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Denise Punger MD FAAFP IBCLC
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I have heard the howling and cursing of woman in labor, but today was the first time I scrubbed to go into the delivery room. Mrs. F's baby was born at 11:59am and weighed 7-11. He was beautiful. Dr. R delivered him. The Labor and Delivery unit where I was employed as a secretary my high school senior-year  was otherwise slow. I was caught up with my  responsibilities. I asked the head nurse if I could go into see the next birth. She said that it was up to the doctor. I had heard from the nurses that Dr. R was one of the better OBs. He readily agreed to let me watch. I changed into scrubs. Mrs. F was flat on her back on a table with her feet in stir-ups and her legs spread apart. Fluid was dripping out of her vagina. I had to regroup and relocate her body parts because she was so edematous. Dr. R, all gowned up, poured betadine on her and covered her legs with sterile gowns. He stuck his fingers all the way up her to find the baby's head. He cut a slit to make the birth canal bigger.  He used forceps to pull him out. The mother did not have to push or concentrate on breathing. With the forceps the head came out with a little tug and the rest of the body followed. Blood gushed out everywhere. The baby was wiped off with towels. The umbilical cord was cut then mom could hold him. While she was admiring baby and crying, dad took pictures. Dr. R pulled the cord and placenta out and more blood gushed. The placenta was a sac with blood vessels and membranes. He used 4x4 gauze pads inside her to clean up so he could examine her. Her vagina seemed so big and stretched out; I could see right up inside. I was very disoriented to what was what. He stitched her up. And the layers all came together. The baby had forceps marks on his face. I was told it would go away.
~~20 years later I found this story in a journal I kept in High School. I shared the story with a friend and her husband. He showed me his forceps marks on both sides of his scalp--above his temples. The indentations never went away. He is 32 years old~~
I had the privilege of attending a cesarean with Dr. H. This was the first time for me to go in the operating room. This room was very sterile. Bright lights from the ceiling and lots of scissors on the surgical tray caught my eye. They shaved and then sterilized Mrs. G's stomach with a rough brush and brown betadine. Very methodically they covered her in sterile gowns. The nurse and surgeon were choreographed. They new exactly where to make the folds in each drape and how to layer the towels. Dr. H cut a slit in her lower abdomen. He pulled the skin back with retractors. He cut the uterus and pulled the baby out. Lots of blood loss followed. A  cautery was used to stop the bleeding. The smell of burnt tissue made me sick. They also stuffed towels in her to encourage clotting. The surgeon told me he had three layers to sew back up. He also told me that she had a catheter in her bladder to keep the bladder empty and flat because it is easy to "hit it." He told me the baby was breech. This was an emergency breech at 36 weeks. A happy ending--a full term healthy baby.
~~In 2002, 25% of women giving birth are delivering by cesarean. This number is expected to be  higher this year~~

A Doula Religion

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Denise Punger MD FAAFP IBCLC
4640 S. 25th Street
Ft. Pierce, Florida, 34981
Copyright 2005