At the Still Point of the Turning World
Residency is over, NOW what? (While I'm waiting for the answer, I'll get some spinning done....)

Wednesday, August 28, 2002


Earlier this month I told you about my patient who was getting close to her due date. She's a 19 year-old first time mother, and has been making a rocky journey from childhood to motherhood during this pregnancy, with lengthy detours for bad behavior and the occasional glimpse of true maturity. I'll spare you the agonizing details. For weeks I've been juggling coverage for her delivery between myself and two other residents, because she really wanted me to be there when the baby was born. I had to struggle with my own fatigue, resentment, and ego (by golly I must be a good doctor, she wants me to be there so badly), and managed to learn something about the kind of doctor I'm trying to become.

She went past her due date on Saturday and I was beginning to think about inducing labor, when she rolled into Labor and Delivery this morning getting ready, as we like to say, to rumble. She labored throughout the day, requiring serial examinations (done by me), spinal analgesia (done by me), labor coaching (done by me, two expert L&D nurses, and her family)--and finally delivered a pink and wiggly baby girl at 7:55pm (PST) tonight. The new arrival's vital statistics: 6lbs. 4oz, 19 inches long, Apgars 9/9. After some initial respiratory distress, requiring a bit of neonatal resuscitation (done by me), the baby made a good transition and was learning to suckle at the breast when I finally bowed out at 9:30pm.

All I can say is this: WHAT A RELIEF! Now all I have to do is round on mom and baby for the next two mornings, then sit back and wait for the well-baby visits. Family practice can be a lot of fun, which is good because it can also be a bloody pain in the rear. This pregnancy treated me to a bit of both, I believe.