I really don’t want to love Ob/Gyn. It’s a tough life. Brutal residency (the intensity of surgery with fewer residents and often less respect). Horrible, often unpredictable hours (even as an attending). So, so many lawsuits (btw, when people complain about the c-section rate in this country, I can’t help but think, “Then stop suing the pants off the providers, and maybe they won’t rush you to the OR quite so quickly.”). One of the attendings, who has twin girls, on the Labor & Delivery Unit told me, “If I knew I wanted to be a mother and that I would like being a mother so much, I would have picked another field. No question.”
I just finished my gynecological surgery week. I caught the 5:05am train every morning in order to pre-round and be ready to round at 6:30. I was in the OR by 7:30am. My surgeons were generous, and they always let me leave by 7:30pm so I could catch the 7:46pm train home–they, of course, stayed until the end of their respective surgeries as late as 10:30pm, thereby missing any interaction with their families that day. They also always let me break for lunch, a luxury they rarely gave themselves. I didn’t formally study this week because I spent every minute at home preparing the three presentations I was assigned this week (ask me anything about gestational diabetes, fibroids, or stress urinary incontinence).
But I still loved it. The surgeries were fascinating (and I actually got to participate! Did you know that gyn surgeons use a tool called “the morselator”–it’s actual name!–in order to break apart uteri and remove them laparoscopically, piece by piece? Dramatically reduces recovery time when you don’t have to make a larger incision!). The surgeons are kind, sometimes a little funky. The outcomes are often pretty great–fix a woman of her urinary incontinence, and she is one satisfied patient! And there’s a wonderful mixture of high acuity and longitudinal care.
I have four more weeks on Ob/Gyn, during which I’ll rotate on ambulatory clinic, oncological surgery, and labor & delivery (night float). At the end of those four weeks, even if everything goes smashingly, I’ll temper my enthusiasm. The last week has been hard, but I am under no illusion that it’s even remotely reflective of the challenges of a career in Ob/Gyn.