I had an exam appointment yesterday with a nurse practictioner at my new OB’s office. I felt upset throughout the rest of the evening and it took me awhile to reason through why. It hung with me and I was crying when I got in bed last night. This is probably partly hormones, and grief. Everything is fine and I’m sure she didn’t intend for me to feel this way when I left, but I just need to vent a little about this.
The first annoyance was that I had to wait a lot. The receptionist had left me a voicemail asking me to arrive early to go over the paperwork they asked me to fill out in advance. I left work extra early, while my students were still in class, leaving my aides to cover. When I arrived, she took the folder I had all filled out and then I just sat there and waited 45 minutes to get called back. They put me in an exam room and had me change into the open-front gown and gave me a paper sheet to cover up with. I then waited another 20-30 minutes, feeling cold and uncomfortable. It seemed like forever.
On the paperwork, where it asks about previous children and where I had to check the box marked “stillbirth”, I answered with his birth date, his weight and how far along as was listed, but I also wrote in his name in the margin. I didn’t like how the paperwork dehumanized him to some numbers and a date, so that made me feel better.
The nurse practicioner came in and introduced herself. She then proceeded to ask me most of the questions I had answered on the paperwork over again. I don’t understand why they have you write all that out if they are just going to ask you verbally, but I just answered the many questions again, half-naked the whole time. Other doctors have done the discussion portion while I was still clothed, especially on our initial meeting and introductions, and then given me a minute to get undressed before the exam portion. That seems more comfortable and courteous. I wish she had done that.
One of the first things she said was, “So, you must be really worried.” I assume she meant this to be an empathetic thing to say, but I didn’t like it. I feel like that implies there is reason to worry and I am trying not to worry alot, which is what I told her. She then mentioned at least 3 times during the appointment that I have “extra tissue”, i.e. “You’re fat”. “You may not be able to hear the heartbeat at 10 weeks because of your extra tissue”. “The tendons that you feel pulling since last pregnancy may be because you’re carrying extra weight and have extra tissue.” “They may not have been able to find your right ovary during the ultrasound because, again, you have extra tissue.” She asked me if my husband was overweight too and suggested I have him go on a healthy pregnancy diet with me. “How much weight did the perinatal office tell you to gain?”, she asked. When I replied with 10-18 pounds, she said, “Right, for most people it’s 25-30 pounds, but for you because you are overweight, it’s less.” This was not new information and I didn’t need the numbers comparison.
The only time she acknowledged Luke was to ask, while she was doing my breast exam, “Did they find any reason?” At the end of the appointment, she said, “Well…we’ll keep our fingers crossed.” Yuck! Not comforting. Thankfully for me, I believe that God is in charge, so I don’t have to rely on flimsy superstitions like crossing fingers! I feel like that was almost saying, “Well, it’s just a coin toss. We’ll just see where we land.”
Here’s what bothers me about this encounter: I am clearly aware that I am overweight. I hate that about myself. I feel it every day. It’s a source of embarassment. I did not need to have it mentioned to me so many times, leaving me feeling ashamed on top of all the other emotions already going on. Secondly, I just went through all of this less than a year ago! I just had a baby 8 months ago! I didn’t need to be schooled on things like someone who has never done this before or someone who needs reprimanding, which is the way it came across to me. Thirdly, unlike the other doctors I have encountered so far, she did not mention Luke as a person or say, “I’m sorry for your loss”.
Due to past events, I am extra sensitive to doctors and all things related. I may be taking things too personally or over-reacting. All of this is a little overwhelming. Thankfully, this is hopefully not a lady I will meet with often. I think I will get to see my OB most of the time and if I do need to see one of the nurse practioners again, maybe I will request to see the other one on staff there.
When I was crying and praying before bed, God reminded me of the verse that says “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). That helped.