After I gave birth to Darla, the first time I saw the Ob/Gyn who delivered her, I got very flustered. I felt as if I were in the presence of a celebrity. I had come to the office for my six-week checkup, and I saw her as I walked down the hall to the room with the stirrups, etc. I'd be seeing another doctor, but I was so happy to see she was there. I had wanted to talk to her for weeks. She and I walked towards each other. My heart started beating quicker. My palms sweat.
"What should I say to her," I thought as I opened my purse to pull out my phone. "Should I show her pictures of Darla? I'm sure she'd like to see the picture where it looks like Darla's smiling; the one where it's more likely that she's just farting, but a smile is a smile. She'll probably want to take a selfie together, too. I guess I should do duck lips."
When we were within feet of each other, I beamed at the doctor. She looked in my direction, gave me a polite nod as if she didn't recognize me, and kept walking. My shoulders slumped as I put the camera back in my purse and walked into the checkup room. Apparently, you get immune to the birthing process when you deliver 2-3 kids a day.
My regular doctor, the one who didn't deliver Darla because she wasn't on call that night, eventually came into the room and I felt like I was meeting a c-list celebrity. It was still nice to see the woman who walked with me through the pregnancy, but it wasn't the same as talking to the woman who caught my kid.
My regular doctor, however, was the one who delivered Jude. Suddenly, she was no longer a C-list celebrity; she was A-list. She was the woman who made it so I didn't have to induce; the woman who, although she got there 20 excruciating minutes after I was ready to push, caught Jude. She was my new celebrity crush. I looked up to her so much that I didn't question her when she told me a particular birth control had zero side effects, which ended up having so many awful ones. I even overlooked the fact that she still thought my name was "Christie" (my last name) after seven years.
I believed our respect and admiration for each other was mutual. I always made my ob-gyn laugh, and she said my kids were perfect. I thought it was pretty impressive that she helped me bring one of my kids in the world. It would seem we had a stable relationship.
Everything was hunky-dory between us until today when I called to schedule an appointment. I informed the receptionist that we had switched back to an HMO. There was a long pause.
"Unfortunately, the doctor is no longer seeing any new or returning HMO patients," she said nervously.
"That's ok," I said. "I was able to use my HMO with her when I was in last year. Me being an HMO patient isn't a new thing."
"I understand," she said. "But she no longer sees even returning HMO patients."
I was silent. My mind raced. Was my doctor breaking up with me because I didn't have fancy, prohibitively expensive insurance? And she's having her receptionist do it for her? I wanted to tell the receptionist about my son Jude's labor and delivery and how the doctor and I had bonded. But I just stayed silent and stewed in the betrayal.
Eventually, I spoke. "So there's nothing I can do?"
"No, there's nothing we can do. I'm sorry," the receptionist said.
"I guess, then, this relationship is over," I said in the angriest voice I could muster, which is a lot of other people's polite voice. I pushed the end call button as sternly as I could, wishing that I had a rotary phone so I could slam the receiver down.
I felt as if a seven-year marriage, one that I thought had its problems and was somewhat one-sided but worked overall, had just ended. But then I remembered all the things I had overlooked over the years since Jude was born and realized that our relationship had been over for a long time; I had just still been getting high off the fumes of the birth. It had been years since she had done anything to wow me. It was for the best that this doctor/patient relationship was over because I'm now with the hottest ob-gyn in the LA game who doesn't turn his nose up at my HMO.