The Wiggles announced their retirement yesterday. All except the Blue wiggle, Anthony, who clearly must have gambling debts and crack whores to support. Anthony admits he’s suffered with depression, just like many parents subjected to hourly reruns of Wiggles DVDs. They could replace the Dorothy song previously used at Guantanamo with a wiggles number, if the American military is running out of ways to breach human rights.
In other news, the Aussie champion Moto Gp rider Casey Stoner is retiring for family reasons. (Perhaps he’s had second thoughts about ending up in a mangled wreck of twisted metal like his Italian and Japanese friends, now that he has a kid. Who can blame the man). I thought perhaps for a new family friendly job he could become the Red Wiggle, but as my friend suggested he’d probably want to drive the big red car pretty damn fast. And if Casey was driving it’d probably be a two wheeled Honda, and it wouldn’t go chugga chugga.**
If only Jeff had got treatment for his narcolepsy, the group might have lasted. **
So I guess a Wiggles concert is not something I’ll get to experience with Gumby. And you say this like it’s a bad thing….
In yet other news, we visited North Korea yesterday. Dr North Korea to you.
I had been on the phone to the counsellor about our decision prior to the appointment. I THINK i was 95% in favour of a change. Unclear at the start of the conversation, everything I was saying to the counsellor led me to changing doctors, to the land of choice and progress that is Dr South Korea. Listening to the conversation, I think hub-in-boots began to understand my reasoning.
And then we dodged the snipers and visited his dictatorship. To find it a changed place.
There was a tacit decision by both of us not to look towards the large oak door as he swept into the room before the waiting minions. He seated himself closer to the giant desk, and we sort of continued our conversation about the retirement of decommissioned cruise ships to Russia (seriously). We were seated back from the desk, and towards each other.
He looked different. The air was kind of charged. He talked briefly through the scan report, not mentioning the other doctor’s name at the top of the referral. He expressed pleasure at the absence of the clot. He didn’t know I’d called it after him (BASTARD). He mentioned the “echogenic area” in the baby’s bowel was resolved. He spoke more slowly.
Any questions ?
I felt myself folding my arms. Tried to stop. Couldn’t stop it. “nope”
What about you, Stewart? Any questions?
Stew met my eyes. Deadpan. “nope”. There was silence. Dr North Korea looked from hub-in-boots to me. And back to hub-in-boots. Hub in boots went on.
“Actually, I wondered if you could run us through the scenario you see unfolding now that we’re in this different position, without the clot.”
Dr North Korea went on to talk about how at 16 weeks he did not think we’d make 24. At 24, he didn’t think we’d make 26. And yet here we were. He spoke some of the magic words “39 weeks”. He used the N word “essentially, everything’s NORMAL”. He went very slowly through the diabetes, looked at my blood sugar diary, complemented me on progress, asked for my endo’s feedback. He said some doctors would have me on insulin now, because any change takes two weeks to filter through to the baby& we don’t want a disproportionate abdomen as it shows Gumby is being affected by my sugars. But he did not query the other doctor’s choices on this. For once.
We resisted the urge to woop, holler and hi five. The dynamic of the visit was weird. The central focus was with us. We didn’t feel rushed, or trapped, we were nonchalant. We out nonchalanted him, and we were not relying on him for ‘salvation’. The power sat quite clearly with us. It was palpable.
As he helped me up onto the bed for the ultrasound, he looked me in the eye and said “would you like to attempt a natural labour?”
What the hell?
“it will depend on the position of the baby of course, and his size, and the diabetes, but you may be able to. At 26 + 5 it may be hard to predict at this stage. But it is certainly something to consider as things unfold.”
Yet again I was speechless. This felt like treatment with choices. We’re we still in north Korea? Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
We went through the usual measurements, Gumby had a bit of a kick which I saw on screen. He was hard for me to see again, head down, up to 1.2kg (so how the hell am I losing /maintaining weight?).
As we went back to the desk, Dr North Korea paused, and then launched into an apology.
Hub-in-boots and I did not make eye contact, but I could hear the intake of breath at my side. You could have heard a pin drop.
“I understand you rang and spoke to B and were very unhappy after the last visit which you came to with your sister. I think we all had different purposes on that day. I wanted to apologise for that. I understand, as a woman, that you come in here wanting the most natural labour and birth possible, regardless of the kind of pregnancy you’ve had.”
“yes I do. And I understand that we are an unusual case, and it is not easy to predict. However I feel that I need to know if certain things are possible in the birth we end up having, like skin to skin contact, like early bonding, and breast feeding, that it will be actively facilitated, not discouraged. I understand everything is if the circumstances allow it.”
He went on, I forget the exact words, but he basically admitted he had been out of line. He talked us through what would influence the caesarean v natural decision as events unfolded closer to full term, he never mentioned any dates other than full term ones. He explained the choice of anaesthesia would most likely be driven by who the anaesthetist was on the day & when they were educated. He did mention special care nurseries if there’s blood sugar issues for baby, but we knew that.
There was lots of content. But it was clearer, slower, full of choices.
We left, and hub-in-boots shut the door, and said
“THAT BASTARD! He’s made it such a hard decision now! It was so clear before we walked in there. It was like it was a different doctor! That must be the doctor that other people get.”
So we were confused, but walking taller. So much dark cloud lifted off our heads. So much anxiety we could let go of, at least partly.
We went and signed a one year lease for our place. Then we went to vinnies to find an outfit for Eurovision. Because, shit, when you’ve had all your worries lifted, and you’ve sorted out where you’re living, and you have a baby on the way, what you need is a bad eastern European styled outfit. They are gorgeous. Shiny. Hideous in their beauty. We can’t reveal it ahead of the party. But stay tuned for the photos. We are gonna be beautiful.
And I know if we decide to stay in North Korea, people will think we’re mad. There’s two people to care for here: Gumby, and me. This makes it a complex decision. I know in my heart that with many other doctors, I would have stayed on at work. I would have continued normal life. And the clot would have won. The extremely conservative way I’ve been managed by this doctor who was, more often than not, a complete ass, may have saved our son’s life. may have turned this from the hair’s breadth that separated the two scenarios, from horrible tragedy to miracle story with happy lively ending.
Am I prepared to suck up some personality issues for that outcome? You bet I am.
Would I prefer someone I clicked with a bit more reliably with?
Is it important that Dr North Korea is on staff at the public hospital with the best neonatal intensive care, just in case?
Did the simple act of getting another opinion change the trapped feeling and bad dynamics for you, permanently?
Would you go back to North Korea for a second pregnancy?
Probably not. But ask me later.
Are we living in a cartoon world where one doctor is all bad, and one is a shining light?
Yeah, probably not.
Does he really really realise you are not doormats and he is not god now?
Would he make a good member of the new Wiggles?
Yes. And if he ever pisses me off again, I’m just going to imagine him singing “hot potato, hot potato”, complete with gestures. In a yellow skivvy.
Knowing all this, and after yesterday, the decision is not easy. It is strange to have absolute faith in someone’s abilities, be willing to put yourself in their hands, and still not be sure if you like them very much.
We see Dr South Korea next Tuesday. I still feel like he is there for us if we need him, willing to step in at any stage. Perhaps this is the best of both worlds.
But no one’s getting their $4k bill paid, just yet. Not til after Eurovision.
** the Wiggles are an Aussie kids entertainment group with such songs as “big red car” and “hot potato”. They wear skivvies . They were previously an ordinary adults rock band when I was a teenager; they’ve made lots more money this way. For the record I don’t like captain feathersword, and felt their early work without the other characters had more artistic integrity. Jeff is my favourite. Like me, Jeff has trouble waking up. Once, my niece was making a wiggles big red car cake, and I kept eating Jeff’s icing head. Three times. Poor Jeff.