Late last night I delivered a baby for a multipara. It was an unexpectedly long labor and the head was nowhere near where it needed to be, so my attending left.
And the old axiom “never turn your back on a multip” turned out to be true: the next time I checked, the baby’s head was suddenly at +2 station (almost crowning), so I called for the attending, blindly coached the mother the way attendings did (pushing extremely slowly through the crowning to avoid rips), basically faking an extreme amount of confidence that I in no way deserved, delivered the head, reduced a nuchal cord, anterior pressure on the anterior shoulder, and THE NEXT THING I KNEW: BABY.
There is nothing like the feeling of there being no baby, and then, suddenly – baby. A very stunned baby who was not expecting this at all. Best magic trick in the world.
During all of this, I kept wondering when the attending would finally show up. Then I looked up.
He had been standing in the door the entire time, watching me.
He let me clamp the cord, draw the cord blood, deliver the placenta, and check the vault for first degree lacerations, and then (extremely clumsily) suture them up. (Actually, it was the clumsiest suturing I’ve ever done. And I’m terrible at suturing, so that really means something – a bloody environment brings out the worst in my total lack of skill.)
(Don’t worry, I didn’t cause any unnecessary trauma to the patient, though there was some significant damage to my dignity from dropping forceps left and right and idiotically trying to tie knots in sticky gloves.)
I have no idea what possessed the attending to let me deliver the baby without him. Maybe it was because I had stuck around until 4am.
Everyone should have that feeling once in their life. The sleep deprivation just makes the adrenaline rush higher. It’s the best.