For the past week I’ve been on the obstetrics portion of my OB/GYN clerkship. It’s been more interesting, but far more work than being on the inpatient gynecology service. On weekdays, we often have mandatory classes to attend that take us away from our work on the floor. But on my day of weekend call, I was on the floor from 6 AM to 10 PM, with no interruptions, and it happened to be the busiest day I’ve seen yet!
I saw three normal spontaneous vaginal deliveries – or NSVD as we abbreviate them (OB residents seem to love to use TONS of abbreviations!). It was a lot of fun to be a labor coach during those deliveries. After my nine years as a camp counselor, I certainly know the power of encouragement, so I enjoyed shouting along with the team and trying to vary my coaching beyond the usual “push!” I got to hold a patient’s leg during one delivery. During another, I got to sit in (what I call) the “splash zone” on the stools at the end of the bed as the baby was crowning and delivered. One baby came so quickly, the residents didn’t even have time to prepare the end of the bed and drape the patient – it was all over within a few minutes and we barely had time to get all our gear on!
I did so much walking and standing, and coaching and cajoling that by the end of the day I was totally exhausted. As my feet throbbed, I wondered what it will be like to work 16 hour days during intern year, and 24 hour days in the years after that. The residents say that when you have to do those things, you just do it and get through it. But right now it seems like such a Herculean task! I think I’ll need to work on my stamina between now and intern year to be able to stand on my feet and run around the hospital for 16-24 hours at a time.
So, I have truly been laboring while on labor and delivery, toiling away the days until the end of this clerkship. Although the work has been hard, ultimately, it is really an honor to be part of the experience of the birth of a child, and the start of a new little family. Being witness to the exhausted, excited parents’ tears, and the squeaky cries of the newborn is a beautiful experience that I’ve been lucky to share in. It’s actually a labor of love.