Saturday, June 02, 2007

Freakin' Out Over Here

So, remember how I mentioned that M has a fever? And a rash? Well, the big worry was that she'd turn out to have Fifth Disease. It's a common childhood illness, and poses no harm to her. But it causes miscarriages in pregnant women.

When I took M to the doctor on Wednesday, I asked specifically about Fifth Disease. She assured me M didn't have it, because she didn't have the characteristic "slapped face" rash. Later that day, after I found out that my SIL was also pregnant, I called the doctor to see if we could get a blood test just in case, to see if M had Fifth. They flatly refused (despite my begging, and wheedling), because, once again, M didn't have the "slapped face" rash. So, out if what I thought was an overabundance of caution, we cancelled our trip out to see said SIL.

You see where this is going, right? M's face started getting red yesterday, and she woke up this morning looking for all the world like I'd slapped her around during the night. The rash on her torso is also much worse. I'm still not sure if she has Fifth Disease, because there's always a chance I could just be being paranoid. But I think my original instinct was right.

So now, I'm freaking out. I can't stand the thought of losing this baby. I'm also really pissed off at the pediatrician. If they'd have given us the damn blood test when I'd asked, then maybe I'd at least have had a diagnosis to get in to the OB before the weekend to make sure the baby is ok. But all they could see (beyond insisting that M didn't have Fifth) was the cost of testing M when we could just "wait and see."

It's an attitude that's entirely too common in the medical community down here. Nobody seems to want to do anything -- no testing, no treatment, nothing. They just want to "wait and see" what happens. whether it be a second (or third) miscarriage, or a dangerous, infectious disease. Humanity apparently has no place in this equation. No matter how much you're worrying, no matter how high the stakes, the doctors down here simply won't budge from their hands-off protocol, unless deception is involved.

Case in point -- I called my OB for my first prenatal appointment, and asked that I be seen as soon as possible. They said their office policy is to wait until the patient is 8-10 weeks along before even seeing her. When I explained about the miscarriage and asked them to please see me as early as possible, I was handed over to the nurse practitioner, who advised me to call back in a week and claim to be spotting, so I can get an appointment before my official first OB appointment.

I'm sorry, but that's fucked up. I shouldn't have to commit fraud to get some peace of mind. And I won't do it -- I figure I'm an adult, and can stand to wait the extra week and a half if I must. But frankly, I don't see why I must. I don't see the harm in them giving me ten minutes too make sure the baby is ok. Worst case scenario, the baby is dead, but I'm spared from carrying a dead baby around again, and we can move forward that much sooner. Maybe to an OB, it's not a big deal to lose a month to a futile pregnancy, but it's a huge deal to me.

This attitude does not seem to be common everywhere. SIL, who I think I mentioned went through three years of ART before getting pregnant, is a week further along then I am, and has already had two appointments. She saw her baby's heartbeat at six weeks, and is scheduled for another "just in case" ultrasound next week. Her doctor let her come in immediately for a test to see if she's already immune to Fifth Disease, back when we were still considering travelling.

So here I am, stuck with a sick daughter and a possibly dead or dying baby, and there is fuck-all I can do about it. I know there's always a chance that it will be ok, but still, I find myself detaching already from this pregnancy. I just can't afford to let myself get too attached if I'm going to lose this one, too.

I'm going to take M to the pediatrician again today, to see if we can get a definite diagnosis, or at least some kind of peace of mind. I'll keep this blog updated, but in the meantime, even if it turns out I am in fact just paranoid, I could really use some good thoughts from whoever's out there reading.

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