Today is national kick a doctor in the head day. To celebrate this important national day, I will be kicking some head, and kicking some butt.
Let me bring you up to speed.
Remember we had our 19 week scan on Monday? Which was good, with one ‘but’… BASTARD the haematoma was smaller but still visible. And I was waiting on the specialist to call me and explain what this means for us. And they had stuffed up a bit on the day, mixing up two Joannes in the queue.
So anyway, No call . I rang my obstetrician yesterday for clarification. Again, no call.
Then late last night, hub-in-boots gets home from football, and he brings in the mail. And there’s a letter, from Sydney Ultrasound for Women. It’s my scan report. Weird, but Ok.
I read it quickly, it’s mostly measurements. Only as I get to the end of this letter, there’s not one ‘but’, there’s two. But one : the haematoma . But two: a “fetal anomaly evident” consisting of a “focally echogenic area in the right upper abdomen”. It goes on to talk about possibilities:
*an echogenic bowel loop secondary to ingestion of blood
*isolated bowel perforation which is usually self limiting.
* oh and then it goes on to talk about cystic fibrosis and how we don’t have that cf gene mutation, so that’s “reassuring”.
Oh, and at the top of the letter is someone else’s name and address. The other fucking Joanne. But the clot volume has all my measurements, and it’s my date of birth, so I think these are my results.
Now it’s 9 o’clock at night, and I am almost halfway to being a mother, and there is no doctor to speak to. I nearly tear hub-in-boots’ head clean off when he starts with the “it’ll be fines”. Not fair to him, true, (sorry Stew) but that whole bloke thing of let’s just erase your irrational feelings?. Yeah not helpful. Feelings don’t have rationality. Feelings just are.
I called my sister . Sounding mental I was so upset. Sorry hub-in-boots, but you need a woman at times like this.
And if I try to unpack what I was feeling, last night, I’d say:
1. Anger. Actually more like fury. Way past anger. And I always cry when I get really really angry. It’s very inconvenient. I’m angry because it isn’t even remotely ethical to give a pregnant woman possible bad news, with scary words, in writing, without discussing it first. I’m also angry because there is someone else’s name on this letter. So not only have they failed to discuss results in an ethical manner, they’ve breached my privacy and the other Joanne’s . And they don’t care enough to get the details right, after $350.
2. Fear. Is something wrong with gumby? Rationally? I know this is standard cover your butt ultrasound speak. But Emotionally I’m just shit scared . Fear is rarely rational.
3. Stretched to my limit. I am just overloaded this week. All of a sudden I’ve hit the point of geez I don’t think I can do this anymore. I feel two inches away from rocking up to a psych ward and demanding four months of sedation. And I know if I can think this, then I’m probably fine. And I know I can always cope with more than I think I can cope with. But I’ve been numb since Sunday , and worn out, and it’s familiar, and it’s not good.
There were probably a million other emotions. These are the big three.
Now at the same time, my rational head is saying there’s nothing to fear, and is seeking answers. So dr google it is. I get to a double blind peer reviewed page (always the academic), and I find echogenic areas are bits the ultrasound waves bounce off. And they’re not too bad in 2nd trimester screenings. But they’re not common. We’re back in the one percenters.
At first I’m confused: is this my bowel, or gumbys bowel? But of course it’s gumby’s. And they can be nothing at all, or they can be markers for serious shit, like downs, turners syndrome, trisomy 13, intrauterine growth restriction, peritonitis . If we hadn’t already had the CVS test, (placental biopsy), I would have murdered someone last night.
Of course since then, I’ve realised that the most likely explanation is Gumby drinking blood. And the blood as it breaks down leaves deposits on the wall of his bowel. There’s been a lot of it about, thanks to the haematoma. But you know, I’ve just read the Twilight series. And babies? They’re supposed to drink amniotic fluid, That goes through an unreal filter system, not blood. So I can’t say this blood thing is a fantastic relief. It’s a worry . On the phone to my sister, I was having visuals of Gumby as some kind of crazy Pacman, eating up the leftovers of the clot. Gross.
The what ifs have begun their quiet erosion of my mind . I’m drinking tea and telling them to shut up. It is twelve minutes til 8 o’clock. And a very cool calm Jo will then get on the phone, speaking of lawyers, health care complaints commissions , and generally kicking ass. I have emailed both the ultrasound specialist and the midwife last night, with a complete absence of swearing or abuse. And when I’m icy cold, kids? You’d better be fucking frightened. Not to mention if my sister or brother in law get near you in the next 24 hours.
Updates will follow.
Phone call 1: me giving reception at the ultrasound place two hours to get back to me before I get onto the Health care Complaints Commission, explaining, very icily, the extent of ethical and privacy breaches in this complete clusterfuck of an experience.
Phone call 2: The ultrasound specialist. Who to his credit, is a very nice bloke. He did brilliant work on the placental biopsy 8 weeks ago. I vented, in a rationed way, explaining my emotional reaction, my distress, my experience last night. He listened and he empathised. He said I should never have been sent the report. He could not believe the admin stuff up with the other Joanna’s address. He would be looking into it over the next hour. I suspect, given his voice, he was about to kick some butt.
He emphasised this is a result of Gumby drinking blood. Freaking vampire child. That they must canvass other possible causes in the report, but the most likely cause is the most likely cause. That all of the other chromosomal issues causing this “bright bowel” have already been tested for. (thank god we had that biopsy). That the blood will not harm Gumby. That even if it was a perforated bowel, it will not harm Gumby, as there is not yet any bacteria in his bowel, unlike an adult with a perforated bowel, and unlike an adult if that is there, it usually heals.
I asked when the next scan with him would be (which he will be personally attending). And, in a nice way, he basically said obstetricians, unlike mothers, are detached and now do very little until the baby is viable. So I guess the next proper scan is a thing to look forward to, because there’s a chance that problems at that stage could have medical interventions and a real live viable baby as an outcome.
Phone call 3: the midwife at my ob’s office. Astounded, once I explained that I’d received the report in the mail. Incredulous, once I explained the mix up on monday and the other Joanna’s address on it. “Oh god you aren’t supposed to get that! That’s doctor to doctor stuff. What the hell? It’s not withholding information, it’s bloody withholding anxiety. Oh I’m so sorry you received that. You must have been so worried!” etc.
She reassured me, and she’s so nice, but not in a condescending way. And also informed me because of “but 1” (the haematoma), the bed rest and the progesterone? Are ongoing. Bugger. And also acknowledged that all of this shit is so much worse when you’re sitting at home, not out in the world. Because it is your world. And I’d say the ob is going to get an ear full from her about ultrasound place’s the monumental fuck up.
I reckon that’s enough calls for one day.
And Gumby’s cool. Kicking back, drinking blood. Nice.