Provider Feature: Tennille B. Cloward, M.D.
Dr. Cloward is with our American Fork OB/GYN Group and has been a practicing physician for 10 years! She loves delivering babies and being there for women through all of their big milestones. As a mother to 5 children, ages 14 and under including twin boys, she spends her time away from the clinic driving boys to baseball, basketball or football and her daughter to dance, gymnastics or soccer. Her and her husband tag team the crazy schedule and love spending time together!
Why did you choose to become an OB/GYN?
It started with the love of delivering babies. It was the coolest thing to bring new life into this world. That evolved a lot as I practiced. While delivering babies is still my favorite part, the relationship you get to have with women and being there through all the big milestones—first pap smear, watching their families grow—is rewarding! I feel like being a woman and having experiences they have, many patients are more comfortable talking to me about things. They’ll see me for one of their OB visits and say, “Well, since I’m seeing you today…” and ask those embarrassing questions because it’s not quite as embarrassing with me.
Do you remember your first delivery or one that was memorable in your career?
I remember in medical school not wanting to miss one birth! It didn’t matter what time it was. During my elective rotation, my attending wouldn’t always tell me and I would get upset when I would see him the next day because I didn’t want to miss any of them. That was the coolest thing. It still is!
Did you always want to go to medical school? Was that always the goal?
No. I knew that I liked caring for people and had little siblings that I cared for growing up. The sciences also interested me in school. It was adding one and one makes two and you go to medical school. Before starting school I knew the goal was medical school.
What do you love about Valley Women’s Health?
One of the most important things, and a big reason I wanted to be part of Valley, was that we accept all of the insurances! This allows me to take care of my patients whether they have to deliver at one hospital or another. I didn’t like losing my patients come a new year when their insurance changed.
Valley Women’s Health also has a great reputation and a lot of great providers that make that reputation!
What is your favorite thing about being an OB/GYN?
I love working with fertility patients because of my personal history. Being there to help them through a really tough experience is important to me. Having female infertility myself, I understand the burden women feel and it’s awesome when you get them to where they have 5 little kiddos following behind them.
Dr. Clorward’s infertility journey:
My husband and I had real hard time getting pregnant. We tried to get pregnant for over a year before we did seek help. For another year and a half we tried Clomid without any success and after giving up on that, had the typical situation where you get pregnant on your next cycle.
After our first son, we tried Clomid again and couldn’t get it to work. Then finally started doing injectable hormones, got pregnant, had a miscarriage which was devastating. We jumped right back in with injectable hormones. Luckily, at that time I was working with a Reproductive Endocrinologist in residency which made it easy to get care through him. We then got pregnant again and I had Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, which you don’t see very often, and was hospitalized for that. My abdomen was so full of ascites at 6 weeks that I looked like I was 6 months pregnant. It’s a complication you can have, but the fortunate thing is if it gets bad enough, the Ovarian Hyperstimulation, it’s usually because you’re pregnant. I had my second son.
Thinking it would take another 4 years, like it did between the first two, we jumped right back into and got pregnant with twins. I had the twin experience too and that’s always a fun discussion because I don’t remember much of that first year. It was a whirlwind! I was definitely in over my head. My husband is a stay-at-home dad so we thought we were done. They were all boys. At that point we had been married about 11 years and I had never used birth control because I didn’t feel like I needed to. When my twins were 1 years old, I started getting nauseous and thought it was ridiculous that I was sick all the time. My husband thought I might be pregnant, so I took a test to prove that he was wrong. We had an unplanned pregnancy with a little girl. It was awesome!
What do you wish all women could know?
I want women to know what is normal for them to feel and what is most common in terms of their sexual relationship with their spouse. It’s not something that most women ask questions about, but are always questioning if their normal or if something is wrong with them. Because the marriage relationship is so important, I wish more women would ask.
Has there been a time when you’ve connected with a patient?
Patients who are struggling with pelvic pain or infertility seem to be the ones you get to know the most. You see them a lot more frequently. I definitely have patients that I feel very close to and give them big hugs when I see them in the grocery store. You definitely form that bond when you go through tough things with patients.
How can you help patients with dealing with a loss?
The most important thing I can do for them is to make sure that they know that I care—it matters to me what they’re going through. I want those women to know they aren’t alone and that they can reach out if they need anything. It’s important for them to know they aren’t just another person being rushed through the gates.
Tell me about your family.
My husband has been my sweetheart since I was 15. He stays home with the kids. I don’t think he had any idea what he was getting himself into. We have four sons and one daughter. They are so busy! We’ve finally done away with soccer this year, at least for the boys. My daughter still plays soccer. Sports is mostly all we do. We’re just supporting each other at sporting activities. If we can get away our favorite place is probably the beach as a family.
The boys play baseball, basketball, football – all super league. Every night my husband and I take the kids to whatever they have going on. There’s never a lull. We might have one week in between transitioning from basketball to baseball. My son was on the Timberline Junior High School team and they had 3 games a week. My other boys were playing too.
My daughter is teaching me to be a dance mom. I feel completely out of my element when I go to the dance things. Hopefully one day I will feel a little more comfortable. She does dance, soccer and gymnastics.
What is your favorite treat?
Cookie dough. I make like 3 batches of cookies every Sunday, make balls of dough and throw them in the freezer so I can have them whenever I want.
What do your patients not know about you?
I was a cheerleader all through high school. I’m a small town girl from Price, UT.
What are your hobbies and favorite things to do?
I love to run! I usually sneak away during lunch and go exercise. I go over and run at the hospital. That’s what I do for me.
What is your favorite restaurant?
The Cheesecake Factory. The chocolate tower truffle cake is my favorite. That cake is soooo good!
What is important to you as a working mom?
It’s important to me to be a mom. I get up and make my kids breakfast every morning unless I’m on call. I help my boys do their hair. I like to do that stuff. It’s really important to me! When I’m home, I try and be home. When I’m here, I try to be here. Both are very important to me and balancing that is important.