I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone to know that being pregnant while being in PA school is a constant struggle. Of course, we didn’t plan for it to happen this way – but the Lord certainly did. And while life as a PA student/ pregnant lady is hard 99% of the time, there is that 1% of the time where absolute magic happens. Fortunately for me, I got to experience that just two short weeks ago and it will be something I will always remember.
The back story: A few weeks ago I was approached by Professor Johnson, one of our faculty members, with a proposal for an opportunity to be an “OB OSCE” patient. This would entail having all 39 of my classmates watch me receive a full anatomy scan ultrasound. Mrs. Johnson insisted that I not make a decision without going home to talk to Dustin and really think everything through. I guess she could tell I was very eager to say yes, and I so reluctantly agreed to sleep on it.
After speaking with Dustin, we discovered we did have some questions about the process and so I met with Prof. Johnson to discuss. After allaying a few fears, I knew this would be an amazing opportunity that I did not want to miss. I mean who gets to say they had 39 classmates (practically family members at this point) present to meet your baby in utero? I could hardly wait!
Finally the day was here and everyone (me and members of faculty) had managed to keep everything a complete secret. So all my classmates knew is that they would be observing an ultrasound of a “real” OB patient before practicing in the simulation lab.
After listening to a presentation on OB ultrasound, we headed for a bathroom break and I snuck into the exam room to get ready. Dustin was there with my mom, which was a request I made at the beginning of our planning. I figured it would be a more realistic scenario if family were present so Mrs. Johnson happily agreed. We were all prepped and ready for the students to arrive.
When everyone walked in, the feeling of excitement was overwhelming for me. There were lots of “ohhhs” and “awws!” going around the room. When the instructor put the transducer on my belly and sweet baby Gurley made its debut, it was AWESOME. Everyone’s faces just lit up and there were even a few tears!! I told the sonographer to not hold back any details about Baby Gurley, and so when it came time to obtain the view to determine sex, we let the students guess and we confirmed/announced what Baby Gurley will be! It was AMAZING!!! Everyone got excited and giddy and it was just such an incredible experience.
We watched Baby Gurley yawn, flex fingers, and kick like crazy for almost 20 minutes! Even the smallest movement would elicit the loudest “Aww” from the group. I was so proud, so elated, so happy… really, there aren’t enough words to describe it. It was truly beautiful. Dustin recorded most of the ultrasound and took some great pictures, and I have loved watching the videos over and over.
I spoke with Prof. Johnson later the next day and we both were just in awe at how much better the experience was than we were expecting. I looked over at her a few times during the ultrasound and saw her wiping away tears and just thought about how much bigger this event really is than what I ever thought it could be.
The pregnant body is such a blessing from God. I am learning every day just how amazing our God is simply by each continued breath I take – a breath which I am in turn giving to my growing baby. My hope for this experience was that each of my classmates would grow to see a pregnant woman as TWO bodies in one; and to never take for granted that each decision for mom is a decision simultaneously made for the fetus. I was so naive about pregnancy and obstetrics before I became pregnant myself (and I certainly don’t claim to know it all now.) But I have learned to be so much more respectful of the pregnant body and the unfathomable miracle that it truly is. Of course, I know my passion for OB/GYN is fueling much of my intensity regarding pregnancy (my own and in general). But it is such an important population that we will all inevitably come across in practice at some point in time. I hope Baby Gurley will leave a lasting, deeply memorable impression. I know our little one has already given that to me.