Posted by: Ingrid | July 26, 2009

Medical Technology: a love/hate relationship

I am very grateful for the amazing medical technology available in today’s Labor and Delivery wings.

On Wednesday, I woke up and Isaac didn’t move.  Ran 7 miles.  Nothing.  Ate breakfast.  Nothing.  Started worrying,  since morning is the time that Isaac especially likes flailing his arms and strategically jabbing my ribs with his feet.  That’s when I faithfully fill out my kick count card and it never takes more than 10 minutes for him to move 10 times.  Still nothing.  I broke down and ate a spoonful of sugar and lay on my left side.  Nothing.  Drank a glass of juice, lay on my side again, burst into tears, and still absolutely no movement.

Eventually we decided to visit Labor and Delivery, just to be safe.  So we threw the half packed bags in the car along with the uninstalled car seat and drove off to Anaheim.  We also learned that we prefer to deal with emergencies in two entirely different ways.  I would prefer to act like nothing is wrong and show up at the hospital, find out I have to have an emergency C-section right then and there, and send someone else back for my stuff.  Clint, on the other hand, wanted to prepare and have everything with us, even though he was sure things were fine.  Thing is, if we do that I start feeling like it really IS an emergency and freak out a little.  Who knew?
Fortunately, everything turned out to be just fine and gave us the opportunity to do a trial run.  I got checked into triage and we immediately got a 20 minute concert of Isaac’s heartbeat.  It was pretty amazing and allowed me to get a good idea of what normal is for him.  He also started moving as soon as we got there.  This really is my husband’s child as I have not a stubborn bone in my body, really.  The nurse midwife came in, deftly checked the amniotic fluid and did a brief ultrasound and everything looked great.  She was pretty funny though, when she informed me that since I was at 1.5 cm and was apparently having contractions every 4-5 minutes (who knew?) she was sure she’d be seeing me that night.  And they could of course, augment the “labor” that was supposedly happening.  Yeah, I’m pregnant with my first and only 38 weeks… I’m pretty sure I don’t want anything medically augmented at this point, especially when my contractions are very ignorable.  And she was wrong, because here I am, four days later, still happily and painlessly contracting throughout the day and sort of hoping that all of these false contractions will do a lot of work and positioning before I have to labor for real.

I am so grateful, however, for the fact that it was that easy to be sure that Isaac was doing fine.  Pretty fascinating as well!

On the flip side, when I was measured at my Monday appointment I was only 35 centimeters (I was 36 last week) and now I’m scheduled for yet another “measure the baby” ultrasound.  I really don’t mind more pictures, but I’m frustrated at being scheduled for one more medical procedure with the caveat (again) that he’s probably just moving down.  How on earth can a tape measure (and some weeks my NP measures more thoroughly than others) and an arbitrary number be exactly the same for every woman?  Will a 140 pound and 240 woman really measure 38 centimeters at 38 weeks?  Does a uterus with a 10 pound baby really measure the same as one that holds a 7 pounder?  I guess I don’t understand the point of getting an ultrasound done again, the results of which I will get 2 days before my due date.  And can you even trust the results if the ultrasound at this point can be off by 2 pounds?  Perversely, I sort of hope that Isaac will make his appearance on Tuesday morning and let us see for sure that he’s okay.  Of course, then we’ll miss a steak dinner with friends that night, infant CPR on Wednesday, and another Bradley class on Thursday and that would be sad.

Still, I hate the fact that I have to go infor what seems like a superfluous medical test this late in the game and the fact that I can’t help worrying about it.  Doctors should not scare and worry the pregnant lady two weeks before she’s due.



  1. Hey Ingrid, just say “no thanks” to the ultrasound. You’re absolutely right that there is no good reason for it right now.

  2. Wow. What a story.

    Are you going all natural? No epidural?
    Have you been reading the Bradley Method or Ina May’s childbirth stories?

    I’ve heard the nightmares which are caused by drugs and inerventions, and these books confirmed the very root of all these unnecessary procedures.

    A natural childbirth 100% is what my birth plan is, just hoping I could hear a real birth story about someone who is a runner just as myself.

  3. Hi Catherine, We are going natural and have been taking Bradley classes. I’ve read the Bradley books and I also enjoyed Ina May’s book as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how labor goes (though I suppose that sounds a little strange) although at this point I’m afraid I’m going to be pregnant for the rest of my life! 🙂

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