Thursday, 11 August 2016

30 Weeks - Hope and Despair

When I told my midwife at my first appointment that I would be refusing consultant-led care, I thought that would be it. They would respect my wishes and my pregnancy would progress in a positive manner.

That was 19 weeks ago.

I was wrong.

I'm still dealing with their refusal to accept my decisions. 19 weeks of anxiety, pressure and threats.

Pregnancy should not be filled with worry and stress.

It should be a time of joy, expectation and hope.

I feel constantly worried. The threats have wormed their way into my head.

My blood sugar levels are brilliant; my blood pressure is fine; I've lost weight; my concerns about SPD were unfounded; baby is head down and moves plenty.

And yet, I am full of fear.

Full of what-ifs.

It is a lonely journey.

The curse of motherhood is that we will always worry about the future and feel guilt about the past.

The burden of responsibility is huge.

From my previous pregnancies I know that a consultant appointment involves all the same checks as at a midwife appointment, minus the competence, and with a big dose of patronisation and fearmongering added in. I never gained anything useful from consultant appointments. They didn't make my pregnancies better. They didn't improve the outcomes of labour. I controlled my gestational diabetes myself. By diet and exercise alone in my first pregnancy, and with the addition of metformin in my second. And that was down to already being on it before getting pregnant.

The consultants never detected anything that wasn't picked up by my midwife. The growth scans I had with B didn't stop her from being 9lb8oz at birth. It wasn't down to any of these extra checks that I gave birth to both girls naturally, with no tearing.

So why do I keep wondering if I should give in to the pressure and go to see the consultant?

The pressure wouldn't end there. It's not like they would accept my presence at one appointment and then leave me alone. In fact, by giving in to the pressure, I would be telling them that their threatening tactics work and they would likely step it up to get me to agree to more and more that I don't want.

So I live with the worry.

All along I have said that I trust my midwife, Mandy, and that if she believed something was entirely necessary I would follow her instruction. Which is why I have agreed to have one growth scan. From my own research I know that they're not particularly accurate - though more so in women who have gestational diabetes, down to the fact that we're more likely to have big babies anyway.

"The researchers found four studies that looked at the ability of ultrasound to predict big babies in women with diabetes. The accuracy of these ultrasounds was 61 to 63%, which means that for every ten babies of diabetic women who are thought to weigh more than 8 lbs., 13 oz., six will weigh more and four will weigh less. The ultrasound test probably performs better in diabetic women simply because diabetic women are more likely to have big babies. In other words, it’s easier to predict a big baby in someone who is much more likely to have a big baby to begin with." (Evidence Based Birth)

But Mandy has said that a growth scan would be useful for her and the other midwives just to be prepared for what they might expect at my homebirth. In a bid to help her cover herself, and to enable me to look like less of a troublemaker, I've said I'll have the scan, so I'm booked in for 33 weeks.

This worries me too now. Evidence points to the perception of carrying a big baby being a greater risk to birth outcome.

"The end results were astonishing. Women who were suspected of having a big baby (and actually ended up having one) had triple the induction rate; more than triple the Cesarean rate, and a quadrupling of the maternal complication rate, compared to women who were not suspected of having a big baby but had one anyway." (Evidence Based Birth)

I just want to enjoy my pregnancy. I feel like I've been pregnant forever, and for the last 19 weeks I've had something to worry about. I'm sick of it.

I've put in my official complaint regarding the threats and coercion from the consultant, and have been assured that I'll have a response by the end of August.

I've been booked in for a Glucose Tolerance Test, but I'll be cancelling. I know I have Gestational Diabetes. I'm being treated as someone who has GD. I'm already monitoring my blood sugars and keeping them well under control. I've spent my whole pregnancy avoiding sugar and carbohydrates as much as possible. Why would I want to down a litre of lucozade and fill my blood with almost pure sugar and colourings? It's needless. But, again, Mandy had to book it in to ensure she's covered if anything goes wrong with my pregnancy.

And that's just it. Right from the start I've been treated as if something will go wrong. There has been no positivity. It's difficult to feel joy about something that everyone is convinced will end in disaster.

I try to focus on the life of the lovely little person inside me.

The movements that I feel.

The little personality I can almost sense already.

This baby is so loved.

By me, by the Hubby, by our girls and the rest of our family. We've not met them yet, but they're a part of our family.

I breathe. I focus on the baby. I talk and pat my bump.

And I try to be positive.

For "all shall be well.

"And all shall be well.

"And all manner of thing shall be well." (Julian of Norwich)

It has to be.

cottontail rabbit
Baby is the size of a cottontail rabbit
Stats from the last fortnight
 Average after meal sugars: 4.9 mmol/L
Average fasting sugars: 4.6 mmol/L
Weight:  -4lb

Catch up: 28 Weeks
Next: 31 Weeks


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