Dr. Sarah Poggi is the director of the Perinatal Diagnostic Center at Inova Alexandria Hospital. In other words, women with potential problems with their pregnancies come to her.
In that time, she forms bonds with her patients.
“I've been here nine years so I've seen them with four pregnancies or I've seen them with a loss and now with a baby in their arms two years later,” she says.
She says it's also intellectual, and it's physical. For example, on one day, she was in the operating room twice, did an amnio and then an ultrasound.
Despite her challenging job, Dr. Poggi wanted to give back in other ways. So once a year, she travels to Ghana to train young doctors at a teaching hospital there.
“I train a lot of young people there on very basic things like, ‘does this lady have twins inside of her, can we find two heads?’”
Dr. Poggi keeps a statue that serves as a constant reminder of the women she meets in Ghana.
“The lady is pregnant, she's got wood on her head, she has a toddler on her back and I couldn't afford the really expensive version but she also has a kid in her hand,” she says. “I mean, they're really, really strong.”
Dr. Poggi is from Alexandria, and now works just five miles from where she grew up.
She’s preparing for her next trip to Ghana in September.
Poggi and her husband, also a doctor, host international interns in their home each year. They also have two daughters, ages 9 and 11.
“At the end of the day I'm happy to go home to them and in the morning I'm happy to come here,” she says.