"How many pregnancies have you had?"
"How many live births?"
"What happened to the other two? Miscarriage? Abortion?"
"Isn't this in my record?"
"Okay, so what are the ages of your living children?"
"I have no living children ... this is all in my record."
"But ma'am, you said you had two live births ..."
"They all died soon after birth! I have no living children. Isn't this in my record!!?"
"So ... let me get this straight ... um ..."
Sadly, I had to go to the doctor four times last month and went through variations of this scenario each time. Some nurses would try to guess my babies' cause of death ("Um, stillbirth, huh?"). Others assumed I had multiple abortions! One general practice doctor spent 10 minutes trying to troubleshoot why my babies died (although I explained I already had extensive testing from some of the best specialists in the field of high risk obstetrics). Then the doctor gave up and said: "You're young, you can try again."
Here's how you can gently educate your general practice medical staff without losing your cool.
- Go to the doctor's office with your guard up. Expect to have to answer annoying, hurtful or silly questions.
- Tell the doctor up front about your pregnancy(cies) and explain that it is painful having to answer question after question. State that the facts are in your record.
- Practice what you are going to say before you get to the office.
- Become familiar with basic medical terminology, so you aren't confused by the doctor's questions/comments.
- Know that some doctors are blunt and use impersonal medical terminology like "spontaneous abortion" and "fetus" because they don't want an emotional response to your experience. They may just want to do their job and move on to the next patient.
Share your own personal doctor story experiences with others by leaving a comment here. Post the good, bad and ugly!