Another four weeks. Another rotation complete. It’s hard to believe another month has passed, but here I am, at the end of my OB/GYN rotation. I cannot begin to recount all of the things I saw and did as there is quite a bit of diversity within this specialty. Obstetrics is all things pregnancy. I participated in the care of new moms, gestational diabetes, finding baby heartbeats, miscarriages, pregnancies with complications, vaginal deliveries, C-sections, and even infant loss. Gynecology is all things women’s health. I participated in caring for women concerning routine health maintenance, hysterectomies, menopause, STIs, managing and prescribing contraception, problems with hormones, and even cancer.
At the end of every rotation I have to take a 2-hour standardized exam, so I certainly put in the time and effort to ensure I gain a lot of medical knowledge throughout the month. However, being a good PA is more than just knowing a lot about making diagnoses and choosing the correct treatment. With that in mind, these are just few of the non-medical things I gleaned from this month.
ALL childbirth is beautiful.
For some reason there seems to be a lot of opinions and tension when it comes to birth plans and what is the “right” way to have a baby. But, honestly, all of that is so trivial. It doesn’t matter if a woman chooses an “all-natural” birth with no anesthesia or the first thing they ask for is an epidural. It doesn’t matter if baby comes with a surprise rush to the hospital or if there is a planned induction date. It doesn’t matter if the parents choose to keep the gender a surprise until birth or if they want to know the baby’s gender as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if this baby is number one or number five. It really doesn’t matter. Every birth story is to be treasured. There is an undeniable beauty about seeing the look on the face of a mom as you place her newborn baby into her arms for the first time. At that moment, all the other details become oh so unimportant.
Unfortunately, we live in a world marred with brokenness, and there are also births that don’t end in such a way. However, in these delivery rooms, there is also beauty. To see the outpouring of support from community and family, to see the depth of love and loss that I cannot fully understand, to hear words of hope and encouragement in the midst of such pain. It certainly looks different and is incredibly heartbreaking, but there is beauty to be found in these birth stories too.
Talking about quality sex is important and doesn’t have to be awkward.
Despite how mainstream the topic of sex is in our culture, people surprisingly get real awkward real quick when you try to legitimately talk about it, even with healthcare professionals. That is so unfortunate! Sex has been debased to something that is raunchy, sensationalized, and a platform for comedy, making people hesitant to talk genuinely about quality sex, despite how vital it is to a healthy, thriving marriage. Talking about sex doesn’t have to be crass. Sometimes not being afraid to ask questions and actually speaking up can bring more comfort and enjoyment to your sex life and therefore enhance your marriage. With the consideration that talking about sex should never dishonor your spouse, there are certainly times and situations when it is good and appropriate to talk about it, and it doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, one of my favorite conversations this month was with an 80 year old women who said, “Yeah, we still try to fool around.” And without hesitation I said, “That’s awesome! I hope to say the same thing when I am 80!”
Hormones are designed to be incredibly intricate.
I know I am outing myself for being a huge nerd, but the menstrual cycle is absolutely amazing. There are so many factors that have to be balanced and timed perfectly for conception to be made possible and cycles to be regulated. Women have hormones that are constantly fluctuating and throughout different phases of life, from puberty to pregnancy to post-partum to menopause, the female body changes and responds incredibly to the unique role and demands that are put on it. As a creationist, I think this exemplifies a beautiful picture of divine design. Hormones are regulated too accurately for them to be a result of chance.
While I probably won’t end up working in OBGYN (partly because there isn’t a huge role for PA’s in this specialty), I am thankful for all the incredible experiences I had this past month. Not only am I thankful for the generous patients who allowed me opportunities to learn and for the unique medical cases I was able to see and participate in. But, I am also thankful for the privilege to have worked alongside people that hold different beliefs than I do and with a doctor who exemplifies selfless patient care and has a true passion for what she does.
I am finding that each rotation in some way or another is helping shape me into the PA I want to become. Tomorrow, with great eagerness and humility, I will talk into Riley Children’s Hospital ready to be molded by my next month of experiences. Up next…pediatric cardiology.