My OB-GYN practice has four doctors. Depending on when my labor progresses for delivery, any of the four doctors who happens to be on call at that time will be the doctor to deliver. So the office policy is for the pregnant patient to meet with 3 of the 4 doctors so we can feel comfortable and familiar with them all. (The fourth doctor is a mysterious man from Poland who they say is never in the office and so I won't meet unless he wins the delivery lotto).
I love my doctor. I've been going to her since I moved to Chicago six years ago. Other than one incident where she decided to bring up the priest molestation scandals arm deep during an exam, I had never had one negative incident with her. But she is scheduled in the mornings, and we've been saving our paid time off of work and going in the afternoons.
Of the two remaining-- one has grown on me-- the other, for the sake of anonymity and respect-- I will call Dr. Poop.
We've had three apointments with Dr. Poop. At first, Danny and I were impressed. She seemed compassionate and thorough, taking measurements that the other doctors hadn't. She didnt seem as rushed or robotic as the other (non favorite) doctor. But at the second apointment we changed our minds. The compassion seemed more like phoniness or condescension, and the thorough measurements hurt. At this time, the other doctors started taking some of the same measurements but when they performed them, they didnt hurt me. Then I started noticing where the other doctor seemed robotic- was really just her being professional. And where she seemed rushed was just being upbeat and enthusiastic.
In Dr. Poop's defense, I could also have some negative psychological associations with her- she's the one who told me initially that I needed to take the second diabetes screening. She's also the one who wouldn't make time to see me when I was in some pain, which turned out to be a cyst which ruptured at home. And she's also the one who has put the most emphasis on my weight. Once she said, "I'm just a liiiiiitle teeny bit concerned with your weight." She held up a finger and a thumb to the size of a delicious Starburst which I wouldnt be able to eat again for the remainder of the pregnancy. She said it the way you'd speak to a child about their behavior. "Well, little Becky, I'm just a liiiiitle teeny bit concerned about you never wearing pants at the dinner table..." I looked down embarassed. "yes, I know." I knew I'd been letting myself eat whatever sounded good. Instead of salads for lunch I was eating big puffy bready sandwiches with melted cheese. I was eating chocolate fudge sundaes at night and ham and cheese omeletes for breakfast.
"So what are you eating?" She asked. I sighed. "I dunno...carbs or something." I just wanted the conversation to end. I'd cut back, I silently vowed, just please dont lecture. "What kind of carbs?" she pressed, transporting us to a courtroom scene in an episode of Law and Order. She was the prosecutor cross examining the defense. I was the young woman about to break her web of lies and confess that yes, she'd been eating gyros and pizzas every Thursday at Michael's bar. "uh.. crackers?" I suggested, my face red. "hmmm.. well, maybe instead of 'crackers' you could eat...broccoli?" She glanced at Danny and shrugged as if to say, "I dont know how else to help this sad case of obesity" She turned to me, "It's crunchy.." She offered as incentive.
So when I scheduled my apointment last week, and switched to a Thursday because of a work meeting, and the receptionist told me it was with Dr. Poop, I didnt want to be rude and obvious and change it as soon as I heard which doctor it would be with. Instead, I thought, maybe she's not as bad as I remember.
But yesterday, Dr. Poop started off on the wrong foot. Every week they have me hooked up to an NST test to monitor the baby's movements. The test measures heartrate and makes sure baby's moving enough and that her heartrate excelerates at the appropriate times. Well, for the first time in probably this whole week, baby sweet Pea decided she wanted to take a nap and only move a few times. So we were hooked up for double the time. In order to stimulate movement Dr. Poop called out to the nurse-- "Get her some water! And some chocolate!" CHOCOLATE??? I perked up excitedly-- Doctor's orders, right?? She glanced at me and remembered,
"oh, wait you have gestational diabetes, right? Nevermind." In my mind I shook my fist at her as she walked away.
The test turned out fine, just had to poke and prod poor baby P for a few minutes to get her to angrily kick her little limbs enough. Then it was on to the examination room.
I was a little nervous that Dr. Poop would be a little rough with the exam, since just measuring my abdomen seemed to hurt with her. And unfortunately I was right. I'll spare you the details but she wasn't quick about it. Instead she was very thoughtful as she lingered and felt around giving me a play by play of texture and detail. Danny theorized she was trying to figure out what type of salad I'd eaten for lunch earlier that day.
When Dr. Secondfavorite reviews my blood sugar scores she always tells me "These look great! Keep doing exactly what you're doing!" Whereas Dr. Poop frowned and bit her lip in contrived worry and said "They're not terrible. ."
"There were two high scores here this week." She continued "It may have been something you ate before bed. Do you eat before bed?" The gestational diabetes diet calls for a bedtime snack.
"Yes, but I've had the same snack every time, it's just cereal." (Cereal that I literally use a measuring cup to carefully dose out).
"What kind of cereal?" And we were back at the Law and Order interrogation.
"Bran flakes." I tried to remain calm and not scream my answers. I've had to go over everything I eat with both a Diabetes educator and a nutritionist.
"What kind of milk?" she asked.
"Unsweetened almond milk, it has no carbs." I said impatiently.
Maybe she sensed my agony because she moved on. "Well, sometimes toward the end of the pregnancy the numbers will go up for no reason. We'll just keep watching it." OHHHHHHH--Should we? I didn't realize this whole time while I've been counting out my wheat thins to dip into my 35 calorie low fat cheese, and staring at blueberry muffins, moving my mouth in pantomime chewing that I should be "watching it". The four times a day I prick my finger and write down the score and scrutinize every strawberry I eat doesn't qualify as "watching it".
"Any questions?" Dr. Poop smiled cheerfully. "No..don't think so.." Danny and I glanced at each other and shrugged. "Are you sure?" Dr. Poop prodded. "Because I feel like you have questions but you're not answering."
"Nope, we're good." I said.
Then Dr. Poop was suddenly filled with concern.
"Are you okay? You seem.....sad...is everything okay?"
"Yeah, I'm just tired," I said, irritated. She seemed unconvinced but moved on to the ultrasound. I tried to ask questions during the ultra sound so I wouldn't seem so sad, but she didn't seem to want to answer. "What's that?" I pointed at a shadowy blog on the monitor of the ultra sound machine thingy. "Just fluid." she said dismissively. "Okay," I said, giving up.
She seemed to feel bad about not answering in more detail so she focused in on a body part. "Do you see this? Did you know it's a girl?" she said smiling. Looking back, I wished I'd jumped up startled and hurt, "WE WANTED TO BE SURPRISED!" I should have shouted, using all my acting training to squeeze some tears out. But instead we just smiled, and said yes.
"Here, I'll print a picture!" she said excited, and printed a picture of our daughter's genitals. Is that weird to anyone else? (Also weird is that in the picture our daughter's genitals look like a seagull) I'll treasure any picture of our baby, but maybe a facial profile or a hand or foot might be more baby-book-appropriate...
Finally the appointment was complete. On the way out Dr. Poop congratulated me "By the way-- Good job on your weight!" she smiled.
Knowing how hilarious God is, I'm sure Dr. Poop will be the one to show up at labor. In the mean time, I'm scheduling all my appointments-- (which may only be one or two more!!!) with my Dr. Favorite or Dr.Second Favorite.