Go Ahead, Make My Day (34 Weeks Prenatal Visit)

We went to the 34 Week Prenatal Visit last night. Yes, it was the same midwife from last time, though she seemed to have relaxed and there were no more awkward non-joke jokes.

We have decided to have a hospital birth because my first child was born with a complex heart condition and my husband was deployed during the last birth. We considered a home birth, but decided that wasn’t the best option this time for our family as a whole. Although I wish we had the “middle ground” option of a birthing center, that isn’t available in our area.

So, at this visit, I brought a draft of the birth plan to get an idea of what to emphasize. Our hospital is actually the best in our area both as a medical facility and in terms of what I want for the birth–the midwife practice has a very low c-section rate, less than half the national average, and the other area hospitals do not offer rooming in. So, all was going relatively well until we got to the part about allowing labor to progress naturally even after the membranes release.

Although she said they are willing to let things take their natural course, she casually mentioned that if I develop a fever during labor, my son will be brought to the NICU for antibiotics until he is cleared to go.

“The WHAT?”

Last time I did in fact develop a fever, which no one noticed until my mom said, “She’s burning up.” The wait for antibiotics stalled the labor but in the end, everything worked out fine. After she was born, my daughter was given antibiotics in an IV drip in our room. After 24 hours, she checked out fine and, if it weren’t for the heart murmur, we would have been able to leave.

So, explain to me why my son would need to go to a NICU to receive antibiotics?

According to the midwife: “That was Texas. I don’t know of any hospital in New York that does that. That’s the policy.”

Hopefully this won’t be an issue. But what bothers me the most is the pressure it puts on once the membranes release–the threat of separation hanging over you, pressuring you to make decisions you don’t want to make. If labor isn’t progressing, then here comes the suggestion of pictocin (don’t want to get an infection and be separated), and then the increased risk of a c-section. Last time I had pit but no c-section (thankfully), but that’s a fairly typical downward spiral of how a mama who wants to have a natural or vaginal birth can lose control of her own labor. To me this is not allowing things to take their course.

Later on, I find out that they have a “non-separation bonus” which means that, if requested in advance, the standard heel-pricking, etc. are done in the room with you unless they don’t have enough staffing.

Would I have found out about this if I hadn’t strongly expressed the desire to not be separated from my newborn son?

And, sorry…we’ll wait until staffing is available for non-urgent medical procedures. Unless someone’s life is in danger, no one is taking my newborn son from me.

Out in the parking lot, I turned to my husband and said, “You know, I can refuse consent…if there’s a problem, we may find out how security reacts to a postpartum mama who refuses to hand over her baby.”

He gave me that look you give the strange guy on the street who mutters to himself.

“Will you back me up?”

He still looked a bit anxious, but to his credit the man said yes.

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  1. I totally understand where you are going with the separation thing… I do feel from both of my experiences in labor that when the child is whisked away from you it can cause a problem with bonding even if for just a few minutes… and especially after a c-section which I’ve “had” to have both pregnancies (first time emergency and second , even though on the 2nd it was advised I have a repeat but it didn’t help the doctor had accidentally puncture my water sak a week prior, leaving no amniotic fluid in the womb when i went in with painful gut wrenching contractions)… as I will again this September.

    Both my boys acted a bit “odd” with me.. they don’t like to be held a certain way.. still don’t… you can tell there is a difference..

    Be strong and yeah some docs do say the dumbest things … or “try” to make jokes that don’t make sense.. its weird.

  2. Debbie says:

    Wow. I’m beginning to appreciate my hospital more. It had a rooming in policy. The only time baby was removed from the room was for his circumcision. If I had been well, I would have been allowed to go with him to that. But I had a c-section and was in too much pain to move…so daddy went instead. As moms, we need to push more hospitals to do rooming-in.

  3. Mama Luxe says:

    Kristinia–Thanks for the comment. You know, my daughter wasn’t a cuddler until fairly recently, and we spent no time apart when she was a newborn. So, maybe that’s just they way they are? But I totally agree that non-separation is the way to go for me and should be available for moms who want it everywhere…

    Debbie–To clarify: Ours has rooming in as the standard policy (though it is the only one in the area). I would not go to a hospital that didn’t have rooming in, even if it meant staying with my parents for the last month. The “non-separation bonus” is to have the standard stuff you mentioned done in our room. At Ft. Hood, this was all done in our room as a matter of course.

  4. Lesha says:

    We stressed the same thing to EVERY nurse we were in contact with when I was having my c-section (originally planned for natural birth center birth, but kiddo was breach) and they still tried to take him from hubby. They made a huge deal out of nothing, and CPS was either called or almost called, I never could figure out which. It was a mess, but in the end baby never left daddy…just like mommy wanted.

    Good luck sticking to your guns in the hospital!