Lake Louise-- More Than Just a Pretty Lake
The photo I chose to use on my website, and as my "brand" for rediscovering joy in medicine and in life, has a much deeper meaning to me than just being a serene, beautiful place in a picture. It is surely that, and it's a place I had wanted to visit for a long time. But let me tell you why this photo is so meaningful to me.
I took this photo on a very special mother-daughter trip to Canada in the summer of 2019. My youngest child was headed off to college in a month, and this was our chance to have a special trip together, a time to bond, to connect, and to have fun before she left for college 3000 miles away.
Summer 2019 is also significant because I delivered my very last baby of my 27 year obstetrics career.
Rewind the clock several years...
During our 10+ years of working together, my medical assistant, M, always said, even before she married her husband, that she wanted me to deliver her baby. As I struggled with burnout and dissatisfaction in my job, I came to a tipping point in 2014 and decided that I could no longer bear the responsibility of being available for my patients 24/7/365 at the expense of my family. Through much soul-searching, I decided to stop doing Obstetrics. This decision was difficult enough for me, but for M, it meant I would not be delivering her baby.
Fast forward to 2017...
M found her man, and married him in October 2017, and they immediately tried to get pregnant. Once again, hope bubbled up in both of us. Due to several circumstances in my OBGYN practice (being acquired, two docs leaving, partners' pregnancies), I was still doing OB but at a lesser volume-- not ideal for me, but at least tolerable.
When she didn't get pregnant month after month, it became clear, and an unspoken agreement was forged, that I was actually NOT going to deliver her baby.
Then, as if on cue, she got pregnant. I had already announced to the world that I was no longer an Obstetrician. And that I was taking a trip to Canada with my daughter and then taking her to college. The summer was jam-packed with plans. Her due date was, of course, right in the middle of all of this!
And then a miracle happened, and she went into labor at 38 weeks, in between all the potential conflicts. Her beautiful miracle baby, the delivery, and all it represented, made both of us thrilled beyond words. I cannot think of a more fitting culmination to my obstetrics career.
So, when I look at this photo, I see joy. I see this beautiful, serene lake in all its grandeur, and I think of the mother-daughter trip that was greatly meaningful in its own right, but I also remember the highlight of my obstetrics career, and the turning point it signified in my journey to reconnect with myself.