Our family doctor, who was also my obstetrician, had warned us to come into town immediately with my first labour pains. My eighth child was going to be born quickly. Dr. H met me outside the hospital, helped me out of our old mini-bus, into a wheelchair and literally ran past admitting with a huge grin on his face yelling,
“Sorry. No time to admit her. I’ll do the paperwork for her after the delivery. See you later!”
He was still chuckling in the elevator over the shocked expression on the admitting clerk’s face. We moved slowly out of the elevator onto the obstetrical floor and Dr. H peered around the corner to check the nursing station. My doctor sighed happily,
“Good. The head nurse is on coffee break and no one is in the natural birthing room. Olga is going to have a fit when she sees your stats on the board and that you are in here!”
He laughed loudly this time as we darted into the softly lit room. Michael walked in a little later, holding 18- month old Katie with her sunsuit on backwards, straps crossed across her chest. A nurse turned to me and said,
“Let me guess. Daddy dressed her.”
I smiled weakly in between labour pains because the nurse barely had time to check my vital signs before Anthony was born. Michael had pulled the curtain around my bed partly closed to block Katie’s view of the labour and delivery. Since she refused the cookie bribe offered by a nurse outside at the station, Katie was still with Michael. As soon as Anthony was born, my husband whipped the curtain open and passed Katie to a nurse so he could cut his son’s umbilical cord.
Michael turned to Dr. H and me as we beamed at each other over the birth of our beautiful baby and yet another successful, humane delivery despite the hospital’s regulations.
When I was pregnant with my sixth child, I went to my first appointment with our new family doctor and now my new obstetrician. He asked me why I was changing doctors and I sighed,
“I just can’t face my old obstetrician with a sixth pregnancy.”
“And who IS this doctor?” He questioned.
“Actually it was Dr. E.”
Well, my new doctor threw his head back and started to laugh,
“She’s a good obstetrician. Her only problem is that she owns a parrot, tropical fish and an expensive horse but doesn’t have any kids. I can understand your problem with her.”
That was the beginning of a wonderful 24 year friendship with our dedicated health care provider. Two of the next four pregnancies were high risk. That meant weekly ultra-sounds and check-ups with the high risk doctor in the hospital. My doctor waited, often after office hours, for me to stop in after hospital appointments to get his weekly update. Dr. H explained,
“They would LOVE to get their hands on you. Don’t let them TOUCH you without checking in with me first!”
From my first visit with Dr. H, I no longer had to don protective armour for my emotions before each obstetrical appointment. HE protected my unborn child, my growing children, Michael but most especially me.
This doctor does not follow common procedure mindlessly but uses commonsense (learned from Newfoundland midwives), intelligence (he is an associate professor at the university, an old-fashioned sense of service (he mentors countless med students and residents and is ALWAYS on call for his obstetrical patients) and compassion (he has an uncanny ability to listen and understand each patient).
Best of all, this medical knight in shining armour celebrates each birth with incredible joy.