So I saw a different OB at the practice the Monday after I started the thread, and she was responsive and reassuring with my questions. I got a Pap, declined the Doppler, and an internal/external exam. To answer the Aussie poster's question, the HCP is feeling externally for size and softness of uterus and (last time, I think, but not this time) often has a finger or two inside to push upwards to compare. This has never seemed weird to me. Anyway, she mentioned that my uterus was soft and estimated 12w (I was right at 13w).
We also toured the hospital where this practice delivers and the (nurse?) that gave us a quick tour estimated 2800 births a year and "one or two" per month don't get an epi. Off the cuff numbers, to be sure, but that puts the rate at 0.9% no epi, maybe. And she seemed a bit befoozled at my inquiry for c-section and MRSA and other such rates. *sigh*
Then we talked to the billing people at the great birth center near here. I am kicking myself for not fully investigating earlier than now, as they are full for June, but may make an exception for a 2nd time mom with an easy vag delivery for #1. Anyway, I had thought that Tricare would not cover it, but they do, as long as they are willing to file a non-network provider thing and it gets approved.
So right now we're in a bit of limbo. Not really feeling hospital #1, although apparently the two terrific hosps. here are both very high-tech, new, and considered great. But very hospital-y, with C-section rates near 30%, no tubs, no bed or pullout for dad, typical . It could be worse. I'm just crossing my fingers that the BC will work out and not worrying about it until we get back from Hawaii.