Tag Archives: 35 weeks pregnant

35 weeks and group b strep

So I have found out I have group b strep again. I’m pretty devastated to be honest because I cannot imagine any scenario going forth where I won’t have to fight and stand my ground in the face of immense pressure/resistance from HCPs.

When I went into hospital to have little A, I genuinely went with an open mind. I thought things must have moved on in the last ten years, it doesn’t have to be some horribly medicalised birth where they will strip me of my autonomy and treat me only from the neck down. I was wrong, the minute I stepped through that door they were insisting on continuous monitoring, refusing to believe me when I told them I was contracting (because as it turns out their machine was broken, and why would you ever listen to a person over a machine?) And they were putting me under immense pressure to get on a synto drip to speed things up. I had a literal succession of doctors and midwives parade through the room for two hours to tell me how wrong I was, and how I was putting my baby at risk and that I needed to make a decision now. Let me tell you, it had NOTHING to do with what was right or best for me and my baby. It had everything to do with the fact the wards were bursting at the seams and they wanted to get me through as quickly as possible. I have zero faith in the staff on that ward. I don’t expect them to be honest with me and I don’t expect them to respect me. What I do expect is a patronising, paternalistic attitude and an argument.

So what are my options?

Well… what they will tell me is my only option is to go to hospital at the onset of labour to get IV antibiotics. This will involve continuous monitoring (so restricted movement) and if my waters break before contractions begin they will push me to have my labour augmented. After the birth they will require the two of us to stay in hospital for 24 hours for monitoring, and if I happen to give birth at night they will chuck the husband out as soon as they want to move me to the postnatal ward. Sounds f**king horrid right? If I don’t want to submit to all of this I will need to fight them over it, and split my attention and energies at  time when I really should be focusing at the task in hand. 

Alternatively I can go in there and tell them I intend to have a home birth regardless, they will no doubt tell me that I can’t, that they can’t provide antibiotics at home, that no one will be wiling to cover it, that there are staff shortages etc. I can argue with them about it, I can start a letter writing campaign right now, contact the Supervisor of Midwives, the director of women and children’s services for the trust, my local MLA etc. 

I absolutely resent that in my first birth when I meekly went along with everything they told me that I must, I ended up genuinely feeling like I had been sexually assaulted, totally disempowered and humiliated and I honestly believe this contributed to the severe postnatal depression I experienced afterwards. In each subsequent birth I have literally had to fight to get the births that I wanted and to keep my sense of personal autonomy intact. It is utter bullshit that it has had to be this way. I have never felt supported or respected for my right to exercise decisions over my own body. I feel completely sick at the thought of having to speak to another midwife, never mind submit to their way of doing things. 

I couldn’t sleep last night because it just kept tumbling over in my mind the stress and the arguments that are to come. I don’t want to fight anymore, but I’m too damn stubborn to just give up and let them take my birth from me. 

This isn’t about me putting the birth experience before the baby. I’m okay with taking the antibiotics, despite the latest Cochrane review concluding that prophylactic antibiotic treatment of GBS is not evidence based and does not have a statistically significant effect on outcomes. I am okay with intermittent monitoring. I’m okay with most things if there is a medical need for them. What I am not okay with it is doing things a certain way because “that’s how it’s done” or because it suits the institution rather than it having the least bit of connection to what is best for me or my baby. 

Of course the other option is to disengage from services completely, which I’ll admit I am very tempted to do. I’ve already cancelled the midwife appointment I had booked for next week, in theory it is to give me time to think, but I’m not sure I can bring myself to book it again and put myself through this level of stress. Is it really too much to ask for to have the last month of pregnancy not to be a stressy mess? 

I really don’t know what to do, but I’m heartbroken to be sat here having to contemplate all of this. 

The Hospital Bag

 

I’m not sure if it’s nesting or what, but I have felt a pathological urge this week to have absolutely everything ready for baby’s arrival. I went to Mothercare a few nights ago to pick up some nursing bras and nearly had a full on tantrum in the car park when I discovered that they had closed early for a stock-take. I put the cot together (but haven’t side-car’ed it to the bed yet, that’s another post) and I went furniture shopping for a chest of drawers for the baby’s clothes. I had one misadventure with a terrible bit of flat-pack, but that’s been returned to the store now and I went to a proper furniture shop instead. Lastly I had to finish off the job of putting together my hospital bag.

You see there’s still no sign of baby turning, I can’t decide whether or not to try the external cephalic version. This entire pregnancy I haven’t been able to settle myself on the idea of birthing at home (which is odd, considering the iron will I applied to making sure I got my home births on the last two occasions). Maybe my body has been trying to tell me something? Maybe this baby is breech for a reason? Maybe I’m supposed to go to hospital?

I don’t know, but just in case I need a hospital bag packed and ready to go, so like a woman possessed I went out this week and rounded up all those last bits and pieces.

Presenting – What to Pack for Hospital (bearing in mind you intend to spend as little time there as humanly possible).

The Bare Essentials:

 

I’ll admit there’s a few repeated elements here from the “What You Need for a Home Birth” post. Okay so here’s the run down of hospital essentials.

  •  Something to Give Birth In – I have a few options here. Firstly I have a tankini (In case miracles happen, baby flips and I manage to get into a birthing pool) and a breastfeeding friendly night dress.
  • Something to wear afterwards – I have two changes of PJs here. One black and one in slightly more summery colours. Colour isn’t important, well maybe black is the sensible choice given the chances of leakage.
  • Underwear – many, many changes of pants (see the above note on leakage) and nursing bras.
  • Socks and slippers. It might be an idea too to bring a pair of flip flops to wear into the hospital showers.
  • Maternity pads and breast pads.
  • Toiletries – the usual shampoo, shower gel, tooth paste etc. Best to bring a roll-on deodorant, rather than a spray, so you don’t choke your baby/other people on the ward when you use it. Oh and witch hazel! Don’t forget the witch hazel.
  • Not Pictured – Batteries/Camera, magazines/books, earplugs/eye mask, labour snacks, mobile phone & charger, own pillows/nursing pillow. Change of clothes to wear home.

For Baby – The Bare Essentials

  • I haven’t included everything that I’m packing in this picture (don’t want to give away the flavour!) but this is enough to give you an idea.
  • Portable Changing Mat
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • Nappy Sacks
  • Wipes (for you, not baby)
  • Muslin cloths
  • Receiving blanket
  • Cotton Hats
  • Baby gros
  • Vests
  • Socks
  • Scratch Mitts
  • Hand sanitising gel.

 

 

So there’s the run down. Hopefully these bags will never cross in my front door but should I need to go to the hospital I’m ready to rock. One week to go to see if baby will turn. Here’s the 35 weeks Bump.