Entering the dimly light room, I could hear soft music playing in the background. The laboring room was so peaceful, it was hard to believe the patient in the bed was in active labor. But once up close, you could hear her breathing become deeper and louder every three or four minutes as she rode the wave of another contraction. Her husband was by her side, breathing with her, toweling ...

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Some days, it is about crossing paths with others that bring a smile to your face. Here is one such individual. Sitting in my office was my new patient and her husband. She was a just-pregnant Brazilian woman wearing a warm smile; he was an older, overweight, unkempt American who sat uncomfortably in the chair. I imagined he had never been to a gynecologist’s office and was perhaps unsure what to ...

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On a recent vacation in St. Lucia, I came across this mama nursing her babies. “Public breastfeeding. How great!” I thought. But, after posting this picture on Facebook, these were some of the responses: “Yikes! They need to be weaned!” and “they are pretty big to be still nursing.” This, of course, got my head whirling about people’s attitudes toward breastfeeding. On the surface, ...

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Some days, I get so frustrated at work. Yes, we all have our frustrations. Maybe traffic is slow, and you get to work late. Maybe you spill your coffee on your work clothes as you walk into your office. Maybe someone calls in sick, and you are short help at work. But this is big! Like so big, it can impact the trajectory of someone’s life. They, in turn, are forced ...

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I woke up at 6 a.m. to my daughter’s annoyingly, loud alarm. Since I was on call, my first reflex was to look at my iPad to see if I had patients in labor. I am part of an 11 doctor call group, so when I am on call, I cover all the patients of those doctors that come into the hospital. I scrolled through the patient list and saw ...

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The nurse grabs me: "You have to check my patient now! She is screaming and bearing down.” Without letting go of my hand, she leads me into the labor room. I don’t even consider saying no, I know not to question this nurse. She has been a labor and delivery nurse nearly as long as I have been alive; she knows much more than I about everything. The room is dark, but ...

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Recently, someone close to me was diagnosed with cancer. Due to a series of missed phone calls on both sides, he had not heard the results of his biopsy prior to his follow up appointment. When his young doctor walked in, he started with, “So you know you have cancer, right?” I just wanted to scream, “What the f*ck!”  It is never easy to give someone bad news, but this ...

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When I started out in practice, I worked at one of the few hospitals in the area that accepted Jehovah Witness patients. Their beliefs prohibit them from accepting blood transfusions or blood products. Many hospitals are concerned about the liability of allowing a patient who refuses necessary blood products to die. For this reason, these institutions are not welcoming to Jehovah Witnesses. This is of special concern in surgical specialties ...

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This happened in my first couple years of practice, but I will never forget her. I stood at the doorway of the funeral home, a 26-year-old mother lying in the open casket was off to the side. Standing out among the crowd of mourners was a tall man holding his one-year-old daughter, her curly locks of hair bouncing as he moved. Soon after they were married, she became pregnant. They were a ...

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Despite living in Michigan for over 30 years, my cold hands disclose my Southern California origin. As a physician, these cold hands have touched many lives. For my pregnant patients, they usually sigh with relief as I touch their bellies, the coolness of my hands offering them respite from the inferno growing inside them. They smile when I tell them I can feel their baby squirming and how it is ...

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