It's been quite awhile since I've updated on how school has been going and what I've been doing. The biggest news? I will finish this program 9 months from Wednesday! Thank goodness! I've mentioned already that I'm currently in rotation for both women's health and pediatrics, but now I'm half way through the semester and I've had some pretty interesting experiences. Today I'll share a little bit about my women's health clinical.
My women's rotation has been very eye-opening. In labor and delivery, I have now assisted with two births and watched one. Essentially "my assistance" includes feeling for contractions, telling the mother when to push, and helping hold one of her legs and/or hand. I've done the first set of vitals signs on two brand new, 1 minute old babies, given vitamin K shots in their tiny little thighs, weighed, swaddled, dressed, and diapered babies for the first time and got to hand them over to some pretty excited parents. I've been handed a cell phone by a younger mom saying, "Take a picture for me! I wanna see him!" when a NICU team was assessing her baby from a somewhat difficult delivery (though the baby was awesome, strong, and very healthy). I've foot-printed babies for their official records. I've monitored contractions and fetal heart rates, and I've watched epidural placements (which I also do at work for patients pre-surgery to manage their post-surgery pain), and to be completely honest, watching it makes me never want to get an epidural if I can help it.
On our mother-infant unit, the hospital is trying to switch to a couplet care system, so I get assigned a mother and her baby as my patients for the day. On that floor, typically a lot of teaching and a lot of reassuring is involved. It is a good sign when mothers are concerned about everything from a little rash developing to how little they feel the baby is eating. I have also seen some not so good signs - but no one wants to hear about those. In the nursery is where things like circumcisions, car seat trials, and PKU screenings take place. If the babies aren't in there for procedures or to let the moms get a little sleep, they are usually with their moms in her hospital room. I've also juggled trying to teach a non-English speaking mom how to take her baby's temperature once she gets home while holding the interpreter phone in one hand, and trying to quiet her her screaming baby by letting her suck on my (gloved) finger because we can't give pacifiers to breastfeeding babies at the hospital. (For those of you future moms who want to breastfeed, here is a tip on breastfeeding and pacifiers.)
Overall, I have learned a lot about how much goes into a "routine" delivery and also a lot about what goes into those non-routine deliveries. I've learned a lot about pregnancy, a lot about breastfeeding, and a lot about what a newborn endures during its first minutes and days of life - they are surprisingly resilient for just entering this world. Plus, they are pretty cute, which just makes them likable patients :)