Battle With My Doctors: Because of Fetal Viabilty at 18 Weeks, You’re Going to Do Nothing for Me?

Image source: Thinkstock
Image source: Thinkstock

Because of fetal viability at 18 weeks, you’re not going to do anything for me? Awesome. (NOT!) This is exactly what I wanted to say to the on-call doctor a few nights ago. Okay, let me rewind. It’s been a rough few days for me. Rough actually is an understatement. I am not really sure how to describe it. On Memorial Day I started to feel like I was going to pass out, had horrible pressure below the belt and well, I just felt like something wasn’t right. You know, that gut feeling.  I held out for a few hours until I basically couldn’t walk. Around 10:30pm, I decided to call the on-call doctor because I was worried that it might be more when I started to have contractions that were 5 minutes apart for over 2 hours. These weren’t Braxton Hicks. Been there, done that. These were true contractions.

The phone call went like this:

Me: Hi. I am 18 weeks, high-risk, on moderate bed rest, taking the 17p shot weekly and have a serious past history of pre-term labor. I haven’t been feeling well. I feel like I am going to pass out from the pressure and pain, plus I have been having contractions every 3 minutes for the last hour. This is my 5th pregnancy. I’ve laid on my left side and have been drinking a ton of water. Nothing is stopping the contractions or pressure, so I just wanted to see what I should do.

Doctor (who is NOT mine): Um, you can’t have contractions at 18 weeks. And because the baby has no viability, if you want you can go to the ER but, they won’t really do anything for you…you can’t go to triage in L+D or anything, they just won’t do anything at 18 weeks.

Me: So, basically I could be in labor right now and you won’t do anything for me? And if it’s the begin of pre-term labor, which isn’t uncommon for me, you can’t do anything to stop these contractions?

Doctor: I don’t know your history so I would suggest going into the office tomorrow. I doubt anything is wrong.

So, here’s my question: Let’s say I went into labor that night. Let’s say the contractions continued, and my water broke. What would they have done? Just said it’s not big deal. I was frustrated, upset and in pain. Not a good look for me. Back in bed, where the contractions continued for a few hours, finally I was able to fall asleep at 4am, still in pain, holding my legs together because the pressure was THAT bad. In the morning, I felt bad, but I could actually walk, which I couldn’t do the night before. After speaking with the doctors, they felt I was okay to wait one more day unless contractions began and pain started again, since my regularly scheduled weekly visit and shot was the next day. Per doctors’ orders, I stayed in bed all day. Then the evening came, the contractions began, and the pressure was even worse than before. I am only 18 weeks. I can’t already be in pre-term labor. I usually make it to 20 – 22 weeks before anything like this begins.

Once again, I called the doctor, it was super-late, past midnight. He basically said because you are only 18 weeks and the fetus has no viability. You should probably just lay on your left side, drink some water and take it easy. You may have a UTI so call the office in the morning. Really? Again with the baby not being viable and having no chance of life, they really won’t stop labor from happening. I understand that no baby has ever been delivered successfully before 22 weeks but I didn’t know they all of a sudden didn’t care unless you were past this point. I just can’t believe it.

Finally, today I was able to see my doctor and explain everything that had been going on. He was upset that other doctors in HIS practice weren’t giving me the care I deserved. However, because my cervix seems to be in reasonable range, even though it has shortened, he feels I need to take a visit back to the high-risk doctor so they can come up with a better plan so that I don’t have to deal with all of these contractions and pain. Most importantly, a plan that will prevent my baby boy from making an early appearance.

Of course, they did a sono today to double check and make sure there wasn’t a placenta issue, and, well, they found a little something that was a concern.  Another reason I am heading to the high-risk doctor. Apparently, they saw “bright bowels” which they are referring to as echogenic bowels. I refused to google this, so I had my Mom and best friend read about to fill me in. I get totally paranoid when I google and read things I don’t want to. The only thing I was told by my doctor was what was seen when the baby was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. All of my first trimester tests were normal, and all sonos have been normal until now, so why does this have to be another worry? I began to freak out but remembered I need to have faith, hope it’s a fluke stay off Google until next Tuesday. At this point, I have never wanted to fast forward my pregnancy so much. I am ready for October to be there. I am ready to be holding my son. I wish I could enjoy this pregnancy, but the anxiety is taking over the joys of pregnancy.

At what point do you lose faith in your doctors? How do you know you’re really in the best care? Or, when is it time to make a switch?

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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