A day in the life

Sometimes, people ask me what it’s like to be an OB/GYN resident. Well, here is an idea of what a typical night shift looks like:

  • half a dozen patient calls (mostly from people who are having round ligament pain, or who peed on themselves when they sneezed and now they think their water broke)
  • three patients in triage with the complaints above, or low back pain
  • two patients in triage who are contracting but not actually in labor
  • one patient in triage who was told to come straight to the hospital after her clinic appointment, but who decided to stop for pizza first and who shows up 6 hours later
  • one transfer from an outside hospital for a problem that she doesn’t actually have (i.e. preterm labor with a closed cervix, peed on herself, preeclampsia with a blood pressure of 190/110 at the outside hospital but 120/80 here, etc)
  • one induction on the slow boat with a crappy strip requiring frequent application of intrauterine resuscitative measures (flip, hydrate, oxygen, repeat)
  • one cesarean section that starts right when I am supposed to be starting my morning pre-rounds
  • one vaginal delivery that reminds me why I do this in the first place

Days are a bit different – there are formal rounds, and the clinic handles most of the patient calls until 5pm. At 5:01pm, my pager goes insane with patient calls and every bed in triage fills up. I try to assess and, well, triage everyone while updating the sign-out list and taking care of the laboring patients. After sign-out there is a big stack of paperwork to be done before going home.

And you know what? I love it.

There are hard days. There are days when every patient is hurting and uncomfortable and unhappy. There are days when babies die. There are days when I have to tell someone who came in for vaginal discharge that her baby has no heartbeat. And then there are days when I get to help a woman deliver her baby safely, and watch them bond and nurse, and I remember exactly why I do this.


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