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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Doing everything differently

June 29, 2013
Four months, two weeks and one day


The question is upon us whether to run the MaterniT21 test for this pregnancy.  I’ll be ten weeks in just a few days and that’s the earliest the blood work can be done.  Joe’s chances of having Trisomy 13 was 1 in 10,000.  Depends on where you look for the information but basically we have a slightly higher or exactly the same risk of this baby having the same chromosomal abnormality.

I didn’t test for anything during my pregnancy with H.  The things they look for and the invasiveness to find out things we can’t fix or control just wasn’t work the risk.  The only reason we tested with Joe was to determine exactly the cause of his list of super powers.  It gave him a life expectancy and a label so the doctors could decide if he was worth operating on.

The reassurance the test could provide would be nice.  I don’t expect the exact same thing to happen.  That’s what most fears are based on - not new things that may happen but old things happening again.  Would I even care if this baby has Down Syndrome or Edward’s Syndrome?  Only to the extent of the co-existing possibilities that go along with Trisomy 21 or Trisomy 18 but like the multitude of conditions that people walking this earth have, those are things I can live with.  I could even live with Trisomy 13. Worst case scenario, I would just want more time than I had with Joe.  Even if it was to get beyond 25 and a half weeks pregnant.  Just more time.

On one hand there is this person that I would like to be who can manage pregnancy and does all the admirable things – no tests, no anxiety, absolute faith in everything working out.  There is another person that lost a baby just four and a half months ago and was already kind of a basket case and has had everything I knew turned upside down.  I want to hear the heartbeat every day and see an ultrasound scan every week and find a way to keep control in an uncontrollable situation.

The urge to do everything different is strong.   So is the urge to change NOTHING for fear of inviting a jinx.  I know that makes me somewhat of a nightmare as a patient.

A few weeks ago I had an appointment for a due date and viability scan.  It was for late in the afternoon and by ten in the morning, I was climbing the walls.  I called my OB and asked if I could get an earlier appointment.  It was a double stressor because the appointment was where I went to see Joe that last time not moving on the screen. 

The secretary didn’t miss a beat.  She said it was out of the question and because it wasn’t an emergency she wasn’t even going to ask the doctor.  I wanted to go to a less equipped facility but the advice from this community college graduate was that she thought the doctor would want me to ‘start off right this time around.’  As though a chromosomal abnormality was something you can blame on a parent.  You can’t.  It occurs just after the sperm and egg meet and divide.  It’s THAT early and it’s nobody’s fault.

I hung up on her and called back to get a different secretary who went straight to the OB and had an appointment for me in a few minutes.  As we were walking out the door, the first woman left me a real nice message saying I could call her back unless I had hung up on her purposely.

I have to admit, I couldn’t feel my toes or fingers as I called back.  I explained to her that I was very anxious and she could have at least humored my request and until she lost a child she was in no position to judge.  She was yammering over me about wanting an apology.  And I hung up on her again.

My husband called back and spoke to her as gently as he could manage.  He explained that her inattentive, dismissiveness was just adding to my anxiety and if she was going to be a problem we would have to go to another care provider.  She told my husband she expected an apology from me and one would not be forthcoming from her.

After my ultrasound went beautifully and the technician patted my arm and said she understood my anxiety and was so glad to fit me in early to reassure me, we got home and called the office manager.  And the doctor.  Nobody seemed to want to take responsibility for the person in customer service who was giving out medical advice and refusing to even entertain a request from a paying patient.  On a side note, in my twenties I went to community college and worked as a secretary for five years.  I have respect for the job but I knew my role.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from someone who had lost a child and he said all you can do is try and control the things you can control.  The rest you just have to let go.  You can control what you eat, what you wear, where you go…so find comfort in those things.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

You’ll notice this does not request serenity from any particular denominational being or spirit or entity.  Just to whomever or whatever may grant such things, please send me some wisdom.  I can work with that.   I’m still not really speaking to the almighty I grew up trusting.

As for prenatal care, leaving my current practice is terrifying.  It truly feels like my OB was instrumental in me not dying during pregnancy.  As though he is the only person with the knowledge to get a baby safely from within my womb to the outside world.  Despite the fact that we are actually one for one.  I have one healthy baby and one that died.  Nobody’s fault but also to nobody’s credit either - unless I can count all the nurses along the way and I may have done some of the work too.

Something else I have to consider is how empowered I am at that practice.  After delivering my second child, I should feel as though I could deliver at home on the kitchen floor with a suction bulb and a pair of safety scissors.  I know what to do. Is it at all healthy to feel such a dependency on a doctor?

I have a real issue with loyalty.  I expect it from people and I try to offer it to people I care about.  I felt so let down that nobody stepped up and said I know you’re anxious, we’ll do whatever we can to alleviate that.

Maybe there’s not a practice out there who would take me on with all my hang-ups and questions and demands.  Oh well.  I did say I could deliver in the kitchen.  It’s worth trying to find a place that will listen and coddle me.  I am, afterall, growing a tiny human.


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