I have a profound dislike for my OB/GYN. In his defense, there probably is not an OB/GYN on the planet who could win me over. When you miscarry four times, you learn to hate the stirrups even more than the women who don't have fertility issues. When I first moved to town, I chose an OB/GYN from a list provided by my insurance. At first, I didn't mind Dr. S. But then, I got pregnant and things went downhill from there. I told him that something was wrong, because I had been bleeding. I asked for an ultrasound. He told me that I was worrying needlessly. He said "You're a first time mom! You're supposed to worry!" Then he went on to tell me that ultrasounds weren't shown to have any effect on the success or failure of a pregnancy. He refused to send me next door to the hospital for the ultrasound. A couple weeks later, I began to bleed heavily on a Saturday and went to the clinic. Dr. S wasn't in that day, but Dr. B broke the news to me that I had indeed miscarried. Dr. B performed my D&C that day, and was very kind and compassionate. So, I broke up with Dr. S and started seeing Dr. B thereafter. However, about a year later I had another miscarriage on Dr. B's watch.
I decided that maybe I would fare better with an OB/GYN who's got a vagina. I wanted to get to the bottom of why I was not able to carry a pregnancy to term. At first, she seemed helpful. She ran lots of tests. I was tested for Lupus, hypothyroidism, and a few other medical conditions. I became pregnant for the third time in 2002. This attempt was not a go either. I repeated the same scenario in 2003, but this time with a twist. Dr. K sent me to the hospital to have an ultrasound, but the technician was not permitted to tell me the results. I was told that Dr. K would call me within the hour. Many hours went by and finally I called the office myself, because it was the start of a holiday weekend and if I didn't talk to her that day, I'd have to wait three days. She admitted she'd forgotten to call me. Yes, she forgot to call and tell me my baby had died. That was the last straw for me. I couldn't believe a doctor could be that incompetent and careless. How come nobody cared? Four miscarriages and no one gives a rat's ass? I was beyond frustrated.
Sometime thereafter, I ended my quest to give birth. However, I would still need a gynecologist, of course. I decided to go back to Dr. B, the doctor who'd been so kind to me when I had my first loss. Things were going fine until he had the audacity to retire. So, I ended up with Dr. D, who was part of the same practice and is still my doctor today.
So, what is my beef with my current doctor? Well, a couple of things. The first is the form I have to fill out every time I go in. It asks how many pregnancies I've had, how many live births, and how many living children I've got. So I answer: 4, 0, 1. This baffles the nurse and the doctor every year. How could I have a living child if I've never carried a pregnancy to term? At the risk of sounding like a third grader: duh. The wording on the form is just sort of insensitive and it irritates moi. My second beef is that Dr. D continues to bring up his belief that I have the same odds of having a healthy pregnancy now as I would have if I'd never had a single miscarriage. We have the same argument every year like clockwork. I've shown him a photo of my daughter. I've explained that I have a child, I have no desire to give birth. He still doesn't get it. He doesn't think I could possibly know my own body and what it can and cannot do. I stopped taking the pill last summer (not in an attempt to get pregnant, but rather an attempt to alleviate a different medical condition that was exacerbated by the pill). So yeah, a year with no protection. Honestly, I am not worried about it at all. I'm 40 and even if I wanted to have a child, my fertility is plummeting by the second. I know there will be no baby.
You may wonder why I don't leave and find a different doctor. Well, I really only have to tolerate him once a year. Also, I've already worn out several OB/GYN clinics here in town (burned a couple of bridges, in other words). This isn't a big enough town that I can just keep shopping for a decent doctor indefinitely. Sometimes I wonder if it is just me being a difficult and/or demanding patient. I've also worked my way through every dermatology clinic in town, after finally settling on a doctor that I really, really like.
Anyway, I had my annual exam with Dr. D on Friday. Because, you know, I always like to start the weekend off with a bang by putting my feet in those stirrups. I knew he was going to bring up the M word and he did. "We recommend a mammogram," he said, handing me a slip of paper with a number I'd need in order to schedule the mammogram at the hospital.
Later that evening, I talked to my friend Kathy about the mammogram and at first she started to tell me that it's not really all that bad and then I guess she remembered that it is exactly that bad. "It does kinda suck," she conceded. Ah, what are friends for, eh?