It was about 7AM, an otherwise acceptable time to wake a gal up, unless she had just spent the entire day before laboring and expelling the cutest almost 10-pound baby girl (along with some other stuff…). I had been looking forward to the first comfortable stomach sleep in almost 8 months, and was happily sawing logs for a total of three hours when the door to my hospital room swung open.
These docs have people to see, places to go–I get it. But with zero warning and little rest, I had a hard time keeping up with the conversation.
Doc: Good morning! I’m here to examine the baby.
Me, scrambling to slap my glasses on my face: Blerg, blah (clears throat), ok.
The exam seems to be taking a long time, but I barely know my own name at this point, so I don’t think much of it. Finally, the lovely doctor looks at me and says:
I think your baby girl has a heart murmur.
Me: Mmm hmm. And that’s just, like, a sound the heart makes?
I’m suuuper smart when I’m tired.
Doc: Actually, it’s a small hole—
I’ve no idea what she said after that because HOLE IN YOUR BABY’S HEART pretty much drained me of the ability to retain information.
This kind soul of a medical professional understood my fear; she soothed my worries by using words like “echocardiogram,” and then packed up my newborn for “noninvasive testing.” She left the room with my baby, promising a visit from the pediatric cardiologist who would go over the test results with me.
Not gonna worry until I have to. Stay calm. Breathe. Brush teeth because DAYUM.
Later that day, my gal pal and in-laws were visiting when there was a knock at the door. Normally, whomever is on the other side of the hospital door waits to hear “Come in” before bursting in, lest he catch the patient in the middle of her first postpartum poo (AKA: the fourth stage of childbirth) or applying ointment to her aching silver dollar sized nipples. But not today.
The door opens and in walks Satan.
Okay, maybe not Satan Satan, but Satan nonetheless. Stay with me.
Rather than asking for privacy, Doctor Douche says nary a word and simply stares at my friend and in-laws. His eyes are saying, “Get the eff out,” but he is much too important to waste words on us.
The room clears, all except a robe-clad me and my precious baby. And Doctor Dickface.
He saunters over to the baby’s bassinet, whips out his stethoscope and listens. Flips her over, and listens some more. The way he’s manhandling my child is enough to make me rip my IV out of my hand and strangle him with it. Finally, he has decided I am worthy of eye contact:
Dr. Dipshit: Yep, your baby has holes in her heart.
Me: I’m sorry? HoleS? Plural?
Dr.: Are you in the medical field?
Me: What? No. I’m a teacher.
Dr.: Oh! I’m on the Board of blahblahblah and we host a blahblahblah every year right here in the city. I think you would really enjoy it; you should attend blahblahblah.
What I’m thinking: I will kill you.
What I say: Umm…ok. So, my baby has holeS in her heart?
He proceeds to explain the condition in medical terms that I do not understand because, as was previously mentioned, I am NOT in the medical field. I feel like I’m talking to Charlie Brown’s teacher instead of a pediatric cardiologist: “Wawawawawa Wawawa Wawawawawawa,” except I imagine Charlie’s teacher is inherently more compassionate because she works with children all day.
My blood is boiling. My face is burning with anger, and I know my cheeks are flush. Before I lose all of my shit, I ask him:
Should I be concerned?
His eyes sparkle then. I want to believe it’s because he is about to tell me I have nothing to worry about, but I quickly learn that it’s because I have opened the door for his favorite game: speaking in riddles.
Dr. Dumbass: I am so concerned that I don’t want to see her again.
Me: That doesn’t make any sense to me. Should I be concerned? YES or NO?
So, I lose a little bit of my shit, but it proves worth it. The answer I had been hoping for–I have nothing to worry about–finally passes the lips of this haughty SOB of a “professional.”
Almost a month later and I still do not understand why that doctor felt the need to purposely frighten me. To intentionally lead me to believe there could be something horribly wrong with my newborn. Anyone with a single brain cell knows that a mother who has recently given birth is two things: exhausted and hormonal, which is a well-known recipe for an I Will Cut You pie, but apparently this waste of a pediatric cardiologist never got that memo.
Granted, he could be very good at what he does. Anyone who is in the business of saving babies is A-OK in my book, but this dude’s bedside manner certainly left a lot to be desired. He was cruel and arrogant. Why he wouldn’t lead with the fact that my child’s body will heal itself within a few months is beyond me. Did he want to be a superhero, rescuing a mother from her fear? Does he enjoy watching women writhe in emotional uncertainty and pain? Whatever the case, Dr. DookieFace will always be on My List. Also on my list? A few ex-boyfriends, drivers who don’t know the difference between a stop sign and a yield sign, and Hitler.
Update: Baby girl is now 4.5 months old and I’m incredibly happy and relieved to report that, at her last check-up, the doctor couldn’t hear either of the murmurs. Whoo hoo!