Sometimes being a family doctor is amazing. It is a great privilege to care for an individual or an entire family. One of the best parts of my job is delivering good news.
The other day a young woman came to my office. I hadn’t seen her in quite some time. A lot had changed in her life. She’s gotten married last year,l and they bought a house. She is a busy woman, working long hours which was one of the reasons she has come to see me.
She was tired. More tired than she had ever been before. We talked for a bit, then I asked her a few questions. Some of my followers who are physicians will likely already guess the diagnosis.
My first question was about her period. I asked her when her last menstrual cycle was. Her face went blank.
“Um … I … maybe … oh, geez, I have no idea.”
“Have you been using contraception?” I ask.
“Not really, no.”
“Well, let’s do a pregnancy test. And while you are in the bathroom, think back and see if you can remember when that last period was.” Is she a few weeks pregnant, or a few months?!
Upon her return from the bathroom, she reports that she thinks her last period was in February. (As an aside, how did three months go by and she didn’t notice she wasn’t getting her monthly cycle??!).
Of course, her pregnancy test was positive.
I suspected she was probably close to 11 to 12 weeks pregnant. She is a fairly thin woman and upon further questioning, she admitted noticing that her clothes were fitting a bit tighter. Uh huh. I had her lie down on my exam room table and took out the doppler. It took a few minutes, but there it was. The sound of very fast hoofs. A gentle gallop, about double the patient’s heart beat. The distinct sound of a new life growing.
“Do you hear that?” I asked her.
Her face told me she did. Tears welled up in her eyes. “Is that… is that a baby?”
“It is indeed,” I said. “If I had to guess, I’d say you were about 3 months pregnant, and probably due around the end of November, maybe early December.”
She left my office stunned, but happy. Suddenly it all made sense to her, why she was so tired, why she was gaining weight.
It never ceases to amaze me how some patients can get so wrapped up in their lives that they miss something so obvious when it comes to their health. In this instance it was good news. The best news, really.
On this Mother’s Day, I am reminded how lucky I am to love my job.