our first doctor visit aka yes, we are really having a baby

Last night I tossed and turned like it was the night before Christmas. All I could think about was that the day of our first doctor’s visit was finally coming, and was it morning yet, and could I possibly start getting up to get ready??? Then sunlight, sweet, sweet sunlight…began to filter in the room. I was awake for a good fifteen minutes before our alarm went off, snuggling with the cats. I had even taken my usual morning shower the night before so my routine was a lot faster. I spent the time between waking up and arriving at the doctor’s office squawking, jumping up and down, asking hubby if he was “soooo” excited, and just in general being spaztastic.

So, my doctor delivers out of what is considered by many the best hospital for deliveries in the metro area. So it might come as a surprise to many that I am a little nervous about delivering out of there. The c-section rate, for one, is really high — hovering around 30% or so…but I think that may be common for any of the hospitals around here now. I also don’t think they’re very open to the idea of natural childbirth. Now don’t get me wrong…I think you have the right to have whateeeever kind of childbirth experience you want — and I am not saying I will never say I want an epidural, but at this point I am thinking I want to to try go it au naturel. Will they support that? I’m just not sure if that’s the vibe I get.

We arrive at the office and go to the first waiting room, where we sign in and are given a first trimester pregnancy journal. This already makes me nervous because I feel like (even though I have taken three home tests) nothing has been confirmed yet, and dammit, if you give me a journal then I will be even more sad if you tell me I’m not really pregnant!

Then we go to the second waiting room. I pee in a cup and fill out another form.

Then we go to a side room, my blood pressure is taken, and I am weighed. By the way, their scale always puts me a pound or two over what I weigh myself at home. Hrmph. But anyways…

Then we go to a third waiting room.

I am not kidding you. This is a baby factory, folks. By this point, hubby can’t really believe that we are in a third waiting room, and we are gawking at the sheer amount of items on the end tables and walls that were obviously put there by pharmaceutical salespeople (although I’m sure that’s common in just about any doctor’s office.)

Finally we are taken into an exam room, where a nurse starts flipping through a booklet of information for us, talking a million miles a minute. “Now this is the form you fill out and send to the hospital by 20 weeks so they can get you registered this is your Cliff’s Notes-like book for pregnancy this is your packet that shows you everything you can and cannot eat, take, do if you have questions about sex, exercise, diet just look in here and the doctor will be in soon.”

Whoa…what are we doing at today’s appointment? I ask.

A pelvic exam, she says, along with three other run-on sentences before running out of the exam room. I guess they want me to read through that book and not really ask them the questions I brought in? Sure feels like that, anyway. Also, no one has even said hello to my husband since we arrived.

The nurse leaves, and I put a cloth wrap around my now naked bottom half (this feels slightly awkward with my husband sitting in the chair next to me, although I do have a changing area.) Then we wait again, and we joke about how this is really the FOURTH waiting room, and how hubby should take his pants off and put a cloth around his bottom half for when the doctor walks in. That really cracks me up.


She’s here.

She is the one saving grace of this practice. She is friendly, and sincere, and shakes both of our hands and congratulates us. She’s the first person who has introduced herself to my husband or made him feel welcome all morning. I finally break in and ask the question I’ve been wanting to ask all morning as people have handed us booklets and talked about my due date (still estimated at February 9):

“Did you confirm it?”

“Oh, yes, yes, yes! You’re pregnant.”

She then goes through her spiel, and she definitely lets us ask questions, but the answers feel kind of stock. Like…they are open to natural childbirth, but “really don’t have many people wanting that anymore.” She also tells me they will let me go only seven days past my due date before inducing, and that they require continuous fetal monitoring. I also learn that she or one of the other eight doctors in the practice could deliver me, but that I won’t have an opportunity to meet the other docs, largely because many of them practice out of other locations.

I am then given a quick pelvic exam with hubby in the room (slightly awkward, but no biggie…most awkward part was when the nurse started explaining to me another pamphlet about genetic testing I can have done at 12 weeks and how if I want it I need to get preapproval from my insurance company now…all while the doc’s fingers are…well, you know.)

Doc says my uterus feels larger, like it should, but that it feels I may even be a little farther along than I originally thought. Now that would be interesting, although I can’t imagine it would be by much. We schedule my ultrasound for next Tuesday and she says we will know much more exactly then.

So now I have another day to look forward to…next Tuesday. Not too far away, I think, and I am happy for that. But I also start to wonder why this baby factory didn’t just schedule my first appointment around the first ultrasound? More visits=more money for them? I don’t want to sound jaded, but it seemed to me they are running a highly efficient business and that is their top priority.

We may be looking into another practice at another local hospital that seems to be more open to natural childbirth and less interventions. I think we will explore a midwife practice. We are not ready yet to say we are definitely making a switch but I will say we are highly likely to be exploring our options and then we will reassess again.

What were your experiences with a midwifery or a traditional hospital birth?Did any of you decide to switch providers after feeling like just a number on a form or a cow in a herd?


13 thoughts on “our first doctor visit aka yes, we are really having a baby

  1. Hi,

    I came here from Sara’s blog. My sis delivered in ATL via Midwife. I could ask her where she went if you are interested…


  2. It was so funny reading this. It totally took me back to my first pregnancy – when they are telling you literally 15 different things at once while they are walking out the door.

    The awkwardness gets easier and seriously by the time you are in labor you are basically naked in front of like 5 people that you will later not be able to pick out of a line up. But you won’t care AT ALL – you just want someone any one to come take this child out of you – NOW.

    The confirmation always makes me feel better though. Good luck with the ultrasound. I’m kind of excited for you – oh and get ready. You will at least tear up (and you may catch your husband tearing up too – but you know in a manly way.)

    I just got all my early tests done today in fact so if you have any questions at all – totally shoot me an email.

  3. Thanks for sharing everything in so much detail! It’s awesome to follow along with your journey!

    I plan to go the midwife route because I want individualized, one-on-one care with the guarantee that she will be the one to deliver the baby. I also want to deliver naturally, which seems unfathomably to me if I am strapped to anything (since I will want to move around, get in a birthing tub, take a shower, lean on things, get on all fours, etc.). I am a big wussy when it comes to pain, so I’m pretty sure I will need to tap into as many natural pain management strategies as I can. I feel like my options would be really limited in a hospital. I also worry about interventions. Like why do they need to induce if you are a week overdue? Isn’t it hard to pinpoint an exact “due date” anyway? I worry that one intervention leads to another, which is part of the reason why the C-section rate is so high.

    With that said, it is scary to give birth outside of the hospital. Most births progress really well naturally with assistance from a good attendant, but there is a small chance that something will go wrong.

    But anyway, it’s a lot to think about! Sorry I’ve written a blog post on your blog!

    Best of luck to you…

  4. We actually just set an appointment up this morning to have a consultation with a midwife practice that has gotten rave reviews around Atlanta for a great natural childbirth option. They also birth out of a local hospital, so if we did need more medical attention, we’d be in a good location for it. We also found another doctor we may interview with if the midwives for some reason don’t wow us…he’s gotten great reviews too and his c-section rate if 5-10%!

    I agree about the induction thing…they just seem so quick to want to intervene, which like you said, I think can lead to more interventions. My doctor said it was because they feel the placenta can’t function healthily for that long after your due date, but I think allowing you to go two weeks after is pretty standard, and just allowing 7 days seems to be indicative of the kind of practice they are. The more my husband and I talk about our experience there, the more we are sure we want to switch.

    Thanks for the thoughts! Always happy to hear them…from all of you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great day.

  5. I hope you can find a midwife! Have you considered having your baby at home or in a birth center? I’ve been attending births for 12 years or so now, and it’s really virtually impossible to have “natural” birth in a hospital, especially with a first baby. In some hospitals the induction rate is >50% of mothers, which we know simply increases the risk of other interventions and ultimately cesarean.

    Some lucky women will manage to get through labor without pitocin and an epidural, but their births are still saturated with unnecessary interventions and are far from instinctive or physiologic. It sounds like you are asking the right questions! Keep reading and talking through your concerns. Follow your heart, as you do with other sacred matters.

    • Erin, I completely understand what you’re saying! I am really excited to meet the midwife group we found in just a couple weeks. My husband and I rented The Business of Being Born last week and found it SO interesting. I’m sure many would say it’s one-sided, but I suppose since it’s the “side” I’m on I really appreciated it. Also, sides or no sides, I appreciated all the facts and history it presented. I had no idea the history of midwives and the way OBGYNS really took the “industry” over!!

    • Oh and P.S. — unfortunately there are no birth centers in Atlanta. We have considered having the baby at home but…honestly…and this may sound weird…I am worried about our cats being around during the experience. In our condo we are in pretty close quarters and while they love each other they can do the ‘growl and chase each other around thing.’ I wouldn’t want that to be going on in the midst of giving birth, etc…do you have any experience on animals being around home births?

  6. That’s what I am doing, seeing a midwife group that delivers at the hospital I work at. So far I feel really confident about it! I think if you choose that route you will probably be very pleased. If I could afford it I would do a birth center, but my insurance is not very cooperative with that idea =(

    Good luck making your choice!

  7. I am using a stand alone birth center attended by midwives. My appointments are two hours. TWO HOURS. I know the entire practice of 7 midwives, so even if there was a freaky snow storm I’d still know the people attending my birth really well. Also, they don’t allow ‘strangers’ to attend births. No nurses I’ve never met, no students I don’t approve, nada. I am so happy with my care I now drive more than 2 hours to my appointments, and feel THRILLED to do it.
    When I first got pregnant my husband and I went to a very large clinic, and I felt like ‘a square peg being forced into a round hole.’ They didn’t make my husband feel welcome. They seemed to find natural child birth amusing. They tried to bully us into genetic testing that was inappropriate for us. It just wasn’t a match, and I’m so glad we found the nerve to switch.
    Now, we I take pregnancy classes at my birth center I feel like I could just hang out there all day. I’m just as at ease as I am in my living room, though it is much cleaner there. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love my midwives and all their support staff. I can call them about anything AT ALL, and they make me feel wonderfully at ease.
    I am wishing you all the best in finding a place that suits your family’s unique needs.

  8. Have you seen the Feminist Breeder blog?

    This is a great post, with excellent comments, so worth reading through.


    You are lucky to be in Atlanta, there are a lot of great midwives there. Debbie Pulley is there — I highly recommend visiting with her http://gamidwife.com/

    Every woman needs to be where she is most comfortable. Unfortunately though most women have no idea what they’re signing up for when they plan a hospital birth, even with midwives. I am not anti-hospital — I had my first baby in one! But nurse-midwives are immune to practicing the medical model. It’s worth asking a bazillion+ questions about the course of your care, labor and birth. The vast majority of CNMs are either employed by physicians, subject to physician oversight (and required to follow the same “protocols”), or face the same pressures applied by hospital “protocols” that the OBs face.

    Like I said before, it is *possible* to have a normal, low-tech, instinctive birth in the hospital — I’ve been to a few– but it is increasingly rare especially for first time moms. I write this here because as a woman and a midwife I feel I owe it to women to speak the truth, and help them advocate for themselves. WE own our births, not doctors or midwives or hospitals!

    Blessings on your journey mama!

    Oh as for the cats, pets are very interesting at births. Female cats in particular seem to know what’s going on and almost take on a guardian type role. They will lay close to where the mama is, watching her peacefully, I’ve sometimes seen them walking the perimeter of the grounds….Dogs tend to be quite aware too of what’s going on. It’s really sweet. I’ve only had pets be a problem a few times, and that was with aggressive dogs who did not understand why I was showing up on their doorstep at 2am!

    • This is great info. Thanks so much. I’d actually had a hard time finding midwives other than one group who has been highly recommended but who delivers out of Atlanta Medical Center. We’ll be calling Debbie as well. Thanks again. (Also, very comforting info about the cats. :))

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