Friday, March 22, 2013

An Open Letter to My Obstetrician

Dear Dr. D,

I wanted to thank you for the years of care you have personally provided for me and for my family, particularly during my pregnancy with Isaac. Many, many aspects of my care at *** have been great, and I appreciate the sensitivity you have shown us with regard to concerns that have come up in regard to some of the prenatal care I previously received.

Recently, upon hearing of my current pregnancy, Dr. B asked me in a phone conversation if I was going to continue my current pregnancy since she knew it was not planned. I had seen her on a Friday for my annual checkup, discovered on Saturday I was pregnant, and called her on Monday to talk with her.

Before learning of my most recent pregnancy, I had been contemplating switching practices out of convenience. Once I learned I was pregnant again, I wanted nothing more than to have you and Dr. B to once again provide my prenatal care and deliver our newest (and final) addition to our family as you had with our other three children..

However, Dr. B's response to my news came not only as a surprise, but with a lot of hurt. On a very basic level, I have a hard time understanding why a doctor would ask a married woman (and truth be told, anyone) that question. Based on the depth of my pregnancy history, though, I have an even harder time understanding why I would personally be asked that question when my beliefs on this are abundantly clear. What I have struggled to understand is this: If I didn't end a pregnancy with a child I was told was going to die, why would I end a pregnancy with a child simply because it was unplanned?

I know you all have numerous patients that you see because you are a large practice; but I, personally, am still your patient. I, personally, deserve the same support of my values and beliefs while being provided exceptional obstetric care. At this point, as much as I would like to feel otherwise, I believe it is in my best interest to switch to a practice that is, as a whole, more understanding, supportive, and respectful of my beliefs.

Thank you, Dr. D, for your personal support and care for our family... For being the brave one to walk into a waiting room filled with our family and close friends on the morning of October 7, 2008 to share with them the news that our sweet Isaac was no longer with us... For so sensitively cutting out portions of the discharge instructions pamphlet from the hospital because you knew that reading about them would be hurtful... and for looking Spencer and I straight in the face after Isaac's delivery and telling us you thought we were heroes. I do not at all think of myself as such; but I know that in saying that you recognize in us how much we love our son, and how deeply we treasure the lives of each of our children. I want you to know that we haven't forgotten these things... And we are grateful.


Stacy Delisle


Amy, queen of the world. said...

Sometimes I honestly think OBGYNs are from another planet. I'm sorry, after everything, that that question was even on her mind, let alone asked out loud. I wish they would let the patients dictate that conversation (as in, don't bring it up if the patient doesn't), but for some of them, I guess it's just such a natural part of the process, they just assume everyone thinks it's natural. My OBGYN in the first half of my pregnancy with my youngest (who we found out has Down syndrome about halfway through my pregnancy) made terrible remarks like that, saying he was sorry and that he hated when "these things" didn't come out perfectly. And asking if I would have aborted if we found out the info a little sooner. I did exactly what you are doing- switched to an OBGYN that cared a whole bunch more. She gladly accepted me, even though I was around 27 weeks pregnant by the time I saw her... She made it clear that she would be more sensitive with her word and question choices, and she ultimately saved my baby's life because she was hypervigilant when it came to my amniotic fluid, sending me for non-stress tests and ultrasounds frequently, and at one of the NSTs, my baby's heart rate slipped into the 60s for only a couple of seconds, but she wouldn't let that pass by... She ordered another US that revealed my amniotic fluid was gone. She didn't insist I deliver right then and there, but instead followed my birth plan, which I appreciated so much. My little man might not be here today without her. All of that rambling from a complete stranger to say, it's a brave thing you're doing to switch OBGYNs because of your beliefs. I believe you will be blessed for your choice.

Mary said...

I think you're making a good decision. I also think you are a MUCH classier person than I would be. It would be extremely hard for me to tear into anyone who could be that callous. (((Hugs)))

Sonya said...

wow. I am so shocked that she would have asked you that for several different reasons but especially because of your history with Isaac. I hope you find a new doctor that will provide you and this new little one with the best care!

Megan Landmeier said...

This breaks my heart. And feel free to email me if you want me to put out feelers for an OB in your area - so sad that you were asked that question.

Sarah said...

I am speechless. Unbelievable. Hugs to you.

Stacy D said...

Thanks Megan... I found a good one :)

Sarah said...

Wow....I can't even believe this. Why a doctor would ever be the one to initiate a conversation about ending a pregnancy is beyond me....and especially when this doctor knows your stance. Sometimes I feel like doctors must take on way too many patients or else they have very short memories. I hope you are able to find someone else who will support you in all aspects of this pregnancy!!

Emily said...

I was under the impression that was standard protocol.

congrats on your pregnancy, and best wishes in finding a practice you like better!

Sarah said...

Something similar happened to me- with a doctor who was wonderful during my poor prognosis pregnancy. I am sorry that what was once a safe place where you built memories with Isaac, is no longer the haven you thought it was.

Prayers as you find a new doctor who will care for this sweet little one and for you too!

Crystal McGough said...

I have been reading through your blog and catching up on your story. May I say, you are a woman warrior! God has given you so much strength and wisdom beyond your years!
I am utterly shocked that one of your doctors asked you that, after all you have been through and making your beliefs so clear in that practice. But I am filled with awe at your heart and the loving way you handled the situation.
I would just like to say one thing in reference to the person who said they thought to ask that question was standard protocol: When my Isaac was barely over 10 weeks old, we found out we were pregnant again with an unplanned pregnancy. See, I was told that I may never be able to get pregnant (at least without the help of fertility treatment) and we had tried for a year and a half before God gave us our little Isaac (without medical intervention). I never thought that a second pregnancy would come so quickly. When I went to my OB to confirm the pregnancy, she entered the room with a huge smile on her face, though I was scared out of my mind, and she said, "Another baby already?! Congratulation!!!" She never once assumed that I wouldn't want the baby, even though the pregnancy wasn't planned. I don't think the question is protocol. I think it just depends on the mindset your doctor has on life. I was very blessed to have that doctor with my son and the beginning of my pregnancy with my Ellyana, but unfortunately for insurance reasons, had to leave her in the middle of the pregnancy and won't be able to go back. I haven't found another doctor that I have loved like her, but I'm sure God has that special person out there. Congratulations on your new baby and may he/she be just as much of a blessing to you as your other children have been! Again, thank you for sharing this blog and God bless you and your family!!!

Molly said...

Wow. I cannot believe that! My second pregnancy was unplanned and my doctor knew I was stressed about the future. But she didn't ask me that. Not even my therapist asked me that! I think you made the right decision!

Angela Killpack said...

I'm also really surprised that your OB asked that. I'm pregnant with my first right now and it wasn't planned either. I'm only a few weeks along, but even if I find out this child is going to have problems, I would never abort it. I'm glad that you stuck to your guns and I agree with Amy, that questions should be brought up by the patient, not the doctor. Mom knows what's best.