The Non-Stress Test

This morning I headed to the hospital for the first of many Fetal Non-Stress Tests. The test monitors the baby’s heart rate and measures the baby’s movements to measure how the heart rate changes in relation to the movements. The nurse explained to me that, basically, the heart rate should increase by at least ten beats per minute when the baby moves.

First they sat me down in a recliner and strapped the monitor to my belly. Then they handed me a “clicker,” kind of like the kind you might use in a game show. I was supposed to click the button when I felt the baby move.

It turns out that I did not click the button much today. I guess Baby NoName was feeling sleepy or maybe just lazy, because, aside from a bout of the hiccups, he was not moving much. We tried a drink of cold water, which elicited a couple of weak movements, and a “buzzer” pressed against my belly, that Baby pretty much ignored. Oddly enough, I think he is turning summersaults in there right now. After an hour of trying to coax some movement out of the little guy, the nurses agreed that they probably had enough data and that the data looked good. So we wrapped it up and I headed over to the doctor’s office for a routine check-in.

The doctor confirmed that the results of the test were good, and we talked a bit about my blood sugars, which have been all over the place lately. Despite my best efforts to test and track, I cannot discern a trend of any kind. Sometimes I will run low after a meal, other times high. Sometimes my basals will be right on and others I will run high or low. The doctor acknowledged that this is all par for the course. He says that some diabetics find that their numbers shoot straight up in the third trimester, others find that they increase steadily, and still others find that their numbers rise slightly and then tail off. We’re not sure which of these is happening to me yet, so I will just keep testing and treating, testing and treating. Lather, rinse, repeat.

In other, more stressful news, I found out last Friday that my interpretation of the company’s maternity leave options was grossly incorrect. So my anticipated leave time has been drastically reduced. It’s probably best if I don’t go into the details, but let’s just say that my mom had better benefits when she had me in 1978. I am extremely disappointed, but am trying to adapt to this new normal. It means my husband and I need to re-evaluate our plans for caring for our son for the first six months, and that we may need to find daycare sooner than we expected I really do not need this additional stress right now.

On the bright side, some of the girls at work planned a shower for me for this Friday. I am super excited about it, and am trying to keep focused on the upcoming shindig, instead of the bad maternity leave news.

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7 Comments on “The Non-Stress Test”

  1. Autumn Says:

    You’re allowed the Federal Minimum of 12 weeks (aka FMLA, Family Medicial Leave ACT). Of course that doesn’t have to be paid leave, but that’s the absolute minimum.
    At my work those 12 weeks of FMLA are all unpaid unless I have sick/vacation time to cover it.
    Your hubby may also be able to take 12 weeks of FMLA.
    Oh, and if you have short term disability at work, those benefits should kick in about a month after you deliver.
    As I’m learning from dealing with my HR, read the rules yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions and argue a bit.

    • nici Says:

      Right, Autumn. What I learned is that, despite my original interpretation, my company has chosen to offer the bare minimum required by US law.

      That means a total of 12 weeks leave, thanks to the FMLA requirement. My company does not offer any actual Maternity leave, although we do have Short Term Disability (STD.) I guess STD is different everywhere because it is a benefit that your company purchases on your behalf … mine will cover me for the first 6 weeks (8 weeks if I have a c-section,) depending on how long my doctor says I can’t work. During that time, I get 60% of my pay, except for the first week, which is an unpaid “waiting period.” I also have 2 weeks of vacation and 4 personal days saved up.

      But here’s the clincher … all of my leaves run CONCURRENTLY. So the STD, the vacation/personal days, and the FMLA time all start at the same time. This is how I end up with only a total of 12 weeks. Also, FMLA can usually be taken intermittently (a day here, a day there, or on a part-time basis,) but there is a clause in the law that allows the companies to make you take it all in one block when the leave is related to pregnancy. What a crock.

      I should have stayed in Germany where I would have gotten two years off, with the first 14 months paid at a graduated rate!

  2. Saffy Says:

    The baby shower sounds like fun!! I was hopeless at those NSTs – really truly. I had an anterior (on the front) placenta which made feeling much quite tricky.

    Autumn – 12 weeks mat leave? Argh. Want to know what the deal is in NZ? I finished up work at 28 weeks and had 6 weeks of “special” doc sanctioned (work can’t mess with me) mat leave to take me thru to D’s birth at 34 wks, and now I’m on our legal minimum of 52 weeks mat leave. 14 weeks of that 52 was paid.

    N, you must be feeling a bit gutted. Do you have to/want to go back? Any desire to stay at home?

    I know you’ll get this – I just had a piece of iced cake for dessert and now I’ve got that icky high BG feeling in my mouth. ARGH. All self inflicted. When will I learn.

    Hugs about the mat leave. I get how frustrating it is to have the goal posts moved.

    • nici Says:

      I had hoped to stay home full-time for about three months and then go back to work for just a day or two per week for the next three. Then I thought I would go back full time at the first of the year. It’s not a huge amount of time, but I thought it would work for me. I planned to use my leave intermittently during the second three months so that my company would have to hold my (full time) job for me.

      Now it looks like I will go back at three months as a part time employee at 25 hrs (three days) per week. This is the minimum number of hours my company requires for me to keep my health insurance (this is a generous policy by US standards — most companies require 40 hrs for health insurance benefits,) and they do not have to guarantee me my full time position when I’m ready to transition.

      What a bummer.

      I really don’t think I want to stay at home permanently, but a longer, more gradual transition would be great. If we could afford it, I would probably prefer to go part time permanently after the leave, but our budget can’t really handle that right now.

  3. Mom Says:

    So sorry for all the frustration on your mat leave.
    I will continue to hope your company will bend a little.

    Do you have to take your vacation concurrently w/FMLA?
    What happens when/if you return to to work and you have to take off for all those well baby check ups? Or, when the little guy has a bad night?

    Sounds like Autumn has a great policy in her country.
    Sad that the US has regressed since 1978. The only thing we have accomplished since then is that they can’t fire you for having a child. They can however, make it so uncomfortable for you that you wish you could quit. The US should value our most precious resources, children and women!!



    • Carola Says:

      Hi Mom….

      maby you remember me from New Bern and the wedding!!!
      I think you are right….moms shouldt stay home at least half a year!!!



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