Warning: If you dislike kind-of-rants or words like "dilation" or "pap" just breeze on by this one. It's a pregnancy update/ appointment post so these things will be mentioned from time to time.
I understand the reason for the policy of meeting every doctor... because one of them might be on call if the baby decides not to make it to his due date... but that doesn't mean I don't dread going in to meet the newest hire because in my mind chances are that since the two doctor's that I've been seeing are great and respectful and understand that violating my religious beliefs just isn't going to happen, the newest one will probably have thoughts on the matter that they just aren't quite able to keep to themselves. At least that's what I've taken statistically from my own experience moving from OB to OB as we moved across the country.
Before she came into the room I saw a flier on the wall that said that her specialty included contraception, but I didn't think much of it. She's an OB/GYN, for quite a few of them that's a pretty big part of their jobs. Besides, this practice and hospital have both been pretty awesome in the past about not pushing contraceptives. When I was having Patrick they actually asked if there was anything they could do that I would find offensive and I was thrilled to be able to say "Yes. I would love it if people wouldn't try to push the pill on me while I'm here because our family doesn't believe in contraception and I'm not going to be changing my mind." and for the first time in my experiences having babies in hospitals no one acted like I was an idiot or made comments about how I'd be back in a few months having another one.
I like my doctor. I like the other doctor in the practice. I was hoping I would like Doctor #3.
I naively thought that maybe she just hadn't looked at my chart.
"Thankfully so far we've been really lucky." I found myself saying. "It seems that I don't really scar very much and during the last c-section they found again that there was very little scarring and that I would likely be good for at least two more c-sections, although we'd reevaluate as we went along."
"Well it's true that scarring can be important" she said "we don't really know what's going to happen. We don't really know whether or not your uterus is going to rupture."
She then began to explain how she had been in a practice that was very, very supportive of NFP in the past, and was "very familiar with it" before beginning to explain why it just wouldn't be right for me and ending with "how old is your youngest anyways?"
I'm not entirely sure but she may have been slightly disappointed when I said "22 months right now... He'll turn two just after the baby arrives." because it wasn't the scathingly condemnation of not being on the pill post c-section, that I suspect that she was looking for, that it might be if I was having Irish twins less than a year after having the surgery.
Then she glanced at my chart and said "Oh did your doctor tell you that your pap came back as abnormal?"
I shook my head. "Well it did." She continued cheerfully. "It might be false. Who knows. There's a little chance you'll just have to get another one done at the six week appointment and that will be it. We can't really tell at this point or do anything about it until you've had the baby. We'll retest at your six week check up."
It was around this time that I really started to not like her. If I had to guess I would guess that my doctor probably didn't mention it because a) the percentage of false positives is high and b) he knows that I worry and decided that having me worry for six months when they were going to wait to retest at the post-natal appointment was pointless. I just don't feel like it was her place as not-my-doctor to tell me without talking to him... because of course I spent the rest of the day worrying about what that meant and googling and then imagining worst case scenarios and how on earth I would handle a worst case scenario like cancer along with everything else that needs to be done.
The one bright point of the appointment (which I can find if I search hard enough) was that despite the fact that I was having serious contractions about two minutes apart (thanks to the walk from the parking lot) and was already at 1 cm when she checked (not bad for me at this point compared to past pregnancies when I was usually 3-4 with a month to go...and they did all make it past 39 weeks) she didn't make me go to labor and delivery to get checked because I was able to clearly describe how this has happened with each pregnancy and it hasn't meant I was actually in labor, even though it really, really looks like I am in labor with the contractions and their intensity and progress.
So I'm supposed to be careful and make sure I don't wait to long if they don't eventually stop when I lay down and hopefully we'll keep on chugging along until the scheduled c-section.
As I left the office I couldn't help but draw one conclusion that is totally anecdotal and obviously doesn't apply across the board, but that I can't help but think of all the same. With the exception of the NaPro doctor that saved my life in Florida, most of the female doctor's I've had, OBs or just general practice, have not been able to contain their contempt with my not being on the pill (or accepting the tubal that they're determined to offer) and have instantly treated me like I'm obviously not all that bright and it's their job, in the most condescending of tones, to educate me on how stupid I am...
I've also gotten this reaction from male doctors who have mentioned that they too are Catholic and who can't wait to share that they know plenty of Catholics who love contraction. Whereas the non-Catholic male doctors I've had have asked a few questions and said something along the lines of "well, it sounds like you've done your research... you're informed... and you've made your decision... so I can support that." and not brought it up again.
I know there are many, many doctor's out there that don't fall into that generalization, but that sort of condescending paternalism that seems to be born of what we have in common while condemning choices other than the one that they have made is one of the most irking things about these appointments. It sometimes feels like these are the same doctors who would be all about reproductive rights, as long as the choices made with those "rights" are in line with what they would decide for their patients.
And in case you were wondering, now that we've gotten that lovely meet and greet out of the way, I will be refusing to see her a second time. I just don't have time for that. And I'll be pestering my own doctor with all the questions that I now have thanks to her little reveal at our next appointment, because I really didn't feel like asking her anything by the end of the appointment.