I broke up with a lot of guys between the college and marriage. Each new suitor would follow the same pattern:
- We’d meet and instantly fall head over heels. He is the one!
- The following weeks would be glorious and I’d bask in the glow of what could only be true love. This was the guy I was meant to be with forever!
- Then things would start to change and I’d begin seeing snippets of this guys’ character that made me squirm. Did he really just say that about someone of a different race? Did he really just drink that much beer and barf all over the stoop? Did he really just order me to get him a cup of coffee? Did he really just get senselessly angry over a football game?
- Once I started noticing these things the relationship would quickly go south. He is SOOOO not the one.
- Eventually I’d end up meeting him for coffee or swinging by his apartment one afternoon. We’d chat for a few minutes and then I’d start my well rehearsed monologue. This is not working.
- I’d leave my now ex-boyfriend’s apartment and begin the long walk home feeling simultaneous relief and sadness. I was single once more. I’d misjudged someone again.
Marriage brought a welcome end to this cycle of love, regret and loneliness. Never again would I be put in a situation where I had originally felt so sure of a person, just to have my hopes dashed as their true colors started to surface.
Or so I thought. The past few years have seen a return of this cycle in an area of my life I would have never expected: medical practitioners. Our relationships always start out so glowy and I am certain this is the provider for me. The first appointment is the best: my questions are answered, my concerns addressed and validated, and I leave feeling secure and cared for. The second appointment is not as caring as the first, but I assume all is still well. By the third or fourth appointment, though, I’m rushed in and out and my concerns are brushed aside. I leave feeling alone and uncared for. Much like those final dates with Mr. Perfect.
Today I had my third appointment with the midwife and it left me feeling far from cared for.
I realize not all “normal” OB appointments are going to be really in depth. I realize that it is a GOOD thing not to have them scratch their head send you off for tests and ultrasounds. I am extremely thankful for my uncomplicated and boring pregnancy! I also realize that you should never leave a provider feeling like you are just a number; and that is exactly what I felt like today.
It started when I walked into the clinic. I was the first appointment of the morning and saw the midwife also walking in so I held the door and said a cheerful hello. She looked at me like I was a complete stranger and brushed by.
My appointment was the regular brief 20 week checkup. I peed in a cup, she poked around my uterus and then listened to the Chicken. I mentioned that I have been getting these weird hot flashes and flushing after I eat lately. It’s only after I eat and it is taking all the joy out of a good meal. I asked her about it and she looked at me like I’m insane and said she has no idea what to make of it and not to worry. Really? I feel like I’m on fire after I eat and I should not worry? I also wanted to talk about all these damn red spider veins that are showing up on my chest and arms but she had already left before I had an opportunity.
What she did do is belittle me about my weight gain, which she described as “excessive.” I explained that my mother and her side of the family all suffer from obesity and that I’m quite concerned about gaining too much in pregnancy. Her response: eat smaller meals and have frequent snacks.
I know this. I’m not an idiot. Any woman who is concerned about weight gain and does not live under a rock knows you should eat frequent small meals to stay full during the day. I’ve been doing this but have still packed on 15 pounds in 19 weeks. Obviously I need some guidance.
I try to eat a balanced diet. I do not regularly cave to my cravings (if I did I’d be eating a vegan date bar every night and having a decaf soy latte every afternoon!). I can’t remember the last time I had a soda; I strength train regularly and do cardio when the weather permits (which admittedly has not been often due to some craptacular weather); I eat a variety of fruits and veggies; I only eat whole grains; I don’t eat dairy. What else can I freaking do?
I expected my medical provider to ask about my diet and provide some solid options. Instead she told me to eat smaller meals and to have healthy snacks. Thanks a lot.
The real kicker, though, is when we were leaving the exam room she saw a book in my purse and asked what it was. I told her I was studying up by reading The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Better Birth and she said, “Huh, never heard of that.” What? I thought every midwife/natural birth enthusiast would have heard of this book? I at least thought all OBs would have been warned about it creating unruly patients. You mean to tell me a midwife who fist pumped my desire for natural childbirth is not well versed on the literature available?
I left this appointment feeling alone and uncared for. I left feeling very frustrated with my body and weight gain and uncertain how to curtail it. I left feeling dread over my delivery and not joy. As much as I hate to add yet another breakup to my repertoire , I think it is inevitable – my confidence has been broken. On Thursday I’m consulting with a doctor my doula recommended. She is a resident with the Family Medicine department at the hospital with the lowest c-section rate. She comes highly recommended as being competent, compassionate and very pro-natural birth.
How many of you changed providers during pregnancy? Do you think I’m being too judgmental towards the midwife? Am I out of line to expect some more concrete guidance on how to curtail weight gain?