When I found out I was pregnant with this little bub I was desperate to see whatever doctor could get me in first. Nevermind that the best doctors wouldn’t see me until I was around 8 weeks. Nevermind that I’d heard nothing about the doctor who said she would see me at 5 weeks. No. All I was concerned about was getting into the doctor, as if somehow seeing her would ensure that I wouldn’t have another miscarriage.
But really guys- I just picked the first doctor who would take me. I had no recommendations and nothing to go off of except that she was nearby, a woman, and was accepting new patients. That was all.
On the day of our first appointment I remember feeling a little uncomfortable. While the doctor’s office was nice enough, I sat there wondering if I would actually be alright with her delivering my baby. I brushed it off, which was easy to do because I was just so early on that delivery seemed ages away, and continued making appointment after appointment with her.
Around 17 weeks she diagnosed me as having placenta previa. If you’ve never heard of placenta previa it’s essentially when the placenta (or the nutrient supply for the baby) is lying over the cervix (or the thing that opens so the baby can come out). With placenta previa you are unable to deliver naturally and need a c-section. This can also cause complications such as bleeding. I was told that I might bleed, that I should watch for any unusual spotting, and that I should not have any internal check-ups. She also said that it most likely wouldn’t move and I was going to need a c-section. That was it.
I cried the whole way home from the appointment. C-sections aren’t uncommon, but I’d planned on having a natural delivery. It was both disappointing and anxiety inducing to hear that my plans weren’t going to happen the way I wanted them. Plus, she made it sound like it was the most dangerous thing that could’ve happened. Like if something were to happen I’d bleed out and die. And the worst part is that we’d already talked about how my anxiety affected the way I handled little things, so her telling me this was a big deal made me beyond stressed.
About a month later I got out of bed to get Easton breakfast and was met with a heavy bleed. I immediately woke up Jake and tried calling my doctor’s office. It was a Thursday morning around 9 and the office should’ve been open, but no one was there to take any of my 5 calls. Finally we went to the hospital where we hung out for four or five hours before finding out that the reason for this bleed was because the placenta was moving. As you’ll recall, my doctor had told me that there was really only a very slim chance my placenta would move because of where it sat and I should plan on a c-section.
I left the hospital pissed off, stressed out about the inevitably large hospital bill that I was going to end up paying for the visit, and wanting to switch doctors. And with that, after talking to Jake who told me he’d support whatever I wanted (not like he had much choice, I was the one popping out a person) I canceled my next scheduled visit and started looking for actual recommendations.
Because I was over halfway through my pregnancy some doctors were unable to see me as they had too many patients at this point. After a few phone calls I was able to get an appointment with my current OBGYN who I love. I’ve since had an amazing experience with this pregnancy and have gotten the care, reassurance, and attention I need to feel comfortable. My doctor is very knowledgeable and friendly without being pushy, and the nursing staff is great! I never leave with a feeling of self-doubt or discouragement and I’m more than confident in my doctor’s ability to help me deliver this baby. (Oh, and my placenta did move and I’m expecting to have a natural delivery by the way.)
Choosing an OBGYN can be difficult, but it can also make the difference between a pregnancy where you feel stressed out and uninformed or a pregnancy where you’re confident and prepared.
Here are a few great ways I’ve found to help you look for a good OBGYN:
- Consider what you’re looking for in your birth experience (for example I wanted to deliver at a specific hospital in the valley so I needed to find doctors who went there).
- See which doctors your insurance will cover, sometimes you can find this on the insurance website. Other times, it may be more useful to search for doctors first and then find out through their websites what insurance they accept.
- Talk to your friends and family about doctors they’ve seen/delivered with.
- Ask for recommendations on Facebook or in local mom groups.
- Google local OBGYN’s and see what their ratings are on websites such as Yelp and Healthgrades, but take these with a grain of salt as sometimes angry patients will leave rude and thoughtless comments.
- Make your first appointment and see how you feel. It helps to come prepared with questions so you know what to expect.
- Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable, leave. You’re a paying customer. You’re the boss. You get the final call for most things, and this is definitely one of those things.
Finding a good OBGYN can be really hard, but I promise if you take the time to seek someone out who makes you feel comfortable and who puts your health and the health of your little one above anything else your experience will be so much better.