September 23   Adventures in babyland

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I’m guessing this will be the first of many in this series.

Up front I’ll say that there is a happy ending to this story.

Thursday night, we had a bit of a bub scare. I’ve pretty much clued on so far that this whole gig is rigged so you lose. And when you embrace that, you can kinda let it all just roll off you. I guess that’s the expression I’ve seen a lot on the many mothers I have known. (it could be the same expression for: yeah I’m too tired to fight the power of oppression but I did spit in your sandwich and use two day old tuna).

Anyway. The info I’ve been given is that even at this stage of the pregnancy a baby is supposed to move a certain number of times an hour and a day. And that if I notice the movement slowing, I should follow a series of steps ending in giving the midwives a ring. So we record Galactic Suburbia on Thursday night and I’m drinking lemonade during that two hours. After the episode, I go and hang out on the couch and watch TV and then I’m sewing and whatnot. And after a while, I realise that I don’t remember the baby moving. I think about it, and the last time I remember was with my morning fake coffee. Which is weird cause I’d had that sugary drink and  didn’t remember the baby moving at all during the podcast. So I mention this to C and he says, “have some ice cream.” Aside: seriously, it IS pretty cool that a solution to a problem is icecream. Normally, that solution would be inappropriate to apply.

I have a bowl of ice cream. Nothing. *THAT* is really weird. So I say to C, “Nothing!” And he says, “You’re supposed to wait 30 minutes. Have another bowl and wait 30 minutes.” By now, I’m starting to feel a bit ill. And panicky. But I have the second bowl of ice cream. And no movement. After 30 minutes, C comes in and checks on me and then hands me his phone with the number already dialled. I called and had a chat and the lovely midwife, after asking me questions said I should come in because I probably wouldn’t sleep well if they didn’t check it out.

I felt a bit silly about it. But the longer it went with the baby not moving, the more worried I felt. But I felt really bad about dragging C all the way up to the hospital at 10pm when it was probably going to be nothing. Not for the first time was I glad I’d married the right man – I’d gone to the bathroom and put shoes on and when I came out, he’d packed a bag (workstuff and toiletries for him and my laptop for me) and when I apologised about the whole thing he reminded me of a recent example where he had followed the SOP for an incident even though he was mostly sure it was a false alarm and that I didn’t need to explain such things to him.

And so the reality of choosing a hospital an hour drive from home kicked in – 45 mins at that time of night but 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs in peak hour. I began to think I would not like to be in labour and having to make that drive in a hurry. Or on my own. And I got maybe 1, maybe 2, kicks that whole drive in. I felt sick that whole drive up. I tried to make idle chatter but I just felt ill. What if something was wrong? What if we weren’t going to be in, monitored and sent home in an hour turnaround?

We showed up and it’s quite odd to go to a hospital late at night. I think ER makes it look much more exciting than it is. We headed to maternity and the lovely midwife whom I’d spoken to on the phone took me under her wing, busied me into a room and set me up. This is the second time we’ve been there at night (the tour for the birthing class being the other time) and I just kinda expected more noise/activity. C said I meant screaming. And um, yeah. It was basically silent. And it’s not like there weren’t other women there – the midwife said my doctor had been in about 30 minutes earlier to do a c-section so had been informed I was coming in. But we didn’t see anyone other than the three nurses who fussed over me.

They attached monitors to my belly – one to monitor for any contractions and one for the heartbeat – and took my vitals etc. It was a real relief when the heartbeat was located. It wasn’t instantly and I suspect actually the baby was facing inwards and that was the problem. They tracked the heartbeat and baby movements for about 15 minutes or so and whilst I couldn’t feel those movements at all (weird), it was really reassuring to hear that steady heartbeat. I was really glad that they didn’t make me feel silly about coming in – they reassured me that they thought I would feel better if I just came in and got checked out. It seemed like they had never thought there was an issue and maybe I’m not the only person who freaks out about what a friend called later “baby having a lazy day”. And for the 15 or 30 minutes of their time to just put a monitor on and make me feel better, with some kind bedside manner, well I felt much more reassured about coming back for the real deal and also about that long drive.

And then they sent us home.

And we got home at about midnight. And the baby held a jamboree in my uterus for about an hour and a half after that. Course it did.

I did though, nearly get my purple book two weeks early. Though on debate, they decided it better I wait til the pre admission appointment week after next.

(Thank you to everyone who was talking to me on Twitter during that experience. I really appreciated your support.)

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  • By Melina D on 23 September 2013 at 4:33 am

    I totally would have done the exact same thing if C. had been still for that long – especially when you have really kicky babies, you really notice any stillness!

    You also made me realise how quiet the birthing suite was when I was there – I was in it for the induction and for the labour and never saw or heard anyone else . . .

  • By AlisaK on 23 September 2013 at 8:54 pm

    It’s *eerily* quiet! I always thought it would be a hive of activity and you’d pass people in the halls or something.

  • By Tansy Rayner Roberts on 24 September 2013 at 6:42 am

    Aaah! Had no idea you went through this.

    Chris probably appreciates the chance to do a dry run :D

    We’re only 20 mins from our hospital and it still freaked me out to be that far away (they tell you everything takes super long to happen but I have a friend for whom this was never true), to the point that after half a day ‘quiet’ labour we ended up going in just because I didn’t want us to be doing that drive as 4am mercy dash when Finchy was super tired.

    No one is more sympathetic than midwives about calming your nerves – because stress really does make the baby thing harder, and that makes their job harder. Calming your nerves is basically a massive part of their job, because they have seen so many more births than any of their patients.

    I extra appreciated when I checked out that the nurses at my hospital made it clear they were happy to take calls if ANYTHING weird (or even slightly odd) happened and I needed an ‘is this normal’ check – and they never once made me feel bad for asking a question.

  • By AlisaK on 24 September 2013 at 5:58 pm

    It was pretty late Thursday night.

    It was definitely really great how well they took my call and how they dealt with us when we showed up. I’m much more likely to be ok calling them again, should I need to whereas Chris has told me on more than one occasion to call with an issue I’ve had and I’ve not wanted to bother them.

  • By Sean the Bookonaut on 25 September 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I got tense just reading this Alisa. Very glad it turned out alright.

  • By Alisa on 25 September 2013 at 12:14 pm

    That’s why I opened with the spoiler that it ends well!

    I tell you, so much of this ride is the professionals putting fear into you and situations – I get that its a risk management thing but even so.

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