For my first two pregnancies, I did my prenatal care with a nurse midwife through a birth center, aiming for a non-medicated delivery. With both of them, for different reasons, I had to transfer care during labor and gave birth in a hospital with an epidural. So this time I thought I might as well prepare for that by choosing an OB for prenatal care, so that I could establish some history with my delivering doctor before the delivery!
From previous experience I knew which local hospital I wanted to deliver at (they are very well-equipped for non-medicated labor), which helped narrow the list down a little, but meeting and selecting a new doctor is still rather nerve-wracking for me! I decided to try first a pro-life, Catholic practice, but I was nervous that it might be an instance where a principled agenda excluded a general compassion, courtesy, and quality of care. Maybe I’ve been reading too many cynical articles lately… but that was one of my fears.
Last month I met the PA who will be alternating visits with the OB, and got a good overall impression of the office, but I didn’t actually meet the doctor until yesterday. And all my fears were proven unfounded. I have never been to a practice more respectful of me, the patient, as a human person.
Before the general examination I told the doctor that I was quite anxious and had a hard time physically relaxing during exams, and he first asked if they tended to be painful and then if I was a praying person. When I said yes, he literally prayed that the exam would go painlessly and that I wouldn’t have the anxiety, and thanked God for the new life inside me – and then proceeded with the gentlest Pap smear I’ve had in my life. (My mom always did say that male OBs were gentler!)
It blew me away.
All the little details of the office show the same respect for human dignity: the courtesy of the staff, the friendliness of the medical assistants, the closets for storing personal items and clothing during exams, and the timeliness of care (my whole appointment, including wait time, was 30 minutes – at other OBs I have waited longer than that just to be called back).
It brings me peace to know that my baby will be seen as a blessing and a gift even if they have special needs, that birth control won’t be pushed on me while I’m still in a postpartum haze, and that they care about the wellbeing of my whole person and not just my reproductive parts. This kind of care makes even the thirty minute drive worthwhile 🙂