Part one of a two-part post. Part two will post tomorrow. I will close comments today so no one feels pressured to comment until reading the second half tomorrow.
Updated to add: This happened two weeks ago. There is no reason to be worried about me at all. Thank you to those of you who have sent me concerned emails.
Now that you know my big secret, I can tell you about the trip I made to the A & E (otherwise known as the Emergency Room), which will give me a chance to comment upon the NHS (National Health Service), which will give us all a chance to have a rousing debate about health care, which will raise the intellectual level of this blog about 73%.
So, I had some bleeding, and I won’t get more detailed than that because there are some men who read this blog. I had bleeding with Zachary, too, so I know it does not always mean the dreaded M word, but I have been around the block enough times to know that bleeding during a pregnancy is usually something to get checked out. So, I called the community midwife, who told me to go to the A & E. Having dealt with NHS a few times in the last few years, this sounded to me a little suspicious, a little too direct, as it were. So, I called my GP, whose receptionist confirmed. I should hightail it over to the A & E. Fortunately, J was working from home, so he took the boys and I took a cab.
I waited maybe 30 minutes, then I was called in to speak with the nun who was cast as bouncer in this particular hospital. She sent me to pee in a cup.
Let me pause to explain that, since we did not have to do any fertility treatment for this baby, it has felt rather unearned, not real, even. I kept thinking maybe there was another reason for the missed period and the two pink lines. So, I was actually a bit anxious about the pregnancy test at the hospital and was relieved to see that the nun also came to the conclusion that I am pregnant.
My relief was short-lived. After calling the gynecologist on duty, my nun turned to me. “You’ll need to come back tomorrow morning for a scan. They don’t do scans at this time of day unless they want to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.”
“And they don’t think I have an ectopic?”
“No,” she replied, which was a relief, because given the options, I’d rather go with a non-ectopic pregnancy. Of course, I would prefer to hear that from a medical professional than from a nun, but I guess the doctor has some way of determining the placement of the embryo by talking to a nun on the telephone.
And, then it happened. I do not do these things on purpose, I can assure you. In fact, I find it as mortifying as a loud fart in a small elevator with four Calvin Klein underwear models. I burst into tears.
You see, the thing is this. I understand that there is not much that can be done if it is a miscarriage, and I understand that nothing was going to change between 4:45 in the afternoon and 8:30 the next morning. But, my GP and my midwife had both told me I would be seen immediately at the A & E, where instead all I got for my efforts was another cab ride home. In the U.S., we had good health insurance and lived near a lovely hospital, so when I had bleeding with Zachary, I was scanned that very night.
Had I been more familiar with NHS, I probably would have been less emotional at the news that I would not be getting an answer immediately. As it was, I was frustrated that a system that is supposed to be rather centralized has primary care providers and emergency providers singing a very different tune. And, let’s be honest, I just really wanted to know.