Dec 192012

“You can go ahead and try again whenever you feel ready.” – OB after delivering the news that mother was definitely miscarrying. The mother mad met the OB the day before after going to the ER for dehydration and discovering an unplanned pregnancy. Her husband was already scheduled for a vasectomy. The OB didn’t bother to get any history from the mother before sending her for labs and then giving her this “advice.”

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 December 19, 2012  OB, pregnancy loss  Add comments

  22 Responses to ““You Can Go Ahead And Try Again Whenever You Feel Ready.””

  1. Don’t they cover reading the chart in med school 101?

  2. Hm this one confuses me a bit. It says the husband was scheduled to be snipped, not that he had already been snipped. It also says unplanned pregnancy. These two facts are leading me to feel that the woman was possibly childfree and offended that the OB assumed she would want to try again. I know I feel offended when someone randomly assumes I wants kids because I have an uterus.

    • That’s what I was thinking. Never submitted it here, but my very first GYN said something to me once that will stick in my head forever; “What’s the point in being a woman if you don’t want kids?”

      Anyway, things like this usually sound pretty tame to people who do want kids, but you’d never realize how child-centric life as a woman is until you don’t want any. GYNs and OBs are the WORST.

    • This one strikes me less as Mr. Mysoginsit OB than it does as a doctor giving advice, albeit uninvited. I am a member of a couple of pregnancy/parenting groups, and I cant tell you how many posts Ive seen of moms asking how long after a miscarriage can you start trying again.

      Maybe he/she was just being a douchebag though. I dont know, I wasnt there.

      • That is a possibility. I just responded based on my life. I’ve known since I was thirteen that kids aren’t for me. Thankfully my GYN is pretty supportive, but I make sure to mention at yearly exams, “I still don’t want kids, hoping I can get approved for essure or a tubal soon.” Eleven years later I still have yet to fixed permanently. Hopefully when my mirena expires I can get approved for essure since I’ll be thirty.

    • It’s possible that this is the way he broke the news. Not, “Ms. X, you are definitely miscarrying. I’m sorry. If you are wanting to have a baby, you can go ahead and tr again whenever you feel ready.” Instead, doctor walks into the room and says, “Whelp, you can go ahead and try again whenever you feel ready.”

      Even though I have been sterilized and a pregnancy would be scary due to a heart condition, I would still mourn a miscarriage, and delivering the news like this would be horrible.

  3. This is probably one of the least offensive non-thursday posts i’ve seen here. perhaps it’s just because i am on baby # 3 and love having big families. this seems to me that perhaps he thought the pregnancy was planned, and wanted to be supportive to the woman? granted, he should have read the chart, but it seems to me that he was trying to be sympathetic to a woman who was losing her child. i have never had a miscarriage, but i cant imagine that it would be a happy thing. even in an unplanned pregnancy (out of all 3 of my pregnancies only my first was planned.) i guess i see differently because i’ve never been in this situation. but if this were said to me, i probably wouldnt be offended by it. unless theres something from the story im missing.

    • The fact that the husband was planning to be snipped suggests they didn’t want kids. (Or didn’t want more kids if they already had one.)

      Most women would be at least neutral toward this, but I can see where it would really sting someone who did not want kids. (Or someone who was suddenly reconsidering whether they wanted kids when hubby already had a surgery date, if that was the case. But there’s nothing here to suggest it was.)

      I have to agree with the commenter above – back when I didn’t have and didn’t want kids (I changed my mind, but other women don’t and won’t and are happy without), it drove me up a wall and halfway across the ceiling to be continually told, explicitly and implicitly, that I ought to have kids / ought to want kids.

      Our culture by and large doesn’t accept or support a chosen child-free lifestyle, *especially* for a married woman. And the pressure to conform, and implicit and explicit judgement if you don’t, is intense.

      So I can see where getting that assumption from a doctor and authority figure would be even more painful.

      Add in a bonus of shock and surprise, a dash of probably fluctuating hormones, the physical pain, and having to come to terms with the existence of and loss of a child all at once, and I think this would be really hard to take.

    • I believe this is offensive because the proper response to any miscarriage is, “I’m sorry.” Whether or not the couple was trying, whether or not they ever wanted a baby, whether or not they knew she was pregnant, a miscarriage is an upsetting event.

      It seems like the OB didn’t offer any sympathy. The comment does not suggest that the OB is giving her any space to process the event mentally and emotionally.

      • the proper response to any miscarriage is, “I’m sorry.”

        I’m going to have to disagree with this. As a childfree woman who has fought hard to get a uterine ablation (and has had to settle for mirena) I would be relieved to hear I was miscarrying an accident.* My monthly cycle was torture and I know I could never cope with pain and other pregnancy stuff. As such I’m desperately hoping to be fixed soon.

        *For me any pregnancy would be considered an accident due to failed contraceptives.

        • But OTOH, if someone didn’t know that and were to say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” you would know the person had your best interests at heart. You could respond with, “Not at all. I hadn’t intended to become pregnant, and I’m not experiencing any grief,” and the person offering condolences will most likely take her cue from you and back off at that point. It’s polite and thoughtful to acknowledge the loss and then let the woman dictate the tone of the conversation from that point out. You’ll feel acknowledged (because a miscarriage is still a physical difficulty) and you will know the other person wishes well to you.

          As opposed to, say, “Well, it’s for the best,” or any of the other dismissive things people say when they don’t want to be supportive.

          There may be some way of easing into the phrase, like, “Wow, you must be feeling so many different emotions right now,” but I think from an etiquette standpoint, the safest course of action if we don’t know the person’s state of life or previous decisions about pregnancy is to offer one’s sorrow that “you’re going through this” (the physical pain, for example, or the doctor visits, or the fear) and then follow the woman’s lead as to how to best be supportive.

          • I think this proves the point that sometimes there is no right thing to say. If the person is upset and going to go off that is what they are going to do. Some people don’t deal with strangers well in a time of loss and that is okay. The doctor just has to be man/woman enough not to take it personally and move on.

          • I think “Do you need some time to process this?” would be fine from a medical professional. Or, “I’m sorry this is happening to you” would cover any woman’s experience of a miscarriage because if she wanted the pregnancy, then it’s sad that her loss is happening, and if she didn’t, then it’s sad that she’s experiencing the physical effects of a miscarriage.

            Times like this are where a good script should come into play, especially for miscarriage since it’s so common.

            (This is attempt 3 to get past the comment filter. I’m sorry if this shows up repeatedly. I’m not trying to dogpile you singlehandedly.)

        • I think… somebody could also be sorry, that, even if you’re relieved you won’t be having a baby or having to deal with the options to not have one… you’re still going through something that jacks up your hormones and hurts. Like, you know, break and ankle and there can still be sympathy, right? Not so much for the loss of a potentional pregnancy, but for the fact that you’re going through something that is often physically painful.

          I dunno, I’m tired.

  4. The more I think about it the less this makes sense to me. If I go into the ER for dehydration, I dont think Id plan on volunteering whether my significant other and I wanted 0 or 5 kids, or any upcoming surgery dates my SO has because, as far as I know, that has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

    Assuming makes an ass out of you and me, but Id say the assumption in this case was not malicious.

  5. Pending a pink link, I don’t think this was said with intention to hurt but it wasn’t very thought out. Aside from what previous commenters have addressed, my first thought was how hurtful this could be to a woman who was grieving this unplanned pregnancy. If she didn’t plan for it but decided, for whatever reason, she’d keep and want the baby, then losing it would be hard enough. On the other hand, there may be a lot of guilt attached to NOT wanting it. Either way, it’s a conflicting time of emotions but it seems like they were pretty clear that they didn’t want to risk this situation again. Talking to the patient (or reading the chart – would such things be in there?) would have prevented this misinformed comment.

  6. It’s also possible that the woman either couldn’t carry to term safely, or had a genetic condition that meant her babies would suffer and die. It mentions that the doc got no medical history. I can imagine if you WANTED children, and knew you could not safely have a healthy baby, this would hurt a lot.

  7. But the other half is offended if a doctor asks if they are planning to continue a pregnancy. And also, I a ER doctor really read each patients whole chart before seeing and treating each patient they see, we would all be in the waiting room for days. In the ER, they rely mostly on a verbal history of the relevant problem at hand. And why would your SO’s vasectomy be in YOUR chart?

    • I’m trying to imagine this scene in my head.

      Doctor: you appear to be having a miscarriage. I’m very sorry.
      Woman: WHAT?! But I wasn’t trying to get pregnant! I was on the Pill!
      Doctor: Well, you seem to have conceived, but the ultrasound shows a six-week fetus in the process of miscarrying.
      Woman: My husband was even scheduled for a vasectomy! We’re done!
      Doctor: I know, these things happen. Nothing is 100%. Here, I’m sending you for labs to confirm the miscarriage, and I’ll see you again tomorrow during regular office hours for the results. Call me in the meantime if you experience heavy bleeding or very painful cramping etc etc etc.

      Next day:
      Doctor: “You can go ahead and try whenever you feel ready.”
      Woman: “But– But–”

      I imagine it wasn’t even written into the chart but probably given verbally as an indicator that the woman wasn’t planning this pregnancy.

  8. I can see myself saying something this stupid just to find something positive to say, but this is stupid because:
    1) she hasn’t even completed the miscarriage and there might be problems that would affect her ablity to start trying immediately.
    2) A woman who didn’t even know she was pregnant 5 minutes ago should be given time to process before she moves on to 6 weeks from now.
    Better advice would be “Follow up with your OB/Gyn within time frame X. Most women are able to try again as soon as they feel ready, but you should discuss your plans with your doctor just in case.” This ER doc doesn’t have a crystal ball or the time to get to know this patient and shouldn’t assume that he/she knows what this patient wants.

  9. Maybe I’m seeing this too simply, but I think the problem is that she told the doctor the day before that she wasn’t trying to get pregnant, was in fact not wanting any or any more children, and that this pregnancy was unplanned. And then the next day the doctor told her she could try again any time, indicating that the doctor either didn’t write down or forgot that she WASN’T trying in the first place, or the doctor was implying that the woman OUGHT to try. So, yeah, maybe not the worst we’ve seen here, but still problematic, in my opinion.

  10. This is mine.

    The post didn’t explain how things happened very well so I will here:

    I have 3 wonderful children and my husband and I had decided our family was complete. We were using protection until he was ready to get a vasectomy. I came down with a horrible stomach flu that landed me in the ER with dehydration. I had been bleeding/spotting for 11 days. I suspected something was up with my uterus, but I was thinking fibroids or even cysts, not pregnancy. The ER gave me a pregnancy test and it came back positive. An ultrasound showed no gestational sac. It broke my heart.
    The next day I went to see an OB at my family practice clinic to have repeat quantitative hCG’s drawn to verify the loss. I was still vomiting from the stomach flu, I was still spotting, I was reeling from the realization that I was pregnant and losing a baby. He walked in, told me I was definitely miscarrying and said “You can try again whenever you’re ready” shook my hand and walked out. That was it. No-”I’m sorry” No-”Are you bleeding yet” No-”Are you in any pain” No-”Here’s possible complications to watch out for” NO give a crap. He did take the time to call me the next day with my final hCG labs and remind me to “Give him a call” when I’m pregnant again, but that it can take 4-6 weeks for fertility to return after a miscarriage. I totally felt like I was unimportant to him until my uterus was occupied again.

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