When I had my first C-section, I had only met the doctor once before. During that initial appointment, he seemed okay. Not great, but not terrible either. At 3 am when my water broke, and we called in to let my practice know that we were on our way, he told us we didn’t have to rush in if I wasn’t having contractions.
This was after telling me just two days before that breech babies have a higher risk of prolapsed cord when the mother’s water breaks, and if my water breaks, we should come right in.
Okay, fine, I was willing to forgive that because we had only met once and it was 3 o’clock in the morning. So I reminded him of our situation, and he agreed that we should get right to the hospital. At some point during prep, he literally stumbled into my hospital room. We were a little nervous, but again, we assumed he’d just been asleep and forgave him his early morning clumsiness.
Long story short, my initial impression was that he was an arrogant ass.
Fast forward two-ish years to a get-together at a friend’s house where I met one of the labor and delivery nurses at my hospital. She informed me that he is actually very nice and a huge advocate for patients’ rights. At that point in my pregnancy, we hadn’t learned about my strange uterus, and I was still seeing a midwife with the intention of going for a VBAC.
Fast forward again, this time only about a month, by this point, I had learned about my unicornuate uterus and decided I needed to talk to the doctor who has actually seen it firsthand.
This time, I found him forthcoming and very informative when answering my questions. In my appointment today, he was reasonable about my requests for my C-section. If he didn’t think something was a good idea, he explained why, and he answered all of my questions. He was personable, humane, intelligent and kind. At the end of the appointment, he told me that if I have any questions during the surgery, I should feel free to ask them. He said his goal is to help his patients feel empowered during birth and to help them achieve the best birth possible.
It can be really hard to find the practitioner who is best for you. Sometimes personalities just don’t mesh well, and until you find a doctor who treats you with respect and whom you feel comfortable asking any question of, you should keep looking. Unfortunately, some women don’t have that option if they live in a small community or have insurance issues. But if it’s possible, keep looking until you find a doctor or midwife who:
Keep in mind that you never know when your labor will start, so it’s a good idea to meet as many doctors in your practice as you can. Try to determine if the majority of the practitioners share your views and meet your criteria. It’s also a good idea to learn your doctor’s and your practice’s C-section and VBAC rate.
In addition, sometimes policy is set by the hospital, so be sure to tour the hospital where you will deliver and ask as many questions as you can to determine if the hospital’s policies reflect your own. You should also try to learn the rates of interventions, C-sections and VBACs at your hospital as these rates will have a direct impact on your success especially if you are planning a natural, unmedicated birth.