Rage Against the Machine that Goes ‘Ping’

I would like to preface this rant by saying that the appointments I have had with my midwife have been awesome. I haven’t gotten to see her the last 3 times.  The last 2 times I saw the OB and today I saw a resident but I miss my midwife and have scheduled ahead so that I will get in to see her again in 3 1/2 weeks.  Apart from the fact that she is in the Air Force and is therefore tough and that we both have equally impressive scars on our ankles from spectacular breakages and is therefore cool, she is also practical, communicative, and takes the approach that a birth experience should be whatever the mother wants it to be. Also, my appointments with her have been, on average, twice as long as the appoints w/ the physicians.

So. Today.

Today I saw the resident that I was alledgedly supposed to have as a back-up for the delivery except that it turns out she will be on vacation the last part of September and so I will have to see a whole new resident in two weeks (which is a waste of appointment time since I just really want to see the midwife).  Anyway, the appt did not start off all that well since she seemed to be reminding me to watch what I eat and that I don’t want to gain too much weight. This is a sore subject for me since I already DO watch what I eat. I don’t eat any larger portions at mealtimes than I did pre-pregnancy (in fact, I eat less since I have less room for my tummy to expand now). I snack more but when I snack I eat either fruit or veggies (well, mostly fruit).  I am gaining weight at a textbook rate and it really doesn’t have much to do with how much I’m eating. I try to not overeat but I still am gaining and gaining. So anyway, that kind of irritated me even tho Troy said he didn’t get the feeling she was trying to chide me.

And then, of course, she used the monitor to check on the baby’s heartrate.  The monitor kept cutting in and out and she couldn’t get an accurate reading because it didn’t hold the tone long enough.  Just as she borrowed Troy’s watch to do a manual count, the machine gave her a reading: 172.  That seemed high to me and sure enough, after we had finished the exam, she consulted with the senior doc, popped her head back in and said that wanted to have me drink more water and monitor the baby’s heartrate for another 20 minutes to make sure it was ok.  The reasoning was that when the mother gets dehydrated, the baby’s heartrate speeds up so they wanted me to get more fluids to check it. So I drank 6 styrofoam cupfuls of water and they hooked me up to their little machine (it actually did NOT go ‘ping’, more’s the pity. what kind of joint is this?!) and had me click the little clicker everytime the baby moved while Troy sat and studied for his CPA exam.

The whole entire time, the heart rate was, on average, about 150-160, which is right on target.  There was one spike of 172 but it lasted for about 1 second before dropping back down. Troy and I both think that the original heartrate monitor was malfunctioning and this is the problem with technology.  When people get too dependent on it, they can’t see when it fails. I did not need to spend an extra 30 mins in the exam room hooked up to a monitor that doesn’t go ‘ping’ to know that my baby’s heartrate was normal.  Even as we listened to the original, malfunctioning monitor we could both tell that the heartrate was not anywhere near 172. As Troy said, he knows what 120 bpm sounds like on his metrinome.  The heartrate was faster than that but not that much faster.  If she had just taken the time to count using Troy’s watch, the machine that does not go ‘ping’ could have been avoided.

This is just one reason why it is so important to be well-read and well-educated concerning childbirth. It is too easy for technology to give inaccurate or misleading information and then you end up hooked up to a machine that may or may not go ‘ping’.

And just to refresh your memory, here is a link to the clip about The Machine that Goes ‘Ping’, complete with subtitles in Portuguese.  For some reason.

Enjoy your day and watch out for techmology.

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