Accuracy vs confirmation you are right

Hello blog-land.

Today I had my first of the weekly non stress tests.  For those of you who don’t know what this is, I sit in a recliner with three monitors strapped to my belly.  One for contractions and one for each baby’s heart rate.  The monitors, in theory, track the babies’ heart rates and I push a button each time I feel movement and through this the world can know if the babies are getting healthy blood flow.

Healthy blood flow babies, when they move, have their heart rates increase.  When they don’t move, their hearts tend to have a baseline where it stays kinda stable.  Not-so-healthy blood flow babies either don’t have the baseline and/or they don’t have heart rate increases as they move.  Lastly, just in general, the babies should stay between about 120-180 BPM I do believe.

Enough background.  These boys seemed to do more or less well and I’ve been feeling plenty of movement so I’m not really worried.  HOWEVER, I have to say that I’m pretty sure this test was pretty much inconclusive no matter what the nurses said.  For one thing, I only had one button to push for fetal movement so they had no way of knowing if the movement was A or B.  Thus, as they looked at the chart, they would say that a movement corresponded to the nearest acceleration when I know from watching the strip that it wasn’t always A that moved and A whose heart rate went up.  Also, there were plenty of times when there would be lots of movement and the heart rates would NOT go up.  They ignored those.  They were LOOKING for something that would say the babies were healthy and I could go home.  They were NOT looking for simply an accurate strip.  They very clearly wanted to as quickly as possible checkmark their needed checkboxes to ‘confirm’ everything was OK rather than really look at the strip and say “What does this mean?”

Last but not least, A had several moments at the very end where his heart rate went to the 115ish range and it was, in fact, right there when she unhooked the machine.  I was very uncomfortable with that as I’d have prefered to see his heart rate go back up before unhooking everything. 

Reassuring, this NST was not.  At these times though, I have to remind myself that I am guilty of the same ‘confirmation you are right’ issues as I tend to look at the strips specifically to see signs of BAD things vs checking off my needed signs of good things.

On the plus side, I’ve been noticing fewer contractions in the past few days.  I didn’t even have any on the NST which earned me plenty of praise from the nurses. 

On the home front, all three kids went in for well child visits.  I’ll admit, I’m not one for regular well child visits.  For one thing, I vaccinate on my own schedule based on my own research for not overloading their immune systems.  In my uber small case study of just my three kids, it is working well.  My 9  year old with all his shots ‘on time’ has crap for an immune system and many behavioral issues, mild though they may be.  My 4 and 2 year olds have amazing immune systems and no behavioral issues beyond being normal 4 and 2 year olds.  Anyway, the other reason is because the ped office is a petry dish of germs and I hate coming home with some illness from being there.  Thus, they go when I feel like it is time.

Jessie, who will be starting kindergarten soon, has actually been covered on nearly everything vaccine-wise that there is.  They brought up the chicken pox shot but I’m still rather traumatised by the fact that my own mother made me a medical guinea pig for the U of MN as they developed said vaccine in the 1980s so I passed on that one.  I figure, when she’s closer to her teens, if she hasn’t had chicken pox yet, we can get her vaccinated and at that point it will be more likely to hold through adulthood for her.

Anyway, both Jessie and Asher were at 75% for height and Jessie was 50% weight and Asher was 40% weight.  SIGH – my lucky kids!  They didn’t tell me Gavin’s stats.  They also told me to strip Asher down to his diaper for the weight check and I said he isn’t wearing a diaper and they all gushed over him for that.  Awesome.  He did not manage to pee in the cup for them but recalling the whole pee in the snow incident I’m not shocked.

Now I just have to hope that in the next few days, no one comes down with any colds.  Think healthy thoughts for all!!

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6 Responses

  1. I’m sorry you feel traumatised, but it was not the vaccine they were testing. It was a viral treatment. You already had the chicken pox, and also an allergic reaction to the medication for strep at the same time. You were a very sick little girl, and since you actually did get the treatment, I am sure you would have been much sicker without it. Shortly after starting their treatment, your symptoms improved dramatically. Plus, we got home visits from the nurse every day. Mom

  2. Hey, no fair taking my fun away mom. Besides, it wasn’t the results, it was the knowledge that I was participating in medical research. “Traumatised” was just because it is my blog and that made it sound more interesting.

  3. Uh, busted!!
    I actually am a fan of the chicken pox vaccine. Both my kids got the vac on schedule and ended up with a VERY MILD case of the pox at 7 & 5. Compared to what I remember of the chicken pox, I’m so glad that theirs was so mild. I never even had to put the ‘pink itch’ medicine on them-and no scars! Plus they were young enough that a week out of school didn’t put them terribly behind as it would now.

    My doc doesn’t even do the NST’s regularly. Maybe that’s why, they don’t really tell you a whole lot.

    You’re doing great!

  4. What I love about the whole chicken pox incident is that somehow I managed to NOT get chicken pox when all the rest of you did, and I still cannot recall when I might have had it as a child. Yet I’ve been tested and I do in fact have the antibodies! Now, that is the way to get chicken pox. . .

  5. I had my fair share of NST’s and never got a movement button! No fair!

    My NST’s measured uterine activity and the babies heartrates in conjunction with it… I’d have a BH contraction, we’d see what their hearts did, etc. These girls were overlapped in the middle so saying “this” baby moved just wouldn’t be accurate at all for me anyway, or for most with muptiples I’d think! Rest easy, I’m sure the little men are fine!

  6. Also, I was told that any heartrate over 100 was fine, and as long as any dips below 100 didn’t last they weren’t worried at all…….

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