Thursday, February 17, 2011

If Only I Had More Of A Backbone - Then

I've always been a person who somehow manages to find a way to be happy and deal with whatever comes my way. It serves me well in that I can let go when someone cuts me off in traffic. Or when people commit to doing something but don't quite do it when and the way they say they will. I don't panic often (yesterday's post, of course being an exception), as I know that things will somehow turn out in the end.

While that generally works in my favor, there are times I need to stop living and letting live and make sure my point of view is taken into account and that I change the situtation. When Mister Man was born, it was not the birth I'd planned (although, granted, who really has the birth they'd planned?).

Labor started out fine, but I never progressed. I waited forty-five minutes after having been given an injection of pain medication to inquire how long it would be before it took effect - apparently my body doesn't metabolize pain medication normally, and it never worked. When they said my water hadn't broken and they wanted to break it after 14 hours of labor to see if that would help me progress, I didn't question them. They told me that his head was banging against my pelvis and was in the wrong position, but that they would "wait and see" what happened next. I said ok. They said hours later that he wasn't doing so hot and wasn't changing his position, so they wanted to do a C-section. I'd already figured out this was the direction they said they were going, and I said ok. They wheeled me into the hallway then turned me back around again, saying there was an emergency coming in and they'd get to me next. I said ok. Two hours later, I had my C-section and my baby boy, bruised as a boxer. It all worked out. Sort of.

When I was pregnant with Little Miss, my doctor told me that he recommended doing another C-section because I'd had one the first time. I wasn't super comfortable with the idea and wanted to look into trying labor again. A few visits later, still dithering, my doctor told me we were doing a C-section and asked me to choose between two dates. I said ok, still not fully comfortable with it.

When she was ... taken, I didn't get an answer from the doctors about if she was a girl or boy. They were too intent on what they were doing to notice my question. She didn't start out life so hot, but fortunately she rebounded. I had a nasty reaction to the anesthesia both before and after the surgery. Little Miss weighed less than her brother by a pound plus, and she's still a munchkin on the weight chart. I fully believe they got the due date wrong for her and that they took her too early. If I had gone into natural labor, would things have been different for her or for me?

I wasn't comfortable with the doctor, but I was sure everything would be fine and just let it go. I had just moved twenty five minutes on the opposite side of the doctor seven weeks before she was born. The hospital was a full hour plus - without traffic - from where I had moved. I felt it would be too "hard" to change doctors at that point and so let it go.

Once I'd gotten more established, I heard about the hospital that was now closest to me. It was state of the art. The rooms were wireless enabled (most places weren't back then). And they pampered mom - mani or pedi after birth - and they served a surf and turf dinner on the first night of the baby to both parents and on the one year anniversary of the birth. Granted, that's not a reason to choose a hospital, but it would have been a nice touch.

More importantly, the doctor I choose weeks after Little Miss was born, the one who did my post partum checkup, in fact, I loved. The practice made me feel so comfortable. The doctors and the nurses really listened to me and my concerns, and I felt valued. I began to wish that I'd actually looked into closer doctors before Little Miss was born. Then I found out that my new doctor specialized in VBACs. I live with that regret to this day.

I should trust my instincts in those situations. When it comes to my kids, I can't trust that things will just turn out right, I need to push them towards becoming right (within reason, obviously). So when we went to a pediatrician who dismissed my concerns about Mister Man? I found a new pediatrician. When the pediatrician we were seeing later wrong "PARENT WILL NOT COOPERATE" in bold letters on my chart in front of me when I asked him questions about a protocol I wasn't comfortable with for Little Miss, we never went back. We're definitely happier because of it, and I think we're healthier.

If only I'd found my backbone sooner.

This post was inspired by the book "Exploiting My Baby" by Teresa Strasser, this month's book that is part of the From Left to Write book club where we don't review books but rather write posts inspired by them. I received this book free of charge from the publisher as a part of the book club, but there was no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I am also giving away a Progresso Souper You Debut gift pack here.

Oh, and while you're at it, I finally set up a Facebook Fan page for my blog (and corrected the link here - oops!). It's way overdue. Go like me on Facebook if you would so I can get an official username - once I get enough likes. You can also follow me on Twitter, too, if you're so inclined.


Kimberly February 17, 2011 at 6:28 PM  

I'm finally finding my backbone these days. I'm not willing to just accept all the time. I question and keep questioning until I feel right about the situation.

Cris February 17, 2011 at 9:48 PM  

While I can't relate to the OB situation (besides the awful lactation warden, I mean nurse... who I ended up kicking out of my room...), but I can relate to the pediatrician. Good for you!

Our first pediatrician over booked herself, never had time for us and was always condescending... particularly about me being a working mom. Leaving her practice was the BEST decision we ever made. We now have a ped we love.

Lisa Hanneman February 17, 2011 at 10:56 PM  

My delivery was rough and the time I spent in the maternity ward of what is supposed to be one of the best hospitals to deliver a baby was terrible. For once in my life I didn't speak up, because I was too confused and out of it.

I decided to change doctors and hospitals to be closer to our new house and hope they do mani/pedi and surf & turf when I deliver in 3 months!

Susie February 18, 2011 at 6:23 AM  

You know what...we live and learn. You can only be screwed over so many times before you have to fight the fight. It's too bad that it has to come to that, isn't it? Can't people just be human from the start?

Megryansmom February 18, 2011 at 7:18 AM  

I think it comes with our upbringing. I was taught not to question authority. I'm getting over that ever so slowly. Now I ask, I am that PITA patient.

Pat February 18, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

When we are young women, the awesomeness of "MD" after one's name kind of intimidates those of us who are "respect authority" types. I've had only one negative experience with a doctor...that was the one who diagnosed my middle son's illness as "upper respiratory infection/bronchitis" when it was actually appendicitis. Fortunately, I went to a pediatrician who eventually diagnosed it correctly and did an appendectomy on my burning-up-with-fever little 6-year-old son.

Michelle February 18, 2011 at 3:12 PM  

Kimberly - Go you! It really is important to feel right with things.

Cris - I'm so glad you had a ped you love now. I forgot the one ped we refused to see again after she walked in, diagnosed an ear infection in all of 3 seconds, then literally dropped the folder on the table and sighed loudly when I said, ummm wait a second. I have a couple quick questions about that. Lovely.

Lisa - I've heard from so many people the importance of having an advocate when you are in a situation like that - and I get it now. I certainly didn't hten, and you're right, the "best" hospital isn't always.

Susie - Oh being human is a wonderful thing. If only it were that easy!

Megryansmom - That's probbaly a really good point. My Catholic school education didn't exactly lend itself to questioning anything.

Pat - Wowwww... appendicitis was confused with *what*? Yikes, thank goodness someone found the correct diagnosis!

April February 19, 2011 at 2:36 PM  

Good for you! Frustrating that we have to sometimes learn these lessons the hard way, and I always find dealing with health care in any situation to be loathsome. But really, we all need to get better at being our own advocates, particularly in health care.

Emily February 20, 2011 at 8:09 AM  


Don't look back with too much regret. Most likely you are a healthy person who never had much experience with doctors, hospitals, operations, etc.

As someone who has been sick since they were 16 years old, I long ago, for better or worse, learned to advocate for myself, to "fire" doctors that I didn't like, and to never stop seeking answers.

I am glad that mostly everything turned out all right and that you are now wiser for your experiences.

septembermom February 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM  

My backbone is definitely getting firmer as I get older, especially when I get into protective mama mode. Great post Michelle.

Michelle February 20, 2011 at 11:17 PM  

April - It's loathsome but necessary so often. I'd love to find someone who could read my mind who I could absolutely trust, but ummmm good luck :)

Emily - True, I have been lucky in that way. Things turned out, although I wish they'd been different. I am proud of how I have changed in this way though.

Kelly - Amen! Don't rouse the protective mama.

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