I received my medical records from my RE’s office last week. Initially, I let the whole packet sit untouched. Why do I need to read records of things that I lived through? It’s not like I wasn’t there speaking to my doctor every step of the way.
Eventually, curiosity got the better of me. I grabbed the envelope on my way out the door one morning and flipped through it on my lunch break that day.
Here is where I offer some advice. If you are ever given a stack of your medical records, and your emotional state is perhaps already fragile for one reason or another, don’t read them. Just don’t.
I learned that there are things doctors write in their notes–because they have to–that perhaps you don’t really need to see spelled out on paper.
For example, we all know I was spotting quite a bit early in my pregnancy. It started the day after my first positive pregnancy test and continued through about 6-ish weeks. My low initial progesterone level had them watching my hormones very carefully, and beyond that, nothing much was ever said about the bleeding except to watch it and let them know if it worsened. We all know that bleeding in pregnancy can either be something or it can be nothing, and my doctor reminded us of that every step of the way.
In her notes, however, bleeding = threatened abortion. Those words are scrawled across the paper on her notes from every single ultrasound, including the one that details our “missed abortion.” Even our last ultrasound with her–when everything looked good and I hadn’t had any bleeding for weeks–noted a threatened abortion. Under her “Plan” it lists “Spontaneous Abortion Precautions.”
I haven’t been able to get those words out of my head ever since I read them. It caused all sorts of feelings. Fear. Sadness. Panic. Initially, I was even resentful of my doctor (who I LOVE) for not really discussing it with us. Except she did. She just didn’t use those exact words because she is a human being as much as she is a doctor. You are all witnesses to the fact that I was well aware that bleeding could equal something bad. And even when all of the bleeding stopped and had for weeks, losing one baby certainly didn’t bode well for the threatened abortion notes, either.
I really, really wish I had just left that envelope sealed and handed everything over to my OB without a second thought. I didn’t need those words in my head, and my RE knew I didn’t. I wasn’t any less aware of the risks before I read her notes, and now all I can see is those awful words–even after yesterday’s amazing scan.
How amazing would it be to just be a normal, oblivious pregnant lady? The ones who automatically assume that unprotected sex equals pregnancy or that two pink lines equal baby or that two heartbeats equal twins. It’s hard not to be a bit resentful of that kind of ignorant bliss.