Nurture Article | The Portland Hospital Parenting Magazine
Autumn Issue 2012
Chrissie Yu, 37, is a consultant obstetrician and foetal medicine specialist, who has been delivering babies at The Portland Hospital for four years. Here she describes a typical working day.
My job is all about new life and, mostly, getting to deal with the most joyful side of medicine. From the moment I saw my first delivery as a medical student, I was drawn to obstetrics. Watching the birth of a baby is an incredible experience. I feel privileged every time I share it with the parents.
I work hard to build up a rapport with my expectant mums, so they feel they’ve got someone they can turn to with any questions. They all have my mobile number and I’m always at the end of an email – essentially, I’m on call 24 hours a day.
I tend to plan my annual leave around my women, so if there’s a gap between batches of deliveries, I’ll slot my holidays in then. I’m delivering about six babies a month at the moment, which isn’t a huge number compared to some obstetricians, but I have a busy home life as well, with three children of my own – aged six, four and one.
Today, my list starts at 8am with a lady who had twins via IVF and has brought them in with her for her six week check-up, which is wonderful. She had developed cholestasis, a liver condition that occurs in pregnancy, causing a persistent itch in the hands and feet.
It’s uncomfortable for the mother but the danger was really for the babies, as there’s an increased risk of stillbirth if they go overdue. I delivered them a little early by Caesarean section at 37 weeks. Seeing all three looking healthy and well is so gratifying – probably the best part of my job.
Next, is one of my pregnant women due at the end of the month. She’s 37 weeks and had a previous Caesarean with me, but is hoping for a normal delivery.
Last time, she developed gestational diabetes and the baby was quite big. This time, her blood sugars are all very good, she hasn’t put on much weight and the baby’s growth has been fine. I’ll keep monitoring her and if all seems well we’ll sit tight and wait for spontaneous labour to start.
Most women are keen for a normal delivery but some develop complications, or simply don’t want the uncertainty of labour. Caesareans are pretty safe, but not without some risk to the mother. It’s my job to make sure she’s fully aware of her options; then support whatever choice she makes for her baby and her body.
I had two normal deliveries myself, but my last was by emergency Caesarean, so I know it can be quite scary when you’re on the receiving end. I’m sure having felt that fear and uncertainty first-hand has made me a better obstetrician.
After seeing 18 patients, I spend time chasing results, making sure reports are done and dictating letters; then jog home to clear my head. It’s been a manic day but a good one. As always, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.