Welcome to the Tales of a Kitchen Witch Blog.
I had my first home visit from my midwife yesterday. I was really looking forward to it! I love my midwife– she is friendly, understanding, and assertive without being pushy. She’s always cheerful and puts me in a good mood when I see her. She has been WONDERFUL about my size. She doesn’t weigh me, because I have such anxiety about it… She understands that I’m trying not to have my weight be the focus of this pregnancy. Instead, we talk about what I’m eating and how I can focus on making healthy choices. I look forward to my visits with her, and it has been SO NICE and stress free! I’ve had a great pregnancy- no issues at all. Even now at 34 weeks, my only complaints are heartburn and pressure/Braxton-Hicks.
Everything was going well, I thought, but then she mentioned that the OB that works with them looked over my chart and isn’t happy that I haven’t been weighed.
She said she doesn’t mind not weighing me- that in the past she has avoided the scale with patients with size issues (such as anorexia) and that at my size weighing me doesn’t really show the baby’s progress anyway because plus-sized women gain and lose differently, but this OB (who I have never met) has a problem with it. At the time, I was caught off guard and uncomfortable talking about this, in fact I just kept thinking “oh God please don’t make me get on a scale” which I’m sure sounds ridiculous to some people, but if you DON’T have size issues, if you HAVEN’T been struggling with weight your whole life and the idea of being weighed in front of someone doesn’t make you feel ashamed and anxious and panicky then you just aren’t going to understand. And then there is the opposite- at times I’ve gotten so obsessed with the scale that there was a point last year where I would get on it throughout the day and if it showed an increase I would sink into depression and not get out of bed.
I don’t want to be weighed. At all. PLUS… At this point, weighing me is useless. Weight is watched over an entire pregnancy to see trends. If there is a fast gain over a few weeks or a loss, THAT could be the sign of something that needs to be addressed. Since they have no trend for me, nothing to compare to, weighing me now is pointless. I don’t see why I need to be weighed, beyond checking a box on my chart and to cover butts for insurance purposes.
So as a compromise with the OB, my midwife suggested I go and have another ultrasound next week. It sounded reasonable, and I was so relieved to not be weighed that I agreed and she called the clinic to make the appointment for me. The rest of the visit went well, although when she tested my urine it showed some protein so I have to be retested for that and blood pressure on Thursday. I’ve had perfect levels and blood pressure throughout my pregnancy, so I’m pretty sure the protein was from eating badly all weekend while James was home- the midwife agreed that it could be from that. Normally, we eat really well- tons of fresh veggies and a bit of chicken, nothing but water to drink, etc. But when James is home we can sometimes get a little lazy about eating properly.
After she left, I started thinking about the ultrasound. And it struck me that this was very similar to all of my other pregnancies. This is what ALWAYS happens to me, and I don’t want to start down this road again. I’ve had four babies, and everything is always fine throughout my pregnancy, even though my weight is ALWAYS a concern. I pass all the tests with flying colors: no high blood pressure, no swelling, no gestational diabetes, NOTHING. And then with just weeks to go, they want to do one more scan to check the baby’s progress (and ultrasounds can be off by POUNDS at this point) and then that one scan shows questionable size- too big or too small. Then I have to have another scan, and then non stress tests, and then.. boom! A push to induce early “just in case” ………………and after an awful induction experience (where up until this point I have beaten the odds and narrowly avoided c-sections) baby is born perfectly normal, but of course small because it is WEEKS early… and the OB says “better safe than sorry! At least you had a healthy baby!”
This is why I did not want to go to an OBGYN this time. This is why I wanted different this time, and decided on a home birth with a midwife. And I am a good fit for this. This is NOT my first rodeo! This is my FIFTH BABY. And despite my size, I have no other risk factors and have had four vaginal births! There is NO reason why I can’t do this. But I feel like if I go for this ultrasound I could jump start a cascade of interventions I won’t be able to get away from. What if baby looks too small or too big or too something else? What then? Will the OB then push to risk me out?
I am afraid to take that chance.
So now I have to work up the courage to say “I do not want to be weighed and I do not want the scan” to my very nice midwife. I am not good at standing up for myself. I am not good at advocating for myself with health care providers. I struggle with feeling ashamed and apologetic about my size, and feel like I have to accommodate their wishes to the point that when I was in labor with Willow I would apologize to the nurse every time I had a contraction. So now, I’m trying to figure out how to deal with my fears and tell my midwife that I am refusing the scan, while also dealing with the fear that they might choose to drop me as a patient because I refuse it.
And I don’t know how to do that.