Why I Hate Ob/Gyn

I’m halfway through my Ob/Gyn rotation.  Even before I began this rotation, I was 100% sure this wasn’t going to be the specialty for me.  Now, more than ever, I’m sure I don’t want to do Ob/Gyn.

I started out this rotation calling in sick.  Not only did I have the stomach flu, but I had a sinus infection as well.  In addition, my husband was out of town, and I was trying to figure out how to take care of my baby AND be on call for 48 hours.  Luckily, I have some amazing friends who helped me out.

So far I’ve assisted with 4 deliveries.  Yes, it’s magical, and I always tear up a bit.  It’s pretty crazy to see new little lives enter the world.  I feel so blessed to be in the room when mothers and fathers meet their new little ones.  That being said – vaginal births are pretty gross.  But, I’ve finally got blood stains on my white coat, so I feel like a real medical student.  Hopefully I never have to experienced 48 hours of call again.

And as I’ve said before, I really hate being in outpatient clinic.  I’d much rather be in the hospital.  So the rest of the week in the clinic was rather boring.  I try to be excited, but I’m just not interested in Ob visits and abnormal bleeding.  And that’s pretty much all there is in the clinic.

But yesterday was the icing on the cake.  The real reason I could never do Ob.  I was eager to head home, as it was Friday and I was finally going to get a day off to spend with my family.  Our last 2 patients of the day were new Ob visits.  They both presented very similarly.  Both patients were having some abnormal bleeding early in their pregnancies.  And we couldn’t hear a heart beat using the doppler in either of them.

My preceptor tried and tried.  She pushed as hard as she could but there was nothing.  She tried pushing the uterus up with one hand inside the patient, but that didn’t work.  We needed to figure out due dates for the patients and hearing the heart beat would help us do that.  So we decided to use the ultrasound machine.  However, the ultrasound tech was already gone for the day, so we fired up the machine ourselves.

Patient number 1:  her uterus felt pretty large, so we really thought we should be able to hear the heart beat.  When we got an image on the screen we could easily see a little jellybean of a baby with a very visible heart beat.  We sent her on her way.

Patient number 2:  she was very sure of her LMP (last menstrual period).  She was 14 weeks along (2nd trimester).  We should be able to hear a heart beat.  As soon as the image appeared on the screen, I knew there was no heart beat.  And the baby was plenty big.  My heart sank.  I just started praying, even though I knew it was useless.

The doctor was very silent.  We brought in another physician, as we weren’t very familiar with using the machine, but I knew it didn’t matter.  I started holding back tears.  Our patient was Spanish speaking, so everything that was said was foreign to me.  But I knew what the doctor was telling her.

She said your baby doesn’t have a heart beat.  Your baby is not alive.  The patient starting crying.  And screaming.  Her husband was crying.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to watch.  We left them alone for a few moments, and we could hear her screams throughout the office.  She kept saying, “I want my baby to have a heart beat.”

I didn’t want to go back in that room.  But we had to.  Even though the patient was in shock, the doctor had to explain to her what to do.  We tried to tell her husband because it was clear that she was in shock and wouldn’t remember.  The doctor just kept saying I’m sorry.

I cried the whole way home.  I was angry that I had to see that.  I was angry that it happened.  I was angry that hundreds of cars on the road were filled with people heading home to their families with a weekend ahead of them to enjoy while that couple was sitting in the doctor’s office trying to comprehend what just happened.

I’ve never seen a situation go from such joy to such sorrow in a short period of time.  First time Ob visits are always exciting.  Patients are so happy to hear their baby’s heart beat and dicscuss prenatal care.  But things can go very wrong.

And that’s why I could never do Ob.

About emilyehoward

My name is Emily, and I am a Hospitalist in Nebraska. I live with my husband and three beautiful daughters. I hope you enjoy my blog!
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3 Responses to Why I Hate Ob/Gyn

  1. mdafterphd says:

    that is so sad. I never thought about that situation. I am pretty sure I dont want to be Ob/gyn either, but I do appreciate what they do.

  2. barefootmegz says:

    I’m sorry that experience was so hard for you. It’s definitely not my favorite part of OB. It is good that you are so in touch with the emotions of your patients, even if it hurts and makes you angry. I think being a new mom also made the pregnancy loss of your patient hit home for you. I think the way people who DO go into OB end up doing it, is they stop getting angry. Because who do we direct our anger at? We can’t be angry with those people who are lucky enough to have healthy babies, because it’s not because of them that a young woman lost her baby. You’re right that OB is hard in that respect. Push through it, and learn from it what you can. Once you’re done with it, you never have to do it again, but since you have to complete the rotation, don’t let it go to waste.

    Good luck, dear. Give your hubbie and baby a hug and cherish them, and let them cheer you up when OB gets you down.

  3. pamelarose says:

    I’m very sorry you had to experience that. One my mentors – who used to think she wanted to do ob/gyn- experienced a similar tragedy that was the definite sign for her.
    I also don’t think my heart could handle it…

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