November 23, 2009
A Day in the Life: The Humble Gift
A few months ago, a patient in her early third trimester came for a routine prenatal visit. Her vital signs were good, the baby’s heart rate was normal and as I handed her an appointment slip, I asked whether she felt her baby move during the past two hours. She said no, she had not felt the baby move all day. Despite hearing the baby’s heartbeat, my antennas immediately went up and I referred her to the labor room to have further diagnostic tests.
A few weeks later, my assistant said, “Dr. Galloway, you’ve done it again.” I asked what was she talking about and she explained that our patient was seen in a follow-up clinic for the removal of her staples. The same day I sent her to the hospital, she had an emergency C-Section because her tests were extremely abnormal. Her baby was in trouble. When the on-call obstetrician delivered the baby, he noted an umbilical cord wrapped around its neck five times and once around its body. However, the baby did well and was eventually sent home in stable condition.
My most gratifying moment occurred when I saw the baby for the first time. “She’s my miracle, Dr. Galloway” said the patient, and of course, I agreed. “She was channeling me the night before I came to see you.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “The night before I had her, I dreamt that she had died but because you sent me to the hospital, she’s alive. She’s my miracle.” Tears swelled in my eyes as I struggled to maintain my composure. The miracle of life never ceases to amaze me.