Sunday, April 14, 2013

An Open Letter of Gratitude for Pro Life Physicians

When our family moved to Florida, I was pregnant. Perhaps the scariest thing about moving across the country away from our friends and family, was that it meant leaving behind a trusted physician. I was nervous about leaving his practice because he gave me what I thought I did not have: hope for a family.

He listened to my concerns. He gave me bible verses and expressed genuine sorrow when I had a miscarriage. He stayed at the hospital long after my son was born and came by to express his regret that we ended more than a day's worth of labor in a c-section. He was kind and always had time for his patients.

When we moved, I did my due diligence to find a pro life physician, hoping that a doctor who cared enough about respecting human life would also treat his patients the same. I found a really wonderful practice that is a husband and wife team. It was a little outside of town, but they took me mid-pregnancy and again, listened to my concerns. Unfortunately, the hospital would not allow for a VBAC opportunity, but I delivered my daughter safely and had doctors that listened to me and that I trusted.

Before I became pregnant this time, I began to research my options in regards to a VBA2C. Not because I felt I was robbed of dignity or an opportunity with my previous birth experiences, but because I wanted to give myself and my body the chance to work the way it was made to work. I located the best facility for such an experience, and before long I was pregnant. I stayed with my physician through the first trimester as I have progesterone deficiencies while the placenta develops. Once I made it safely through the first trimester, I arranged to transfer to another group of physicians.

This practice was much larger, to say the least. While transferring was easy enough, I began to see that things were going to be quite different. To start, I never saw the same physician twice so every appointment was like starting over. Every doctor had a different "sticking" point: one appointment was focused on my VBA2C goal. The next would be focused on PCOS and how I should be high risk. Then my previous records were in and I was green lighted for a VBA2C attempt. Then I wasn't gaining weight slow enough. I needed more iron. I shouldn't be on metformin. Then I was gaining weight too slowly.  I passed the glucose testing, but high levels of amniotic fluid meant I needed to be treated as though I had GD. My blood sugars were on the high end of normal, so my metformin should double now. I needed ten ultrasounds. I was checked in as the wrong patient and marked as a no show. I went two weeks without a doctor ordering follow up appointments and was told it was my fault. Then I was told at 34 weeks that a VBA2C was never in the cards because my reports did not reflect the ideal situation they needed to, meaning no one had actually reviewed them when they were received and I was green lighted nearly four months prior. They performed studies during the ultrasounds but never gave me the results. I was ignored and treated like a standard operating procedure.

After a particularly horrid appointment, I had enough. I went to lobby and called my regular physician and begged his staff to have him call me. By the time I pulled into my driveway, he had returned my call. I unloaded the awfulness of the previous five months: every sordid detail. He told me to send him my records and that he would schedule a repeat c-section for me. I cannot describe the relief I felt! I still had a month or so of issues to deal with, but there was happiness at the end of it all, at last!

I am writing this out, because I am on the cusp of being a week away from my delivery date, and I do not want to have to remember or recall the last six months of this pregnancy. I do not mean to discredit the concerns of any of the physicians, but the constant run around and dishonesty caused many sleepless nights and stress-filled days that simply were not healthy for my pregnancy. I come across posts or stories of women that feel incomplete or as though a piece of their womanhood is missing because of c-sections. I read this piece this morning even. While I teared up when the author wrote about how her husband thanked her for the sacrifice, I will be going through this for the third time and I just can't say that I have any regrets besides transferring to the bigger, "VBAC-friendly" facility. My health and safety matters with my current physician, and so does the health and safety of every life that will potentially grow in my womb.

I am writing this now so that, in a little over a week, I can be free to experience the beginning of my child's life and put all of the turmoil behind me.

I am reminded once more at how incredibly grateful I am to have discovered the kind of care that pro life physicians have to offer. Maybe one has nothing to do with the other, but in my experience a doctor that cares about the life of the tiniest human, cares about the health and safety of the mother as well.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience so candidly. I am so thankful that I'm at a practice that really works with me, and knows and respects our strong faith. It's not a pro life or NFP practice explicitly, but other than a new nurse who didn't know me yet, I've never been pressured to take birth control or do anything that would question whether we should have our babies. In fact, my doctor was thrilled when I came in pregnant with our second a year after she delivered our first and asked how long we'd been trying. They were very supportive of my decisions (or lack thereof) considering a VBAC, and gave me a huge window of time to come up with our birth plan, all the while guessing I'd have to have a repeat C. They were right, but never pressured me or stressed me out, even with some peculiarities on our ultrasounds. I know when/if the time comes for a third, they will guide me with no pressure. I can't imagine having to find another doctor somewhere I don't know anyone...or even here!

    Praying you have a healthy, safe and uneventful delivery!

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  2. Good luck, Jess. You'll do great. : )

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