Anxiety and Rude Nurse — The Bump
1st Trimester

Anxiety and Rude Nurse

About a week ago I went for my first appointment since finding out we were going to be having a baby.  In the past to have ANY doctor appointments I had to take anti-anxiety meds just to make it through, this includes getting blood taken.  For obvious reasons I'm not doing that anymore.  So the nurse at this appointment started out not very nice, but I brushed it off because we all have our bad days.  But then she says she wants to send me for a blood test to confirm my levels and not just trust the urine test saying YES/NO for being pregnant.  This was after I specifically called and asked the office what kind of test it would be and was told only a urine test. 

So when the nurse said this I tured to my husband and said something along the lines of Oh no.  And he gave me a concerned look because he knows the problems I have.  I guess the nurse caught this and asked about it.  I said that I have really high anxiety and surprise things like this make it worse and that I normally have to take meds and that I almost always pass out.  She responded with You need to get over it, because it's not about you anymore.  I was so shocked I couldn't even say anything. 

Just me being emotional?  Or was that seriously rude?


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Re: Anxiety and Rude Nurse

  • It definitely wasn't nice of her, but I wouldn't take such a big offense to what she said. She is right but it didn't need to be said, especially like that. I hope you were able to get through the appointment and get your samples collected.

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    RachelCA29baloneydisc[Deleted User]
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  • ^agree. Though if your anxiety can be controlled by calling ahead and knowing exactly what will happen at each appointment, I'd find an office that is willing to work with you as much as possible. Unfortunately, not everything can be micro planned in a pregnancy...are there other coping mechanisms you could try? Could you work with the doctor that prescribed the anxiety meds?

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  • etoille said:
    She was rude but.....shes not wrong. You are pregnant. They are going to draw a lot of blood from you in the coming months. You will have appointments where you go in thinking its one thing and they want to test something else based on how you are presenting. You could have high blood pressure at say 30 weeks and they could say they want you in the hospital for monitoring or even to deliver. You are having a baby. You need to find ways of dealing with this immediately. I don't know if this was a planned pregnancy for you or if you didn't know what this would entail but ideally you would have dealt with your issues first before basically being in this situation. Because it won't be good for you or the baby. your assessment of I don't deal well with surprises doesn't really fly anymore, she is right. Her bedside manner isn't great but she is not wrong.

    Totally agree with ^^^^^

    I was the same way with internal exams, I used to have to take 2 Lorazapams before my annuals because I would get so worked up. I came into my first appointment, just like you, with this expectation of what would happen. Then the nurse told me to undress and I would be getting an internal pap to start things off. I remember shaking and being really nervous... but there is nothing you can do to avoid the internal. Needless to say I had to get over that preference right away, pregnancy provided at least 12 internal exams. To this day, with my second, I still don't like them but it's just part of the package.

    I would learn some other anxiety coping routines, like self talk. It sounds like you talked yourself into the anxiety attack way before the needle presented itself.

    This should really be managed and controlled by the time you hit 34-36 weeks because you're going to be a ball of nerves if you keep thinking that at any moment you could go into Labor and have to have a needle in your arm during the entire delivery and sometimes for the next 48 hours or longer. Doesn't that make your heart race a little just thinking about it? I would suggest going and seeing someone to learn on-the-fly techniques to manage your anxiety.

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    [Deleted User][Deleted User]greeneyed_brideJessicaEckhaus
  • Agree with rondackhiker & etoille.

    I'm sorry for your troubles, but it really isn't about you anymore. Can you consult a therapist about different methods? Surprise & pregnancy go hand in hand. The quicker you just do your best to reconcile yourself to this fact the better off you will be.


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  • Wow, I guess I disagree with everyone else who commented on this post. Yes, she was rude. The greater concern to me is that you called ahead and told them of your issues and either no one bothered to tell the nurse OR they just didn't care. Your concerns are totally valid. Yes, you will have to figure out how to deal with the anxiety associated with blood draws. But disregarding your feelings and telling you to "get over it" is not okay.

    Also, was a blood test really necessary? I have been trolling here long enough to know how accurate urine tests are. If they are really going to push you to give blood, it should be for a valid reason. I don't think this is one. What's wrong with a urine test?

    Let's take it a step further. Let's say that you decide not to do down syndrome screening. Is the nurse going to pressure you into doing it? Some things you're going to have to endure-- like blood tests. But I worry about this nurse and whether or not she'll push you on something that you absolutely can object to or question.

    Please please share this experience with your doctor. At the very least, your doc should be involved with the discussion so he/she can help you get over the anxiety. And yes, that nurse was mean. (Next time tell your husband that his job is to protect you so he can stand up for you when you're at your most vulnerable.)
  • I'll jump on the rude but to a degree you'll have to get over it with coping techniques bandwagon. It's not that you don't get any preferences when you're pregnant at all, and I would definitely try to be as straightforward as possible about your fears, but, and I say this from experience at least with needles, with exposure it lessens.

    I've had more blood drawn in the past 7 months than I've had drawn probably in my whole life up to now. One of my first memories is hiding in a closet from my dad because he was taking my brother and I to get boosters. It is a hard phobia (and mine is a phobia) to have because no one likes it, so it's hard to impress upon people just how bad it can be.

    The first time I had to have betas drawn I knew it was coming and was still a hyperventilating almost sobbing total mess. But I was honest with the tech about where I was coming from and she was really respectful and gentle with me. Just because you will have to be over it is not an excuse for someone to not be those things as much as they can be. Now I'm really fine with blood draws because I know the drill, but any other kind of medical needle still freaks me out (not logical, I know, but it's a phobia).

    Also, talk to your doctors and nurses about it. I had to have an injection today, and I was really upfront with my doctor about my fear. She lobbied the pharmacy and got the whole dose in one larger inject rather than making me deal with two needles and it will work just the same. She could have told me to 'get over it' and I would have because I needed it, but she was respectful of me and of my fears, even if they are silly. The one thing that helps is to discuss the fear in the open, and I try to do it at a time when I'm pretty calm, so I'm able to better make my point without seeming hysterical.



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    RachelCA29[Deleted User]
  • Wow, I guess I disagree with everyone else who commented on this post. Yes, she was rude. The greater concern to me is that you called ahead and told them of your issues and either no one bothered to tell the nurse OR they just didn't care. Your concerns are totally valid. Yes, you will have to figure out how to deal with the anxiety associated with blood draws. But disregarding your feelings and telling you to "get over it" is not okay.

    Also, was a blood test really necessary? I have been trolling here long enough to know how accurate urine tests are. If they are really going to push you to give blood, it should be for a valid reason. I don't think this is one. What's wrong with a urine test?

    Let's take it a step further. Let's say that you decide not to do down syndrome screening. Is the nurse going to pressure you into doing it? Some things you're going to have to endure-- like blood tests. But I worry about this nurse and whether or not she'll push you on something that you absolutely can object to or question.

    Please please share this experience with your doctor. At the very least, your doc should be involved with the discussion so he/she can help you get over the anxiety. And yes, that nurse was mean. (Next time tell your husband that his job is to protect you so he can stand up for you when you're at your most vulnerable.)
    At my OB, it's standard procedure to take two beta hcg levels 48 hours apart. It's quantitative, not qualitative, so it's not about a urine test being "less accurate," it's about seeing if your beta levels are doubling, and a urine test can't check that. And it's not the nurse's call to order a blood test, it's up to the doctor. She may have been "the bearer of bad news," so to speak, but she likely wasn't the one who decided you need a blood test. And someone who's hearing this story second hand on the internet likely isn't in the position to question why someone else's doctor would order a blood test.

    Also, to be fair to the person who answered the phone and said she wouldn't need a blood test at the appointment - from the wording, it sounds like OP didn't need a blood test at the appointment. It sounds like the nurse/doctor was sending her to a lab to get the blood work done, which doesn't necessarily have to be done the same day, so you still should have time to prepare before getting it done.
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  • Dang, so many people to respond to! I hope I don't miss anyone:

    Primrosemama: You're right, the nurse didn't force her. But there are a lot of people who have trouble speaking up for what they want/need when facing a medical professional. If you read this board, there are a lot of examples of people who come here to post because they are hesitant to ask their practitioners questions. I was referencing the fact that it is important for all patients to find a voice so they can ask questions, express themselves, and understand what their doctors are recommending for them.

    With regards to the second part regarding additional testing, my point was to reinforce that the original poster needs to find a way to express herself calmly without a valium because she will have to make more and more choices about what she wants for herself and for her baby. If she's overwhelmed by a blood test, what happens when she faces a bigger choice? It was less of a knock on the nurse than it was a comment (agreeing with others) that the poster needed to toughen up.

    greeneyed_bride: You're right, although the original post is a bit confusing. She states that the purpose of the test was to confirm pregnancy. I think you're right in that the blood draw was probably for a lot more than a binary "yes you are, no you're not". My concern is that if she told them on the phone that she had a particular concern about something, the nurse and doctor should have been aware and should have spoken to her about it. If someone has anxiety about blood draws, is told there won't be one, and then has to get one, it increases their stress levels unnecessarily.

    And lastly, my favorite:

    Etoile: Just because I have only been posting for a few weeks doesn't mean that I have only been on the Bump a few weeks.  I took the advice of a lot of "pros" like you and lurked for a long time before posting. I never said I was an expert, I just offered a different opinion. If you re-read my comments, I agreed with everyone else that the poster needed to find a better coping mechanism. I chose to say it in a more constructive way (since not everyone responds well to "You should have figured this out before getting pregnant" approach.) In case you didn't know this, posting a lot on the internet to strangers doesn't make you an expert on anything either.

    I told her that my opinion was that the nurse was rude and that there was a breakdown in communication between the person who took her message and the person who took care of her appointment. I also told her to toughen up. Nothing I said was contrary to what you said, yet you go after me like I told her to go give birth in a field somewhere. It's a different approach to the same issue-- no reason for you to get so worked up.
    rainydayluckRachelCA29
  • I kind of have to agree with @MisstoMissus. There seemed to be a lot of "just get over it." OP seems to have real anxiety issues. You wouldn't tell someone with depression to "just get over it." Anxiety shouldn't be treated differently. 

    Pretty much agree with this. While OP should work with a counselor to come up with coping techniques for situations beyond control or surprises, this nurse is probably one of those people who doesn't believe in anxiety as a real disorder or has the layman's misconception since the term "anxiety" gets tossed around so freely by people who don't actually have the disorder. Sorry for the run on sentence.

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  • I kind of have to agree with @MisstoMissus. There seemed to be a lot of "just get over it." OP seems to have real anxiety issues. You wouldn't tell someone with depression to "just get over it." Anxiety shouldn't be treated differently. 

    Pretty much agree with this. While OP should work with a counselor to come up with coping techniques for situations beyond control or surprises, this nurse is probably one of those people who doesn't believe in anxiety as a real disorder or has the layman's misconception since the term "anxiety" gets tossed around so freely by people who don't actually have the disorder. Sorry for the run on sentence.
    I truly feel bad for OP. Anxiety isn't something she can just "get over". But I stand by my post that she should take this as a sign that she needs to work to find another way to cope. I hope she is able to find a doctor to help her and possibly some pregnancy safe meds. It sounds like she has extreme anxiety.

    It sucks that she's dealing with anxiety about the unknown and medical procedures because that's kind of what pregnancy IS. The nurse was truly a bitch and didn't seem to get it.

    But OP needs to do something. This can't be fixed by explaining more to her ob and calling before appointments to find out what will happen. She'd end up having a rough time if she tried to do that. :-(


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    [Deleted User]toomanycats1[Deleted User]
  • Anxiety or not, rude nurses are a bitch to deal with. Like one of the pp said, I'd definitely recommend finding some new coping methods with your anxiety. Pregnancy is full of unplanned and unexpected moments. So it'll be nice if you can explore other coping methods that won't harm your baby. Good luck.
  • Thanks for the different bits of information.  I have been to counseling and it helped me deal with some of the anxiety issues, but not the greater ones.  Due to insurance/money I had to stop seeing that Dr.  I never got to see a Dr. at this particular appointment, only the nurse and she is the one who said I should have a blood test.  No, this isn't something I can "just deal with" but it helps to know how unpredictable things can be.  This is my first so I don't really know anything about what to expect at appointments and especially this early on I would have thought just going in to "confirm the pregnancy for insurance purposes" as I was told on the phone that it would have been more to what I was told.  Thanks again.


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  • bf43005 said:

    Thanks for the different bits of information.  I have been to counseling and it helped me deal with some of the anxiety issues, but not the greater ones.  Due to insurance/money I had to stop seeing that Dr.  I never got to see a Dr. at this particular appointment, only the nurse and she is the one who said I should have a blood test.  No, this isn't something I can "just deal with" but it helps to know how unpredictable things can be.  This is my first so I don't really know anything about what to expect at appointments and especially this early on I would have thought just going in to "confirm the pregnancy for insurance purposes" as I was told on the phone that it would have been more to what I was told.  Thanks again.


    The nurse still can't order the blood test. The doctor has to. I am sorry she was rude and there was confusion!

    I'd talk to your actual OB about your anxiety issues and I'd see if I could find another therapist who takes your insurance.

    Appointments can be unpredictable. Because docs can be on call you may not see who you planned or you may have to wait. A small symptom can change the plan for the day and mean more testing or being sent home on bed rest or being sent to L&D for monitoring. Most appts are peeing in a cup, asking questions, having your fundal height measured, and using the Doppler if you're far enough along, but other things crop up too.

    I really am sorry. Anxiety sucks. I hope you can find a way to not struggle through every appointment.


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  • I think I'd like to change my advice from using the words 'get over' to using the term 'get through.' You just have to get through it. I still hate needles. My anxiety around them is through the roof. But I get through things because that's the only way to go. I will share a technique that has worked for me: When something is going to happen, even with little notice, I visualize going through it. And then I visualize the after. I know that after I get, say, a shot, then I'm going to go home and lie on my couch with my dogs. And I visualize in detail exactly what my couch looks like and feels like and what blanket I'm going to pull over me and what my dogs look like and the weight of them, all down to the color of my living room walls. I will get through it, because through it is the only way to go. And I am able to see myself afterwards and I see myself as perfectly fine.

    There's still some pretty major freakout, but that, and working with a doctor, has helped me a lot.



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  • i don't know if this is an option for you, but have you looked at other OBs in your area? i have a terrible fear of needles, and i knew i'd have to give blood a few time during this. the nurse i had was sympathetic & let me squeeze hand & cry until it was over. however, my OB insists on epidurals even when women she says "claim" they don't want one. to me, the risks are too high & the needle (exaggerating) is like 20 inches long. so, i had to look for a new doctor, because i didn't want to be put in that stressful situation.

    i know it's past the incident for you,so i can't help with how you felt while it was happening, but i have learned, that for every time you go through something stressful or painful to you, & you reach out to others for guidance, help, or a little understanding, 95% of people will attack you & make you feel worse. people love telling other people that they are wrong, & how they feel is unjustified & they are being overdramatic. i think you are very just in feeling how you do, & i pray that you don' have to put up with insensitive people for the duration of this special time. as soon as you read something negative on here that doesn't help you, stop reading, don't finish it, just move on. you have a enough to worry about than trying to brush off negative comments from complete strangers who don't completely understand you & how you operate. i hope everything works out for you.
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