The Importance of Self Advocating

Hellllllo everybody!

I haven’t been writing as much as I would like, but I decided it would be a fabulous idea to take two condensed summer classes along with working and you know, having an infant, so things have been a little busy over here!

Ive mentioned in previous posts that I had to do some major self advocating during my pregnancy, and there is quite the back story to that so here we go! I’m going to tell the story as if you know nothing about my pregnancy so bear with me if you hear some repeated details.

I approached pregnancy with guns a blazin’ towards my doctors due to hearing so many horrific stories of abuse to women in the maternity system. I was not about to let anyone try and force me to do something unnecessary or that I didn’t want to do. For my first appointment I wanted to get in ASAP as I had two miscarriages before this pregnancy that gave me major, major anxiety. My regular doctor was super busy but the nurse midwife was available so I thought, sure! Ill see her to confirm or whatnot and go back to my regular. I went in for the appointment, got an ultrasound and there was a heartbeat, I was shell shocked, I had never seen that before. To my surprise, the midwife had asked me to stick with her because she would love to see me through this pregnancy , I was impressed she cared and because I wanted a natural approach to childbirth I happily accepted. The next weeks went on as normal, until I went for my 20 week anatomy scan.

I had an appointment to go over the scan with the midwife, and everything came out perfect apart from a low lying placenta. She very quickly said, “oh that will move right up as your baby grows, nothing to worry about at all” and I honestly didn’t even think about it at all after, which is strange for me as I usually seek every bit of info I can regarding anything with my medical care. I had another check up ultrasound at 27 weeks, placenta still low. I had asked my midwife if it didn’t move what happens? do I need a c-section? Do I need to take precaution? and she shot me down immediately, ” Oh we aren’t even going to talk about that, it’s fine”

A few weeks later, I had a hair appointment with my long time stylist and confidant, and I was just chatting as you do about the pregnancy and mentioned the low lying placenta. That’s when she told me that she had the exact same thing, that its extremely dangerous, and I needed to do something to figure this out. There is a big risk for hemorrhage, they planned an early cesarean at 36 weeks for her because they do NOT wanting you going into labor (cervix starts opening, rips the placenta, hemorrhage waiting to happen), and they gave her steroid shots to advance baby’s lungs in time. I was furious. At the very least I could have been informed this was a possibility, I immediately called my office as I had no further ultrasounds authorized and I needed another one by 34 weeks in order to confirm what kind of birth I would be having. The MA gave me the most ridiculous attitude I have ever received from a medical professional. Upon asking for more information and another ultrasound, “Well your friend telling you you are going to bleed out and die is WRONG”, and I was like, woah woah woah, I didn’t say anything like that at all I just want some f**king effort put into figure out if I have this extremely dangerous condition, k? She hung up on me.

I went in for a regular checkup, and believe me I was ready to tear the place down. Hell hath no fury than an angry pregnant me, I demanded all copies of my ultrasound reports, and a request for an confirmation ultrasound. The midwife rolled her eyes asked why I was so concerned, and I told her I shouldn’t have to google things to be informed, she then went on a rant saying how its only partial previa and I could still birth vaginally I “would just bleed more”, and she then belittled me by saying ” Oh I forgot you had miscarriages, that explains a lot.” I left immediately. Big surprise, they never put the auth in after telling me they did, so my godsend of a friend who worked in the office I went to jumped through a thousand loops to push through authorization for an ultrasound. Seriously, she was incredible and the only, I repeat the ONLY reason I was able to receive the correct care. I went to my ultrasound at 34 weeks to confirm, and the radiologist right then and there said, yep, full previa, there is no way of avoiding a c-section and I need to be on pelvic rest. My heart broke a little, I wanted so badly a natural vaginal birth, I had hired a doula, learned hypnobirthing, did 100 squats a day just to prepare. Nonetheless, it was good to know I wasn’t crazy.

My last and final appointment with the midwife, she sat there staring at the report and even though it said right on there full previa, she tried to argue it and convince me not to have a cesarean. I was immediately switched to my wonderful original OB, who as soon as I went in validated my feelings about the previa and scheduled my c-section for 37 1/2 weeks. He even ordered another ultrasound to assure I didn’t have accreda, and told me he would have extra doctors in place in case of a hemorrhage and told me exactly what he would do if that happened. I did end up hemorrhaging, and I thank God he was there. (Check out Oliver’s birth story blog if you want to hear more about that)

If I had listened to my midwife, if I hadn’t had a random encounter at my hair appointment, if I didn’t have a friend in the office, to say it bluntly I could have died. I was so lucky I had allies. Trust your gut, just because your doctor or midwife is your care provider doesn’t always mean they have your best interest. Your care is in your hands! I can not stress this enough.

I don’t want to scare any expectant parents, my only intention with this post is to help enable people to take things into their own hands and again, trust your gut.

If you read all this, you are a champ! I’m more than happy to answer any questions at all so please reach out!

*Special thank you to my “hairapist” Sarah, and my kick ass friend Cassie, you guys the real MVP’s*

As always, ill be back soon,

Love

S

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