That title should be in all-caps. Because I am THAT excited!
My first rotation in third year med school was OBGYN. I delivered a baby before I even know how to put up an IV. And now, my first rotation of Internship is OBGYN, and this time the big milestone is delivering babies via C-section.
It is something we all have to do (the HPCSA requires that interns do at least ten, but preferably more, solo C-sections), but it still feels pretty special. I was getting a bit worried. A lot of people did sections in their first week of being a doctor and here I was, one month in an not a single section behind my name (I’m not the only one, but that’s besides the point).
It’s actually really hard to get the chance to try your hand at a C-section. When it’s an emergency, interns can’t cut because we might take too long. When we have a long list, we can’t cut for the same reason. When the patient has had previous caesars they don’t like for us to cut if we are still inexperienced, because adhesions make it really difficult when the anatomy is obscured. And when it is the middle of the night, scrub nurses and anaesthetists just want to get things over and done with, and pressurise the doctor not to let the intern cut.
So I’ve experienced all of those things and I almost thought I was never going to be able to cut and that I would have to come back to repeat OBGYN.
BUT TODAY I CUT! I was so terrifed. The doctor that assisted/taught me is actually a friend of mine from high school, and he was SO, SO patient with me. A C/S is supposed to be really quick, like… 20 minutes. I took an hour and fifteen minutes from start to finish.So… that is not ideal. But that’s how learn, right?
We also struggled a little bit to get the baby’s head delivered, and eventually just used some gentle forceps to assist.
I was shaking like a leaf and made my first incision waaaaay too shallowly. I’ve assisted in so many sections recently but it looks very different from the other side of the table. Hand-tying knots was also remarkably more difficult with shaking, double-gloved hands. Additionally we have budget constraints, so we are technically supposed to use only two sets of stitches for closing the uterus (twice), the sheath, and the skin. I kind of forgot how to do hand-ties half-way through from being so nervous.
One scrub nurse made a few comments about my (lack of) speed, but in general the OR staff was very supportive and cheered me on. It probably helped that our elective list was only three long, and there were no emergency sections incoming.
What a cool experience. I’ve never really adored surgery but this was very nice and I’m actually looking forward to my next one. A vigorous baby girl was born, and when she cried, I nearly cried as well!