I received a phone call the morning of the appointment saying that my doctor went into early labor. I responded with an, “Oh, that’s great! Congratulations to her!” I’m glad this conversation was over the phone because my face did not match my reaction. The receptionist informed me that I would be seeing another obstetrician in the practice until my doctor returned from maternity leave sometime in December. Sigh. Okay.
Little did I know, I would be stuck with the Devil Doctor.
Per usual, Mel picked me up from work and we rode over to the office building. I was called back to the office almost immediately. The wait in the exam room was another story–a 45 minute story. Strike One.
The doctor waltzed in the room as though she was early. “Hi, I’m Dr. P,” she said, barely taking her eyes off of the chart, “So I see you are about 20 weeks along.” My face read: confused. “No, I’m 16 weeks,” I responded. Then she says, “Oh, this is the wrong chart. I’m going to get your chart and I’ll be back.” Strike Two.
When she left out of the room, I looked at Mel. Our ‘Oh Lord’ facial expressions matched.
Dr. P reappeared with my chart in hand. “Okay, so did Dr. B tell you about your test results for the Autism and Down’s Syndrome tests?” I shook my head no. “Oh okay, well those came back fine so nothing to worry about there. I let out a sigh of relief, “Okay that’s great.”
“Well, what did Dr. B tell you about your low blood platelet count?,” she asked. “My what?,” I could feel my face turning red. “Yea, your blood platelet count came back kind of low. It’s called thrombocytopenia. Have you always had low blood platelets? It could just be pregnancy-induced but I would like for you to see a hematologist to make sure.” Strike Three.
And bring on the tears. Is the baby going to be okay? What is that? What causes it? What are the effects of it? Is this common? All of these thoughts ran through my mind as the tears streamed down my face.
Dr. P could see I was visibly upset. “Oh, well I guess you didn’t know any of this?” Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! How did you ever guess? “Okay, well I want you to have your blood drawn again today and then we’ll see what the results are at your next appointment. But you can lay back now so I can check the baby’s heartbeat.”
Hearing my child’s heartbeat is usually the most soothing sound ever and the highlight of the appointment. Today, not so much.
“Hmm, the heartbeat is a little fast but I don’t think that’s too much to worry about (My thoughts: ‘A little fast?!’ What?!) ….Okay, well I will see you next time. Don’t forget to have your blood drawn around the corner after you checkout.” She put her things away and exited the room. Lady, you exhausted all your strikes early in the game so I don’t know why you continue to dig yourself deeper into my “I-don’t-like-you hole.”
What the heck?! This was too much negative news delivered way too nonchalantly for me. Dr. P was nothing like Dr. B. She wasn’t warm, bubbly and friendly; she was cold, dark and evil. I was beyond disappointed with this appointment. First off, why did she have the wrong chart? Second off, she should’ve reviewed my chart a little bit longer so she could see I had not received any of the results–lessen the blow. At least explain to me what the results meant and how they could effect the baby and I. Third, have some compassion. Pregnant women, especially first timers, are some of the most sensitive beings on this planet. Any sort of negative result in pregnancy sounds like, “Your world is coming to an end,” even if you only said, “You have a runny nose.”
Mel was super supportive throughout my entire pregnancy. He looked up all the effects of thrombocyto-whatever and how to resolve it. In pregnant women, blood platelets should be between 150,000-400,000. My doctor’s office preferred them to be at 200,000, mine were at about 190,000. In short, if my platelets dropped below 100,000 I would have to be put on a simple steroid regimen to bring them back up. If left untreated, I would not be able to get an epidural during labor and in the event I would have to have a c-section, I could possibly bleed out. The way he explained it made it sound as though it wasn’t as big of a deal as I had led my mind to believe. Good job, Daddy Mel.
In the week’s to come, my platelets continued to drop and I eventually had to see a hematologist, a blood doctor. Per usual, Mel was in-tow at the appointments; he was at every single one I had. Whether it was a obstetrician appointment, hematologist or ultrasound, he was there–ready and willing to be my shoulder to lean on.
Around March, my platelets dropped to 87,000. So, bring on the steroids. I really did not want to get on the steroids mainly because they cause weight gain and swelling. Hmm, weight gain or excruciating pain during labor? I’ll take the weight gain for $500, Alex. I started the steroids on March 24th and went into labor on April 3rd. By the time I went into labor, my platelet count went back up and all was well. Although, I wasn’t happy about the doctor at the hospital putting me on the slowest taper to get off of the steroids. Grrrr…. so you know my weight gain was massive, but that is another story, another post.
I know it wasn’t Dr. P’s fault that she had to deliver the results to me, doctor’s have to deliver far worse news than that on a daily basis. I know I should be thankful that the news wasn’t worse than it was. I guess it was just me being the overreacting individual that I am when it comes to health concerns. I say all of this to say, things will come our way unexpectedly all of the time. What matters most is how you handle the situation. Yes, you can overreact and panic but generally that will only make things worse. Or you can choose to handle it in stride and do whatever it is you need to do to resolve the situation. I’d like to think I did a little of both
Love, Hugs, and bring back MY doctor,