Friday, October 15, 2004


C/S stands for C-section and I saw my first today. A resident was in charge of delivering the baby and I think it must have been his first and he might well have been deaf: the doctor was screaming at him to "deliver the arm" while the resident was intent on simply tugging the baby's head and hoping, with each new tug, that it would work this time. Horrible sight. However, once the doctor took over, a lovely 9 pound boy was delivered.
They do the most amazing thing after the baby has been delivered: the doctor pulls the uterus out of its owner through the incision to check it out. The uterus is still attached by its ligaments and cervix near its base but the ligaments are flexible enough to allow the uterus to be pulled outside the body. It's almost obscene to see this pink, inside-looking and pulsating thing on a pale-skinned belly. After about a minute or two of poking about, the doctors promptly tucked it back in and stapled the incision shut. Amazing.

Overall, I was pretty underwhelmed by the C-section. There is a lot less for nurses to do in sections and the whole experience is very different from labor - much more surgery (obviously, I guess) than delivery. Also, the focus is not so much the mother and baby as the sterile field, the struggling resident (like I should talk), how many scalpels etc. However, the babies are especially beautiful.

A girl in my clinical group had an interesting experience today. Her patient was a devout Christian and believed that Jesus had not only died for her sins but for her labor pains as well. She insisted that she was in no pain and that there wouldn't be because Jesus was taking care of that. This lasted for 3 hours and then she asked for an epidural. No comment.

Another girl in my class witnessed bad, bad nursing and a horrible situation. Recovery rooms for post-surgical patients are usually split into post-c/s deliveries and post-D&Cs (scraping of the uterus performed after a miscarriage or for an abortion). However, the unit was extremely busy today and the c/s patients spilled over to the D&C recovery room. Two women were together in one of these rooms: a 39-year-old woman who had just had her third miscarriage after trying to get pregnant for years and another woman who had just delivered her first. The women had the same name. Can you imagine? The nurse even thought it was a wonderful coincidence that these two women had the same name and pointed it out to them. Ugh.

Various other news: My wednesday night kiddie group is going well but I am convinced these children will be the death of my immune system. I have a lymph node the size of a golf ball in my neck and I blame them. However, I have to get used to it because my next placement will be in paediatrics. My placement is at the children's hospital I requested and I'm thrilled. The good news is that my clinical instructor is also the professor for the course. The bad news is that my clinical instructor is... You get the idea. Finally, thanks to everyone in Chicago for making me feel like I was coming home.


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