"Hello, I'm Dr. Neonatal; I take care of babies after they are born."
"Hi," she said, "How are you?" I liked her already; the "how are you" was a nice touch from her, something I don't usually hear, understandably, from mothers who delivered a baby about 10 minutes before. After the pleasantries, I got down to business.
"How many kids do you have?"
"Are they in good health?"
"Do they live with you?"
"The older ones do, but the younger ones are with their father." If kids don't live with their mom, there's a high likelihood Protective Services has removed them.
"Have you ever had Protective Services involvement?"
" Yes." She was being remarkably nice and cooperative, but that soon stopped.
"Did you take any drugs during your pregnancy, like marijuana or cocaine?"
"Ohh, ooh." She started moving as if in pain. The OB resident rephrased the question, "Did you use any crack during your pregnancy?" Again the question went unanswered.
It was no surprise when her urine drug screen came back positive for cocaine and opiates, and when I called the case into Protective Services the worker said "Oh, my goodness gracious" when her previous history of protective services involvement came up on the computer screen. I couldn't help but like the woman, though, even though her lifestyle was pretty much the very antithesis of mine. She was so nice, and her baby was so cute, and she was so thankful to me, even when I explained that the baby would have to stay in the Special Care nursery instead of with her until P.S. checked out the home. She understood, having been through the drill before. It's one thing I like about this job: Sometimes you meet the nicest people at the most unexpected times and places.
On my way out of the special care nursery, I saw a spider on the wall. I smushed it with my foot.