Series Finale of Catch and Cut!

April 6, 2010

After four shifts and a 24 hour call, I thought I had seen everything there was to see. Done everything there was to do.

Doctor patient relationships. check

Sonograms. check

Tension in the OR. check

Dizzy spells in the OR. check

Putting in an IV. check

C sections, Vaginal exams, Births. check x3

And of course – Moms, Dads, Grandmoms, Big brothers, Big sisters, and the newborns that entitle people those names. check check check check check check.

With all that experience under my belt, I figured the last shift – 4pm – 8pm on a Thursday – should be a piece of cake. For the most part it was. I took a few histories, watched a couple sonograms. Ya know, no bigs. Even a little boring.

By 7:45 I was ready to go. No harm in leaving 15 minutes early to get started packing for the next day’s 6 a.m. flight (remember spring break?)


A women started to deliver. I was invited to observe, so I called John Montrose and told him I might be a little late. I hoped to be home by 9:30 if I was lucky. Cue the Indiana Jones Theme Song!

But by the time I tied my gown  the baby was out.

And something was weird. The resident was still delivering the placenta. Mom’s gaze was fixed on the corner of the room, where the attending with two more residents crowded around the baby. A nurse spoke on the phone. I listened, but couldn’t make out what she was saying because she was speaking so quietly. Then it was obvious what was missing: no baby cries. The attending held the infant, while a resident puffed air into its lungs using a rubber device, and the other resident seemed to be counting.

Another minute passed. Mom looked at me, then the corner, then the nurse, then me. Another two minutes. A second doctor arrived with yet another resident. The silence continued, punctuated by the soft puffs.

After one more minute – making 5 minutes total – a sharp cough followed by a high pitched whine came from the corner. Mom grabbed my hand, and the tears of relief started flowing.

I left the hospital by 8:20, got home by 8:40. John Montrose was flipping through a guide book. I hung up my white coat, threw my scrubs on the laundry pile, and started packing.


One Response to “Series Finale of Catch and Cut!”

  1. Mitch Says:

    are you mad that adam and i delivered 4-6 babies in uganda with no med-school earning whatsoever? and 2 got named after me? one after my sister? and one after adam’s sister?

    don’t worry, the tongs were nice and rusty. that’s right i said tongs. move on.

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