By Lindsey Dechamps, MD
“Do you see what I see?” asked my partner. She was scanning me on our lunch break, ya know…just for fun. My pregnancy test was only positive last week, so I was certain we wouldn’t be able to see anything yet. But there it was….staring back at me. Was that an owl? An owl with two round black, beady eyes.
“Shit,” I said.
She was my friend, my partner. Our husbands skied and played poker together. We got her hand-me-down baby clothes.
“You’re gonna rock this, you know,” she said.
I am an OB. I know the stats…. 10% risk. Come on now, it would never happen to me. It’s just clomid, not IVF or anything like that. Harmless, right?
“Gotta go,” I yelled to my Medical Assistant as I sprinted out of my office, grabbing my keys. Did I have a patient waiting? Nope. I called my husband, “Are you home? Don’t leave. I’ll be home in 5. Don’t leave. Sit down. Home in 5.”
The drive home was a quarter mile and took an eternity. He was on his hands and knees scraping Play-Doh off the floor. The Toddler was at preschool. I ran in and threw the ultrasound down on the counter.
“Is that your uterus?”
“Look!!” I said. “That’s a sac.”
Silence. “And…..the other thing?,” he asked.
Cue the waterworks. Sobbing, I threw myself into his arms.
“What are we going to do? What have we done? Why is this happening? How I am going to work? What if they’re in the NICU? What if they’re born premature? What if I get preeclampsia? WE ARE GOING TO RUIN OUR DAUGHTER’S LIFE!! How am I going to take overnight call? I’m going to be a blimp. I’m going to be nauseous. I have to vomit. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GET A MINIVAN!!!!!”
Shock, anger at myself and my body, disbelief, surprise….
And then a glimpse of joy. And then another. A little glimmer of excitement maybe? We both smiled. We both laughed. Then the tears were happy tears.
My husband held me close and we prayed. We prayed for the pregnancy, for my body, for my doctor, for my daughter, for our babies, for strength, for patience. We prayed for our family that would never be the same again. We prayed for our home which would get a lot louder, a lot messier, and a lot more joyful. And we prayed for our marriage, that it would grow stronger through this.
“So,” he said, “Can we get the minivan with the vacuum?”
Lindsey Deschamps, MD: Three amazing kids call me Mom. Alice is my sweet, clever, and compassionate daughter who is 3 going on 30; Luke and Thomas are my two little balls of energy who just turned one. We recently relocated from Utah to North Carolina so our kids could grow up closer to their grandparents and their cousins. Along with the move came a major career change. I left private practice to be an OB Hospitalist, an emerging role in our field. At work, I am involved in several patient safety initiatives which emphasize one goal – to deliver the best patient care possible, while optimizing the patient’s birth experience. Our home-life could only be made possible my husband Paul, a former high-school teacher who is now a full-time stay-at-home parent (and an amazing chef). He makes our home-life possible. You can occasionally find me reading or working-out, but more likely changing diapers, doing laundry, or coloring.