Sunday, May 16, 2010

I tried to like him, really I did

I have a profound dislike for my OB/GYN. In his defense, there probably is not an OB/GYN on the planet who could win me over. When you miscarry four times, you learn to hate the stirrups even more than the women who don't have fertility issues. When I first moved to town, I chose an OB/GYN from a list provided by my insurance. At first, I didn't mind Dr. S. But then, I got pregnant and things went downhill from there. I told him that something was wrong, because I had been bleeding. I asked for an ultrasound. He told me that I was worrying needlessly. He said "You're a first time mom! You're supposed to worry!" Then he went on to tell me that ultrasounds weren't shown to have any effect on the success or failure of a pregnancy. He refused to send me next door to the hospital for the ultrasound. A couple weeks later, I began to bleed heavily on a Saturday and went to the clinic. Dr. S wasn't in that day, but Dr. B broke the news to me that I had indeed miscarried. Dr. B performed my D&C that day, and was very kind and compassionate. So, I broke up with Dr. S and started seeing Dr. B thereafter. However, about a year later I had another miscarriage on Dr. B's watch.

I decided that maybe I would fare better with an OB/GYN who's got a vagina. I wanted to get to the bottom of why I was not able to carry a pregnancy to term. At first, she seemed helpful. She ran lots of tests. I was tested for Lupus, hypothyroidism, and a few other medical conditions. I became pregnant for the third time in 2002. This attempt was not a go either. I repeated the same scenario in 2003, but this time with a twist. Dr. K sent me to the hospital to have an ultrasound, but the technician was not permitted to tell me the results. I was told that Dr. K would call me within the hour. Many hours went by and finally I called the office myself, because it was the start of a holiday weekend and if I didn't talk to her that day, I'd have to wait three days. She admitted she'd forgotten to call me. Yes, she forgot to call and tell me my baby had died. That was the last straw for me. I couldn't believe a doctor could be that incompetent and careless. How come nobody cared? Four miscarriages and no one gives a rat's ass? I was beyond frustrated.

Sometime thereafter, I ended my quest to give birth. However, I would still need a gynecologist, of course. I decided to go back to Dr. B, the doctor who'd been so kind to me when I had my first loss. Things were going fine until he had the audacity to retire. So, I ended up with Dr. D, who was part of the same practice and is still my doctor today.

So, what is my beef with my current doctor? Well, a couple of things. The first is the form I have to fill out every time I go in. It asks how many pregnancies I've had, how many live births, and how many living children I've got. So I answer: 4, 0, 1. This baffles the nurse and the doctor every year. How could I have a living child if I've never carried a pregnancy to term? At the risk of sounding like a third grader: duh. The wording on the form is just sort of insensitive and it irritates moi. My second beef is that Dr. D continues to bring up his belief that I have the same odds of having a healthy pregnancy now as I would have if I'd never had a single miscarriage. We have the same argument every year like clockwork. I've shown him a photo of my daughter. I've explained that I have a child, I have no desire to give birth. He still doesn't get it. He doesn't think I could possibly know my own body and what it can and cannot do. I stopped taking the pill last summer (not in an attempt to get pregnant, but rather an attempt to alleviate a different medical condition that was exacerbated by the pill). So yeah, a year with no protection. Honestly, I am not worried about it at all. I'm 40 and even if I wanted to have a child, my fertility is plummeting by the second. I know there will be no baby.

You may wonder why I don't leave and find a different doctor. Well, I really only have to tolerate him once a year. Also, I've already worn out several OB/GYN clinics here in town (burned a couple of bridges, in other words). This isn't a big enough town that I can just keep shopping for a decent doctor indefinitely. Sometimes I wonder if it is just me being a difficult and/or demanding patient. I've also worked my way through every dermatology clinic in town, after finally settling on a doctor that I really, really like.

Anyway, I had my annual exam with Dr. D on Friday. Because, you know, I always like to start the weekend off with a bang by putting my feet in those stirrups. I knew he was going to bring up the M word and he did. "We recommend a mammogram," he said, handing me a slip of paper with a number I'd need in order to schedule the mammogram at the hospital.

Later that evening, I talked to my friend Kathy about the mammogram and at first she started to tell me that it's not really all that bad and then I guess she remembered that it is exactly that bad. "It does kinda suck," she conceded. Ah, what are friends for, eh?


anneb said...

This just burns me up. It just absolutely staggers me that Dr. s that PEOPLE could be so insensitive. You deserve a thoughtful and compassionate Dr. after what you've been through. Actually even if you hadn't been through any of it you still deserve it. I can't tell you how many insensitive comments I got at the lab and at the hospital after my miscarriage. One of the few things that held me together was my Dr. And I didn't even really stand up for myself. I think now that I've been around the block a few times I think I would burn a few bridges myself. Good for you. Thanks for your honesty. Good luck with the mammogram!

Anonymous said...

Darlin, this isnt your mom, but you will know who this anon person is.

Imagine when I have to answer these same questions (only if I dont get my usual tech) not on paper but verbally because they didnt read the notation in my chart.

1, 1, 0

That baffles them as much as yours and is pretty hard to take.


Alabaster Mom said...

Dear Anonymous who isn't my mother,

Those forms are insensitive not just to me, but just in general. I have friends who've had far worse tragedies than me - stillbirth, late term losses, etc. There's no reason that medical clinics can't just save all of the info in their database and then simply ask, "Has anything changed?"

It *can* be done.

tammy from da quon said...

have fun with the mammo. i have ant hills and it sucked big time so i'd imagine it'd hurt more had i had more...boobage, if you will.

PaperPregnancy said...

My (soon-to-be-ex) OB/GYN has two separate sign-in sheets -- one for 'Pregnant Women,' and one for 'Non-Pregnant Patients.' I found this sign-in sheet hurtful as someone with unexplained infertility, combined with the hour I spent waiting in the lobby, sandwiched between pregnant women with their streamers of ultrasound pictures. And then a friend who sees the same doctor pointed out that each time she's miscarried -- that would be five times -- she has to make the awful post-MC trip to this doc, and go from signing in on one sheet to signing in on the other. After she and I discussed our mutual loathing for these sheets, we mutually decided to find new doctors.

We don't need the world to revolve around our infertility, but a little sensitivity would be cool.

Lisa said...

I have burned bridges as well. I have been to 4 of the 6 OB/GYNs in my county. Geesh. Two of them got crossed out with my ectopic pg, 2 more through my infertility battle. OB/GYNs suck, but I truly thought that it was just here.

Cassi said...

On the flip side, my OB/GYN is amazing. Their clinic went paperless a couple years ago and now the docs & nurses all carry around laptops. When you are placed into a room, the nurse asks if anything has changed like medications or allergies. She then asks if there are any concerns you would like to discuss with the doctor and notes all this in the laptop. I saw my doctor after I had a miscarriage and not once since then has he brought it up. He also comes in with the laptop and goes over your concerns if you have any then makes any necesary notes in the computer. He also takes time to chat with you and see how things are going in general. I don't know what their procedures are for first time patients but for me as an ongoing one, its great! I have had the same physician since I was 16 and I hope he never retires (though I know he will) or at least waits until I'm done having children before he does.