Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another View

As a veteran infertile, I often times felt very at odds with members of the medical profession. I was fortunate to find many wonderful and compassionate people along the way, but I also encountered my fair share of people that honestly came across as heartless.

I was shocked by the nurse that told me I hadn't "ever been pregnant" and therefore was not eligible for the grief counseling for pregnancy loss. I was horrified by the doctor who told me all of my miscarriages were "my fault" for testing for pregnany so soon. I read stories like these all over the blogasphere, so I know that I am not alone in my encounters. My heart breaks for women who have also met with uncaring medical professionals who could seem to care less that our babies are dying or our reproductive systems are failing us.

On Monday, during the scan, I started chatting with the tech, asking her what her favorite/least favorite ultrasounds are. She said abdominal are her favorite, because she gets to see the most interesting things and an abdominal ultrasound has never made her cry. She said that she also loves OB ultrasounds, but that they are also her least favorite because whenever she sees a dead baby, it makes her so sad. But she is not allowed to cry or show emotion. She has to keep herself at a distance, for professional reasons, and also so she does not reveal anything that she shouldn't to a patient. I looked at her sweet, open face and thought to myself that if she had seen something bad on this ultrasound, we would have never gotten to have this conversation and I would have viewed her as callous, indifferent, and cold. I would have silently resented her for not sharing in my pain. I wouldn't know that she would shed tears for my baby later when, she was no longer concerned with adding to mine.

It was just a different perspective, perhaps made possible by my current pregnant vantage point. But it was interesting to see things from another view.

*This is not to excuse medical professions that completely lack compassion or who go out of their way to be uncaring or rude - I ran into those, too. There is no excuse for that, no matter how professional you are trying to be. Human decency and compassion is part and parcel of being in the medical field.


Joy@WDDCH said...

My mom was an RN and they had to "keep it together" when patients were dying (and they often did on her ward which was Neurology). But she would come home and just cry or just have to open up and talk about the person she took care of that had passed.

So I hope my story also adds to yours for those people who wonder why some doctors/nurses/techs seem cold and distant. Sometimes they break that and will cry with you but for the most part they do wait until they are alone.

Anonymous said...

I worked several years in the medical field in various different capacities, and it was only after the loss of Quinn that I realized all of my training had lacked any information on how to handle patients who were losing pregnancies/delivering babies who had died in utero/delivering babies who would die almost immediately after birth. Instead, we were taught to distance ourselves as a means of protecting our own sanity and treating objectively - and as much as I get that, I can't help but think that I could have been someone who provided a hug or a kind word instead of just going through procedures. I wish there was a happy medium for medical professionals.

That being said, the nurse and the attending physicial who was in the room when Quinn was born both cried with me, held my hand, hugged me, and asked about my living children - and to this day I will never, ever forget the kindness that they showed to me on the awful day.

Danifred said...

When the sonogram tech told me she couldn't find Poppy's heartbeat, she told me so very matter of factly. Yet, I could still hear the waiver in her voice. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to share that news to expectant parents.

HereWeGoAJen said...

That's interesting to know. It makes me feel just a little bit better.