Dear Dr. R:
At my first OB appointment with you, I sobbed when the nurse took my blood pressure and I told you I was scared. Scared of preeclampsia, you probably thought. But I was scared of so much more. Scared of another conversation about saving my life and/or my baby’s. Scared of leaving the hospital with empty arms again. Scared of prematurity. And of ROP and BPD and NEC. Scared of bringing the NICU home, with NG tubes and O2 concentrators. Scared of having to scrub-in to see my child and get permission just to touch her cheek. Scared of leaving my son without a mommy and my husband without a wife. Scared that my symptoms would be ignored again. Scared of these things…and so many more.
So we skipped all the formalities of the typical first appointment and instead had a little chat about taking things week by week, appointment by appointment. And that’s exactly what we did. While the fear never did quite leave me, I managed to feel secure in the continuity and consistency of care that you (and the rest of the team) provided. With every quick email response, every question answered, every visit complete, I breathed a sigh of relief that we had made it through one more appointment, one more week. And I even started to believe that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t need to be as scared as I was.
Every pregnant woman deserves to have the kind of care I was provided this time. I know that the words “thank you” can never express how truly grateful I am to you for that care and compassion you showed to a somewhat traumatized pregnant mom whose heart and mind were previously scarred by preeclampsia and prematurity, but I say thank you anyway. Thank you for allowing me to be scared and validating my fears. Thank you for catching my symptoms. Thank you for helping me survive this pregnancy and avoid the NICU. Thank you for giving my son a sister and my husband a little girl. Thank you for helping me leave the hospital, my arms filled by our sweet Harper (and her crazy hair).