The Baby Drier

“The paediatrician is here now” the theatre nurse announces. I smile sheepishly knowing full well what lay ahead…

And there I am, standing next to the neonatal resus table, under the glare of the harsh surgical theatre lights, as yet another life is brought into the world by caesarean section. As the obstetric doctor proudly raises the baby, dripping in its own urine (and often faeces if it’s gotten a little stressed) I gear up for my part. Sorry, that should be ‘he’ or ‘she’….calling the baby ‘it’ isn’t really the warmest welcome to the world is it now. But then again, I suppose what happens next isn’t a particularly warm welcome either…

You see for I, GP trainee Nick, on my paediatric rotation – am the BABY DRIER.

Yes, for once this messy bundle of life comes out into the world, and after a quick hello with mum and dad, they are whisked off to me. Now while it is true that I am there in theatres to provide neonatal resus care to any babies that have a high risk of coming out unresponsive, blue or floppy (all bad things) thankfully that has only happened on a handful (of what is many now) deliveries that I have attended – day and night.

So here they are, dunked onto my resus table like an awoken hibernating creature. They normally look irritated, cold, wet and generally like they don’t feel like breathing (Don’t be followed by TV – babies look a mess when they come out). And here is where I, the baby drier, come into my own. You see best medical wisdom states that in order for a baby to breathe and generally adjust to life outside of mum, the best thing to do…is rub them with a towel. Lots.

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And that is what I do. I rub the baby with three different sets of towels (for when one gets damp, I swap it out for another one – warmed under the heated lights of the resus table). 95% of the time, that works and the baby goes nice and pink, lets off a roaring cry and I can finally breathe.

The other 5% of the time are heart in your mouth moments that have an unbelievable way of focusing your mind to that baby and only that baby VERY quickly. For today however, let us all be thankful for the days where paediatric doctors (or GPs training on a paediatric rotation!) just have to be…the baby drier.

Mind you as I hand the baby to mum and dad, they look at me like I’ve performed a miracle. I don’t have the heard to say it’s just like drying the dishes when you’re in a rush…

I wish you all a great end to the week.