Pregnant at Work

“Oh wow, look at you! How many weeks are you now?””30 weeks already!? It sure is going by fast! How much longer are you planning to work?”

Indications: This 36 year old G3P2 woman was admitted to hospital with a history of a missed first trimester abortion. She was referred to our care after a community ultrasound performed on [date] at 17 weeks 5 days gestational age revealed a fetus measuring 11 weeks 6 days with no fetal heart rate activity. She was recommended to have a D&C by aspiration. The risks of the procedure, including infection, bleeding, and uterine perforation with injury to adjacent pelvic viscera were discussed with the patient, along with the benefits, and she gave informed consent.

“You’re having a girl!?! Oh, I didn’t know that! What do you have at home again? 2 Boys – oh, you must be so excited!”

“You must be getting tired now, with all these hours that you work. Are you done call now?”

Procedure: The patient was taken to the operating room and received a general anesthetic by Dr. X. She was placed in the dorsal lithotomy position and prepped and draped in the usual manner. Examination under anesthesia revealed a 13 week sized uterus and no palpable adnexal masses.
“Well, you look great! It is your third after all, everyone looks a little bigger the third time around.”

“I had a boy and two girls, and let me tell you, it was the time of my life! This time will go by so fast!”

A weighted speculum was placed into the vagina and the anterior lip of the cervix was grasped with a double toothed tenaculum. The uterus was sounded to a depth of 16cm. The cervix was dilated without difficulty to accommodate a size 14 suction curette. We then proceeded with the suction curettage. Tissue was obtained and sent to pathology. We then proceeded with a gentle blunt curettage and no tissue remained.

“Are you all ready at home yet? Oh, the boys must be excited to share a room, no?”

“They must be thrilled to be having a baby sister! Do they understand what’s going on? Maybe they’re still too young yet…”

The patient tolerated the procedure well and was returned to the recovery room in stable condition. Estimated blood loss was 100cc and there were no apparent complications. The patient is requested to follow up with her practitioner in 6 weeks time.

“I don’t think they’re too young, they know exactly what’s going on… for sure.”

“I should get going and eat some lunch, you never know what the afternoon will bring.”

And, so I walked briskly out the of the recovery room.

End of dictation.

Starting Again

We both ordered a diet coke. I secretly love when other people order diet drinks… They get it.

This was the first time we planned a meeting outside of the office and I’m sure neither of us knew what to expect. She’s off on her maternity leave now, so we figured it was a good time to meet.

Before we got too far into our casual conversation, I started with the awkward conversation: “I thought more about what we talked about last time we met… About transferring my care to another doctor. It’s not often easy to find friends who are in this medical-motherhood lifestyle and it just seemed ironic how our private lives kind of meshed and it would be great to be friends. But, You are also a really great doctor and didn’t want you to feel like you were obligated to be my friend if you transferred my care to one of your colleagues.”

I first met her just over a year ago when she was the only female GP I could find in my area who was accepting new patients. I knew instantly that I liked her. She’s my age. Over time I learned that she has kids the same age as mine – we kind of bonded over the challenges that come with kids of this age. She was open to me about her struggles balancing life as a doctor, a mother, and the wife of a professional husband.

One night I was at a community association meeting and I met a man with the same last name as her. “My wife is a GP at [the clinic at the hospital where I work], maybe you know her.”

Spring time came and we started seeing her at the community playground with her kids. We walked past her house on our way home from our community garden. We shared our bounty of green beans and snap peas. We mingled together at a community association BBQ where we laughed over virgin margaritas and watched our husbands talk about who-knows-what.

The last time I saw her in the office I talked to her about my recent thoughts about possibly changing specialities to achieve better work/life balance in the future. I asked her if she would be willing to meet with me to talk about what her work/life balance is like and what her road in her career choice has been like. Of course, she was more than willing to meet with me, and that’s when we briefly talked about whether there was more value to me in a friendship or a therapeutic relationship. At the time I didn’t know what to think. Becoming friends with someone who used to be my doctor… Well, it was complicated last time. I just said that was wasn’t sure, but that I also didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable. She gave me her cell phone number and I left the office. I waited until I knew she was on her maternity leave before I contacted her.

We had a great time at lunch. I wished her all the best in her upcoming delivery and we parted ways. We have no plans to meet up again, but I know it’s only a matter of time before we run until each other again. And, it will be at least a year before she’s back in her office.

Hopefully this friendship turns out a little differently than before.