Truly a ‘Unicorn’

I wanted to take a moment to wholeheartedly thank you for writing about Dr. Melissa Drake and shining a light on women’s health in Santa Barbara.

As a patient of Dr. Drake’s, I can tell you she is 100 percent deserving of the title “unicorn OB.” She worked tirelessly and gave a level of care that doesn’t usually exist in Santa Barbara. It’s hard to put into words what an incredible doctor she is unless you’ve experienced it — the unrushed appointments in her office, the education, the friendly ear listening to you cry about birth trauma. Her attention was always on you. I have an army of friends who would say the same! 

When I first moved back to S.B., I had met with four different obstetricians after having to beg my way into appointments. I didn’t think I had high standards, but I came from L.A. where I was lucky to have caring doctors who listened to me. I quickly found out that it wasn’t the same in S.B. I settled on someone who was fine, but offered a base level of care and never advocated for me when needed. 

I was blown away when I was introduced to Dr. Drake by a friend. I can see I’m about to launch into a novel right now so I’m going to cut this short. I just wanted to say I was lucky to have Dr. Drake as my OB for the last five years and for the birth of my two sons.

It’s unacceptable how bad the medical system in Santa Barbara is, what a “boys club” mentality exists within the medical community toward new doctors (even if they are women OBs). Dr. Drake never mentioned anything to me, but it was clear and easy to see no one made it easy for a new doctor like her. Honestly I was always surprised she was able to last as long as she did. From the outside looking in, it looked like she was fighting an uphill battle, but she persisted. 

This in a town where we don’t have enough doctors to start with. Have you tried to get an OB-GYN!? Good luck if you’re not pregnant! Why would the other doctors not be making strides to work together and support one another? 

Lastly, shame on Cottage Hospital, which is world class. To have a baby there is like giving birth at a resort. However you better be happy with the way they want it! I know so many women who have gone to home birth not because they wanted to but because of Cottage’s stance on VBACs [vaginal birth after caesarean]. What is this, the Stone Age? It’s wonderful for a woman to have a home birth, if that’s what she wants, but not because they feel forced into it due to lack of care and options at their local hospital. Just crazy. 


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