I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant/Temple’s Law
I didn’t know I was pregnant. No, not me. That would be a tad too fictional, huh? However, it is possible for a woman to become pregnant and get all the way to term and not realize she is with child. (In the end it will make itself known, though.)
A gentleman from Mike Mathis Productions of Pasadena, California read my blog, and contacted me to consult on a series they had in the works with the Discovery Heath Channel called, “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant.” As a Doc I have seen this phenonenon before, and it brought back a number of memories.
My first knowledge of the concept came from my Community Medicine mentor and all around bluegrass doctor hero, Dr. Peter Temple, back when I was in med school at Sandhills. Peter had a series of laws the student had to memorize to get an “A” in his rotation. (You could only make an “A+” if you could also pick bluegrass music on his front porch on Wednesday night. Guess who his A+ student was?”)
Anyway, his most important law was Temple’s Law Number ONE. It was: “A woman is pregnant till proved otherwise.” This is a very important doctor rule, perhaps the single most important one I learned in medical school. Armed with Temple’s Law, in all these years I have never x-rayed a pregnant woman. In fact, as a third year med student I was the hero of daily rounds (a rare occurrence I assure you) when I canceled an IVP ( a kidney x-ray with a fair amount of radiation) ordered on a patient whose missed period was overlooked by a Doc who should have known better. Temple’s Law. As we say in bluegrass, it is a good’un. (As is Temple.)
I residency, the first patient I saw who was unaware of her condition had made it to the eighth month. I’ll never forget her chief complaint. (doctor talk for what is wrong) “Doctor, I don’t know what’s happened, but my belly be swolle and my gym shorts don’t fit like they used to.” I delivered her baby and a second one, too. (She was aware of number two right from the missed period.)
After I got out in practice some of the older Docs told me about house calls they’d made to check on someone with abdominal pain only to become involved in an emergency home delivery. And I had a few patients who had been told they could not get pregnant and were certain their nausea and vomiting were due to terminal cancer. (Talk about a reversal of fortune in fifteen minutes!)
Mathis Productions hoped I might have some recent patients who would like to tell their story on national T.V., and I had to tell him I did not at this time. My patients have grown older with me, and mine is more of a geriatric practice these days. However, they sent me Episode 101 on DVD, and I found it both accurate medicine, and fast paced entertainment. I told them I would post on the blog for them and scout around with my colleagues. Some of my GYN friends will be on the look-out, and I had to send a copy to my old pal Dr. Temple. He’s seen it all twice.
If y’all know of anyone who got to term and got surprised with a baby, contact Mike Mathis Productions at the e-mail below. They’d love to hear your story. I hope it has a happy ending- those are my favorites.
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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