Before I start, I want to make it clear that everything is fine!…and now I can begin…
So…ever since the little one turned himself head-up on Saturday his movements have been a little bit off. He’s still been moving and kicking about, but it’s been different.
Yesterday, aside from feeling a bit of pressure under my ribs (which made me think he might have flipped back to his former head down pose) he seemed to be exceptionally quiet. We were out and about for most of the day so when I got home I got straight in the bath. He really likes the bath (or really hates it…one of the two) and usually has a good old wriggle when I’m relaxing in there, but yesterday I got a half-hearted flutter or two and not much else.
After that I had a sugary drink and lay down on the bed for a few hours to relax and wait to feel him kick. I used this time wisely to watch Doctor Who, because I haven’t watched that enough (she lied convincingly). Normally he’d make his presence known after twenty minutes or so, even if it was just a tiny movement, but 90 minutes later I didn’t think I’d felt him once. I drank cold drinks, ate an ice lolly, put a cold bottle of cola on my tummy…nothing. I was on the verge of calling the delivery suite to let them know that things were different, when he decided to give me a few kicks and wriggles. I was SO tired (and quite stressed by this point) that I let relief wash over me and settled down to go to sleep.
So, morning rolls around. Normally I’d lie in bed and feel him have a shift about before I got up, but this morning there was no wriggling at all.
I fed the dogs, made tea and sat down in the garden with Luke. A hot cup of tea usually gets our boy jumping, but this morning it didn’t have any effect at all. I suddenly felt very guilty that I hadn’t called the hospital the night before. I called the midwives an hour after I’d gotten up (an hour in which I would normally have felt him move a few times at least) and told them that I was worried and that things weren’t normal, and they asked me to come in.
…but not before making me feel a bit stupid for worrying. I mean, it’s not like I know my own baby’s normal movements.
I decided to go on my own so Luke didn’t have to sit around waiting for ages. It turns out that it was a big mistake to leave the gatekeeper at home.
So, I got there and I was put into one of the delivery rooms to wait for the midwife. When she eventually came in (it was busy and I wasn’t a priority) she was nice, but also quite condescending. Amongst other things she said “And what makes you think it’s abnormal for a baby not to move for 90 minutes?!” and it was a bit like being asked trick questions in a job interview. I honestly felt that she saw me as an inconvenience…as someone who was worrying over nothing. Maybe I WAS worrying over nothing, but I have been told at EVERY midwife appointment that I need to call the delivery suite if my baby’s movements change and if I’m worried.
The movements had changed. I was worried. Q.E.D.
I had to do a urine sample (which turned out to be perfectly fine) then she measured my uterus to make sure he had enough room in there and had a good feel around to see where he was lying (head down! Huzzah!). Then it was time to monitor the baby’s heartbeat electronically. I lay on the bed and had two monitors strapped to my belly – one for the baby’s heartbeat and the other, which would usually be used to monitor contractions, was there to pick up on any movements. I was also given a manual clicker thing so that I could click when I felt him move.
After her initial brusqueness she became quite friendly and pleasant and started explaining EVERYTHING in great detail (what she was doing, how the machines worked, the things she was looking for, etc.). Her general manner was a little “odd” which made me think that perhaps she just wasn’t a people person, or was having a bad day, or that her knicker elastic was too tight…whatever it was, I forgave her initial snippy manner.
She brought me a cuppa and left me and the machine to do our thing.
15 minutes later the machine decided it knew enough to say that the baby was fine, but I’d only felt three movements so she left me for another 15 minutes to see if he did anything else….and that’s when he went all crazy dance party on me and did at least twelve separate movements. His heart rate got quite high at times while he was boinging about, but apparently that’s quite normal (just like anyone’s heart rate increase when they’re moving around).
She was really pleased with the results and said that she was happy to release me without having me seen by a doctor, and off she went to write in my notes. I was feeling quite buoyant by this point…
…and then she came back…
With a forced smile and a voice dripping in condescension she told me that “in the future” if I call the delivery suite first thing in the morning I’m likely to be met by lots of questions as to why I’m concerned, because if I’ve not been up long I’ve not given my baby chance to move. She also (with the same voice and smile) told me off for not calling the night before if I was “so worried”. She did add on the end of it all that even though the baby was fine this time I shouldn’t be put off calling them back as soon as I’m worried again, although this was less reassuring and more “just because you were a big faker today, doesn’t mean that we won’t look after you tomorrow“.
I was pretty upset when I left and had gone back to feeling like I had wasted their time.
Since then though, he’s been incredibly active and has been wriggling about and kicking the living daylights out of me ALL DAY.
He’s back to normal, and with every kick I feel more and more like I did the right thing by going in to get him checked out. His movements were definitely off and there could very well have been something wrong with him. Thank the stars that there wasn’t anything wrong and that the two of us are fine, but I feel like my trip to the hospital should NOT have left me doubting myself and my instincts.
Today is the first time that I have had a bad experience with a midwife, and the first time that I have been made to feel out of control of my own pregnancy. She should have reassured me that I had done the right thing by calling, and not made me feel undermined. It has made me a bit fearful of having to use the Alexandra Hospital in an emergency and if, during labour, I was faced with the same midwife again, I think I would demand that she get out of the room. At least in that situation I will have Luke with me to nip the condescending comments/behaviour in the bud. All hail the gatekeeper!