an angry morning

I’m really ticked off. I was treated poorly this morning by people who should have wanted to help me and my daughter. It hurt my feelings and made me feel angry and helpless.

First, a brief anatomy lesson.

Gloria has a very “clicky” latch. She also swallows air, audibly. Her latch hurts a bit when she first attaches (normal) and then progresses to a different sort of discomfort as she retracts her tongue and starts clicking and swallowing air. It doesn’t have anything to do with my milk ejection reflex as it happens before it lets down, after, during… it’s independent of that.

I suspect posterior occult tongue tie, or tight frenulum. It’s treated by applying a topical anesthetic to the underside of the tongue (that banana stuff they use before the shot at the dentist) and then the tissue holding the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is cut, and when it heals it’s not as tight. It’s almost painless (even without anesthesia) and it provides immediate resolution of the problem.

The trouble is most doctors have never heard of posterior tongue tie because it doesn’t affect bottlefeeding much. They think tongue tie is largely related to the position of the frenulum, not the length. So you have to really look around to find a pediatrician experienced enough in breastfeeding difficulties and, more importantly, solutions, to diagnose and treat it.

OK, OK Fee, you are thinking. Cut to the chase, as it were.

This is the most breastfeeding friendly pediatrician in Oklahoma City. I’ve met him. He’s really nice, down to earth, and intelligent. (Also, I happen to know he knits. Which, you know, would irrationally predjudice me in his favor.) We went to him about eight years ago when Faith was tiny, I think twice, then moved to Wichita, Kansas. When we moved back to Oklahoma four years ago we didn’t use him as a ped because our insurance had changed.

OK, fast forward to this morning. I called to see if I could schedule a visit today for Gloria. We’d have to pay out of pocket, I knew, but I figured one visit and one procedure would be doable. I was hopeful that we could be seen today, even, since feeding difficulties are very important to catch.

They won’t see us, ever.

Apparently we owed them some money from 8 years ago, like $30 that insurance didn’t pick up, and since we never paid, they very snippily told me “your family is not welcome at our practice and has been discharged.” I asked if we could pay the past due amount this morning and was told no. I said “but my daughter really needs to see Dr. Moore! He’s the only pediatrician I know of with enough breastfeeding experience to diagnose her! Please, let us pay you this miniscule bill we knew NOTHING ABOUT!”

“No.” said the office manager haughtily from her high horse. “You are no-good, no-count people who shouldn’t have children anyway, and they deserve to suffer for your irresponsibility.”

Well, okay, she didn’t say that last part, but she implied it.

So now I have a clicky latch air swallowing kid, an angry feeling in the pit of my stomach, and no other ideas. I guess I get to hope it resolves, which it can, but it’s not fun while you’re waiting for the frenulum to stretch. It takes months.

Those rotten bastards.

ETA: Have mustered some other troops – CBEs, LLL Leaders, and local midwives. Maybe someone has a recommendation.

14 thoughts on “an angry morning

  1. Argh, how frustrating.

    The midwife I apprenticed with would cut frenulums (frenula? LOL). You might put out some feelers with CNMS or home birth midwives who would be willing to do it. She said it’s ridiculously easy but that most docs just aren’t willing to do it.

  2. Write a letter to the doctor and mark the outside “personal and confidential.” Tell him what happened and how rudely you were treated. Apologize for not knowing you had a balance and offer to make amends. I was once treated rudely by a receptionist in a practice here, and I made sure the doctor knew about it. I got a letter of apology directly from him.

  3. What about a pediatric dentist?

    Dom was tongue tied (still is to a certain degree), but nursing was never painful because of it so our doctor said to just wait with it and see if it stretched on it’s own and it did. He can now stick his tongue out like any other kid, though it still pulls a bit at the tip.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that. What a pita.

  4. I have no suggestions for you but it does bring back some anger I had after each of the boys was born. Both were tongue tied but no doctor I took them to would do anything about it. I BF as long as I could with each one, which was about a month. It sucked!

    I hope you find someone to help you and Gloria.

    She absolutely precious, by the way!

  5. o man. is there any way you can e-mail the doctor himself or request to speak to someone else? i can’t imagine he’d want his office manager treating patients so unkindly. that really, really sucks. i know it would probably be tough to do, but would there be any possibility of you actually going into the office and requesting to speak with the doctor or someone other than the office manager? there has to be some way to get around that mean OM. anything the old insurance company could do? any records they could provide or something? i’m so sorry she was so nasty to you. 🙁

  6. Well lets just say, I wouldn’t want to mess with you on this one. Unfortunately I have no useful advice to offer. I may have known something once upon a time but I’m afraid it’s all be shoved aside by other stuff since then.
    Best wishes dearie

  7. Interesting… I had two clicky ones and you’re right, it DID take months for them to stop! I didn’t realize the LENGTH of the frenulum mattered! I am going to put that in my back pocket for the future (having a wee one due in June). It was such a struggle and SO frustrating with no one to help. The LLC’s did the best they could but they didn’t suggest that. Any chance you have more info. re: occult tongue tie?? I’m on MDC. 🙂

  8. I’d talk to Dr Wilson, here in Norman. He’s an adamant breastfeeder. I haven’t had to deal with a tied tongue, and I know it’s a drive, but he’s been such a good doctor for *us* that perhaps a phone call would help.

    My SIL had one with tongue tie, the midwife clipped it herself right after birth. No pain relief though, so i can’t imagine that. She said that close to the end it doesn’t hurt. Who knows.

  9. Yeah, I agree with Lisa. The doctor probably has no idea the staff is being that way.
    As for The King and I — yes, we all love that movie, because my husband is JUST like the king. He doesn’t see it, but the rest of us agree!

  10. I’m an angry letter writer when I don’t get the results I want. I would absolutely write to the doctor – heck, I might even show up at the office and loudly DEMAND an immediate audience with him, and make a huge fuss until I got my way!

    In any case, I hope you get things worked out with Gloria’s latch.

  11. Hey Fee,
    My Benny had his frenulum clipped by my midwife. I explained to her my breastfeeding problem (same as yours) and in the office she with her tiny medical scissors and no freezing gave it a teeny tiny snip, I latched him on right away to staunch the bleeding and the problem was resolved. He made a peep when it happened but it was so minor. Some midwifes will do it, other’s won’t, but if you can find a midwife and pay her I would think its the best bet.

  12. Fee,
    you can get the topical anesthetic, like the dentists use, from and then just clip the frenulum yourself. Just sterilize the scissors in the oven. It would save you a lot of time, trouble and money.

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