The first time I got pregnant — a week after my wedding — I frantically
looked for an ob-gyn. "Find someone near you," stressed a few of my friends.
Young friends. Healthy friends. Friends who had no fertility problems and the
biggest thing they had to worry about was a long subway ride.
As so I did. I found someone who was on my subway stop, just
a hop skip and a jump away.
But that pregnancy didn't work out, and neither did she.
Although she was lovely during our initial interview—as I soon learned that
most doctors are—she was rather callous and uninformed after the first meeting.
So when it came time to search for a fertility doctor, I
thought I would be more thorough. I wouldn't be swayed by a clinic's location
or the doctor's gender (which is one of the reasons I'd picked the first one: I
mistakenly thought a woman would be more compassionate).
This time, I would go by reputation. So I started asking a
number of friends, then friends of friends, then even colleagues. Once a few
names started popping up a few times, I started researching those guys.
Then I looked at the online reviews. Now I know that often
cranks and kooks post reviews, you can find patterns among them. And as long as
I discounted the irrelevant—wait times too long, nursing staff too busy—I
could suss out the bottom line: Good clinic or not?
My first clinic came highly recommended and, judging by the
crowded waiting room, was highly successful. So successful, in fact, they
didn't put much money into waiting room décor, or even magazines, which were
from the previous year. (Magazines are not a good criteria for judging fertility
clinics, especially since most clinics have women's mags about cooking,
decorating and dating, not thoughtful ones, such as, say The Atlantic or Mensa.)
And that, I decided was one of the most important criterion to judge a clinic: See if you're on the same page.
I couldn't say that the staff were particularly warm and
fuzzy, but I did get an email address off one of the nurses, which made
communication easy. Ease of communication, I decided, while not the most
important factor in choosing a clinic, definitely makes the already difficult
fertility process smoother.
But I left that clinic anyway. Why?
I didn't agree with their philosophy. And that, I decided
was one of the most important criterion to judge a clinic: See if you're on the
same page. At the time, the doctor—a gruff, businesslike man—wanted to
pump me up with lots of drugs and I wanted a gentler approach. So I found a
different clinic that offered that.
And what a clinic that was! The waiting room was stunning—white walls, comfortable chairs, coffee and muffins in the morning, fruit in the afternoon. They even had a charging station! The lines weren't as long as my
first clinic, and the communication wasn't as smooth, but my new doctor and I
were on the same page. He was lovely, gentle and kind.
But after a year there, my treatment wasn't working. I
didn't know what to do. How could I find another doctor? I wanted someone nice
and there for me, but someone who would give me a baby too!
I did another round of asking, this time more knowledgeable
about my particular needs. Bedside manner would be important, communication and
waiting room less so, but the only thing I cared about was that the doctor help
me have a baby.
Another name kept coming up. I researched the stats. He
seemed like the one who could deal with my particular problem. And so I went to
him. His waiting room was small but fine, the staff was busy but fine, the
location was far, the waiting was long, but guess what?
The doctor knew what he was doing. He helped me get pregnant
and stay pregnant. And when it was time to release me to a regular ob-gyn, he
gave me a recommendation.
"How's the doctor's bedside manner?" I asked him.
"Does it really matter?" he said. I was going to have a
baby. So I guess it didn't.