I am convinced that whoever created the reputation of ob-gyn as a hostile environment for medical students has never spent any time in the field. Of course, I may have simply gotten lucky with those residents and attending physicians around me but I have found it to be an incredibly welcoming environment. Also absent at least to this point, are those patients who reject the presence of medical students especially male ones. In the course of my first week on labor and delivery, the majority of those births I assisted with were those of the children and grandchildren of doctors with most of the other parents being different types of caregivers. As a whole, I feel as though I am treated as a genuine, though less experienced colleague by those around me.
While the environment was a pleasant surprise, what struck me the most this early in ob-gyn has been the emotional elevation of relatively routine tasks. While what I saw on my surgery rotation was educational, interesting, and intense, it was rarely emotional unless my own nervousness and sense of otherness can be counted. The same superficial motions evoke such different sentiments for me in ob. With every C-section I assist, my excitement builds with each layer I see cut through culminating in the rush of motion as the baby is loosed and surgical focus gives way to the admiration of new life set to the backdrop of parental excitement and newborn cries. I have only assisted in 2 vaginal deliveries thus far but these emotions are still stronger there where all of us caregiver and patient have been waiting for hours allowing both our concerns and hopes to grow as we attend to the other tasks of the day.
I know I will never do ob-gyn as a permanent career but I am certainly glad it is a mandated rotation as I doubt I would otherwise have taken the chance to experience it. The unique experience of a field which though touched at times by severe pathologies and complications is nonetheless built upon such hopeful foundations will undoubtedly offer a reserve to call upon in more emotionally challenging rotations to come.