Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One for All You Obstetrics Folks

I enjoy birth stories, and many of my patients are eager to share them. I would say that the bulk of amusing anecdotes stem from the part of the story where the baby is about to appear and the bevy of professionals attending the event stand around commanding the mother:
Don't push.
Telling a woman at the end of the second stage of labor not to push is like telling the sun not to rise yet; you're still tired and you haven't finished your dream yet. Telling a woman with no cervix and a baby on her perineum not to push is like telling the tide not to come in; it's getting your blanket wet. In short, it's the stupidest pair of words ever uttered, yet they continue to be heard day in and day out, in hospitals and birthing rooms around the globe.

There is something I have come to realize.

Among those who actually know what they're doing -- midwives, L&D nurses and really experienced OBs -- the words "Don't push" are merely code. What they are actually saying when they articulate the words "Don't push" is this:
Please just let me get my gloves on.


At Fri May 18, 01:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At Fri May 18, 01:33:00 PM, Blogger Bookhorde said...

Did I ever tell you about youngest kid's birth? Went through transition in the car, waddled into the birth center and told the midwife calmly, "I think I'm ready to push now."
Birth was less than 10 minutes later, just enough time for me to climb on the bed and for the midwife to take a look and say, "Oh yeah.".

At Fri May 18, 04:06:00 PM, Blogger Midwife with a Knife said...

Abso-friggin-lutely. You might as well tell them, "Don't breathe" or "don't let your heart beat". You can say that as much as you want, but that doesn't mean it'll ever work!

Suggestion for all novice ob (med students, cnm students, interns, etc.): don't allow the bed to be broken for a multip unless you are ready to catch the baby. :)

At Fri May 18, 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

Now what made you think of this taoday?

At Fri May 18, 05:55:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

TBTAM: Thought of it a while back but forgot about it; recently ran across a page in my notebook with prompts for short posts that reminded me; meant to post it in response to whoever it was who put up that great post (with pix) about catching breech twins in the ER; couldn't think of anything else; hadn't posted in a while; no particular reason.

At Fri May 18, 06:40:00 PM, Blogger KC Saul said...

Oh, you wonderful person, you! Yes, I was on the receiving end of that gem at precisely that moment and it's as possible to comply with that command as it is to keep your eyes open all the way through a sneeze.

At Tue May 22, 03:32:00 AM, Blogger Quillers said...

I had a few false alarms when I was pregnant with my son. I can understand that the medical staff were getting a bit fed up of seeing me at the hospital. But when I went in for the real deal, a nurse who looked about 12 said to me 'You're not really in pain. You just think you are.'

My reply is lost in the mists of pethedine...

At Thu May 24, 09:37:00 PM, Blogger Just A Midwife said...

An "anterior lip" is what the exam is until I have my gloves on. Unless, of course, the baby doesn't pay attention, in which case I catch barehanded and pray.


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