I’m having too much fun for a medical student. Friday night I went to a ball game with my family (I left after the twelfth inning, feeling morally obliged to get some sleep for a night on call). The next morning I picked blackberries with my sisters – which are the best possible berries to pick, since they’re large, have no thorns, and grown on tall, shady bushes. I just started a new cross-stitch project, which I might finish in time to hang in my new apartment next year. And I have a nice stack of good books which I am progressing slowly through.

On the other hand, I spent a while Friday afternoon being furious because the Csection was cancelled (an amnio done the day before showed fetal lungs not completely mature) – and no one told me, so I spent two extra hours in the hospital instead of driving to see my family, and only found out about it incidentally when I came over to the surgery area. I wish people would tell me things. Someday, I will be a grown-up doctor, actually contributing something to the patient’s care, and then few things will happen without me knowing it. I hope. In the meantime, I need to stop stressing out about this stuff. If I hadn’t wasted the time talking to friends instead of studying, I would have felt better about it.

Saturday morning around 1am the midwife called me: “We’ll be having a baby in about an hour. She’s a multip, about 8cm. Oh, and it’s going to be a water birth.” Aha. I’ve been longing to see one of those. I raced over to the hospital, and found that I had previously met the patient in clinic. (Always much better than meeting the lady as she’s absorbed in labor.) The couple were in the tub together, and had three female friends watching/helping/encouraging, besides the midwife, the nurse, and me. The mother had headphones, and seemed to be doing very well lying in the tub and breathing. Pretty soon she became a good deal more uncomfortable. Everyone always feels very bad at that point. I know from the medical side I feel the least bit guilty for having wanted women to do labor naturally. The friends and husband seem to feel pretty upset too, just seeing her in so much pain and not being able to offer much besides words of encouragement, and warm and cold water (externally and internally). I know from accounts that just general “support” is helpful, but it feels inadequate in the face of so much pain.

Soon she was ready to push, leaning back in the tub. The midwife and I had sterile (for how long!) gloves on, and were leaning almost into the tub, in order to be able to reach her. One aspect of water birth that I had not considered before was . . .  something that necessitates a “fishnet” being produced. You medical people know what I mean. I decided, on the spot, that I myself will never give birth in a tub. Labor, ok; birth, no. After about 15 minutes of pushing, the baby crowned, and came out easily. Amazingly, after we got her out on the bed to do the placenta and dry the baby off, she had no tears. Certainly not my fault, since I was spending more energy not falling into the tub than supporting the baby’s exiting head.

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