The other day, I met a young woman interested in nursing. She asked me why I went into maternal/newborn medicine. I replied, without much thought, “Where I work is generally a happy place to be. I like that I don’t deal with as much death and disease and sadness as nurses in different fields.”
I realized later that this answer didn’t fit my current situation. Recently, I changed jobs to work at an OB/Gyn clinic instead of with patients in the hospital in labor and delivery. In the hospital, we were never worried about whether our patients could conceive a child. They were already pregnant. Nor did we deal with many miscarriages. I have attended to families as they experienced a stillbirth over the years. But the number of those instances was far outweighed by the times that everything went according to plan.
At the clinic, I get to see women for so much more of their lives. Some of my current patients will come in for a doctor visit and find that their babies no longer have a heartbeat. Some of my patients have gone through many infertility treatments, but will somehow find the hope to try to conceive again this month. Some of my patients will never have children of their own, and have to sit in a waiting room full of expectant mothers. Some of my patients are much more worried that they have cancer than about childbearing.
I am not dissatisfied with my job change. In fact, it has made me appreciate all the more how significant the gift of life is, and our part in its creation. I know from my education how many things can go wrong in human reproduction. I prayed for years before I got to hold my sweet little boy in my arms. I have met many women who have gone through heartbreaking miscarriages. I know women who suffer with their own “issues of blood.” It seems women struggle in countless ways. Now I see this part of humanity on a much deeper level.
When the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, they were bitten by poisonous serpents. Many of them died. They prayed for God to take away the snakes, but He didn’t. He instructed Moses to make a brass serpent and place it on a pole. Those that were infected only had to look to Him, and they were healed.
So often, we want God to take away our trials. But He understands better. He knows that we can’t always appreciate the sweet unless we have tasted bitter. And, like the brass serpent, we can look to Him and find healing.
I am so grateful for the bitter experiences because they make my life so much richer. His plan is one of happiness, but we would not recognize it without times of trial. I testify that healing comes as we look to God. I thank my God for work that allows me to experience both the happy and the sad so keenly.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my little boy needs to be hugged.