I haven't delivered a baby who would live for six months. It's part of the second year of residency- to hand over the term, live babies to the intern and take the more complex, sadder cases. The little babies are so tiny, their whole body fitting in my small hands. They are scrawny and purplish, and cool to the touch. I feel like I've almost forgotten how a healthy baby feels.
Today the interns were so busy. I offered to take one of the new patients to help, and I was just tickled with my term young woman without any health problems. Six months ago, she would have been just another lady on my long list of postpartums to see, but now- she was my reminder as to why I loved obstetrics. She began to push, and there was a brief moment- right as the head was crowning- that I wondered if I still remembered how to deliver a big baby. The little ones just kind of come out on their own. I did, and it was a nice delivery with no problems. And I held that baby in my arms just a few more seconds than I needed to, as I cut the cord and suctioned his mouth and nose, just enjoying how his weight felt in my arms, how I could tuck him under my arm rather than in my hands. And I handed him over and I was so happy.
A lot of the rest of my career will be these patients. What a good job.