Friday, May 12, 2006

A Bit of Background

So anyone who's ever experienced failed pregnancies will know that if you want sympathy, you go to your mother, not to the doctor.

My first, incredibly drippy female doctor (I had a thing about having female doctors when I was younger, but at this point in my life, I feel that enough people have probably had a look at my goodies at one time or another, so the gender of my GP doesn't matter so much anymore. I am completely un-embarassable) was completely bored by the whole ordeal. As was the first A&E doctor who told me that I wasn't having a miscarriage when I obviously was.

"It's completely normal. These things happen all the time."

Of course they do. If statistics are to be believed, 25% of all pregnancies don't come to term. Often, they're lost before the woman even twigs that she's pregnant. But the fact that they're normal doesn't make any damn difference in the world to the hopes and dreams that have just disappeared. I don't want to get all melodramatic about how I felt about the miscarriages, but suffice to say I wouldn't wish one even on the woman who I hate most in the world right now. Frustratingly, it's also quite common for the medical establishment not to investigate failed pregnancies until you've gone through three of the damn things, which seems both cruel and unusual.

Before giving spawning another go, a few niggling pains in my nether regions made me decide that some internal investigation might be a good idea, just to rule out something physical, like Raging Womb Rot or something.

This is when I met BowTie Guy, an OBGYN surgeon who was the very first medical professional, who when informed about my previous reproductive troubles, said,

"I'm so very sorry. That must have been terribly disappointing for you."

He instantly earning my undying devotion and I consented to a hysteroscopy/laperoscopy to find out just what was going on.

Drippy female doctor, when I had first presented these niggling pains, immediately came out with the diagnosis of endometriosis, which is obviously something that women of breeding age don't want to hear in a million years, so on the day of the op, I prepared myself for the eventuality of being told that my uterus and ovaries were covered in the stuff and that Mr Devil Duck and I would have to start thinking about putting off buying a house in favor of foreign adoption.

Luckily, after emerging from a drugged sleep to the rather extraordinary pain of my entire body cavity filled with air (you'd be surprised how much this can hurt) BowTie Guy came in to visit my sorry ass with little pictures of a totally healthy set of ovaries and tidy womb.

"You've got irritable bowel syndrome." he announced.

"Well, at least you came by THAT one honestly." said my father over the phone later. I could almost hear him stirring the Metamucil in the background.

But it seems that my battle with medical professionals is not yet over.

I switched GPs, for a start. The drippy woman was not only irritating, but rarely ever around, so I had no kind of continuity in my health care at all. I picked instead, a youngish Asian male doctor I'd seen a couple of times and had always been impressed with his attentiveness.

During my pre-surgery consultation, BowTie Guy recommended that the next time I got pregnant, I should try progesterone suppositories as it sounded to him that I might have some kind of hormonal problem. When I mentioned this to my GP, he gave me the old raised eyebrow.

"I don't think that's necessary. I've read hundreds of journal articles suggesting that the link between increased progesterone and higher changes of carrying a pregnancy through to term are a load of bollocks."

I don't think he used the word "bollocks" but I was fairly sure he wanted to. Instead, he ordered a relatively rare blood test for some relatively rare genetic disorders that might be an explanation for miscarriages. Don't get me wrong, I like this guy and I genuinely believe that he wants to do what's best for me, but I couldn't help wondering,

"Well, he's an OBGYN surgeon and you're a General Practioner, so I can't imagine that with all of his years of experience in the female reproductive system that he'd be easily taken in by a load of bollocks."

At my post-surgical appointment last week, I went back to BowTie Guy and tattled on my GP. Again with the raised eyebrow.

"Right," says BowTie Guy, "the minute you find out that you're pregnant, you come to ME."

The fact that he charges 120 quid a consultation really doesn't enter into the equation.

He's ordered a baseline progesterone test to make sure that I'm not deficient in the first place. I'm supposed to go in on Day 21 of my cycle this month. With any luck, I hope that we'll stumble upon the source of the problem and get it sorted once and for all.

Anyhow, that's where I'm coming from. Hope I'm headed in a positive direction now.

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