On July 5th, I “delivered” a baby for the first time. (“Delivered” in quotations because I had neither agency in the process nor understanding of what I was actually doing until I handed the infant to her mother.)
Here’s how it went down:
So, I see a group of midwives for my own prenatal care that delivers at the hospital where I’m rotating. One of them recognized me, asked me how I was feeling and liking the rotation, introduced me to her patients, then asked if I’d like to assist on a birth. Um, absolutely.
One of her patients, about my age, was in labor with her first. She was in stage II of childbirth (the actual pushing part) for over three hours. I held her legs, brought her ice chips, played tug-of-war with her using a balled up sheet, updated her family, and gradually got to know her and her husband a little through small talk between contractions. When the head started crowning, the midwife guided my hands and showed me where to place pressure on her pelvic floor and at the base of the baby’s head. Before I knew it, I was sliding the right shoulder out, then the left, and was momentarily holding this new person before the midwife instructed, “Okay, now give the child to her mother.”
The mom and dad were both total rockstars. The best part I think was the transition between the mother being in the worst pain of her life to feeling absolutely nothing but pure love for this small human she just brought into the world. She looked at me as I handed her her little girl, “Is she mine?!” She didn’t even feel us sewing up her vaginal lacerations as she held her wailing child.
A few lessons for myself this October:
- Stay at home as long as humanly possible. I do not want spend hours piddling away on a hospital floor with my cervix 2cm dilated..
- Bring DVDs. First births take a long ass time.
- Don’t tell anyone I’m in labor. I want to worry about my child, my spouse, myself, and no one else. (This woman above and her husband were texting back and forth with her mother in the waiting room between what seemed like every contractions because her mother was on the verge of total hysterics.)