Photo Cred: Healthmad.com
Yeah. You know what this is all about. Yesterday was my annual visit. Oh joy. Actually it wasn't so bad. After a little more than a decade of throwing my feet up into these stirrups - giddyup! - I find myself treating these appointments with little production. You go in, get nekked, put on a gown (does anyone remember when they were paper?), saddle up and relax. They ask you random questions about your personal life, the date of your last period. They thoroughly check your undercarriage and feel you up, you put your clothes back on and The End.

When Big Red and I first moved back to the East, and when I finally scored us some health insurance, I was faced with the most annoying task of finding a doctor. I hate to play Russian roulette in that giant text of biblical proportions you get when you sign up with a provider. I'd much rather go on recommendations and referrals. Because I didn't know anyone, that was impossible. I tried searching various websites with ratings and reviews and found what I thought was a decent start. Nope, that doctor was lame. Said he was going to follow-up with me, and never did. Sent Big Red out for x-rays and then said he would call for a follow-up, and never did. We were done with him quickly. Thankfully, both Big Red and I are in good health. We don't have chronic conditions that need maintenance. The only thing that became a bit of an issue was my minor case of asthma. I'd run out of a prescription for my rescue inhaler, and when I tried to get a new one, the lame doctor didn't want to sign off on it because I hadn't been back to see him. Boo. For a while there I had to just work through my bouts of uncomfortable wheezing. Last year, I surveyed my colleagues and got several quality referrals. After getting more information from the source, I decided on giving a new PCP a go. She was a hit with both Big Red and I. While we loved our PCP, and while I was super relieved to have found us a good doctor, I still wanted to see a gynie for my annual visits. I wanted someone who specialized in this.

Because little ones have hit the radar in this gal's brain, I've begun to research birthing options. I love watching documentaries and came across one produced by Ricky Lake: The Business of Being Born (2007). The blurb from Netflix: Director Abby Epstein's controversial documentary takes a hard look at America's maternity care system, juxtaposing hospital deliveries against the growing popularity of at-home, natural childbirths that some expectant parents are opting for. 

Because I'm intrigued at the idea of natural childbirth, but fear the possible complications, I started a search of some kind of possible compromise. And I found it. Big Red are lucky in that our Steel City is a hub for the world of medicine. We have a system of hospitals, more than 40, tied to one of our universities. Situated within that conglomerate of hospitals is one specially devoted to women. And within that hospital is a division of Midwives. SCORE!  The midwife center is now where I currently go for my well-women visits, and where I plan to deliver. Beyond this, the women, the midwives and the nurse practitioners are so incredibly nice. It's unbelievable how friendly and warm they all are. In all my visits, I have never once felt rushed. They speak with you and not at you. They answer all questions and never make you feel like you're asking something ridiculous. They never scoff at your hopes, and they smile when you tell them you're a teacher and you'd love to "plan" the birth of your first child. In fact, they agree it's a great idea since I, ahem you, have the summers off.  I love it there and I feel lucky to have access to such a wonderful facility.

One last thing. So, when you're up in the stirrups, sans the spurs, and the beloved speculum is, um, in place. That pressure? I feel like I can handle that pressure pretty well. Does that mean I might be able to handle childbirth without the aid of pain numbing drugs? In the pretty little perfect world of my brain, that means yes I can! My guess is that I'm grossly underestimating the severity of childbirth. For now, I'd like to still believe I have super human tolerance.

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