Friday, June 16, 2017

The Second Fight

A note before we begin : I live in Ohio, so this takes place in Ohio. I am aware of other states and other laws, but my experiences are here. I am not a doctor, so I will assume that if I write anything medical that resonates with you, you will do research on your own. I'm very comfortable with the decisions I have made because I am a very thorough researcher. However, my decisions are FOR ME and should not be taken as an edict for you. Look up your own shit, is what I'm saying, I'm just writing out my experiences!

So as I said, I had found where I wanted to deliver, but I had to find a doctor who delivers there to provide my care.

The first hurdle was getting my records from Summa Women's Center in Akron to Orrville. I went in to request a transfer for my and they said it would take something like 2-3 days...for why? I mean, seriously. My records are available on every computer at every office I've ever gone to. Every office has a printer. So why is there even a need to request a release or anything? It's ridiculous bureaucracy. I asked what happened if I were requesting for myself. The lady was able to print it up right away.

I drove my records to Orrville, since no one in Akron could be bothered to work in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the first midwife service was full up for August babies and didn't have room for me. So I took my records from their office and walked them over to an OB that was in the same complex.

I read some of my records, and Fraulein Bitch wrote really sarcastic and nasty comments. It made me so mad. I was already in a fighting mood. I didn't want to do the standard pee in a cup situation because I was so upset from previous visits and I wanted to talk to the doctor first. But that wasn't going to happen. She had an emergency C-section, so I had to wait about forty minutes for her to finish up. It was a welcome wait, because I was able to calm some of my emotions. We did a history, and I peed in a cup while waiting for the doctor.

When the doctor arrived, I was nervous, but I felt like it started off good. I told her I was not doing prenatal vitamins and she waved her hand and said, "I'm from a third world country, I'm pretty sure I know women can have babies without prenatal vitamins." (She's from West Africa, originally.) She seemed open and willing to listen to me, and it wasn't really until after I left that I realized how manipulated I had been.

That's the thing about manipulation and even coercion. They don't always feel bad until you walk away and you realized you've agreed to something you never wanted to agree with. I've found that doctors seem to really think they are RIGHT. Not experienced and educated and have all the options available to you and want to give you the most efficient or safest option that maximizes your health ... no, doctors often think they are RIGHT in every moral sense of that word. And quite frankly, it's bullshit. Doctors should offer you options based on education and experience and meet you at least halfway since you are the boss of your body and you have a right to your own philosophies on medical care.

I spent much of this appointment really talking about EVERYTHING and the responses were varied from that dismissive wave and comment about prenatals to bringing up cancer, YET AGAIN, and insisting on giving me a breast exam. That actually made me very uncomfortable. I know my mom had breast cancer, because I was there. I know how severe it was and what she went through to overcome it and what my risks are because of that. I know how old she was and what that means for me in terms of breast care. But that doctor doesn't know any of this and seemed to forget that breasts change a great deal during pregnancy and mammograms don't work with pregnant and breastfeeding breasts. I KNOW what my breasts feel like. I'm very comfortable with them and I feel them up in the shower on the regular. So having a doctor insist I need to submit to a breast exam during a prenatal appointment was not only very uncomfortable, but it was incredibly inappropriate.

Of course, what she did while I was topless and her hands were on my breasts was even more inappropriate. This is when she went in for the big gestational diabetes push. Gestational diabetes is the new buzzword for pregnancy. Insurance likes to use it against women because there is a CORRELATION (not causation, which is very different) between gestational diabetes and type II diabetes. Since I'm old and fat, I'm at "higher risk" for gestational diabetes. But even that is tricksy. MOST older women aren't actually at higher risk for any pregnancy complications. SOME older women already have underlying issues that exists outside of pregnancy. But the studies don't illustrate that difference and most doctors are too fucking lazy (as far as I'm concerned) or untrained in research protocol (true) to actually learn the difference. The fat thing is yet another sort of misnomer. There is CORRELATION between weight and some metabolic disorders, but it's only CORRELATION (which again, is very different from causation). The bottom line is that my age and my weight aren't actually risk factors FOR ME. There are zero risk factors for gestational diabetes for me, but since insurance runs the medical industry, and since OBs and their like are the second most sued doctors, they all kowtow to insurance companies and require RIDICULOUS and INACCURATE screening protocol with no concern over the actual risk factors.

The doctor knew that I was not interested in being screened for gestational diabetes. And as she went in to touch my breasts while I was sitting there, topless, she decided also to lean in and try to coerce me into agreeing to "let" her screen me. Mind you, no one can actually force you to do anything, especially if it involves ingesting a nasty sugary drink for an inaccurate screening for a complication for which you have no risk. Remember, if someone tries to shove liquid down your throat, that's assault. But she leaned in close enough to give me a lecture on how she can "let" other women skip the test if they are not too old and if their BMI isn't too high. Basically, it's the old and fat argument again. But she did this while her hands were on my naked breasts and at a level of volume so low that Adam, who was less than five feet away, couldn't hear her.

That's some manipulative bullshit. That's the sort of stuff that makes you feel violated AFTER THE FACT. That's the kind of situation women get in where they're like, "Well I knew the guy, and we were fooling around, and I said no, but he was so CONVINCING that I kind of stopped saying no, even though I didn't want it." Manipulation and coercion are tools our culture has been using for centuries to keep women in their places. It's abusive bullshit...but this was one of the things that, the farther away from the office I got, the more angry I was at my treatment.

Medical advice should not come in the form of manipulation or coercion. If a doctor feels a screening is important for you, then they should look you in the eye, speak at a reasonable volume, and give you the reasons why without also insulting you. She didn't do that, and that is some shady bullshit.

But y'all, that's not event the worst of what she did. After my clothes were all back on, she and I continued talking and the conversation rolled around to how I want to deliver. I don't even know why, 'cause I really wasn't far enough along to discuss this, but I'm glad it came up. I told her that I am opposed to a pitocin induction. (I really believe every woman should be opposed to induction, but pitocin is particularly dangerous and leads to increased rates of c-section.) This is when she gave me an amazing speech about how since I'm SO OLD, my veins are just tiny and inelastic, and they are building a crappy placenta that just won't really be able to do it's job. So if she "lets" me go without an induction, I'll go over term and then...

Yeah, no conclusion to that. Just a big, pregnant ellipsis sitting there, making me wonder... WHAT!?

Going over term is somewhat of a myth anyway. I'm not even gonna go into it, but it's not really something that scares me. Due dates are ESTIMATES, and that's it.

So now, I'm old and fat and gonna get gestational diabetes, I've been screened for breast cancer when I don't need it, and my body is definitely building a super crappy placenta that won't be able to support a baby through delivery without induction.

That's just bullying, but there's more!

I also didn't want the fetal anatomy scan. You'll know this as the ultrasound when many people learn the gender of their baby. The fetal anatomy scan is the standard 18 or 20 week ultrasound, but I like to call it what it is, because the term "ultrasound" doesn't cover what they are trying to do and how it doesn't really work.

The purpose of the fetal anatomy scan is to look at every part of your baby, and possible it's genitalia, to determine if it has any birth defects. NONE OF THESE DEFECTS CAN BE CORRECTED DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR PREGNANCY. NONE OF THESE DEFECTS CAN PREVENT STILLBIRTH. There are zero improved outcomes from a fetal anatomy scan. They are looking for neural tube defects (spinabifida), which you probably don't have because wheat in the U.S. is fortified with folic acid, just like in many developing countries, so neural tube defects are incredibly rare. Also, they can't fix it, even if it's there. They look for cleft palate, which doesn't constitute an emergency in the U.S., like it does in developing nations. Also, not fixable while you're pregnant. Then they look for kidney and esophageal issues as well as brain, heart, and lung defects. NONE OF THESE DEFECTS CAN BE CORRECTED DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR PREGNANCY. None of these defects has any genetic factors and they all have less than 3% rate of occurrence. That's just looking for a problem. I'm not really interested in that. Unlike many Americans, I know the total lack of control I have over nature and the fact that we're all gonna die (yes, even you will die), and I'm ok with that. I wanted to go into my pregnancy believing, as I do every day of my life, that everything will be just fine. I'm not trying to find problems. And I'm not scared of Down Syndrome, and I wouldn't abort my baby anyway. Not to mention, THESE SCANS ARE NOT 100% ACCURATE. False positives happen. Finding a "problem" just leads to an intervention waterfall. They say there's a problem, so they monitor you more closely, which leads to more interventions, which leads to more monitoring, which leads to more intervention. This is factual, but doctors don't care. Why would they? Finding something wrong is basically their whole life's goal, since saying, "Yep, let's just let nature take its course," is not only boring but also leads to them being sued by assholes who are just looking for doctors to solve fucking everything. Newsflash : It's biology, our idea of control is an illusion.

So anyway, I told her I don't want a fetal anatomy scan and I received another big lecture. This one was all about how my baby was going to be born blue from a heart defect the COULD HAVE detected in this ultrasound I didn't want to have. But since they didn't know it was coming, then the doctors are going to be running around, trying to figure it out, while my baby loses oxygen to the brain and ends up with brain damage.

Lectures such as this are straight up bullying. Not to mention, they are also insane.

So I never went back to her office. I don't need lectures on how I'm willingly giving my baby brain damage because I refuse to go looking for a problem for which I have no risk factors, they can't guarantee they will find, and it can't be solved during pregnancy. It's a total lack of logic.

Oh, and at the end of my visit, she was sure to give me one final lecture about how future visits wouldn't take this long. Because I had asked too many questions and wanted to talk for too long and most visits are just meant to take fifteen minutes.

Yeah right. Fifteen minutes where I let you tell me how to be pregnant and I let you feel good about running every fucking test known to man on me and my fetus. Fuck that lady! And fuck being told I ask too many questions. That's just a load of horseshit. It's not my job to keep your visits short and if you don't want to do your fucking job as a doctor, then I will find someone else.

And so I did.

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