Best Pregnacy Advice: Go with your gut

by Marcie
Woman with one hand on top and one hand on bottom of her pregnant belly.

My number one pregnancy advice is to go with your gut. Listen to your own intuition.

In other words, I always knew something was wrong before the doctor did. Other times when the doctor said something was wrong, I knew it was fine and then it was fine. I’m not saying to go against what the doctor says. Not at all. Many times the doctor and I were on the same page and he/she confirmed what I already knew. But there were also times when he/she said something opposite of what I felt and I was always right. I strongly believe in God’s gift of intuition to women, especially when they are carrying and raising His children. 

Here are a few examples:

Feeling something was wrong:

STORY #1: When I got pregnant just 2 months into my marriage, I knew it would miscarry even though at first things looked fine. When I started spotting then I knew I was right but the doctor couldn’t confirm it. For 6 long weeks he had me come for weekly ultrasounds but each time he said there was still a fetus and things were probably fine, just come back next week. I continued to bleed and didn’t know if I was supposed to be on bedrest (he never mentioned it) or go about my heavy workload of 18 credits and part-time job or what. After each appointment I gathered hope and tried to believe the baby would be fine. Deep down I knew it would miscarry, but I tried to have faith in the doctor. He didn’t seem worried so I tried not to be either. Finally after 6 weeks of bleeding he said there was no heartbeat and confirmed what I had felt all along but tried to ignore. What a roller coaster! I should have just trusted in the Lord.

STORY #2: The pregnancy of my 6th baby went perfectly until 28 weeks. The night before my Friday appointment I was lying in bed excited for the appointment tomorrow and then realized the baby hadn’t been very active this week. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. The next day at the appointment I mentioned to the nurse I hadn’t felt her move much lately and I was worried. She brushed it off saying all babies do that and I’d probably just been so busy with my other 5 little kids that week that I hadn’t noticed. (She was right about that.) I remember her listening for the heartbeat and hearing mine for awhile. Finally she said she could hear the baby’s behind mine. I couldn’t, but I trusted her and didn’t want to make a big deal of me not being able to hear it. Besides, all of my other pregnancies (except the 1 early miscarriage) were uneventful and my babies were born perfectly healthy with no complications so why should I think this one would be any different? I went home feeling much better, yet still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. That weekend was busy but both days I tried to get her to move and could only get her to move a tiny bit. Monday morning I went back to the doctor and when the nurse couldn’t find a heartbeat, an ultrasound was performed in which the tech said the baby was dead. I was devastated of course, (you can read about the experience in Losing A Baby At 28 Weeks) and wish I had relied on my own intuition that Friday instead of letting the nurse reassure me things were fine.

Times when it was so nice to be on the same page as the doctor or at least my intuition respected:

STORY #1: When I got pregnant after my first miscarriage I knew right away the baby would be fine. I went to a different doctor because I didn’t like my first one, and this one started in on a reassuring lecture about how I’m not likely to miscarry a second time but I interrupted and said I knew this baby was just fine. He looked relieved and then said, “If you feel good about it, I’m going with that. Moms are usually right. We don’t have to worry about a miscarriage then but get to be excited about carrying this baby to term.” Then he went on to talk about whether we thought it was a boy or girl, baby names, etc. I could feel he didn’t have a single worry of miscarriage not even in the back of his mind. He totally trusted me.

STORY #2: Many of my children the due date I calculated was different from what the doctor said and it was so nice when she listened to me and changed it to what I said it was. She didn’t do it because I was an annoying pregnant know-it-all, but because she truly respected me and my calculation and didn’t even order an ultrasound to confirm. It felt great to be heard. (There was one exception to this, see below.)

Here are some examples of feeling things are fine when the doctor was worried:

STORY #1: When I was pregnant with Spencer and Alexis (#’s 3 and 4) the doctor found a heart defect and was worried and sent me to a higher level of ultrasound but I thought it was just a waste of our time, gas to a far away clinic, and insurance money. I knew the baby was fine and both babies were declared perfect at the level II ultrasound.

STORY #2: With baby #5 I moved to a new state when I was 32 weeks pregnant. My new doctor was worried when I got to 40 weeks and he wasn’t born yet. I told her I knew he’d be a week late but she insisted on a nonstress test. The “nonstress test” was stressful for me because I can’t stand lying flat on my back with nothing to do (didn’t have a phone in those days) and worried about having left my 4 little kids with a new friend I barely knew. I passed it but it was awful and I’m happy to say I’ve never done one since. I don’t think they’re necessary when I know everything is just fine. If I had been worried, that’s one thing, but I knew he would be a week late because the last 3 were and my calculations showed 7 days later than the doctor’s. (He came 7 days late, 7 bs 10 oz.)

STORY #3: The week before my due date with Makenna, #7, I found out she was breech. The doctor said she’d schedule a c-section for the next day but I stopped her and said I needed the weekend to think and pray about it. It was Wednesday so I prayed about it for 5 days and Monday night still didn’t feel good about either option: to get a c-section or do an external cephalic version (the doctor would try flipping the baby by pushing on my belly). I was a mess the whole time, not getting a confirmation of either choice but feeling pressured by my doctor to pick one. Well God had everything in control because that night I went into labor. When I got to the hospital my doctor prepped me for an emergency c-section but I still didn’t want one so I pushed the baby out breech while being wheeled down the hall into the operating room. It was awesome! You can read her birth story here but I’m so glad I listened to my instincts of not doing a c-section. And when the doctor saw how short Makenna’s umbilical cord was she said the ECV would have ripped the placenta and that would have called for a c-section too. It was the biggest miracle I’d ever received and confirmed to me the Lord was aware of me, has a plan for little things in my life, and would answer my prayers. 

STORY #4: When I was 30 weeks along with #9, Anderson, I drove the 8 kids 11 hours to Nashville, TN to visit my sister. Then we flew across the country to California where we stayed for 5 weeks. We all got pneumonia there which totally wiped me out in addition to caring for the 8 children ages 14 to 20 months. We flew back to Nashville and then drove to Virginia to visit friends and then finally drove home to Greenville, NC. By then it was August 2, a month from my Sept. 3 due date. I went to the doctor and discovered I’d lost 7 lbs those 5 weeks and the baby was termed “failure to thrive” on the ultrasound. During the trip and the illness I kept telling myself it wasn’t good, that I was wearing myself out, that the baby would be born with problems, but deep down I knew everything was fine. After a few weeks of the doctor being worried about my too small baby I delivered a healthy 8 lb 10 oz baby boy. Definitely didn’t fail to thrive! I’m glad I hadn’t worried more than I had but trusted in the Lord that the baby was fine.

STORY #5: I also go with my gut on a smaller scale. When doctors want me to come in bi-weekly and then weekly towards the end but I feel it’s too much stress for me to find a babysitter, get the kids ready, take them there, take an hour or so for a simple appointment, etc so I tell the doctor I feel like everything is fine and it’s nice when I have a doctor who will let me come in every 3 weeks instead of 2, or every 2 instead of 1. One doctor said to just bring the kids and do a nurse visit to check vitals and that was nice too.

A few other examples of trusting my intuition:

STORY #1: As my due date grew closer I’ve known within 1-3 days which day I’ll deliver. So despite my doctor telling me I’m 4 cm dilated and it could be any day or “this baby looks like it’s coming early,” it hasn’t and I’ve been right with all of them but one. I talk to God a lot the last couple of weeks and we decide together when the baby is coming. So go with your gut and not leave it in the hands of your doctor and be induced or have a c-section unless that is what you feel is best.

STORY #2: After my babies are born I listen to that same intuition. Sometimes nurses are worried and I know everything is fine. Other times like when one was taken to the NICU, I felt good about that even though she was brought to me 20 minutes later because the NICU couldn’t find anything wrong. I needed her to go get checked out for my peace of mind.

You got this, Mama!! Share your stories of trusting your gut or intuition. I’d love to hear them!

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