Today, she is pregnant. It is a time of dreams. There is also weight gain, morning sickness and an aching back. Still, the promise of new beginnings makes it worth the journey. However, what happens to the future if she is sick?
Sometimes disease strikes women even at this most special of times. Hematologists and Oncologists take care of patients during pregnancy if there is a blood disorder or even cancer. We understand it can transform beautiful expectations into fear. Days become tests and treatment, instead of strollers and bright new nurseries. It makes stark the battle for life.
It seems to me that during such pregnancies the soul’s strength of a woman is tested. She must endure intrusive medical care, nasty side effects and the illness itself. There may be a problem with bleeding, and she fears hemorrhage. Perhaps, she has had a blood clot and must be vigilant for stroke or embolism. Worst of all could be cancer, and she must confront a bizarre struggle within her body. How can one part of her body be giving life and another growing death? The path through such a sickness can seem an overwhelming challenge.
Fortunately, there is hope to control or cure most illnesses which occur in pregnancy. Much of this comes from the strength and power of women who fight through illness to give birth. They harness obsessive drive towards that goal. I am humbled by their bravery. The natural love they possess treasures that new spirit as their own.
The battle against illness for future’s child can be monumental. Women may need to take drugs with major complications. Stick themselves with needles or be nauseas for days on end. Be confined or lie in bed for weeks. Receive chemotherapy without proper drugs to prevent toxic misery. Even delay therapy of life threatening illness, until they can give birth to a healthy infant.
Physicians are honored to work with such patients during pregnancy. I think doctors understand that they are entrusted with more then just two patients. They are part of the struggle for an eternal tomorrow. We take that responsibility especially seriously.
For doctors this “honor” keeps us up at nights. The thought of a bad outcome harming child or Mom, does not weigh lightly. It is hard to treat a 25 year old with cancer. It is hard to treat a sick baby. To treat both, at the same moment, with the same illness, is an awesome responsibility.
Most such women give birth to healthy babies and are able to get pregnant again. Little in medicine gives physicians more joy. Battling to create a family, where illness tried to intervene, is a cosmic victory. We have helped build a different future. Thus medicine is worth practicing and serving a community is a life’s calling.
Hello, Alex. You do not appreciate it now, but you have a wonderful brave Mommy. She held infinite love for you, even before you took your first breath. She would sacrifice anything at all, just to watch you sleep or maybe to see a little smile. Grow up strong and healthy, have great adventures and learn wisdom, lead us into a better world. Welcome.