shared a room with a young girl I never saw, but of course heard (as if those privacy curtains actually provide privacy!). She sounded to be a teenager, at most a young twenty-something. She was all alone and had been there overnight - being monitored because at something like 24 weeks she was having frequent contractions that she herself couldn't feel. She was pissed off, she wanted to go home to her other baby and wanted to get back to her job. But from the doctors' perspective, she wasn't going anywhere fast.

As part of my professional life, I work with teenage parents. I am a great believer that young parents can and do parent well -- although they often need different kinds of support than adult parents might. The conversation this young woman was having with her doctor broke my heart. The doctors wanted to do an internal exam because they believed this young woman might have an infection that was causing the contractions -- if the infection was identified and treated, the doctors explained, the contractions might stop. The young woman was balking at the idea of an exam involving a speculum. The doctor tried to probe why - was the pregnancy voluntary, did she have a history of sexual assault? But at no time did the doctor say 'look, if you have an infection and we don't treat it, not only may your baby come early, but your baby could die!' There was vague mention of a possible nicu stay. But mostly there was a lot of condescending talk about how she made the choice to get pregnant and now she has to have an exam like an adult would. It was an exercise in unbelievable self-restraint that I didn't pull back the curtain and talk to her myself. Luckily in the end she reluctantly consented to the exam. But yet again I am infuriated at how the medical profession so often conspires to keep the veil of silence around stillbirth and infant death.

Down off my soapbox now. And back to bed.


Paige said...

I hate this damn rollercoaster, too. And wow, such restraint. I'm glad she consented and I'm pissed off at the doctors.

Wish we could be bedresting it together, it'd be much more entertaining. xoxo

erica said...

I hope your ride smooths out soon - this has to be exhausting. For now I'm just going to be very glad you're home again and that everything was all right.

k@lakly said...

What a day and how especially stressful given where you are, 33 weeks and 4 days, and where you lost Ezra. I am glad tho that they are watching you and NOT just dismissing anything. Let's get this baby home safely, right?!
As for the young mum, I can't decide who is more troubling, the docs for not making it black and white for her, life and death, or her for not being able to mentally get 'there' (as in protect the baby at all costs) as quickly as she should have, modesty be damned, even without the 'whole' truth from the docs.
I think I would have bitten a hole in my lip had I been sharing the space with her as you were.
You are so right, 'prvacy curtains'...hahaha, what a joke.

Sending low BP and no headache vibes along with a whole lot of healthy, stress-free( I know that's about as useful as a privacy curtain wishing for that in a pg after:)) next couple of weeks.

Funsize said...

I can't believe you had such restraint. I would have said something. Or said something to my doctor, loud enough so she could hear, something like, I just want this baby to be born alive.

Some people can be so naive, but it doesn't help when doctors dance around the fact that babies die.

aliza said...

so sorry that you are on this roller coaster ride...never knowing from one day to the next...a good test in practicing being in the moment perhaps. hoping that things can stay stable from now until sunflower arrives.

and yes you do have a lot of restraint. i can only imagine hearing that conversation and wanting to voice some of the harsh truth that those doctors were too afraid to tell.

sending you love

Michele said...

Wow. I cant believe the doctors talked to her like that. As my grandma used to say, you get more flies with honey.

I'm sorry for the rollercoaster. I wish we could all get off...

Holly said...

I'm glad your BP came down and yo headache was able to be managed. That is good!

It upsets me to see the way drs intereact with their patients too. They have a right to the truth of what could happen!!!

Akul's mama said...

hugssssss...just keep being very very careful

Hope's Mama said...

I think I told you about a similar thing that happened to me the week before Angus was born. A girl who presented at 41 weeks who hadn't been getting prenatal care and her baby was breech. They had to actually explain to her what a c-section was, but not once did they mention how dangerous the situation could have been. I too wanted to rip back that curtain.
Oh Sarah, I am riding this rollercoaster with you in spirit. I can vividly remember just how tough those final weeks were - I mean it was only a couple of weeks ago. Here for you my friend.

Sophie said...

This rollercoaster absolutely sucks! Looking forward for this particular ride to end for you and then a new one begins.

angie said...

I agree with you, Sarah, people treat young mothers like irresponsible idiots mixed in with an infuriating dose of condescension. Underestimating their ability to understand real danger just chaps me. But perhaps it is like that with all women, doctors underestimate our ability to handle the truth of childbirth and loss. Argh.

As you ride this rollercoaster, just know we are here. With love. XO

m said...

I have absolutely lost my taste for rollercoasters. So sorry this one keeps giving you bumps and turns. But glad to hear you are ok and your docs are hellbent on keeping you that way.

As for the young mother - I would have shown no restraint. Could not have. HIPAA be damned. Given an unknown infection is what took my daughters from me (and placed me in some serious danger).

Why is it that hospital visits to monitor your blood pressure and anxiety have so many elements that can easily increase them both? Argh. What a ride.

Barbara said...

Thinking of you Sarah.

And holding my breath for you.


Just Breathe said...

Praying for everything to be perfect soon. May God bless you with perfection.

Molly said...

Thinking of you, Sarah. Hang in there.