Doing it, North Korean style

Pregnancy and birth North Korean style, that is. Imagine a place where you have no options. Where you are told what to do, and how to think. What your job is. Where you go. With no choices.

That would be my birth plan, apparently.

Ah, another shitty shitty visit to the obstetrician today. I am alternating between visualising him with an SS uniform and a German accent, and picturing him as thinner non basketball playing version of Kim Jong Un.

We briefly discussed the 19 week scan and Gumby’s vampire tendencies (blood showing up in his bowel, swallowed from me), I had done that one to death with the ultrasound doc anyway. He thought we were at lower risk than previously of pre term labour as the clot is smaller.

So we’re not at high risk of pre term labour now”

“Oh no, you’re at a huge risk of preterm labour. But your cervix is long and closed, and the clot is smaller, so it’s not looking as bad as it was.”

So we’re definitely not going back to work. Full stop.

I can go out sometimes, even drive short trips, to try and balance up the risk of movement (and passing the clot) with the improvement in my blood glucose that movement will bring. But I need to be prepared that a giant clot saying “ta daa” in a public place may be the outcome. That’s encouraging. I can’t actually “exercise”. Or have sex, ever (he actually laughed when I asked that, and said “well what do you think I’m going to say?”). Or have a bath.

Then I made the mistake of asking should I be doing the pelvic floor exercises.

“Why? You won’t be needing your pelvic floor. Youll be having a caesarean.”

But I don’t want a caesarean. Like, really don’t want a caesarean.”

“well if you don’t, it’s likely the clot will rupture during natural labour, your placenta will shear off the wall of the uterus, and your baby will die during labour. Or we could talk about the big baby, or the gestational diabetes. You pick the reason. But that’s what’s going to happen. There may be room to renegotiate later, if things improve, but probably not’


“And because of the risk you won’t be going to 40 weeks. More like 36, 38 if we’re lucky.”

ok. And will I be able to start labour in my own time?”

“No. And it will be a success if we make it to there”

Ok. So if I go into preterm labour, where should I head?”

“Well, if it’s in the next four weeks, you may as well head to the Mater (our chosen, private hospital) as your baby will die anyway. If it’s after that, I’ll see you before then, and you’d probably head to RPA (the public hospital with high levels of neo natal care). Actually, scrap that, just head to RPA. I can make more happen there. Even if it’s a bleed, head to RPA. You’ll be facing an extended hospital stay, while they try and stave off labour. ”

He asks for my blood glucose diary.

“There’s a few over 5 in the mornings. You will be on insulin. You need to email the endocrinologist this weekly.”

ok. I saw him last week, he was fairly happy with the levels”

“they’re too high.”


And you need to check in with Dr H. have you seen him?”

“yep. We met four weeks ago”

“Because you’ll probably end up with depression. Most people would. You need to be checking in with someone regularly”.

Well he thought I was doing ok. And I still have the IVF counsellor on skype on a fortnightly basis

“Ok. Well you need something regular to stay on top of that. There’s the heartbeat. It’s nice and regular. We’re weighing four hundred and something grams (I had started to tune out during the scan) Any questions?”

“Is it ok if I tell you I hate you right now?”

“sure. Any other questions?”

So you’ve just told me in about 3 minutes that I have no choice in the birth of my child, if I have a child. that if I go into labour in the next four weeks my baby will die, that if I have a natural labour my baby will die, that my blood glucose levels may damage my baby, that I need to be on insulin, that I’ll be having a scheduled c-section on the date of your choosing, you’ve changed the hospital, the medication, taken away my livelihood…and you want to know do I have any questions.

“You’ve done really well to make it this far you know. 2o, almost 21 weeks! And you’re looking fabulous.”

Yeah thanks doc. You have an awesome bedside manner.

So this was followed by a trip to the pharmacist for progesterone x 2 (they forgot one script the first time), me crying in the pharmacist (again. Feck I hate doctors), a coffee and more crying, home, hub-in-boots off to work, more crying on phone to the IVF counsellor, some washing, and some sitting.

It’s been an awesome day. I feel just like this plant of mine. Very very dead and dried up inside, with a tiny little flower.

Dead plant with flower

I’m not depressed. I’ve just been knocked down that many times getting up again is getting feckin’ hard. Intellectually, I knew and had anticipated every outcome he discussed today. Emotionally, I feel like someone has taken to me with a jackhammer. I’m sure in 24 or 48 hours, I’ll be fine. So far, I usually am.

Apologies for the pity party. May all your pregnancies and births not be North Korean style.

Happy Easter folks. Have a chocolate egg and a giant beer for me.


12 thoughts on “Doing it, North Korean style

  1. EmHart

    I don’t think it matters that you were anticipating this outcome. He still should have found a gentler way to talk through these things with you. My goodness, what a hard, cynical, clinical, unsympathetic way to approach it all. I know a doctors job is to do the science stuff, but I really feel they should work on people skills too. I am not sure I would be depressed, more furious. The bad news is going to be upsetting but at least there could be an attempt to soften the blow. You can be honest and realistic, but caring at the same time I think.

    1. Totally with you. I hit furious last night. And then absolute joy…. See comment below! I’ve decided something needs to change in this dynamic, think I’m taking my kick ass take no prisoners sister to the next doctors visit. And I may also ring up his midwife & ask to discuss the lack of bedside manner. Ours is a hard situation, but he is currently making it worse, and that needs to stop.

  2. I am so sorry to hear all of this bad news keeps coming your way, but you sure do have a way of writing about it that makes it all sound so satirical. I hope you know I continue to pray for you and your little one. Even though, when you write, you deliver more bad news than good, I still love reading it because I love the way you write. I hope you still can find joy in your life, and I hope there is more joy coming your way in about 19 weeks! Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you. It turns out while I was feeling like I could kick a cat (it’s ok, we like cats but don’t have one), Gumby had other plans. I was listening to a calm birth cd, got to the “picture your baby ‘s birthday” bit , and for the first time he booted me one ! I thought ‘what was that? Just concentrate” and WHAM he hit me again. I called out to hub in boots, and we both felt at least 6 gumby kicks. An awesome uplifting end to a hard hard day. There were shrieks and giggles all round. 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone

      1. That is FABULOUS news! Maybe little Gumby’s kicks were a way of kicking you in the pants and saying, “Hey ma! No worries! I’m gonna get to you soon enough, no matter how or when it happens, so just focus on me!”
        Hope he keeps you giggling forever!

  3. I think I would kick that Doc’s arse too! Wow, I dunno how you stayed calm. I am sorry for all the bad news. But you have to remember, you made it this far. Gumby is a fighter, so stay positive. Those kicks were a remember that you are in this together! 🙂

  4. Gosh this doctor sounds awful! The only good part being that he does seem to tell it like it is. As hard as it is what you have on your plate, at least you know what you are dealing with. I just wish there would be some good news coming your way!
    Reading the comments I think your baby boy delivered that part!! It’s amazing feeling the kicking isn’t it. I have been feeling the flutterings for a little while, but my husband felt a couple of kicks as well for the first time yesterday:-)
    I understand you don’t want a c-section, but the way I feel about it myself is that if there is any risk whatsoever I would rather go for a planned one than end up with an emergency one anyway. Birth is scary enough to think about as it is. With extra risks added it’s just too much. I would be scared out of my mind if I was you!
    Thanks for your sweet comment on my post!! I’m breathing 🙂

  5. This sounds just awful! Bedside manner is not your doc’s strong suit. Geesh!

    Scheduled c sections are actually quite nice. I was sad at first, but accepted it and really appreciated it after the fact. Tough pill to swallow, but what matters is baby arriving safely!

    1. Yeah its funny, after two bbq’s on easter weekend with women who’d had both natural and c-section births, I kind of started to relax about it a bit. I need to separate my desire for an important experience, from the baby’s safety and bringing Gumby home, and I know which one is more important! It’s not a normal pregnancy, so a normal birth may not be the best choice. And maybe after all we’ve been through, I’ve been thinking labour is going to be a hard slog after months of bedrest. Not that that frightens me, but if I can launch into motherhood a bit more “ready”, so be it. I just keep thinking how shocking it would be to be a baby and just suddenly be out in the world without any preparation or warning! I’ll just have to warn Gumby what’s coming when we get close 🙂

  6. Nene Hind

    OMG your doc sounds awful. But I tell you what ……… will have a baby by C section at 37.5 weeks and HE will be perfect and adorable. You will forget all the terrible things that have happened to you and he will delight you every day for the rest of your life.

  7. So sorry to hear about this horrible visit and horrible doctor, but so happy to hear that your Gumby gave you a nice moment to ease the bad day. You’re growing a fighter in there! He sounds like he wants to kick Doc’s ass too! I would definitely lodge a bedside manner complaint anywhere you can.

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