It happened a second time. It was a different hospital in a different town, but it seems like no matter what general health clinic I go to or what pregnancy it is, not much changes.
A few months ago one Sunday evening I began to spot. I was almost seven weeks pregnant so my husband took me to the Emergency Room. Among the other tests that were done, they did an ultrasound. After some time the doctor told me that the ultrasound was inconclusive. “We didn’t see a fetal heartbeat, but it could just be that you’re not as far along as you thought you were.” Thus, with what they considered to be hopeful news, they discharged me. And so, for the second time in my life, I was discharged amid smiles and reassurrances when my heart was breaking because I knew that I was miscarrying. Even if they didn’t. I knew when I was fertile. I knew when I got pregnant, and I knew that unless the ultrasound showed the fetal development of a six week, four day old baby, then something was wrong.
Doctors and nurses often presume I know nothing about my body. When I offer them what I know they seem not to listen, or even to be annoyed, like I’m just wasting their time telling them things I couldn’t possibly know. I’ve used Natural Family Planning for 9 1/2 years. My charts tell me when I have too much stress in my life and I need to cut back. My charts tell me when my progesterone is low. My charts tell me lots of things about my overall health. I’ve used them to accurately date my pregnancies and each child’s estimated due date.
So I went home.
The next day my NaPro doctor called me, because I had the hospital fax the results of everything done the previous evening to her. She confirmed what I knew. I would miscarry. She also knew the date of conception according to my chart. She knew what the HCG levels and what the fetal development should have been, but weren’t. She said she was sorry. She was able to offer the appropriate response and care because I offer her what I know. In turn, she offers me her medical expertise.
As I expected, that evening the cramping began. The bleeding increased, and I began to pass tissue.
I wish all women were taught the knowledge about how their bodies work each month. I wish amid the lectures about proper care and hygiene in health classes, girls also learned how to chart. I wish more doctors knew that not every woman will ovulate on the fourteenth day of her cycle — that the whole fourteen day thing is a lot like the whole ’28 day cycle’ thing. It’s an approximation, not a certainty. I wish it were just a matter of course that women were empowered to be their own body’s experts, because then we could be true partners with our healthcare providers. Doctor’s practices could be incredibly helped by all the knowledge that each woman had of her own body, and they could offer us medical expertise more specific to our personal needs. Instead, doctors learn little about how to maintain a woman’s natural and healthy reproductive cycle. They learn a lot about how to suppress our natural functioning, and women are kept ignorant of it. I think we deserve better.
You may be interested in reading Women Deserve Better Than Contraception Part I here.
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