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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Don't let the bastards get you down


Everything in my life – good and bad – is there because of choices I’ve made. 

I’m aware that deciding to have a child brings with it a load of responsibility.  Not just after they are born but accepting that they may not emerge picture perfect and sometimes, they have chromosomal abnormalities that cause intra-uterine demises at 25 weeks and 2 days gestation.

I chose to attempt another pregnancy. 

I chose to speak up when I needed help dealing with the anxiety losing Joe left me with. 

I chose to be honest about not wanting residents or interns touching me.

It’s not lost on me that what’s going on with this pregnancy is not some random act of unfairness.  I have been following my instincts and that isn’t always met with enthusiasm.

Since my last post, my new doctor at Maternal Fetal Medicine passed on a message that she can’t treat me.  Before ever meeting me, she was informed that I don’t feel comfortable having residents involved in my care and as such is refusing to treat me at all.

She was a last resort to deliver at Maine Medical Center.

There are other doctors but none that will accept a new patient who is currently on Mainecare (before I start getting hate mail about abusing the system – my partner and I are students. Back off).

I sat down to write a blog about it two weeks ago but figured I would rather have a happy ending to the story.

I called another group of doctors who deliver at Mercy Hospital.  I’ve been waiting for a week to have my file transferred and first appointment scheduled.  Eventually I had to go get my own file and hand-deliver it to the new group of doctors because nothing seemed to be moving.

This morning I got a call from them – I’m too far along in my pregnancy and they can’t fit another patient into their schedule.  I had to ask if that was the case for all eight doctors there.  Apparently there were two who are taking new patients – just not me.

That’s four different practices.  Not to mention the ones who just flat out refuse to take a new patient who has state health insurance.

Side note: I don’t even know what Obamacare is because I’m not a person without insurance.  I have insurance.  I also have a baby growing inside me that didn’t ask for any of this.

I went to an open house at a fire station a few weeks ago and joked with the EMTs about delivering my baby in the ambulance.  So far they are the only people who have expressed any excitement or agreed to deliver my baby.

The ironic thing about this entire pregnancy is how many times I’ve joked that by now I could deliver this child at home on the kitchen floor and be just fine.  I may have to do that.

At 26 weeks pregnant, I’m considering a home birth even though it’s not covered by Mainecare.  It would solve a lot of things I’ve been worried about:

         1)    Who would take care of H while I’m in labor at a hospital
         2)    Having a crew of residents watching me and practicing their pelvic exams on me
         3)    Not knowing who would be there for the delivery (one of two, four, eight or fifteen practitioners)
         4)    Laboring at home for as long as possible

Worst case scenario, if I have to be transported to the hospital, there’s a fire station down the road full of people willing to deliver my baby.  They even have a safety seat on board for H and plenty of room for J and if necessary, are equipped and trained to do everything a critical care nurse might do.

Pregnancy after loss has been a bumpy ride.  I read about women who had a lot of complications along the way and are so grateful to their doctors. I’m thankful that this baby is just percolating in there, not causing a fuss and growing like a champ. 

I promise my little pop tart everyday that I will have taken care of everything by the time we’re ready to meet face to face.  I’m going to yoga twice a week and therapy twice a week and I’m doing the work that needs to be done from the outside in and the inside out.  I’m the only person with even the tiniest amount of control over the health of this baby so I’m not letting the bastards get me down.

Oh I’m still angry – don’t get me wrong.  In the midst of all this, we lit candles for Joe who has been gone now eight months.  I made it past 25 weeks and 2 days pregnant and woke up that night in a full blown panic attack convinced my body would eject this baby because of the drugs they gave me to force Joe out at the same gestation date in February.

I wonder sometimes if Joe sends me these obstacles to keep my mind off the reality that he’s never coming back.  Or if he’s helping me find my voice and my backbone by showing me what I’m really made of.  Or is he just teaching me to focus on what’s important?

There’s a line in my medical chart that sums up what he meant to all the doctors and midwives I’ve seen.  IUFD (intra-uterine fetal demise) of male fetus at 25w2d with known Trisomy 13.  He’s one line in the chart of a difficult patient on Mainecare.  Neither one of us amounts to a whole lot.  I can choose to accept that or listen to one of my favorite quotes from Helen Keller:

 “If you turn your face to the sun, you won’t see the shadows.”

There are consequences to every choice but as a survivor, I like to remind myself there are ALWAYS choices.  I don’t need to feel forced into anything.  In my experience, my choices may leave me a little lonely for a short while but they also open my life up to all the good things.  I have a miracle growing inside me.  I have a wonderful partner and son who adore me.  What else is there really?

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