Visiting the OB/GYN as an infertile and a grieving mother

It’s been 8 weeks and 1 day since we lost our baby.

Today, I had my post-op follow up with the OB/GYN who did my ectopic removal.

I have never been to this office and had a bit of difficulty finding it. I was already having a bad morning. My husband and I were fighting last night, plus my period arrived today.  Just what I needed to add to it: a room full of pregnant women and newborn babies!

When it was my turn, I was greeted by a male resident who said he would be going over my file and the Doctor would come in after to review it.

The first thing he says to me is: “So, you are here today for a follow up to your labour and delivery”.

I replied with, “No. I had an ectopic pregnancy”.

He apologized and quickly changed the screen from his scripted post-delivery verse.  He fumbled for a bit and realized he didn’t have a script for ectopic or pregnancy loss.

I gave him quick, short answers for each post-op question he asked until I realized this poor guy had no clue about IVF protocol. He typed, “fresh seminal transfer” to which I replied, “No, it was an embryo transfer”.

I figured it didn’t make sense to show hostility when really the world needs to be more educated about infertility and pregnancy loss. So, I gave him a brief intro to IVF 101. 🙂

Then, I asked to see the pathology report. I read it over his shoulder and asked if there was anything out of the norm that came up. He looked at me with big eyes and replied, “I honestly don’t know”. I felt for the kid, but I wish he had more practical experience.

When the doctor arrived, he quizzed the resident on my medical history. Both the Doctor and I found it humorous that I knew more statistics than the resident did. He pulled up the pathology report again and the Doctor said everything was typical for an ectopic.

The Doctor also told me that I can come to him for a 5 week ultrasound following our FET transfer. He said to just call the clinic and they will schedule me in. This is a huge relief as I had so much difficulty trying to get in for a scan prior to our recent loss. It does feel reassuring to know he cares.

I surprisingly held it together at the Doctor’s, but the tears began to flow the second I walked back into my own office.

I feel so alone right now.

Nothing makes your situation more obvious than a trip to the OB/GYN.

I can’t help but feel like the last one standing.

My work colleague tells me that I will get pregnant when I least expect it (clearly not) and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

My own mother just keeps telling me to “let it go”.

My in-laws pretend that nothing happened.

My best friend encourages me to stay positive and believe that my turn is soon – probably the best advice of them all.

But still…

I am alone.

None of these people truly understand the pain of infertility and pregnancy loss. It’s not something you can swish with a magic wand to make go away.

I sure wish I had a magic wand to swish a bit more compassion and understanding into our world though. The proper procedures should be in place within our medical system to ensure that women like me never have a doctor accidentally ask them how their delivery went, when in actuality their baby is dead.

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56 thoughts on “Visiting the OB/GYN as an infertile and a grieving mother

  1. Hi, what a horrible experience today. I am so sorry for you! Its dumbfounding how professionals do not have the right words to say. I commend you for educating and not being hostile, I myself would have lost it. You are so strong and you are not alone. Sending big hugs to you!! xoxoxo

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  2. I am sorry you had to deal with a doctor who failed to look at your file before opening his mouth – I am sure you taught him a very important lesson today and he will be more careful in the future.
    And, every other thing you said today rings so true to me. I too feel like the last one standing and feel so unbelievably alone. I too feel the hurt that comes along with people refusing to acknowledge our losses and those who make insensitive comments of support.
    If you find the magic wand, can I borrow it when you are done with it?

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  3. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry. My heart breaks for you especially on days like today. Hopefully that resident has learned a very valuable lesson today, my guess it that he’s going to be thinking about you the rest of the day. Really great that the OB has openly said to come in for an US after your next FET though. I’m sorry you’re alone, I’m so sorry you’ve gone through this – it’s beyond shitty and it sucks and it’s awful. There’s no eloquence for this. Thinking about you.

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  4. Yeah, that’s really inexcusable–I think a lot of that is attributed to his lack of experience (and possibly lack of aptitude). OnE thing I am firm about is not allowing residents to participate in my care, except to observe. You can actually request to ONLY see the doctor. I find my case (my life as a case study, lol) is WAY to complicated and I refuse to explain it to a novice who has no useful input (just blank confused stares). Hugs to you woman ❤ XOXO

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    • I thought this appointment was a waste of my time to start. Why would I need to see the doc 8 weeks post-op anyway? I should have seen him 4 weeks post-op before my skin infection started. You do have a complicated story to share. 🙂 I may have to request the doctor only at my next appointment.

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  5. I am so sorry you are going through this. I relate to everything you said – infertility and loss are very isolating experiences, especially when the experts are so insensitive (even if accidentally so). I do hope you taught the resident a valuable lesson, and at least he appeared to be embarrassed by his insensitivity – I always find it a little easier to swallow when they show remorse.

    I really wish I could say something to comfort you, but this is just a really shitty, awful, and painful situation. I’m still mourning the loss of my ectopic nine months ago, and I don’t have much advice to give. A big hug to you and know that at least out here, you have people who get it and that you’re not alone in your grief.

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  6. When I went back to the OB, I swear everyone was pregnant, 18 years old, screaming on the phone about bills, and had badly behaved toddlers running around.

    My doctor was at least on point. I’d be really annoyed. How could someone be a OB/GYN resident and not know the basics on IVF that every freaking IVF blogger knows???

    I cried in my car when I left too. All those pregnant women in the lobby and then me. Just me.

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    • I forgot to add that I even cleaned up the toys the one toddler left all over the floor, so no one would trip on them. Her mother went into the appointment and let the child leave a mess. We may be alone, but we are the most aware of our surroundings.

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  7. I’m sorry that you had to go through that and that you feel so alone. This whole journey can feel really isolating. Thank you for being brave and offer some educational advice/info to the resident. Hoping that your day gets better and sending big hugs to you.

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  8. ugh, sorry you had to deal with educating someone at a doctor’s office. I was surprised to run into it myself. I thought IVF was pretty common, but there nurse kept trying to check the box for “donor egg” and I kept explaining donor eggs come from someone else. It was my own egg!

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  9. I agree with you SO much in regards to the education of infertility…especially with OBGYN’s(and residents…I mean…hello) And please remember, you are not alone. You are never alone. We will always be here for you…always…xoxo

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  10. God, I’m sorry! What a terrible, terrible mistake to make. I know it is so hard when your real-life loved ones seem to be on a whole different planet than you. It’s not a replacement, but know that you have all of us in the blog community, pulling for you and thinking about you. You are not alone! Sending hugs to you.

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    • Honestly, I have said to my husband the past few night that my current family are women across North America (and even the world) who have been there for me this past year – you included! It is all of the support I receive through this blog that keeps me going.

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  11. I’m glad you educated him on IF, but isn’t it just so exhausting sometimes? I’m sorry you had to deal with all of that. I would have cried eventually too. I’ve been feeling really alone lately too and struggling. I’m really trying to enjoy the holidays, but I find it so exhausting and I feel much like you with everyone IRL, but know we are not alone, at least not here. Hopefully you and your husband worked everything out, it makes everything so much worse when you’re fighting with your husband. Hugs.

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  12. Oh hon, I’m so very sorry you had to go through that! How awful! And That resident should have read your file before seeing you! I know he’s learning, but shame on him! I’m so sorry for his lack of knowledge and for the insensitive comments from your friends and family. I got all those comments too and I came to realize that most people want to be helpful but they just don’t know what to say. It can all be so isolating. I too felt like the last one standing for so long, and after 5 years, I am still in shock to be making it to the other side. I pray you will make it there very soon too hon, but in the meantime know you are not alone. There are so many on here who know exactly what you are going through and we are all here for you. Huge hug my friend. ❤

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    • Thank you for such kind words. You know I never feel isolated by those that understand and have “crossed over”. I know you understand my pain all too well. You deserve happiness right now even if the road has been long and hard.

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  13. Oh my gosh, Hunny I am truly mortified for you having to experience what you did today with that resident. How friggen insensitive can a doctor (wanna be) be!! My heart is with you

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  14. Oh honey, I’m sorry that you feel like no one gets where you are at. I don’t know if it makes you feel better or not, but I have been exactly where you are with rpl and infertility. It’s a tricky slope because you don’t quite fit in anywhere. I am here if you need to talk

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  15. Sorry you had to deal with a resident that obviously didn’t read your file at all. I would’t have thought it amusing that you knew more than he did…HE’S the one in school for this stuff, he should at least know something before being thrown on his own with patients! Hopefully you at least taught him to read the charts before he talks to people. Glad the Dr offered you an ultrasound when you’re ready for it though!

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  16. I am so sorry you went through that painful discussion! You are not alone! Unfortunately there are so many of us in this IF world, that is almost like a sisterhood! Prayers and warm thoughts for you!

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  17. Yikes. I couldn’t agree more with that last sentence. Sadly I can relate to being the recipient of many such questions on our RPL journey. I’m so sorry your little girl left you the way she did. And I’m deeply sorry you feel so alone. We are alone in places of deep loss even if we are connected to others with similar experiences in the world at large. And you’re right. Nothing like seeing a doctor to bring reality home to roost. On a positive note I truly am grateful that this Dr. invited you to schedule your first post-FET ultrasound. Please know I am sending warm, gentle thoughts and wishes your way.

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  18. definitely not good that he didn’t look at your chart beforehand, but i have to defend him when it comes to having no clue about IVF. IVF is not ever even DISCUSSED during medical school. not once. brief mentions of clomid, maybe, though i don’t even remember that. so for an OB/GYN resident (and especially if an intern who’s only had their MD for 6 months) who’s still mainly dealing with regular pregnancies and births, i’m not surprised at all that he had no idea about the IVF process. but truly everything i have learned about infertility and IVF all came when i went through it myself.

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    • That so disappointing to hear. Especially with the statistics these days, you think there would be more focus on it. When would that training coming? If they decided to do a residency or specialty in reproductive endocrinology?

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  19. Bless you, I’m so sorry to hear this, I really am. I understand completely how you feel, we’ve lost three babies and I know how hard it is when everyone says the wrong thing even though they’re trying to help.

    I’ll be thinking of you, so sorry you’re having such a hard time xx

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  20. *hugs*hugs* and more *hugs* I know that last man standing feeling…and then I found out that I wasn’t the last one. It helped some, sometimes. I am thankful you have this blog. While not real life, it does help, at least it did and does for me.

    Take care of yourself. I hope you and hubby have made up. *hugs*

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  21. I’m so sorry! You are so right about OBGyn offices needing an education in infertility and sensitivity to IF. Sounds like you handled it with grace, but you really shouldn’t have had to experience that. It’s almost like you have to just lay it all out there up front rather than relying on them to understand and be sensitive. 😦 Hugs!

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  22. I’ve been there. Know that you are never alone. Someone, somewhere is sadly sitting in a doctors office thinking the same things you are. Whilst I appreciate the comments of “let it go” etc people who have been on this journey know that it is not something we can wait to “see if it happens”. That’s why we’re on this journey. It’s a longing, it’s a part of our daily lives. We have to be pro-active because we just can’t take a backseat and do it the old school way – and I hope you’re never made to feel that your way is the wrong way.

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  23. Pingback: Currently | The Parenthood Diaries

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