Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Heart Failure

As any pregnant woman can relate to, going to prenatal appointments can be nerve wracking and frustrating. Nerve wracking in the sense that there is that little shadow of doubt that passes through you hoping that all is okay despite you knowing deep inside all is good and frustrating in knowing that you will likely sit in the waiting area for up to an hour just to see your doctor. Yesterday for me was no exception.

My appointment was scheduled for 11:30am and was finally called into the see the doctor at 12:40pm. Thankfully, I only had to wait in the confined closet of a room for 5 minutes before my doctor came in. She asked me the usual questions: how have you been feeling, how were your holidays, feeling the baby move lots? Satisfied with my answers, I get up onto the checkup table to have my blood pressure taken and then lie down to have a listen to the baby's heartbeat. Much to any mother's fears, the heartbeat could not be located. After probing around my stomach for about 2 minutes with the hand held doppler, my doctor picks up the phone and calls the maternity ward indicating to them that she is sending me up there right away for a non stress test on the baby and possibly an ultrasound after that.

Turning to me my doctor then tells me not to worry, that all is likely okay and that the baby has moved into an awkward position; possibly behind my placenta. Feeling somewhat nervous, I head to the next wing of the hospital where the maternity ward is located. I am trying in vain not to panic or get upset. After all, that was the baby I had felt moving within me while waiting the hour to see my doctor wasn't it? Meanwhile, scenes are flashing through my mind as I call my husband to tell him about this new development. I am trying to be brave and not break down in hysterical tears because deep down I knew that the baby was okay. It is just when hearing the voice of concern from the person you love, it just evokes emotion; lots of it. I tell my husband that all is okay and that he doesn't need to rush over to the hospital just yet. Lets just wait to see the results from the non stress test and then go from there. I reassured hubby that I had felt the baby move about when waiting to see the doctor so I was confident that all was okay. What is it that makes us want to comfort others, to ensure that they are not in a panic when all you want to do is run down the hallway in the opposite direction in fear?

As I check into the maternity ward there are at least five other women in full blown labour, walking around and trying to provide some kind of relief to their swollen and pained bodies. I had to wait for about ten minutes for the nursing staff to get a room ready for me so I attempted small talk to these women who looked scared, irritated and in so much discomfort. I quickly learned that I truly have no clue as to what is coming to me when I have this baby. I mean, I didn't have labour with Kaelen and I didn't make it to full term. There was a moment of another type of fear that came over me: the fear of what the heck am I doing?

I snap out of that temporary fear as I hear my name called. This kind Australian nurse takes me to my room and proceeds to get my background information while hooking me up to the belts and monitors. It took about 15 seconds to locate the baby's heartbeat and almost immediately she began moving around. So much so that our baby at one point kicked one of the suctioned probes off of my belly. Breathing a sigh of relief, I tried to allow myself to relax for the 20 minute test and just focus on listening to the rhythm of my baby's heartbeat and the movements that came with it; the flow of the blood being fed by the placenta, the jerky and sudden movements from the baby and what I could and couldn't feel externally. Within 20 minutes, my doctor came to see me and inform me that all was good. That the readings from the test showed that our baby was good; in fact perfect.

Along with the good news of course came stern instructions: ensure that I get my daily 10 count of movements within an hour (which I have never been able to do due to the positioning of the baby), any change in my body that might indicate preterm labour (seeing as that is such an issue for me right now) or if I was just uncertain about something to make sure that I called her immediately.

So what was supposed to be a routine doctor appointment turned out to be a day full of nerves and insecurities. When it was all said and done with, as I drove home, I thanked God and my dad for keeping my baby safe and promised that I would be the best mother to my daughter. A silly thing to say really, but in moments of euphoria after fear, you often don't have logical common sense.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats said...

Ugh, I HATED the hour long wait at the OBGYN office! That's one of the reason's I switched to a midwife! Anyway- That is such an emotional roller coaster for a pregnant woman! The labor- I'll be honest with you- is pretty painful but in my experience (I've done it 3 times with no epidurals) is that if you just try to relax and let nature take it's corse. It will be okay, this too will pass and at the end you will have the most precious, beautiful daughter that anyone has ever given birth to! Oh, your experience brings me back to 8 months ago. It was a treasured memory for sure and yours will be too! Boy have I rambled! I'm so glad to have come across your blog Allie, I consider you a good friend even though I haven't ever met you!

Karen said...

Yeah, you gotta love those long waits in the waiting room. And then they move you to the examining room and tell you it will be a few minutes which turns out to be another 20 minutes. I try to be very patient as I know anyone who is in health care is stressed and constantly trying to catch up. And the fact that this will be the last time I will be pregnant so won't be going through this again, I grin and bear it.
As for labour, it's really not that bad and Kaelen has paved the way for your beautiful little girl so I can't imagine you having one of those long, painful labours you see in the videos.

Jenn said...

I'm breathing a sigh of relief for you....


Lesley said...

I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat and holding my breath until I read that everything was okay.
With my first son, he was placenta forward and I had quite a few trips to the hospital for non-stress tests when I couldn't feel any kicks for long periods of time. It was all so frightening especially if my husband couldn't come with me.
Glad to hear everything is going great!

sari said...


I'm so glad the baby is fine and that you are ok. I could barely read your post because I got nervous and started reading it very fast to make sure things were all right!!

StephieCee22 said...

I just can't wait for you to have this little girl coming into your life Allie. I know and have seen that you will make an amazing Mother, Paul and extraordinary Father and of course Kalene(the little Angel) the best big brother around.

beth said...

Scary story. Of course I, like you, knew the whole time that really everything would be ok in the end, but there's always that nagging fear I think in those moments where we're waiting for them to find a heartbeat. Glad all was well in the end.

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Glad to know everything is fine. Those times are scary. I had to do that with all three of my pregnancies so I totally understand how you feel.

First time here, by the way, came from mamad. :)