My First Catch

8 Mar

It started out with my complaining about my 2 hour commute and ended with me so full of excitement (adrenaline and a didn’t-really-need-that-extra-dose-of-afternoon-caffeine) that I couldn’t sleep!

It was an induction planned for this am, we were all running late and everyone started off grumpy with extra patients to round on and a full clinic schedule in addition to this soon-to-be laboring patient.  I thought this day would be the day from hell, but luck changed!  By noon we were finally caught up, recharged from lunch and called to labor and delivery to check on the induction patient. She went from 4cm to complete over lunch!  Soon after we had gathered all of our equipment, I got put in the hot seat.  I was seated between mom’s legs at the end of the bed – baby catching position! 

Honestly, the possibility of dropping a slimey slippery baby was the first thing running through my mind… all I could think about is how can I be sure that I won’t drop this thing – I’ve never even touched a newborn baby before!  Are they really that slippery?  The only thing that reassured me was the fact that I was seated, have some extra cushion in the thighs, and if I keep them together perhaps baby may just be agreeable to landing right there… my mind, still unsettled, was quickly distracted by a crowning baby!

After a few good rounds of pushing I soon had my hands on baby’s head with my preceptor’s hands resting on mine, *insert sigh of relief*! The shoulders came out easy.  I struggled to grasp the arm and chest not knowing quite where to grab; they are slippery!  Once feeling how big this baby was, and still thinking, “how am I going to hold all of its weight sideways by the head and chest, pull it out and still not drop this heavy thing?”  Before I had time to plan anything, my preceptor, as if she was replying to the doubts in my head firmly ordered: “PULL!”

I had no choice.  I gave one last pull and quickly found myself staring at this beautiful crying baby now resting in my arms. I somehow managed to get her placed on mom’s belly, all while trying to keep it together and put any inkling of waterworks at bay.  It was such a dreamlike moment to see mom and dad looking at their new baby and grasping for words to describe her. “She’s perfect” they stated in unison as she was snuggled up next to mom’s chest. 

She measured at 8lbs 12ozs; she was big! I don’t think mom could have been more proud to know she successfully labored a baby that big.  She was beaming in wonder.

I next delivered the placenta and was quickly reminded of the speed of it all.  It’s an incredible privilege to have a front row seat watching how a full term pregnant belly progresses to water breaking, baby crowning, placenta delivering, and a firming shrinking empty uterus with a happy baby on the outside!

Later that evening I chatted with a good friend and classmate who quickly thanked me for texting him my news about getting to catch my first baby. Currently on internal medicine, he had just experienced an emotional  and unexpected end of life discussion with his preceptor, their patient and her family.  She was an 88 year old woman who in the midst of their conversation, littered by her agonal breathing,  surrendered her will to fight her disease any longer.  Upsetting everyone in the room, no dry eyes were to be found.  

Turns out he received my message just moments later and was so grateful to hear that while he was struggling with the ending of his patient’s life, I was simultaneously celebrating bringing a new life in to the world; how fitting.  I’m so appreciative that we can uplift and bring peace to one another by sharing such huge moments in each of our lives; we’re lucky to even have the opportunity to be reflecting on the moments that our patients have welcomed us in to, sharing their own heartbreak and joys, affecting us more than they will ever know. 

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