COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: In praise of Dr. Wonderful

The rallies at Scripps Encinitas have ended. Dr. Robert Biter, known to the San Diego birthing community as Dr. Wonderful, was reinstated — and immediately resigned all privileges. Many expectant moms have been choosing to make the trek down to Sharp Mary Birch to birth with Dr. Biter as their unpaid doula. Why would someone switch their choice of hospitals so late in their pregnancy? Who would want a longer car ride while in active labor? They are willing to give up everything to have Dr. Biter present for their birth. After all, he’s called Dr. Wonderful for a reason.
Whether it’s his shockingly low cesarean rates or his reputation for being the “midwife’s doctor” that brought them to his office, one appointment is usually all it took for San Diego area women to switch their care provider to Dr. Biter. No matter how long you have to wait (and it can be hours), nothing else matters when he comes into the room, because you have his full and undivided attention for as long as you are there. I have never met another doctor who treats women with the same level of respect that Dr. Biter shows each and every person who walks through his office doors.
In my first birth back in New Jersey, I received an epidural before feeling a single contraction and pushed numbly for hours. Obviously, nothing mattered in the end except for my baby girl. But after a few months, I started to feel a twinge of regret. What would birth have felt like? I felt as if I had been a spectator at the event, that I had no control over what had happened. I wanted to experience birth the second time, so I committed to birthing with Dr. Biter at Scripps.
I gave birth on April 26, 2010. Dr. Biter walked into my room and found me in the middle of a contraction. He came up behind me, applied counterpressure to my back, and waited for the contraction to end before he spoke in a low voice, asking me how I was doing.
The defining moment in my birth came 10 minutes later. He told me the baby was close, but he didn’t have enough room to get out in my half-sitting position. He asked if I would rather lay flat on my back to push or get up on my hands and knees. I was floored — what doctor gives the choice to the woman in this situation? I could make things easy for him and lay on my back, or get up on my knees where he couldn’t see what he was doing — but he was giving me that choice freely, trusting that I would answer the feeling of what my body was telling me to do.
His validation of my control over my body was the most empowering thing I’ve ever felt. I chose to get up on my knees and started pushing. The next five minutes were the most intense moments of my life, but Dr. Biter’s complete trust in my body gave me the strength to push harder than I thought I could. My son was born five minutes later without a single tear to my body.
My first birth took away my confidence in my own body. My second gave it back. And I have Dr. Biter to thank. His respect for me and trust in my body’s ability to birth were the most empowering gifts I have ever received.
No official comments have been made by Dr. Biter or Scripps about what happened in May. Dr. Biter’s Babies By The Sea Birth Center is not yet a reality, but many of his supporters are working tirelessly to see it through. In the meantime, his patients are choosing to go out of their way to birth wherever Dr. Biter may be — can you blame them? His patients birth with dignity and honor. I would follow him anywhere to birth with him, and there are 1,000-plus fans on his Facebook page that would agree with me. Wherever Dr. Biter takes his talent, I only hope that women are able to call him their “baby catcher” again soon.

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  1. tell the truth says:

    truth is Dr. Biter has has 6 lawsuits for malpractice in 5 years. I wonder why this info was left out?

  2. wonder2 says:

    No doctor walks on water- he gives his patients validation and support- sometime it has been said he has pushed the envelope….Dr Biter can tell his side but the hospital can not. In the end its now how the baby is born that matters most but how the child is raised. These parents should better spend their time on raising responsible children who contribute and not self abosrbed..stop focusing on the birth or the wedding or other ceremonis- think about how you live

  3. JealousDocs says:

    Its very common when a superstar rises above the crop of mediocrity to go that extra mile for his patients that others in the profession try to discredit. I am sure wonder2 and tell the truth are doctors that can’t stand Dr. Biter’s success as a highly regarded doctor by his patients and further can’t stand his entrepreneurship to be able to take his concepts to higher levels. I highly doubt these people bashing him would get a turn out like Dr. Biter did at his recent seaside market event. The masses of people that attended with their kids speak for themselves. To tell the truth, the poster trying their hardest to discredit Dr. Biter, in case you didn’t know you live in the lawsuit capital of the world and most lawsuits are frivolous and without merit. I guess if you don’t perform any births you can get sued right. And of course the old boys network at the hospital aren’t going to like a young successful doctor that can take half the patients to his own birthing center because his patients absolutely love him !!

  4. tell the truth says:

    ugh, 2.9 lawsuits for malpractice is the average for Cali OB/GYNs in a LIFETIME CAREER. Why do you assume these 6 lawsuits are frivolous? Is it that these women do not matter to you?

  5. jennaryan says:

    wonder2… i’d like to respond to your comment. indeed, no doctor “walks on water”, and dr. biter is far from claiming to walk on water. his patients and supporters embrace him because he is human and simply cares deeply and devotedly for our families.
    i agree with you that as parents, we need to “think about how we live” but by focusing on our births, we are not simply focusing on it for focusing sake… we care deeply how we birth our babies because there is much evidence in favor of the way a birth goes being related to how parent/ child bonding starts out. i’m not saying that if a birth doesn’t go the way someone hopes, that this bonding won’t occur, but i am saying that it’s not a frivolous or self-absorbed to care about how my baby is born. and i think it is a completely unfair and presumptuous statement to say “These parents should better spend their time on raising responsible children who contribute and [are] not self absorbed…” what on earth does that have to do with wanting our birth wishes to be respected?

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