I’d just like to put this out there – I love my new doctor.
I have a friend who is a resident in rehabilitative medicine. She had a med school colleague she recommended to me as a family doc when we moved here. I took a chance, switched myself and the kids to her, and I’ve never regretted it. She’s everything you could want in a doctor – informed but relaxed, no-nonsense but warm, obviously very intelligent but a completely relational person who puts people at their ease immediately.
She’s also one of the few family docs left in Halifax who delivers babies. For my last two pregnancies, I was with my family doc for the first 27 weeks, and then I was referred to the pre-natal clinic at our local women’s & children’s hospital. While I know that the technical quality of my care was very good, I hated everything about that system. At every appointment, I had to go over my pregnancy history again with a different nurse. The wait was interminable (one day I waited 3.5 hours for a 10 minute appointment!) Sometimes I had residents in training, sometimes I had ‘my’ doctor. And for both deliveries, I ended up with someone I had never met catching the boys because at the crucial time, ‘my’ doctor wasn’t available.
It felt very clinical and while I never doubted that my babies and I were in good hands should anything go wrong, I also felt that unless something *did* go wrong they weren’t terribly interested in what happened to me or how I was feeling.
Last night I had my regular pre-natal checkup. First thing – I was on time but the clinic was not, which is very unusual (she’s usually super-punctual; have I mentioned I love her?) She started off by apologizing sincerely for getting behind and making me wait. We ran through some concerns I’ve had (terrible heartburn, pain in that butt cheek joint) and she dealt with them quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Then came checking for the heartbeat.
She couldn’t find it right away, and I tensed up. Couldn’t help it. I’ve been so terrified that something will go wrong this time. With my last two pregnancies I was very naive about how many pregnancies actually end in tragedy; since Thing #2’s birth I’ve met many women who have experienced baby loss, and in one case while the baby survived the mother didn’t, leaving three children behind (gak). Combine that with my predisposition to worry compulsively about bloody everything and, well, it’s been an anxious time.
Anyway, she noticed right away that I was nervous and asked what was wrong. You know that thing we all do with doctors, where we try to minimize symptoms or brush issues aside because, I don’t know, we don’t want to look silly or something? I just said “oh, I’ve been pretty jumpy this time around; I’ve had some pretty vivid dreams about the baby and ha ha, you know pregnant women”. She took the Doppler away and looked at me with the kindest, most concerned face I think I’ve ever seen on a doctor. “You don’t seem like an anxious person to me,” she said “but if things are bothering you, at all, you need to tell me.”
So I did. And we had a great chat about it. I confessed that I am a worrier and I need to feel like I’m in control of things all the time, and that I find pregnancy very hard because aside from not doing hard drugs there really isn’t much you can do to help it along. She listened, and didn’t try to tell me not to worry, or brush me aside. She reassured me that everything is looking very good. She told me that until the baby’s movements become more noticeable, I can make an appointment any time to come in for a quick check-in with the Doppler. And then when she did find the heartbeat, she let me listen to that wonderful sound for several minutes until I felt better.
140 bpm for baby. My blood pressure is 102/70. I’ve gained 15 lbs (oh, those yummy carbs) but my sugars and proteins are right where they should be and so far all the blood tests are great. Next Friday, the ultrasound.