The delivery room: from my personal and professional point of view
The delivery room:
The delivery room: a truly magical place.
A place where miracles happen while getting a face; sometimes even two or three, rarely even more.
The place where women become mothers, men become fathers, couples become parents. A space where happiness and suffering are very close together. A place where I spent a lot of time during my final phase of the specialist training as a pediatrician.
A space that I like to think back to. Both private and professional.
Privately it was the place where I finally got to know and embrace the two miracles that had grown in my stomach. The place where my husband and I became a family.
Professionally, it was one of the most formative, intense and beautiful times in my education. A time that I sometimes wish for in some aspects. But also a time when my adrenaline level went from zero to a hundred within seconds. The premature and neonatal intensive care units and the delivery room of a university hospital are truly special places. And that’s exactly what I want to tell you today.
When I was still there, the duty room of the on-duty paediatricians was in a remote cellar of gynecology. Theoretically, one could have had peace of mind here, because no one else would get lost in the room at night. Between 5 and 6 o’clock in the morning, however, things got quite turbulent. Namely, when the morning shift of the nursing staff came and changed in the anteroom. The night shift, which then moved there a short time later to go home after work was i.d.R. quiet. However, this shift was not silent either, so that the already short nights of the doctors at the latest at 5 o’clock found a chattering end.
Theoretically, one could have slept, but in practice sleep was mostly unthinkable anyway. In the early days of this station, you were too excited to sleep. And later on there was usually so much going on that you did not even get to sleep. But if you had wanted it, you would not have thought of a better room for it .
Premature and neonatal intensive care units:
Only one floor higher was the actual place of “determination”: the intensive room and right next to it the delivery room. Most of the time you spent in the chubby-warm intensive room. In addition to the tropical-warm indoor climate, there were some incubators, intensive baby beds, beach chairs (for the kangarooing of parents and children), many nice sisters and a lot more.
And history has been written in this room, at least the story of many families. Families who were worried because their children had been born too early. Families whose children were born ill. Mothers who were taken to their children in a wheelchair after a caesarean section and who saw their child there for the first time, could touch her and fulfill their hearts. Fathers whose women were still in the operating room and who saw their children for the first time on our ward. Mothers and fathers, whose children were lying on our ward and who came to take her for the first time on the arm or the chest. Those who were allowed to feel the wonderful feeling of kangarooing.
The kangaroo method:
The so-called Kangarooing or kangaroo method is based on the observation of a Colombian neonatologist who had developed a method to alleviate the shortage of incubators and caregivers due to increasing infant mortality in his country. He suggested bringing premature babies into regular skin contact with their mothers in order to warm and nurse newborns.
There are now numerous studies that have shown that preterm infants fed kangaroo have a higher chance of survival and are less susceptible to serious illnesses (such as hospital infections or respiratory diseases). Countless times we have also seen how even very small premature babies stabilized on the body of the parents (usually on the bare chest) and required measurably less oxygen or other medication. Despite the extreme situation, an incredibly beautiful experience; not only for the parents and the little kids, but also for us employees.
Delivery Room: When the new life starts too early:
A very memorable experience for me was the first, much too early born child, which I was allowed to provide on our ward. It was in the 24th week, so whole 4 months (!) Was born too early. At that time, this was the medically lowest limit at which survival (at least theoretically) was possible. Today, this limit will have been shifted even smaller preemies will have a chance to live. But whatever week it is, so far before the deadline, man is just tiny, fragile and helpless. The skin is almost transparent, the whole bundle of human being just as big as a bread. And yet so full of life and often so full of life force. And they also needed vitality, they had to endure their little bodies a lot.
These little human beings were definitely not viable without help from outside. Decisions about what is possible and not possible in such situations were often extremely difficult to make and more difficult to judge from the outside. In the best case, the parents, together with the consulting physicians, made the decisions. Often, however, it was life itself. And if it did, we had to accept it. Often it was infinitely sad and sometimes even a blessing. Nobody knows that exactly. Nobody can judge for sure. However, it was for us doctors to do everything humanly possible to give life a chance.
Surely you can already guess what an emotional time this has been.
Delivery room = pure emotions:
And as emotional as the sad events were, so happy were the beautiful ones. Receiving a newborn child with mild respiratory disorders in the delivery room and placing it rosily in the mother’s arm a short time later was wonderful. The many little preemies that had been born dramatically and had fought to thrive in the future, was indescribable. Saying good-bye with her parents after months out of the hospital and seeing them on a follow-up visit was gigantic. Children, who seemed to have no chance at first and yet struggled to live a small part of the way, was breathtaking.
The sheer irrepressible feelings of happiness of mothers / fathers / parents when they saw their child for the first time in the delivery room were deeply engraved in my memory and my heart. I will never forget the image of the mature-born children, who had landed on our ward because of small start-up problems and who, like the extremely small preemies, looked like oversized cheeks.
Delivery room = moments of happiness:
My most beautiful personal moments were: when the mature newborns became restless at night, when their mothers slept, the nurses were busy elsewhere and I had nothing to do. Then I took them out of their cots, whispered or calmed them and then put them back. Yes, these were moments when my heart overflowed.
Other moments of happiness were those in which one of the Intensive Sisters and I were called to the delivery room for a cesarean and together we were waiting for the child. In such moments, when the dad could not be present and the mother was still in the operating room. In such situations, there were moments when many of these little creatures looked at us with wide eyes. This look was soooo special again and went straight to the heart. These were also moments that I will never forget.
Delivery Room: Fathers on the verge of despair:
And also the moments when I stood in the delivery room with my sister and waited for the birth of the child to whom we had been called in advance for a variety of reasons. In this time of waiting, I often had the opportunity to observe / comfort / calm the fathers. Because the wife and the child / children care for others, but the men were often a little “lost” in the room.
There were not a few who in a brief unobserved moment attracted everyone’s attention with a loud bang on the floor of the delivery room. There were also many who did not know what to do with themselves and their concern / insecurity / fear. And there were many who no longer understood the world; when her wives suddenly wanted to mercilessly kill her or castrate her, she cursed and cursed her. There were men who gave everything to please their wife and who could not help her. There were men who laughed, who cried, who screamed hysterically, who themselves became children.
And there were many who were just certain that her wife would die in the next moment and that only a few seconds later she would reach for her handbag / lipstick / cell phone; namely, when the child was born and the unbearable pain just suddenly seemed to have been blown away. What a rollercoaster of emotions! After all, on what it feels like in the end, she could not prepare a preparatory course for this world. For it was and is as different as man himself.
And even if you can not really prepare yourself for the feelings, you can at least familiarize yourself with the birth itself; if only theoretically. But still, I can not stress enough how important I think the birth preparation courses are (at least before the first child).
Why I find the possibilities for maximum care just when it comes to childbirth so important:
But I would like to emphasize even more how important it is to give birth in a hospital of maximum care. I know that as a doctor you get a slightly “different” picture of births if you have been working in this area for a long time and have seen a lot (dramatic). And I also know that births are the most natural thing in the world and that in most cases everything is fine. However, I also know that many mothers / couples in the run-up to their favorite clinic often select according to external criteria: Ambience of the delivery room, candlelight, bath, playlist with the wish songs, breakfast buffet etc.pp.
But believe me: no matter what you choose, at the end, just before the birth of the child, you’ll probably be lying on your back, not paying attention to the candles or thinking of the breakfast buffet. It will be all about the fact that the baby and herself will survive the birth well. And that’s where sometimes only the “bare medical facts” count: how many midwives, gynecologists, paediatricians, anesthetists are there? And above all, how fast are they on the ground? Are you just a few steps away or do you have a journey ahead of you??
And one thing is certain, in the (admittedly few!) Cases in which a birth does not go according to plan and complications occur: in which count minutes! And all the candles in the world (or whatever you could cite outside circumstances) are worthless if the roads are too long. No breakfast buffet can comfort a mother whose child needs care because of problems in another clinic.
My personal opinion:
So far I have this very personal advice i.d.R. given only if I have been asked directly for my opinion. Here I do it, because I want to inform at least. Furthermore, I am firmly convinced that in a case involving the lives of at least two people, one can not think too much about safety. In those cases where everything goes well and would go well without maximum care, you run the maximum risk that you are annoyed by the external circumstances. And you are allowed to do that too; what luck if you are allowed to be angry about it.
But in those cases where one thinks of no evil and then suddenly and unexpectedly stands before a human drama, it is worth gold to be able to exhaust all possibilities of modern medicine. Of course, I know that even then nothing is guaranteed or guaranteed. I also know that mistakes can happen wherever people work. But I personally think it is incredibly important that in the “case of a case” all the necessary medical measures can be taken.
I also know and appreciate that many (smaller / smaller) clinics, birthing centers, midwives, home care services do a wonderful and great job. But I also know how long the journey from such a place to a university hospital can be in an emergency. And I do not write this post just for clinic A, birth house B or midwife C, but for you / for you. And just put my words to my heart. You have to decide and become yourself. And however you decide, the probability of a wonderful and normal birth is much higher than the one that every family would love to keep.
Incidentally, I myself gave birth to our two children in the same delivery room that I had worked in recently. And it definitely was not easy for me to fade out my knowledge and get into the hands of my colleagues in one of the most intimate, intimate and vulnerable moments of my life. At the same time, it gave me an incredible sense of familiarity and trust, and in the end it may be just what you need: familiarity and trust. That everything goes well and everything is fine. That’s what I wish you. First and foremost, of course, the pregnant and all expectant parents among you.
Two important things to conclude:
Before I finish my mail, I want to do two more things.
On the one hand, I would like to thank my former colleagues, senior physicians, the heads of the two clinics (paediatrics and gynecology). But especially with the midwives and sisters who taught me so much and who always treated me warmly and respectfully. Thank you for this great time, to which I still like to think back after almost 15 years.
Imbalance: Nursing care and missing midwives:
On the other hand, I would like to point out a circumstance that, from my point of view, is intolerable. The lack of nurses and midwives. No clinic / administration in the world will be able to maintain its own long-term employment unless it secures and properly pays the nurses ‘and midwives’ jobs. In no other European country does a caregiver have to take care of more patients than in Germany .
I think that working conditions need to be urgently changed so that the many highly motivated and well-educated people who still pursue these professions with great passion retain their passion and are appropriately paid for it. This is the only way to secure the long-term care of sick and dependent people. And each of us can become ill and / or need care. Sometimes (unfortunately) faster than you think.
The fact that there is a need for care at many clinics should make us and politics think better yesterday than today. And the fact that (happily) the birth rates are finally rising again, but there are far too few midwives in the delivery rooms, raises the question now at the latest, who is to bring the future children of our society into the world? Also, the fact that many midwives no longer pay their horrendously high liability insurance and thus hardly ever work freelance and, for. to ensure the important childbirth care should give us thinking.
Helping children the world, helping mothers, caring for healthy people and looking after the elderly is m.E. the highest commitment of people to people and as such should be respected and appreciated!
What did you do for experiences in the delivery room??
Stay alive and well. And do not let yourself be confused (even by reports like this one). Just look at it as an aid to decision-making.
By the way, you can read here a “birth report of a special kind” or how I almost became an obstetrician in the pirate bed of our son.
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