Saturday, January 2, 2010

Impromptu Baby Catching

I’ve done it. I’m finally reaching a point where I am prepared to catch a baby at any time, at any place. In the wee hours of the morning this week, I was sitting in the Triage (our hospital’s women-centered emergency room) working on a patient note when a nurse runs in. “We need a doctor to check room 12 – she’s uncomfortable and feeling rectal pressure!” Now clearly pregnant women in labor are uncomfortable. But “rectal pressure” in the world of Obstetrics can only mean one thing. The baby is coming.

I ran to the patient room. My co-resident lifted up the sheet to do a cervical exam (which tells us how dilated she is) and lo and behold, what do we find? The top of a big baby head trying to make her way out of her vagina… I throw on a pair of gloves and in a fraction of a second I am prepared to deliver this baby on a hospital stretcher. In the emergency room. As the largest diameter of her head pops out, I am hit with a tsunami of amniotic fluid. My favorite fleece sweater sleeves are soaked, as are every part of my unexposed arms. The baby’s shoulders and body follow easily after. I lay the baby on to the stretcher, clamp and cut the cord, and hand her off to mom with pride.

I gaze down at pink tinged fluid covering my arms and sweater. Even during this breach of universal precautions, I am pumped. True, the baby would’ve come out with or without me there. But being able to jump in there in the nick of time and ease her way into this crazy world was awesome. This is why I love my job.

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