Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Modern Medicine

Bear with me here: I'm going to take a few minutes to whine and complain about our health care system. Then it will be out of my system and I can go back to being grateful for free health care and modern technology.

When a woman is pregnant in New Brunswick, she is scheduled for an ultrasound to check on the baby some time in the range of 18-20 weeks. Except, in my case, I guess the doctor thought it would be more convenient for all concerned to just send me in a week or so early, to get it done before Christmas. Thinking that the doctor, of course, knew best, I went along with this plan. Showed up for my ultrasound, excited to find out the gender of the baby, only to be told once we got in that the doctor had scheduled me too early in the pregnancy and not only was it too early to find out the sex, but also several key factors of growth and development were still too tiny to be seen clearly and I would have to come back in a couple weeks. Ok, fine. What they didn't tell me was that my placenta was lying quite low in the uterus. While this is a problem that will normally correct itself, it is something that needs to be monitored because in the odd chance it doesn't fix itself, a C-section will be needed.

On to my second ultrasound - where I am still blissfully unaware of this placenta problem. Ultrasound goes well, we find out we're having another boy, technician tells us that everything looks great, we go home.

Meanwhile, I am now seeing the OB/GYN on a regular basis. I see her once or twice more after the ultrasound, where again she affirms that everything is great and doesn't breathe a word about low-lying placentas. Skip to a month ago, I go in for my routine appointment and she tells me that just by-the-way, I have a low placenta which they noticed at the first ultrasound, but decided not to tell me about because they figured it would be better by the second ultrasound, but it still wasn't quite clear so I'm going to have to go in for a third ultrasound.

Fast forward to today - ultrasound number three. In order to get there, I had to arrange for Eli to go to friends for the day, drive Cory into work, hang around town waiting for my appointment for two and a half hours, then torture myself by drinking copious amounts of water and holding it. I finally get there and get in, and the technician says "So... you're here to check on a low-lying placenta?" I responded in the affirmative, and she said "Haven't you had two ultrasounds already?" Again affirmative. "That's funny, according to my report the problem was fixed at the second ultrasound." I told her that wasn't what the obstetrician had said, and she said "Well, that's just what my report said, oh well we'll go ahead and double check anyway." She was very sweet and confirmed again that it definitely is a boy.

As far as ultrasounds go, the three that I've had this pregnancy at the Regional have all been positive experiences with kind technicians and a good system - as opposed to the ultrasound at St. Joe's last pregnancy which sucked - it's just ridiculous that they can't seem to get their act together. If the original doctor had just scheduled my appointment for the correct time, I would have avoided having the other two. If the hospital was close by and/or Cory's work schedule was more flexible it wouldn't be such a big deal, but it's a real pain to find someone to watch Eli, work out the car between us, Cory had to get time off for the first two to be with me (he didn't bother this time!), and it's almost an hour's drive from our house!

Anyway, I'm done whining. That's my story. Now I am going to be more positive and cheerful and just appreciate the doctors that I have. Even though they seem to be continually sending me for tests and blood work "just to check" when there is nothing wrong with me. If I could have a platform, it would be Pregnancy is not a Disease. 

But as my dear husband keeps reminding me, if something were to go wrong, it would be a huge blessing to have the system we have. "Modern medicine," despite its drawbacks, miscommunications and over-diagnosis, saves a lot of lives. I just have to put my foot down a little more about some of the unnecessary interventions.

And I'm done. Thankful for a healthy, growing, 3lb 13oz. baby boy in my belly. Thankful for God's blessing of a healthy pregnancy. And even thankful for doctors, despite my complaints.

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