Sunday, March 27, 2011

Labor and Delivery Nights

The last week of my OBGyn rotation, I worked three nights in Labor and Delivery. I had been dreading it and finding an ascetic pleasure in it, admiring and pitying myself for having to stay up all night.

During days on L&D, I was largely ignored. I felt too tired to assert myself into the unit and compete with the off-service interns and residents, most of them mothers, who seemed very stressed out and talked to each other exclusively about their children. On nights, I was fortunate to work with three men, an intern, an R2, and an R4, who seemed to like their work. The men also had children, but they had stay-at-home partners, who cared for their children. I’ve never liked it when people refer to women doctors or scientists as “bitchy”, stating they are worse than men, because they are trying to be aggressive like men. It was a small sample size, but I think women still have more stress placed on them. They would probably be more mellow if they had a stay-at-home wife or partner caring for their children.

My first night in L&D was long—I helped deliver a woman’s first child, and it took forever. But by the third night, I was loving L&D. The three residents included me. By my last evening, I felt emotionally and physically drained, and became mawkish, wanting to hug the residents goodbye. I wanted to express how deeply I appreciated my time with them, the opportunity to be pimped and learn from them, to help with births, to see and worry about a pregnant mother who smoked meth for motivation to clean her house, to write patient notes, to try to communicate with native Spanish speakers, and to be awake all night in the hospital when most people are asleep. I did not hug them. I thanked them for teaching me. Then I cried all the way to my car after I left. I find as I approach the end of my required rotations, it’s a struggle to both get going to the hospital, and to leave the unit to go home.

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