how to make fetal monitoring bearable? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-30-2003, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm so pissed... just found out that the hospital (NY Methodist) where i'll be delivering requires fetal monitoring for 20-30 minutes out of every hour. my midwives/dr's (there are 2 dr's, 4 midwives in the office i go to, so i don't know which one of them will actually be doing my delivery) don't like it either, but say there's nothing they can do - it's just hospital policy.

i'm totally pissed. last time i was strapped down to a fetal monitor almost the entire time and could barely move around at all (tho they did "let" me kneel on the bed for a while). i have been looking forward to being able to move around this time, and thinking what a huge difference it will make...

but, i'm stuck. so - does anyone have any ideas of how i can make that strapped-down time more bearable?
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:30 PM
 
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You can easily be monitored while sitting on a birth ball or in a rocking chair. You do not have to be on the bed. In fact, if standing is what feels good, you can even stand! It would all just require you to be closer to the fetal monitor.

Some hospitals have telemetry units that monitor without wires.
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hmm... i know they don't have the wireless, but i assumed they would make me stay on the bed, since that's what happened (at a different hospital w/ a different - crappy - dr.) last time. i'll discuss this w/ my midwife next week. don't have a birth ball, tho. thanks!
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Old 10-30-2003, 10:39 PM
 
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I would sure make a point to stay home til I really thought I was getting close to delivering.
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Old 10-30-2003, 11:18 PM
 
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I second KM's recommendation ~ don't spend much time there = less time messing with the monitor When I was in labor the first time, I HAD to move around and they HAD to monitor me so a nurse ended up following my movements holding the monitor on me with her hand. It sucked for her :LOL

Also ask the midwife if *she* has access to a labor ball. My m/w swiped one from the physical therapy dept
~diana

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Old 11-01-2003, 11:45 AM
 
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I'd say move as much as possible in that 30-40 minutes you aren't connected and then sit, stand rock, whatever next to the bed when they are monitoring you.
I only needed to be monitored 10-20 minutes an hour with ds, the nurse said she could even follow me around for that time, but with him I took the "rest" and layed in bed for monitoring and then got back up.

With dd (same hospital) the nurse that time said she only need to listen for a contraction. With DD there was no way I was getting into that bed, so I layed on the birthing ball and she listened.

I think the biggest thing will be what nurse you get at delivery. If you don't like the one you are assigned ask for another.

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Old 11-01-2003, 05:02 PM
 
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They can't force you do do it. If you refuse, they may ask you to sign a waiver but that's it.

20 to 30 minutes every hour was a bit too much for me. And towards the end, it hurt to have them strap the belt on. Dh actually did the refusing for me the last time because I was just screaming in pain and all they could think about was the monitor.

They leave you alone in the room after they hook it up. You can unhook it anytime you want.
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Old 11-01-2003, 05:25 PM
 
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I fought 'them' during my first delivery and signed a statement saying I was refusing medical advice and that I took responsibility for any outcome that could have been prevented by using the d**n thing. They still tried holding it against me as I was pushing. Afterward my ped told me I didn't have to sign it. They just made me think I did. They won't refuse me care or hold me down, I just signed away liability to sue for nothing. BTW it was a perfectly natural normal delivery (except the part where I told the delivering dr and all the nurses to get the f*** out of my room). My second delivery we worked with the nurse instead of trying to fight her. She said if the first three contractions registered normal I wouldn't have to do anymore for another hour, she held it while I stood, she made a complete difference in our perception helpful vs fighting us.
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Old 11-01-2003, 11:44 PM
 
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I was induced and the hospital staff insisted I be strapped to the damn monitor almost the entire time. Babe was in such a position that I was extremely limited in the positions I could be in for the damn thing to work. My coping mechanism? Going to the bathroom A LOT, and taking my time at it. I was going to the toilet every 30-45 minutes.

Be -one of the myriad reasons why I won't deliver in a hospital again. .

Be, happy momma to Liberty (12-31-02), Henry (3-17-07) and Prudence (7-02-09)
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Old 11-02-2003, 12:31 AM
 
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ja mama~ Thanks for sharing your story. I to had trouble with the monitor. I wouldn't keep it on The nurse said I had to have that or an internal monitor. Now Kailey has a dime size scar on the back of her head(still no hair grows there

No I know I don't have to be monitored and won't sign the paper! Thanks!

Sorry to kidnap this thread
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Old 11-03-2003, 12:47 AM
 
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Keep telling them that you have to get up to pee. I was on continual monitoring because of a vbac, and I actually had quite a bit of movement. The cords reached quite a ways and I would go and pee at least once an hour. I sat on a birthing ball and stood and rocked back and forth. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
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Old 11-04-2003, 06:36 AM
 
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I had an awful experience with fetal monitoring with DS. We gave birth overseas in a military hospital and I was at the mercy of the awful corpsmen and nurses working that night. They made me sit in a bed for an hour monitoring DS but because he moved around up until I pushed him out they couldn't get a good 20 minute strip. They made me sit in weird positions and wouldn't let me move OR change out of my puke covered shirt until they had 20 minutes.

They never got it because I ripped it off at one point and the doctor finally told them not to try it on me again. This time around I intend on staying with the same doctor up until delivery and also letting them know that there is no way I want fetal monitoring. I will walk out of the hospital and not come back until I have to push if I have to!

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Old 11-05-2003, 11:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by julie128
Keep telling them that you have to get up to pee.
I had the monitor, and I really did keep having to get up to pee! It was a royal pain. I put up with it because I was having all this trouble going into labor, and like everyone else on the birthing team, I wanted to know that the baby was okay.

The good part was that the nursing staff members kept coming in and saying "what a lovely baby" because of the regular heartbeat. It was reassuring.

If you have no reason for your baby to be in distress, why do they have to keep putting you on the monitor once an hour? That is a stupid policy.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 11-05-2003, 11:44 PM
 
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Having given birth at the same hospital...it's not the only "stupid policy" they have in place. I wound up with an internal monitor....UGH! I would just stay at home for as long as you can! I also agree that a lot depends on what nurse you get...mine was sweet but clueless, kept trying to give me an IV...because "everyone gets one" My MW had to tell her about 4 times that I didn't need one! Also, after you have the baby, they will try and take him/her to the nursery for a "bath and re-warming" which they told me could take a few HOURS! I was like, EXCUSE ME, but I don't think so!!!! They just kept telling me it was "policy", finally an administrator came in and said they could NOT give the baby a bath (which he doesn't need anyway) and then he would just have to have his peds exam and they could bring him right back...but that the nurses would have to use gloves to touch him until he had a bath!


Sorry to hijack your thread and I don't want to make you nervouse about NYM, but just be prepared to really stand your ground with them and know your rights! I think I was better educated about some things than they were.
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Old 11-06-2003, 01:15 AM
 
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One of the many things I disliked about having an abnormal labor was the way the nursing staff took the baby to be checked out on a warming table (in the room with me) right after the birth. But then they gave him back to me so I could hold him and warm him up. I don't think I could have handled it if they tried to take him away out of the room right after the birth.

Do you have to have the birth at this hospital? I had a lot of interventions because I really really needed them. But I wouldn't want to have them if I didn't need them. They could slow down a normal labor. (Since I wasn't having a normal labor anyway, I don't know if they interfered in mine or not.) Do your docs/midwives have privileges anywhere else?

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Old 11-06-2003, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm... Thanks for all of your stories. Very helpful. I feel much better equipped now to do whatever I need to do in there. Unfortunately, staying home until the last minute won't really be an option for me - last time was lightning fast, so I'm afraid this time the baby is just gonna fly out, projectile birth. Which would be great - unless I'm on my back with a fetal monitor the whole time. In any case, one thing I definitely don't want to do is give birth in a cab.

Anyway, here's another question: My best friend and then my mom will be coming out here closer to the due date. Depending on who's here that day, one or both of them will be my birth partner(s). They both live on the other side of the country so we can't prepare together. Any tips, from your own experiences, for them? Especially re: how they can advocate for me on potentially contentious issues like this one.

Thanks!

Julie - what is a vbac?
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Old 11-07-2003, 12:11 AM
 
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VBAC = vaginal birth after c-section

You could write out a birth plan. Your practitioners may not pay attention to it. The midwives who did my prenatal care basically told me I didn't need one. But if someone is going to be your informal doula (birth advocate) that person should have your list of things you want/don't want to happen.

I found this sample birth plan on line.

I know that some people don't like birth plans. For example, the authors of the book Birthing From Within doesn't like them. They seem to say that 1) you need to let go of controlling the birth and 2) if you can't trust your providers, then a birth plan won't help anyway.

I disagree with this, though. I think I should have had on paper that they shouldn't cut the cord too soon. Even though I said many times to my midwives that I didn't want the cord to be cut too soon, they were still anxious about the baby. We were all anxious so we caved.

You need to get the midwives behind you on the issue of not monitoring through the whole labor. They should be willing to just monitor for a baseline at the beginning and then not bug you if things are going well.

Oh yeah, the one thing to keep in mind: if you feel okay letting the baby go to the nursery after the birth to be checked out, you want someone to go with her/him. At the same time, you shouldn't be alone right after the birth.

Typing all of this out is making me want to do a home birth if I have another baby.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 11-07-2003, 01:57 AM
 
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I am having a home birth and still writing a birth plan. It's not that I don't trust them, it's just that different women are going to have different preferences (like with how often to monitor, vitamin k and eye goop, delivery positions, etc.) and I want them to know mine.

Of course, in a hospital with OBs, any plan that goes against their routines most likely will not be followed.
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Old 11-20-2003, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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update:

after discussing this with 1 of the dr's and 2 of the midwives, we have come up with a plan that i'm comfortable with, and that meets both hospital policy and state law. (why oh why is there state law dictating how often i should be monitored??? but that's another thread...) so, i'll get 15-20 min of monitoring when i check in. after that, it'll be every 15 min or so, but only for about a minute at a time. i can totally live with that. then, continuous monitoring during 2nd stage, but in any position i want. and, altho telemetry is not available, they will try very hard to have a fetoscope there.

i feel so relieved. i'm surprised at how worked up i got over this. i guess it's no surprise that childbirth brings up some very deep emotional stuff for any of us - and for me (also no surprise, to anyone who knows me) it brought up some serious control issues! hope this will make me better equipped to handle control issues as they arise during labor, as i'm sure they will.

anyway, while i'm procrastinating from my studies i just wanted to post an update and thank y'all for your thoughtful replies, which helped me A LOT in talking to the dr/midwives and my birth partners. and i'll let you know what happens... (37 wks pg now!)
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Old 11-20-2003, 01:47 AM
 
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I highly, highly recommend the book The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin, both for your birth partners and for you. Great book, very informative!

Did you find out whether your midwife has a birthing ball? They're not that expensive, you might even consider getting one yourself - they're awesome for bouncing a baby to sleep on! Very soothing for mom and baby both.

Come visit the NEW QuirkyBaby website -- earn QB Bucks rewards points for purchases, reviews, referrals, and more! Free US shipping on great brands of baby slings and carriers and FREE BabyLegs or babywearing mirror on orders of $100+. Take the QB Quiz for personalized advice!

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Old 11-20-2003, 07:38 PM
 
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"i'm surprised at how worked up i got over this."

I'm not. It's unreasonable and will make the labor harder for you.

I'm really surprised this is state law. Did they happen to mention where you could find this state law?
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Old 11-20-2003, 08:53 PM
 
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I live in New York State, and I told my midwife (in a group) that I didn't want the "standard" 20 minutes strip that was hospital policy, and she said that I just needed to say "I don't want that." I am writing a birth plan anyhow, just to be sure that I cover all the bases (there are 7 midwives in the group). I will sign a waiver or whatever ... Ask the midwife about intermittent monitoring with doptone or fetoscope ... Where does the law say this?
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Old 11-20-2003, 10:16 PM
 
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Maybe it's a state law for the hospital to offer it to you, but no law can make you do it. They just have to write on your chart that you refused.

If they say you can't be admitted without the 20-minute strip, threaten to give birth at home. No way will they want you doing that! They will bend over backwards to get you to stay!
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Old 11-20-2003, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah, the state law thing sounded wierd to me too, and as a law student it really woudlnt be that hard for me to find it, i'm just up to my ears in homework right now so i haven't made time to look into it. whether or not it's true, i'm not too troubled by the initial 20-min strip. if it is law, it's inane, but i don't feel like it will ruin my experience. i was just worried about all the monitoring after that.

if i feel different in the moment, you bet i'll demand a waiver.

i have no doubt you're right about threatening to give birth at home! but i'm hoping not to get in any fights w/ hospital personnel. once i get started it's pretty hard to rein me in, so i'm hoping we can just keep everything chill and diplomatic. i will save my big guns for bigger issues.

midwife says they have birthing balls at the hospital, so i should be set.
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Old 11-21-2003, 12:37 PM
 
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I think if you do not like the hospital requirments for birthing there, you should vote with those beautiful pregnant feet of yours and stay home.

Fetal Heart Monitering was developed by a physician for high risk mothers in labor.

For healthy mothers, to restrict their movement as the monitering does during a normal labor, is detrimental to the outcome of a healthy labor.

If you still want to deliver in a hospital, you need to remember, the hospital is the medical professionals' "turf"( and the insurance company's, and the government's...). You are on their ground. Those are the rules...

When a woman delivers at home, she is the Queen. She has the home court advantage.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 11-21-2003, 12:43 PM
 
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Ask for a copy of that state law.

Read it for yourself.

F.Y.I.:

Your state has a compelling interest in the health (safety, education, and welfare) of its citizens, which is vested in the States by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. These are called the "Police Powers". I am sure the medical board and insurance companies had a "compelling" interest to lobby the State Legislature to pass such a law.

I would have a problem with Congress passing such a law. They already passed a law requiring women to stay 48 hours after birth in the hospital and insurance companies to reimburse. Where is the compelling interest here?

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 11-21-2003, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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applejuice -

believe me, if i could do it at home i would! there's various logistical reasons that just wouldn't be feasible in my situation, but if there's a next time...

anyway, the 48 hr law (i believe it's federal) does require insurance companies to reimburse but does not require the mother to stay. however, we do have to get ok'ed by my dr and ped to leave early. anyway, that's what the midwife told me.

what's the compelling interest? well, as far as insurance goes, that should be clear. there are so few laws requiring insurance co's to pay anything, this is good news to me. as far as limiting mothers' choices, i'd say... patriarchy. that's probably not what it says in the congressional record, however.

one of these days i'll get around to looking up the law and let you know what i find.
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Old 11-21-2003, 08:34 PM
 
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I've found discharge delay is usually waiting for the ped to checl out the babe, usually at rounds in the morning. So see if you can find a friendly ped who will do it whenever you deliver.

As to monitoring, I think that "state law" things is just smoke and mirrors...so you can buck it if you want to.

For practical advice, frequent bathroom breaks as suggested is helpful. Aslo watch, and learn how to reset the machine yourself...less interaction with the nurses, you can turn yourself back on when you feel like it. You usually only have to push one button. It's easy. I did it all the time. Also think about buying your won belts...the hospital ones where I was were itchy and plasticky, and I snagged nice comfy cloth ones (distributor samples I think) from some friendly nursing supervisors while I as a long term guest. They were more easily and more obviously need laundered so I think most hospitals use the yucky plastic ones. The softer ones were nicer. Midwifery and medical supply catalogs would have them.
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Old 11-22-2003, 01:47 PM
 
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If you insist on going to the hospital, I would PUT THEM on the defensive and demand in WRITING a maintenance record from the hospital on that machine. I would also record the identification number of the machine in my own records and the manufacturer.

And of course, DEMAND your records from the hospital before they have a chance to 'doctor' them up.

I wrote on these forums about the time Jay Hathaway of the Bradley method of Natural Childbirth taped the birth of twins confirmed by several U/S scans.

There was one baby.

He went to congratulate the mother on the recovery floor after putting away his film equipment in the delivery room. The new mother's records were changed in that short period of time to reflect the birth of one baby, with NO TWINS in anticipation. No one on the recovery floor knew who Jay was talking about.

RE: leaving the hospital AMA.

The hospital, doctors, nurses, CPS, and the government can make life miserable for you. Remember this is only the beginning of making decisions for your new one. Try to make it as 'non-traumatic" as possible for you, your DH, and your dear child.

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Old 11-22-2003, 03:47 PM
 
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And of course, DEMAND your records from the hospital before they have a chance to 'doctor' them up.
They will make you wait 10-30 days. It doesn't make any sense - a patient should be able to go into the office, demand the record, and have it immediately handed to them because if there is something the doctor doesn't want you to see, it won't be in there.

I used to work for a mental health agency and it was common practice to keep two records on each client - the one we would give them if they asked for it, and the "secret" one. Often, the diagnoses even differed between those two records. Of course, the secret file with all the "real" information was the one given to insurance companies.

Another place I went to get records from had this policy: instead of giving you the record, they would lead you into a windowless room and a person who worked there would read you the record.:
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