I had all sorts of great excuses: Too busy working on my career. Too selfish. Little League ball games and soccer leagues are terrible boring torture. I didn’t want the stretch marks. Birth is a bloody, awful, painful mess. I could go on. But I won’t. They all boiled down to one single thing.
I was terrified.
I was afraid of loving something that fiercely and then having to let go.
One day, I discovered that I was pregnant. It was a shock to be sure but truthfully, at this stage in my life, I was getting careless. Hasn’t happened yet, it probably won’t…..
Well, it did.
I felt like this baby was probably going to be a girl. I dreamed of pink for weeks, imagined all of the beautiful frilly dresses I would buy.
But it wasn’t a girl.
Life does not always hand us what we expect.
Not only did the ultrasound show a very clear penis, it also showed something was wrong with one of his kidneys. So it was off to to the maternal fetal medicine specialist for the high risk screening and to hear if everything else was ok.
A quick word of advice here. Never, ever, ever listen to a genetic counselor before you have that high level ultrasound. Wait until after. I have a degree in genetics and she had me ready to bury the kid before he even reached his third trimester….
Now, one of the risks of being a physician is that you get over treated: She knows what we are doing! We can’t play smoke and mirrors. So let’s do EVERYTHING!
It is very hard when you are struggling to not be THAT bad patient, the difficult one who thinks they know everything. I had resolved that I would not worry, or interfere, that I would let everyone do their jobs. In the end that meant high level ultrasounds every two weeks, crazy amounts of blood work, and a consultation with pediatric urology before he was born. All while working full time in a solo practice by myself.
In the end, he is fine. It was like winning the lottery, this kid. Who knew how cool having kids would be? In the end, it was good that he had such a troubled beginning. The possibility that I might lose him made me want him all the more and forced me stop focusing on all of my doubt and fear.
Which then brings me to the point that babies are such little miracles. Every last one of them. There is so, so much that can go wrong. Every single one of those cells has to perform its part of the ballet exactly perfect at exactly the right time or the whole thing gets screwed up beyond recognition. From a purely clinical standpoint, it is a miracle that more does not go wrong given all of the opportunities for errors.
In the process of all of this, however, I discovered the secret miracle. Kids are the embodiment of our love. Even when they puke on us (God help me). Or wipe snot on my sleeve. Or give us strep. Or hit that perfectly painful howling pitch that leaves the ears ringing for a few minutes (How do they do that?). They give you a hug or a kiss on the cheek and everything else melts away… It even makes Little League baseball and unpleasant patients tolerable.
Sneaky little buggers…