10. The First Flicker

When a patient comes in for their first pregnancy visit, I usually do a sonogram.  At 6 weeks, when the baby is smaller than a grain of rice, the heart beat is first visible as a tiny flutter. Miscarriages are very common, so I’m always a little nervous for the patient as I turn on the machine, but when that flicker pops up on the screen, both myself and the patient both exhale a little. Sometimes they tear up, other times they smile and stare in wonder at miracle life growing inside them. No matter the patient response, seeing that tiny flicker signifying the beginning of life, makes me grin from ear to ear.

9. Patients Who Follow Directions

Doctors get a lot of flack for being ‘pill pushers.’  I read a recent FB post where a woman was complaining that her doctor never talks to her about diet or nutrition, he only prescribes her medication. {Ironically she had posted a picture earlier that day of the giant cheese burger and fries she was eating}.  I have the opposite complaint.  For every 50 people that I discuss exercise,  lifestyle changes or quitting smoking, probably only about 1 actually does it.  When I see someone back for their annual and they have quit smoking, finally lost the weight or started exercising, all I can do is contain myself from breaking out into a happy dance.  It makes me want to hand out gold stars.

8. Surgery

People think of OB/GYNs as delivering babies and doing pap smears all day, but we also do a lot of surgeries: cesarean sections, hysterectomies, laparoscopies, etc.  This is something I really enjoy. Surgery is interesting intellectually and fun to do.  It’s also satisfying to be able to solve a problem:  you have a giant cyst that hurts? I cut it out, you feel better.  All done!

7. When an Appointment Type Changes from ‘Discuss Infertility’ to ‘New OB’

We always run a pregnancy test when patients come in for infertility testing.  Every once in while it will come up positive.  That is always a great day!

6. Relationship 

At the beginning of each day I scan my list of patients to be seen that day and some names just bring a smile to my face. I have gotten to know some of my patients pretty well.  I’ve seen a few get married, have a couple babies and watch their babies grow through the pictures they bring in at their visits.  When you have taken care of women through 2 or 3 pregnancies you get to know them pretty well.  Then, when they come back later for their checkups, it’s so fun to catch up on their lives.  I have to watch myself that I don’t get too chatty or I can run behind, but I do really enjoy the relationships I have formed over the years.

5. The Perfect Call

Those of you that already have babies are probably familiar with that slightly panicked feeling you get the first time your baby sleeps through the night. You wake up (on your own), glance at the clock  and realize with a shock that it’s morning. “Wait? but I never got up with the baby,” you think as you run to the baby’s room to make sure she/he is OK.  Did my husband get up with her/him? Did I sleep too soundly and not hear her/his cries? Then you see her sleeping peacefully in her/his crib, and you realize that a wonderful, wonderful thing has occurred:  your baby has slept through the night!

I’m on call every 4th night. Most of these nights include middle of the night phone calls and/or deliveries at 4 am.  That is fine. That’s my job. I love delivering babies… even at 4 am. But once in a blue moon there is a magical call night. I will awake in the morning with a feeling of  slight panic as I check my phone to make sure I didn’t sleep through any calls, only to realize that it was a perfect call.  No pages. No babies. Just wonderful precious sleep.

4. Never Being Bored

As a child, one common complaint I had for my mother was, “I’m Bored!”  This is not a phrase I have uttered in a long time. This morning as I was eating my cereal, I got a call form the hospital, ” Your patient just arrived and she feels like she needs to push!”.  Twelve minutes later I was in a hospital room delivering a baby as I caught my breath, having literally run from the parking lot.  I enjoy the variety of things I get to see, and if I am truly honest with myself, the excitement as well.

3. Surprise Gender Births

Growing up I, like everyone else,  would watching people have babies on TV shows.  The TV doctor (who was always a man) would hold up the baby and say, “Its a Boy!” and the room would cheer.  Nowadays, most couples find out the gender of the baby at the ultrasound appointment, so the ultrasound tech is the one who gets to tell the fun news.  I feel a little betrayed by TV doctors on this matter.  On the rare pregnancy that a coupe has kept it a surprise until birth, I get really excited.  I FINALLY get to say, “Its a Girl!” to a room full of cheering family. This is a job I take very seriously and get very excited about. I encourage  patients not to find out… but alas they usually don’t listen.  However, on the rare occasion they do, it’s really fun.

2. Telling Someone They are Having Twins

There is something so very fun about telling someone they are having twins.  They almost always freak out.  When you point to those TWO flickers on the ultrasound screen, it transcends all language barriers. People just go into joyful shock.  I once had a woman scream so loud that the entire office rushed into the room thinking something was wrong. Sometimes incredulous, joyful laughter occurs, other times they are speechless. Whatever the response it is the best thing ever, well at least the second best…..

1. First Breath

I’ve delivered a lot of babies over the years, but I still love it when the miracle of life happens before my eyes:  the baby takes its first breath of oxygen and begins to cry.  In those precious moments of birth I have a lot going on, my mind is going through multiple checklists to make sure mom is healthy and doing well.  But for a few seconds, as I lay that precious baby in the mom’s arms, I just let myself soak up the parents’ joy and wallow in the miracle of life.  I still shed a tear from time to time (especially when the dad starts bawling, that always gets me). I continue to count it a privilege that women honor me by allowing me to be a part of their births.

1 Comment