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My 27-week midwife appointment yesterday was everything I hoped for and more! Anthony couldn’t go, but I really felt God’s presence with me.
The slick morning snowfall stopped in plenty of time for the roads to clear for my 1-hour+ drive. Going into my appointment (anxious as usual to return to the place where we learned we wouldn’t be welcoming a healthy baby home this past September), I knew it was time to schedule the glucose tolerance test and that I wanted to discuss my recent mental health symptoms with my midwife (which is why I was extra grateful for a midwife I had already met and was comfortable with.)
On the way there, the host of the Birth in God’s Presence podcast episode I was listening to explained how her husband commanded her nausea to go during labor and encouraged listeners that they can do the same. I decided to try it with my appointment anxiety. I realized my heart pounding as the medical assistant wrapped the blood pressure cuff around my arm. I looked around the room and breathed deeply as I thought, “Go, anxiety. I command you to go.’ My blood pressure was the lowest it’s been this entire pregnancy! 108/60! Much closer to my typical range during pregnancy. It’s been normal at around 120/80, but considering I had stopped taking baby aspirin around 20 weeks (the typical prevention for preeclampsia, which I had taken my entire pregnancies with my first two sons), the high-for-me blood pressure made me nervous. Discouraged, even.
It worked out that I got a midwife I had seen before (they rotate)- the same one who first heard JAK’s heartbeat on the doppler months ago. She remembered seeing me at a previous appointment and sharing with her JAK’s first name, which she wrote down this time so she would remember. I love those caring touches. I had to cancel my appointment from two weeks ago due to predictions for a nasty winter storm prediction that never happened, so I almost didn’t even get this midwife!
Declining the glucose tolerance test
She asked if I had anything I’d like to discuss, to which I replied, “I guess I’ll start with the glucose test. I’d like to know what alternatives this facility offers to the glucose drink.” I was cautious with my wording, wanting to be respectful but firm in advocating for myself and my baby. I declined the drink for several reasons
- The ingredients. Artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, genetically modified ingredients. Oh, and a TON of sugar.
- I don’t feel the test is an accurate representation of how my body handles the amount of sugar I actually typically eat.
- The drink made me feel awful. This is true for a lot of women. So why is this the standard. The more I think about it, the more uncomfortable I feel with the idea of subjecting a pregnant woman to hours of fasting followed by nausea, vomiting, dizzness, headaches, hunger, weakness, etc. What is this doing to our babies?
- With my second full-term pregnancy, I failed the 1-hr screen, meaning I had to take the 3-hr test, which turned out to be more like a 4-hr test when factoring in their prep time and waiting for the final result of the third blood draw before I could leave. And guess what? I passed. All that for essentially nothing.
The first alternative was called the Breakfast Tolerance Test, which is pretty much the same as the standard test, but instead of drinking the glucose drink, you choose a combination of foods that add up to 50g of sugar from a menu they provide. Eating real foods seemed like a better option to me, so I agreed to that before my midwife shared another, more accurate alternative. I could use a glucose monitoring system to monitor my blood sugar throughout the day for 1-2 weeks. Yes! Bonus: I could do it at home and not have to make an extra drive to spend hours at the hospital lab. A huge plus with two young boys at home in the middle of winter with 3 prenatal appointments already scheduled for the month of December!
Mental health + PTSD
Next, I mentioned the two panic attacks I had in November. She asked if that was typical for me, which it’s not. Since my first miscarriage and near-divorce in 2015, I’ve had 1-2 panic attacks a year, so two in one week was abnormal and concerning for me. She used language like “trauma” and “trigger” and explained that the body remembers trauma even if the brain knows its safe. Her explanation and language were validating, and she referred me to another midwife inside the hospital who specializes in perinatal mental health and is qualified to make diagnoses and prescribe medications when appropriate. This mental health midwife only does short-term diagnosis and treatment, which is exactly what I’m looking for at this point. Just an answer and a point in the right direction.
I left the appointment with a prescription for my glucose monitoring system and an appointment with the mental health midwife scheduled for New Year’s Eve. Oh, and a “See you in two weeks.” Cue flung-open mouth and eyes. Are we at biweekly appointments already???
God with us
Because my dad was less early than usual in showing up to watch the boys before I left, I was parked juuuust under 1 hour and therefore got free parking! A first for me at that facility!
Leaving the parking garage, the first song on the radio was “Fighting for Me” by Riley Clemmons, which has been my battle song as I fight for my mental health.
When the going gets tough
And my strength’s not enough
I see You showing up like never before
This battle for my heart
You took on from the start
You are the peace when my mind’s at war
Fighting for Me – Riley Clemmons
Then I got the PERFECT spot at the tiny gas station right off the crowded main road, which was quite a blessing! I really, actually started crying and said, “thank you, God, for being with me today.” When I tried picking up my glucose testing supplies at the tiny local pharmacy, they didn’t accept my insurance for durable medical equipment. I went to the Kinney’s nearby, where the pharmacist had a tattoo on his forearm with unfamiliar lettering. I asked what his tattoo said, and he told me it was Greek for “promise.” It was a perfect final “I see you; I’m with you” from God to end my day. That gave me all the warm fuzzies because GOD. KEEPS. HIS. PROMISES.
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