Trading Places

I wrote the following a couple of years ago, during our adoption journey:

So I was having one of those precious days, where I thought I might actually get to sit down and eat lunch.  It was 12:15 and there was just one patient left.   A  “routine” OB at about 20 weeks.  She’s one of my favorite patients.  I had delivered her little girl a few years earlier and now she was having a boy.  Boisterously,   I entered the room, but seeing her tear stained eyes, I quickly changed my tone.

I listened as she described the frustration that was her current life.  She could barely handle her 2 year old and wasn’t sure she was ready for another.  Also, her husband wasn’t overly supportive. What she wanted, more than anything, was a career.  She had been taking premed courses before getting pregnant with baby number two unexpectedly.    As she asked my opinion about her likelihood of making through medical school,  I tried to be supportive, but also give her a realistic picture of what that entailed.  More than anything I just listened.  Letting her cry and talk for most of my lunch hour.  Holding her hand.   Passing her tissues.

The irony, of course, is that I would give anything to trade places with HER.  Not that I am ready to give up my career (Neither is she unhappy about baby #2), but  my heart aches for another child.  I coveted her fertility, much as she coveted my job.    Genuinely I felt compassion for her, but to be honest , there was some amount of jealously as she lived out her own version of the American dream : a healthy boy and girl 2.5 years apart.

By the end of the visit my eyes welled with tears as I hugged her neck and said goodbye.  She thought the tears were for her… but that was only partially true.

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