The dreaded consult call

It was 4:30am when one of our clients asked for some narcotic pain relief for her labour. We had been with her since 8pm at home, for her early labour, and when her contraction pattern reached two minutes apart, we had made our way to the hospital. Her labour progress was slow, and steady, and I was checking in on her every 15 minutes to monitor it.

It was the witching hour, so I was beginning to feel loopy. Our client was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos between contractions and one of the videos threw me so severely into uncontrollable giggles that I had to leave the room.

My preceptor and I made coffee after that.

I decided to knit a while, but couldn’t focus.  I was tired, and just when I would get started, I’d have to go back into the room and check the labour progress anyway; 15 minutes go quickly when all you want to do is sit down.

It was around this bizarre hour that our client asked for narcotic pain relief. As midwives, we need to consult with an obstetrician to get the medication. The OB on call is very midwifery friendly, and has a good relationship with my preceptor, but nonetheless, when my preceptor asked me to pick up the phone and do the consult call, I almost peed my pants.

I held my scribbled notes of what to say in one hand, and picked up the receiver with my other shaky hand. I knew the doctor was sleeping, and I was terrified of waking him. He answered with a grunt, not even a hello. (In retrospect, I wasn’t even sure it was him.) He was already familiar with our client from a previous midnight chat, so with as much confidence as I could muster, I quickly reminded him of our clients details and told him she was requesting nubain.

“You ok with 10 mg IV?” 


In the end, that “yep” was the only real word he spoke, and when I hung up I wasn’t entirely sure why I had been so apprehensive.

Ah, the things that make you nervous when you know thing at all.



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