Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Episode 13- The Parinatologist

I called the number that Dr. Brown's nurse had given me. There were several parinatologists at the University Hospital and I had no way of knowing which one to pick, or even if that is how it was done. I talked to the receptionist who took a brief history of my condition. She said she would pass it on to a higher up and they would review it and "match" me with the appropriate doctor. She said they would give me a call back in a day or two, so in the meantime I waited and waited.

I wondered if they would do the same as Dr. Brown had. I figured they would review it and decide that they didn't want me as patient either. I was bracing myself for the worst. But to my surprise I got a call the next day and the nurse said I would be seeing Dr. Draper, who happened to be the chief of OB residency at the hospital. It sounded like I would be in good hands and I was so relieved.

Within a few days I had my first appointment. This experience was unlike any OB experience I'd ever had before. My OB with Ethan had a beautiful inviting office with comfy chairs and nice wallpaper. The exams rooms were warm and it felt safe there. This place, however, was in a hospital and I have never been a fan of hospitals. I walked through the sterile halls which reeked of industrial strength cleaner. There were gurneys in the halls and high tech looking equipment everywhere. This was not at all like any OB's office I'd ever seen.

When I got into the exam room, it was even worse. There were posters on the walls about support groups for this condition or that. I knew that the women who frequented these rooms had problems of all sorts. Some women had problems, some babies had problems, sometimes the mother AND baby had problems and I prayed that I was not one of those people.

After the medical assistant took my vitals and my urine, I was met by the nurse midwife. Her name was Sam and she sat down in a chair across from me and began by taking my history. I hated when I had to give my history because I didn't ever know where to start and I always sounded like a crazy person. As I got further and further into the story, I couldn't control the tears and they fell freely. There are few things in this world that I hate more than crying in front of strangers. It always makes me feel so vulnerable and stupid, but Sam was so sweet and I could see genuine compassion in her eyes. As I continued with the story, I would have to stop to regain composure so I could go on. Sam would reach out and touch my arm and say "It's okay, you just take your time. I know this is very hard for you."

She took all of the history that she could, then she told me that Dr. Draper would be in shortly and he would want to hear it all again. I later realized it was pattern that Sam would come in first, then Dr. Draper would come in for a second exam/evaluation and then they would compare notes and double check each other's work. I suppose they were making doubly sure that everything was accurate. I was left alone again in that cold room and I felt so small and scared.

In a while a man came in wearing a blue pair of scrubs and sneakers. I noticed he had a a blood splatter on the cuff of his pant leg and I thought it was pretty gross. I later found out that he had just come from a delivery. He was middle aged with a little gray in his hair and he wore glasses. He grabbed a chair and flipped it around backwards, then straddled it and held out his hand. "I'm Mike Draper. I hear you're having a hard time. Want to talk about it?" Who was this guy? Was he a REAL doctor? He seemed so unprofessional, but in a good way. I was suddenly put at ease and I began to speak freely.

As I re-played everything I had just told Sam, he hardly ever looked up from my chart that he was writing in. I talked and he wrote. I talked and he wrote. And he wrote and he wrote and he wrote. He would occasionally nod and look up, stopping me to ask a question or get a fact straight, then he would go back to writing. At one point he ran out of paper in the chart, so he started grabbing paper towels out of the dispenser on the wall and he wrote on that! I wondered why he didn't just stop to go grab more paper from another room, but I know now that he was so engulfed in the moment of the story and he didn't want to stop me for fear that I would lose my train of thought. To this day, those original paper towels have holes punched in them and they are secured in my chart. This guy was not messing around!

So I finished up the story and he sat back and took a breath, reviewing his pages of notes. I could not believe that he listened so intently. In the past few weeks, no one...not even Schneiman had listened to me like that. I felt like maybe this guy was the one who would figure it out and save me. I had a good feeling about him and for the first time in a long time, I breathed a sigh of relief.

We continued to talk for a while and he said he wanted to do an ultrasound the next week. I would be about 17 weeks and we could likely tell the sex of the baby then. He told me that he would review his notes and ponder on it. He assured me that I had not harmed the baby. He said that he dealt with nothing but high risk pregnancies and that he was optimistic that things would be okay.

As I was about to leave, he put his hand on my shoulder and said "I want you to go home and not worry about this. You are a good mom and you have not done anything to harm that baby of yours. We are going to figure this thing out and I won't rest until we do. You are going to be fine!" And I felt like he really meant it. Looking back on it, it was a blessing in disguise that Dr. Brown dropped me as a patient. Dr. Draper came into our lives for a reason and I know that it was the Lord's plan.

(You can read more about Dr. Draper in this blog post)


Ute Family said...

This story is simply amazing. I can't believe you remember all of this and in such detail. Can't wait to read more!

Mike and Jenny said...

I have found your blog through anothers and I am loving reading this (in a good way) I will post another comment at the end to tell you my feelings more in depth, I just wanted to comment about Dr. Draper. I had him as a perinatologist as well. He is a wonderful man and I am glad you were able to have him sent in your life.