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doctors and first trimester anxiety

So first prenatal appointment didn't prove anything to me, this doctor refuses to check for heartbeats before 11 weeks. Dammit. And I was just shy of 10. But at least I got in and got it over with.

Oh by the way, after last Friday, I fired by OB. Her office is in the opposite corner of the city from where I work and that's annoying, I basically have to take a half day for every appointment... but that's not the whole issue, the real issue is that I'm sick of their administrative issues, the fact that I can never get anyone on the phone, the fact that my doctor is constantly an hour late for every appointment. Yes. Friday was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The more I thought about it, I don't care who my doctor is. Last pregnancy, I barely needed one... the OB checked me for fetal heartbeat every four weeks in the second and third trimester, then sat back arms folded like a line judge while I gave birth with the help of nurses. Really I think the vast majority of doctors are able to handle my medical needs... so it's time to move on to other criteria and judge them by their offices, yes?

But anyway... onto the mystery of early pregnancy, and why it's annoying that we have to wait so long for confirmation...

There's this thing called "missed miscarriage"... it's when your baby dies, and there's no way to know it, you just read horror stories on the internet of "we went in for an ultrasound to see if it was a boy or a girl! but learned that it the fetus died two months ago and needs surgery to be removed." I didn't know that was the name for it when I first got pregnant, I just had this lurking question "What if the baby is dead, how would I know?" and everyone said "It's not. Chill the fsck out." or "You can't do anything about it anyway. Chill the fsck out." The majority of miscarriages come with obvious bleeding and other symptoms you can't miss, but there are these other ones that go on with absolutely no clue. Sometimes "loss of other pregnancy symptoms" is a symptom, like women report that their morning sickness just vanishes. But I never get morning sickness to begin with. And it can vanish and mean nothing. So let's just scare the crap out of ourselves.

The problem is this is the INTERNET. When you google it (and you shouldn't google it, but whatever) you find threads on pregnancy boards where people ask "can you have a miscarriage and not know it?" and hundreds of women come out of the woodwork and say "yup, it happened to me! I found out [2 weeks] [3 weeks] [x weeks] after the baby stopped growing... worst day of my life..." and you start thinking that every other pregnancy ends in this horrible tragedy, and that what you don't know can kill you (and has already killed your baby).

Now I've been to two separate OBs and neither of them care to give me an early ultrasound or any way to verify a beating heart until I'm three months in. I guess I'm not sure how to take this... either:

1) They want to drive me crazy with anxiety
2) Reality is, I probably am going to have a baby, and that's why they're treating me like I'm having a baby

My new doctor was reviewing my chart and medical history. She went through this list... "Let's see, you're a non-smoker, 32 years old, weight is good, blood pressure is good, last pregnancy was healthy and no complications at delivery... okay then." She said she'd see me in four weeks, and oh yeah the nurse will be right in with my flu shot.

It should be simple. I am simple, and uncomplicated... that's what I keep telling myself over and over. But I also know that statistics are never a comfort when something "unlikely" goes wrong.

I could give in and spend $100 on a home doppler, but again, I preach against that. I'm the one telling women we need to learn to live with whatever life is handing us. Plus, there are even more horror stories of women who can't find their babies' heartbeats on those home dopplers and go RUSHING into the ER because they lose their minds, and it makes everything worse (not to mention expensive).

So I'm resisting that urge, reminding myself that it'll all go well, telling myself to quit bitching because dammit, don't you know some women really do have miscarriages and really do have complications and I have no right to stress when I'm fine.

But deep down inside, I'm really freaking out, hate everything about these months, and am happy that I probably won't have to go through this huge awful dice roll of pregnancy ever again.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2012 11:59 am (UTC)
Well, if you REALLY want to get an early ultrasound, just tell them you're bleeding. That has always bought me early ultrasounds. Of course, you don't want to lie and abuse the system. But some vigorous sex might do it :)
Oct. 11th, 2012 12:48 pm (UTC)
The internet is both a godsend and the most evil thing out there. Nothing like googling medical symptoms or looking more deeply into any medical issue.

The good thing is that 4 weeks isn't *that* long to wait, but I know it will seem like an eternity. :/

Wish I could be more helpful. Perhaps some meditation to help calm the nerves until that time?
Oct. 11th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
Oh no. I should have told you the trick. You say you're not sure about your LMP!!
Oct. 12th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Oct. 12th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
Man, I forgot how terrifying pregnancy was.
Oct. 13th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
When I read Dr. Northrup, her views on childbirth and pregnancy were that 90% of pregnancies go just fine, but we insist on panicking like everyone's in the 10%.
Oct. 13th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
yeah... that's a real problem ratio.

On one hand, 90% is not like 100%. If we intervene we might be able to do better (and we do... perinatal mortality is way lower nowdays!)

On the other hand, 90% is an incredibly vast majority. If we intervene we might be needlessly driving up costs, increasing risks, messing with nature, etc.

All this is why I'm conflicted, I read these comments that say to just rent a doppler, tell the doctor I NEED an early ultrasound, lie about my LMP... it sounds convenient doesn't it? But it doesn't make sense. That rush to control things has really driven up c-section rates for one thing, that much we KNOW, and this early pregnancy stuff may very well be where it starts.
Oct. 13th, 2012 02:01 am (UTC)
I think that as a society, we don't really encourage people to do their best and just calm down if there are alternatives that allow us to BE SURE. I mean, if you're low risk, there's no point in subjecting yourself to an endless gamut of tests just to assuage a fear that's probably unfounded. We have access to SO MUCH information that it seems easy to get petrified very quickly, and so we want to be sure.
Not having kids, I can't really speak, but it seems like we've misinterpreted "be in control of your life" (including your pregnancy) to mean "usurp nature with medicine whenever possible, regardless of necessity"
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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