The first official step in my pregnancy adventure (after celebrating with my husband and calling my best friend, of course) was finding the right OBGYN to join us on our journey. This was a pretty important step, considering I was going to be getting very up-close-and-personal with this individual over the next several months.
I guess I should back up just a bit here. The first necessary step was actually deciding what kind of birth I wanted to have, and in what type of setting. I knew all of my options. I had friends who were adamant about giving birth at home with a midwife and/or doula (who had wonderful experiences doing so), and I had friends who happily gave birth in hospitals (both with and without the help of drugs). I knew others who had no choice but to have a c-section, and I’d even heard of others who voluntarily opted for a c-section from the get-go. There are plenty of options to choose from and it certainly can be a very stressful and daunting choice for some, but I knew from the very beginning where I wanted to be. I wanted to give birth in a hospital – it was where I knew I would be the most comfortable and relaxed – just knowing that everything would be available to me and my baby, should any complications arise.
So I had the desired birth location selected. As for what type of birth I wanted…well, that plan was less defined. I wanted to give birth vaginally and I wanted to attempt to do it naturally and drug-free, but I also did not want to set myself up for a lot of stress and disappointment, should things take a different and unexpected turn. And looking back, I think I did myself a huge favor by making sure I stayed flexible, because a lot of surprises came into play before my daughter arrived. But I will get back to that in a little bit.
Knowing that I wanted a hospital birth, I set out to find my OBGYN – the person that I would put my trust in to take care of both me and my baby throughout my pregnancy, during birth, and postpartum.
I started by asking a friend, who had recently become a father of three, and he offered insight on who they had used for each of their children (they chose someone different for each pregnancy). And I started doing some online research – the internet can be such a helpful tool! I narrowed my search down to a medical center that happened to be attached to the exact hospital I wanted to give birth in – how convenient! From there I poured over the online biographies, credentials, and yes, even photos, of each of the doctors in the practice, until I felt I had found the right one for me. I should mention that this medical practice also offered free meet-and-greet appointments, for the sole purpose of allowing potential patients the opportunity to meet their doctors in person, to decide if they were the right fit. I passed on the meet-and-greet appointment and just followed my intuition. I met my OBGYN on my very first prenatal appointment (at 8-weeks) and was immediately reassured that I had made the right choice.
She was vibrant and friendly, yet she put me at ease. She had a child of her own. She spoke to me like a fellow human being, always made a point to answer every question or concern, never appeared rushed or tired, and she was always up-front and honest with me.
During one of my routine visits, when I was just a few months along, she informed my husband and I that she too was expecting. After congratulating her on her exciting news, worry began to set in – what would this mean for me, as her patient? She immediately reassured us that she was not due until a month after me, and that it should not be a problem. She added that if an extraordinary circumstance did arise, that her very own OBGYN (who was in the same practice) would care for all of her patients as well. She also offered me an opportunity to schedule a meet-and-greet appointment with her OBGYN, if it would make me more comfortable.
We moved forward and things progressed smoothly. I always knew in the back of my head that there was a possibility that she may not be the one who would deliver my daughter, but just like I was vowing to be flexible with my birth plan, I vowed to be flexible with my doctor. But I would be lying if I said that it did not cause me some anxiety and stress to think that when it came time to give birth, I might be looking at someone else…someone who I did not have a chance to become comfortable with.
And as fate would have it, flexibility was key. When I was about a month away from my due date, I received a phone call informing me that my doctor’s pregnancy had become higher risk and that she was on forced bed rest until delivery.
That was that, the OBGYN that I had carefully selected was gone and I could give birth at any given moment. Luckily, my daughter decided not to make her grand entrance until a week past her due date, so I had ample opportunity (with the weekly and bi-weekly office visits) to meet my doctor’s own OBGYN, and get to know her better. By the time I went into labor, I was relieved and happy to have her there helping me complete my pregnancy journey.
And as it turns out, that lesson in flexibility would also come in handy during delivery, but that is a story for a different day.