Woo-hoo!! One good doctor found, one to go…

I wrote, last week, about my search for a couple of good doctors, specifically an allergist and a new OB/GYN.  I think I found one.

For the record, I have nothing against doctors in general.  I’ll use a prescription when it’s truly necessary.  But, my desire in pretty much everything medical is to a) be as natural as possible, b) avoid medication whenever possible, and c) find the root source of a problem, instead of just medicating symptoms.  This seems fairly reasonable to me, but is rather rare in doctors.

My old OB, who retired, wasn’t quite a crunchy/natural kind of guy, but at least he understood, respected, and accomodated my desire to be such.  The guy I’d found to replace him?  Not so much.  He was my first OB’s medical partner, and he’s the one who was actually present at Audrey’s birth, which went wonderfully.  But, having him be the doctor for all the prenatal care of this pregnancy has been continually problematic.  He blew off my concerns, didn’t seem to care about my own desires in taking care of myself, tried to medicate me for herpes (when the thing I had/have turned out to NOT be herpes!), and was already prepping me to be induced, which I do not want to be.  (I’m 30 weeks pregnant — he wasn’t pressuring me to be induced NOW, just telling me that, when the time comes, that would be his recommendation, if I went even a couple of days past my EDD.)  Plus, that doc’s office staff was surly and disorganized, and appointments took FOREVER, literally up to three hours, and all of them at least two hours…


I went to the new doctor (Dr. Paul McKernan, for anyone in the north-Phoenix area) on Friday.  My appointment was for 7:15, and I walked in at 7:05, dismayed to find a full waiting room.  But, after I filled out my new patient paperwork, they got me in right away.  I was completely done by 8:00, and I didn’t feel either rushed, nor that I had waited too long.

I felt, right off, that we were on the same page — or at least a very similar page.

  • He said that upon examination, he could understand how the other doc might have thought it was a “herpetic lesion” but given my history — he said something like, “Given that you’re not in the habit of swinging around biker bars or anything like that…”  He gave me an rx for a low-dose steroid cream to use for a week, and some written instructions of how to care for it.  For some reason, it made me feel REALLY good that a doctor actually believed that my husband and I are totally faithful to each other, and that an STD was an extreme unlikelihood.  I really felt like the previous doc was accusing me and/or my husband of being unfaithful.  And, it felt good that Dr. McKernan had a plan of action — an already-made written document that said, “Here’s how to care for yourself.”  The other doc’s directions were always so nebulous, like he didn’t really have a plan, ever.
  • Dr. McKernan said that, since this is my 5th baby, and since there’s another issue — which I really don’t want to blog about — I’m dealing with, my risk for hemorrage is increased.  But, it’s not scary-high or anything, which I was a little afraid of.  So, I’ll likely give my own blood as the due date approaches, just so it’ll be handy if anything goes awry.  I had tried to bring this up with the other doc, but he blew me off.  It feels good to be listened to, and not blown off.
  • As a standard practice, I was surprised to learn that Dr. McKernan does NOT give episiotomies.  This is important to me.  My first three children, my boys, I either tore (doc did not get there fast enough), or got an epi, and recovery from that is… well, uncomfortable.  The very reason I had been going to doc #2 was because he worked with me when I was delivering Audrey, and I did not tear or need an epi, and she was 9 lbs., so I know it’s possible.  I just didn’t want to have to convince a new doctor of it.  And, now, it’s especially important that I do not have either, to avoid further risk of hemmorage/bleeding.  So, to hear him say that with all his patients, he basically applies some natural birthing methods (stretching, pressure, lubrication, judicious/minimized pushing) to ease the baby out with no surgical intervention…  well, that just made me tear up.  I literally started to cry, I was so relieved.  And, he has the mother assist with the last couple of pushes, pulling the baby out herself.  WOW!!  For those of you who haven’t birthed, that might sound scary/weird/gross/whatever.  But hearing that just made delight well in my heart, and helps me to eagerly anticipate the birth, even more.  (Weirdo that I am, I am REALLY looking forward to the birth of this baby… It’s just the pregnancy that I have to get through!!  Pregnancy does not agree with my body.)
  • He placed me on, basically, the South Beach Diet.  That’s roughly the sort of diet I aim for anyways — lower carbs, high protein, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains — but now, I’m even more careful about what I eat.  So far, I’ve gained 22 lbs, which is the best yet (least amount of weight gain of all my pregnancies), but I still have 10 weeks to go…  and gaining the least amount of weight possible from here on out will minimize the impact on my cardiovascular system (especially vericose veins), and hopefully, keep me from having a 10 lb baby.  So… I’ve been eating a lot of celery.  🙂  I think, though, that I’m going to have to start keeping track of my carbs.  He wants me to keep them around 100 grams per day, and I think I’m probably at 150 or even 200.
  • He did say that the “trend” currently is to not let mothers go much past their EDD at all, but he understood that I am motivated to birth naturally, and that I’d rather give birth to an 11 lb baby who is two weeks late than be induced.

So, I’m greatly encouraged. 

I feel weird/bad about switching doctors — I’ve never done that before, much less at 30 weeks pregnant — but, it appears that it was the right decision.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 18, 2008, in Birth, Encouragement, Medical Stuff, Pregnancy, Scary stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Oh, I’m glad you found a good one Karen! I had to switch doctors on a couple of different occasions during pregnancies and it’s not a fun time to be Dr. hunting. Hope you find your second one just as easily. Oh, and don’t feel bad about switching. You have no obligation to your doctor — should be the other way ’round. Good luck with those carbs! 😉

  2. Just wanted to say hi and introduce myself! Like I said, I’m 23, living in Romania and working with the Rroma (Gypsies), Jewish, vegetarian, etc. I think you know some of my bio from my old comment but I find your blog interesting and enjoy reading it (when I have time)…if you want to talk about NLD I’m free to email back and forth or communicate with some kind of messenger- you name it, I probably use it. I’m experimenting to see if I have mostly silent Celiac- depression, weight loss of 30 lbs in 1 year, low calcium and blood sugar, diarrhea, but no nausea or major upset stomach. Of course, as you know, depression and NLD go hand in hand, so who knows? J.

  3. I’m so glad that you found someone!! What a relief!

  4. So glad you found a good Doctor who will listen to you!

    The lower amounts of weight gain will definitely be helpful with that issue. If nothing else, it will help you be more comfortable. I don’t know what your exercise world is like, but I was taking yoga when I had that issue pop up and had to stop.

    Here’s to hoping the next 9-10 weeks go fabulously!


  5. Michelle ~ Thanks for the reminder about the doc really being obligated to me, not the other way around.

    Julie ~ Hi!! Did you read an earlier post of mine that mentioned that my husband is going to Romania in September? Your symptoms don’t seem like “silent” celiac at all!! You sound like you have have some very classic symptoms.

    Daja ~ Thank you for sharing in my joy!!

    Jamie ~ My exercise world… Well, I worked out for about a month, then started feeling too sick, then got out of the habit. I’ve been walking a bit — and probably would be walking more if the darn Olympics weren’t on in the evening!!

  6. I’m so glad you found a doc you’re comfortable with! I think you absolutely did the right thing finding one that you’re comfortable with. I wound up switching OBs when I was over 8 months pregnant with Mikaela because I moved 3 hours away … that was an experience!

  7. Dr. McKernan is my father in law. 🙂 He is an amazing person! As you probably know, he is no longer practicing. 😦

    • Wow! Please send him my greetings. I doubt he remembers me, but that’s OK. 🙂 I miss him. He has become legendary among many of my natural birthing friends — with the baby he delivered of mine, Fiala, I was failure to progress for six+ hours, but he didn’t pressure me for an AROM or Pitocin or anything. Baby’s heartrate was good, I was happy, not exhausted. I finally went into transition and had a baby 11 minutes later. 🙂 Pretty much no other OB would be that patient, and I am forever grateful that he believed me that I was fine, and that we waited. 100% natural birth (my fifth) achieved!!

      Some good friends of mine are related to the McKernans, too! Let’s see if you can follow: I have had a friend named Brian since we were both seven years old. Brian and I met Bev when we were all 14. Bev and Brian married not too long after high school. Brian’s older brother is named Bruce. Bruce is married to Linda, who is Dr. McKernan’s youngest sister, and I guess your… aunt-in-law or something like that!!!

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