EK's Story - Paterson Medical Centre, Kenora, Ontario

January 2019 (still ongoing) - I am currently 35yrs old and approx 11 weeks pregnant with my second baby. We are over the moon excited as we didn’t think it would happen so soon (went off b/c in Dec!!!) and of course as soon as I was certain, I tried to make an apt with my family doctor. You see, I had multiple miscarriages before the birth of my first child. 8 to be exact! Most were lost early in the first few weeks, but I did lose one at 12w and one at 16w. The one at 16w was the most traumatic one. 

I was at work and all of a sudden felt a sharp stabbing pain followed by pressure. I ran to the work washroom where I proceeded to pass the fetus. I don’t remember much after I looked into the toilet, but was informed by nursing staff that I arrived via ambulance carrying a paper bag containing what I had just lost. Turns out, in complete shock, I scooped it out of the toilet, wrapped it in paper towel then put it in my sandwich bag and put it in the work fridge (holy hanna!!! Shock is one hell of a beast!! I seriously do not have any memory of these gory details) my colleague, who happened to be aware of my fertility issues, was next to grab her lunch and stumbled across my bag, ran into our shared office, demanded I stand up, which is when she noticed a small spot of blood on my behind, and I guess I fainted (seriously, no recollection of that day period...I'm still horrified at my own actions). She called 911 and the rest is history. 

My daughter came after that incident. We had all but given up and starting to get used to the idea of being dog parents. Then I got pregnant once again. I was sceptical and did nothing 'right' this time. Until she didn’t go...14w later I was still pregnant. My Dr at that time ran some blood work but assured me all looked good. And it was! I was considered high risk, had weekly apts and regular check-ins from my doctor’s nursing staff. I had PPD after my baby, but was able to quickly identify that something was off and received adequate treatment for it

8yrs later, I'm 35, pregnant again, but now have a different doc. Once again I called after I could confirm, and tried to book an apt. As soon as I told the receptionist I was expecting, I was asked how far along. when I said I didn’t really know, but had an idea, she abruptly told me "your doctor will not see you until you are at least 11w" and once again demanded to know how pregnant I was. Stunned and a little taken back, I answered "i dunno, 7 weeks I guess". I was told to call back in a few weeks and the call ended. I waited just over a week, called back, explained I'm 8-9w and requested to make a doc apt. I was told she did not have April schedule yet, but should be up in a few days and to call back. A week passed and once again I call. This time the receptionist begins to book my apt (YES!! Success!!) Until the actual booking part comes...I was informed it looked as though my version code had expired. I begged her to please book the apt as we are so short for doctors to begin with in Northwestern Ontario, and did not want to risk losing this apt, but was told she couldn't book it. So off I went to update any and all info. Fast forward to 2 days later, where I attempt to make an apt yet again. As I call to book and give my information, the receptionist does not bring up my card or version code. She tries to book, informs me he is now booked for all of April, but can add me in for April 21 (it's currently March 21). So I agree and ask if she’s ready for my new card info. She responds back "Nope. Apt is booked, we'll see ya then". A little confused, I try explaining that last time i couldn't book because of this info, but was abruptly cut off, stating that all looks good on her end and she ends the call (literally...2x I was hung up on!!) 

Now my biggest concern is how am I supposed to trust this Doctor? He has no knowledge of my background or history as he is fairly new to me (my original family doctor retired a few years ago). I have yet to voice my legitimate concerns regarding the miscarriages and don’t feel like he cares enough to make about my mental health issues to help make a proactive and reasonable plan in case PPD rears its ugly head once again. I spent the past 2 years trying to see him to discuss mental health issues prior to the pregnancy, but met with all sorts of interns and NPs, but not once have I spoken with him. I eventually gave up on the medical route and am currently receiving private mental health treatment that I pay for out of pocket. 

I don’t feel protected nor do I feel that if a serious issue should arise, I'll even get to see the man, never mind receive prenatal and postnatal care. I'm currently looking into other therapy options that wont require my doc, but I honestly don’t think I can afford a second therapy out of pocket while on maternity. My options might to return to work asap or not receive the help for depression I may require.

The impact has been anxiety....daily, hourly...every second. Is my baby okay? Is it alive? Will my daughter be witness to a mother in shock or so sad that living feels unbearable? Will my partner be stuck carrying the load? If I make it to term, will I handle the stress of a older mom? Am I capable and what will I do should those dreaded feelings inadequacy return? It what if getting out of bed to take care of not just the baby, but my daughter is too hard? What if I give up on myself completely?

I haven’t had the option to provide feedback....its like the clinic has gatekeepers and I don’t meet the requirements to join the club. I assume this is the exact reason why Homeopathy is as huge as it is. When apts are scarce and the doctor and his gatekeepers pick and choose your personal crisis, no wonder we are losing trust in doctors and pseudoscience is winning. I'm tempted to risk losing my family doctor and use our local walk-in clinic instead. I'm not concerned about the actual delivery. I'm scared shitless of getting there and maintaining a healthy brain after, but he seems he is concerned only about the delivery. The real money maker. As a Canadian, this is just wrong!!

Submitted by EK