Our First Scan (and the morbid fascination of the medical profession)


The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)

Image via Wikipedia


We had our first scan yesterday at the hospital.We loved the way our beautiful baby is holding its left hand up to its head as if deep in thought, or maybe just irritated with the intrusion of the scan.

To my surprise however apart from seeing our beautiful child it was not the euphoric experience I had imagined.

We arrived at the hospital, a grayish brown concrete labyrinth of twisting tunnels, to say the least unwelcoming. We quickly saw the doctor and went for the scan. He did not even introduce himself to me and only acknowledged Itziar to begin with. Sitting in the scanning room the man just pretended I was not there.

Anyway he put the cream on Itziar’s stomach and began the ultrasound. We saw our beautiful baby, so tiny, so alive and so clearly put out by the intrusion. The poor child kept turning away from the radiation of the scanning equipment so obviously uncomfortable.I immediately experienced those pangs of paternal love all you parents know so much about. My child was being threatened and  I felt powerless.

The doctor treated the whole experience like a sort of video game playing with his keyboard and taking measurements. What really shocked me was when he started poking Itziar’s stomach with the scanning device saying:

“Come on little one, show us something”

Our poor baby was so clearly uncomfortable at the intrusion. It kept turning away from the scanner, until eventually forced to show it had eyes. As soon as he had what he wanted it was off to the next room where the real condescension began.

We have decided to have a home birth and use a midwife. The doctor we went to was recommended by her because it is law that a midwife must work with a doctor in case of emergencies during home birth.

It was unbelievable, from the word go like some kind of doom saying farmer the doctor began to sow one seed of doubt after another in our minds as we sat there, in his room covered in qualifications.

“Now listen I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a home birth but you must know we don’t recommend it because there is a slight chance that something can go wrong”

Was the first thing the doctor said, he then proceeded to harangue us with the idea that we are wrong and he is right which can be quite convincing in a room covered in bits of paper agreeing with him.

We got the impression that basically we are mad for allowing even the slightest chance of something going wrong. As if nothing can go wrong in a hospital! My grandmother went to hospital for an operation and caught pneumonia while she was there, which nearly killed her, bless her soul.

Anyway the icing on the cake for me was when he said that even though there is only the slightest chance something could happen and Itziar is a very low risk patient.

“You will never forgive yourself if something does.”

He then proceeded to take Itziar off to the room next door without even acknowledging me. He took this opportunity with her alone to make sure the seeds of doubt he had already sown were deeply impressed upon her mind. The sad thing is I don’t think he was even aware of it. He just exuded this air of self-assurance that he was right and that was that.

Furthermore he basically implied that we could ditch our midwife and come to him anytime we want. I feel so sorry for the midwifes who have to work with these people, they are obviously not taken seriously and I am sure they have lost many patients to them before as a result of this fear mongering.

This fear mongering is however the bread and butter of the medical profession and they cannot be blamed for trying to hustle the midwife’s out of their patients, can they?

Anyway feeling very uncomfortable like we had just been violated in some way we left the doctors room to go and pay the £100 for twenty minutes of his time. Now you would think the onslaught would end there but no his secretary stepped into the breach immediately.

“So you’re having a home birth,” she said in a gentle yet venomous tone.

“Well don’t think its the cheaper option because if something goes wrong you have to come to hospital anyway, and the doctor wont come to you because he wont work without fetal monitoring equipment”

And there we have it money; the first thought that crossed the poor benighted creatures mind was that we wanted to have a home birth because we are poor. I’m sure the idea that we want our child’s first experience of the world to be a warm and safe environment full of love did not even cross her mind. Never mind the fact that Itziar wants the freedom to allow the pregnancy to unfold naturally. Dumbstruck I simply kept my mouth shut.

We left, both of us feeling strangely violated as we walked down the Kafkaesque corridor to go and give blood.

We are arrived at the blood giving room, a converted broom cupboard. There is one chair for the nurse in there and one for the patient. After Itziar filled the form out I was told to leave and the door was slid closed behind me. I sat on the sofa opposite in a state of shock. I had not even asked Itziar if she wanted me to stay I simply obeyed the nurses order. Of course Itziar wanted me to be there but she was given no choice. It was all about what made the nurse comfortable not the patient.

This is it; they make you feel like you have no choice, when you do have a choice you can do whatever you want. At every opportunity the current medical system seems to impose their will on you in an attempt to make you do everything they want you to do and buy everything they are selling.

“You can’t put a price on piece of mind they say.”

Well they are certainly making a good go of it and I can tell you it is extremely expensive. What’s more if you want to do things your own way they are not going to let you be happy and confident about it they are going to make you feel like a completely irresponsible, social pariah who is at risk of killing your baby.

We got home and I had to go for surf just to cleanse myself of all the negativity I experienced. I got back feeling great after riding a couple of smoking waves even though I got dropped in on twice on the two best ones.

Itziar was lying on the sofa completely incapacitated by the loss of blood and all the mind games we had experienced.

“The doctor called,” She said

“Apparently our baby has a one in four thousand five hundred and fifty chance of down-syndrome”

(The way to be sure of preventing this is to pay them stick a huge needle into the placenta around the back of the babies neck. A wonderful thing if necessary but like a c-section only in emergencies)

I am imagining the doctor thought when he phoned:

“Sleep on that guys, sweet dreams.”

In reality all of this morbid fascination and resulting doom saying is the stuff of nightmares.

I mean did we really need to know that?

Now this account of my experience is by no means an attempt to take anything away from the incredible life saving work doctors do in emergency situations, however birth is simply not an emergency it a natural part of the cycle of life that we are at risk of completely de-humanizing.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Chicago Wedding Orchestra » Blog Archive » Hoarding disorder can consume households
  2. Trackback: Journal of a 28 year old Dad to be…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: