When I went into the hospital for a routine pregnancy ultrasound at the ultrasound/maternal fetal medicine unit today, I was not expecting that I’d have to stay overnight, but that’s exactly what ended up happening.
The ultrasound results all came back normal, so as I was waiting for the doctor to go over it in detail and let me make my next appointment, a nurse came to my room and said that they’d run a “non-stress test” for the baby, which means they’d hook me up to a fetal heart rate monitor for about twenty minutes to see how the baby’s heart rate changes depending on her movements. For the first 15 minutes, everything looked great, the doctor said, as he came in and out to check in on the results of the ebbs and flows of the heart rate, which were being recorded. But suddenly, a random dip occurred, and it apparently lasted for about 3 minutes. They said they weren’t a hundred percent sure if it was an actual dip in heart rate that lasted that long or if it was just that the baby moved out of the range, but they were concerned. So they sent me to the hospital triage unit on the labor and delivery floor for more monitoring that lasted about two hours. I was not super happy with what was happening. No one really explained the dips to me and what they could actually mean. A resident doctor came in, who I frankly was not a fan of, and after more monitoring, they identified another dip, and he said I’d need to stay overnight for continuous monitoring.
I felt terrified. He said that hopefully things would look good via the continuous monitoring, but the worst case scenario if the dips continued would be that they’d need to induce me for labor early, as it may be possible that the baby would be healthier and safer outside of the uterus than inside. And because of that potential worse case scenario, they wanted to give me a steroid shot to get the baby’s lungs to develop faster in case she needed to come out sooner.
They also wanted to hook me up to an IV, and I told him I didn’t want that. “Why?” I asked. “I am perfectly fine to drink water right now.” He said I looked a bit dehydrated. Irritated, I told him that I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in over 5 hours, nor had I been offered, and water through my mouth would be just fine. He said the IV would allow the water to get into my system quicker. I retorted back that I was fine to DRINK the water. Also, would he be able to give me SOMETHING to eat because I was starving…?! If they really did need to quickly stick medication in me, they could just give me a heplock.
“How do you know what a heplock is? Do you work in healthcare?” he asked, smiling and a little curious.
Seriously, people. This isn’t rocket science. I don’t need to work in healthcare to know some healthcare basics. This stuff is all available online as public knowledge!!
He said he’d check with the doctor from my practice about the no-IV and came back with a large jug of ice water, which I proceeded to chug.
Eventually I got admitted into a hospital room, and the doctor from my practice came to check in on me a couple times to explain a few things. She said that they just wanted to be cautious and so that’s what the continuous monitoring was for. If all checked out fine and no more heart rate dips were seen, and if all the blood work and ultrasounds continued to look normal, then I could get discharged tomorrow. Luckily for us, everything else did come back normal, so now they just want to make sure the dips did not continue. They also wanted to do a weekly hospital ultrasound to ensure there was enough blood and oxygen flow between the placenta and the baby so that they could ensure she was getting enough nutrients… as according to them, she is measuring a bit small for this stage.
Pookie Bear had been super active the entire time in the hospital. I was worried she wasn’t getting much rest. I kept looking down at my belly, telling her we’d be just fine. I want her to stay in there as long as possible so she can be full term, but I was genuinely worried at the idea that she may not be getting enough nutrients. At the same time, other than the nurses, I was really unhappy with how I was rarely asked for my consent for anything and just felt like I was being herded off and forced to do things. That resident doctor really needed to slow things down and explain more. This is why I hate the American medical system and all the interventions here. This is why I hired a doula. I can’t really trust that this is all truly in my own best interest or my baby’s, as it feels like interventions for the sake of interventions. And now, I’m in a state of anxiety, wondering if my baby is really going to be okay and if we will have a safe and healthy birth.