I'm already halfway through my ob/gyn (obstetrics and gynecology) rotation--which means I'm almost halfway through third year of med school. One of my close med school friends said it best, "The days are long but the weeks are short." Because we rotate sites every month, even a rotation that seems to drag on has an endpoint. And on ob/gyn, we rotate services every 2 weeks, so it seems even shorter, especially with the Thanksgiving break.

One of the best things about being a medical student is that it's a free pass to ask questions about and experience everything that medicine has to offer. People are so willing to teach you, and if you are enthusiastic, the residents, fellows, and attendings are happy to let you participate in things you may only do once in your life.  On medicine, I was able to learn how to manage hypertension and chronic kidney disease, conditions that affect my extended family members. On surgery, I drove the camera on countless laparoscopic cases (and even got to take out the gallbladder a few times!). And ob/gyn, I got a sneak preview of what it's like to be pregnant and give birth. 

The way our rotation is structured, we do 2 weeks of labor and delivery (L&D), 2 weeks of gynecology, and 2 weeks of gynecological oncology.  I started on L&D, and for two weeks, I checked on laboring patients, did ultrasounds on triage patients, learned what it means when your "water breaks" and how and when to induce a labor, and ended up delivering 5 babies (assisted by my resident) and several placentas. It feels surreal that I was literally the first person to hold a brand-new human being and help bring them into the world. I learned how dangerous peripartum conditions can be, and how traumatic the process of delivery can be to both mom and baby, that it's a miracle that so many of us actually make it here at all.

It was incredible to participate in natural (unmedicated) births, even though it's something I now know I would never willingly choose for myself. I was touched by a mother who sobbed tears of joy after her baby with Down's syndrome was born, remarking, "She's perfect. She was meant for this world." I saw a baby popping out on the bed before we could even gown and glove and another who was born outside the lobby of the hospital. I held moms' knees during pushing for as short as 10 minutes and as long as 3 hours. I was sprayed by at least 4 types of human secretions. There were many tears, screams, fluids, and emotions during those 2 weeks, and even if I never deliver someone else's baby again, it's one of those experiences that makes you step back from your life and wonder what zany, unbelievable job you signed up for. 

An example of an ultrasound of a baby in vertex (head-down) position. This is basically the only thing I can do with an ultrasound. 


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