My sister set up the Christmas tree and I piled the presents I've been hoarding in my room under it. Sigh. How lovely :) On top of that, I'm munching on the little sandwiches I made for our potluck today at the hospital.
So, what can I say about this maternity rotation now? Well, I finally got to see a birth. It's not exactly what I had envisioned.
There was something like a roll-bar arched over her bed and the mum had her feet on it. She was pulling on a blanket tied to this row bar so that she could have leverage. Meanwhile, people were walking in and out of the room - doctors, nurses, family members. It was a bit confusing, but they were just checking on her progress.
My job was just to watch and to provide encouragement, so I just smiled at the mum, gave her thumbs up, and said encouraging things when she made a good push. Sometimes I put gloves on and changed the towels under her. The mum didn't mind. She was focused on the pushing part.
The nurses were very nice to me and explained what was going on and the different machines. The mum had a fetal monitor over her tummy so that the nurses could monitor her blood pressure, her heart rate, and the baby's heart rate.
At one point, I started to see something dark at the vaginal opening. The nurses told me it was the baby's hair. My eyes got really big then and I couldn't stop staring. The dark part got gradually more visible until it was pretty obvious that it was a little head pushing it's way out.
The doctors were called and they all came bustling in with their various teams. There were doctors to deliver the baby, doctors to observe the doctor, and doctors specializing in babies to take over when the baby was born. Everything happened pretty fast after that. Push, push, push, and SPLOOSH! The baby was out! It was amazing.
The baby's cord was clamped and cut, and the baby was passed to the baby doctors. They checked the baby over, checked the baby's throat, and did a little bit of suction. When they had made sure the baby was healthy, they let the nurse take over. She cleaned the baby off and called me over. I got to put eye ointment into the baby's eyes to protect it from infection, and she gave it a Vitamin K injection to protect it from bleeding. I was pretty excited to see a brand new baby.
Then I got to examine the placenta. The nurse showed me the part that was housing the baby in the womb, and the part that connected to the mother. The part connected to the mother looks a bit like chunks of raw liver. She showed me how we have to examine it to see if it looks intact with no pieces missing. If pieces are missing, they have to check the mum to see if some pieces are still inside her.
Meanwhile, the doctors were stitching the mum up. Because the baby came out so fast, she had some tearing. Poor mum! She didn't seem to really notice though. She was in a rather delirious state saying things like, "My baby...". I think she was a bit wrapped up in what had just taken place and the miracle of having just given birth to a real live baby.
We wrapped the baby up and passed it to mum. She was overcome with happiness to see her new baby, and it was a very sweet moment.
I took care of the mum for the rest of my shift and checked her studiously. She did great! I was happy to be part of her experience, and I hope it was much better from her perspective than from mine, lol! It's a bit scary to be the observer. The mums seem to "forget" what they go through though. One mum said that she knows in her brain how traumatic and painful it was, but that it's fuzzy. Instead, they glow over their new babes and enthusiastically plan for more children!
It's Growing on Me
So, looking back at these last two weeks, I'd have to say that it got better. I wasn't as stressed out anymore, and I could see how valuable the teaching was for the parents. Everything was hands on and applicable. I would teach the mum to breastfeed, and then I'd watch her actually do it; I'd teach the dad to bathe the baby, and then he'd show me how he could do it alone. It was really nice.
I think the highlight of my time in maternity was cuddling with the babies. Sometimes the mums would leave the baby in my arms while they went to the bathroom and I could croon and rock the baby. It was really sweet. The babies are so cute, so soft skinned, and downright lovable. They make funny noises and they can sometimes smile. It warmed my heart.
I think that despite all the scary things that happened in Maternity, I could get used to it based on the fact that I like the babies so much. Funny how things work. Well, now to hit the books. Final exams start next week! *groan*
Wish me luck!
Have a great week!