Back at work, midwives, and feeling blessed

It’s Wednesday.  Day 3 of my return to work, and it’s going amazingly well.

I was nervous about coming back.  I didn’t know what it would be like to get up early and be upright in a chair all day.  My job is completely sedentary computer work, but there is no opportunity to just go have a lie down.  After being parked on the couch for two months, I was worried about the physical demands of being back.

My first day back ended up being incredibly positive, even though by the end I was exhausted.  I had so many people stop me in the walk-ways and come by my desk to welcome me back.  It made me feel so good to know how many people had been thinking of me.  Invariably, everyone asked how I was doing, and I was pleased to say, “I’m doing so much better.  It’s great to be back among the living.”  Lots of people asked about my pump, which, oddly, I appreciated.  I thought I would feel self-conscious about it, but I think it would have been worse if they’d stared at it and tried to pretend it wasn’t there.  Somehow it’s less embarassing to be able to explain it and make a joke about it.

One of my office friends asked about it in the break area, and another fellow, who is really more of an aquaintance piped up and said, “I know what that is!  I have one, too!”  And he pulled out his insulin pump.  It was really cool to meet someone who had a pump, too.  I had been explaining to people that it’s like an insulin pump, but I had never met someone in real life who actually had a pump.  I’d never seen one in person before either.  We ended up spending some time talking about it, and he was kind enough to let me ask some questions: How often does he have to change the sites and where does he think it’s easiest to put it.  He only changes his sites every 3 days (lucky!), and he likes to put his in the back of his arms, something that’s not an option for me because the Zofran gets pushed through at a higher volume than the insulin pump.  Like me, he thinks the belly is the worst place.  His pump is sleek and shiny and fits neatly in his pocket compared to my big clonker which I have to wear around my neck in a bag.  It makes me feel lucky, though, to know that I get to kiss my pump goodbye in a few weeks (!!!), whereas he’s got his for the rest of his life.  It’s comforting to know, though, that I’m not the only cyborg in the office.

Monday, I also called one of the local midwifery practices to set up a consultation.  I mentioned that I had been suffering with HG, and instead of suggesting acupucture or ginger (like the previous midwifery practice), she immediately asked about PICC lines and meds.  When I explained that the PICCs failed, she asked if I had a line tunneled into my chest.  Wow!  That’s exactly the order of interventions my doctor had listed!  When I told her I was impressed by her ready knowledge of HG and wanted to be sure to see her specifically for the consult, she laughed and said, “Don’t worry.  Both my partner and I know about HG.  I learned from her.  She got her knowledge through firsthand experience!”

You could have peeled me up off the floor.  I wanted to cry with relief.  One of my major concerns about seeing a midwife is that they would dimish the experiences I have had with the HG.  I simply can’t believe my luck.  How could I have stumbled into a town that has both a doctor and midwives who know so much about HG?

These midwives work in a birth center located less than 5 minutes from the best NICU in the county.  They know about HG.  They can do waterbirths.  They are willing and able to work with my doctor in whatever capacity I need to ensure the HG stays under control.  They are willing to save a space for me in their practice until I’m weaned off the zofran pump to ensure a smooth transition.  And most of all, there’s that feeling in my gut that things are right.  The consultation is scheduled for next Thursday, late afternoon.  It can’t come soon enough for me.  I can’t be certain things are right until Mr. Grasshopper and I meet with them, so please keep your fingers crossed.

With all of the positivity of coming back to work and speaking to these midwives, not to mention the joyful pregnancy affirmations I’ve been listening to as part of my hypnobabies practice, I am feeling incredibly blessed.  Do you ever have moments where you feel like your heart is just so full it’s about to overflow?  I just feel so full of joy and positivity right now.  It is such a good feeling to have.  I am coming out of a very dark place and the sunlight feels so good on my face.

Hospitals, Childbirth, and Fear

I’m feeling a lot of fear and anxiety about the birth of this baby, but maybe not in the way you’d expect.

I’m good at childbirth.  I may suck at pregnancy, but I’m good at childbirth.

That said, I am not loving my hospital options here.  My doctor only delivers at two hospitals, both of which are part of the public county hospital system.  I will say that both are classed as Baby Friendly hospitals which is a huge deal and really great.  But I have major concerns about both.  Here are the concerns I have with both places:

Hospital A

This is where I went for my HG hospitalizations.  Anyone remember how awesome my experiences were there?  No one?  That’s right.  Because it sucked.

  • This is an old hospital.  It’s gritty.  It feels very… what’s the word… institutional.  I’m sure it’s very clean, but it just looks really grimy from being old.
  • They have you labor in one room and deliver in another room.  That’s right ladies.  When you hit transition, they make you move.  I cannot imagine the chaos of changing rooms during transition.  This just seems like a terrible idea and a terrible policy.  My doctor said they might be able to make an exception for me since we have no need for things like warming tables and the like, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with a “might be able to.”  This is a major deal-breaker.
  • Fathers aren’t allowed to spend the night.  My husband might not be able to do this anyway because of the Grasshopper, but the idea of being stuck in there for 3 days by myself just makes me feel edgy and trapped.
  • I had pretty bad experiences at this hospital.  Just walking into it is enough to send my stress levels up.  The woman I shared a room with leaving blood all over the toilet seats, and the mentally ill man walking outside my door and shouting all night and freaking me out that he would come into my room, and the L&D nurse who left me in the wheelchair and repeatedly told me and anyone she ran into that I shouldn’t be in L&D despite what my doctor had said, and the OBGYN not bothering to see me at all, and the evil vital signs lady who kept making my IV sticks bleed with the blood pressure cuff, and the OBGYN who smiled and said that if I feel persistent nausea and vomiting to come back in (idiot), etc, etc, etc…
  • Very restrictive for visitors under the age of 13.  The Grasshopper could come visit us but only for certain hours.  3 days separated from my family.  Cut off from them when I want to be with them the most.

Hospital B

  • No showers in the rooms.  You have to walk down the hall to the shower behind the nurses station.  That means if I want to sit under the hot water while I’m in labor and labor in the shower, I wouldn’t be able to do it.
  • Only two rooms.  What if they’re full?
  • No visitors under the age of 13 allowed.  That bothers me in a major, major way.  I would be completely cut off from my family during one of the most important times for us all.
  • It’s in the next town over.  It’s not a long drive, but it is a drive.

General Concerns

  • I’m not a fan of several of my doctor’s partners.  I only actively dislike one of them, but I think having him walk into the room to catch the baby would send me over the edge.
  • My doctor isn’t always on call.  I’m not sure what percentage of her babies she delivers, but if she’s not on call, it would be a major, major stressor.  The last thing I want to deal with is more stress.  That week when all hell was breaking loose with the HG, she was not reachable.  At all.
  • They don’t let you eat in labor.  I need to eat all the time!  If I can’t eat I have to get hooked up to an IV with a glucose solution.  I am really, really averse to IVs and needle sticks at this point.  Like heart racing, hands shaking averse to it.
  • No tubs.  Anywhere.
  • General nervousness about the whole thing.

This is my last baby.  Of course, it goes without saying that the ultimate goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mommy.  That’s a major no brainer if you ask me.  So why can’t birth be a pleasurable experience for me?  It was a good experience last time, but like I said in my hypnobirthing post, I want to be an active participant here.  I have absolutely no regrets about the Grasshopper’s birth.  I just want something different this time around.  I want a water birth.  I want to do this on my own.  I want this last time to be a positive and gentle experience.  I’ve had such a crappy pregnancy.  I just want to have a positive, respectful birth.

Home birth is absolutely not an option here, but there are some lovely-looking birth centers here in town.  My husband is dismissing the idea out of hand.  It’s just so far outside his concept of normal.  I just want to find a way to help him understand why I might view that as a viable option.  The hospitals here aren’t like the awesome one we delivered at in St. Louis.  Would switching to midwife care after the HG be like a huge “Eff You” to my doctor?  “Hi there.  You get to do all the awful stuff without the little bonus prize at the end.”

I hope I can find a way to make peace with all of this.