Saturday, 16 March 2013

From my side of the gurney

As a family physician, I see an enormous variety of issues in my practice.  Some simple, like a kid with a runny nose, some complex such as helping a family cope with a devastating diagnosis, or trying to figure out the cause of someone's unusual symptoms (page Dr. House!)  I have been lucky enough to enjoy good health, so in most cases I can't say that I truly know what it feels like to have the ailments or concerns my patients bring to me.  But I try to listen to them and be there for them, and hope that I can be a support & source of strength.

Every now and again, I do know what it feels like - because I have the same thing!  This has been a common experience for me in pregnancy.  Prior to these past 7 months, patients would come to me with their pregnancy concerns.  I would draw on my training, my OB text, or consult a specialist, and come back with some reassurance or a plan of action.  I can only imagine what it would sound like to a woman, pregnant with her 2 or 3rd child, to have this young doctor who's never been pregnant telling her - "Don't worry, that is normal." With labouring patients I actually felt like a sham at times!  "Its normal to feel some burning", "Its normal to feel a lot of back pressure."  I have been told it hurts alot, & it sure looks like it does... but I haven't actually a clue what it really feels like!

Me at 21 weeks with my former roommates Tisha & Julie

I've enjoyed a different type of connection with my expectant patients lately.  They come to their appointments for medical advice, but we often chat a little about our pregnancies - they ask me questions and I ask them.  We talk about a stroller we'd heard about, a PN yoga class we'd been at, or just laugh or commiserate over shared symptoms.

I remember the first baby I delivered.  I was a medical student doing a rotation at Women's Hospital in Vancouver.  I was minding my own business at the nursing station when one of the nurses came out of a room asking urgently if Dr so&so had arrived.  When the answer came back "no", the nurse looked at me and said "Get in here, this baby's not waiting!"  I ran into the room just in time to catch the baby.  The family was so excited, they probably failed to notice how wide my eyes were and how much my hands were shaking.  But it was super exciting and I still have the photo they gave me of me holding their newborn.  Since that time, I've done lots of deliveries: some are so quick I barely get to the hospital on time (sometimes I don't!), some are so slow they feel like they will never end; some are so easy I feel like I could do it in my sleep, some are so challenging I leave the hospital with at least 10 new grey hairs... but in all cases its an indescribable feeling to share this magical moment with families.

Visiting my friend Mya in Winnipeg, 26 weeks

In the past month, I've had three deliveries, and the experience seems different now that I am getting closer to my own delivery.  These deliveries were more touching & intimate for me than deliveries had been in many years.  I felt a greater connection with the labouring woman as she worked through the pain and challenges of her labour.  I felt the excitement and anxiety of the expectant dad.  I got all misty-eyed as the new mom & dad held their baby for the first time.

My turn at labour is coming pretty soon though, and this might sound silly or naive, but I am looking forward to it!  Not just meeting this little Rufus, but the actual labour part.  I am inspired by watching my patients dig deep and find the strength they didn't know they had.  I don't know how it will be for me, how long it will take or what it will feel like, but I am ready for the challenge.  As long as I've got my supportive hubby by my side telling me to "giv'er", I'm pretty sure it will all be good!

Belly shot of the week: 31 weeks, hanging out with Mom

No comments:

Post a Comment