It's hard to believe it... But my mind is made up. I'm saying good-bye to Dr. B. It's nothing he's done... It's me. But it is so hard. This from the girl who said "I'm sad I only get to see him once a year now!" when I was telling Sarah how much I adore the man. But, really, I dont need to see him... I'm no longer a high risk pregnant woman who needs the care of an OB. I realize he's a trained gynecologist as well, but I'm not a high risk gynecologic patient either. Outside of my "poor obstetrics history", I'm the average woman when it comes to getting a pap smear.
Let me back up...
Prior to meeting Dr. B. in mid December 2007, I saw my midwife for my well-woman check each year. I love her. She's a CPM (certified professional midwife- learn about the different types of midwives here) and has the most lovely demeanor. When I struggled with fertility, I turned to her first. When I got pregnant with Bobby and Maya, she was my first prenatal appointment. I met Dr. B. through her, as they had worked together in the past. From 2007 on, it seemed I was perpetually pregnant, so it made sense to have Dr. B. do my annual as well. Last year, I was five months postpartum and my period hadn't returned (which I had expected since I wasn't regular anyway), so I thought I'd see him to chat about that. And then, honestly, it slipped my mind to call my m/w and make an appointment, since I'd made an appointment before leaving Dr. B's office anyway.
But recently... Recently, it has been on my mind a lot. Even though my body sucks at birth, I believe that my experience is the exception (although, in the IF community, we have a higher than average rate of loss it seems) instead of the rule. I believe that midwives should handle labor and delivery for the vast majority and that there should be nothing like "elective cesarean". (I'm not judging anyone else's choices... Just staying my feelings). Midwives assist and support a woman in laboring; OBs (in general) manage pregnancies and deliveries. And hey- I have no issue that my pregnancies were managed; I had problems and managing my pregnancies were the only things that ultimately allowed me to birth children who could live outside the womb. But, in general, that isn't the case.
But, I'm getting off point... I believe in midwifery for both birth and woman care. As I'm talking to Peter, I tell him that I miss my m/w and her care, that I miss that feeling of community, that feeling of being partnered with care. I miss going to her home, where her office is, having a cup of tea, and sitting there for an hour, discussing what is going on and having the exam be part of the experience. It is nothing like sitting in a waiting room for who knows how long, going into an exam room, having that taken care of, and making an appointment for next year. (This being said, I love Dr. B- love him. But he's a busy guy who deals with a lot of higher risk women and is usually out of the office a bit for deliveries, etc, that come up; he's also not a 5-minutes and done doc- if you have issues or questions, he gives you as much time as it takes to talk to you and doesnt make you feel like you are taking up his time. In the grand scheme of things, he's a kickass OB and I adore him. A-D-O-R-E him.)
So, a few nights ago, I decide that this will be my last appointment (it was on Tuesday). I would go and give him my good-bye speech, and that would be that... And I'd probably cry. Because, yeah. I care about those folks that much. Peter's mom was going to watch the kids (since that office is usually pretty busy, not to mention I'm acutely aware that some of those patients are not in a place where they need to be around babies. Been there...) Of course, when you ask the Great Spirit to give you a sign that you are on the right path, be prepared for your scheduled event to not go as planned.
Tuesday morning, Peter's mom couldnt come with me because something came up. No problem! The nurses would have given me a hard time had I not brought the kids with me, so... no deal. We were going to meet Peter for lunch (his new office is close to the hospital) so now the kids can see him during the day. I leave at 10:25 for my 11:45 appointment (it's 45 minutes away, but I want to try and get a decent nap in for the kids, since they normally start their nap between 10-11am and sleep until noon-1ish. So, we load up in the car and set off. Maya cooperates and is out in a few minutes. Bobby... Not so much. We are five minutes from the hospital when he falls asleep. Of course. That should have been my first sign. No, my first sign was when I called and got the only person in the office I dont like and, when I asked her if Dr B was on schedule, she gave me lip about how that can always change... Blah, blah, blah. I explain that I understand that, but I have my kids with me, and just want to know if, at that moment, appointments are on time. They arent. That was my first sign. But, I digress.
We pull in, I get my ticket, and park. It's 11:25. I have enough time to get cash from the ATM (to leave the parking garage), go potty, and get to his office by my scheduled time. Of course, the kids wake up as they get in the stroller and aren't happy, but not crying. We do the ATM and bathroom (where Maya proceeds to freak out) and get to the office. When I push the door open and see every chair filled and the standing room only (with other people standing), that should have been my third sign to just leave. But, no, I go in. And stand. And Maya freaks so I pick her up. Bobby's not happy he isnt being held, but he's okay. Finally, I'm able to check in. And then we go to a subwaiting room (also full), so I can get the kids out of the stroller and put them in their backpacks which (for lack of a better word) have "leashes" on them so they can have some independence but I can keep up with them.
And here's where I love the office. Everyone knew us. They all knew us by name: me, the kids. Yeah... Even people who have no reason to know we were coming in that day. By name. Hugs, the-kids-are-so-big, you-look-great. Dr. M, who delivered us, ran up and hugged- and kissed- me. She tousled the kids' hair. D, Dr B's nurse, came up and hugged us, then proceeded- in the middle of a busy day- take Bobby's "leash" and give the kids a tour of the office. Dr. B. saw us while coming out of a patient room, and made conversation. They are like family. They all worked hard to get us to this point. They cared. They didnt need to send cards when our children died or flowers when I was in the hospital and crossed the 26 week point. They didnt need to stop in and check on us or visit the babies in the NICU, just because. But they did. Because, over those 2 years, we became close. And that is why I love them.
But... when the time came for everyone to get back to work, the kids were spent and wanted to have lunch and a nap. They didnt want to be in their stroller, they didnt want to be carried, and they didnt want to be leashed. They wanted to be able to run around like the other kids in the office. They wanted to be in and out of exam rooms. They wanted to go to the nursing offices. No. Not happening. One of the nurses said "Oh, it's okay. Let them go." No. Sorry. Those kids that do stuff like that are NOT going to be my kids.
I decided to go. D told me to call her and she'd get me a time that worked better, but honestly, I've had appointment times all over the board and only once- in YEARS- has the office not been overrun. They are good; they are busy. But it just secured my thought that I, in my not-high-risk state, don't need to go there anymore. I hugged D and told her to tell Dr B and Dr M good-bye for me, and promised to send pictures of the kids.
I'm sad that I didnt get to say a real good-bye. I plan on writing them a letter and explaining how I feel and that, if I ever return to that high risk status, I wouldnt dream of going anywhere else, but that, for now, I'm returning to midwifery care. I emailed my midwife and I now have an appointment in early March. And I'm excited to see her again and get back into my philosophy of care.
But saying good-bye to Dr. Bailey is really the end of an era... The end of my childbearing... It's sort of like saying good-bye to Dr. Lee. I didnt need an RE anymore so we parted ways and now it's Christmas cards only... Unless I'm in the area, which is rare, when I call for a visit (but, dont worry- only if there are no fertility patients! I wouldnt be "that" person!) And now, sadly, it's time to say good-bye to the pregnant stage of my life too... There's always a chance that I'll return there, I suppose, but it wouldn't be planned in the sense that Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander, Bobby, and Maya were planned. But I know I'm no longer a candidate for a homebirth or midwifery care during pregnancy; so, of course, I'd go back to Dr. B's office. Now, though, it's good-bye. Not really until next year or until next time. But good-bye.