I shadowed obstetrics today–and for the first time, my shadowing experience actually made me MORE inclined towards a specialty than away from it! It is definitely on the table, especially as a +1 if I end up doing family. And most surprisingly, I feel like delivering a baby is actually pretty dang easy!
I know that what I saw (one vaginal and one Cesarean) took lots and lots of practice and perfecting, but to watch the 3rd year med student actually finish up most of the vaginal delivery was very eye-opening. Here I’d heard that med students are not allowed to do anything in the delivery room except, if they’re lucky, cut the cord… and here was the student who’d been here for only a few weeks actually know what to do in delivering a baby–with the obstetrician standing over and watching, of course.
The recurring theme in repro block seems to be that despite all the things we on the medicine side can do to make pregnancies easier, being on the other side of the stirrups seems extremely daunting. When I say delivering a baby looks easy, I mean that it looks easy enough to tell a woman what to do, when to push, how to breathe, and when and how to pull out a baby–it does not seem to get any easier to imagine doing that myself. And the most terrifying thing about this block has been that it’s the one unit where everything I learn, I actually picture myself happening to me–5 or 10 or 15 years in the future. Heck forget the pathologies; I’m struggling even imagining myself going through a normal, healthy pregnancy and labour… I imagine that the female 50% of my class is too, as we watch videos of women in pain, trying to be strong. I can definitely say I have a newfound respect for the miracle that is pregnancy–starting with the insane series of events at conception to the very miracle of pushing human life out of you.
I can also say that it has contributed to my stress levels of how I’m ever going to do that myself, and how I’m ever going to do that while trying to juggle a career in medicine. I imagine many moms would say childbirth was the easiest part of having a child, when there’s a lifetime ahead of caretaking, nourishing, and raising them to be good human beings, and the immense time and energy that goes into that. But I guess every female physician before me has done it somehow and I’ll have to figure it out when the time comes.