Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Doctor, Same Old Tricks

So I managed to switch doctors and have had 2 visits with the new practice. I am unimpressed. The new guy is younger and more hippie-ish than the old one, but he annoyed me by trying to make me feel stupid every time I asked a question or voiced a concern. I told him I was a little tiny bit concerned about pre-eclampsia, since my mom had it with me. He blew me off saying that it was nothing to worry about and "just because your mom had it doesn't mean you will." Well, yes, I know that part, but my mom having it with me does mean I'm at a higher risk, as does the fact that this is my first pregnancy. But he didn't mention that. His tone indicated that I was wasting his time by even saying anything because of course I could not possibly have it. He could've just said "well, everything's fine so far, but we'll keep an eye out" but no, he had to treat me like a moron.

I asked about the call rotations, trying to get an idea of how many doctors there are in the practice and how often they rotate, since I could potentially end up with any one of them. I'm not bothered by this, I was just curious. He responded by telling me that they have on-call doctors because he cannot be expected to just leave in the middle of a surgery or procedure. Um, no kidding? Wow, I thought you'd just ditch that emergency c-section to come running every time I feel a twinge! All I wanted was some useful information, and again got treated like an idiot for even asking.

Questions about monitoring were handled in a similar fashion. I was told that "it will be a few minutes every hour until your water breaks, but after that you shouldn't be out of bed anyway." To which I later told my husband: to Hell with that. I will get up if I bloody well feel like it and am able. Part of the reason we went through this pain-in-the ass 3-rd Trimester game of doctor-hopping was because of Old Doc's monitorning policies (all internal, all the time) and his accompanying hospital's "no getting out of bed EVER for any reason after your water breaks" policy. After Old Doc's internal monitoring policy, I wanted to make sure this guy wasn't in the same camp, so I asked. New Doc looked at me like I had two heads and said external. I tried to explain that our last doctor had been a superfreak about internal monitoring, but New Doc really didn't care. I'm not even sure he listened long enough for me to finish my sentence.

New Doc did mention this no-out-of-bed thing is to prevent cord prolapse, which blindsided me. I mean, I know what it is (umbilical cord comes out ahead of baby) but not a single one of the dozen books we have laying around the apartment have mentioned that Southern California doctors are apparently hysterically paranoid about it. None of the books, or my friends, or the half-dozen websites, or the multiple baby blogs I read have even mentioned that a doctor could try and force me to stay in bed to prevent it. I have to say, I feel a little betrayed that The Books have let me down. They could've at least warned me.

My husband, my mother, my aunt, my best friend, my sister, and practically everyone else around me are always nagging at me to tell my doctor every little thing. I usually respond with "he won't care, and he won't do anything." And they never believe me, until I am at the appointment begging for some sleep medicine and my husband watches the doctor totally blow me off for the third time in a row. I'm not sure if it's that nobody believes me that my doctors are so indifferent, or that nobody believes me when I say I research things like a mofo and I'm pretty sure I'll know when something is seriously wrong. We got into a car accident and smashed up the front end of our beloved little car at the beginning of the month, and my husband was freaking out about the fact that I refused to call the doctor afterwards. I think he would've been happy to trot me down to the ER and get checked out, but I said no. My best friend and my mom were horrified that I didn't even call the doctor's office and let them know. "Why would I do that?" I asked. "They'll just get mad and ask me why I'm even calling." There was no bleeding, I felt fine (I helped push the car out of the road because it wouldn't start, actually), and the baby was moving just like normal. I had my first appointment with New Doc coming up a week after the accident, so at the urging of about 15 people, I told him we were in an accident. As I expected, I got almost no response. Baby still moving? No bleeding? You're fine, end of story ok gotta go. Once again, I got the impression that he thought I was dumb for even mentioning it.

Most of the time, my doctors make me feel like I am wasting their time for even being there. So when my friends and family pester me to tell the doctor that I have a stuffy nose or describe how my hips hurt or make sure they write down in my chart that I was born 10 weeks early by emergency C-section, I roll my eyes and say I'll mention it, but I almost never do. My husband has been with me at every appointment up 'til now, and sometimes he'll say something if I don't, but he always gets blown off too. It took him a lot longer to accept that the doctors just don't give a shit - it's only been since the car accident mention that he's started to agree with me. Long ago I stopped seeing these "healthcare providers" as my first and best resource during this pregnancy. Whenever one of my books says "check with your healthcare provider" or "talk to your doctor," I roll my eyes and snort "yeah, right." I view the doctors as a necessary...not evil, that's not the world I want...more like obligation. I have to go, so I'll go. They're there to point out any huge red flags, but other than that it's all me. If I have a problem or a question, I have to find my own solution/answer/consultant, because "consulting my healthcare provider" usually results in no answer to my query and being made to feel stupid for even asking.

After my last appointment, during which the nurse-practitioner (New Doc was out of town) wouldn't give me a straight answer when I asked if it was okay to take Pepto-Bismol, all I could think was thank God everything's been going fine so far. I can't even imagine the uphill battle I'd have getting these turkeys to pay attention to me if I had an actual problem.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Ties That Bind

I just spent the past week in the Midwest, because my little brother got married. A bunch of my extended family traveled North to my parents' house for the St. Patrick's Day ceremony. I stayed at my parents' house, too, and it was somewhat unnerving to have so many people hovering over me. Everywhere I went, someone was asking me if I was tired or hungry or fussing about me not eating or sleeping enough, or telling me I shouldn't do this and shouldn't lift that, or I needed to do this or get that. It was freakin' exhausting.

My husband was not with me (he was stuck at work), so I had no go-between, nobody to say "it's okay, she's really fine" or ask people to keep it down during the 3 hours per night I did get to sleep. My mom and my sister caught on pretty quick and treated me like a person, not just a baby-carrier. The rest of the family...well, I know they meant well and had the best of intentions, but after a couple days I just wanted to yell "I'm OKAY! I take care of myself ALL THE TIME! At home I eat and sleep and go to school and clean the house and go to the store and I haven't died yet! Please stop FUSSING!"

There were a few cases where I had to explain things like why I'm avoiding aspartame and that no, I don't tell my doctors everything, because they just do not give a crap. And why I don't want an epidural if I can help it. And that yes, I'm still riding my bike to school, I actually feel much better when I do because I need the exercise.

I got lots of "advice" too, like my new sister-in-law's mother telling me flatly "well, I hate to break it to you but just because you and your husband were both small babies, that has nothing to do with how big your baby is going to be." Or my grandma telling me that the pants I was wearing did not have a big enough panel.

It's really nice to be home again, because my husband knows that one cup of coffee won't kill the fetus and it's really better for everyone around me if I don't skip it, that I will say something or trundle off to bed when I get tired so he doesn't need to ask, and that rubbing my belly is not a good thing to do because the stretched-out skin is very raw and tender there. He also knows better than to argue with me when I want to do something, which is more than I can say for some of my family members.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

A couple of days ago, Max came home from work with Girl Scout Cookies. Thin Mints for him, Caramel Dee-Lights (aka Samoas) for me.

"You know what occured to me today? The most wonderful thought EVER," he said around a mouthful of minty, crispy chocolate.
"Mmm?" I asked as I ripped open the purple box and dug in.
"In a few years, " he said, "we could potentially have our own private line on Girl Scout Cookies."
It took me a second to figure out what he meant. Then it sank in. "Oh my God."
"I know, right? It'll be awesome."
"She'll be the top seller in her troop...all to us."
"We're going to have to buy a chest freezer just for Thin Mints."
"I'm so glad we're having a daughter."
"Me too. Because the Boy Scouts are nice, but their popcorn just doesn't do it for me."
"No way."