Thank God I asked a question in yahoo answers about my wife’s pregnancy. I put my questions into yahoo answers and a person mentioned your website. What your website does is that it helps to add much-needed support for people like my wife and me who are not professionals and who may find ourselves confronted with certain people in the medical community whose closed-mindedness and ego are hidden under a facade of professional identity and certainty (sorry if this sounds a little bitter; I don't want to disparage the entire medical profession but I do want to relate my story to help to at least remove the pedestals that we sometimes put doctors on).
My wife went to her family’s obgyn group on April 19, 2007 (after a Home Pregnancy kit said she was pregnant on April 10). My wife kept strict records of her period and days of fertility and told the doctor that her last period started on March 8. The doctor did a pap smear and an ultrasound and saw only the sac but said it was early. That night, she started to bleed and saw some clotting and called her doctor; the doctor said it’s not uncommon for her first pregnancy (and because of the pap smear, etc.). The bleeding continued (but was spotty) through April 21. The bleeding then changed to a redder color and became heavier April 21 (actually, at 3am the morning of April 22). We went to the emergency room. An u/s was performed and the emergency room doctor said there was just an empty sac & scheduled an appointment for my wife w/ her obgyn group for April 23.
We went April 23 to her obgyn group and a different doctor in the group analyzed her and did an u/s. She said that based on this date, the baby is 6 weeks, 4 days old (based on counting from March 8 to April 23 = 46 days) and that we SHOULD see ‘something that looks like a fish swimming around in the sac’. We should also hear a heartbeat. Neither is present (just an empty sac). She also pointed out some fibroids (small). She concluded that there’s no viable pregnancy and that her experience tells her that it’s certain. She recommended to schedule a D&C or to wait until April 27 to do an ultra-sound again. I asked her how certain she was and she said that her years of experience says that it's certain. She says there’s a risk of infection if we wait but that if nothing is seen on April 27, we can have the D&C done on April 30. Again, she is convinced it’s a miscarriage (telling us that the reason she waits is essentially for psychological reasons given that parents want to at least realize they've given it some extra time).
We decided to get another opinion and my wife scheduled an appointment with a different obgyn group of doctors for May 3 (this coming Thursday). As a side note, I go to a psychiatrist (medical doctor) for OCD/panic disorder and I told him on April 27 (at my appointment) about my wife’s bleeding and the fact that we’re waiting and what I read on the internet. I also said that we’re doubting the obgyn doctor’s opinion. He became very defensive and said that 30 years ago (!) he worked a year in Obgyn at a busy hospital and never saw ANY bleeding caused by a pap smear or u/s; I mentioned that other doctors say this happens and he became even more incredulous and dismissive (!!). I then mention what I’ve read on the internet and he went into his standard dismissal of all non-professional internet forums as filled with misinformation and negative bias (!!). He basically said that my wife is miscarrying (!!). I mean, I know that many people have negative agendas and I've seen the over-the-top and one-sided presentations on the web but it's like ALL of life -- we need to navigate through all sources of information to ensure it's correct (including doctor's info!).
Back to the story: my wife went today (Monday, April 30, 2007) to the new obgyn group because they had an opening. A midwife (Registered Nurse) performed an U/S on her and … she saw the fetal pole and a healthy heartbeat (!!!!!!). The excitement in my wife's voice was BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Now, allow for some cathartic venting
: I keep an open mind with things. Why can’t this certain segment of doctors do the same? I started to get a perception that perception where I was going to dismiss the stories on your website as being rare and even potentially in the realm of ‘urban legend’ because of a combination of the following: (1) the certainty of the doctor at my wife’s obgyn group, (2) the body language and lack of information from the emergency room physician; and (3) my psychiatrist’s strong and professional-sounding opinions. I’m excited now but ANNOYED. The stress that was caused to my wife by the wrong diagnosis makes me very angry.
My wife is very self-aware and doesn’t use emotions gratuitously; when I saw the tears come down her face, my knees felt weak. The lesson is that doctors are just human beings who have some information and experience. That’s it. I’m a software engineer and I’ve met many people who have learned things about software engineering and programming (some things that I haven’t been exposed to) without ever going to school but, instead, by reading info on the net (and participating in design discussions on various forums). They know more than me in some areas (and I have 20 years experience). I never feel threatened by this; it’s all just information and whether we get it in a formal classroom or in newer forums -- it's all the same, right? I just want doctors to do the same and keep an open mind about all possibilities and potentially new information from ‘non professionals’. The irony of this particular segment of doctors complaining about internet biases but being completely unaware as to their own indulgence in this negative dynamic doesn't escape me; can we add some courses on basic self-awareness and human dynamics to medical school accreditation? ;). People tell me that when I go to the pediatricians during my child’s development, that I need to do my own research and bring a notebook and constantly question the doctors. I’m going to stick with this advice. I’ll stop here because I now want to concentrate on the positive
So, continue with your good job. I think the strength of your site is that it doesn’t come across as anti-medicine or anti-doctor and doesn’t have that over-the-top negative agenda screaming at you like many one-sided sites do. The stories come across as real and positive (I hope mine didn't come across to negative). I am happy and excited about my wife’s pregnancy – this is our first and I feel very good right now. It seems surreal - almost as if my wife hadn't called me. We went from depression to great joy.
Again, thanks for everything.
P.S. My wife was still showing high fertitility on March 21 which led us to think that counting from the start of her last period had some potential flaws. We also wondered afterward why nothing was done to determine if my wife's uterus was tilted (maybe they know that automatically from the u/s?).
Bill in NJ