Thursday, October 05, 2006

Okay, this post will be for me. I've been feeling okay lately; I haven't cried as much (don't feel bad; it's just hormones) and have been feeling healthy and strong. My appetite is almost back to normal and I am trying hard to eat a balanced diet, now that I can eat. I still have a little trouble sleeping, though, so I've decided to go ahead and post about my negative experiences in the hope it will somehow help.

Before I start, let me just say that I know that my 'problems' could be a whole lot worse and I probably shouldn't complain. I know that. I also know that these things could have happened back home as well, but the fact that I am in France makes things much more complicated for me. It was harder to bounce back and I felt completely isolated and miserable. I didn't tell very many people that I was pregnant and in retrospect, I probably should have told my closest friends because they would have helped. I just didn't feel like talking about it and I didn't want to bother anyone, either. So here goes.

I still don't want to get into too much detail, but in essence I feel like everytime I go to my local gyno or her partner, they find something potentially wrong with me. I tend to leave their office with tears in my eyes and not feeling like I know what's going on. Initially I used the internet to try and piece together information, but as we all know, that just makes it worse. I now know how to say such fascinating things in French as "I need a follow-up ultrasound for a possible ectopic pregnancy" and "I need an emergency ultrasound to check for fetal vitality." The last sentence was helpfully provided by the secretary as I was leaving the waiting room, since I had already been ushered out the door and didn't quite catch the reason for yet another ultrasound, especially when the next one was already scheduled in 3 weeks. For a long time I just was so scared of losing this baby. It's hard to get over that fear, although now that I've made it past the first trimester I'm feeling better. Was there anything really wrong? No. I should have talked to one of my best friends from home earlier because she had the exact same thing as me, only her doctor told her not to worry, it would go away, and never mentioned it again. And it went away for her, as it did for me.

One of the doctors acted like my questions were always idiotic, and has scolded me for what I think are stupid reasons. For example, daring to give her my lab reports in the envelope instead of taking them out myself and handing them to her. Apparently it just takes too much time for her to do it herself, so please excuse me for my bad manners. Last time it was because I accidentally tore the protective paper on the cot as I was trying to maneuver into prime ultrasound position. My husband was a witness to that and immediately started patting my leg and maintained physical contact with me until we were well away from her office. He now understands what this woman is like. I know two other (French) women who went to her at first (but left), and they both said, "Don't go to her. She's horrible. Find a new doctor." It's just how she is.

My newest thing is that I'm no longer able to eat any sugar, according to the scary doctor. She got up in my face and said, "Your levels ARE NOT NORMAL." Whether this means I am diabetic, one hair shy of being a diabetic, or am merely on my way to having gestational diabetes, I don't know. However, her partner took a look at the same lab results and said, "Your body changes the way it handles sugar/insulin during pregnancy. Make sure you cut back on sugar, but it's not too high yet. Be careful, and don't worry. I would have called you if there was a problem." So, I've cut out sugar to be on the safe side and promptly have started dreaming about dessert. But that's okay, I can handle that. It's the constant conflicting information that pisses me off. I feel like I don't know jack about what's happening -- I just get sent for labs and ultrasounds.

This is why I am leaving their practice. I can't tolerate this. It drives me crazy and I know there are kind doctors who are out there and willing to explain the implications of what they are telling me. I know this because by the time the baby was 8 weeks old, I had seen 4 different doctors and had 3 different ultrasounds. I now have had 4 ultrasounds and am pleased to tell you that things seem to be progressing perfectly normally. The 2 doctors I was referred to were of them will be my new ultrasound man and I would love for the other one to deliver my baby, but he's 7 hours away and we have no plans of moving soon. When I went for the 'fetal vitality' ultrasound, the doctor asked me why I was there and if the referring doctor thought there was a problem. I couldn't answer his questions since it was never explained to me, so I just gave him the prescription and the other ultrasounds. He was nice and very reassuring, but I could tell that he thought I didn't need to be there. And I was completely fine with that -- I didn't want to be there, either. Believe me, I didn't ask for this. I had already learned not to ask questions by then. The good news is that I was easily able to switch to them for the rest of my ultrasounds because of the initial 'fetal vitality' thing, so maybe it's a blessing in disguise.

So, there it is. For a while, I just wanted to go home and be in familiar surroundings ... I was pretty sick and the stress and worry weren't helping. I always felt like I had adequate coping strategies but this was beyond me. I'm almost back to normal, though, and my skin is a little thicker as well. I think I've figured it out and know that I'm fine, the baby is fine as far as we know, and that's all I can do.


Doc said...

Finding a new doctor will help A LOT. This is one of if not the very most important thing you'll every do in your life and having a good handle on things will do wonders for your state of mind and your baby--and will also help when those baby blues come crashing in on you after delivery. I went through doctor difficulties at the beginning of my first pregnancy too, although for very different reasons (long story so I won't bore you with the details) but once I found a new GYN, with whom I got along great and felt confident with, things just went very smoothly. She was even a great asset after delivery when my son had to go into ICU--she really went to bat for me, for us.
And the first trimester really is the worst--once it's over, you can breathe again. So breathe! njoy all the funky wonky weird things your body is doing (especially the kicks and rolls and stuff) because you'll miss it when it's gone.
Good luck! Drop me a line if you need to rant or scream. I'm sometimes good for crap like (though not much else)

angela said...

Funny really because I had the same conversation with a pregnant friend as I drove her to a rdv this morning. She's being treated at the local hospital and is changing her doctor because of the lack of information.
When I had my babies at Grasse the midwives(sage femmes) were helpful and I think mums are supposed to take their questions to them. See if you can make a rdv with them.
For my second baby I went to a private clinic and it was a totally different experience in a good way. Most of the fee was picked up by the state and we had a good insurance for the rest.

Deb said...

My heart goes out to you. I cannot believe how rude and insensitive some doctors can be. I really hope that you find a new doctor soon. You deserve to have a kind and caring doctor that will make you feel comfortable and be willing to answer all of your questions, without making you feel badly about it.

What part of France are you in? I was going to say that if you are in the Lille area, I have a great gyno to recommend.