It's only after the doctor begins cutting my abdomen that I realize the local anesthesia didn't take. In order to reach my baby, I know she needs to cut through skin, muscle, fat, and finally my uterus. I'm screaming. The C-section is pain like I've never felt. And I can't do anything about it.
As I think about my son just inches away from being born, I decide to let go of the pain. These final moments of pregnancy suddenly turn from struggle to joy.
After an hour of surgery and another four hours of post-op, I finally get to hold my second child, Kiernan, born a healthy 7lbs., 12 ounces. My husband and I revel in this wonder of creation curled before our eyes.
Letting go of pain buys you time for love.
You could say I had a "C-section heard 'round the world" when it came to my other baby, Heal (born February 2015). As its founder and Chief Medical Officer, I loved having control over every aspect of my idea, conceived to revolutionize primary and on-demand healthcare by giving the doctor and patient cutting-edge technology and more time together in the comfort of the patient's home, office or insert the blank. My husband/CEO and I had a quality app built by our friends, world-class physicians who were delivering amazing care, and a P & L, I could keep track of in my sleep. Done and done.
Soon, Heal was needed by more patients and doctors. More cities. And, in turn, more of me. But I wasn't about to let my baby grow up too fast and lean on others. That would just complicate things.
The doctor was juggling trying to be the best mom, wife and founder that I could be. Yet everything felt shortchanged.
I had less time to be the best physician, forgetting small details here and there about my favorite patients' family lives and careers. I found more 48-hour business trips wedged between me and my son. These trips weren't enough to put a dent in the mounting list of to-dos for the company. As for my marriage, Nick and I barely had enough time for hellos outside the office. Thankfully, my husband saw what was going on and made me take a step back. His idea: why not let others in to help take things off my shrinking plate?
Nick and I began to court world-class investors and a passionate team to make more time for ourselves. Today, Heal is a small but mighty startup with a dozen employees and 200 doctors serving patients across Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County, connected by a mission that you can't fix health care unless both the patients and the doctors are happy.
I was Wonder "tech-mom-doc-preneur" Woman who finally realized that letting go gives me time for compassion. Compassion is the secret sauce for making anything that's really special, allowing doctors to heal their patients with authenticity and accuracy; and entrepreneurs, to identify big-picture problems and create solutions that don't just solve today's crises, but a generation of them.
Just like that moment on the operating table with Kiernan and the doctor, I decided to let go of the pain to make room for something else. Kiernan and Heal and anything I choose to bring into this world can flourish. I don't have to do things alone. I just need to let the world step in.