November 16, 2009

The Moment

A patient presents to L&D, full term with her second child. As she rounds the corner, you see she is sitting to one side, sweat above her lip - a telltale sign that she will deliver soon. She tells you she wants her epidural and she wants it now as she is getting into the bed. She has no intentions of delivering naturally. A quick exam reveals a huge bulging bag of water and no cervix left. No time for an epidural. With the next contraction, her water breaks and with the gush of fluid, the baby's head descends rapidly and is now visible through the labia. The mother becomes frantic at this intense pressure and burning sensation. With the calmness that this is an everyday event, one gloved hand supports the perineum and the other is ready to catch. "Look at me, look me in the eyes. Okay, your baby is coming and you can do this". With these gentle words, eyes lock, and the patient reaches within and finds control. As the mother involuntarily bears down, the baby's head emerges. Gentle support of the perineum and slow stretching allow the head to come without tearing. "Okay, now blow" and a quick finger sweep shows a loop of umbilical cord wrapped once, twice around the neck, which is easily reduced over the head. "Easy now, nice and easy" and the patient delivers her baby with a powerful contraction and an easy, controlled push. "It's a GIRL!" dad announces as their new daughter is placed on her mother's chest. At that moment, the OB, who had entered the room as the head had emerged makes her presence known. "Congratulations Mom and Dad" and to the L&D nurse who 'caught', a "well done, you look like you've been doing this for years". She had stood back, seeing all was well, knowing it would hinder more than help to jump in. The L&D nurse, who reads midwife memoirs, and loves all things related to birth, thinks to herself "That was awesome! And there wasn't any nervousness, because it was just a baby being born, and I was there just in case, but it was awesome!". Maybe, just maybe, it was that moment a calling was realized. A calling that may have to wait some years until after her family is complete and undergraduate debt repaid. But a calling that may have to be answered nonetheless. Perhaps in 10 years she'll answer that call at 3am to come now, the patient is ready, instead of being the one making that call. Who knows what the future may bring...

8 comments:

Taking Heart said...

Beautiful.
Hope she follows that call ;)

AtYourCervix said...

You *so* have a calling written for you. When you're ready to answer that calling, you go for it!! That was awesome girl!!!!

Sheridan said...

That is SO awesome! :)

Joy said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! Can't emphasis it enough. If only we all listened to our callings!

Laura said...

How wonderful! May all your dreams come true!

Caro said...

I hope she can do this :-)

Lindsey said...

I don't know where I've been for the past 3 ish months, but I just learned of your loss. I'm so sorry to hear it.

I also want to tell you that this post is awesome and what an empowering feeling to help that mother do what she didn't think she could as well as catch a baby! When I was pregnant with Eve and seeing my midwife, I briefly toyed the idea of becoming one myself. But I've already spent too many years in school to go back for something else right now, and I don't know how you do those night shifts!

Great story! Thanks for sharing!

rjdorsey said...

I wish you could be there for me in my second delivery, I might even attempt a VBAC with someone as capable as you by my side. I'm too skeptical of these military physicians to even go that route :( but life goes on and Baby #2 will get here by scheduled cesarean early March. BEAUTIFUL DELIVERY!!