I worked at the family practice clinic on Friday. Things went mostly well. I had a patient come in and they always print the reason for the visit on my schedule. It said "possible pregnancy". It always astounds me that some women still don't use HPT's ..but whatever. She was, in fact, pregnant. But, as it turns out ...she was around 25 weeks with her 3rd baby and just showed up for the first time. She could feel/see the baby move but still chose to pretend that she wasn't pregnant. I became ...irrationally angry. I held it together for the visit and took the opportunity to educate ..but I was livid. The carelessness is something that I cannot even begin to fathom. It makes me ache for those of you still enduring the painful, painful struggle of infertility. I still haven't figured out how to deal with that professionally. I don't know if I ever will. I spent the rest of the day feeling mostly bitter and angry and incredibly jaded.
For some reason, it made me flash back to a patient I had when I was still an ICU nurse. She came in 7 1/2 months pregnant and got instantly very sick. They must have diagnosed her with 100 different rare pregnancy disorders before she finally underwent an emergency section because she was fairly near death. The baby was beautiful and healthy - though tiny. The mom continued to get worse and they couldn't figure out why. It was like an episode of House. They would bring the baby into the ICU to visit her ...and I would hold the baby next to her because she was too weak to hold her. They finally took her for an exploratory surgery and found that she was full of cancer. Everywhere. She died a day later. It broke my heart. It was one of the hardest experiences that I ever had as a nurse. The baby's father left the baby at the hospital and never came back for her. He was beyond broken. We kept her in the special care nursery for weeks beyond when she needed to be there for health reasons - sure that he would come back when his mind settled. He never did. I actually applied to foster the baby and bring her home but couldn't get approved in time. I never found out where the baby ended up.
At the end of the day today, a patient that I hadn't seen in about 3 months came in. She had been trying to get pregnant for over a year with no success. She was, sadly, getting no help from the physician. I took her on as a special project because I was concerned about her being off of a life saving medication to attempt pregnancy for that long and getting nowhere. We did a lot of testing and some starter meds. She came in, crying, to tell me that she was pregnant. I honestly think I felt at least as much joy for her as I did when I got my own positive this time. There is little that has been more rewarding to me.
I'm not sure why these stories are connected for me ....but they are. Closing in on week 15 with everything apparently going well with this pregnancy is bringing me to the realization that this baby may actually live. Listening to the heart rate today was the first time I didn't feel anxiety when touching a doppler. The baby moved so strongly today for such a continuous time that it was actually distracting for a few seconds during a patient visit. I'm thinking about my career and what it's going to be as a mom to a newborn. I hate change. Hate it. But when I was pregnant for the golden child, I never hesitated for a second at dropping out of med school. I knew I needed more time with the baby than med school or being a physician would ever allow. I'm sensing a career change for me around the corner ....and maybe a drastic one. The passion that I feel about infertility and pregnancy and pregnancy loss is intense. I have to believe there is a place and a way for me to put that to good use. It's just a matter of finding where and when.