Prenatal Testing- Or the lack thereof

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I was inspired by my friend Leah’s post today to write about my own prenatal testing through my pregnancies. I want to say that these were our own choices-really most were my choices, so if you chose differently, then know that I’m not judging how you go through your own pregnancy.

With Liam I knew that I wanted a home birth. After getting my husband somewhat on-board, I interviewed some midwives and we picked one. At the first prenatal appointment, I peed in a cup, learned how to test my own urine, weighed myself and then my midwife checked fundal height, blood pressure and used a Doppler to hear the heartbeat. She gave me paperwork to have blood drawn at a local lab and I completed that within the next month. My results came back with all things good.

My husband wanted me to see an OB and possibly get an ultrasound because he wanted to check the baby out. At twenty weeks, we went and saw an OB for the first time. I brought my lab work with me and did not tell them I was planning a home birth. I did not want their opinion on my choice. I got to pee in a cup and then put the urine into a metal cabinet in the wall where it promptly disappeared. They never told me the results from the urine test. Then I got to be weighed and have my blood pressure taken. The nurse looked at my lab results and told me that I was not immune to Rubella. Funny thing was that is not what the lab results said. I guess she didn’t know I could read and it said that my levels were well within immunity level. They were shocked that I had not at an ultrasound and quickly scheduled me to have a five minute scan. I wasn’t quite expecting that, but was excited and apprehensive. They did the scan and told us we were having a boy. I didn’t want to know the results, but we neglected to inform them.

I went back twice more to this OB practice. I saw the nurse practitioner the other two times. I opted to go for a glucose screen on my second visit. I enjoyed drinking my flat soda. The phlebotomist drew the blood efficiently and I never heard back from them on the results, so I presumed I was not diabetic. I went back one more time. It was the last after I asked the nurse practitioner what the OB’s induction policy was. She informed me that in Chattanooga, God didn’t decide when babies came. I chose not to come back and the only time I heard from the office was when I got my global billing fee. I told them that I had only been three times and they prorated the amount. They did not care that I didn’t come back.

After that, my midwife visits were routine. She always checked my blood pressure and it did rise a bit towards the end of pregnancy. She suggested I take hawthorn for it and I practiced relaxing. I always got to test my own urine. I was supposed to be tested by my midwife for Group B strep but a few cancellations due to other births around the end of my pregnancy, meant that we never got around to doing it. I declined all other prenatal testing during my pregnancy. I knew that I wouldn’t have terminated the pregnancy early on. I live in an area where if there were a complication with the baby, there are good hospitals to take care of things. I was healthy, my baby moved as he should and I ended up having an uncomplicated birth with a few vaginal checks during my birthing time.

With my second pregnancy, I once again opted out of all of the early testing. I did have basic lab work completed. This go around, I also declined gestational diabetes testing and had no imaged ultrasounds. The only exposure to ultrasound Nicholas received was through two heartbeat checks with the Doppler. I did end up getting the Group B strep test, which I performed myself and my midwife sent to the lab. The reason I opted to get that one was in the case of being transported to the hospital. If I chose not to be tested, the hospital could demand that I have routine antibiotics and an even longer stay, for just in case I was positive. Fortunately the test was negative.

Since the birth went so quickly, I didn’t even get any heart tones taken during the birth, since the midwife wasn’t there and Nick was birthed into my own hands with my husband at my side. During my second pregnancy, I had no vaginal checks.

My third pregnancy has been uneventful and I plan to have similar prenatal testing as my second pregnancy, barring any complications that would make me want to get an ultrasound. So far, I’ve had basic blood work.

I’m thankful for less testing. Testing makes me worry; worry makes me stressed; stress throws my body out of alignment and screws with my emotions. I am a much saner person without the additional tests. Not everyone is comfortable with this mindset. They would prefer to be prepared for the worst or to at least know that things are for sure okay. For me though, ultrasound gives no guarantees. They can see things on it that are not really a problem and they can miss things that could be more worrisome. A lot of the other tests are known to have false positives.

I like believing that my body is healthy and that my baby is healthy. I love pregnancy affirmations. When listening to my Hypnobabies affirmations, I’m reminded how amazing God is to grow a baby inside of me. I am the protector of this baby. I am a strong woman and can easily birth this baby. My baby will grow nice and big (maybe even to 9 lbs, I know, I’m weird, I want a 9 pounder.) Things may turn out differently in the end, but me worrying and stressing about them throughout the pregnancy doesn’t do anything for me right now. I would rather be in ignorant bliss, just enjoying and knowing that everyday I’m pregnant with this little baby is a gift, no matter the outcome.

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3 thoughts on “Prenatal Testing- Or the lack thereof

    Adele said:
    February 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    The affirmations and surrounding myself in my “bubble of peace” definitely helped me to stay sane and positive. Especially when our society (and friends and family too) have such negative views on birth! The funniest part was not how horrified people looked when they found out I was having a home birth, but how they just couldn’t handle that I had no idea – nor intended to find out – the sex of my baby until he/she was born!

    Leah Spencer said:
    February 8, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    What I love is that we’re far away from family right now, especially my husband’s side. They started off being “supportive” with my first pregnancy, but for whatever reasons they started to freak out in the last trimester and over blow things. A broken meter gave me an too high blood sugar reading, I wasn’t going to put the eye goop, do vitamin K or test for GBS. I must be trying to kill my baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It didn’t stop at birth either. I fed him too much breastmilk (because he was 17 pounds at 3 months), cloth diapers are too bulky, we never took him to the pediatrician (doctor pissed me off very badly when he said we needed to give Caleb a vitamin with fluoride), and we’re anti-vaccinations. I must be trying to kill my baby!!!!!!!!

    The only testing I’ve asked for this pregnancy is my iron levels. It’s something I struggle with and I was almost too low in Arizona to have a homebirth. Otherwise I’m going with the attitude of “everything is fine until there IS a problem”.

    lahancock responded:
    February 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I should say I have always had my iron levels tested too. I’m fortunate that anemia has never been a problem for me.

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