The C word, no it's not coronavirus, this time it's C-section
A plethora of emotions involving moments of distress as well as pure delight is what I have found myself to be experiencing in my very first theatre placement as a medical student. Read on further to find out what an experience I have been having!
Let me introduce myself: I’m a second-year medical student on a graduate medical programme based in Scotland. I begin my year in the Scottish Highlands; our rotation is Birth and Early years.
It’s a Monday morning, my colleague and I introduce ourselves to the incredibly warm and friendly obstetrics and gynaecology team. It’s about to be a roller coaster of a day.
We change into our scrubs and reasonably try to make ourselves as small as possible to get out of everyone’s way; oh, the joys of being a medical student. The room might seem packed and busy with no order, but amongst the hustle the consultant, registrar, health care assistants, lab technicians, nurses and other members of the multidisciplinary team work together seamlessly.
Soon, the patient arrives and sits on the side of the bed as the anaesthetist administers local anaesthetic through the lumbar region. To my surprise, I can hear the local radio on in the background as the very cheery consultant by my side is firing away questions to me that I can only hope to answer. I look up and see the father sat beside the patient, he looks understandably both apprehensive and worried thinking about his soon-to-be-born child.
Let’s make a disclaimer right here; it is not a pretty sight- perhaps skip the next couple sentences as it might make you a bit queasy.
The consultant begins making incisions through the several layers in the abdomen using the various instruments at hand, occasionally using her hands to directly pry the layers apart. Meanwhile the nurses and lab technicians are busy at work, keeping count of all the instruments and gauzes being used - we don’t want to leave anything behind! The registrar holds a long tube pointed at the abdomen, it’s a suction device to ensure all the blood is being cleaned.
A few minutes go by and I see the amniotic sac - it bursts, and the amniotic fluid comes gushing out. Suddenly the atmosphere changes, the radio is turned down and everyone has a serious look on their faces. The obstetrician has her hands deep in the poor patient’s abdomen, but the baby isn’t coming out.
The consultant reaches for the forceps and begins trying to tempt out the baby, but it seems to be to no avail. My colleague and I look at each other worried, everyone in the room is willing the baby to come out.
The consultant tries again with reinforcement and then it happens.
The baby’s head emerges, followed by the rest of the body.
I’m not going to lie to you, my colleague and I almost have tears in our eyes. I feel a wave of relief washing over me… but everyone else still seems tense.
We’re not in the clear yet.
The baby is tinged blue and isn’t crying and I feel rather alarmed, but the team remain composed and alert the critical out-reach team. They place the baby on a table, desperately trying to get some reaction from the baby, while we all stare with bated breath.
To everyone’s huge relief, the baby soon yells out and draws their first breath.
Yes, I have tears streaming down my face and regardless of wanting to be completely professional, I could not contain my joy of watching something so beautiful. The baby is placed on the mother’s chest with the father providing support next to them.
The placenta is delivered a short while later, and mother and baby seem to be in good health.
This is not something I will be forgetting anytime soon and hope you have taken away a lot of learning points.
Thank you for taking your time to read this and I hope you enjoyed my experience as much as I did!
To hear more about my experiences, follow my Instagram medical blog here