Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Loss of Trust: My Experience with Hospitals in the US- Post 1

This didn’t start out as a series, but apparently my complaints, based on my own experiences, against hospitals in the US are… rather lengthy…  So the first post took on a life of its own this morning and became a series of posts:

I have to say, I’ve been thinking about the subject of giving birth in hospitals more and more, as I typed the four-page description of what happened at the hospitals while I miscarried, and then began looking back on my labors and deliveries with Sadie and Mae.  I can honestly say that I’ve really lost all faith in the hospital systems in the US.

I mean, before the miscarriage I could think that it was just one hospital (although that particular Catholic Healthcare West hospital had the reputation of being one of the best in far Northern California) and that maybe it was just their labor and delivery floor that was grossly incompetent.  But now, after having spent time at two additional hospitals, I have to say, I see a trend.  And the trend I’ve witnessed doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies when I even think of crossing the threshold of a hospital for any reason, particularly to deliver a baby. 

If you’re thinking about giving birth for the first time in a hospital in the US, you may want to stop reading here.  I’d rather not terrify any first time moms and make labor more difficult!  On the other hand, I’m working through these thoughts, and I my blog is often where I work things out (and get advise!). 

One of the most basic things that baffled me during my last three hospital visits was the doctors’ complete lack of understanding of all aspects of pregnancy.  They’d come in and ask when the first day of my last menstrual cycle was.  And I would say:  “April 23rd, which would make me 16 weeks pregnant, but because I’m breastfeeding I have long cycles and I ovulate later, and I ovulated on May 17th, which would mean that the date you should use to determine how far along I am is May 3rd.”  And they would look at me like I’d just grown another head, and I would finally say, in an embarrassed voice:  “Just use May 3rd as the date. ”  One doctor actually scoffed and said something like “when you ovulated?” with total skepticism, as if knowing such a thing was completely impossible. 

A woman’s cycle seems like such a basic thing in the medical world.  Maybe they don’t need in-depth knowledge of the cycle and how it works, but it seems like it should be something that is, at the very least, covered at a basic level so that an explanation like mine doesn’t mean that they stare like I’ve just grown a second head. 

Of course, the above story is just a footnote.  It’s not really one of the nightmarish experiences that caused me to lose all faith in the hospital system.

That began with my first labor...  which is the subject of my next post


  1. Who needs cycles when you've got condoms, pills, and abortions at the ready?

    *Shakes head*

    Sad world we live in that women who understand their own bodies (better, in many cases, than medical staff) are looked at as arrogant, crazy nuts.

    If it helps you at all, my hospital experience with my son (2 years old this month) was wonderful. I hope you find a practitioner you trust and love soon.

  2. Hi Gina-

    It is always nice to hear that this sort of insanity isn't everywhere! It gives me hope that maybe someday we'll live near a place where I feel safe going to the hospital!

  3. I have never been able to get ANY doctor or nurse to use anything other than the "average" (ahem) 28 day cycle when calculating my due date. Even when I explain that we chart with NFP and that I've never had a 28 day cycle in my life.

  4. *hugs*

    I've fought this one multiple times...

    First the OB we used with Kalila (did not deliver her mind you) used our LMP. I was new to charting and thought it would be correct. Early ultrasound at two diff hospitals showed us that was wrong but he refused to change the date until his own ultrasound showed the same thing at 20 weeks :-/

    Then a month after she was born I got sick and went to a med clinic... where they could not understand how I hadn't had a cycle in almost a year and that I had to be pregnant. I get doing the test (kinda it was before my 6 week checkup lol but still I get they'd do it) but the attitude was aggrivating, esp while sick. Somewhat funny at the same time though. They were amazed at me not having one.

    Skip forward to ZJ. This time I had awesome midwives, very familiar with NFP... very willing to use my charts but wanted an ultrasound since I seemed to be measuring big. I went in and the tech couldn't get around a 35 day cycle. Her jaw literally dropped. She seemed amazed by the whole thing... and the computer was not equipped to handle it either. It spazzed out every time she tried to put my info in.

  5. MK- I have to say, you're my hero this week (I meant to comment on facebook earlier in the week). I loved the article you wrote! I was telling Paul about it and how totally inspiring it was to read!


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