I can’t believe it – today I delivered my first baby. Honestly – it’s a good feeling and I tend to be one of those that really doesn’t get that excited about babies. It left me with a warm fuzzy feeling for the rest of the day and put me in a good mood.
It started with a call at 0530 hrs. I had been on call the night before so was on my 3rd hour of wonderful sleep when my cell phone when off. The attending doctor quickly commented that there was a woman who was 7 cm dilated at the hospital that was expected to deliver soon, and that he was on his way – so I should meet him in maternity in 10 minutes. I should note that when I’m on call I sleep in my scrubs – I think like most do, and since I was already at the hospital it wasn’t a problem to be in maternity 5 minutes after the call. Once there I met the parents for the first time and realized that things were progressing rapidly.
I should stop here – one of the problems with being a medical student on the maternity ward is that you are meeting some of the couples for the first time. This means that you essentially have no relationship with them before you are involved in a very personal and intimate time in their lives. it is no wonder that people say no … So, there is always this period of awkwardness, the time when I am holding my breath, where the attending will ask if it is ok if I am present while the baby is being delivered. The couple simply nodded their heads in agreement, and I exhaled slowly with the hardest hurdle of the moment being out of the way.
The delivery happened fast and I really don’t remember when I doctor asked me to step in. As the doctor (or pseudo doctor in my case) the role you play seems to one where you are more like a coach than anything else. You shout encouragement, you get the mother to focus and then you simply catch the baby as it pops it. I may be simplifying it a little but few would deny that the mother does all the work. Much to my surprise once the baby starts coming out things progress fast. With a bit of popping sound (and maybe I imagined that) I found myself covered in all manner of fluid (name it, I seemed to be wearing it) holding a healthy, bluish pink little boy. I stood up and asked the mother if she wanted to hold her new little boy, and placed it gently on her chest. That was probably the best part and I won’t bore you with the rest of the details because they’re really more academic than anything else. All I can say is that it felt good – it was an honour to be involved and I hope the memory stays with me, to maybe remind me of why I am doing this while up all night on call.