I stared at the ceiling, my hands twisting the drawstring of my scrubs. It was midnight, and I was occupying one of the on-call rooms of the delivery ward. I was going to be observing my first infant delivery, a milestone in my education that had terrified me since beginning medical school. I had been advised to get some sleep, but I was too anxious. I closed my eyes reviewing ...

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Leaving your career in medicine is like breaking up in a long term relationship. It may have all started out with lofty expectations, excitement about the future, and becoming your best self. However, somewhere along the way, things got messy and twisted and not what you signed up for. There were hiccups along the way, signs that maybe it wasn’t good for you. There was the time you fell asleep at ...

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If I have to hear, "There is always a third victim in these situations, don't forget to take care of yourself," one more time, I may go crazy. I wish people would be cognizant of the language they use. According to the dictionary, a victim is, "a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency." Don't call me a victim. I go home afterwards, completely broken by what just ...

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Eight months into a healthy pregnancy, my belly suddenly hung lower. I noticed that the baby’s movements slowed, decreased in frequency, and seemed sluggish compared to just a few days before. Concerned that something might be wrong, I called my obstetrician’s office and described what I’d noticed. The nurse I spoke with gave rote and reassuring advice: “Babies often get crowded near the end of pregnancy,” she said briskly. “Drink some ...

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When it comes to the uterus, people tend to have incredibly strong opinions. In fact, many of the people with strong beliefs don’t even have a uterus of their own. I would venture even further to say that if you asked many of these “opinion-havers” where the uterus was in a woman’s body or exactly what its function was, they would have no idea. Yet, here we find ourselves, 44 years ...

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I am a new mom to a beautiful 8-month-old girl, and I am breastfeeding. I am also a doctor at a large, well-known academic institution. The hospital where I work delivers several thousand babies a year, and highly encourages their new moms to breastfeed. They offer a postpartum consultation with a lactation consultant, keep the baby in the mom's room 24/7 while in the hospital, and provide several other pro-breastfeeding ...

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My car says it’s 2:10 a.m., 17 degrees. I just left my warm bed — and snoring husband — threw on scrubs and my contact lenses and quickly brushed my teeth and hair. I’m shivering as the car warms up and I hear the crunch of the snow as the car rolls out of the driveway. I’m the first one out on the fresh snow, and it glistens in the ...

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On a busy day in the office, a patient was added to my schedule for “bleeding, early pregnancy.” She was one of my partner’s patients, but he was not in the office that day. We talked for a minute, then I examined her and did an ultrasound. As I expected, she was in the process of a miscarriage. Unfortunately, I, who wasn’t her regular doctor, had to give her this ...

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G1P0 or Gravida 1, Para 0. Well, turns out that’s me. It’s very common in the medical field to use this phrase to describe women who have been pregnant but do not have any living children. This could have been due to miscarriage or worse yet, intrauterine fetal demise at later staged pregnancies. Or it could be due to an elective termination. For me, it was the latter. I had never ...

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The other day, the last two appointments on my schedule were "unable to get pregnant, consult" and "pregnant, desires a termination." Even my medical assistant commented about the timing of those last two patients. Although these are not unusual issues for patients to see me about, the fact I was seeing them back to back, haunted me all day. Why? Why did life deal them these cards? Did fate make ...

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