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December 1, 2008

Where I draw the line

I seem to be doing better these days. The nasty stomach bug is gone. My fasting blood glucose levels are FINALLY below 95 most of the time. I ate pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and it had no serious effect on my blood sugar. The third trimester seems to usually be the best for me.

So, the other week I'm at my first official "biophysical profile" appointment. In case you haven't had one of these yourself, it's an ultrasound in which the baby is supposed to perform tricks: 1. a small movement, 2. a big movement, 3. demonstrate "practice breathing.' In addition, the ultrasound tech makes sure that there's "enough' amniotic fluid. They say that all of these things indicate that the baby is happy where she is. If she doesn't demonstrate her happiness, there's a procedural path to a c-section that begins to be followed.

A few weeks ago, my OB/GYN told me I'd be having these weekly beginning at 32 weeks. While on the one hand, I appreciate the attention the medical profession is paying to the care of me and my baby, I'm also a little overwhelmed with the amount of intervention they seem to require. I see a physical therapist once a week for my pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome and the pain in my misaligned pelvis. I see my OB/GYN regularly, and we're now at the once a week point. I see the diabetes educator nurse and/or the endocrinologist nearly once a week. We're finally able to scale that one back a little, but I'm not sure that I'll notice.

So, at my first biophysical profile ultrasound, they told me I need to do kick counts. This is not that uncommon of a practice among pregnant women these days, but I had never been given such explicit directions before. The nurse tells me in her syrupy-sweet, yet matronly voice that in part, they want women to do kick counts because "we find women are just so busy throughout the day that they fail to notice their baby's movements." Okay, well, she hasn't spent 5 minutes in my body with this future gymnast in my belly. She goes on to read the directions from the handout:

1. Please refrain from smoking for at least two hours prior to beginning kick counts.

WHAT?! I'm surprised it didn't say anything about drugs or alcohol.

2. Plan to lie still for at least two hours.

Listen, if I'm going to lie still for at least two hours, I'm going to be asleep well before the time is up. It goes on to say count your baby's movements, and blah blah blah. The kind nurse told me to tape this form to my refrigerator so that I had a handy place to keep track of the kick counts, and I could track the progress. Yeah, I don't know about you, but I don't lie down in the kitchen, so I'm not sure how handy it is to tape to the fridge. But, when friends come over, I can point it out proudly: "yes, here's our son's artwork, and here's our baby's kick counts. Isn't she a budding little kickboxer?"

I do physical therapy exercises daily. I take my blood glucose readings at least four times a day, sometimes more. I inject myself with insulin twice a day, and at night, my shot is getting big enough that it's hard to do it without bleeding. I take my prenatal vitamin daily, in spite of the fact that half the time it DOES upset my stomach. I don't mind these things. The exercises make me feel better and so does the insulin. All of it has a positive effect on the outcome: a healthy baby.

But, I'm already in tune with this baby. I know what she's up to in there. I'm NOT doing kick counts. Not doing it. Not taping my lovely chart to the fridge. Not writing anything down. And I don't care.It's where I draw the line.

Posted by chri1010 at December 1, 2008 2:42 PM | Family Matters


Ha, I totally fibbed my kick counts. Two hours was too long to sit and be mellow. I knew she was kicking regularly. I wasn't worried. If I was worried, I stopped and counted. My nurses told me once I hit six movements, I was good to go. I had to do the monitoring once a week. It's boring, but the shots and finger pricks were worse. You can do it.

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Posted by: Robert Mevis at August 22, 2012 2:18 AM

I know this is an old entry, but I found it while doing a little research into this and wanted to say some things myself.
I wanted an alternative to the biophysical profiles because they were not only too inconvenient for me to try to get to every single week, but I was not too keen on having my baby be subjected to ultrasounds in excess of one hour each week when there has been some evidence it can cause problems. So, I asked a doctor I saw if there was anything else I could do besides this. He told me I'd need to do kick counts in order to avoid the BPP.
I feel fortunate. All I have to do is drink a little juice and lie down for no more than 15 minutes at a time, and my little kung-fu master has provided at least 10 kicks within that small amount of time. So at least I'm not trying to deal with it for one or more hours! Ugh!
I understand their concern, don't get me wrong. When you have GD, there can be problems, and I worry about that. But sometimes I think the doctors go a little overboard on these things...

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