When Your OB/GYN is Also Expecting
You might have noticed that we’ve had a recent baby boom among our Clinic Sofia team, with Drs. Clay, Hammers, Jordi and Stevens all welcoming newborns in the last year or so. With all of these new babies on board, we thought it might be fun to check in with your doctors to see what it’s like to be expecting while working with prenatal and postnatal patients.
Q. What was it like to be expecting (whether you or your spouse) while also working with expecting parents?
Dr. Erin Stevens: I think it was helpful to have my own experience to empathize with patients and back up my medical recommendations and advice. It was nice to be able to talk about shared experiences and excitement. Of course, it did become harder to run to deliveries (even just walking up the stairs to Labor & Delivery wearing a mask while pregnant could be a challenge) the more pregnant I was!
Dr. David Clay: Obviously, it was a little different for me, but I did find myself discussing with patients who were due around the same time as us the things that were similar or different between the patient and my wife and how, while every pregnancy is different, some things seem to be universal.
Q. Do your patients relate to you differently when you are expecting or also the parents of newborns?
Dr. Stevens: In general, I find it tends to be somewhat comforting to patients knowing we are real people who go through the same things that they do. Sharing information about my fertility struggle, miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting has definitely allowed me to make an even stronger connection to some patients and better support them on their own journeys.
Dr. Clay: On the parent side, I openly discuss with patients my own challenges and frustrations with parenting to help normalize that it isn’t all just cute baby time.
Q. Has your guidance to expecting/new parents changed after becoming a parent yourself?
Dr. Clay: I just advise more sleep whenever possible. I’ve never wanted naps more than I do now.
Dr. Stevens: There are so many things I understand better or differently now, like the extreme exhaustion of the initial weeks of postpartum life and the challenges of breastfeeding. I often try to contribute a little tidbit from my own pregnancy memories when a patient has an issue – detailing my exact multi-pillow arrangement for semi-comfortable sleep or describing how I think pregnancy yoga was helpful for my pregnancy and birth, for instance.
Q. How do you balance the personal and professional?
Dr. Clay: I really try to make sure that when I go home, I’m home, and don’t bring work home with me. I try to soak up as many snuggles and giggles as I can with the kids and enjoy time with my wife and family as a whole.
Dr. Stevens: My medical assistant, Melanie, and I fiercely defend breast-pumping breaks during the work day as continuing to provide my daughter breastmilk was one of my biggest worries with returning to work. She is in daycare part-time, and the daycare has an app that allows me to have at least some insight into her day. The days she’s home with my husband, he will generally send me a few photos of what they’re doing. I hung about 10,000 pictures of my daughter above my desk and have plenty on my phone camera roll to make me smile throughout the day. When I’m at home and not on call, I do my best to avoid doing non-essential work-related tasks. When I am on call, whether at the hospital or at home, I try to use my time as efficiently as I can so I can still spend as much time with my husband and daughter as possible. I get some snuggles and play time in the morning before I go to work most days and then have a couple of hours with her after I get home from work and before she goes to bed. There were times during maternity leave when I thought, “…what if I never went back?” but I love my job of supporting others through some of the hardest and best parts of life, and I know it will provide my daughter a great example to see her mom helping others.
Q. What do you love most/least about parenthood?
Dr. Stevens: I absolutely love being a mommy! Hearing her amazing laugh is the best part of my day and helping her figure out this world is just incredible. I am someone who truly treasures sufficient, restorative sleep, so I really could have done without the months of wonky sleep.
Dr. Clay: Watching the kids grow and develop has been astounding with seeing how much they pick up and how quickly. Also, I love coming home to Aaron screaming, “Daddy’s home!!” as he runs to greet me in the garage and seeing giant gummy grins on Sarah’s face as well. I love sleep. I get what feels like none of it now and some days it’s brutal.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Dr. Clay: Best wishes to those on the fertility journey trying to get to this point. Nicole and I feel very fortunate every day to have been able to have our children, but feel for those who aren’t there yet. Newsletter articles like this one about expecting and having kids are fun but they are also a reminder of what it took to get here. Lots of love to those who are still trying to get there.