Recently I was in my doctor’s office for my annual check up. I sat patiently in the waiting-room looking around at the pictures of his family positioned in large frames across the walls, and noticing how over the years his family of five children has grown to include husbands, wives and grandchildren. I was then called into another smaller room, where I waited for a few moments before the doctor knocked on the door and walked in. He greeted me warmly with a handshake and a smile, and touched my shoulder lightly as he sat down opposite me.
Excitedly, I told the doctor that my first-born was going to be 18 in a few weeks. We reflected on how quickly the time had passed as we proceeded to compress the events of the past years into a matter of minutes.
He was my doctor throughout my three pregnancies. He was a lucky find, a kind and softly spoken man with a calm and peaceful nature. I was just six weeks pregnant when I walked into his office those 18 years ago.
Being pregnant and my journey into motherhood, was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of my life. I couldn’t wait for the routine doctor visits to hear how much my baby was growing, and as the visits became more frequent, the doctor became more of a mentor to me.
I knew I was in good hands. He was able to ease all of my concerns and worries as the due date drew nearer. I was still completing my master’s degree at the time, and was actually preparing to go to an evening class the day the baby was born. It was 3:00 p.m. when labor began. We got to the hospital at about 5:00 p.m. The doctor showed up, and the team was complete. Just two hours later, at 6:51 p.m., my son was born.
As we continued to talk about my health and life, the doctor asked how my son was doing. My eyes filled with tears as I spoke about the progression of his Duchenne muscular dystrophy since I last saw him a year ago. In his kind and soft way, he again eased my concerns and worries. He continued being present to what I was saying.
The doctor really has been part of this Duchenne journey. Not only did he bring my son safely into this world, but he has looked after my health throughout all my pregnancies and follow up visits over the last 18 years. In this way he has been more than just my doctor but also a spiritual teacher and friend.
Pregnancies and babies and motherhood are life-changing events, and to come back every year to the same doctor to discuss and ponder these events is rewarding. Life goes fast, and these doctor visits have allowed me to stop and reflect and share with someone who is genuinely interested. After all, I put all my trust and faith in him during that delivery.
Most of all he understands. He understands the emotional investment we have in our children. As a doctor, he plays a major role in bringing babies into the world, present to the happiness and joy, and also to the sadness and devastation. The delivery experience can be as hectic and complicated as it is calm and peaceful.
He gathered his papers as we neared the end of our appointment. I noticed he was much grayer than last year, and nearly bald, but still the kind and calm man he always was. As he stood up and shook my hand, he looked me knowingly in the eye and smiled just like he did the very moment he handed me my perfect son, seconds after he delivered him, 18 years ago.