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10:51 p.m. - 2014-03-15
delivered from the depths of hell....
Three weeks into my dreaded maternity rotation (just NOT my thing, you know?) and I find myself up late clicking through maternity job listings and mulling the future.

Unfortunately, the third week of maternity is also the last one; next week I head to OR, then back to med-surg for the last few weeks of the semester.

I am the kind of person who never, ever buys sanitary supplies within 50 miles of the home of anyone I know (slight exaggeration, but not much) so to me, a rotation in a maternity ward is akin to a rotation in Hades.

And the lengthts I have gone to to avoid Maternity are impressive -- my second kid was born in the car. (No, I am not kidding.)

So three weeks ago I found myself at the Women's and Infants' Center, feeling like a felon 20 years on the run whose past has finally caught up with her.

Game over.

"Now, I'm going to be sure to get you into a delivery today!" says the instructor, like she's giving me the winning ticket to a lottery.

"Aren't you excited?"

All I want is a fucking cigarette and a rocket ship out of the place.

What changed was, of course, what always gets me: the patients.

I am not a very friendly or outgoing person on a day-to-day basis; I'm a loner and I suck at small talk, but I've always been pretty good in a crisis. People trust me, and they'll often let me in when they're freaking out or holding the rest of the world at a distance. There's a lot of opportunity to use that on a maternity ward.

I guess I felt like I could help patients in a way that they weren't being helped by the standard nursing care on the maternity ward. People like to feel valuable, and the degree to which I was able to help people and change their experience of labor made me feel valuable. This was expecially true with my immigrant patients, who tended to be very stoic and not confide in their staff nurse that they're in a lot of pain. I had the opportunity to advocate for them, and empower them to choose pain medication if they want it (or request privacy or refuse to be manhandled by nursing students or whatever). I felt useful.

My instructor probably thinks I'm a pain in the ass because I'm more interested in empowering a woman to say "no" than in getting the maximal possible clinical experience, but fuck her. (As it turns out she respects me, anyway, although for a while I thought she was going to write me up.)

Anyway, nurse/midwives are on the Doctors Without Borders recruiting list. Hadn't considered it before but now I'm wondering how many years that would take...



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