Alicia Gatz has worked as a diagnostic medical sonographer for a decade. That’s three years longer than the average person lasts in her profession.
“You’re the first to see when someone cancer. You’re the first to know when something is terribly wrong,” Gatz told TODAY Parents. “It takes a huge emotional toll, but I know I’ve found my calling.”
Last month, Gatz, who works at an OB/GYN office in Mississippi, posted a video on Facebook after scanning a 38-week fetal demise.
“Today I hugged a mom while she quivered with sadness. Today I reassured her countless times that she did nothing wrong,” Gatz shared. “Then I sat and cried and composed myself before my next happy mom who was only interested in the baby gender.”
Gatz’s clip went viral with more than 78,000 likes. But some commenters felt she was being insensitive toward the mom who was “only interested in the baby gender.”
As one person wrote, "I like how she made the happy mom sound silly and superficial."
“What I was trying to say, is that I have to recompose myself quickly after I see a loss,” Gatz said. “I have to come into the room chipper and excited even though my heart is still broken for the mama that just got awful news.”
Gatz estimates that she detects one miscarriage a day — and it never gets easier for her.
“I’ll be looking at the screen and feel this sadness come over me. I’m aware that this woman is about to have the worst day of her life. It doesn’t matter if she’s in her first trimester or two weeks from her due date,” Gatz explained. “It’s awful.”
If Gatz notices an abnormality, she tries to remain stoic while collecting the images that she needs for the doctor.
“I almost go into robot mode — I need to get the correct measurements. If she senses something is wrong starts crying or shaking, I won’t be able to do that,” Gatz revealed. “When I’m done, I’ll reach down and touch her. It’s a way of connecting. Then I’ll say something like, ‘Things don’t look quite the way I expected them to look, so I’m going to go get the doctor.’”
“I want them to know that I’m a real person and I care about them,” Gatz said. “These women stay with me long after I’ve left the room.”