I finished my medical training as an interventional cardiologist in June 2019 in New Jersey when my husband and I decided to make our home in Memphis. My husband is a native Memphian; however, I too have a connection to Memphis. Memphis was the first city I experienced in the United States when my family immigrated from England in 1999. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be moving back and making it my home. We transitioned into our careers fairly easily and after years of long-distance we finally had the opportunity to start growing our family.
I became pregnant in February of 2020 and for the most part had a pretty easy pregnancy. I was able to work up through the 39th week of my pregnancy without any issues. Once I hit 37 weeks my OBGYN arranged for weekly non-stress test (NST) to ensure the baby’s safety as we were approaching the due date. I passed the 37 week NST with flying colors alongside with plans for weekly NSTs until induction. At 38 weeks my baby’s heart rate variability was diminished prompting an ultrasound. As I walked over to the ultrasound room, I was nervous and anxious, praying my baby was safe and sound. Thankfully the ultrasound checked out great. The baby passed that step, and we left the office elated with the plan to repeat the NST the following week.
I was deemed to be high risk pregnancy due to my age. Any women 35 years of age and older has an elevated risk for poor outcome and thus is labeled as high-risk pregnancy. Some of the features that can develop in high-risk pregnancy are high blood pressure, separation of the placenta from the uterine wall, excessive bleeding, surgery such as cesarian section, and possibly loss of baby. Because I was high-risk, I examined the date along with my OB and we agreed to proceed with induction of labor at 39 weeks gestation rather than letting labor come on naturally. I had the 39th week NST on a Monday, which was reassuring, with plans to check into the hospital that Wednesday for induction and delivery on Thursday.
The day finally arrived when my husband and I drove to the hospital to get admitted. I felt calm and had absolute trust in my decision for induction of labor. Medicines were given to me for the induction throughout the night. Early Thursday morning we started noticing deep decelerations in baby’s heart rate on the monitor, which meant baby was not tolerating the medicine and was in trouble. This prompted an emergency cesarean section and arrival of our beautiful baby boy. My heart was light and filled with gratitude as I cherished my darling baby. I was left with multiple questions, My trust in evidence-based medicine was tested. It was ironic that in trying to avoid a c-section, I ended up having one.
Our hearts were filled with absolute joy as we were discharged home. The following week I saw my OB for the one-week post-operative appointment to check on how I was recovering. To my absolute shock, my placenta pathology was abnormal to the extent that my sweet baby boy may not have been able to survive natural labor and delivery. When I realized what a blessing it was that I had chosen to proceed with induction of labor, I truly became a mother.
Being a woman of science and evidence-based medicine, I had done exactly what I always like to do for my own patients: keep them safe. I understood mothers not only take care of their baby from day one of pregnancy but also naturally inherit this wisdom and voice which leads them to the right path. I had placed myself and my baby in the precise controlled environment where decisions were made swiftly and my baby was delivered safely.
I am thankful to Memphis and its incredible physicians who work relentlessly to do the right thing for their patients. I am incredibly thankful to my OB, who not only presented the data, but also assisted me in making the right decision for my baby and myself. Now that I have officially joined the momma club, my heart bursts with only gratitude and love for my baby, a feeling that every mother feels. And now I understand that with every baby a mother is also born.