Just the Med Student

Only one more week to go of Ob/Gyn, and I cannot wait for this rotation to be over!  I am actually surprised by how much I dislike Ob/Gyn.  I knew it wasn’t for me a long time ago, but I still thought I’d have more fun.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all bad.  I enjoy seeing deliveries, but honestly I feel awkward being in the room.  These poor women are absolutely miserable.  They’re in pain.  Their husbands have no clue what to say or do.  The nurses are busy doing their stuff.  And the doctor is focused on delivering the baby.  So there I am…standing at the foot of the bed…staring at the patient’s vagina.  And she’s staring at me.  Because I’m standing right there.

And it’s awkward.  I have no idea what must be going through her head.  She’s probably thinking, who the hell is that girl?  But sometimes our eyes lock, and I feel bad that I’m the stranger she has to look at when she delivers her baby.  Her eyes show her pain and her fear.  And I just want to make everything better, but I can’t because I’m just this random student.

We delivered two babies yesterday while I was on call.  The first patient was very young – only a teenager.  The nurse rolled her eyes and told us that she had a feeling she was going to be a “bad pusher.”  The patient was fully dilated, but the baby was still very high in her pelvis and having trouble coming down the birth canal.  So she started pushing.  She pushed off and on for three hours.  We finally went in and got ready.  The doctor told her she needed to see progress or it would mean a c-section.

I hate when the patient gets threatened with a c-section.  The poor girl was in tears.  Nobody was encouraging her.  The room was very quiet.  She was doing her best, but there was this strange emotion in the room that she was somehow failing.  She was being made to feel guilty – like it was her fault the baby wasn’t coming down, and if she didn’t shape up we’d have to cut her.

She kept looking at me with tears in her eyes.  I had to fight back my own tears because I knew how she felt.  It sucks when you’re in that situtation.  It’s isolating.  It sucks when everybody makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong.  I just wanted to scream at everyone and tell her that it’s not her fault.  But I couldn’t because I am just the student.  I just started praying.  I really didn’t want to see her get a c-section.

And pretty soon, things starting looking better.  The baby’s head was coming down.  And after that people started to encourage her, and, miraculously, the baby was delivered.  I was so relieved.  She was lucky.

Later we had another young patient.  She dilated fast, and the baby’s heart rate dropped.  So she started pushing.  And, of course, she was looking at me.  She was determined to push the baby out, and it showed in her eyes.  She was focused.  She was giving “good” pushes.  But it was taking some time.  And the baby’s heart rate kept dropping.  So we got out the vacuum.  We needed to get that baby out.

She pushed and pushed.  And the doctor pulled with the vacuum.  She had to cut an episiotomy, and finally the baby came out.  And it was floppy.  It didn’t make a sound.  The doctor quickly unwrapped the cord that had gotten entangled around the baby’s neck – three times it was wrapped around.  No sounds came out.  She cut the cord and handed the baby to the nurses.  They began suctioning the baby and trying to rouse it.  I didn’t breathe.  I couldn’t.  All I could do was pray.

After 42 seconds we heard the baby cry.  I let out a huge sigh of relief.  That was one of the scariest moments of my life.  I looked at the mom, and she looked at me.  I smiled and said, “That’s your baby crying!  That’s a good sign!”  And she smiled.

Like I said.  Ob isn’t all bad.  I can’t imagine the stories these mom’s will tell their babies someday.  Maybe they’ll recall some weird girl being in the room, maybe they won’t.  I know I won’t forget this rotation.  I won’t forget these deliveries.  Every delivery is unique.  Sometimes things happen fast, in a matter of minutes.  Other times it seems like the delivery drags on for days.

But no matter how each delivery commences, every mother shows a strength that amazes me, and the look on both mom and dad’s face is priceless.  It takes my breath away every time.  I feel like I’m witnessing something I shouldn’t.  Something so intimate and special.  Who am I to be there when that happens?  I’m just the med student.

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!
This entry was posted in Doctor, Health Care, Medical Student, Medicine, Osteopathy, Physician and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Just the Med Student

  1. barefootmegz says:

    You’re doing good! You’re supporting them in your own way, and you’re a bit of positive energy in what seems to be a very negative environment. It’s such a pity that it’s so negative. Just know that not all OB units are like that… I wish you had had a more positive experience. You’re doing your bit by learning. And soon you’ll be on to the next rotation, which I hope will be much better!

  2. lburda says:

    Wow. This post intrigues me. I wish we could talk it out over tea. 🙂 Maybe in July?

  3. Karen says:

    You may have felt awkward but it sounds to me that God had a purpose for you being there. Firstly, the power of prayer in the medical field is not to be underrated. Secondly, those women looked into your eyes because it was a safe, compassionate focal point and one they needed very badly at that moment. So, well done! In all my years of Nursing, I never breathe easily myself until I know that both Mother and baby are ok. Each experience has been different, some positive and some very sad but through it all I know that the people in the delivery room make a difference.

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