Square One


At our first four duty stations, I rarely used the medical services at all. I got pap smears and I think one time I got sick, but that's about it. I never needed much from our health care system until we started trying to have a baby. And then...boy, did I use my fair share.

We were at Fort Bragg for nearly five years, and I had so many dealings with the people in the fertility clinic that we're all on a first-name basis. We exchanged email addresses before I left, just to keep in touch! We practically became Facebook friends.

Because I've been seeing the same one doctor, one nurse, and one ultrasound tech for my entire ordeal -- five miscarriages plus one healthy pregnancy -- I can pretty much call the shots now. Once you've been around this block so many times, you can keep track of your needs better than the doctor does. So each time I get pregnant now, I call the answering machine and tell the nurse what I need: "Hi, it's Sarah, I am pregnant again, so I need my HCG level checked tomorrow and Thursday, and then I'll need an ultrasound sometime after July 3rd. Call me back!" And they call back and set it up. No questions, no runaround, no issues.

But we just PCSed.

I was pregnant before we were moving, and I really thought in my gut it was a healthy pregnancy. I was so relieved that we might have two babies while at Fort Bragg and not have to drag our problems to another installation. We could call our family "complete" and get off this rollercoaster. The timing was perfect: I would have all my hormone level testing and ultrasounds at Bragg, schedule my genetic testing for the week before the movers came, and get the results as we rolled out of town. Then I could arrive at my new duty station as a "normal" pregnant lady just like everyone else, and just have the baby.

But a cruel twist allowed this baby to act like a healthy pregnancy, yet end up as a genetic mess. The baby was not forming, but I still got to be super morning sick, and see a faltering heartbeat on the ultrasound screen for a few weeks, prolonging the agony and confusion.

No dice. Our perfect timing didn't come to fruition, and instead of happily rolling out of town at the end of my first trimester, I was taking dose after dose of medicines trying to force my body to miscarry a baby who just simply didn't want to let go.

Which ended in having an emergency D&C two days before the packers came. Fun fun.

Not only was it a medical pain in the neck right during a PCS, it was an emotional blow too. I wanted to have this pregnancy at Fort Bragg, where I felt safe. Where I felt in control of something, anything. I controlled my relationship with my doctor. I called the shots. I knew what I needed and I didn't have to explain to anyone why I needed it, or why I was high risk, or beg for an appointment with my Primary Care Manager so I could get a referral to someone else blah blah blah. I just called and got seen.

And now I show up at a new post next week and start over from square one. Now I have to lay out my case and explain to people who I am and what a balanced translocation of chromosomes is and why I need weekly ultrasounds in the beginning of my pregnancy and genetic testing and the whole nine yards.

I don't want to have to explain all of that to new doctors. I want my old doctor who says that I know more about translocations than he does, so I can have whatever I think I need.

I said this two years ago and the post about wasted time still is true:

Fertility problems feels like a great big waste of time regardless of your situation. You spend month after month watching the calendar pages turn with no baby in sight. Then add in the special military twist, the fact that your husband — who's fairly necessary for the process — is constantly coming and going and not always available on the precise days when you need him for the process, and you turn into a basketcase. Then add in huge chunks of time — chunks longer than the actual gestation time for a baby — when he's in a war zone on the other side of the planet, and you're in full-on Crazytown.

Health issues of any kind are stressful and daunting, but I've been fortunate enough to have had one doctor through it all. One constant. My husband came and went more times than I can remember, but I kept plugging along with my one doctor. I miscarried three times while my husband was deployed or at schools. I wiped away tears with my doctor as we did a failed round of IUIs. And all of us -- the doctor, the nurse, the ultrasound tech, and I -- were crushed last month to learn that this pregnancy had ended, that they wouldn't be able to complete the journey with me. That if I wanted another child, I'd have to go it alone. With a new doctor.

I have to find a new doctor at my next duty station. Hopefully it's not as stressful as I am imagining it to be. I hope I'm blowing it all out of proportion and it will work out just fine. I'd love it if the next clinic recognizes my issues and lets me call the shots there too.

Those of you who are EFMP, or who have moved in the middle of ongoing medical issues, was it an easy transition for you? Was it hard for you to pick up the same pace of treatments at your new installation? Did your treatment feel seamless or did it feel like you were starting over from square one with the system?

I'm on square seven. I don't want to go back to square one.

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