Last week I went for my checkup with Dr. A. a day early. I was having all sorts of pain, and Boyd, with the kind of near-hysterical optimism that only someone who lives with a constant kvetcher like me can muster, thought that maybe Dr. A. could help. She took about three minutes to establish that the pain was from the extra-big baby, that there was nothing to do about it, and that it would only get worse as the weeks go on. And since I’m pregnant, obviously, I can’t take painkillers. While Boyd and I were still absorbing this, she looked at my chart and absentmindedly asked me – for the 100th time – when my c-section is.
“March 4th,” I answered for the hundredth time.
“Great,” she said.
Then I remembered that at my previous visit, I was at the front desk booking the appointments leading up to the birth, when the receptionist looked at the calendar and said, “Huh. I thought Dr. A. was away on March 4th. Oh well. You might want to ask her about that next time though.” So I said, “Dr. A., can you please double check your schedule to make 100% sure you’re in town March 4th?”
Guess what. Turns out that my doctor, about whom I felt lovely until last week, is going on a 10-day vacation leading up to and including the date of my c-section.
What she said once she checked her calendar was, “Oh, huh. Yes, I’m on vacation that week. Yup. I’m gone. Not even here.” Then came the long, awkward silence where her apology should have been.
Once Boyd and I got over the shock, and having no choice other than to switch to another doctor at this late date (no thanks), we agreed to push the c-section back a few days to March 7th. That’s just four days before my due date. I don’t mind the extra few days, but what I do mind is that my doctor will be gone so long before the surgery. That means that if I go into labor early, one of her six partners – none of whom I’ve met – will do the c-section. And no, there’s no way to know which of them it would be, it just depends on who’s on call at that minute. And no, we can’t do the surgery before Dr. A. leaves for vacation, because she says that big babies develop more slowly. In fact she says that if anything, we need him to stay in longer. (I should mention that the idea of going four more weeks without spontaneously going into labor seems like a serious long shot. I am as big as the moon, I have the balancing skills of a punch clown, and I waddle.
So, that’s my doctor drama.
I find it galling, and yet somehow appropriate, that the only thing I thought I could control about the birth – namely, the doctor who does the c-section – turns out to be something I can’t control at all. However, there is one area where I do have control, and I intend to use it: The next person who asks me if I’m having twins is getting kicked in the teeth.