Thursday, May 13, 2010

Insensitivity 101, required class for doctors

5 years ago I switched my, er, womanly care from an OB to a Midwife.  I have loved that the group of midwives I see is very supportive and caring.  When I miscarried in 2008 I walked into my 2 week post miscarriage check up determined to brush it off like I was ok, my midwife saw right through it and got me talking and allowing myself to be hurt over our loss.

This time when I miscarried the midwives suggested I see an OB/GYN.  Since it was my second miscarriage in a row, with 2 years without a pregnancy between they wanted to be sure there wasn't something that was going on, and realistically, miscarriage isn't a midwives forte, healthy normal pregnancy and birth is.

So I made an appointment with one of the OB doctors at the same clinic.  That appointment was today.  I was hopeful that she may have some suggestions, or maybe she would just tell me things I already knew.  But at the very least I didn't expect the insensitivity I got.

When the doctor walked into the room she sat down with her computer, barely making eye contact and typing away.  Finally she looked up at me with a big smile and said...

"Well,  you should consider yourself very fortunate.  You've had 6 kids"

"seven..." I mumbled without even thinking, shocked at what she just said.

"Seven...." she repeated and went back to typing on her computer.

"Well" she started again.  "What I mean is.  You are very lucky, you had 7 pregnancies without a miscarriage, most people don't have that kind of luck"

Ok.  I'm not going to cry.  I'm going to pretend this woman didn't just minimize my losses and pretend she didn't just try to make me feel guilty and unreasonable for wanting the children i've lost and mourning them.

"So, you had a miscarriage in 08" she says and I nod.  "So why did you wait until now to come in?"

My mouth opened to say something and then snapped back shut.  I looked at her quizzically for a minute.  This woman really had NO idea of anything.  She hadn't bothered to even glance at my chart before walking in that door, nor at the referral for that matter.

"umm.  Well because this last miscarriage was 2 in a row and well I am worried something might be wrong with me.  My cycles are getting shorter and shorter and I have this pain in my left ovary through my whole cycle"

"Pain in your ovary during your period" She says as she types away.

"No, pain in my ovary during the entire cycle" I corrected.

"So, pain the whole month??"  Yes.

More typing.

So when was your last menstrual period and how long was that cycle?  It started March 19th and that was the last one I had, my cycles had been running about 23 days the last 6 months or so.

"March 19th was almost 2 months ago.  So, you're pregnant right now?"

*sigh*.  "No ma'am, I had a miscarriage 3 weeks ago, that's why I'm here.

"oh.  Well tell me about that then."

"Well, I got a positive pregnancy test on what was day 28 of my cycle, which was 4 days late for me.  The next day I took another test under the same conditions and the test was a bit lighter, so I think things were already on the downward slope... I started bleeding 5 days later"

"So, what cycle day did you start bleeding" She asks, and I answer 33.

"Well it is possible you weren't pregnant, that your periods are just changing back to a more normal cycle.  33 days is still quite normal" She says.

"But I felt pregnant and the 2 pregnancy tests said......"

"Those things are wrong all the time, and sometimes women read them wrong and sometimes when a woman WANTS to be pregnant she manifests symptoms of a pregnancy.  I've seen women with big huge bellies who weren't pregnant at all, they just thought they were.  So, stranger things have happened. " she cuts me off.

Ok really? 2 false positives? Not even light lines, nice DARK lines? Come ON I think I know what a positive pregnancy test is.

I'm not gonna cry.  I'm not gonna cry.  Now not only should I be ashamed of myself for wanting another healthy child, but that child, in her opinion, was fake anyway.  I'm NOT gonna cry.

She asks if I'm taking any medications.  "no, but after my miscarriage I started taking these... it seems they can help regulate the female hormones if that's an issue, and it's suppose to lengthen the luteal phase and mine's really short so I thought maybe that was my problem" I handed her the bottle of the herb Vitex.

She looks at the bottle.  "Well, this isn't going to help anything, but it won't hurt you so if you want to take it you can."

Well thanks for her expert opinion on herbs then.

So, she says. " I want to do some blood work.  Maybe you have a clotting problem, does anyone in your family have blood clots, on Coumadin? "    No.  " Oh, well I want to check it anyway because that might be the problem.  But I don't think you HAVE a problem, I think 2 miscarriages is nothing and you are fine. "

"Could it be a progesterone issue? I mean I'm just wondering since I'm in my 30's.  I ask.

"If you were 40 maybe, but you aren't 40 you are too young for that.  But if you REALLY want to know we can do a progesterone test on day 21 of your cycle.  But you are going to have to go home and think about that because insurance won't pay for it"

Ok. I say.  "So I just call up here then on day 21?"

"Well yes, but like I said, you'll have to pay for that yourself you know."

Ok. That's fine.

"Insurance won't cover it, it's out of pocket.  Cash that day"

OOOOOOk, I'm starting to get it now.  SHE thinks I'm some unwed girl who has 7 kids by 7 different daddies and am wanting to pad my welfare check with babies.

Yeah, that's fine I say.  No problem I'll pay for it.

So do you want birth control? She asks.  "Mirena is a really good iud" she says handing me the little display.  "ummm no, actually" I say.

"Ok, because IUD's are really good, they are low hormone if that's a problem for you and they prevent pregnancy for 5 years so you don't have to worry about this again."

"no thanks."

"Are you here looking for fertility treatments??"  She asks.

"No.  Just if I get pregnant, I'd like to keep them.  That's all"  I say

"Well how many more kids do you plan on  having?"  She asks

I don't know I say as I stand up to leave.

"Well, if you decide you want some birth control, I suggest the IUD" she says again.

Thank you for your time.

I made it across the clinic to the lab waiting area before the tears started despite trying to hold them back. Most of the time things don't bother me like this, I'm proud of my children and our decision to have as many as we are blessed with.  But when I go somewhere worried and asking for help.... I didn't expect to be made to feel like that.  This woman had made her mind up before she even started talking to me, the minute she saw the number of kids I have on my chart.  She did no exam, made no more mention of my constant ovary pain, nothing.  She assumed I was in there looking for fertility drugs to have more welfare babies and nothing I was going to say would have changed her mind.

Craig wanted to go back and raise hell, but I just wanted to get out of there to do what any self respecting woman would do, wipe my tears away, get my blood drawn for a test I most certainly don't need, and go shoe shopping.


The Henrys said...

I am so so sorry that you had this experience. She is a horrible doctor with no heart. She did so many things wrong and I am shocked that she actually has patients.

I am also so sorry for your losses. It is so hard to fall in love with your baby and then have to say goodbye. I never had a loss like you did with Alexander, but I did have a ruptured tubal pregnancy. I was devastated.

Take care of yourself and try to forget all about this doctor.

Just Jiff said...

Wow. I have no words for this jerk of a "doctor." She must've missed the semester of BEDSIDE MANNER.

Makes me so angry.

*HUGS* to you. You need them. And there is NOTHING wrong with having 7 kids. Nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy and keep pregnancies once you have them.

*HUGS* again.