I wouldn’t consider myself a very emotional person. But pregnancy has brought out a whole new side of myself that I would contribute largely to the increased amount of hormones in my body. For instance, I have found myself crying to more than a few baby product commercials over the past few months. (But in my defense, that Baby Bjorn commercial is ridiculously cute.)
But the incident that takes the cake would have to be my “Walmart Meltdown.”
At my last ob/gyn appointment, my doctor routinely listened to the baby’s heartbeat, and happened to catch it slow down and stay fairly low for about half a minute. She calmly explained to me that it was probably nothing, but if she catches something like that she refers her patients for a fetal echocardiogram. She told me not to freak out, and that everything was probably fine. It was just a precaution.
I left the doctor’s office, called my husband to tell him what happened and “not to worry,” and then headed to Walmart to pick up some prescriptions and groceries. I thought I was fine. However, all it took was one little incident with a rather rude pharmacist while trying to get my prescriptions, and I found myself in the middle of Walmart, having a complete breakdown.
Obviously, I was in no state for grocery shopping, so I quickly made my way to my car, trying to be less obvious with my overt sobbing, although I got plenty of stares in the parking lot. I drove myself home where I continued to cry for about half an hour. Luckily, my friends tried to calm me down, and eventually I stopped freaking out.
So, why on earth am I telling you this humiliating story? Well, I guess I came to a few conclusions after that event took place. One – be nice to pregnant women. You never know when they are going to lose it. Two – just because your patient tells you they are fine, it doesn’t mean they are doing okay. Three – I am in no way able to think objectively about medical matters when it comes to my own family.
The third conclusion is the most important, I think. We are often told in medical school that we shouldn’t be the physician for our family members or friends, and I have heard many physicians attest to this. It seems kind of silly, but I can now understand why.
Logically, I kept trying to tell myself that, even if my baby did have some kind of heart defect, we were lucky to catch it early, and that nearly all heart defects can be corrected. But it didn’t matter what I knew to be true because this wasn’t just some random patient, it was my baby.
I have often thought that maybe I will be more prepared for motherhood and less likely to worry about little bumps and bruises because I am going to be a doctor, but I think that is probably the opposite of what is going to happen. I mean, I diagnose myself with something new all the time, so why would I think I won’t do the same thing with my kids, too? (But seriously, I convince myself I have a DVT just about every other day.)
The good news is, that after two weeks of worrying, we had our fetal echo, and everything is absolutely fine. No heart defects. No problems whatsoever. Our baby girl is very healthy and doing well. What a relief!
The bad news is, I am going to be worrying about this little girl for the rest of my life! I have a feeling that being a mom is going to be a lot more stressful than I thought it would be.