I just finished my first week on OB/GYN. At IU, we do 5.5 weeks on this rotation, with half of the time devoted to obstetrics and the other half on gynecology. The OB service is spent on labor and delivery, so our days consist of taking care of pregnant women and delivering their babies. I’m currently on OB, more specifically, day shift. We spend 1 week on day shift, 5am-6pm, and then 1 week on nights, from 6pm-8am.
I had never seen a live birth until this past week. I honestly had mixed emotions during my first delivery. Our jobs as students are to basically be there to help if needed and then deliver the placenta (something that sounds trivial but is actually extremely important). During the actual delivery, we typically just keep our hands over the staff/resident’s hands to sort of get a feel for the maneuvers used to deliver. I went into my first delivery expecting to feel a strong emotional reaction. People had told me I might actually cry during it. Well, my experience wasn’t quite as emotional. I think I was just so concerned with doing something wrong that I was only focused on the steps that needed to be taken and making sure I didn’t mess up. Live births are, well…messy. I mean, really really messy. For all of beauty that is child birth, the actual delivery is anything but. I was able to get past the smells, sounds, and physical characteristics of the whole thing by just recognizing its all part of the natural process that God created, and that makes it perfect and beautiful in a different sense. The whole thing lasted maybe 5 minutes and before I knew it we were all done and back in the team workroom before I had a chance to stop and really think about what had just happened.
I’ve been in a handful of deliveries this past week, as well as assisted in c-sections and various emergency visits. I can’t say I particularly enjoy delivering babies, but it is such a unique and special thing that I feel really fortunate to at least have the opportunity to do it for a short time and to learn about what is done if I’m ever in a situation where my help is needed. OB has been a really educational time, nonetheless. We don’t get much OB teaching during the first 2 years of school, so everything is really new. As our chief resident likes to say, half of all our future patients will be women, many of whom will be pregnant or want to become pregnant, so it’s important that we learn how to take care of them.
Apart from the actual experience, the past week has been extremely fatiguing. I wake up around 4am each day to make it to the hospital in time to pre-round on patients. Then I’m not back home until around 6:30 that night. To be honest, I’m not sure how the residents do it. I’ve realized throughout school that my life outside of medicine is really important to me and something that I’m not too eager to sacrifice.
I start night shift this next week, which means I’ll go back into the hospital sunday at 6pm and then be there on shift until the following morning. It will be equally exhausting, i’m sure, but another good experience to learn about labor and delivery. After that, I have a nice 3 day vacation in which I’ll get to spend time with family over the weekend for Easter and then start up on the gynecology the following week!