My OB said WHAT?!

My submission got placed online at My OB said WHAT?! (an online collection of the idiotic, cruel and deceitful things some birth practitioners will say to pregnant moms.)

The doctor who said that to us was an awful person, and over time I’ve realized I need to forgive her, probably pray for her (and honestly, after ten years she may have grown a little) but it’s still tough. One of the bereavement books said, writing to doctors and midwives, that the five minutes after a parent finds out about an infant loss determine whether the patient remains with the practice for the next pregnancy: that’s how much those memories get burned into our psyches.

The doctor made it clear that she wanted us to terminate the pregnancy even though I had made it clear we had no desire to do so. She leveraged anything she could in order to change my mind, including the comment I submitted there (trying to frighten me) plus other gems such as “These babies are pretty hideous” (because having a dying baby I could handle, but having an ugly baby would be intolerable?) and “If you nurse her even once, your period might not return for a year” (ie, you may not be able to replace the defective fetus soon enough for you. When I pointed out I was still nursing my oldest and had no problems getting pregnant, she said, “Every pregnancy is different.” Thanks.)

Oh, and she also told me it was “completely unreasonable to want to hold her after birth.”

Thank God for my midwives (same practice) who were reality-based and had no problems giving excellent prenatal care and delivering Emily with love. The size of the casket shouldn’t dictate the size of a doctor’s caring.

You can read Emily’s story online if you want to.

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About philangelus

Mom, freelance writer, novelist, angelphile, Catholic, know-it-all.
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12 Responses to My OB said WHAT?!

  1. Kaci says:

    People can be mind-boggling.

  2. Kim says:

    I’m so sorry you were told that.

    (if this upsets you, please forget i ever said it) But your Emily has affected many people, and everytime I talk to my cousin (who lost her son/my sweet cousin) to the same affliction, I’m grateful to you and your daughter, because having read about Emily and you made me more able to understand what my cousin was going through.

    Bless both of you, and I hope that heartless person’s words don’t cause you too much pain anymore.

  3. jaed says:

    I don’t know what’s wrong with some people.

    And I mean that literally, not as a snark at your former OB. I honestly do not understand what could prompt someone to say such a thing. Try as I might.

  4. philangelus says:

    Thank you, guys.

    Kim, thank you for remembering Emily and reading about her. I could never be upset that someone thinks well of her and that her life made an impact. No mom could.

  5. Diinzumo says:

    The mind still boggles.

    Another reason I hate doctors. When you’re sick and scared and need compassion the most, they say things like this.

    I might have told you about an oncologist my mom spoke to, a high-ranking doctor in a well-known cancer clinic. He shrugged and said, “Well, I can’t save you.” He was serious. Just the thing you want to tell a terrified patient with a serious condition.

    • philangelus says:

      In a book called “How Doctors Think” by Dr. Jerome Groopman, he talks about how some doctors become doctors for the thrill of saving people and working with high-tech equipment. Not necessarily *helping* people, just saving people.

      Another doctor *did* help your mom, though–so this guy was not only heartless but also incompetent? I’m sorry she went through that.

      • Diinzumo says:

        She worked for the wife of the head of that cancer center, so she lodged an official complaint. Her current oncologist is also a jerk, but at least he’s a competent jerk.

        I had to go visit a doctor last week (bad bronchitis). I don’t have a GP, so it was back to the doc-in-a-box. I was shocked to get a pleasant doctor who took the time to talk to me.

        • philangelus says:

          Hey, that’s good! Nowadays we’re all so used to the doc talking with the hand on the doorknob that it’s refreshing to hear about one who actually cares.

          • Diinzumo says:

            The irony is it’s one of those walk-in clinics. Not a GP.

          • philangelus says:

            Maybe he found that being a GP subjected him to too much insurance crap and he had to spend only four minutes at a time with his patients. But the walk-in clinic wouldn’t have the same need to bring in 20 patients per hour, so…

            *sigh*

  6. cricketB says:

    Wanting a patient to stay with the practice is a problem. Not that they should send them away, but accept that sometimes patients won’t feel comfortable with the person they associate with happy pregnancies.

    An expert oncologist told my FIL that cancer never looks like what his XRays showed, even showed it to two trainees. The family doctor sent him to the local oncologist for a second, more-accurate opinion. (The “expert” was only because Opa had been treated for a different cancer at the big centre ten years earlier.)

    On the other hand, I’ve had some great doctors. “I remember going through that with my own kids,” was very reassuring the first time Norwalk went through the playschool.

    • philangelus says:

      The author’s point was that if a practitioner broke the news with care, and was respectful of the parents’ feelings, and gave them time to process and control over as many decisions as they could have, the parents were more likely to have a positive view of that practitioner and therefore were more likely to remain with the practice.

      Whereas a practitioner who walked in and said, “The baby’s dead. You’ll have to have a D&C, and I’ve told the hospital to expect you in ten minutes. They’ll vacuum the fetal remains out of you and then you can go on to have a normal pregnancy,” the parents would be upset, stunned, unable to make any choices, and would end up loathing that doctor.

      I’m not talking about an emergency situation. In that case, you act quickly and do what you must, but even then, parents and patients can be kept informed of what’s happening and why. It’s just a matter of respect, and strangely, patients appreciate it more when doctors respect them.

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