Pregnancy After Loss: Meltdown at the Doctor’s Office

It finally happened.  I kind of freaked out at the doctor’s office yesterday.

To be honest, the whole thing caught me off guard.  My group has 3 offices, and I haven’t been back to the one where I had found out THE news….the news that Hannah died.  I purposefully avoid that office even though its 10 minutes from my house.  I drive 20-some minutes in the other direction to go to the other offices.  I just can’t do it.

I have been trying to prepare myself for the fact that at some point it may not be avoidable anymore….there might be an appointment where I have to go to that office.  So far though, I’ve been able to schedule everything at the other 2 offices and just assumed I’d be able to keep it that way.

Before I go any further, I just want to say that I love my doctor’s office.  I had a great experience during my first pregnancy.  They were wonderful and completely full of compassion when Hannah died.  They sent flowers for her funeral, several of the doctors came to her service, they called for weeks afterwards to check on me, the nurses during my postpartum checks took special care to take me back and find a room for me as soon as I got to my appointments so I wouldn’t be stuck in a waiting room full of pregnant women, they held my hand hand gave me hugs during my appointments, they cried with me, rejoiced with me when I found out I was pregnant with Noah, etc.  They are really wonderful, and I never even thought about changing practices for this pregnancy.  That being said, you can still have an experience every once in a while that isn’t completely wonderful.

At the end of my appointment yesterday, the doctor I saw (who is new to the practice and wasn’t there during my pregnancy with Hannah) starting going over all the typical “make sure you call if you notice any of these things” speech.  Each doctor reminds me of this (and I’m sure every other patient they see) every time which doesn’t bother me at all, but the other doctors have always said it a certain way.  Usually it goes something like this…”Make sure you call us or go to the hospital if you notice any bleeding, leaking, decrease in fetal movement, or just feel like something isn’t right.”  However, this doctor said, “And of course, if the baby just stops moving, you need to call us.”  Just like that.  No bedside manner.    I said “ok” but what I really wanted to say was, “Don’t you think I know that?  Don’t you know that’s exactly what happened to me less than a year ago?  Do you really think I wouldn’t call if he just stops moving?  Don’t you know that out of every. other. single. patient you see, this dominates my thoughts more than all your patients combined?  Don’t you know I obsess over his movements?  Does it occur to you that if I haven’t felt him for more than a few minutes (even though I know that babies don’t move every single minute of the day) my heart starts to race and I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack?  So, YES, OF COURSE I’M GOING TO CALL IF I DON’T FEEL HIM MOVE!!!!!”

I don’t expect at. all. to have my hand held through this entire process or for anyone to jump through hoops for me or walk on eggshells around me, but I do expect a certain level of tact out of any health care professional.  So, after that comment and a different conversation I had during that appointment, I was already a little upset when I went to check out.  When I got to the desk, the receptionist asked which location I preferred, and she started looking up appointment times.  Then she said, “I don’t see anything that fits at that office.” and started looking up available times at the other location.

My heart stopped and all I could think was, ‘I’m not ready to go back there yet.  I’m not ready to wait in that same waiting room.  I’m not ready to lay on that same ultrasound table.’  She told me what they had available and pretty much that I could either go there or I’d have to wait 4 weeks to be seen at the office I feel comfortable at.  I froze and started thinking, ‘If I wait 4 weeks and something happens to him, I will never forgive myself.’  I felt like it was either selfishly wait  4 weeks because I can’t handle it and pretty much miss one appointment to check on him or suck it up and do what’s best for my son.

So, the tears started coming and I said, “Ok.  I’ll take the appointment.”  I felt bad because she wasn’t rude about it at all and it wasn’t her fault.  She honestly seemed confused about why I was so upset.  I don’t expect every single person at each of their locations to automatically know what happened and all the details, but it was happening too fast and even though my appointment wasn’t for a couple of weeks, I wasn’t ready to even think about having to go back there.

I went back to the crowded waiting room with tears streaming down my face to wait for them to call me back to do my last blood draw for my glucose test.  Talk about awkward.  How did I get to the point where I’m the crazy pregnant lady crying in the waiting room?  It was the first time I’ve really HATED that I’m not just a normal pregnant person like everyone else.  I HATE that things are so different this time and just having to go to a certain office makes me almost lose it.  I. HATE. it.

I went outside to call Zach so he could calm me down.  I’m sure I scared him to death when I called him crying in a panic.  I don’t know how long I was on the phone with him, but we decided to call back when I got home and hopefully talk to someone else, explain the situation, and see what they could do.  Sometimes it’s hard to think clearly when you’re really upset about something.  I’m so thankful that Zach is always level-headed and knows what to say.  After convincing him that I was ok, I went back to the waiting room.

A few minutes after I sat down, the same receptionist came over and told me she found an opening at the office I wanted even though it was a little earlier than I needed to be seen and asked if I wanted the appointment.  I started crying again and told her thank you.  She said she would put a note in my file about not wanting to go to that other location at all and hopefully it wouldn’t be an issue again.

I don’t know why she found me another appointment, but I can’t remember the last time I felt so relieved.

I don’t have any advice if you’re in the same situation as me – pregnant again after losing a child.  It’s a hard road….and more complicated than I would have thought.  Thinking back, I don’t think I could have done anything differently yesterday.  I wish it wouldn’t have upset me so much, but oh well.  I’m not sorry for it.  There are just certain things I can’t handle, and being less than a year out from losing her, I don’t think not being able to handle going back into the same exact room where I heard THE news is unreasonable.  I wish it wasn’t an issue, but it is.  And, I would have called back to the office when I calmed down and stopped crying  to resolve the situation, but in the moment, I just wanted to escape.

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8 Comments

Filed under Pregnancy After Loss

8 responses to “Pregnancy After Loss: Meltdown at the Doctor’s Office

  1. Cindy

    Your so sweet Amanda. You have handled your loss with such courage and Grace. Praying for you and sweet Noah.

  2. Janet Totty

    Love you and you never need to feel guilty or bad for ANY feeling at all that you have! Never! I completely understand you not wanting to go back to that office and I’m very thankful it was worked out without you having to think about it again. Praying for you….always!

  3. Wow, so thankful you can go to a different doctor’s office. I have my 1st (very late) appointment (at 12/13 wks) next week and am dreading it to some extent…and not even because anything bad happened at this office, just simply bc the last time I was there, my sweet baby was alive inside my belly…and it’s the beginning of doing it all over again. freaks me out. We have a pediatrician that we took Greyson to when she was 1 day old and the Hospital the she died at and I had to leave her at pretty close by…and a lil piece of my heart breaks each time I pass those things by. Ugh. I understand and I hate it for and with you.

    • I’ll be praying for you! The first appointment is scary. I told Zach, my husband, the whole way there that I just knew they were going to tell us that something was wrong. It’s such a struggle to put those fears aside, and it’s something that I deal with every day. And trust me, I completely understand about certain places just killing you inside. I don’t know if it ever gets easier…

  4. Denise Dunaway

    Amanda, you truly have such a gift for writing….I love your openess and honesty! Praying for you everyday!!!

  5. Staci Phelps

    I’m glad you make no apologies… it certainly wasn’t irrational. And glad they were able to reschedule your appointment. You have been through so much and if resisting that office is a protective reflex– good for you for protecting yourself. I hope you never have to go back to that office unless you choose to. And pretty soon you will be frequenting the pediatrician’s office instead of the ob/gyn 🙂

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