I guess this is more for myself rather than anyone else to read. Although, if it helps anyone then great, if not, then at least it helps me to get it out there, as God knows right now I could use all the expulsion of thoughts in my brain right now.
I am overwhelmed. This entire journey has been overwhelming actually but more so, these last months, or weeks now. I meant to blog throughout my entire pregnancy, but I guess I never got around to it. Part of me also did not want to write anything publicly. I don’t really like when people I know get too much into my business. I don’t need the extra opinions, and especially the critiques. I can’t handle it. If you want to be supportive, then wonderful, but I don’t need any lectures at this point.
I already have enough stress in my life, don’t need to add anymore.
In fact, this blog, I hope will act as a stress reliever, a way to express all that is and has been building up inside me. I honestly feel like a pressure cooker about to burst if I don’t get it out anytime soon.
What is wrong, you ask? I am frustrated. I am frustrated with the medical system. I am frustrated that people do not even try to understand people with mental health issues. I am frustrated that I am being made to feel like an anomaly, like they have never heard of anyone with an anxiety disorder before.
What is going on? Let me fill you in.
My pregnancy has been what some would call “easier” than most. I did not have any morning sickness. I did not have any major complications in the beginning. I was not considered high risk for miscarriage or anything crazy like that. The first few months were pretty good, I would say.
Sure, I had to get used to the body changes. My pre-pregnancy weight was 100lbs. I am really not that big of a person to begin with and I don’t think I’ve ever weighed more than 110lbs in my life. So the idea of gaining weight was a bit hard to grasp for me. It’s not that I am anorexic or anything, although, I do have body image issues, I just don’t like the idea of being “bigger.”
I dealt with a lot of fatigue mostly. It was very tough getting to work in the first trimester. I really just wanted to sleep all day and I felt like my brain was very foggy. Add that to a job that is already stressful, and you don’t really get a very good mix, but I pushed through because everyone kept reminding me of how much worse it could be. At least I’m not throwing up all the time or not able to stomach food. In fact, I was starving all the time (for once in my life.) I could not stop eating.
The weird part was I did not want anything unhealthy. I am a pretty healthy person anyway though. I like to eat organic and real foods, but I also have a very big sweet tooth. Chocolate is my weakness. Chocolate chip cookies, especially. But in the first trimester, I absolutely hated chocolate or anything sweet really. All I wanted was sour and salt, which is why everyone believed I was carrying a boy.
2nd trimester came around.
Nothing much changed really, except for the fact that I was finally starting to pop out. I wasn’t showing that much until about 18-20 weeks. I was starting to feel the extra weight. I was probably around 112-115, which felt huge to me. I couldn’t fit in any of my size 0 clothes. I had to start wearing leggings only and looser shirts. Fashion went out the window at that point.
I went through a point where I was having a really hard time accepting my body. I felt “fat” and not attractive at all. I kept asking my husband whether I was still attractive and he kept reassuring me that I was, but I honestly did not feel that way.
I kept going though. It’s not like I had any choice and I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to be healthy for her, not for me, so I had to keep eating and gaining the appropriate amount of weight.
Things started to get a bit stressful at that point. My now-husband and I were getting married in July (no, not because I was pregnant. This was pre-planned). So the wedding was right around the corner and we still did not have everything set.
It was a small backyard wedding with about 30 family members and a few close friends, but even being so small it was ALOT of work. We did everything ourselves as we did not have the money to hire help or get a venue. The only thing we really spent money on was the food and photographer. Of course, we bought some decorations and hired a pastor. We had a friend play some music for us and we did end up getting a wedding cake, which I barely had a bite of as it was chocolate.
But it did stress me out a ton because it was a lot of work. It went well, nonetheless.
Ending the second trimester…and things start to turn. Starting with the lovely glucose test. Who thought feeding a pregnant woman a bunch of sugar and orange food coloring was actually a good things? How does this check your sugar accurately? I don’t understand. But I failed the first one. And apparently 70% of pregnant women fail the first round, which I did not know.
So I had to take the second two-hour test, with the three blood draws and more sugary drink (at least that one did not have any dyes in it.) I passed that one with flying colors, luckily. So no diabetes for me. BUT it caused me a significant amount of stress, to the point where it was beginning to really affect me.
Please note, I already have white coat sydrome, so going to the doctors is not my forte. And going to the doctors on a monthly basis was definitely not my favorite thing to do. I stopped going to doctors for a reason, but obviously when you get pregnant, you kind of have to go. So I started to really dread going after that glucose test.
Plus, the stress of it all started to spike my blood pressure and the doctor started to notice, although it was always spiking anyway, just not as severe as it was at that point. So he starts to question me. Why is your blood pressure so high? I want to do some more tests. Blood work. To MAKE SURE you don’t have any issues.
More blood work…after taking my blood five times in the last month. Why didn’t you check it with the blood you already took? Can you sense the frustration I have with the medical system?
So I complied, despite not wanting to. Blood tests came out fine. I was slightly anemic but I knew that already and was working on it. But he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted another round of tests. And he also tried to scare me by saying it might be preeclampsia and gave me a whole run down of how dangerous that can be for the baby and myself — all i remember hearing is the words “Maternal death.” Not the kind of thing you want to tell someone with an anxiety disorder. But who really cares about that, right? Obviously doctors don’t have time to be sympathetic to your needs anymore.
So I do more tests. He even wanted an ultrasound to make sure that the baby was growing properly as if you have preeclampsia there is a chance that baby is not growing properly due to lack of oxygen and nutrients being passed through the placenta. Great, more scare tactics to make me think something is wrong with me and my child.
So more sleepless nights. More anxiety. More stress. Higher blood pressure readings. Higher pulse readings. More fear of doctors. More fear of pregnancy. And a whole LOT of fear and frustration.
I completely ALL the tests. My husband at this point puts his foot down and steps in to say we are not doing anymore tests. Thank you God for an amazing husband.
The tests come out fine. I don’t have preeclampsia. But doctor is still not convinced. Still wants to find out why my blood pressure and pulse spike at the doctors office because apparently me telling him I am stressed out and have an anxiety disorder is not believable enough.
So he says, let’s do a fetal non-stress test, just to MAKE SURE she’s ok. At this point, I am so frustrated, so tired, so defeated feeling that I simply agree. He even wanted more blood work to re-run the old tests to see if anything changed.
I did not have it in me to fight back. I did not have it in me to say no. I just wanted to cry endlessly. I just wanted it to be over.
Oh and on top of that, my baby was breech. So more stress. This was at 33 weeks.
After that appointment, my husband said you’re not going back there. And you’re not doing the other tests. Of course I freak out and say but WHAT IF something is wrong? We need to do the tests even though I don’t want to. He says nothing is wrong. They are just driving you crazy and causing unnecessary stress by all this. We need to find another doctor.
I have your typical HMO health care plan so finding another doctor isn’t really the easiest thing. You are stuck in one group of providers and they are all pretty much the same. I was thinking of switching to another doctor but then quickly realized they are probably going to treat me exactly the same way. It didn’t work in the past, so why would it work now?
Then I found the birth center.
My friend actually birthed there with three of her children. I always was intrigued by the idea of it, as it is more of a natural approach to childbirth. No hospital setting. You can birth any way you like. In a tub. On a bed. In the shower. On your hands and knees. You can do it in the dark. With essential oils on. Whatever you want as long as you and the baby are healthy and doing fine. But not covered by insurance. So we had to pay out of pocket. And it’s pretty hefty.
At that point, I didn’t really care and the idea of being able to have a calming, natural birth experience meant everything to me. I mean that is what I want. I don’t want to be in a hospital with a bunch of machines strapped to me and bright lights and being told what to do. I want to have the opportunity to be in my most primal state, relaxed as much as possible, nothing strapped to me so I can move around freely.
We made an appointment. I explained to them all I had gone through with the traditional medical system and they were extremely sympathetic. They reviewed all my test results with me one by one, said I was perfectly normal and did not have pre-eclampsia. What I had was an anxiety disorder, mainly white coat syndrome. They recognized it. They accepted me. They made me feel like I wasn’t such a freak.
The only issue…baby is breech. In the state of California, a midwife cannot deliver a breech baby vaginally. So baby has to turn. She said I could start chiropractic care, the Webster technique apparently has success with flipping babies. She also told me I need to relax because babies will sense that and not want to turn due to the stress. So I said bye bye to the doctor and began my journey at the birth center.
Of course, my family was not on board. They think I am crazy, which they already thought that but now I am even more crazy. They think it’s unsafe. That I am not thinking of the safety of the baby. So that’s kind of stressful, not having any support.
So that was 34 weeks.
Since then, I have up-ed my water intake as that apparently will increase odds of turning. I have started walking daily as that also increases odds. I am doing spinning babies techniques – namely forward inversions and hanging upside down on an ironing board, which is incredibly uncomfortabe. I am doing cat-cows. I am doing the chiropractic visits, which isn’t too bad. I learned that my lower back, especially on the right side is extremely tight, which could be why she is not flipping. Also, my small frame and tight abs could also be the reason since there is not much room in there.
All in all, I’ve been doing everything and anything I possibly can to get her to turn, because the alternative is either a csection or paying a specialist OBGYN for a breech vaginal birth $10,000, which we do not have.
I could have sworn at one point she did flip though during this entire two weeks. I thought I felt hiccups down below. I thought I felt a head down there. So I had my hopes up pretty high for my 36 week appointment.
But the day before I woke up to a hard bump under my ribs. It’s got to be her butt. It can’t be her head, I thought. I tried to remain hopeful but it was dwindling fast. I was already 36 weeks, running out of time. The odds of her flipping were getting slimmer by the day, although you do hear about babies flipping past 36 weeks, and even on the day of delivery.
The night before my appointment, I had a terrible nightmare of having to go back to the doctors office and having to schedule my csection. I then dreamt of the operating room. The chaos. How my blood pressure would sky rocket. I kept hearing the words of my doctor saying how my blood pressure was so high and they would have to do some type of intervention to bring it down quickly. I was panicking. I woke up with my heart pounding. I couldn’t sleep much after that.
When I finally got up to go to my appointment, I was already an anxious mess. I shouldn’t have been because it was at the birth center and not the doctor’s office but I just sensed that she had not flipped. My husband kept trying to be hopefully but I just already felt it.
We went to the center. I was checked by one of the other midwives that I hadn’t met before. She was super nice though. Very patient. I told her about the breech and she said well let’s palpate and check to ease your mind because I know that’s what you are thinking of.
She felt around. She couldn’t tell completely. She thought she may have flipped but wasn’t sure. She checked the heartbeat and it was below my belly button, which was a sign of flipping. I started to get excited. I even cried a little because I was so relieved. Then she called on the main midwife to check as she wasn’t 100% sure.
She came in and checked. Right away she felt and said nope, that’s a head, not a butt. Instantly, I dropped. I could feel my heart start to pound. I couldn’t believe it. She kept feeling around, just to double check because I told her I thought I felt hiccups there. She said, no she thinks she is still breech. I felt defeated again.
She said she had an ultrasound machine she could try to see if it worked well enough to confirm. I said that’s fine. Let’s do it. She said before we do that, let’s check your blood pressure. I should’ve known it was bad timing. I was already on edge because I just found out she was breech, but I said ok.
She let me bring my own machine and leaves the room so my husband and I can check it together. I started to feel my heart pound. I told my husband to let me calm down a few seconds before we tried. I wasn’t calming down though, so I said let’s just take it. It was high. Very high actually. 147/97 I think and my pulse was 163. I said no, no we have to take it again. That’s too high to tell them.
He began to argue with me saying that we can’t take it again, that wouldn’t be accurate. I argued back and said no we are taking it again. So we took it again. I can tell he gets frustrated with my anxiety sometimes. I know, it’s hard to handle. I would probably get frustrated too. I am frustrated with myself.
We took it again, it went down a bit, but still too high for my liking. 137/87 pulse still 160. So i said fine whatever. I’m anxious and frustrated so that is probably why it’s high right now. We went to the other room and told the midwife the reading. She said wow, your blood pressure I’m not concerned about because I could deal with that, but your pulse is what scares me. That pulse is out of control.
Great………here we go again.
Of course my husband chimed in. Saying, I know she needs to control that. They started talking saying I need to control it because it’s not good for the baby. I told her, but I’m anxious. I’m not normally like this. It’s not like I walk around with a 160 pulse. She said I don’t know if I believe you entirely.
Great…. another person who doesn’t believe me. I started to lose hope again. I thought the birth center was the answer. I thought they would understand me.
She brought out the ultrasound machine and we tried to get it to work but it wasn’t exactly working properly. She couldn’t tell what was the head and butt from the images. She said, well either way I need you to go to the doctor and get an ultrasound. Your pulse concerns me. I want to make sure baby is not affected by it. I want to make sure your placenta is healthy. I want to make sure you are healthy enough to give birth naturally. She gave me two options. Go back to my doctor to request an ultrasound, but she said if i do that and they find her to be breech still they are just going to schedule the csection right away at 38 weeks. Or she gave me the option to see the specialist OBGYN she works with, to 1) check the baby’s position and then 2) to check the baby’s health and growth along with my placenta’s health and then 3) if baby is still breech he an perform an ECV and manually try to flip her from the outside.
The catch, I have to pay out of pocket $1000. Is the price tag worth not going back to my doctor? Yes. So that is what I am doing, come Monday.
So Monday… I see the specialist. I see what he tells me, whether she is growing properly. Whether my placenta is healthy. And whether I am a good candidate for the ECV. If I am, he may do it right there. There are risks of course, you can go into labor, you can get an emergency c-section because something goes wrong, you can cause fetal distress. I am hoping that will not be the case but we shall see. I have to be prepared but I also want to do all I can to try to flip her. I want my chance at natural birth. I don’t want a csection, although the closer I get, the more I feel like that is where I am heading. Not to be negative, but you just feel these things. But maybe I am just being negative. I hope that is it. I hope my intuition is wrong for once.
I just hope that all is well in all honestly. I hope she is growing enough. I know I haven’t been eating much so I haven’t really gained any weight in the last two weeks. I hope that doesn’t affect her too much. My stomach is measuring a little small but maybe she’s just petite like me.
I don’t feel like I have a problem. A pulse problem as my midwife says. My husband bought me a fit bit watch today so i can continuously monitor my heart rate. It was fine for the hour that I did wear it. It ranged from 76-99 during rest and went up to 112 when i was walking around and active. It didn’t spike to 160 because, well, I wasn’t super anxious and not at a doctor’s office. I know I don’t walk around with a constant pulse of 160. I know I don’t have a blood pressure problem or a pulse problem or any problem except an anxiety problem.
I am tired of people trying to scare me. I know they are just doing their jobs. But what happened to compassion? What happened to trying to understand people and their quirks? Why am I being treated like I am the only anxious person in the world?
I feel sad. I feel helpless. I feel like I have no where to turn and that is part of why I have created this blog. I need to get it out somewhere even if not even one single person reads this. At least it’s out of my head. I feel better already.
I just wish to be treated like a normal person. But I guess you have to be careful. You have to take precaution otherwise if something really is wrong, it could be dangerous.
So what do I do? At this point… surrender.
That is all I can do. Try not to stress. Try not to attach to anything. But rather just surrender.
It’s all up to God anyway. God’s timing. God’s plan. God’s path. It’s not in my control AT ALL. And no matter what I want, or how I want this birth or pregnancy to go, it’s really not up to me in the least bit. So why keep trying to resist? Just surrender.
It’ll probably be better for me in the end because then I won’t feel so bad like I’ve failed. Although, I already feel like that. I already feel like I have failed at this entire pregnancy. That my daughter probably hates me already because she’s not flipping. She can probably sense what an anxious mother she has. Ok, maybe that’s just my depression talking. I hope I don’t develop that next. That’s all I need, postpartum depression to add to the mix.
It’s just stressful. Can you blame me? I just want things to go naturally. I want them to be easy. But maybe God doesn’t want it to go that way for a reason. I don’t know. He obviously knows better. And I have to trust that.
If she flips, she flips. If not, then I guess csection it is. I can’t afford to spend $10,000 for a breech birth and honestly, I don’t even know if I’d want to. It seems a bit dangerous, even though there are tons of evidence showing that if done properly, it should be fine. But it is more risky then a regular vertex birth.
I guess we shall see. In the meantime, all I can do is try to relax and work on myself. Try to get into a better mental state. Try to practice some self care. Get into the word more. Get closer to God. Pray. Pray some more. Ask for faith and help trusting in His plan. And just keep affirming myself that I am healthy and baby is healthy and whichever way it goes, it will go and one way or another this baby is coming out.
It’s all temporary. Everything. This pregnancy will be over and she will be born and then it will be a new adventure.