So something I haven’t yet mentioned is that I have a Bicornuate Uterus. This means that my uterus is heart shaped. If it is a mild bicornuate uterus, like mine, the hope is that when you are further along in pregnancy it will straighten out as the baby grows and will not be problem. I had a doctors appointment to discuss this and was booked for extra scan at 36 weeks to see if the baby had managed to turn round and engage. If the baby had not yet engaged, they would be looking to see if maybe there wasn’t enough room for the baby to turn. If this was believed to be the case, a c-section would be booked between 38-40 weeks.
I really didn’t want a c-section, and had hoped so much I wouldn’t have to have one but as the scan was approaching I had been weighing up the pro’s and con’s, and as much as I didn’t want to have surgery, the thought of being given an actual date as to when I would be able to meet my little boy was very exciting.
The night before the scan I remember I couldn’t sleep because the baby was moving so much. He moved a lot anyway but this time it was crazy. My bump was moving around loads. In the morning Geri and I went to the scan, the lady began the scan and told me straight away that the baby was engaged. She said everything looked healthy, the baby had room and she predicted the baby’s current weight based on the bone sizes. This is only an estimate as they cannot confirm how much fat will be on the baby, but he was estimated at 6lb 2oz at this stage. I was really happy that the baby was healthy and engaged but a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to be given an exact date to meet my little one.
Going back to earlier in the pregnancy, I was so shocked at how many appointments you have. And with the issues I had, I had even more than most. I remember constantly going into work with more dates for appointments and being almost embarrassed by how many times I would have to leave work for appointments.
When you start feeling your little one kick regularly you are asked to try and get used to the pattern in which he/she kicked. If you feel like there has been little or no kicks you are asked to lay on your left side for 2 hours and monitor any movement. If there are less than 10, you must call the hospital.
I had a midwife appointment 16th July, so I left work in the morning to go to this, we discussed the movement and she wasn’t very happy with it as I hadn’t felt as much movement as usual. I did the 2 hours monitoring the night before the appointment and got 8 movements. I hadn’t felt any that morning. We had also done a urine test which showed that there was a fairly high level of protein in my wee which could be a sign of preeclampsia. The midwife wrote a note, put it in an envelope and told me to go straight to hospital.
I called my manager from the doctors car park before I was to set off to hospital, I started crying as I was now panicked by the lack of movement and possibility of preeclampsia. I told him I was going to hospital and would update when I had more information. I then called my friend Geri to see if she could come with me and picked her up on the way to hospital, they hooked me up to machines where we could hear the baby’s heartbeat which was amazing. They monitored me for 1-2 hours and I had to wait to speak to a doctor. Luckily everything was fine after the monitoring and I was prepared to go back to work after.
However, during the monitoring I had messaged my supervisor to let her know what was going on, and also sent her a video of the machines and the baby’s heartbeat. I wasn’t really messaging her because of work, but because we sat together 5 days a week and talked regularly so it was more messaging a friend. Unfortunately, she was then asked by the manager that I had called from the doctors car park, to let me know that he didn’t believe this appointment would now be classed as “Prenatal” and that the target we are set at work each day would need to still be met on my return. Not only would I have to hit a target some people were struggling to meet, with no time off. I would also have to make up the time I was out of work on my future lunch breaks!!! Alternatively I would have to go sick, meaning I would lose a bonus that is put in place by the company each month, as well as a days pay.
I felt sick, I was laying in the hospital bed at this time still being monitored and waiting for a doctor. Then on top of this, I have my manager telling me that I have to hit my daily target when I get back despite being away from work for nearly 3 hours, or go sick and lose money.
I spoke to a midwife at the hospital who was absolutely disgusted, another midwife overheard and was also in disbelief. They basically said that they believed that any company must legally give time for any prenatal or antenatal appointment needed. I was made to have the appointment because mine and the baby’s health was at risk. They gave me a note stating this with the time I was admitted to hospital, and the time I was discharged.
During this time I messaged said manager and here is how the conversation went;
Me: I am in a hospital bed at the moment.. and am about to have more bloods taken and will then see the doctor and hopefully leave. What am I meant to do? I was sent to hospital due to baby issues, not sickness. They needed to monitor the baby which they have done, and are now doing further tests on me. How is that not baby related? How is it fair that I am laying in a bed being stressed out over time owed and targets over something out of my control. I did not go sick today, I came to work, went to a doctors appointment and was sent to hospital. I am not going home sick, and how on earth am I meant to make up the points and time?
The Manager: Just get yourself sorted. Only planned and pre natal appointments and scans are covered. Any other issues are not. As gone more than 2 hours can’t make up time. Has to be sick. Sorry. Get a note and the director will possibly not deduct the bonus, but today has to be taken as sick now.
Me: Right . . The midwife has just told me that none of this is the case. That any appointment baby related whether pre booked or not, must be accommodated by work legally. Now what?
The Manager: I don’t believe that to be the case. But I am certainly not an expert. I have been trying to look it up for you. I am not making any decision here, just advising what I believe to be correct so that you are informed. Think you have spoken to the director now, which is best. Hope you are ok. And baby of course. Let me know if you need anything. Xxx
My blood was boiling, I was angry, upset, stressed, disappointed and absolutely disgusted.
During this time I had tried to call the director but got no answer, so sent her a message, and here is how our conversation went.
Me: I’m at hospital .. I left work to go to a doctors appointment and would have come straight back, but they were worried about the baby due to protein in my wee and fetal movement change. I have been in the antenatal day unit at East Surrey all morning and am still here .. Doctors are monitoring movement and heartbeat. The manager has told my supervisor, that I have to make up points as this isn’t prenatal? Is this really fair that I am ill .. Came to work .. Left to see a doctor with the intention of coming back ..and am being now told I have to make up points .. and time when I’m laying in a hospital bed not knowing what’s going on with me or my baby … Can you clarify please?
Half an hour later
Me: Right .. The midwife has just told me that none of this is the case. That any appointment baby related whether pre booked or not must be accommodated by work legally … Now what do I do please
The director: Hi, been preparing for a meeting and about to go in. Sorry to hear this, hope all goes ok. As uv been out this long it would need to be sick as there’s not enough hours to even complete a half day. If you can get something in writing from the hospital to confirm today I’ll put it down as sick, but won’t deduct bonus or money. Points r as they are as it’s based on a month. Hope u get on ok x
I then called the director as I was walking out of hospital, I was fed up of the messages back and fourth, and there were raised voices on both sides. I actually had a really bad cold and had thrown up that morning, so I felt rough anyway, but was not prepared to go down as sick, so went to work that morning anyway, I was so disgusted in the way I had been treated and I felt that it was all very wrong. After many disagreements with the way the afternoon had been handled I remember she said, “Can you just listen to me?” and I replied with, “No! I have had enough!!” and let rip. I am not saying this is how you should speak to management, but an unwell pregnant woman being pestered whilst in hospital waiting to find out if yourself and the baby’s health are at risk, is enough to push anyone to the edge.
At the end of the call the director noticed that I also sounded unwell and told me, she was actually doing me a favour. She told me I could now go home for the afternoon, paid. At this point I felt like they had realised they were in the wrong and really had no other choice. They had cut their noses off to spite their face because had no messages have been sent, I would have been back to work for another 4 hours without a word, but now they were having to pay me to go home for the afternoon.
I hope no other person has to go through the issues I had to at work. It is one of the most challenging times a woman can go through in their life without their employers making it more difficult for them.
On a lighter note, here’s a pic of my bump at 31 weeks and 3 days. Nearly 4 weeks after the work incident!