I put my last labor epidural in place just after midnight, and made a comfort adjustment to another put in by a colleague earlier in the day. I retired to the call room for my usual fitful, restless sleep. I tossed this way and that until 0640, having been left undisturbed by the nursing staff, God bless ‘em. The overheated room and unfamiliar bed were disturbance enough!

Aaron relieved me for the day at 0650. Those ten minutes are a kindness. Thanks Aaron!

One of my patients delivered just before I got up. Mother and baby are both well. We don’t usually get called when a delivery happens, unless there are problems we can fix. At that point, it’s a three-way effort between mother, obstetrical nurse, and obstetrician. The soon-to-be-new citizen has a say also, of course. The OB nurse turns off the epidural pump a few minutes after the baby is born, and removes the epidural catheter shortly thereafter. Worst part about that is removing the tape from Mom’s back that secures the catheter in place. I warn all of my laboring patients that they will curse my name during tape removal. If a little tape is good, more is better; I’d use duct tape if they’d let me, rather than have to replace an epidural at oh-dark-thirty because it wasn’t properly taped in place.

Always feels good to get in the car for home after a call shift. The drives gives time to decompress and reflect — an internal after-action report. There were no disasters to ponder on this ride, just the donut shop to find. It’s right on the way home, and not to be resisted on a beautiful Saturday morning.

Michael Sebastian @mikeseb