Now the time has come for my blog post regarding my experience with the medical field during my pregnancy and early miscarriage.
This isn’t a fun one. It seemed like it would be during my first appointment, but that quickly changed.
I found out I was pregnant very early on. Something I wish I hadn’t done, but that’s in the past now and can’t be helped. As soon as I found out, I quickly looked into my insurance and figured out which OBGYN I was approved for. While I was in my search, I had all kinds of people telling me to go to midwives, because for some reason here in my state, midwives are as highly praised as OBGYNs. Which, by the way, was very strange for me because I just assumed midwives worked out of homes and only did at-home-water-births. Silly me! And before I continue any further, I want to point out that I, in no way, am saying all midwives are bad, or that those who suggested for me to try a midwife were wrong. I appreciate all–well, most–of the suggestions I got during my short but sweet pregnancy.
When I called the group of midwives, they first tried to have me wait until 8 weeks but I explained I had some medical concerns, so they agreed to bring me in. My first appointment was made and my husband and I headed there when I was exactly 5 weeks.
The first appointment was great. The midwife was very kind and attentive. She explained a lot in regards to how I should take care of myself, and reassured me that I had already done a great job by having a healthy starting BMI (weight) and taking prenatals for a long time before the pregnancy. Of course it was early on, but we felt comfortable with our choice regarding our midwives.
The midwife at that appointment had explained that we would not see the same midwife every appointment we made. Apparently in this state, that’s quite common, to not see the same doctor or midwife throughout your pregnancy. They have groups of professionals and you just see whoever is in the office for the day. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because even though I had never experienced that, I assumed it would be okay. If all the midwives were as nice as the first lady, that’d be amazing!
Between the time of my 5 week and 8 week appointments, I took a trip to my home state. My first day there, I thought I was experiencing a very small amount of spotting. To this day, I’m not even convinced that’s what it was, but I called my OBGYN that practiced in my home state, and she got me in for an ultrasound and appointment.
The ultrasound technician did a great job with me, a gave me a photo. But the discussion with the doctor was another story. She explained that I seemed to only be around 5 weeks along instead of 6. Instead of leaving it at that, she also explained I could very well be having a miscarriage or a chemical pregnancy. It was just like that, a very cold, abrasive conversation. My mother, who was with me at the appointment, asked her what I would have to do if it was one of those things, and the doctor said quite disrespectfully, “We would terminate it with surgery. That’s such a ‘bad’ word, but it’s not a bad thing to get rid of something that’s not even there.”
In my mind, I felt the doctor was acting as if it’s no big deal for a person to go through a situation like this. By that point, I didn’t believe I would miscarry and I thought a chemical pregnancy was a really far throw from my situation (which turns out it does unfortunately happen, though it didn’t to me). It seemed as if this doctor was almost normalizing a woman losing her baby, and that it should not be a devastating thing.
I was glad she wouldn’t be my OBGYN, and didn’t think much more of it since I would be back in my new state with my midwives.
The 8 week appointment arrived, and we were SO excited to go! We went, and sure enough, it was a new midwife. The whole beginning of the appointment was a little awkward. You know that feeling you get when someone older than you talks to you like you’re a dumb little kid? That’s how I felt, and my husband was feeling his own way about how it was going.
At the first appointment, the midwife had explained that the ultrasound machines they use are very old and terrible technology, and that we shouldn’t put a lot of faith in it if it seemed off.
With that in the very back of mind (I’ll admit, I let it slip from my thoughts a lot) we got the ultrasound. This second midwife pulled out the external ultrasound, explaining they won’t do internals by 8 weeks, which was opposite of everything I had heard.
She placed the ultrasound on my belly, and pushed ever-so-slightly. She barely moved it over my stomach before squinting her eyes and saying, “This isn’t right. Something looks wrong here. I think there’s something wrong with your baby.”
I don’t know a single expecting mother that would ever be okay with those words coming from a doctor/nurse’s mouth. It was so abrupt, so short, and so unconcerned, like it was just as if she was saying someone had made her sandwich wrong.
The ultrasound maybe lasted 30 seconds before she turned it off and sat across from me, explaining how I could ‘take care of it’. Pills, surgery, naturally. And I wasn’t even convinced that I had an unhealthy pregnancy! I started crying, and the midwife walked out of the room without a goodbye or anything. She picked up her papers and just left, and never came back.
My husband a I did the best we could to make it until our next ultrasound. The midwives ordered us an ultrasound with the hospital’s larger, more advanced machines, so we took the appointment.
The ultrasound technician was very kind and encouraging. It was that day they could finally measure the baby, but it was only measuring 6 weeks and 2 days when he should have been 8 and 3. The technician did encourage me to believe that the baby may be earlier than they originally thought, and she told me not to be discouraged until our follow up ultrasound the week after, which would determine if the baby was growing or not. We left the hopsital again, this time with little to no clarity, and having to wait yet another week. The stress was getting unbearable, especially since I wasn’t experiencing any miscarriage symptoms but all of my early pregnancy symptoms were still in full swing. I was starting to have anxiety and mild depression problems.
The next week’s ultrasound came around, and this time I dreaded going. The technician was less concerned, just doing her job. They measured the baby again, this time he was still at 6 & 2. By that time, I had not heard a word from my midwives about the previous ultrasound, even though they said they would call me with the results. It was like I didn’t exist as a patient. So as soon as the ultrasound technician finished, I demanded to talk to the radiologist. At first the technician told me I could see the radiologist, then returned to the room to say I would just have to wait and make an appointment with my midwives to discuss results. I said I wouldn’t leave without finally talking to someone, so finally the radiologist agreed to meet me.
She explained that from her experience, she knew this pregnancy would be ‘a demise’. A phrase that I think is absolutely horrendous in that medical field. Even though it was terrible news, I did feel reassured about the answers we got. It had been so long since anyone had given my case any attention, and the radiologist was the first person I had talked to that seemed like they knew what they were doing.
We left, knowing fairly certain that none of my midwives would call, but that I would need to start considering my options. I, of course, wanted to miscarry naturally if it was at all possible, instead of going to surgery or taking a pill. It all seemed so unnatural at the time that I didn’t even want to think about it. I put off research, and basically kept all of the options from my mind. I was 99% convinced that this was an unhealthy pregnancy, and that 1% kept me hanging on to false hope.
After 2 weeks from the original ultrasound, I received my results back electronically. No call from my midwives, but some mildly concerning things had been found so I decided I would give them a call myself. I finally heard back after leaving a message, and the first thing asked of me, was if I had made a decision. I hadn’t even spoke to anyone about what the ultrasounds had found out regarding the miscarriage! It was a terrible “hi, how are you? Want to get rid of your baby yet?” vibe. By this point I was in utter shock that these people are ‘Medical professionals’. I told them no, that I wanted 1 last ultrasound to prove everything. The midwife agreed that it would be a good idea.
Despite everything, I am so glad I made that ultrasound appointment. The news was horrible, but the technician was a godsend. They found no baby. He had diminished, which meant I would need to act quick on a decision if I didn’t miscarry naturally the next few days. But even with that horrid news, I was completely comforted by the technician, and although it was difficult, she made so much sense to me. She sat with me as I cried and I explained to her the hell we had been through with the midwives and through this entire pregnancy. She even got emotional along with me and eased so much of my pain by FINALLY being the person I needed to just say, “I know, this just sucks and there’s nothing good about any of this. You have to take care of yourself now and let yourself mourn. You have been through too much.” I was desperately needing those words. I can’t thank that technician enough. There were no words. If I could, I would love to thank her again.
I was told to meet with the midwives again, so we went directly after the ultrasound. Lo and behold, it was the midwife with the awful bedside manners. She came in, sat down, and while still talking to me like I was 5, she tried to speak with a nicer tone. We discussed my options and she said I was able to wait through the weekend to decide and just maybe, I would naturally miscarry and not have to go through with any other choice.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. By Tuesday, I was starting to experience some nausea and my panic attacks and depression were increasing. I woke up Tuesday, knowing I had made my decision. I called the midwives to ask them to schedule a D&C.
By Wednesday morning, we were in the outpatient clinic with the OBGYNs that work with the midwives. The group of women that took care of me during the surgery were absolutely amazing. Each one of them had their own way of reassuring me and taking care of everything I needed. I felt very little pain and didn’t even have to go under general anesthesia. They placed me under moderate sedation along with an anti anxiety medicine. At least one of them was with me at almost all times while I was there. They really took their time to make me feel at ease, despite my severe panic attacks I went through that morning.
And after the surgery, I never saw a midwife or OBGYN from that hospital again. My midwives scheduled me for an appointment on their own, and when I called to reschedule, they said they could not fit me in until at least 3 weeks post surgery. Originally, they said they needed to see me exactly 2 weeks after. When I reminded the midwife of that, her words were: “Well, it’s not even necessary for you to come back in for a follow up, because it’s not like you can’t have sex again until we see you. You can have sex right at 2 weeks post d&c.”
LIKE SEX WAS ALL I CARED ABOUT!
I finally learned to give up on that awful group of midwives, and scheduled a follow up with a new OBGYN.
And that’s the story of the medical side to my miscarriage. The moral of the story is, if you’re in this medical field, I’m begging you to consider how your words affect the mothers and fathers during their pregnancy. Whether it’s a healthy or unhealthy pregnancy, every woman deserves to be treated as an expectant mother, and she deserves kindness and compassion, especially when she’s been faced with the thought of losing such a blessing. Pregnancy and miscarriage isn’t a medical diagnoses you can just get rid of without hesitation or sadness, when the mother wants it so badly. You absolutely cannot treat it as something someone can so easily ‘get over’.
It’s a terrible, depressing thing to suffer through, our medical professionals do not need to make it worse!
And if you’ve ever experienced anything like this as an expectant mother, please feel free to email me with your story, or if you simply need someone to talk to. I do not want you to go through this on your own. Together we can lift one another up and bring awareness to the common, but horrific, cases of miscarriage.