At 11:45 on a sunny September morning, Linda Missry, 36, is lying in a bright room at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, completely and utterly focused on her task. She's about to give birth to her fourth child.
"I'm not so comfortable anymore," she says plaintively. Linda's doctor, Jonathan Scher, M.D., an esteemed New York ob-gyn, infertility specialist, and author of Preventing Miscarriage: The Good News, offers her the only help he can: encouragement. "Push, push!" he says, with genuine excitement. On his orders, Linda bears down. Her legs shake.
Any minute now, I think, flashing back to the final moments of my own delivery six years ago, when my second daughter's birth was attended by an obstetrician so blasé I swear he stifled a yawn during my 17 minutes of pushing. I wish I'd had a cheerleader like Dr. Scher by my side.
After three decades of practicing and teaching medicine on three continents (Dr. Scher is a board-certified ob-gyn in the U.S., holds medical degrees from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in London), he still clearly adores his work. That passion bubbles over to his patients, some of whom travel from as far away as France and Italy to see him. Over the years, he's come to view women as his partners in the prenatal process. "Obstetrics is not a disease," he says. "It's a natural function just like eating, sleeping, or drinking -- you shouldn't even call pregnant women patients!"