Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Head Rest

Thank you all so much for reaching out and offering me support and hugs and words of wisdom. As someone who could win the bad blogger award of late,  I sure got lucky with all of you rallying around me!

It has been a week since I was signed off work for my version of bed-rest, which I lovingly called head-rest. And it's been an interesting week. I am someone who needs structure in my day, so it's been a challenge, but one i think I am managing okay. In between dealing with the disability claim ( not gone anywhere so far, but I have requested forms and I have asked some questions that I am concerned about to our rep) and the other work aftermath / loose ends / drama, I have been resting, going to different doctor's appointments, reaching out to my IRL friends so I won't be horribly lonely, sleeping a lot, and trying my best to  be domesticated. The weather has been lovely and I have been able to sit out in the garden and get some rays. I almost feel like I should be walking around under a veil in case I see people ( like clients and staff) who don't understand that when you are on head rest, the last thing you need to do is stay in the house. I live pretty near my work but am far enough away that if I deliberately don't shop in that part of town or hang out there much I can avoid people.

It has not taken too long for me to begin to feel a little bit more sane. Monday was hard because I needed to talk to my boss about various things and especially the big nasty issue that is still looming and not resolved. I have been tearful pretty much most days except to day - which I think is good progress. I think knowing that I am both  dispensable and indispensable, and realizing that I have been through way too much stress than is good for  one person has helped me a lot. One of my friends once said something about social services to the point of "social work can bleed you dry - even if you have the biggest heart" and she was right. Social work in my experience is pretty well populated by people who would go above and beyond for their clients ( not all social workers, I know....) and the agencies that they work for feel the same and in some ways they take advantage of our good hearts and consciences. I think as a boss I have been guilty of pushing myself too hard but also wanting my staff to push hard too, because the work has to get done and there are never going to be enough people to do it. Although in my defense, I took on a lot of work previously done by my staff so that their burdens could be relieved.

There are times when I think about work and then I think to myself - wow, I don't have to do that again! I remember when I was still at work I would think - wow, only 7 more weeks till I don't have to do that! My boss and I came up with an agreement when I told her ( out of the kindness of my heart, as well as a fair bit of guilt) that I really did not want to return to my job after the baby was born, but I needed the sick leave and I wouldn't mind coming back part time. I could have said nothing, taken off three months and then come in for one day and done a moonlight flit. But I didn't. I think she was relieved that she would be able to plan for my exit and hire someone else in advance. But by the time I left it looked like that was still not happening - or going very slowly. So the plan was for me to take my three months and return as a part time person, doing some direct service / perhaps running a small program that is an offshoot of our larger one. Now that my departure was precipitous and will extend my original leave by about 6 weeks I am not sure what is in store. I am waiting to find out how long I can be on STD and if it can be for two different things: 1. loosing my marbles, and 2. having just had a baby.

One of the other things that has been causing me so much stress, and which I have found it really hard to write about is the plans about how this baby is coming out. I have been told from almost the beginning that I will need a c section because of my humungous uterine fibroid, added to a previous myomectomy ( an intra-uterine one, which is apparently the lowest risk) and thirdly the most recent development, my so called Gestational Diabetes. But at each visit, the doctor has been very reluctant to decisively say one way or another. The midwives, who I started off seeing, still think I can have a vaginal birth and I don't know what to think. I know this may sound trivial to some of my sisters in IF, and I apologize for that, but I really feel like I need to know ahead of time what is going to happen. I don't want uncertainty and unknown ( like the rest of TTC when you are IF) and even if that means a c section I have become okay with that. I know, I know, it's ridiculous to think you are having a child and there will be no uncertainty or ambivalence - I get that. But for some reason  I glommed onto the whole scheduled c section thing - I think it's the high tech medicine  junkie that I have become after starting out with IUIs in a feminist clinic full of lesbians and graduating to some of the most high tech interventions known to reproductive medicine.

Well my most recent ultrasound put the damper on my plans to have surgery, because the fibroid has moved ( is that even possible?), the baby's head is now below the fibroid, there is no birth canal blockage courtesy of the fibroid, and the baby who has been feet down this whole time has miraculously turned and is facing in the right direction. I know that most people would greet this news with excitement but I didn't. I was upset and scared. And to  top it off I really believe that no one at my doctor's office is really that concerned. And no-one has bothered to review the records of my  myomectomy surgery, which I am now very dramatically convinced is going to be the sticking point, or the thing that makes me worry about all kinds of horrible things happening if and when I push. Never have I felt so disempowered and unable to speak up for myself. So I talked to a dear friend / family member who is also a midwife and she talked me through questions I could ask the doctors and the midwives so I could know what they thought the risks of a vaginal birth really are - rather than the vague - "oh you should be able to push" discussions we have had.

So I went over there yesterday to get a copy of my medical records and while I was there I told them I thought the baby was not moving as much as usual and could they check me out. So the midwife was there and she checked me out and was very nice, so I decided to tell her my concerns esp about the previous surgery and asked if I could have copies of the surgical report and could she please look at it too and tell me what she thinks. She obliged and had one of the doctors look it over too and their verdict, while not scientific in terms of how much risk there would be, was that this kind of surgery presented a low risk and I should be able to labor. Which is what the surgeon who did my surgery said also, because I emailed him to ask him last week. And then as I am asking her for the most recent ultrasound report, the doctor's nurse comes by, ( Little Miss Mary Sunshine herself) and sees us looking at the records in the very tiny corridor and says, "Oh, C......, are you worrying again, oh you are such a worrier!" almost amused and scolding at the same time, to which I replied, "Yes I am worrying, it's in my nature, it's my pathology," in a snarky way. Apparently worrying about whether you are going to make the right or wrong decision about child birth is just plain silly! And you know, looking at medical records, well that's just plain neurotic! And you know what's even more ridiculous, the frickin' doctor had not even bothered to look at them himself. No one had signed the record as reviewing it till I asked the midwife to do it. Aaaargh!

They sent me over to the Fetal and Maternal Medicine department for a fluid check and a non stress test ( which contrary to my pre conceived notions has nothing to do with being on a treadmill with an electrode on your heart). It turned out the fluid is a 13 ( fine apparently),  the baby is moving around something fierce, and all is well. I just can't feel her that well because of the position of the placenta.

So the ending to this part of the story is that I am slowly getting used to the idea of a vaginal birth and all that entails and considering reading some of the many books I ordered on the subject when I first found out I was more than 12 weeks pregnant. I even have an appointment with the other midwife to talk about birth and we will be attending the express version of the prepared childbirth classes along with the usual breast-feeding, CPR and baby care classes.

So all in all, I am grateful that I have  job that gives me short term disability (fx everyone!) and that I can take this time off, even though that's not the way I planned it at all. I am trying to schedule at least one thing out of the house every day ( which I hear is good training for mommy-hood) and trying not to feel like a failure or a slug.  And most of all I am extremely grateful to be in this position because I am a pregnant old lady who is very very excited to meet her little sweet pea. I am so excited sometimes that I really really want to say her name out loud to people but I promised I wouldn't and I want it to be both a surprise for others as well as a fait accomplis, so no-one can say, are you sure you want to call her Abyssinia? ( for example!)

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement. I hope that I will be a better blogger now that I have more time, and I hope to be commenting more on everyone else's blogs too:)


-C- said...

Sounds like you are dealing with a lot (internally) right now. I'm sorry. I am still in IF-land and I don't blame you ONE BIT for your wanting to know how the birth will go so you can mentally prepare. You sound exactly like me. I am so scared as my first IUI (in the driver's seat) approaches. The #1 reason I hate the idea of pregnancy/labor/recovery is that no two women's stories are the same. It's so unpredictable. If they could just tell me what would happen to me, I could prepare. Either outcome, I know you can do this! Take care.

K said...

OK, I can't tell for sure if you're in a space to want feedback or not, so this will be a "choose your own adventure" comment.

If your answer is "I'm doing just fine, please keep all opinions to yourself," read this paragraph THEN STOP: I'm so glad you have this time to rest and take care of yourself, and I'm so proud of you for standing up for yourself and your baby to make it happen. I hope you can get lots of good rest between now and your little one's arrival!

If your answer is "I'm struggling here and I'd appreciate your thoughts on all this," read from here to the end: I had a c-section, as you know, and I HATE that. It is the single factor that causes me the most pain when I think back on E's birth. I really hope to try for a VBAC with baby #2 if and when I have the opportunity to do so. I say all of this to reinforce that I am NOT one of those people who pushes scheduled c-sections are the ideal way to birth. I think everyone needs to choose their own best pathway to birth. When I read what you have written, I wonder if scheduling a c-section would be the best decision for YOU. Is that even an option or is your doctor requiring that you attempt a vaginal birth first? I'm a planner (mental image-r?) too and I can completely understand the stress of going through your whole pregnancy thinking you are going to have outcome A and then learning at the "last minute" it will be outcome G instead. Well, maybe outcome G, or maybe you'll need to end up with A anyway but we can't tell you right now and maybe we'll have you try G first and then only go to A if it looks like something bad is happening. That's no way for someone to approach childbirth, unless it's what they want, and it doesn't sound to me like you do. During labor, more than any other time in your life, it is important that you feel confident, nurtured, listened to, and SAFE. Just because you "can" do something doesn't mean you have to. Even if your doctor is resistant to scheduling the c-section now based upon the recent developments, you could still ask for it based upon your MH disability. I wonder if your psychiatrist would even advocate for it on your behalf. IF that would feel safer and more comfortable to YOU. If not, and this is just the biggest load of assvice you never needed, please disregard and continue on the road to your own best answer. :-) Big hugs to you.

Malea said...

STD can be beneficial in two ways one being giving you time to look for another job.

Missy said...

Just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and wishing for the best birth outcome whatever path you go down.

kate said...

UGH. You know, part of this renewal of birthing rights happening over the last several years should include the idea that women should be able to choose the way they are most comfortable with giving birth, even if it means a surgical birth! I actually ended up "divorcing" my first OB over that exact issue, as she would not even discuss my preference with twins of delivering via c-birth...baloney!!

Here's hoping you get this and all the work nonsense sorted out soon. Enjoy your head-rest! I think it's a great idea for most pregnant women to take some head-rest at the end! It's hard work!

Celia said...

Girl, let me tell you if there is ANY way for you to deliver vaginally, go for it. Having a baby that needs you while you can't even sit up without intense pain is bad times. You want to be in top form so you can enjoy yourself and your new baby. It takes weeks to recover and the baby does not wait for you.

mekate said...

I'd edit this to say: "social work can bleed you dry - ESPECIALLY if you have the biggest heart"

Sounds like you are doing a great job moving toward day to day balance. Keep being gentle with yourself and keep connecting.

And I so get the discomfort with ambiguity about what might happen as your little one comes into the world. What I want for you? SAFETY. Keep asking until you feel you know what is best for you and why. Sometimes the perspective of a new doc (a second opinion) is the way to go.


Malea said...

"But for some reason I glommed onto the whole scheduled c section thing - I"

Claire if this is what will give you peace of mind and lower your stress level then do it. Don't let someone who isn't in your shoes scare you into vaginal if the thought of it's uncertainty scares you. You're a planner and it's alright to plan this too.