Long story short, don’t make the same mistake I made.
Don’t meet with the third doctor at your practice when you’re 30 weeks pregnant and decide your philosophies don’t align at all and that there is no way you can even risk having him deliver your baby. But above all, don’t decide when you’re 32 weeks pregnant to switch practices and hospitals.
Don’t make these ridiculously important decisions when you’re weeks away from showtime. Trust me, don’t.
If there’s anything I can tell you from my experience, it’s that you have every right to ask questions, even interview doctors to make sure you are compatible. There are tons of care providers in Westchester, so many that you really shouldn’t feel “stuck” with someone who doesn’t respect your birth philosophy and if you have one, your birth plan.
On the day you deliver your baby, you should feel safe, respected, and above all, calm.
During my second trimester, I read a book that changed my life. Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth made me gain confidence and trust in my body’s ability to birth naturally. With thirty-plus years of experience as a midwife, Gaskin shares many positive birth stories and encouragements for expecting mothers and shares insight on how women can educate themselves in preparation for childbirth.
Her list of “interview” questions for care providers was a huge eye-opener for me, considering that I had no idea these were even things to keep in mind. I wasn’t thinking that far ahead yet!
A few questions to ask your care provider are:
The key is to listen to how specific each doctor gets with their answers and how comfortable they seem. It’s not about what he says, but how he says it. Is he giving you examples? Do they seem familiar with these examples? Is he resistant? Defensive? Watch out for any red flags. If it suddenly dawns on you that this particular doctor doesn’t seem to be the right fit, consider it a blessing in disguise: you’re lucky you realized it early on (unlike me!) and have time to find a new provider who will be.
Considering that I wanted to try for a natural birth, I was shocked that the hospital I was already registered at had a 45% cesarean rate. How was that even possible? This (on top of my horrifying doctor visit that same week) was enough to make me start Googling new providers, even if that meant a severe headache and stress I so did not need this far along in my pregnancy.
But again, discovering these statistics on the internet was another blessing in disguise. I joined a practice and delivered at a hospital that completely aligned with my beliefs. These were the two best decisions I made in terms of my pregnancy. I chose to be informed about something that concerned me and my body, and I took charge, doing what I judged was best for my baby and me.
My advice to you is don’t let anyone, even the most highly reputable doctor, convince you that you don’t have a say in your birth. You know what is best for you and your family and have every right to choose carefully. If you decide to go for the ride, even with the high probability of unnecessary intervention, then that’s fine! Every mom has a different outlook on childbirth. But no mom deserves to be caught off guard by a doctor’s rash decisions and suffer from a delivery gone wrong.
I encourage you all to be as educated as you can be on the options available to you in Westchester (there are many!) and to remember that your care provider is there to assist you as you do the most natural, normal thing in the world. They are not there to “fix” or heal you, like many of them are taught to do. You are not sick — quite the opposite! Find a care provider who understands your needs, no matter what they are, and will do everything they can to respect them. That’s all that matters.