My doctor and one of his assistants made a comment to me over two weeks ago at my fist ultrasound that I still haven't been able to get out of my head. It offended me at the time, but I chose to brush it off thinking I could let it go, but here I am weeks later still peeved over it.
Ben and I were so eager for our first (7 week) ultrasound that we made sure to actually write down all the questions we wanted to ask our doctor during the visit. After we got to see our baby's amazing heartbeat and our doctor had confirmed that everything looked great he asked if we had any other questions. Ben handed me our list so I could quickly scan it to be sure we had covered everything. And that was when I realized that there was one question we hadn't touched on.
I wanted to ask my doctor about OB/GYNs. If there is one or two in particular that he highly recommends or if the group of OB/GYNs I've seen in the past are a group that he would vouch for. I just wanted to know his perspective on the subject. Since I'm still so early in my pregnancy, I was a little hesitant to ask the question since there had still been no mention of when he would be releasing me from his care, but I know it is inevitable, and I like to be prepared and do research, so I figured it would be perfectly fine to inquire. In my mind this is a pretty obvious question that I would assume the majority of his patients in my position commonly ask. Wouldn't you? This is how our conversation went:
I said, "Oh, yea, there is one more thing. And I hope I'm not jumping the gun but..." And that's when my doctor got a know-all smirk across his face and interrupted me by saying, "you're wondering about you're next IVF cycle already aren't you?" Then he looked to his assistant and they both chuckled as he said to her, "She would ask about that wouldn't she? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha." I was stunned and quickly said, "NO! I was going to ask about OBGYN's you recommend." He gave his answer that I only half heard because I was becoming more offended by the second.
After he left the room I was in total shock that he would even think that I would seriously be asking about a future IVF cycle when we had just seen our baby, for the first time, after all that we'd been through. "Who the hell does he think he is?" The way he and his nurse laughed made me feel like I'm the joke of their practice. Like I'm some kind of high maintenance patient who is always getting ahead of herself that they all make fun of behind my back.
As I walked down the hallway to leave their office I was still tripping over his tactless comment. "Do they think these things about me because I worked hard to be as well informed as I could about the invasive IVF process I had just come through? Is it because I called to get my blood results after my appointments? Is it that I brought list of questions I wanted to be sure to remember to ask? Why would he say that, even if he was just joking? Why would they laugh when I was trying to ask questions that were important to me?"
When I got home I tried to just put it out of my mind and not let myself be too sensitive. "Just get over it," I thought. But weeks later it is still with me and it has brought up a lot of inner pondering.
Perhaps I am over analyzing that one comment, but there is a bigger issue that it helped me focus on. Maybe I really was one of their most involved patients who asked far more questions that the typical IVF couple. Maybe it was the fact that I wouldn't accept their explanation of our remaining embryos just "pooping" out prior to freezing. That I required him to give me a better answer than something you would tell a 3rd grader. Maybe most of their patients really don't ask about what is going on with their bodies or their embryos. Just like sheep they follow his every word and don't dare get too involved or venture to ask, "WHY?"
This is really scary to me. I can't fathom trusting anyone that much. I have brain too, and no, I'm not a doctor though I do respect those who are, but I feel that I at least have the right to ask questions before, during and after treatment without being snickered at.
I've realized that throughout both of my IVF cycles my doctor has tried to share as little information as possible with me rather than being open and candid and willing to honestly answer my questions. He has dumbed things down to explain them to me and has acted like a robot. For example, EVERY TIME I get a trans vaginal ultrasound (which has been dozens of times by now) he uses the EXACT same line to me as he inserts the transducer, "Liiiiiiitle bit of a pressure, Cilla." No shit....We've done this before, dude! Is it really necessary for you to use the same stupid words every time we do this proving to me that you use the same stupid words with each and every one of your patients? I am so tired of not feeling like an individual who my doctor really "cares" about. And they call themselves "CARE providers." Please!
These feelings I have about the impersonal nature of nurses and doctors in general has really raised my concern about my next huge step....GIVING BIRTH. I do not want to find myself in prenatal care and eventually labor when I have a doctor dumbing explanations down or sparing me from all "technical" details that are deemed unnecessary for me to know or learn.
Just as a woman’s heart knows,
How and when to pump,
Her lungs to inhale,
And her hand to pull back from fire,
So she knows when and how to give birth.
- Virginia Di
This is my mantra for how I will find my next "CARE provider." I refuse to see someone who belittles my involvement or someone who pushes interventions without much explanation. I don't want to feel like my decisions are not my own or feel forced into choices because of not having all the information. Instead I want to feel empowered and encouraged to be involved. I want to be supported and not stifled. Of course with our current doc we didn't get to make these choices since the only criteria was to find the best infertility specialist in the area.
Now the possible OBGYNs, Midwives, Doulas, doctor's offices, hospitals and birthing centers are vast....Let the research begin!!
** I am still beyond grateful for my RE's skill at being able to get me pregnant in the first place. I will never forget this. I'm just very ready to move on to a CARE provider whose chemistry aligns with mine. Someone who is down to earth, knowledgeable, sensitive, patient and who spares me the corny, repetitious one-liners.