Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Appointments--the long version

OK...so that last post was supposed to be saved as a draft until I could flush it out. I was on my way to Sam's soccer practice and didn't want to forget any of the relevant details...and apparently hit publish post by mistake. And you, you lovely internets, were so quick to post wonderful, kind and supportive comments that I just couldn't make the post disappear and have you wondering what the heck was going on. So here...now...today...and without further ado...I give you more of the story...in all its glory.

My ultrasound tech, as kind and lovely as she was, made the fatal mistake in the first two minutes upon entering the room. I had to hate her. I WISH WISH WISH they would teach these medical professionals that it is entirely inappropriate to say things to the patient like, "So, you have gestational diabetes, is that why we're having this ultrasound today?" I mean, seriously, look at the damn chart! It's all computerized. One, two, three keystrokes and it's right there! And yes...four pregnancies...this is my fourth...yes...one living child. No...the two dead kids did not die from gestational diabetes.

And then the actual doctor radiographer/ultrasound doctor/whatever you call him comes in, doesn't touch me (only watches while the tech re-does some of the scan for his benefit...which makes me wonder why he didn't just sit in in the first place...), and says, "Baby looks good...right on target...fluid is a little generous...you ARE watching your sugars right?"

Seriously, even after all that we have been through, I have to deal with the fat prejudice again?!?! Yes, I'm fat. Yes, I know about all the complications of gestational diabetes. But guess what? I don't HAVE gestational diabetes. We are monitoring it and I am on the diet so that we can PREVENT it from even being a concern. But my numbers are good. And the two dead babies, in case you're wondering, died from INFECTIONS! Just measure the kid and tell me if we're even possibly on track for an early delivery, ok? (Which nobody ever addressed, but Steve and I figured out on our own after doing the math ourselves while everyone else was so concerned about the freaking non-existent gestational diabetes!)

OK...so not bad. We got cute pictures and Sam behaved through the entire thing. Yes, I bribed him with a trip to Toys R Us...so nominate me for worst mother of the year...I accept my failings. Anyway...in the u/s pics we can see that Baby Myles has a career as a circus acrobat ahead of him (or something equally bendy). He is mainly hanging out with his knees in front of his face and his feet over his head. So the kicks I was feeling near what I thought was his butt are actually kicks near what is his head. huh. Weird kid already.

I then had my first non-stress test for this pregnancy. Not bad, though Myles was decidedly unhappy about being poked and prodded during the ultrasound, so he had curled himself up in a ball that necessitated pushing the monitor into my belly to get good heart sounds (which made him even more unhappy and caused him to flail about in there). It was fun seeing him and listening to him and feeling him wiggle all around. I even smiled a few times during the u/s and the nst.

And then...the midwife. Now, I generally have nothing against doctors, nurses, midwives, or anybody. Unless, like the ultrasound tech, they start asking questions without even looking at my chart. So this grandmotherly-type woman comes into the exam room and starts with the grandmotherly-type questions. No problem. And then she asks THE question..."Why are you having non-stress tests this early?" Argh! So I tell her, as gently as possible, about my history. I knew the look was coming before I even opened my mouth. But even so, it was kind of funny to see her eyes grow bigger with each word that came out...to see her hands come up and cover her gaping mouth...to see her FINALLY turn to look at the magic computer screen that held all this information. Still no problem. I can deal with it. I'm used to it.

But THEN...then she just made me want to wring her grandmotherly little neck. She scooted her chair across the room and sat, quite literally, within my personal space (think knees touching...hands on mine in my lap...concerned head tilt), and asked, "So how ARE you doing?" OH MY FREAKING HELL! I think she expected me to cry. Instead, I pulled my hands out from under hers, shrugged, and said, "This is an old routine at this point...I'm just taking it one day at a time because I don't have much other choice." I swear, I could see all her idealistic happy-mommy delusions melt away into a puddle right in front of me. I'm seeing the chief OB at the hospital. I've consulted with specialists. I'm high risk times two. I mean, really...what did she expect me to say to her? What should I put in my birth plan? Good grief.

Did I mention that at my last appointment, two weeks ago, my OB mentioned that there was "another like me" on the west side of Cleveland? Yeah...freaks unite! So anyway...as this woman is trying her best to search her brain files for something crunchy granola and heartwarming to say to me, I'm thinking, "Yeah, you've never seen one of us before...get a good look. We're the mommies you don't get to see...we're the mommies you get to pretend don't exist in your world where everyone has happy wonderful flowery birth experiences. Take a GOOD look."

Too much? Maybe. But I realized, in that moment, sitting there with this stranger's knees touching mine, that I am SICK AND TIRED of being silent. Guess what?!?! All that bullshit about pregnancy and childbirth being wonderful, life-affirming experiences? It does us ALL a disservice. It minimizes the vast diversity of experience out there and puts up an almost impossible ideal. Think about it. How many women, after reading all the books and magazines, are completely happy with their "birth experience?" And why? Why are we disappointed? Because there is this ideal out there that we're all supposed to strive for. And anything less is considered some sort of failure (though no one would dare say it, you know the comparisons are being made). It's absolutely ridiculous. Years ago, it was considered a success if nobody died in childbirth. Somewhere along the line, we've been sold a bunch of horse shit that says that's not enough...that we're ENTITLED to a perfect experience. Now I don't know about you, but not much in life is perfect. Why in the world would we think that childbirth, with all its variables, would be perfect?

Sorry...don't get me riled up. :o)

We scheduled eight more appointments...all with Dr. A...none with the midwife (aren't you surprised?). Eight. Count em. Now I really get to freak out. The ultrasound doc reminded me to do my kick counts every day. I laughed at him. One of the nurses asked if I was sleeping ok. I laughed at her. The midwife said it was nice that baby was so reactive. I laughed at her. Funny funny stuff. Eight weeks. Please please please stay alive and come home with us in eight weeks. Please.

15 comments:

niobe said...

She scooted her chair across the room and sat, quite literally, within my personal space (think knees touching...hands on mine in my lap...concerned head tilt), and asked, "So how ARE you doing?"

This gives me the creeps just reading about it. I HATE people who do this. I hate them A LOT.

sarahbobeara said...

i'm sorry you have to deal with health professionals that don't read the chart. why do they bother to carry it around if they don't look at it?!? that's just being lazy and ill-prepared :/

ms. G said...

Grrrr, Grrrr, Grrrr I am feeling you here. I have been asked "why are you here?" twice, once by an u/s tech, once by the intake nurse at the high risk doc's office.

I was speechless both times. There are actually several reasons I am there, do I really have to run down my list of health issues and history? Seriously? The second time I bit my lip and refrained from saying, "oh, no reason, I just like coming here" with a big grin on my face!

"I could see all her idealistic happy mommy delusions melt away..." Love that statement. I've witnessed a few of those myself. Yeah! for not being silent!

Stephanie said...

I'm glad you're not remaining silent. I appreciate what you have to say and I suspect many, many others do as well. You're right - the current myth of idyllic, flowery birth experiences sets most of us up to fail. I marvel at the fact that so many babies are born healthy and alive when I consider the huge number of things that can and do go wrong. Hell, after my struggles to get pg with Anderson I marvel at the fact that so many women are able to accidentally or easily get pregnant - let alone carry a healthy child to term.

Gretchen said...

Ohhh, I got the willies from the description of the midwife too. The head tilt "how are you doing?" kills me, as do violations of personal space.

You were right on in your ranty paragraph regarding birth. It isn't riot of sunshine and rainbows as certain birthy-types would have you believe.

I cannot tolerate women who are upset with their birthing experience just because it didn't follow The Plan they outlined on their computer. If the baby is alive, fall on your knees in thankfulness and get over yourself. I know this is an unpopular view.

I am fired up because a good internet friend went in for her big 20 week ultrasound yesterday and found a dead baby. She's being induced on Friday. Her name is Melanie.

~mopsy from lifenut aka Gretchen

Elizabeth said...

Amen!

My "birthing plan" did not include delivering my first son 13 weeks early.


And midwife touching - wrong.

Carole said...

I am so sorry for this. What the hell is it with these guys? I hate it when my chart isn't read and the stupid questions flow out of their mouths. Ugh to the gestational diabetes thing. I get that all the time because I am overweight. I agree with Niobe...the midwife sounds creepy.
~Carole
http://thejourneyfromhere.blogspot.com

Rosepetal said...

I deal with clients. Imagine if you saw a client without having even so much as glanced at the file beforehand. It's simply unprofessional low performers.

pipsylou said...

SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS, SISTER. amen!!!!!!!! Being one who suffers from something pretty near psychosis when pregnant, I'm tired of that expectation. I will never be pregnant again unless heavily medicated.

Cass said...

You go, girl!!! You tell them all!!! ((((HUGS))))

I loved the freaks unite comment....it is too true! * more appointments....wow!

Come on, Myles!!!

Cass

Tricia said...

Is it bad that I want to print this post out and send it to every maternity "professional" out there?

kate said...

Can i just say i agree with you and leave it at that? Oh, and that i hope you never see that midwife again!

vixanne wigg said...

Catherine,
Be careful. You're sounding like me! Next thing you know you're going to be ripping up copies of Mothering Magazine that poor strange women hand you in parking lots.

I am hoping for you. Good things. Good things.

Aurelia said...

I'm trying to think of something intelligent to say, but you have said it all in this post.

If I had a nickel for every dumb thing a midwife had ever said to me....I swear I'm not sure who trains these people, but they must be morons.

Ruby said...

I hear you! And we pay them for this!!!