Lessons in strength #3: Dr Davis goes to Bali

Finn was officially due on 2 July, although there was some confusion about the dates since he was a bit of a surprise (and also enormous). I was about 34 weeks along when I got a phone call at work from my doctor’s office to reschedule my appointment for 1 July. “Dr Davis is no longer available,” she said breezily.

“Okay,” I said. “The day after?”

“Oh no,” the receptionist said. “He’s not available the rest of the week.”

I felt a knot in my stomach – a sudden sense of deja vu from the first time around, when Dr Davis had suddenly decided to take a holiday the week Emma was due. (He’d assured me she would be late, like all first babies. But she is a PM&C baby, and at PM&C there is no excuse for missing a deadline.) I had made him promise, more than once, that he wouldn’t do it to me again.

“But…but that’s my due date!” I spluttered. I was about to burst into tears in the middle of the office. Despite all my work with Margie and Toby and my books, my calm in the lead-up to the birth had a lot to do with the fact that Dr Davis was going to be there, and I wouldn’t have to see the horrible doctor from last time.

“Oh.” She didn’t really know what to say. “Was your first baby late?”

“She was right on time,” I said.

“Well then this one will be early,” the receptionist said kindly.

“HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW,” is what I wanted to reply. But of course I just rescheduled for 29 June and hung up. I may have gone to the bathroom and had a mild panic attack before emailing everyone I knew to vent about stupid doctors. While eating chocolate.

The next time I saw Dr Davis I strangled him and then he apologised that he’d had to reschedule his flights to Bali from 5 July to 1 July, because he is a walking cliche. “Any time up until 5am on the 1st, I’ll be around,” he assured me. Cold comfort. I made one of my appointments with Dr Davis’s back-up from the same hospital, who was a thoughtful and gentle man willing to listen to me rabbit on about my wishes for an intervention-free birth but can I have gas maybe? I also found out the maternity unit now had other doctors often on duty – a registrar and an ex-emergency department doctor who were both undergoing obstetric training and were well liked by both patients and midwives. I was assured the horrid doctor who had traumatised me last time wasn’t around “much” any more. Still – I really wanted Dr Davis to be there, which was why I’d chosen him as my doctor in the first place.

To add to my woes, Toby had a massive project at work with a 1 July deadline. This was career defining stuff. Everything he’d been working towards since starting this new job earlier in the year was leading up to this. So a June baby would mean he’d have to head back to work much sooner than we thought, at least to get that project over the line.

Even still, I kept praying for a late June baby. I had felt sick since I was 4 weeks pregnant and I was enormous. I was in the habit of lying to strangers about when I was due, and had been looking pregnant since about 12 weeks. I was tired and in pain and not being a terribly good mother to Emma. I couldn’t drink wine and as the parent of a toddler, that is the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment. I was replacing it with chocolate (see above re: being enormous). It was the pregnancy that felt like it would never, ever end. I needed it to be over, with or without my doctor (or husband).

To be continued…

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