Catching Up: My journey so far

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Ordinarily I make an attempt to post things that seem profound to me, or things that I feel would benefit another mother who’s in a similar situation.

At this point, I think I just want to document and sort out what’s happened so far.

I have been seeing a lovely OB, whom I shall call Dr. A at this point because he really, really is a fantastic, fantastic man. That may sound strange, but I don’t want to associate him with the terrible practices that the company who purchased his clinic holds. I won’t name them either, because… I’m paranoid. I don’t want to cause my previous doctor any issues.

I’ve been seeing Dr. A for years for my women’s health care, including the infertility treatments that blessed me with my daughters. He’s always been kind and caring and open-minded. During this pregnancy, I have always, from the beginning, said that I want as few interventions as are medically necessary. Unfortunately, partway through (at about 23 weeks, maybe a little earlier) he started talking about how I would need to deliver in the OR, I would need to have an IV, I could only have one person in the OR during my delivery- two, if I fought hard for it. These were not his policies, but the hospitals- and he only delivers in one hospital. He did mention he was uncomfortable with my laboring and delivering in the L&D room, in case something went wrong.

I was very much against the need to deliver in the OR. To quote my dearest friend, “That’s like cooking with the fire department standing over your shoulder, hoses loaded.” That is, it felt like too much overkill and too much anticipation of tragedy- and I firmly believe that you find what you’re looking for and that if you are expecting something, it will come to you- good or bad. I have no complications in my pregnancy aside from slightly low blood pressure, and to me it felt very wrong to be anticipating issues that would probably never come up.

Then the second half of this equation struck- my beloved doctor and his clinic became a part of the local conglomerate of clinics. Their office and their practice was eaten up by another chain of clinics, who truly work more like a chain of stores or restaurants than a place for a woman to receive loving care.

Because I was upset by the enforced restrictions placed on me solely because I was having twins, I tried to schedule an appointment simply to speak to my doctor. This is a man whom I trust, whom I am expected to continue trusting while he guides my children and myself through their passage into this world.

I couldn’t get a hold of him. I was thrown into an automated system, which then transferred me to a chain-clinic nurse. Not the nurse I know and trust at the clinic- not the triage nurse there in the office. A nurse who wasn’t even associated with my doctor except to be owned by the same chain- and she told me that I couldn’t talk to him, not even for ten minutes, I couldn’t have an appointment because he was booked full until the 23rd of September and unless I was having an emergency I would just have to wait.

I called back several times to see if there had been any change, because it was very important that I speak to him.

I never did reach him. Or his nurses. Or even his scheduling desk.

This was the point where I decided to try to transfer providers. Unfortunately, I found only one midwife with an opening to see me and none of the OB’s I called would accept me as a transfer, as I was already ‘with established care’ and I was past 20 weeks.

Since the Birth Options class I took (highly recommend, by the way) pointed out that, as a consumer, I do have the right to choose to transfer care at any time, including in labor, I refused to accept that I had no other choice.

I found one midwife, covered by my insurance; I found one OB, who would review my records and decide if I was a candidate for his care.

(I also found a doula who was and is incredibly supportive of me during this time.)

Tuesday (what was that, the.. 6th?) I spoke to the midwife, who informed me that while I was a lovely candidate for home birth and she would be honored, it was an unfortunate reality that she would be out of the country during the entire month I was due. (Being twins, I could delivery any time between mid-November and mid-December).

Midwife ruled out.

So that very same day, I went to a different OB clinic (We’ll go with Dr. B! Because I am creative. Not.) and filled out the paperwork that releases my medical records to Dr. B’s clinic and arranged everything. Now we were waiting on Dr. A’s clinic.

And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Today, I called Dr. A’s clinic. I was transferred three times to three different departments (none of which was actually Dr. A’s clinic), and then was sent to Medical Records. Medical Records transferred me again to Medical Release, which is apparently a different department. I was answered by a lady who was incredibly rude, cutting me off partway through my sentences and scoffing at my requests. I asked her if my records had been transferred yet, and she informed me (in a far less polite way) that the clinic had never received that release.

I watched Dr. B’s clinic fax that paper.

The lady informed me (once again, in the rudest way she could) that perhaps the paper had been faxed to Dr. A’s clinic, in which case it would have to be sent to Medical Records, who would send it to Medical Releases, and then they could verify the forms and send the verified form to Medical Records who would send the records to Dr. A’s clinic, who would then send them to Dr. B’s clinic. Eventually.

I requested Medical Releases direct fax line, and she, with great reluctance, rattled off a number so fast it makes me grateful I worked in call center customer service or I would never have recorded it fast enough. Then she hung up on me. The old fashioned way, without even a curt ‘goodbye’ or ‘is that all’.

I took several deep breaths and then called my mother, who happens to work for nameless chain-clinic. She informed me that I was, once again, getting a run-around. She recommended that I go directly to Dr. A’s office and fill out the release (again) and then stand there in the office lobby while they collect my records. They would then fax the records directly to Dr. B’s clinic, and I could also request hard copy to carry with my own two little hands over to Dr. B’s clinic.

Dr. B’s nurses’ response to all this? “…. if you can get us the records, it’s likely he’ll be able to look at them today, or maybe tomorrow and we can have you set up pretty quickly!”

I love you, Dr. A. You’re a fantastic man, with years of experience and knowledge, and I know that if I could have gotten to see you for a few minutes, we could have come to an arrangement that was mutually acceptable.

I hate your new bosses and I hate nameless chain-clinic. They have made it impossible to see you, speak to you, or hear from you, and I just cannot deal with it. I’m sorry, but I need to make this transfer.

Even if Dr. B reads my records and turns me down, I’m not going to deliver at the downtown hospital that is Dr. A’s first choice. I have never had pleasant experiences there. I can’t even get a hold of them to get a tour of the birthing center!

If push comes to shove (literally! … baby joke, there.) I will just labor at home until it’s time for hospital, and then I will just toddle over to the local hospital and check myself into the ER.

I’ve been told I have no options. There are -always- options, if you’re brave and stubborn enough to fight for them.

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