I had my first appointment with my *potential* new OBGYN just before Christmas. I didn’t get a referral and I didn’t do a ton of research–I saw this doc’s bio and picture and my gut said he was “the one”. And I decided to trust my gut and wait 3 months for his first available new patient appointment.
As I drove to the office, I actually had to “tap” (EFT tapping) in the car, because I was already nervous and the Christmas traffic was *insane*.
Feeling discombobulated and overwhelmed, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to articulate myself. How do I tell him the saga of “my life as a case study”, but without burying the lead (that I want to prepare to TTC)? Where do I begin? Will there be enough time at the appointment to get it all out? What am I forgetting? What if he HATES me because I’m such a neurotic pain in the ass?!! What if he just doesn’t get it, and I have to do this all over again with someone else??
I felt like I was on my way to some sort of high-stakes blind date… like… I felt like a contestant on “The Bachelor”… that sums it up.
Speaking of which, I felt really self conscious about my appearance–my hair (sort of styled), my outfit (leggings, t-shirt, oversized sweater and beat-up slip on tennis shoes), and of course–my *va-jay-jay*… I wished I had gotten waxed, but I made my best (still half assed) attempt to look presentable. I worried about my chipped and grown-out pedicure, but not enough to actually take the polish off and do my nails *or* find a pair of clean and matching socks in my mountain of unfolded laundry. I didn’t wear make-up to conceal my rosacea and by the time I got to the office my face was beet red. Yeah… all I can say is at least I didn’t smell bad.
I checked in and it didn’t take long–I brought a copy of ALL my medications and supplements (freaking 2 pages) so that was a time-saver. Side note: working in medical offices I noticed old peoples’ caretakers would always come prepared with a list of medications–I am a bit sour that I have to do this at the ripe old age of 37.
My appointment was for 2:50pm and I was required to be there 30 minutes early. Since the check-in didn’t take long, I had to wait awhile to be seen. I tried to stay calm but I could not shake my feelings of fear and anxiety. I was finally called back around 3pm.
The MA looked at my paperwork and then began asking me a ton of questions. I explained my autoimmune diseases to her as well as my medication list, and was satisfied that she knew what she was doing as she nodded her head and kept typing without pause (most MA’s would stop and look confused and need me to spell things for them). This MA seemed unphased–that boosted my confidence.
The main points I discussed with the MA were:
1. I have Ulcerative Colitis, Hypothyroidism, Rosacea, Lichen Sclerosus, and Depression
2. I have hormonal imbalances (too much testosterone, not enough progesterone)
3. I had 2 miscarriages
4. I used fertility treatments and conceived my living child upon my 6th IUI
5. I had a successful pregnancy and birth
6. During pregnancy I used progesterone supplements and heparin
7. I want to TTC again (so I need prescriptions for progesterone & heparin)
8. My Mother and maternal Grandmother both had breast cancer (my Mother died from it at 59) and I’m 37 so I think I need a mammogram?
9. I’m still breastfeeding
10. I want a bunch of blood tests including but not limited to: TSH, AMH, ANA, ALT/AST, and Prolactin
Since I recently switched insurances when Mr. MLACS switched jobs, I also decided to go ahead and have my annual exam (even though I just had one in May on my previous insurance) just to get that out of the way… but also to test out this OBGYN and see if he was gentle or if he gave me the creeps.
The MA said she was unsure if the doctor would talk to me prior to giving my exam or if he would do the exam first and talk afterwards, so she went to check. I was really hoping the doc would agree to talk to me first because I was in no way prepared to greet him half naked with my legs spread. In fact after the MA left the room I gave it some thought and decided I would insist on meeting the doctor first. But to my relief the MA informed me that the doctor wanted to speak to me prior to the exam. I exhaled. And I waited…and when I couldn’t sit any longer I began to pace the room…and I called Mr. MLACS to make sure he was going to be home on-time to relieve the babysitter since this was taking for-ev-er…and I looked out the 4th story window and watched people crossing the parking lot–many heavily pregnant women, women lugging baby carriers, women lugging baby carriers AND toddlers, and some much older women who were beyond childbearing age… and I let my mind wander, wondering what their stories were… until I heard a knock at the door and quickly turned around to see…
Him. The man I had been waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for.
He greeted me warmly and thanked me for waiting (as though I had a choice) and sat down. I didn’t waste any time and just blurted out “Something led me to you–I just moved here and I didn’t have a referral, I just knew you were it.” And that sounded odd, so I followed it up with “I was very close to my previous OBGYN that delivered my baby–he supported me through some hard times”. Which still sounded odd, so I said “Where are you from?” and he is basically a local. And I asked him “So what made you want to be an OBGYN?” And he replied that he prefers treating healthy people and prefers women over men, because men are difficult patients (he was being funny, I laughed) but I pointed out “But *I* am a sick person” and he said well ok sure, but I’m not dying nor am I infectious. I could see his point, although I think I expected him to say something about loving babies. Come to think of it, although Dr. Angel (my previous beloved OBGYN) does love babies, I think I remember him saying he chose to be an OBGYN because it’s so diverse–he gets to treat patients and perform surgeries, etc.
So far I had observed that new doc had a warm smile, a cajun-southern accent, and a sense of humor. All good things in my book.
I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but points I discussed with him were basically reiterating what I told the MA. And I asked him some questions:
- My previous OBGYN managed my hypothyroid and depression (tested my TSH and gave me refills), would new doc do this? Or could he refer me to a PCP and/or an Endocrinologist?
- I definitely need progesterone (told him my numbers–which I have memorized). My insurance covers PIO or oral progesterone. I’ve used Endometrin and Crinone. What does he suggest I do? Will he give me a script today?
- Although I don’t have any known clotting disorders and only one red flag (elevated ANA’s) and 2 miscarriages, Dr. Angel had me do Heparin injections and I’d like to do them in any subsequent pregnancy. Ok?
- What if I need to see a fertility specialist? Which RE does he recommend?
- Since I’m over 35 and officially “AMA”, will he have me see the MFM?
- Do I need a mammogram?
- Who attends his patients’ labor and deliveries (if not him)?
His answers were:
- He’ll manage my hypothyroid/depression for now but he referred me to a PCP clinic closer to where I live and enthusiastically recommended a couple of docs.
- He suggested Crinone and said he’d send in a “test” prescription and if it was too costly he could make an appeal to my insurance.
- He said he definitely agrees I should use Heparin again–in fact one of his MFM’s uses it on anyone who has had more than one miscarriage because we can only test for *known* clotting disorders, and there are many other factors that can’t be tested. Basically he holds my mantra “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I was SO thrilled to hear this, as I was afraid he would say no.
- He said if I need an RE then he has a referral, no problem.
- Yes I will see the MFM
- They don’t do mammograms while a woman is breastfeeding unless they have a reason (like if I found a lump).
- His office is near the hospital and he tries like hell to attend his own patients–hence why I had to wait awhile, because he was delivering a baby. I told him since that is the case, I don’t mind waiting.
I also asked him a sensitive question… what are his thoughts on medical abortion? I am older and I have a higher risk of birth defects. New doc said that if it’s not compatible with life or would cause a very poor quality of life, then je will perform a medical abortion. But if it were something such as Down Syndrome, then he would feel the need to refer me to someone else–no judgement but that’s where his conscience draws the line. And he said it really pisses him off when women use abortion as a form of birth control and have several or more. I was completely satisfied, and even moved, by his genuine answers.
He then proceeded to *ask me* which blood tests I like to have ordered. I really appreciated that. And then he asked me if I had any more questions and waited patiently while I fumbled with my phone to make sure I had checked everything off my list.
And the physical exam was probably the easiest and most painless exam I’ve ever had.
He is THE one.
God and my guardian angels never steer me wrong.
New doc will henceforth be known as “Dr. Soul”. He is the soul of the South. And he is a kindred spirit to me.
No one can replace Dr. Angel, but Dr. Soul is going to take good care of me. I believe.