Giftalk: Labor and Birth Humor

Many people will not tell you that some pretty hilarious things happen during labor and birth. Emotions are running high, there’s all kinds of bodily functions and fluids, and the combination of these two things often makes for hilarity. I’ve been re-entering the world of birth over the past month, and this time I’m in the driver’s seat. I make decisions, call my back-up OB/GYN, and am the primary midwife. I’m also as “green as the grass grows,” as one of the other midwives said to me, so the combination of all of the above has definitely left me with some hilarious material. Also, most of the time if I didn’t laugh at myself I’d probably cry. So I’ll stick to laughing.

When a nurse from one of the clinics your group covers calls to tell you she’s sending over a triage patient with elevated blood pressure for a pre-eclampsia work up:

And then the patient gets there and has blood pressures that are 170s/100, seeing stars, has a massive headache, and is spilling tons of protein into her urine:

When sign out report is taking forever and you’ve been up for 25 hours straight and you just want to go home:

When the OB/GYN asks you to hold just one more instrument during a c-section:

When I walk in and find the nurse about to do a cervical exam on a patient that I just checked an hour ago:

What I’m sure the OB/GYNs think when they look at me and say, “More fundal pressure please. Yes, more, more, more, more.”

After my patient gets her epidural:

When postpartum pages  you at 5:45 after you finally get to sleep after a section that ended at 4:30 asking if you can put in an order for vicoden. That you put in when you transferred the patient downstairs 8 hours ago.

When a primip who’s 38 weeks comes in contracting once every 10-30 minutes and wants to know if she’s in labor:

When the woman’s husband tells you to “put in that extra stitch” and winks at you:

When I call my consulting doc just to let him know what’s going on with my patient and I introduce myself as the “new midwife”

When I help a dad deliver his own baby over a completely intact perineum:

When you offer to straight cath your epiduralized patient so the nurse doesn’t have to, but then you don’t get the urine bucket under the cath in time:

When you have two patients in active labor completely across the unit from each other:

Before heading into the OR at 2 a.m. and you’re so hungry you feel like you’re going to pass out if you don’t eat something, but you need to be scrubbed and ready in 5 minutes:

When my patient assures me she’s pushing but I know she’s really not and I have to use my bad-cop midwife voice:

When I look like a fool because I’m still having trouble cutting suture with the surgical scissors the OB drops his equipment and stares at me:

When the patient’s doula* tells me to use hot compresses on the woman’s perineum and we haven’t even started pushing yet:

When an experienced midwife complements your suturing skills:

When your nurse tells you that, no, the dose your ordered is not one they use:

And then they tell you you have been granted privileges and you’re ready to fly on your own:

*I have the highest respect for doulas (and a happy doula week to you all!) and think that they are an incredibly underutilized resource that help support women and families through labor and birth.

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