Sunday, September 14, 2008

From water to wind

So this week I have had the opportunity to help some families bring their little ones from out of the water (womb) into the wind. In my times of reflection on these times, I thought I would share some thoughts about the world of obstetrics.

Fetii (just kidding) are nortorious for being onry when the doctor is around. Labor and the course of delivery just seem to take longer when you are there than when you are not. I have learned this first hand after sitting with mothers as they are pushing for 1-2 hours, and somehow I end up having the task of counting the ten count for each push, over and over. (I think this task falls to me because the birth partner is so excited/distracted/grossed out that they can't focus to even count to ten. They also tend to get frustrated when the OB nurse tells them to slow their counting down, as if they are implying that they can't count to 10 correctly (by that time, most men feel like they can't do anything right). Suffice it to say, I can now count to 10 in 9 different languages, including 2 Peruvian Indian dialects (awesome - lets hit the mission field) and sign it with the best of them (you'd think I was deaf for all my life, and my fingers sign it with enthusiasm!)) I have counted to 10 so many times that if medicine doesn't work out, I could definitely find a job as the voice-in for the plethora of speechless boxing referees in the country. The lesson is, if you sit and wait on the baby, things will take longer (its true, a watched pot doesn't boil). If you don't, things go much shorter. So, this year I have decided to await being present and let others assume the counting responsibilities until I am needed. Well, this invariably leads to some babies being born or partially born without my presence. I have tried to make my presence known, but have been occassionally prevented from being present by lack of notification of an impending birth, by family members chit-chatting with me in the stairwell as I am running up the stairs to get to the delivery, by inadequate pain control (due to the nursing instruction of "push that pain away" that gets ingrained in their heads the prior 82 times they've pushed), by impatient babies, and by the "it's coming!" phenomenon. Thus is the nature of OB! Your doctor is dammed if they do, dammed if they don't - they can sit with each laboring patient until the baby is born, making you wonder if he or she is "enjoying their coffee break" while you've been waiting in an office exam room for 2 hours just to have a 6 minute visit, or they can attempt to be there at delivery when needed and risk missing the birth. The rule of OB is that nothing goes as planned! So, to have a baby, not only does mom have to be flexible, so does the doctor. So I say to moms, you have a choice. You can choose to have your doctor present for your pushing and not risk your doctor missing the delivery, thus officially making him or her a common-law partner, or you can have them rush in at the last minute, deliver the baby, and take care of the both of you, resulting in a shorter course of labor and pushing! Shorter labor or a new common-law partner - seems like the decision is easy to make (being married to a doctor is not all its cracked up to be - just ask my wife (I hope all my clothes are still in the closet when I get home and not in the yard)). So please don't scold me, growl at me, furrow your brow at me if I'm late to your delivery - I'm just trying to do you a favor, sister. You'll thank me later. Later.

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