I cut my first C-Section

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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.

first cs

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!

22 thoughts on “I cut my first C-Section

  1. Its so nice to see somebody who is really genuinely excited about their day job🙂 I’m glad it went well for you!

    Good luck with future opportunities!

    Lauren x

    • Yeah! It’s a bit daunting. The reason being that when we go work in the periphery we are often the only doctors there so if need be we should be able to do the section.

  2. Yay! I wish I could like this more than once! I’ve never done a C-section on my own from start to finish… Only parts of them each time. But that’w what I get to focus on next year!
    You are awesome! Are you sure you still don’t want to do OB/GYN?

    • I definitely would prefer being allowed to do parts at a time, it would help me to ease into it much quicker… but I guess our systems just work differently. I’m actually enjoying OB/GYN a lot more this year… so it’s definitely back in the mix!

  3. Ahhh I’m so proud of you!! And it’s so crappy when the nurses don’t want you to do something/learn because they want to get out of there. So selfish. But I’m glad the team was mostly super supportive!

  4. AWESOME!!
    congrats and good luck with your next ones. ( P.S you might want to pack some cookies for the OT staff, for your teaching you know😉 )

  5. That’s so exciting! my fiance is a first year med students, i can’t wait for him to have these kind of exciting experiences…until then i’ll deal with the grumpy book worm🙂 Congrats!

  6. That is so cool. I would personally never like to have a c-section done on me, but it’s nice to know how much care goes into them. I’d much prefer someone take their time than try to speed their way through cutting someone in half😉

    • Don’t worry, we aren’t supposed to do them without good reason either.🙂
      Taking one’s time is not so much a problem for the current person on the table (unless they get bored) but it might be a problem for the woman in line for the next C-section whose baby is in distress, which is why we need to find a happy medium between being careful but not being too slow. There’s nothing as terrifying as knowing that a baby could be born with brain damage if one dallies too long on a C-section…

  7. Pingback: Self-Care Is Hard | Barefoot Whispers

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