“My family physician followed my mother through all her pregnancies. So, when it came time for my kids, he followed me as well. Typically he followed me until about 34, 36 weeks, and then up at the hospital they had a team of doctors that followed me for the rest of the pregnancy.”
“With all my children I have had hyperemesis [severe vomiting with pregnancy]. My third pregnancy was the worst. Hyperemesis goes far beyond vomiting and can be incapacitating. Something as simple as a shower became a mountain to climb. Even when I wasn’t vomiting I felt nauseated. Anytime I was awake, the smell of something cooking was enough to send me over the edge, going days and weeks without being able to eat or drink anything. My last pregnancy included hyper-salivating, where I was forced to spit into a cup a few times a minute all day. There were sores on my lips from constantly spitting saliva.”
It basically made me dependent for five months, requiring aid from my husband and family every day.
“My family doctor was away on holidays for a little bit. So when I was admitted to the hospital due to severe dehydration my experience with ‘shared care’ began earlier than anticipated and was more negative than my other pregnancies.”
“Sometimes the same doctor would cover for two weeks, but on weekends it would be a different doctor. So, say, from the Monday to Friday I was covered by one doctor and then I had another over the weekend, and then I had another one for the next week. And they all had their opinions as to what I should be on. Every time I would be assigned a new doctor for the week or weekend it was like starting over again. I had to explain everything again.”
I’m thinking, ‘It should say this in my chart!’ I was very weak during my hospital stays and just having to talk would make me vomit and feel sick for hours.
“When my family doctor was away on holidays I had complications with a medication, so the doctor I was assigned at the time felt it would be best if I was just on Gravol. Well, it was bad. I was released from the hospital, and sure enough, after not being able to even drink water for five or six days I was even worse than before. I tried explaining to the doctor that Gravol has never worked for me during any pregnancy, I had already tried it, and it was not effective this time either.”
“Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t even being heard. I was viewed as just being weak and I should suck it up because it’s just ‘morning sickness.'”
“I think the only people who understand are those who have had hyperemesis and their families.”
“On top of everything, when you mix different doctors every few days, it was not a fun experience. I wasn’t keeping anything down and had become so weak that I wasn’t even able to walk. I knew I had to go back into the hospital. So, we just called my family doctor who had returned from holidays at home and said, ‘Please admit me!’ And he said, ‘Go head out.’ But not everyone would have the opportunity to call their doctor at home.”
“I’m sure shared care can be great if everyone communicates with one another. But my experience this time around was more negative. Looking back, I think it was a combination of the severity of my sickness and having to be admitted during my pregnancy.”
When the doctors were trying to help me and find something that worked, they didn’t talk together.
“They all came as individual doctors with their own ideas of what I should do. So I guess the ‘team’ approach got lost along the way…”
“Did you ever share your concerns with the people in the hospital or the administration?”
“No, I didn’t… I guess… the problems occurred when I was really sick and had to be admitted. Early in my pregnancy when I just had scheduled appointments with the ‘shared care’ team of doctors, things were more routine. Our baby was born and she was healthy and we just moved on…”
“I don’t want to talk negatively because I think we are very fortunate to have a great hospital in this area.”
I feel that at all times every doctor had my best intentions at heart, and truly cared.
“But the lack of communication among them was where I felt there could be improvements “