Sometimes there's just no way to say it but to say it straight.
When we first knew we were expecting -- you know, like, after the first 3 pee-on-a-stick tests to be really really sure -- the first question that came to mind was... so hey, on which episode did it take flight? Haha. Oh trust me... the doctor will want to know this too, to try to pin out your estimated due date. Well, more accurately, they will ask when your last day of menses is. So if you screw that up and forget when, then your EDD will be messed up a bit too.
And then there are the other more pressing questions like... Do we go see a doctor right away? Which doctor do we go to and which clinic or hospital? Are we going to stick with the same doctor till we go into labor or do we get him/her to recommend us a better option?
I supposed nobody can blame first timers. In fact, you should be asking all these questions and find the answers because the things you read in Google search these days can either be right or more opinion-based than the actual thing. So it is a very good idea to get an expert's opinions.
Peek-a-boo! At 32 weeks... Pic courtesy of daddy.
Now back to the question of choosing the right doctor. 'Right' means to me that the doctor provides all the information and care that I expect from a doctor, and offers information instead of asking if i have any other questions. New mommies sometimes don't really know how to deal with "Do you have any questions you want to ask me?"
When asked the first time, of course I was ready with my sets of questions of things I feel I need to know in case my doctor didn't tell me right away. Standard first-time-appointment questions that every new mommy felt obliged to ask. But as we progress, I felt there were less and less questions and I wasn't sure I covered every ground or if I missed anything I'm supposed to know but didn't or were afraid to ask, in case you know, I'd look stupid if I were supposed to know the answer to that but didn't.
Sometimes there are some embarrassing concerns some women feel more comfortable discussing with a lady doctor than a male doctor. And sometimes there are moments you'd feel like the lady doctor takes you being a woman for granted and expects you to learn these things as you go along like every other woman before you because perhaps that would be the best lesson.
And sometimes some male doctors are more understanding and more sympathetic to your plight than you ever thought possible, because you know... they're male. What would they know about giving birth other than what they're being taught in medical schools, right? Which brings to mind, what makes a man suddenly decide to be an obstetrician or a gynecologist in the first place? Baffling thought, like wonders of the universe known only to the man himself.
I started out picking a lady doctor blindly from a list of few other lady doctors from this private hospital. Not knowing much about her other than what her reviews in blogs said about her. Which is not bad either. In fact, the reviews were right.
She is nice, friendly, crack jokes once in a while to put us both at ease. We were fine with her in the beginning, in fact, we thought we would stick by her till the time comes. But as we moved along month by month, I found that the more she asked me if I have any questions at the end of every consultation, I found like, there it was... that feeling like I should know something or ask something advance, but what the heck it is I can't put a finger on it. Like, there must be something missing.
And then, like a cue from heaven, she decided to take a 1-month leave to go overseas for a personal religious trip. So what was I to do but find a replacement doctor until she comes back. Picking another doctor blindly is something I found inconvenient and a little troublesome considering HEY THERE'S A LOT I DON'T KNOW ALREADY AND NOW I HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN?
Of course I didn't say that out loud. Ever the lady I must be. *smirk*
There you go. Tricky, isn't it. But like a good Christian, I prayed about this too for God to show me something... some sign... that perhaps I had missed in the first place. Some wisdom and discernment sure is tacky at a moment like this.
That being said, we met this other male obstetrician last week and whoa... Halleluiah! In the space of a few minutes, he was answering all the questions I didn't even need to ask and didn't even know I should already be asking! Like, hey, he can read my mind! Of course, this was after the few minutes of getting over my background check just to get it right even though most of my history is right there on the ante-natal card. Doctor's own policy, he said.
Even when doing the ultrasound scan, he was so patient and gentle. There are some merits on him that I found amazing and thought to myself "Imagine if my doctor didn't conveniently go on a prolong holiday, I would never have discovered you!"
His secretary was also much much nicer (but all of them were nice there). By the way, I asked the missy "Is it ok if I change doctor? Is she going to be offended? Is this going to create problem among them? Is it unethical of me?" She convinced me it is okay and in her own words "You're the one who's going into that labour ward. Your comfort is what matters. Besides, people do it all the time."
Some signs huh?
It's like going shopping, sometimes you like what you're paying for but eventually you will feel like you need something more. So then like it or not, you need to go shopping again and maybe make a change here and there, by trial and error. So what do I look for when choosing my preferred doctor?
1. One who offers the information instead of asking if I have any questions.
2. One who is patient, gentle and understanding.
3. Soft-spoken and always make an effort to make me feel comfortable.
4. Address all the embarrassing concerns to my face, without batting an eye, and make sure it's important that I get it right
5. Address my husband like an equal, because he is an essential element in this picture
6. Not too serious, knows when to joke, and when to keep it real
7. Is not to busy or have too many patients otherwise you just have to wait in long queues
8. Read all the reviews about the doctor, Google is a good source. And also ask the other nurses.
9. Has that generally trustworthy 'confidante' face.
10. Makes you feel like you can trust him/her with your life... and your baby's.
That being said, it's decided. The heck with it, I am changing doctor.
Generic colours for the lil one...
P/s: By the way, in case you're wondering, me and baby check in at Normah Medical Specialist every month. Among many personal reasons why we decide to go there and not to a government clinic/hospital, the only one reason I can tell you is that it is only a few minutes away from home.
P/s again: And no, we do not want to know the sex of the baby. We even pre-warned the doctors not to tell us even if they knew. So will it affect shopping for baby stuff? Nah... In the olden days, our parents got by just fine.