October 9, 2007

The power of denial

One of the things that really gets me wondering about how strong the mind can be is the woman who comes into the hospital, complaining of abdominal pain and vag bleeding and finds out then that she's pregnant and in the 3rd trimester. We had someone this past week deliver a 33 week baby and claimed she didn't know she was pregnant. Come on now. Ok, ok, I know there probably are some cases where the woman really didn't know, but I think most times its denial. Usually, the women who don't know are larger to begin with so don't notice the growing waistline so much, have babies that just don't move that much, or have a tilted uterus which I heard makes it hard to feel fetal movement. Having been pregnant 3 times, I can assure you that I knew and everyone who sees me knew I was pregnant. The girl's roomie brought her to the ER because she was cramping and bleeding. She swears "No I'm not pregnant". A blood and urine test comes back positive for pregnacy and the ultrasound shows a 33 week live fetus. She is taken to L&D where she is found to be 6 cm dilated. She maintains she didn't know she was pregnant. Her roommate didn't know. Her boyfriend didn't know. Her parents, family, friends didn't know. They are all speechless and feel ignorant, and you can tell none of them knew. The patient, I think, knew. She went out and partied, shopped and went about life like normal. The patient was obviously pregnant. She was 120lbs pregnant and you could see a mass moving in her abdomen. If she really didn't know, I want to know what she thought was moving around down there. If I didn't know I was pregnant and felt movement like that and saw little edges poking out my abdomen, I would be flipping out wondering what kind alien was growing in there. Maybe I have very active babies, but there's no mistaking the movement for gas. Anyway, the story has a good ending. Her aunt and uncle tried for years to have a baby but couldn't and were looking to adopt, but had been waiting for 2 years. They are going to adopt the baby, the birth mom plans on returning to college classes this week and the baby appears to be healthy. I wonder if this little baby will ever know the circumstances, and all the lives that were affected by this birth.

On a different note, I had a nice delivery this weekend. When the MD arrived, the dad looked around at the staff attending the birth and noticed that the delivering MD was very pregnant, the labor nurse (yours truly) was pregnant, and the nurse attending the baby was pregnant. He said to his wife "Honey, I'll bring you in bottled water because I don't want you drinking the water around here. Everyone who works here is pregnant. And I think we should be careful." It was pretty funny.

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