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Where is my obstetrician!!!??!?!?!

Why was my obstetrician not there for my deilvery???????!!!!!!!!

Sometimes this happens when the baby arrives so quickly that even if there was a teleporter in the same room as the labouring woman – I still wouldn’t make it to the delivery. Yes! – Sometimes it does happen that quickly. I’ve seen women having their first baby go from 2 cm dilated to baby out in half an hour. The time when the title of this post is most infuriating for women is when their primary obstetrician is not on call and someone who they’ve possibly never met or heard of before arrives at the delivery.

The following spiel is what I tell every woman when they see me for their first visit for a pregnancy – with their first pregnancy anyways. I don’t tend to repeat the spiel for every pregnancy that they see me for.

“I try to deliver as many as possible of the women that come to see me for their pregnancy. However, if I was to deliver everyone that I was looking after, that would mean that I would be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I would most likely be divorced, my kids would hate me and you (the patient) wouldn’t like me much either. I would be pretty grumpy. That is why I am in an on call roster for weekends. This gives me time to connect with my family and to rest and recuperate.

I also rely on my colleagues to be able to cover me if I am in the middle of surgery when a labouring woman comes in. I can’t just down tools in the middle of a hysterectomy and race off to labour ward.

The most important thing is that 24/7 from now (it's their first visit, remember) until when you have your baby there will be an obstetrician available to be at your delivery and sort out any problems that occur. If you go into labour and things progress normally and you go on to have a normal labour and delivery then the two people that you will see the most of on that day are your partner and the midwife who is looking after you. If you see lots of me on that day chances are that things are NOT going to plan. If you’re lucky you will see very LITTLE of me on that day. At delivery, I will be in the corner of the labour room again doing very little. From time to time I’ll cheer you on, “Yay, you’re pushing really well. Keep going.” If you have a normal delivery then 9 times out of 10 the midwife will do the delivery – they’ve done more normal deliveries than I’ve had ham sandwiches. But….. if you need a caesarean, or your baby needs to come out in a hurry with assistance, or you bleed heavily, or need stitches or etc. etc. etc. That’s when I spring into action. I’m kinda like your insurance policy sitting in the corner and hopefully you won’t need me.”

So – YES – I would LOVE to deliver all the babies of the couples who come and see me but on a physical, psychological and relational front it just isn’t possible. There’s enough stress in being on call 24 hours a day 5 days a week to create strain in a family unit.

About to sit down to have a meal? Taking the kids to the park? Putting the youngest to bed? In the middle of the school drop off run? Having a chat with your partner to work out a family issue? FORGET ABOUT IT ONCE THAT MOBILE RINGS. And let’s not forget the broken sleep for your partner when there’s a phone call in the middle of the night. It’s enough to rock relationships and tear families apart. I’ve seen it happen many, many times.

So, I tell my patients that I am in an on call roster. For the most part they’re very accepting of it. They understand I’m human. I try to give them as much warning as possible as to when I’m going to be away on holidays. We usually come to a mutually agreeable arrangement about what is going to happen in the lead up to and beyond their due date. For the most part it works.

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