I took part in my first delivery today.
The first 3 hours of my day was business as usual at the clinic. Mostly prenatal care with a few other gynecological encounters sprinkled in.
I went out to lunch and got a sandwich at this small diner close by, came back to a bit more of the same. My attending gets a call that a patient’s water broke when she got to the hospital and was pretty close to delivery. We finish up with the patient we were with and – safely – rush over to the hospital. My attending seems pretty pressed. We gown up and my attending examines the patient. False alarm. He says delivery is still a ways away.
We make the drive back to the clinic and he tells me his thought on The Power of the Dog. I was a bit disappointed, not about his cinematic review, I was just really looking forward to witnessing my first live delivery. It was good practice though. I got a chance to practice putting on boots, my gown, gloves, knowing kinda where to stand.
Back at the clinic we were a little backed up since some of the patients who were scheduled had to be put on hold or be seen by the NP who likely had her own full schedule. The rest of the day was haunted by the threat of a phone call that never came. We ended up finishing about an hour after the last scheduled appointment time and then went straight to the hospital.
We got there and things seemed like they were a little further a long, but it still wasn’t time yet. So my attending and I just stood behind the nursing desk twiddling our thumbs for a bit.
“Let’s get something to eat.”
We head down to the physician lounge and look inside one of those fridges with the clear door like in a supermarket.
“Grab whatever you want.”
I browse the tantalizing selection of veggie hummus sandwiches and turkey hummus wraps and opt for the turkey.
There we are sitting at the table eating in silence and taking turns sifting through the headlines of the newspaper like an old married couple. I eavesdrop a bit on the drama of the other physicians and then settle in with the crossword. I’ve got 7 across; the missus, informally, on the tip of my tongue when he’s says it’s time to go back.
We head up do a bit more standing and then a swarm of nurse come to our side of the unit, and I’m not exactly clear on what’s going on, but it felt kind of bizarre. Shift change is my best guess. My attending’s phone rings. It’s time. He answers the phone, and I follow him 20 feet into the delivery room.
It all happened very fast, and I had zero idea how involved I was expected to be in this whole thing. I’m struggling to put on all my PPE, and next thing I know my attending me is urgently waving me over to the splash zone. He guides my hands onto this thing that looks like a hairy turnip, which apparently was the head. It starts to come out slowly and I am able to confirm that it is indeed a human baby head. With his hands over mine we continue to coerce the being into the world, and in half the time it took for us to get the head out, the rest of the baby makes its debut. The feeling of that moment is hard to describe. A bit of panic mixed with excitement. A part of me just wanted to burst out in like a maniacal laughter, while another part of me wanted to start crying. I probably would have given into one of those urges if I wasn’t tethered to lucidity by instructions from the doctor. We moved the baby up onto mom’s lap and I was instructed to select amongst the various clamp-looking tools on the cart, the one that looked most like a clamp. I made my selection, and we clamped the cord, I had to make a couple other tool selections, including the scissors to hand to dad to cut the cord.
With the cord cut we took a blood sample and it was time to deliver the placenta. I was ready to get pimped on the 3 signs of placental separation/ delivery. Uterine contraction, cord lengthening, gush of blood. I was ready to get a question right.
He never asked (for obvious reasons). He placed my hands on mom’s belly and showed me how to use the uterine massage to help facilitate delivery of the placenta. It came out. That’s all I care to say about tfhat.
We did some checks on the placenta and on mom to make sure everything was ok, and then it was time to clean up. After leaving the delivery room we had a small debrief and then he sent me home.