no. 575 – First OB Appointment

Walking through the doors of my obstetrician this morning reminded me yet again of how much I have lost over the years. Not just pregnancies, but hope, excitement, joy. Those emotions clung to the walls of the waiting room and reflected back to me as I stared at the aquarium. My cloak of fear and trepidation warded them like an oiled canvas in a snowstorm.

I was told by the doctor’s nurse that I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable until I felt the baby move. I know from speaking to some close friends and email exchanges with bloggers that I will probably never feel that comfort that comes with naivete.

I was handed a clipboard by the receptionist (Cold Fish) and directed to fill out the card and the highlighted sections of the form. The card was a promo from a formula company. I tucked it under the form leaving it blank. The first question on the form requested all prior pregnancies, GA, and labor details. It stung that my miscarriages were reduced to nothing more than a month/year date and gestational age.

For the exam, I had to endure a breast exam and pap smear in addition to the basic urine sample, blood draw and pressure check before Doc found Murdock’s heartbeat with the doppler. A PA in training asked me some basic questions on my medical history earlier with the first question out of her mouth being, "Was this pregnancy planned?" More irritating was the fact that the pad she used to write on was my file full of photocopies from my RE, which even I could plainly see from across the room.

Doc asked when I would like to return. I told him that right now two weeks is the most I could probably manage. That was fine by him.

When I stepped back into the waiting room to pick up my appointment card, Cold Fish swung onto the counter a large plastic bag heavy with magazines and promotional items. Stapled to the bag was a purple paper with Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! emblazoned on it. I felt like a fraud in front of a room of waiting patients and walked with my eyes down until I could safely decompress in the hallway leaving hope, excitement and joy on the other side of the door.

I’m wishing that I’ll soon be brave enough to take a little with me. Maybe next time…

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26 thoughts on “no. 575 – First OB Appointment”

  1. I shuddered a little bit when I read about the PA student/intern. What an ass. I hope that she learned something from the experience, and takes it with her for future reference.
    Even though I’ve seen the same staff in my gyne office for the past 10 years, and even though I realize they’ve seen a gazillion patients in that time, I still expect them to remember me a wee little bit. HE does, just not the rest of them. My chart must weigh 10lbs; it’s at least 6 inches thick; there are little “fallen leaves” plastered on the front of it… get a clue!

  2. I sincerely hate all that marketing crap and I applaud you for not filling out the form. THEY are the reason I get all sorts of stuff in the mail from BABIES R US and POTTERYBARN BABY and other such dross. As if I need a million reminders!

    I understand your trepidations about the OB office visit. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel happy in an OB office, or in that dark U/S room. I guess it’s normal.

    Thanks for keeping us all posted. I’m glad to hear things are going so well.

  3. Delighted to hear that Murdoch is doing well.

    I changed obs on my first pregnancy – a very good move. I understand that you will never feel the comfort and expectation of the fertile but I hope you can start to feel joy or at least relief when you start to feel your baby moving.

  4. Dear DD, may I take some of that happiness and faith and hold it for you? And with my other hand, hand you a virgin caipirinha? (They’re so good, you would hardly tell that they’re safe to drink.)

    Oh, and note to OB staff: please please please, for the love of Pete, mark traumatic pregnancy history in red on top of the chart. Is that so freaking hard, morons???? Must you do this every bloody time?

  5. So glad to hear Murdock is doing well and that at least your OB is sensitive even if the support staff is not. Makes me think of the Sex. in the City episode when Carrie helps Meranda deliver. You need a Carrie to stand next to you at your appointment and just shake her head with an evil eye at any overenthusiastic nurse or clueless receptionist.

  6. I’m glad to hear Murdock’s doing well, and that your doc is willing to let you see him at your comfort level, not the preset time.

    I’m amazed you didn’t point out the size of your file to the PA. Might have taught them to pay attention.

    You know, it’s funny how much you take for granted…it never would have occurred to me that things like a formula card, or the congrats bag would be hard for someone who had struggled to even get that far. Not discounting your feelings at all – I’m just in the blissfully ignorant category. When I got pregnant, it wasn’t planned…and I wasn’t ever able to enjoy being pregnant as I was worried too much about the future. You’ve fought so hard for this one – I wish there was a magic bean to make it enjoyable and carefree for you.

  7. I’m still wondering why they make you fill out all the stupid paperwork if they never look at it…
    hopefully the stupidity wears away, (theirs) but the uncomfort never does. Even big and huge I would walk out with my head down…

  8. I’m glad Murdoch is well. As for the rest of it- hugs… I remember that fear and terror well and unfortunately, it stuck until I heard my son and daughter cry in the delivery room. I still sometimes can’t believe it actually worked. That after all I went through, that there are three healthy children (not) sleeping upstairs right now. I hope to God that will be you in about six months.

  9. I remember that oh so well and fired my stinkin’ first ob. He blew off my concerns and treated me like Miss Happy Pants. I was NOT miss Happy Pants and needed my feelings to be taken seriously. Glad your doc was good to you even if the dingbat receptionist wasn’t. Next time I’m up your way, I’ll go to that danged heifer and poke her square in the eye.

  10. I totally hear you about being uncomfortable being (finally) pg in the OB’s office. I remember how horrified I always was to visit there during/after my m/cs, and that feeling stuck with me during my last pg. I never felt like I could be happy in that office, knowing that not everyone gets good news when they visit there.

    Glad everything is going well. You remain in my thoughts!

  11. Planned? You think….. I am surprised she did not ask how it was financed? Oh, wait, then she would have actually had to read your file before opening her upper crap hole.

    From my miscarriage, aka one-liner according to your experience with the form, I too got a bag and a book. I still have that book. It is entirely about pregnancy. I don’t need it for an obvious reason, but I do still need it for an emotional reason. Throwing it away means I have given up entirely, which I am not ready to do. It is also the only think I still have from my pregnancy. Kinda ironic that I have a book about pregnancy from a pregnancy that ended in a way not laid out in the book and that I still want that book. I was not preapred to burn it with the IVF paperwork.

    I am happy to hear the appointment went well and I an thrilled for you, even if you are not able to be excited for yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself – you are not a fraud. There is hope, happiness and excitement available when you are able to receive it. I wish it were different, but my magic wand ran out of wish dust a long time ago. (Now it just farts when I shake it.)

  12. When I went for a scan recently the form just asked for no of miscarriages and which trimester – not nice and this place was where you go if you want the UK king of fetal medicine to do your amnio/CVS so you would have thought they would be a bit more sensitive. I have given up with the idea of Drs reading notes in advance – hell here you are lucky if the notes are even there. I can do a precis of an absent 3 inch thick file in under 10 mins now.
    Glad that things were looking fine at the appt – silly PAs and receptionist excepted.

  13. The bag. The bag reduced me to tears.
    I didn’t take the one Dr K offered with Will. I still had the one they had given me 4 months prior.

  14. I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself either. Seems a bit annoying, to say the least, to push all the advertising crap on you regardless of your reproductive history.

  15. Getting the bag would have freaked me out tremendously.

    Other than that, I would have been just plain snotty. Oh yeah, I already am.

  16. Cold Fish is the receptionist. I don’t like her.

    The PA is in training, and won’t be there the next time. A new PA in training probably will be and s/he may ask the same stupid question(s).

    Doc? I love my doc. He’s sincere and I trust him. I just didn’t like being lumped by the office staff into the category of “Blissfully Pregnant”. Doc did not treat me that way.

  17. I kind of admire the fact that you can be honest about how you feel with everyone. I have actually found myself worrying that my doctors or nurses will think I don’t want this baby because I’m afraid to be upbeat or enthusiastic. It sounds like you are pretty straight forward about it.

    My OB sent me to a reproductive specialist today. I’ve never been clear on WHY I need to see him or what he is going to do. She was quite insistent though. I asked her office to be sure that the other doctor knew why he was seeing me because I didn’t really know. New doctor turns to me and says “so why are you here today?” Gah! AND I had to be the dick who brings a child with me into a waiting room full of women with hungry eyes because they are trying so hard to have a child. Thank goodness I’m not noticeably pregnant or I would have really felt awful.

  18. You wrote a lot here that matters but oddly the thing that stands out most to me is that I want to kick that PA in the shins.

    Really.

    Glad Murdock is well . . .

  19. Yeah, I’m with Suz, if you don’t feel comfortable, it might be worth considering a change. It will be easier now than later if Cold Fish turns out to be a dick. Of course, if you really like him and he is worth it, then, just steel yourself and ignore the silly stuff.

  20. You know, I realize that they probably have hundreds of current patients. And their own personal lives. But every damn person in that office should know your history before you walk through the door – ESPECIALLY when they had such an extensive amount of background literally in their hands. It irritates the shit out of me that they can’t be knowledgable enough in their own right to treat each patient with the specific way they should be treated. Just a little compassion or, hell, even FAKING knowing your medical history with something like this would be better than acting like a total fuck wad ditz.

    Yeah, I’ve had a rough day — can you tell?

    Also, you can’t change the way you feel – especially about something so deeply rooted in your soul. Please don’t be ashamed; it’s those around you who should be ashamed if they judge the way you act during a time like this, even if they don’t know.

  21. You know…maybe I’m jumping the gun on this one, but if your OB rubs you the wrong way, it might be time to find another OB. I had all sorts of indications that my OB was the wrong choice for me early in the pregnancy and didn’t switch. This decision came back to bite me later on. Just sayin’.

  22. You know what DD? It’s okay that you feel this way. It sucks that you lost the naive giddiness. I’ll hold onto the giddiness until you need it.

    Also, what kind of quesstion is that by the nurse?! Fertile, infertile, whatever, that is the dumbest question I ever heard.

  23. It’s funny how positive people try to be, with the exception of Cold Fish. I didn’t feel “comfortable” until K was born. I was occupied with the “what if’s” until he was in my arms.

    glad that you have a decent doc who asks when you want to come in next instead of setting a date in a fixed amount of time.

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