OB is unbelievable

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.

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20 thoughts on “OB is unbelievable

  1. Well done! Nothing like your first delivery, though even a few more later that faking-it-feeling can still remain, if only because there’s omigosh so much going on! Good on your attending too for trusting you to do your thang. 😀

  2. Magical moment indeed. Congratulations.

    I started doing C-sections when I took a rural gen surg job. Weirdest thing every time. You’re going a long doing surgery just as always, focusing on the technical while someone else monitors life. And suddenly, in the middle of your sterile, sacred operating field, appears a baby. The nerve.

    • Best description of a C-section I’ve heard yet. It’s unbelievable when the baby comes out and immediately pees all over the field. WAY TO FAIL AT STERILE TECHNIQUE, BABY.

  3. Yup, those 3rd+ babies are sneaky! My 3rd had a 3 hour start to finish labor with less than 10 min of pushing. He stuck his head out & screeched at the indignity of it all. Always boggles my mind to think that he looked just like that on the inside, they always seem like an amorphous blob of elbows & butts in there.

  4. I got to catch 5 last month on my [second to] last month of medical school. If it hadn’t been for the Gyn part of the specialty title, I might have gone into it.

    Congrats on your night!

  5. Awesome! Delivering babies is so exhilarating! I am terrible at suturing as well, especially tears after deliveries. I once dropped at least two sets of forceps and the suture scissors. I think the nurses wanted to kill me. And justifiably so. But it is how you learn! They get easier, but always fun!

  6. The stink of amniotic fluid. Placenta. The noise. Yuck. Been there, but not that fascinating, and definitely not appealing AT ALL. Eeeww.

    • Haha, ‘ve discovered that I’m weirdly fascinated by gross things- after I got over the shock of how brutal and bloody a delivery is, it was joining the nurses in being like “Go ahead! Poop! We don’t care, there’s too much blood for your husband to notice anyway! It shows you’re pushing right! I’ll wipe it up for you!”

  7. Awwwww yea. That’s awesome. This is where the “throw you in the deep end of the pool” style of learning we seem to encounter in medicine can become so rewarding. Way to rise to the challenge.

  8. Yup. My #3 baby was born on a Sunday, and my OB wasn’t on call so I got someone I’d never met before. He walked into the room and said, “You’re not in labor. I’ve been delivering babies for 31 years, and I can tell when a woman is in labor.” Then he left. Bad idea. The kid arrived less than 45 minutes later.

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