Tuesday, December 16, 2008
A Baby Boy
We had our first (and only, maybe ever) ultrasound yesterday. We got these kind of neat images, and found out that Sesame is a boy!
At first we were a little surprised because we had really tried to convince ourselves that it would be a girl. But, it only took about a few hours to get used to the idea, and by today I'm feeling very excited about this tiny (8 oz.) boy whose feet measure about 2.7 cm long.
The reason I said it might be the last time we do this was that it turns out that one of my kidneys is in an unusual position. This has nothing to do with anything really, and is not a problem, they kindly told me AFTER about a half an hour of laying there listening to several different ultrasound techs look at the screen and say quietly (of course the two feet of air between them and me would muffle their voices so I wouldn't be able to hear right?) "Hm, that's not normal. Hm" If that's not cruel and ridiculously unprofessional, I don't know what is.
They kept me there, ignoring the fact that it was hurting my back, and the baby's movements made it pretty clear that it was not enjoying the scan, for about an hour and a half. They did several different tests, not giving me a choice, being that not only could I not hear, but was apparently not a human with rights or anything like that. Maybe it was liability. I think maybe even more likely they saw that I have (thankfully) good health insurance and wanted to exploit it. This is why health care is so expensive. They will undoubtedly be charging my insurance company hundreds of dollars for tests they performed against the will of an incredibly healthy young person.
I realize that at this point, if you are more fond of Western medicine than I am, you might be thinking that it was perfectly reasonable for them to do those tests, given the strange kidney. Okay, maybe. But here is what really inspired tears of rage as I walked out of the building: As they probed to look at the kidney, one ultrasound tech said to the other, "It looks like a double collection system." The other, apparently less experienced with looking at babies, but more experienced with looking at kidneys, said, "I don't think so. It looks normal other than the placement." the first woman tried to convince the second, but finally gave up before moving to the uterus. "Look at this," she said, "it looks like there's a septum in the uterus." "Where?" asked the other. "Right there, you can just barely see it." "I really don't see anything. It looks normal to me." Well, they had to call the doctor in by this point, and they still had not told me what the abnormality was.
The doctor was the only good part of the whole episode. A calm, reasonable woman, who unfortunately was a little reluctant to overrule the power-hungry ultrasound tech. She looked at the kidney, told me it was in an unusual spot, which probably did not matter at all, considering that in twenty-seven years I had never noticed. She looked at the uterus on the screen for a few minutes, with ultrasound tech #2 (the one who didn't see it in the first place) and said, "Well, it looks totally normal to me." #2 said, "I didn't see anything before." They had to ask the first woman to come back and show them the supposed septum. She was busy, so we waited. When she came back, the doctor was busy, so we waited some more. She tried for at least fifteen minutes to prove that there was a septum in the uterus. Despite the fact that this would worry me, would change my record considerably, and that the doctor and other ultrasound tech said it looked normal, this woman wanted to write in my chart that there was a septum in my uterus.
The doctor gently said a few times, "I don't really want to open a can of worms if it isn't necessary, but what do you think?" To the power-hungry-not-wanting-to-be-wrong ultrasound tech. Finally, so frustrated that I could barely contain myself, I said to the doctor, "If you don't see anything, I would really appreciate if you would not write that in my chart." They decided not to, but that did not stop the first woman from continuing to search for it, pretending to want to look at the "cute" baby (i.e. fuzzy black and white image on a TV screen).
The last thing, and I'm sorry to have gone on for so long, but it makes me feel a little better to share my indignation, was that as we were finally ready to get out of there, the woman said, "We're sorry to have worried you. That's what we do." ha ha ha. That's exactly the kind of stress that hospital staff should be placing on pregnant women, don't you think?