As I began a newborn exam on a 75 minute old little human, I heard my name in the distance. Confused, and concerned that I might be hallucinating after having been awake for 36 hours, I turned and saw my preceptor standing there blinking her eyes at me.
Instead of responding to the call of my name, I turn back to the little human and assess the misshapen head and apparent cephalohematoma. I figure, if my preceptor isn’t calling me, then I’m definitely hallucinating. And then, in a moment that (to me) seemed like a dramatic incident out of the TV series ER, I heard my name again. LOUDLY.
My preceptor turns and says, “So I think they are calling for you?”
Now you have to understand, I am a student. A midwifery student. No one in their right mind should be calling my name loudly across the labour and delivery ward. I am at the bottom of the totem pole here, if you can even consider that I’m on it at all. Like, who is the person that says,
“WE NEED SONIA AT THIS DELIVERY, STAT. ONLY SONIA CAN HELP US NOW!”
Regardless of my hierarchical importance, I dash to the door, and fight my way through the stupidly installed privacy curtain that, in this very important moment, appears to be stuck on the door itself and is thus preventing my escape. I look like a little kid who threw a sheet over himself and decided to be a ghost for halloween. Except, this kid gets so hot underneath the sheet that he begins to struggle to get it off, but can’t, because the sheet is so damn big. As a result the child becomes lost in waves and waves of bed sheet material and begins to cry a little inside.
That is me, except I’m a grown-ass woman in a hospital being urgently called for from across the ward. Who puts a fucking curtain in front of a door?!
As I finally burst out of the curtain into the hallway I see the obstetrician we had been working with for the last 36 hours waving frantically at me and pointing into a room.
I dramatically sprint down the hallway toward the room and burst into the scene like a hero in a Disney movie.
“Put on your gloves,” she says.
The room is set up. The client is yelling. The nurses are coaching her and setting up instruments. The obstetrician is having her sterile gown put on.
… and now, I am struggling to fit my sweaty fucking fat fingers into stupid sterile gloves that almost always seem to want to balloon with air when I really need to impress people. Then one of my favourite nurses says, “Oh hey! Shall I get out of your way so you can deliver us a baby?” This is enough to shake me out of my gloveggravation.
I’m still stunned, but don’t have time to doddle because the head is crowning. Over the next few minutes, the OB teaches me her way of delivering, which includes giving direct downward and lateral pressure to the anterior shoulder as it is coming out. We later joke about how we prefer a hands-on delivery approach, because we feel we have more control in a seemingly uncontrollable situation. (We’re both Type A). We will see if I continue to feel that way as I become more experienced, but I really did like the feeling of knowing what I was doing.
I deliver the baby in the next 2 minutes, have a condensed Simba/Rafiki moment, put babe skin-to-skin with mom, and then assess for a tear. No tearing, so the OB pats me on the back and says, “Great job!”
I trot back to my clients room in awe, because I’m basically a leading lady on Grey’s Anatomy now.
… and then I run face first into a door that is hidden behind the confounded curtain that leads into my client’s room.
You win some, you lose some.