There’s plenty of great advice out there about how to select an obstetrician, but there’s one thing that’s sorely lacking in all the lists of tips on picking the doctor who will deliver your baby.
Check out their education and bedside manner. Make sure they accept your insurance. Then before you book your first appointment, be honest with yourself about one question: Is my OB-GYN hot?
If the answer is yes, move along.
I know it sounds crazy. Women everywhere love to swoon over the thought of having their very own Dr. McDreamy and maybe even a Dr. McSteamy on call (just in case McDreamy isn’t available when you go into labor). And sure, being pregnancy means you’ll be seeing your doctor on a regular basis. So it seems allowing yourself a little eye candy is a great idea. But if that baby in your belly is making you crave sweets, best to stick to chocolate.
I made the mistake of having a highly attractive obstetrician, and it made me lose focus on the important part — the birth of my twin boys.
Because I conceived my twins with the help of IVF, the first eight weeks of my pregnancy were overseen by my fertility specialist. He was a middle-aged man whom I adored, but his presence had no effect on my desire to giggle. When I made it past the eight-week mark without any serious issues, I was referred to an OB practice skilled in high-risk pregnancies.
After researching the doctors’ educations and calling to see who was accepting patients, I was told there was a male doctor who could see me later that week. My birthing class that night was filled with labor and delivery nurses who were pregnant for the first time themselves, and during the class break they scared the rest of us with tales from the trenches. When one of the nurses asked me who my OB was, and I told her, her eyes lit up and she exchanged a grin with one of her fellow nurses. “Oh him,” she said gleefully. “He’s hot. In fact, he’s my OB too.”
Suddenly I couldn’t wait for my first appointment.
Then appointment day arrived. When my doctor entered the room I swear his smile blinged just like a toothpaste commercial. He was ridiculously good looking, so much so that I had to resist the urge to ask him if he was an actual doctor, or an actor playing a part.
I was thrilled with my selection of doctor… until he asked me to lift my shirt. Thanks to pregnancy hormones, my entire midsection had started to grow a dark fuzz. I hesitated to pull my shirt up, because I was worried he would gasp in horror at the human kiwi fruit in front of him.
Ever the professional, he didn’t flinch as I bared my stomach, but I still found myself watching his face closely for signs of repulsion, or a single zit, because I wasn’t completely convinced someone this attractive could possibly be human. I was so focused on what my doctor would think about my body hair that after I left the visit I realized I had barely paid attention to the image of my sweet growing babies on the ultrasound.
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As my routine visits to the OB continued, my doctor’s good looks made it hard to talk about certain aspects of my pregnancy. Mentioning side effects like heartburn or lower back pain were fine, but my face burned with embarrassment telling him about my morning sickness and gas. My focus on our interactions was overshadowing my pregnancy excitement.
For the record, I have no desire to engage in any sort of sexual or romantic relationship with my doctor. I’m very happily married. But being in a healthy marriage doesn’t stop a person from noticing when someone’s attractive. My husband was present for all but one of my doctor visits, and even he commented that the hospital must ask for headshots to be submitted along with job applications because so many of the staff, my doctor included, are stunning.
Nevertheless, even if you know you’re not going to date or sleep with an attractive person, you still don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of them. Confessing to my OB that yes, I had been dealing with some painful constipation was like having your middle-school crush tell you there’s toilet paper sticking out of the back of your pants and, by the way, your fly is unzipped.
By far the worst moment of having a cutie for a doctor came when I was 27 weeks pregnant and started to go into premature labor. A routine office-visit ultrasound revealed I had started to dilate and contract without feeling anything, and I was rushed across the street to the hospital with the hopes of trying to stop my labor from progressing further. My doctor soon glided into the room, his white lab coat trailing behind him like a superhero’s cape. He decided he wanted the specialists to do an internal exam. Rather than move me to another room with a gynecological exam table, he wanted to test out the fancy features of the new hospital bed I was currently in that had the ability to origami its way into an exam table.
My doctor hunkered down between my legs to move whatever had to move to shift the table, but the mechanism was stuck. Rather than give up, he insisted on trying again. And again. And again. For close to 15 minutes, my doctor with the megawatt grin had his face directly in front of my lady bits with nothing more than a thin paper napkin separating us. I was under orders not to move an inch lest I accelerate my labor, so I couldn’t shift away to increase the space between us. I’m not sure what terrified me more: the thought that he might lose his grip on the bed and face plant into my privates, or the very real risk that I would fart while he was down there.
Thankfully my OB is more than just a pretty face, and he was able to help stall my labor for nearly six weeks. While I had waited so long for this day and should have been completely focused on the birth of my sons, even during labor there was still a tiny part of me that was worrying about impressing my doctor.
I pushed for three long, pain-filled hours before a dip in Baby A’s heart rate prompted my medical team to make the call for a C-section. I had an epidural, yet I still I hated every second of those three hours. I wanted to snarl at everyone to stop telling me what to do. I was dangerously close to begging for a glass of water. Instead I found myself trying to make witty observations in between contractions. I downplayed my discomfort and exhaustion. I used my sense of humor in an attempt to distract my OB from the fact that I hadn’t shaved below my waist in months. One of the nurses told me I was the most charming woman in labor she’d ever met, and I was comforted by the fact that at least someone appreciated my efforts.
My infatuation with my OB has faded over time. He’s seen me unshowered, unshaven and hooked up to a double breast pump, so I’m fairly confident his opinion of me, whatever it may be, is cemented. But I still take the time to put on lip gloss for my annual each year, just because.
So before you give an emphatic, “Yes please!” to scheduling an appointment with a doctor who makes your pulse quicken, remember that yes, they’re going to see you naked. And you’ll probably tell them things about your body that you’ve never told anyone before. But the reality will be less romantic comedy, more thriller with lots of bodily fluids than you’re imagining.