One of the hardest things I do is say goodbye to patients. Even when they are pregnant and heading off to their obstetricians because we have been successful, it’s still hard. So here are some the things I wish I could say and do:
I am not just acting thrilled that you are pregnant, I AM thrilled that you are pregnant. I am honored that you asked me to help, and I am so excited for you that we were successful.
I will think of you for at least a year after you are gone. I know that’s odd, but I’ve spent a lot of time with you. I’ve been there for the ups and downs, and I’ve really gotten to know and like you. If you are pregnant, I will wonder whether the baby has been born yet. I will wonder who he or she looks like, you or your partner.
Please always feel free to call or visit me. If you have a question, I am still your doctor too and would be happy to try to help. If you want to come show me your big pregnant belly, you will make my day! Bring the baby in too, my whole staff will want to see him or her!
If you did not conceive, I take it personally. Even if the odds were against us, I really wanted you to be the one to beat the odds. I wish I could get everyone pregnant.
I wish I could give you a hug goodbye, but I don’t know how you will take it.
Send me a baby picture–don’t forget. I know that life with a newborn is all encompasing, but even if he or she is now 2 years old and you haven’t had time until now, send me a picture. I love babies!
If you thought we gave you good care, tell your gynecologist and your friends. If you didn’t, tell me–I absolutely want to know!
If you want to give me a hug, it’s OK to do it.
If you see me in public, I will not acknowledge you until you acknowledge me. This is for your privacy. I don’t know if you want to admit knowing me, especially if I have family or friends around who know what I do for a living, but I will be happy to admit knowing you. So feel free to talk to me, and please don’t feel slighted if I don’t approach you.
If there were times during this process where you weren’t at your best, I understand. I have gone through this too, and I know how stressful and emotional it is. I have already forgotten what you did or said, and you should too. This office is like Las Vegas: what ever happens here, stays here.
Most of all know that I am terrible at saying goodbye. So if I don’t convey all these things to you, it’s because I don’t know how to put into words how wonderful it is to have been a part of this process. I wish you all the best and hope that we meet again somewhere down the road. Even if it’s just in the supermarket, where you are pushing your little one around in a cart, I will be happy to see you.
Susan Trout, MD