Obstetricians do not exist



I have busted a great medical myth. I’ve concluded that obstetricians do not, in fact, exist.

They’re an idea, a philosophical construct of the medical community designed to keep expectant mothers reassured that their case is being handled by a 20ft-tall archdoctor with golden fingers. The reality is that behind the velvet curtain fronted by midwives, nurses and registrars, is a great big empty space with nothing but a few shooting stars in it. (Each one probably represents the faith of a woman who’s just discovered obstetricians aren’t real.)

In my first pregnancy, the ‘obstetrician’ was the faceless entity behind the forms and graphs who dictated Timmy was going to be evicted by force if he wasn’t out by his due date. I was panicked and desperate to know why this was necessary, but I wasn’t allowed to have direct contact instructions for this authoritative figure. Probably for the same reason nobody has street directions to Santa’s grotto.

Instead I appealed to several go-betweeners, the folks with faces in front of the velvet curtain, and I was eventually allowed a meeting with this spectre to discuss its decision, scheduled a couple of weeks ahead. (Perhaps this was to give people time to build one with plaster moulds and gold foil.)

Timmy arrived a couple of days before the meeting was to happen, so I never had that meeting after all, and the hospital’s system of psychological invention was safe.

This time, my being in pursuit of an elective cesarean would surely have me meeting an obstetrician, I figured. After all, I’d been told as much. I would have to formulate my case, and persuade one I had legitimate grounds for the surgery. This would be the last magic gate to pass through, after the ones monitored by midwives, mental health nurses, and psychiatrists.

I arrived at the hospital yesterday for my consultation appointment with a specific, named, obstetrician. I was ready. I’d read, researched, brought my proof of having been certified by the keepers of previous magic gates, and had a written list of questions for him about the surgery and this hospital’s protocols.

An hour after my appointment time, I was still in the waiting room, glad I’d been able to pass Timmy on to a friend. The horror of entertaining a one-year-old in a waiting room with no toys would have been beyond comprehension. A midwife had taken me away briefly just to collect some notes and details, and returned me to the waiting room to tell me that the doctor would fetch me next.

I’d returned to my seat, wondering what golden fingers looked like in real life.

I still don’t know. I never saw the obstetrician. The consultation turned out to be with his registrar.

The registrar was very friendly and helpful, competently addressing each of my questions in turn. I have no complaints about her. My disappointment was in not meeting the person I’d been told I would be meeting, who the appointment was meant to be with in the first place.

After our talk, when the registrar had been escorting me along corridors, I’d wondered if I was now being taken to see the obstetrician. (Although, now that I’d had all my questions addressed by his registrar, I wondered what I might say to him.)

When we reached our destination, which turned out to be the door leading back to the carpark, I realised the truth:

There is no obstetrician.


(3) Comments

  • Ngaire
    21 Jun 2013

    I didn’t meet mine either – was under anaesthetic n those boys just came out magically and arrived in hubbies arms when I woke.

  • Naomi
    21 Jun 2013

    I know what you mean. I did actually meet some of mine but they always seem to be so busy that I swear that I imagined them. Then after the baby is born its not the obstetrician that’s needed anymore its the paediatrician so you never really see them anyway

  • Mrs. W
    29 Jun 2013

    This is so disappointing – I’m sorry. You deserve better – really, a lot better.

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