Prenatal Consultations

During my long career as a pediatrician in Palm Beach County, Florida, I welcomed parents to our office to meet the doctors before the birth of their baby.  Not only was it a great marketing tool because we were the first in the area to do what we called “newborn consultations,” but it also gave parents a chance to see for the first time what it would be like to come to a pediatrician’s office.

We scheduled these appointments at the end of the day so that working parents would be able to attend. Because of this, the expectant parents sometimes had to wait a while before we brought them into the exam rooms. In this way, they learned why there might be a wait before they were seen after their baby was born.

Parents asked every sort of question at these visits. One which stood out was from a father who asked me if I had a mortgage on my house, which I found out was his way of asking if I were going to be around for the whole time that his child would be coming to our office.  Since it was totally illogical, I was able to laugh about the question with him.

The wonderful long-term relationships that I built with many families over the years often came from these initial meetings. Parents often remembered every word I said. When I came to see them at the hospital after the baby was born, the connection was solidified even further. 

I do miss those babies!

The joy of being a pediatrician was in these longstanding relations of trust and communication with the parents.  It’s a given that the kids are cute, fun to examine and thankfully most of the time, healthy, but the bonds which form with the whole family are what makes pediatrics such a wonderful specialty.  In my case, these bonds were often established even before the babies were born!

Are You Pregnant?

“No I am not pregnant!”

One of the unwritten laws of the universe is never to mistakenly ask a woman if she is pregnant.  I learned this lesson early in my career as a pediatrician.  

It can take many months or years for some mothers to lose their “baby weight” after giving birth.  One mother, after I asked her the third time, made me write it on her son’s chart.  This was back in the old days when we had paper charts.  In bold letters, she instructed me to write, “MRS. S. IS NOT PREGNANT.”

Some twenty-five years later before I retired, she came to my office and we shared a good laugh about this.