The Story of Medicine


Okay, I've been thinking about medical stories to share so I can finally join in on a meme.  I've never actually done a meme, and I decided to try one.

Then comes the fun of figuring out which one(s) to share.  I'm afraid my personal medical experiences are mostly negative. I had never really been exposed to doctors until my first pregnancy, and then I think I met every stinkin' one of them [including students, residents, and attendings] in Columbia, MO [University Physicians, teaching hospital, which means they get all the best equipment, and probably the best docs, but you have to deal with students, which means every test, poke and prod in triplicate.]

So anyway, it's not that the docs at U.P. were incompetent, it's just that they were not very compassionate [and some had the dreaded 'god complex' which meant that they didn't listen to anything I said, because I'm a patient and can't possibly know my body as well as they do]. 

So I was sifting through all my medical memories, remembering some of the stuff that was traumatic, but then I thought, why talk about the bad stuff?  There were a couple of funny/positive things that happened during my pregnancies, too, so I'll share a couple of those. 

During my first pregnancy, I was in the hospital for four days when I was about fifteen weeks along.  I had tachycardia [when I was admitted, my heart rate was averaging 156 bpm, with spikes over 180 when the docs pissed me off, which unfortunately happened a lot] and the cardiologist wanted to do some tests to find out why. [Is it just me, or do cardiologists generally lack the organ they specialize in… the woman was a nightmare, honestly.]

So they were doing their tests, and it just happened to be the weekend Princess Diana died, which was weird, but anyway, at one point I had a resident [maybe?] come in to ask me some questions.  We were talking about the fact that I had felt the baby move, and that I hadn't gained much weight yet [I'd been throwing up several times a day for fourteen weeks, so I couldn't eat much yet].

Somehow, he got it into his head that I must be farther along than I thought, because I couldn't possibly be feeling the baby move, and a bunch of other nonsense.  

I told him I knew exactly how far along I was since I knew the exact day we had conceived [May 26, 1997, thank you very much].  He kinda said, "Whatever," and left.

I got an ultrasound later that day, and they confirmed that I was indeed fifteen weeks along.  

Here's the amazing part:  The resident actually came back in, apologized, and said, "You were right."  :-O  Given the experiences I'd been having that week with the other docs I was dealing with, I was truly amazed and impressed with that guy.

The other one was when I was pregnant with Michaela [number three, if you're just joining us].  I'd had a c-section with Matthew [I was 36 weeks, my fluid was low, they induced, Matt went into distress two contractions into labor, and we headed to the OR.  Matt weighed 3 lbs 11 oz, I guess because of the meds I was on, and we spent two weeks in the NICU.  I got to watch the big 2000 election fiasco while I was on Vicodin, woo hoo!]

So anyway, third pregnancy, same complications as with the other two [tachycardia].  They decided to induce again.  I started out dialated to two centimeters, and after a couple of hours on pitocin I was still at a two.

One of the great things about UP, is that they are pretty up on the new wisdom in medicine, so they were okay with giving me an epidural early on in the process.  Plus, with my heart problem, they didn't want to stress me out with pain [hee hee, I wasn't gonna argue with that:-P]

So my parents and Steve are in the delivery room with me, and we're relaxing and visiting, waiting for the pit to do it's work.  I remember that my contractions were never closer than two minutes apart [don't know why, just know it's true.  Even when I was pushing her out, we'd have to wait a couple of minutes for the next contraction to hit so I could push again].

They check me after three or four hours, and I'm still at two centimeters, so they strip my membranes and kinda stretch my cervix while they're at it.  That's one of those things you don't want to happen without being numb.  They told me they wouldn't have done it if I hadn't had the epidural.

So when she was done, I was at a three or four.  A couple more hours pass, and we're still chit chatting.  They had given me a PCA pump so I could click every time it hurt.  I was clicking, but Michaela's heart rate was dropping so they made me stay on my left side.  

The medicine in the epidural was a little off balance because of that, so I could feel cramping on my right side, but couldn't move my left leg at all because most of the medicine ended up on my left side.  That was fun when it came time to go to the bathroom, let me tell ya!

So after, I dunno, eight hours of labor, I was still at a four, and they started talking c-section.  The doctor suggested it, said we hadn't made any progress in like four hours or something, and maybe it was time to do a c-section.

I didn't want to.  I'd had one of those, and it wasn't fun, so I said, "Give me one more hour, okay?"  He agreed, and for the next hour, I didn't talk to anyone.

Each time a contraction hit, I would close my eyes, pray, and visualize my cervix opening.  An hour later when the doc came in to check my, I was complete [10 centimeters] and we started pushing.

One of my pastor's wives had had an epidural with her third pregnancy and hated it because it took away her urge to push.  That's true I guess since I've never experienced that urge [at least not when giving birth] but just because I don't feel the urge doesn't mean I can't do it.

So I pushed twice and Michaela was born.  It's some kind of strange irony, don't you think, that I'm sick, bedridden, and miserable during my pregnancies, but I can push the little goobers out like it's nothing.

So this [finally] is the cool part.  After it was all over, the doctor came in to ask me how I was doing and everything, and he shook his head and told me I was one of the most amazing women he'd ever met.

How cool is that?  I guess it's because I'd gone eight hours without dilating on my own at all, and during the last hour I went from four to ten centimeters.  I was pretty impressed with myself too, to be perfectly honest. Hee hee, so there you have it folks!

Good night. 

About Shelbi

Work-at-home wife, mom of three kids, and caregiver for my brother, who has Cerebral Palsy. Never a dull moment, in other words. No idea how much I'll post, since I'm super busy these days, but maybe I'll get over here once in a while.

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Balls and Walnuts - dig the frog » The barbarous craft: a contest

  2. Pingback: Balls and Walnuts - dig the frog » Winners of The Barbarous Craft Contest

  3. Nope, you aren’t all scum. I actually loved my maternal-fetal-medicine specialist, and my current GP goes to my church and is a nice, caring man, both in and out of the office.

    I’m sure that most docs are good people, I’ve just had rotten luck much of the time! 😉

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