Erin saw me for her postnatal visit yesterday. She said to me as she was leaving: “I hope you will still be around when I have my next baby”

Patients say that comment or similar comments to me often at their postnatal visits. They appreciate my care and want me to be their obstetrician for their next pregnancy. It gives me immense joy to hear such comments.

The comments are made because they know I have been an obstetrician for many years, they are wondering when I am going to retire, and they hope it is not before their next pregnancy.

Obviously, retirement is something I think about, but I am not ready to retire yet.

I am not ready to retire because being an obstetrician is so rewarding.

Over the years I have had so many wonderful patients. It has been such an honour to support them at such momentous times of their lives. I tell a patient often that besides meeting the right partner in life, for most, having a baby is the next most important event in their life.

To be able to support a woman through her pregnancy, get to know her and her partner, build a good relationship with them, support them in achieving a successful pregnancy outcome and to share in the joy of welcoming their new baby into world, and to also be able to give meaningful and caring support if the pregnancy does not go well, is so important and rewarding.

Today I received a thank you postcard from a boy I delivered in 2015. He wrote: “Thank you for bringing me into the world”. Such a joy. His name has been removed by me from the photo of the postcard adjacent.

I have considerable experience on my side. I would have managed at least 15,000 pregnancies by now. I would be one of the most experienced obstetricians in Sydney. Being very experienced, careful, and caring so much about my patients and their wellbeing means I have very few potentially avoidable complications. There are pregnancy complications which are unavoidable. My considerable experience and wisdom often mean I can take management steps that will minimise the impact of the adverse preancy, labour and/or childirth developments on the wellbeing of mother and/or baby. Midwives tell me my management, especially when there is an adverse development, is so often superior to that provided by more junior and less experienced obstetricians.

I have seen so many times over the years incorrect management decisions by others with disastrous consequences. That saddens me so much. Yesterday a woman consulted me who had been confined at a hospital in central Queensland with a disastrous childbirth outcome that was avoidable. She travelled to see me in my rooms in Norwest, Sydney to discuss with me what had happened, so she could get more information and to get my opinion about her management.

Being very experienced means I can relax more in the job and enjoy it more. If there is major adverse development I am calm because I am very experienced and I am confident in my management. Patients can tell and often comment that I am calm, and I know what I am doing. This is very reassuring to patients, and they tell me so.

The job of being an obstetrician is very demanding. I am confronted with life-threatening situations at all hours of the day, which I must deal with successfully. I am on call for my patients 24 hours per day 7 days per week, unless I am away and then I will have a colleague cover for me. It is not unusual to attend the hospital for a delivery in the early hours of the morning when most people are asleep. But the rewards of the job outweigh the stresses and the terrible hours. I have wonderful wife who I met in high school and who has been with me and supported me on the journey.

I am physically able and mentally able to do the work and so there is no reason to stop. I am not planning to retire in the short term, and I plan to be around to support my patients in their next pregnancies.

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