I opened a bill today from my former OB. I switched OBs for my postnatal care because I was really unhappy with my OB and his partner at the end of my pregnancy and after we lost Luke. On this bill, they are charging me $100 for the non-stress test that never actually occurred on the day we found out Luke’s heart had stopped. How could they do a non-stress on a baby who had no heartbeat? I guess I can accept the other charge of $190 for the ultrasound that followed, but really? $100 for an attempt to hook up to a machine that found nothing and did nothing? I should call and ask about this bill, but I dread calling there. I don’t know if I can. This led me to try to look up a website for them in the hopes of finding an email address I could write a bill inquiry to, but they don’t have one. Instead it led me to see reviews written on them on various sites. There were some positive ones, but there were also some more recent very negative ones that are more in line with my experience. When I found myself wanting to add my own negative review about my experience, I realized that I am still really angry with them. I do not think they killed Luke, but I think they did some very hurtful things. I have been avoiding thinking about them, but maybe it will help me to get some of it out.
1) When my doctor’s partner told us Luke was gone, he said “Ok, so there’s no heartbeat”. Awfully casual wording for such news. No comforting hand on the arm or leg. No “Ok, so I have some bad news…”
2) Once when I asked my doctor a question, he said, “What?! Who have you been talking to?” and laughed as if I was being ridiculous. He several times scoffed at my concerns and questions and made me feel stupid.
3) My doctor told me on a Thursday afternoon that he wanted to induce that Saturday morning. He said he was on the hospital schedule that Saturday and Sunday and then wouldn’t be on again for 2 weeks. I had been going to his office every Tuesday and Thursday for weeks and he had not mentioned scheduling this previously. He was on vacation the couple of weeks before this Thursday appointment, so I had seen his partner a few times and he mentioned nothing about scheduling an induction either. I was not prepared for that and was not ready to agree to that on such short notice. I wanted to let my baby come when he was fully ready or at least wait to be induced until on or after the due date, not more than a week before. He said well, let me see when my partner is on the hospital schedule. He returned and said his partner wasn’t on the schedule anytime soon either. He said it was either come that Saturday or he would have to “call in a favor” with another practice to get me induced. He said I could possibly come the next Tuesday or Thursday and be induced by a doctor from a neighboring practice. He did not express a sense of urgency other than trying to make it coincide with when he would be on rotation at the hospital.
I tried to ask questions and to talk about my viewpoint that I thought God would set the right time for Luke to come out and he said “Well, God made doctors”. Instead of giving me any clear medical reasons to induce early, he gave me some analogy about the stock market which I still don’t understand. When I asked to talk to my husband and to bring him to the next appointment that Monday to discuss all of this, he and then also the nurses who checked me out gave me a very hard time and made me feel pressured without being given logical explanations as to why they were pressuring me. My feeling was that he just wanted to make sure he got the money from the birth and wanted me to fall into his schedule, not my baby’s schedule.
4) I was upset and very stressed after that Thursday afternoon appointment. I talked to my husband, my parents, my sister and several close friends and family members about what I should do. Not one person counseled me that I should induce that Saturday. I was encouraged to stand up for my wishes and get more answers. If God had wanted me to go ahead and go to the hospital that Saturday, he could have easily had someone give me that message or given me that message Himself. He didn’t. But that Monday appointment was when we found out he was gone. I had felt Luke a lot the day before on my first Mother’s Day, but he was just all of a sudden gone. I know that God chose this time for our baby and that I could not have stopped it, but obviously I instantly felt so regretful that I had not induced that Saturday. After sobbing “No! This can’t be happening!”, my next words were “This is my fault”. Even seeing this guilt I was putting on myself in that most horrible moment of my life, my doctor’s partner said, “Well, I know Dr. F talked to you about inducing early…” as if he was seconding the motion that I had made a wrong choice which resulted in this loss. Thankfully my strong defender of a husband said, “She really doesn’t need to hear that right now” and got him to stop talking.
3) The second day I was in the hospital waiting to deliver Luke, my doctor came in to see us. My whole family was in the room. Unlike the other doctors and nurses who had placed hands of comfort, said prayers and even shed some tears, my doctor stood in the middle of the room like he was giving a speech behind a podium. He said he had not expected this to happen and that I should take as much pain medication as early as I needed it. Then he began talking about how they had tried to get me to induce early. When Josh had the courage to say, “Well, it would have been helpful if you’d given us more than 2 days notice that you wanted to induce”, he got very defensive and said, “No, that is not correct! I distinctly remember having a 40 minute conversation about it!” (which just addresses the length of the discussion not the amount of notice given). He then went on with some further speech about how he had practiced medicine on both coasts and knew the protocols, etc. After he left, every member of my family said they really got a bad feeling from him and that he was clearly just there to cover himself. He did not seem to genuinely care about me or Josh or Luke. He just made his appearance to try to reiterate that they had done everything right and probably to make sure we weren’t going to sue. Later in my hospital stay, when Josh and I shared some of this with our favorite nurse, she said “Oh yeah, he is a pompous ass. None of the nurses like working with him.” That sums it up perfectly.
4) He made sure all my paperwork said that I was “offered an early induction and refused”. It was on my chart at his office and it was on the hospital birth report. It is even in my son’s autopsy report, although it has nothing to do with his beautiful little body that they found to be perfect.
5) I still feel like my doctor and maybe the other people in his office think this is my fault. I thought about writing them a letter, but that seems weird and I doubt it would make a difference.
This part of our story is still very painful for me and makes me feel ashamed and angry. I need God to keep telling me this is not my fault and to help me forgive these men.