On March 30, National Doctors’ Day, physicians across the country are recognized for their service. As the wife of a surgeon, I thought I understood much about what doctors do. I certainly understood the years of training and sacrifices made by physicians, as well as their families, for the coveted M.D. degree. When my daughter was born too soon, at only 27 weeks gestation, I was quickly thrust into a different role. Even before I gave birth, the neonatologist came to talk to me. It was then that we began a relationship that would span our 79 day NICU stay.
Looking back, the neonatologist was one of the first doctors I saw before my daughter’s birth and one of the last faces I remember on the day we were discharged. When it became obvious that labor could not be stopped, the neonatologist came in to tell me what to expect, what they would do as soon as she was born, etc… She was in the room for delivery and cared for my daughter immediately. I remember her calm demeanor in the midst of the chaos. She also gave me a moment I will treasure forever. After my daughter was bagged and stable, she bundled her up and brought her over for me to hold for a short moment before they whisked her to the NICU. That moment was the only similarity I had with a normal birth.