This is intense.
Monday was eleven hours of orientation/lecture.
Tuesday, my alarm went off at 4:30 AM; I got to the hospital a little after 5 and began pre-rounding and writing my notes. At 7:30, the resident and I headed over to Labor & Delivery. OB is the only rotation that requires 24 hour call, and in my group, I was the first one up. Scrubbed on several c-sections and a cerclage (a purse-string stitch to hold the cervix closed when there is a high risk of preterm labor) during the day.
I also assisted on a couple of vaginal deliveries, one of which was preterm. The head crowned and then did not move for what seems like several minutes. The patient was screaming in pain, the father of the baby was staring nervously at his child’s wet hair, the resident was lubricating everything in sight, and the attending was yelling at the patient to PUSH, DAMN IT. Very fraught moment. But then the baby slipped out so unexpectedly she almost fell on the floor. She had a lot to cry about then. She was whisked away and we addressed the placenta (“Hello, placenta, how are you, and how are all the villi?”), which I delivered.
Even though I didn’t know the mother at all, I still found myself getting emotional at the delivery, and indeed at every delivery I saw that night. Neonates are slimy and exceedingly ugly, but the fact of their existence is still unbelievable to me. Here is a new person, for goodness’ sake, screaming their lungs out, who just a few seconds existed only in theory. Kind of awe-inspiring.
I split most of the night between triage and L&D. It’s kind of a bizarre place, the hospital in the middle of the night. It feels surreal. You wander around half-dazed, but when things happen, they happen so fast you can barely keep up. In one case, by the time I got the booties on, she’d been delivered. I peeped my head into a patient’s room and saw the sun rising red and angry. Walking home the next morning at 8 AM, I bumped into several classmates (in one case, literally) on their way in. I was supposed to get the post-call day off, so I was thinking of, you know, SLEEPING, but they decided to schedule last-minute teaching sessions, so I really only had time to shower and change out of my bloody scrubs.
I should have gone back to the floor after the teaching sessions (my resident this morning was pissed that I hadn’t, even though our syllabus states we are excused from all clinical duties when we are post-call) and passed out almost immediately I got home.