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  • Writer's pictureamogh anand

The First Time I Delivered a Baby

After sleeping through the whole afternoon, I woke up in the evening to grab something to eat before heading to the labor room. I was in the final year of medical school, and my Obstetrics rotations were going on. We had the option of attending the labor room during the night at the cost of the theory lectures in the morning. I was looking forward to spending my first night in the Gallery of Gravid Uteruses.



So beautiful, so surreal!


My mother, an Obstetrician herself, had thrown a dozen amazing books for me to study. She mentioned one book on labor with lovely illustrations and explanations of how the fetus comes into the world. I readied my bag and left for the labor room.


10 p.m., and there I was. It was like an orchestra of pregnant women screaming, groaning, moaning, yelling, and finally, popping out babies from their bodies. It was a charged-up atmosphere. The resident on duty was brimming with passion and excitement to teach us kids. She was a master in her subject, an artist with a scalpel with very warm and compassionate arms. After we settled in, she started explaining the mechanism of normal labor. It was somewhat peculiar, a little confusing, and genuinely fascinating. For the fetus to maneuver through the narrow lanes of the indifferent vaginal canal and come out alive is a marvelous phenomenon. And as we were about to complete the topic, one woman started screaming at the top of her voice! “Head on Perineum,” cried the other resident, and we all rushed towards the patient. It was exactly like what I’d just read in the book.


The fetus in the uterus


My friend and I were oscillating between ambition and anxiety to request the resident to let us conduct a delivery. We held our nerve. The resident told me, “The next patient to enter active labor is yours!!” Not even five minutes had passed, yet another woman took to the stage. I started exuding adrenaline and went to sanitize my sweaty hands. I was back, facing the woman’s perineum, waiting for her uterus to contract. With my left hand on her abdomen, I tried to feel the fetal head against her pelvic brim. Suddenly, her abdomen felt like a rock; she was having contractions.


The baby made a little further progress in its worldly pursuit. Next time, the head came out of the vaginal vault, and I put my hands across to deliver the shoulders. My hands felt weird as I was afraid to pull this tender face with teeny, tiny eyes, a nose, and a mouth, wrapped in a layer of slimy amniotic fluid. There were so many voices in the background: “Pull!” “Force!” “Anterior Shoulder!” “More Force!” My hands were trembling while holding the slithery mass of flesh!


Delivery of the anterior shoulder


Finally, I delivered the anterior shoulder, after which the baby slid into my hands. I placed him on his mother’s abdomen. It was enthralling to hear the sound of the baby’s cries, watching it grasp onto the mother. I was overwhelmed by the experience. So beautiful, so surreal.

We spent the remainder of the night learning how to suture an episiotomy. At almost seven in the morning, we made our way from the labor room. I started driving towards my favorite tea stall on the highway, and the music player in my car was on random. “Safest Place to Hide” by Backstreet Boys began to play. The lyrics had never made more sense!



...Can you see me, here I am (here I am)

I need you like I needed you then

When I feel like giving up

I climb inside your heart and still find (you're my)

You're my safest place to hide...


Sources:

1. Obstetrics for nurses: Plass, Everett Dudley, 1886-: Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming: Internet Archive [Internet]. Internet Archive. 2022 [cited 31 August 2022]. Available from: https://archive.org/details/obstetricsfornur00plasrich/mode/1up?view=theater


2. Safest Place to Hide [Internet]. Youtube.com. 2022 [cited 31 August 2022]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rt6rDQjsHU


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