Rose-bud lips, beautiful dark eyes and a head full of hair….just a few things that immediately jumped out at me right after the delivery. The sweet babe quieted as soon as it was put on Mama’s chest. All was right with the world in that perfect moment.
Was this it? The last one? My last delivery?
Last August Adam and I discussed my involvement with obstetrics. We decided it may be a good idea for me to stop taking new OB patients at least until I made it into the second trimester of our next pregnancy. I was scared a patient of mine would have a problem while I was in my first trimester, making me worry that it would happen to me too. Strange, I know….but perhaps for some odd reason I thought if I didn’t take care of any patient’s that had pregnancy difficulties, maybe I wouldn’t either. My partners were very supportive of my concerns and my OB practice was essentially put on hold-at least I stopped taking any new pregnant patients.
Fast forward to my final delivery. Everyone is healthy. It was a “good one” in the grand scheme of things-I commented to the nurses that I was glad all went well as it might be my last. I remember when I came to this practice, my practicing obstetrics was a somewhat difficult transition for all of us. You see, in the state of Nebraska Nurse Practitioners cannot deliver babies…and rightfully so! We are not trained in this sufficiently! It is actually very rare for an NP to do anything really with obstetrics so my asking four Physicians to work with that passion of mine was a big step for them. They have been amazing since day one, allowing me to provide prenatal and postpartum care to my patients and letting me play an active role in the management of their labor as well. I have been doing obstetrics now for 11 years and the thought that the sweet little babe with the head full of hair is the last one is difficult. I just don’t know if I have it in me.
It sounds selfish, I know, but I do not know if (or even if I want to) take care of women getting the one thing it seems I don’t get to have. The one thing my Husband and I want. It’s a very odd feeling, though as this has by far been my favorite part of medicine for over a decade. It’s crazy to think that in a few month’s time the one thing I looked the most forward to on a day-to-day basis became the thing I was least looking forward to. I haven’t decided if this is for good or not. If I stop doing obstetrics, this is likely something I’ll never be able to “pick up” again. It isn’t like crocheting or riding a bike. As I said, it is rare for someone like me to even be as involved as I have been in the past, let alone stop and then just start up again someday. Obstetrics is the most legally challenged type of medicine. Experience, experience, experience is what it’s all about. Once you don’t have that experience, you should stop. This is in the best interest of the patient and the provider.
As with multiple other things right now, I am not even sure how to actually make this decision. After Noelle I knew then that I needed to decrease my involvement with obstetrics at least a little and actually put teaching Lamaze on hold. My Births R Us program has been a big part of my life for over six years. I loved educating and empowering women to be active participants in their labor experience but just couldn’t do it last year. Maybe I should resume teaching and stop obstetrics so at least I am doing some of what I love(d). As a side note, I think part of what made my classes as good as they were is that I am involved with the whole pregnancy/delivery experience. This allowed me to really relate to the couples and use my experiences to really educate them well.
And, I know I need to be realistic also. This is my career so maybe I should just suck-it-up and move forward with everything I have done for years. Perhaps it will work out in the long run. Perhaps I will once again become comfortable with the exposure to pregnant women and sweet newborns. I can’t take away all of the awkward situations after all. There will still be the kids that are brought to the clinic who’s parents act like they are a “nuisance” or a “bother” to them. These times are so frustrating. Why, God, when it seems that they don’t even want their child, can I not have a child when I would definitely cherish it?
I pray God helps me to be more understanding, more empathetic, less jealous and less judgmental….and as with everything else that He helps with this decision…
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