2. The staff is so nice!
So, the office staff isn't making the calls on game day. It sure is nice to work with pleasant people, that's for certain. I prefer to eat at restaurants with great wait staff and stay in hotels with amazing service. When it comes to making the big calls concerning your health and birth - it's the provider that matters. However rude or nice the staff, ultimately they make up a very small part of your pregnancy experience and none of your birth experience.
3. Appointments are always on time or have short wait times.
How is it that some providers always run on time or close to? I'll tell ya- they're not at their births and if they are their induction and/or cesarean rate is likely high. Health care providers who are patient enough to allow labor to start and continue as it is intended and attend their clients' births rather than relying on the on-call doc and scheduled births, have clinic-scheduling difficulties. Add to this the fact that they are told how many appointments to take/hour, appointment scheduling is out of their hands, and this amazing provider is probably spending more time with you than the 5 minutes you are truly allotted. When it's your time to labor and push you're never gonna feel bad for those people waiting and you will be gratful to have your patient, skilled provider caring for you.
A caviat to this is that it's unfair to compare those in private or shared practices to those working for a group/hosptial and midwives to OBs. Midwives, by the nature of midwifery, allow for longer appointments and have fewer patients. In shared practices it's easier for the person not attending births on a given day to keep up with clinic appointments. This is great! But a provider's ability to run an on-time office is in no way a measure of his/her quality of care.
4. He/She makes me laugh.
Laughter is the best medicine, of course! While bed-side manner is awesome and definitely a plus, being funny and/or super polite does not equate to being an awesome health care provider. This is just not reason enough to hire someone.
It's great to have a connection with your provider. But ultimately this is a professional relationship and you aren't looking for a bestie - you are looking for someone that you can trust to leave you alone when it's appropriate and to only intervene when needed. You need someone that will be there for you when you are ready to birth your baby. Someone who will trust your own ancient birth wisdom and support you while you labor and push as your baby and body tell you - not to say "sure you can do whatever you want so long as you and baby are safe" then procede to flip you over to a standard stirrup position to "make things easier." If and when this person looks in your eyes and says "I think we need to move to an induction/augmentation/cesarean" you know that all else has been exhausted and you can move forward in this direction with confidence in the decision and respect and honor for your birth.
5. My sister/friend/cousin/mom/friend's-cousin's-mom uses him/her.
This is probably a great way to choose a hair dresser. A health care povider, not so much. Unless of course your sister/friend/cousin/mom/friend's cousin's mom and you have a lot in common in regards to your motherbaby care birth plans. You may like the same jokes, love the same music and read the same books, but have very different ideas about optimal motherbaby maternity care. Take a good childbirth class and look for red flags. Hire a doula and listen to what your doula has to say. What care providers are doulas choosing? Who do her clients see? You hire a doula because of the knowledge she holds, because of what she has seen - this person has had far more experiences with birth than your sister/friend/cousin/mom/friend's cousin's mom (unless of course that person is also a doula).