For those who didn’t already know, getting pregnant proved to be no easy task for me. After months of trying to figure out what my body was doing…or not doing…I went to the Student Health Center where I had one of my first ever successful visits. Finally, one of the doctors seemed to know what he was doing and took care of me. After a little help from some magic pills, I was finally ovulating! (uh, too much information? sorry). So I just have to share this story that still makes me laugh.
After some monitoring and listening to my body, I was pretty sure that I had ovulated. The doctor asked that I go to have my progesterone levels checked about a week after I suspected ovulation which would kill two birds with one stone. It would show if I had ovulated, and just make sure that the levels were where they should be in case I continued to have problems getting pregnant.
Nowadays, I don’t think that you can go to any doctor checkup without them asking the two following questions:
Are you pregnant or nursing?
What was the first day of your last period?
Though I haven’t been to the doctor for something unrelated to women’s health lately, I’m pretty sure this is standard procedure along with temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. At least this is true at the Health Center. The rest of the world might do something different.
Before I get too far into the story, lets review some information that every woman and certainly every female health care worker should know–(1) how to read and (2) how to calculate a gestation time if you are pregnant. The first one, well, if you are reading this, I can’t do much more. But the second, here’s how it is–normal gestation for a female human is 38-42 weeks (averaged to 40 weeks) from the first day of their last period. (Some older women seem to be surprised by this calculation so it is possible that this isn’t how they always did it). With this information in mind, consider the following conversation between me and the Health Center girl working in the lab when I go to get my progesterone tests done by doing a blood test.
Me: Yes, I’m here to get some tests done ordered by my doctor a few weeks ago.
Girl: Ok, just sign in here.
Me: Ok. Anything else?
Girl: We will call you when we are ready. Let me just pull up your records to see what we are supposed to be doing today.
Me: OK. (proceed to sit down).
Girl: I just have some questions for you because of the type of test.
Girl: What was the first day of your last period?
Me: (uh, i know this….I look at my chart EVERYDAY…think, think….) I don’t remember all of a sudden. Isn’t it in my records?
Girl: Oh no. I don’t know why it would be. We never ask that.
Me: (puzzled look…thinking, “ok, strike one for you”)….ummmm
Girl: just an estimate is fine.
Me: OK, uh, January 9?
Me: (I hate the health center….can’t you just look at my records?)
Girl: Oh yeah, there’s the date–January 10.
Girl: Oh one more question. How many weeks gestation?
Me: Excuse me?
Girl: You know, how far along are you?
Girl: You know, pregnant…how many weeks?
Me: Uh, I’m not pregnant? (yet)
Girl: Are you sure?
Girl: Well, this test is usually ordered for pregnant women?
Me: Well, I’m not pregnant. (o….k…)
So let’s review: This girl has to have some medical training right? And she is a girl, right? So shouldn’t she know that my LMP (last menstrual period) is listed in my records which she has immediate access to on the computer?! Like I said–she can’t read–strike one.
She assumed I was pregnant and asked how far along I was. Had the doctor known I was pregnant when he ordered the test, don’t you think he would have noted that on my records? She still can’t read–strike two.
Then she asked how far along I was. First off, if she had even glanced at my records she would have seen that I was struggling to get pregnant so that was a little insensitive to being with. Then, lets go back and do the math–human gestation time = 40 from LMP. I went to get the test no more than three weeks after my LMP. When do people find out if they are pregnant? Uh, usually around 4 weeks, depending on their cycle. So, if she had done the math she would have realized that it had only been three weeks since my LMP and there probably wasn’t any way that I knew if I was pregnant. So she can’t do math–strike three. Plus, why did she even ask how far along I was? Knowing the LMP gives you the same information! She can’t think–strike four….she was out a long time ago!
Just another fun adventure at the Health Center. Seriously, where do they get these people?!