Low Iron, Absolutely Gutted

I’ve had the majority of my antenatal care through the local midwife-led unit. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, a great team of midwives who’re all there for you and make you feel like you’re the only woman in the world currently having a baby. Clearly that’s not the case, but it’s nice to be made to feel that comfortable. Because it’s a midwife-led unit, they don’t have any obstetricians or doctors to oversee labour/birth and consequently, you are only allowed to give birth there if you are considered “low risk”.

The nearest obs-led hospital for higher risk pregnancies is much further away, some 40 mins or so by car (if the roads are quiet). It’s big, it’s very “sterile” and short of branding you, one almost gets the feeling that you couldn’t be any more like the member of a herd. In, pop baby, out again. Not only is it very de-personalised, it’s also where I went last year so not particularly full of fond memories for me.

Throughout the majority of my pregnancy, despite the early bleeding/etc, I’ve been classed as low risk and have therefore planned to have sproglet at the midwife-led unit. I’ve been very relaxed about it all purely because I felt so comfortable with the ‘service’ provided there. Unfortunately, blood tests at about 20 weeks showed that I was borderline low iron. Because of various guidelines and the risk (albeit low, but risk indeed) of bleeding complications post-birth caused by anaemia, I had to get my iron up to get back into the low risk category and thus “qualify” for the birth I wanted.

I was prescribed iron tablets, but suffered a very bad reaction to them and as such bought myself Spatone, which is apparently naturally iron-rich (it’s just water, comes in sachets, you take it with OJ for the vit C benefits). Lots of pregnant women rave about it, and several of the midwives were positive too. I started on the recommended dose and after two further blood tests discovered that it wasn’t actually doing anything… that is, my iron level was exactly the same as it had been previously. I upped the dosage (at the recommendation of the midwife) and had another test two weeks ago.

Somehow, despite the higher dosage (and my diet, which mostly seems to consist of cabbage, broccoli and steak at the minute) my iron has actually dropped. As I’m now 39 weeks (so 1 week until my due date) it’s too late for me to do any more ‘work’ on getting my iron up, which means I now have to go to the bigger hospital with the obstetricians on hand.

Although this means very little in the grand scheme of things, it’s such a shift mentally I really am struggling now with feeling positive. Absolutely flipping gutted.

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25 comments so far

  1. Aisling said:
    On November 3, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Aww, Jem, that sucks SO badly. :( Was it just an issue of not being able to metabolize the iron properly? You said you were getting Vitamin C, which should’ve helped metabolize it… :\

    Okay, so hospitals suck, but the important thing is that the baby will be fine. :] And it will be over before you know it, and you won’t have to give birth to this particular baby ever again! :D

  2. Peter said:
    On November 3, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Wow, you’re actually having a kid! I remember when you said you might do it just to sell your spawn on eBay, but I guess things have changed. Hope everything goes well and the baby’s healthy =)

  3. Mumblies said:
    On November 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I’m really really sorry you have to go to the bigger hospital Jem but once baby makes his or her safe arrival they will ship you back (or rather expect Karl/someone else to do that for them) and you can then stay at the nice comfy (I agree, it’s lovely there) low risk unit where you had originally planned on delivering. Although I do understand how gutted you must be feeling there is that tiny risk of a bleed so it makes sense to be where all the technical gubbins and suchlike is just in case and then relocate for your settling in period with baby.

  4. Vixx said:
    On November 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I know it’s really difficult when things don’t go to plan – not to mention upsetting – but the key thing here is that Bump is delivered safely and swiftly and both you and s/he come out happy and healthy the other end of this. I had a gazillion things go sour for me, but at the end of the day, shit happens and you have to roll with it. Dust yourself off, pick yourself up and now think about what you CAN do to make the situation you are stuck with as stress-free as possible – music, lamp-light, aromatherapy, bedding from home (if you don’t mind it getting ruined :P) etc. etc. etc. I’m sure your midwife would be delighted to discuss what options you may still have control over.

    It’s the final straight. You can do it, Jem. :D *hug*

    V xx

    p.s. Email if there’s anything I can do/say/you need to whinge to me, okay?

  5. Jenny said:
    On November 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    they really gave you iron? I had to take pills that … I guess lessened the iron in my body because I became constipated and … that’s the worst thing to have when your pregnant.

  6. Amanda said:
    On November 3, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Oh no. I’m sorry Jem. :'( I wish there was a way we could make you feel better. At least, once the hospital experience is through you’ll have your little sproglet to cuddle you and make you feel better.

  7. Asho said:
    On November 3, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Aw, I really hate that for you. Hopefully you’ll still enjoy the experience, even though it’s not what you were wanting. I live about 45 minutes away from the nearest hospital that delivers babies, and I speak from experience when I say it’s not much fun riding that long in a car while having contractions every four to five minutes. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, and I sincerely hope your labor and delivery goes smoothly.

  8. Louise said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Aww Jem, you’ve come so far! I’m sure you’ll be in good hands either way. Take care. :)

  9. Jana said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Aw that really sucks Jem. I suffer from low iron. Although I’m not pregnant… Nor intending to be.. So it doesn’t really relate I guess.

    I wouldn’t want to have my child in a hospital unless I was in desprite need of a doctor. Because over here (NZ) it’s also in and out. Which would really suck for a first time mother like yourself, and single mums etc.

    Tis odd how the iron levels went down? Did they explain what happened? :( Where you taking those Pregnancy supplements as well? Like Elivet? I am just curious.

    Well, one week to go! You must be super friggen excited and scared all at the same time. I hope the birth goes well and that doctors don’t need to be called upon.

  10. Hannah said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 12:25 am

    *hug*

    That’s odd that it’s going down as you increase your iron tablet dosage. I kind of understand what you mean about being a member of the herd vs. having a very personalized experience. I will not stick with a doctor if I start to feel like I am not being treated personally. Thankfully, I have a few good doctors that I know really care. I just need to find a dentist and an oral surgeon that I like… as I have to have my wisdom teeth removed very soon. My old orthodontist was horrible and told me he was going to lock me in the dungeon. That’s another thing… I may be young but I’m not a child. [/end rambling]

    I’m getting excited for miniJem (/miniKarl) to arrive! :D Probably not as excited as Aisling, though. :P

  11. Oliver said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 3:07 am

    I remember my wife had this problem with our youngest son and we are concern about this of course, but one of the doctors told us this seem to be a normal thing due to sometime the baby gets all the irons from the mother.

  12. Dom said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Although it probably won’t help you much now, I’ve heard that spinach has mind-boggling amounts of iron in it. Perhaps if/when Mini Jem #2 comes along, if you suffer the same low iron predicament, maybe it’d be worth chomping down on more of the leafy green stuff.

  13. Erin said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Sproglet is leeching all your iron away!

    Still, the hospital might not be so bad even if it isn’t what you traditionally wanted. Bring some comfy afghan blankets with you and I’m sure your family will take care of the rest to make sure you are comfortable. Plus a good nurse will make or break your visit. Hopefully you can get a really empathetic one who will help with your needs and wishes. We all want you both to be safe and healthy, above all else. Best wishes, Jem!

  14. Meggan said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Oh Jem, what a bummer. I would hate hate hate if that happened to me so I totally understand your disappointment. :(

  15. Jordan said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    That sucks that none of the alternative to iron pills worked for you. I know that they were something awful to deal with so I can see why you wouldn’t want to take them.

    Regardless of having a change of plans, it’s not going to be a bad thing. Sprog will be sprog if it was born with mid-wives or without. :) He’ll still be a cute baby nonetheless!! :D And yes, he. ;)

  16. Lilian said:
    On November 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Aww, cheer up pickle :( You’re nearly there!

  17. Amber said:
    On November 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Aww Jem, that sucks :( Of course, in the long run it will definitely be better, but nonetheless I can see why it would still be a downer for you. I hope everything goes well!

  18. Nile said:
    On November 6, 2009 at 5:25 am

    I had one of the impersonal places when giving birth to my son. It kind of sucked when it came time to give birth. As for iron, hope it does not drop any more. It is a good thing it is not your calcium levels. Some women suffer from bone loss that during pregnancy.

  19. Vera said:
    On November 6, 2009 at 6:48 am

    That sounds rather disappointing. Here’s to hoping that things won’t be as bad as you fear. :) I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  20. Courtney said:
    On November 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Aw, man, that really sucks. It’s never a lot of fun to have to adjust your ideas about your birthing process at the last minute.

    I hope that even though it’s not what you originally wanted, that you still have an amazing experience. I can’t wait to hear the news about Sproglet’s arrival.

  21. Tayy said:
    On November 7, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Oooh you are almost at the big day, and I am wishing you the best of luck for you, your child and Karl.

  22. Caity said:
    On November 8, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I’m sending positive vibes your way! I hope that things look up. I also hope that your spirits start to rise, as well. You’re almost there. Keep that chin up!

  23. Alexandra said:
    On November 10, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Sorry to hear that, Jem.

    Everything happens for a reason though, right? I’m still wishing you the best!