Ten years ago today I needed to have a fetal ecocardiogram, because my baby had an irregular heartbeat. My husband and I traveled to a larger hospital a couple of hours away, and I was as nervous as I had ever been.
Once we got into the room, we got settled and I tried not to panic at what might be the news. The doctor came in and had the strangest bedside manner ~ stand-offish, conceited, and slightly distracted. He asked us not to talk until the procedure was done, and then he got started like we weren’t humans but a car coming in for service.
As the probe ran over my belly, I watched on the screen and feared the worst. There was my baby’s heart being displayed on a giant screen, what were all those structures and who knew what the outcome would be. After what felt like an eternity, the doctor scrubbed off the probe, wrote a few notes, and pushed some buttons. It took all of my energy not to scream, “what the f- is the outcome?” as the doctor nonchalantly took his sweet time. I glance squeezed my husbands hand, and he noticed my tightened jaw, and offered me a few calming words.
Finally the doctor came back to the bedside and explained that all is well with our baby’s heart, answered all the questions on list we brought with us, and suggested that likely her irregular heartbeat will normalize at birth.
Deep breath…thank him for his service, and realize that though he has done this procedure hundreds or thousands of times his disconnection does not invalidate our parenting feelings and fears.
Being a parent is by far the scariest thing we will ever do because many times we cannot control the outcome, though we would do anything in our power to give our children the best opportunities in life.
If you find yourself in that position of having a professional at your bedside that is sort of checked out, remember it is your right to be heard. Remind the health care professional that this is scary or confusing to you. Once you name how you are feeling the staff are often much more compassionate, but if you still aren’t heard, remember that you have the right to raise your concerns. You are the protector of your own health and your children’s health. Never feel inadequate in asking for what you need!