Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pregnancy: December 9-11

Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Last night, I had the absolute *worst* experience with the Family Birthing Center. It was so shocking to be treated the way I was treated, especially when we've had fairly positive interactions over the past few weeks... in fact, not only has it not been bad, it's been great-- the Nurses are typically very caring, responsive, and sensitive, and we usually end up feeling pretty good about our time spent at the FBC. Well, last night was different; and that was just over the phone!

I had been taking it easy since we got out of the FBC on Sunday, but at around 4:00 or so, I started to get this sharp, searing pain on the right side of my abdomen. It almost felt like my stomach was tearing open, or something. It wasn't completely debilitating, but it was enough that I didn't feel comfortable sitting up, so I laid down on the couch to ease the pain a bit. The tearing sensation would last a few minutes and then ease up, to just feel tender and sore in that area. Then, a bit later, it would start again. It happened on and off for the next few hours, before it occurred to me that this might be related to the problems I've been having recently. Of course, I hadn't seen any of the other things the doctor told me to watch out for (profuse bleeding, no fetal movement, increasing contractions/labor progressing), so I wasn't really sure what to do at that point. After some particularly sharp pains, I went in to use the bathroom at around 8:00 and noticed thick red blood, which was different from the weekend bleeding, but still a bit concerning to me. I mentioned that I'd call the doctor in the morning about it, but Joel told me to just call the FBC for some advice while he went out to fill up his tank. And that's where it all began...

I called the FBC, gave them my name and how far along I am (37 weeks as of today), and then they transferred me to a nurse to speak about what was happening. I felt a bit silly calling yet again, and I said so. What ensued was a conversation with the most rude, insensitive, negative health-care provider I've ever had contact with. Here's the conversation with the Nurse, as I recall:

Nurse: So, what's going on?

Me: Just to give you some history, I've been in & out of the Birthing Center for the past few weeks with bleeding and contractions, and I was just in there this weekend overnight for monitoring because my doctor was concerned about a possible placental abruption...

Nurse: When are you due?

Me: Three weeks.

Nurse: No, what is your due date? I need the actual date, the day you are due, not just "three weeks".

Me: Oh. December 31st.

Nurse: What baby is this for you?

Me: First.

Nurse: Look, hon, I can hardly hear you. Can you speak up, or put the phone closer to your mouth? What baby is this for you?


Nurse: Uh-huh. So, why are you calling in tonight?

Me: Well, I feel weird calling because they told me to call when I have major bleeding or contractions getting stronger, and I don't... but I have been feeling this sharp pain in my side...

Nurse: (Interrupting) Where on your side?

Me: To the right of my belly button, kind of going up and down...

Nurse: (Interrupting) Are you feeling the pain right now?

Me: Well, not as much, actually. It started at around 4:00 or 4:30, but it's been on & off... Sometimes, it was pretty strong, I told my husband it felt like my stomach was tearing open, but then it would go away and just be sore. I've been laying down for the past 1/2 hour, and it's feeling a little...

Nurse: (Interrupting) Okay, here's the thing--next time, you really need to call us when you're actually having the pains. It doesn't do us any good to call after they go away, because then you'll just come in here and we won't be able to see anything and we'll just end up sending you home again. Are you feeling the baby move?

Me: Uh, not as much lately, but the doctor said that's normal as we get closer to the due date. He's really been slowing down and not moving as much lately...

Nurse: (Interrupting) What does "lately" mean? That doesn't tell me anything. How long has it actually been since you felt him move?

Me: Uh, I'm not sure... it's hard to tell, sometimes. I can't really remember..."

Nurse: Okay, have you felt him move in the past half hour?

Me: Um, no...

Nurse: The past hour?

Me: I don't think so, I'm not sure...

Nurse: You're not sure? Do you even remember the last time you felt the baby move?

At this point, I was feeling so attacked and harrassed that I was about to start bawling my eyes out. I told her "Look, I'll call back when my husband gets home" and hung up the phone. And that's when I started crying and called Joel, all hysterical and upset about the way she was treating me on the phone. He was so ticked off! He came back and said that we should go in and complain to the supervising nurse, or at the very least to the doctor the next day, and that we shouldn't let this slide. Nobody deserves to be treated so rudely, but especially when it's a woman with a first-time pregnancy that has already had several complications... I mean, that's their job, right? To assist us, guide us, treat us, and support us medically while we try to get through pregnancy & labor successfully.

I still can't believe that she was so rude to me, and so harsh. I was only asking for advice and reassurance, nothing more. Anyway, I'm going to call in to my doctor and to the FBC this morning to (a) discuss what I was feeling physically yesterday, and (b) report what happened with that nurse. I only hope I don't have to endure dealing with her in the future! I mean, if she can singlehandedly turn me away from going in to the FBC, despite the fact that I might actually need to be in there, then how much more damage could she do when I'm really in labor? I could easily see this woman turning away women who should otherwise go in to the FBC, and thus making things even more scary, problematic, or possibly even dangerous for the pregnant mom and her baby. It's people like that woman who need to re-trained or just leave the field altogether; heck, if you're that unhappy, lady, go work somewhere else!

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Yesterday I spoke with the manager of the Birthing Center about my negative experience on Monday. She was very kind and understanding about the whole thing, and apologized several times that I was treated that way. She said that she would look into it and take care of things on her end, but wanted me to promise that I would call or come in if I ever felt concerned about the pregnancy or the baby. She said that she believes God gives pregnant women a special grace of becoming very knowledgeable about their own bodies... even more so than medical professionals, sometimes. She has been a nurse for 20 years, and said that she couldn't count the number of times a pregnant mom had told her "Something is wrong"-- even when doctors were assuring her that things were fine or couldn't tell anything was a problem via their initial assessments-- and they eventually found out that mom was right, not the physician. She said that I really needed to trust my instincts, and that if I felt something was really wrong, I should definitely just go straight in to the Birthing Center. I'm glad she said so, because at least someone was validating my "feelings" about how things were just not right with the bleeding and pains and so on. If only she were my doctor instead! /:)

I met with the doctor again today. Apparently I'm still not dilating, but still bleeding a lot. Just another waiting game, I guess. Can't wait for baby to get here!

No comments:

Post a Comment