"You see," said the dad, pausing a moment, "she really wanted to abort the baby, but we didn't have enough money, and every week the pregnancy went further the price of an abortion seemed to go up a couple hundred dollars." Dad seemed like a real nice guy,very perky, very knowledgable about his kids, and very happy with the baby, which is just a bit paradoxical when you hear him saying they wanted to abort the baby.
Mom and baby turned out to have cocaine in their urine; we consulted Protective Services regarding placement of the baby: home with mom, foster care, or some other arrangement? Dad claimed paternity, and Protective Services said we could discharge the baby to his custody. Since he and mom lived together, along with her other five kids, it was sort of the same as discharging the baby to her. I didn't feel too bad about that, though, because dad really seemed to have it together.
I saw mom today in the NICU, six days after the birth, shortly before the baby went home. Unlike dad, she looked wasted and weary. Her skin had the little dark pockmarks I've seen before in drug users. I think they come from "skin popping" cocaine, shooting it just under the skin. She was holding her baby, and I couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking. Was it about what might have been - or not been - if she had more money?
P.S. Radiology Grand Rounds is up -check it out.