Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Did You Hug Your Doctor Today?

I did.

And not just any doctor.  My gynecologist.

She used to be my obstetrician.

She cared for my pregnancies and delivered both my beautiful girls.

She also hugged me the day I found out I miscarried.  I told her "It's OK".  And she said sternly "No.  It's not."

She also was there for me when I had to take care of that miscarriage.

My BFF told me about Dr. Constance Battle when I decided to find an obstetrician for my first baby.  I knew I didn't want to rotate through doctors, barely getting to know one at all.  My girlfriend had gone through this and barely knew the doctor who actually was on call for the delivery.

Tim joined me for my first visit to her office.  It was bustling.  Filled to the rim with women in all shapes and sizes.  We met with one of the staff and she gave us a rundown and tour of the practice.  She then looked at me and she said something like "We believe in intuition and a mother's instinct.  If you feel like there is something wrong at anytime, you call us.  We will listen and we will help."

Wow.  I was so moved by this statement.

And I continued to be moved by every person I met and encountered through my pregnancy with CJ.

Tim and I took our birthing class at her practice.  The teacher was Dr. Battle's primary nurse, Nancy.  Nancy was a hoot.  A stern looking woman who welcomed me and asked how I was doing each time I talked to her by phone or came into the office.  She had four children; the last, she pulled out by herself.  She told me that the first time she "met" Dr. Battle, she couldn't believe it: Dr. Battle was in the room coaching the mom.  She had mistaken her for a midwife.

And that's how life was during my prenatal visits.  A very good process: check-in, give a urine sample, wait in the other waiting room, get blood and other vitals checked, wait for Dr. Battle for the exam.

One visit, Dr. Battle made an assessment for when I should be ready to deliver.  She decided to pick June 19th for inducement.  They did a lot of weird stuff to me, to help dilate me before the procedure (one of which was a foley catheter).  I didn't think any of this would work, but the nurses at WakeMed on June 19th told me that, in their experience, Dr. Battle had an uncanny way of predicting when babies were ready to be delivered.  They loved her.

Inducement wasn't drugs but this foley catheter thing and then some other hocus-pocus stuff.

Dr. Battle sat in my room for about two hours, maybe more...sleeping in a chair in the room, waiting for CJ to join the world.  When she broke my water, she got some contraption out, wrapped a towel around it, and then yelled at me to let go of the arm of the hospital bed - the only thing I felt safe holding on to - and grab the towel.  She then coached me through the entire birth and it was her voice, and only her voice, I heard.

There were a few hiccups during CJ's birth.  The cord wrapped around her neck and her heart rate dropped incredibly.  I had no idea.  I was listening to Dr. Battle and concentrating on the task at hand.

Last but not least, CJ is born and I open my eyes (yes, they were shut nearly the entire time) and see about 15 people in the room.  I kid you not, Dr. Battle "threw" CJ to another doc, where they quickly worked on my baby.  Everything was fine and I got a great picture of me, CJ and Dr. Battle after all the chaos was over.

Going through the prenatal stuff with Mi-Mi was about the same...although I had issues with that pregnancy too.  I was actually 'having a period' while pregnant.  I had to take progesterone to help ensure the early pregnancy would go well.  Everything I read indicated none of this would work.  But it did and I have Mi-Mi today.  A delivery that also involved Dr. Battle telling Tim and I what to do.  I was in the oddest position ever - I don't recall that one in the pregnancy books!  But Mi-Mi was born quickly and without the issues we had with CJ.

So you see, Dr. Battle is one of the most important people I have ever met in my life.

She no longer practices obstetrics.  She is solely gynecology, so I continue to see her, year after year.

And every time I do, I give her a hug.  And we chat.  She has always taken her time with me; I assume she does this with all her patients.

It's sad to visit her office now.  The once bustling, overflowing office is quiet.  The second waiting room no longer in use.  Nancy is no longer there.  It's like a ghost town.

But the pictures of the children she has delivered still wallpaper her examining rooms.  And her face in every photo shows a proud woman with the biggest, most genuine smile.

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