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Jun 27, 2009

Dr. Newborn

Yesterday concluded my time in Newborn Nursery. News update: BABIES ARE REALLY, REALLY CUTE.

(Except for this one baby, who was just like her mother. When we went into the room to talk to the mom, the complaining would start. “This bed is uncomfortable and I don’t know why everyone keeps coming in to talk to me and there is nothing good on TV here and this food doesn’t have any flavor….” And so on. Mom had this really annoying voice, kind of low pitched and nasal toned, that bored into your brain like a Q-tip on a killing spree. When it would be time for us to examine the baby, the mom would lift her giant boob and we’d pluck her baby from beneath her. After repeating the Safe Sleeping Talk for the 30th time, we’d take the baby to the crib. And the complaining would start. Most newborns have little squeaks and whimpers, rarely getting worked up into such a state to really cry. Not this girl. She started right in with the full-on crying. You could just tell that this brand new little apple was snuggled right into the truck of her mother tree.)

The very, very cute babies were easy to care for and quite fun to play with. Everything seemed straightforward to me and it seemed clear what needed to be done for each baby. It has been quite nice to feel this way to start. Even when we join the inpatient team it is totally different and I have no idea what to do. Maybe I’ll see if I can just stay in Newborn for the entire year and graduate with a degree in Healthy and Totally Normal Newborns.

It was also extremely helpful for me that the upper level resident on my service just had a baby of her own. She’s nursing and this is her first month back. As you might guess, this was grounds for instant bonding. On the second day, we shared our birth stories and talked about how working in Newborn made our hormones go into overdrive. We shared our stories of coming back to work, of missing our little ones so much during the day, of how isolating and even embarrassing it can feel to have to make special arrangements because of your child. As I have said repeatedly, I am a believer that things happen for a reason, and I am quite grateful to have started on this particular rotation. It is nice to feel comfortable and feel understood.

On the other hand, there is another resident (to be fair, he’s new) who is not as, shall we say, sensitive to new moms. On his first day, one of the first things he said to the group (which included both me and the upper level with the baby) was that he didn’t think that being a parent should help someone do better on Peds. He is not a parent. And, if I may offer an objective opinion, you can tell.

When discharging new moms, we give them The Mom Talk, which covers all the basics of what should and should not happen between the time they leave the hospital and their first pediatrician appointment, things like how to put the carseat in, how to take care of the umbilical cord, how to put the baby to sleep, when to bring the baby back to the doctor. People who have been given The Mom Talk (read: people who are parents) know what is important to say, as well as how little information actually is retained from this talk, and thus keep it to a pertinent, sympathetic minimum. New Guy’s Mom Talk that I witnessed lasted for almost fifteen minutes (which, incidentally, is how much the new mom has slept in the last three days), during which he consistently referred to the baby as “it” and neglected to include any of the key points. Instead, he went through the developmental milestones of the first three months. Le sigh, New Guy. I hope you remember this when you have kids.

I’m learning that, though there is an obscene amount of facts and details and protocols and percentages and tidbits that I do not know, I love talking to patients. Patients seem to like me and I seem to like them. This is as good and reassuring a starting place as I could ever hope for.

2 Readers rock!:

Katie said...

Hooray on a great first week! :) Miss you already!

Long Family Chronicles said...

You are going to be an awesome physician! Loved the story of "new guy." He is really clueless!! Isn't it so awesome that you have all this new found wisdom to bestow upon new moms that you learned (somethings the hard way?) I find when I counsel new moms at the pharmacy, I know what to say with confidence and can help them with lots of "new baby" needs!! It is such a rewarding feeling!