Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Welcome to the Occupation
A few friends IRL have asked what it has been like for me to work in obstetrics while we're struggling to conceive. For the most part, it doesn't bother me. I've been in this job for so long, and for the majority of my career I wasn't interested in procreating. I learned a long time ago to divorce myself from the emotional aspect and view pregnancy as a clinical process. At the most, I'm finding it hard to distract myself right now. I see all of our newly pregnant patients and perform their initial ultrasound. It's truly a privilege to be able to share that experience with those couples who have a viable pregnancy and when it's a heartfelt, happy moment. Lately, I've been wondering if I'll ever have that experience on the other side of the ultrasound wand. At the point in time when I wasn't interested in getting pregnant -and even in the early months of trying to conceive- I had a blasé attitude toward my own potential ultrasound. It's what I do all day, so wouldn't be anything surprising or exciting. Myrtle and a few other friends tried to tell me, 'but it will be different when it's your own!' I couldn't appreciate it at that time. 'No, it will still look the same...' I countered. Co-worker suggested that the appreciation during my scan would not necessarily be seeing the ultrasound images (which are so familiar to me), but seeing Husband's reaction to them. Okay, I relent. If I ever have a viable pregnancy, I will perceive the experience of seeing our baby for the first time as a big deal. I may even shed a tear or two. Previously, I had also rejected the notion of doing the "3-D" novelty ultrasound. It's a lot of money to obtain creepy alien-like images of your baby. I changed my mind when I saw a mother with her daughter during her first ultrasound. I want my mother to have this experience too. There were a few instances this year when I had a newly pregnant patient who had the same last menstrual period date as I did, and her ultrasound images confronted me with a reminder of what could have been if our procreation was successful. Following my miscarriage, I had a few patients who had an LMP a day or two off from mine, but so far no one with the exact date. Then one day I had a patient who hadn't restarted her period after stopping breastfeeding, and she had no idea how far along she was. I was using our older ultrasound machine, which doesn't automatically calculate the due date. While the patient was getting dressed, I went back to my office and spun her measurements in the gestational wheel of fortune. There it was. 5 August 2013. I laughed quietly to myself and set the wheel down. This particular patient was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve and endometriosis during her infertility work up. After successful IVF, she delivered twins less than a year ago and consistently used progesterone only birth control pills while breastfeeding. Ever reminded that fertility is a such a fucker.