The work may be endless, but this team is tireless.
OB/GYN Doctors Aaron Sudbury and Jennifer Swanson scrub up in silence. As they push through the doors of the operating room, scrub nurses and a registered nurse anesthetist are ready. Gleaming surgical instruments are lined up on a table covered in blue; a patient is draped in matching fabric with only a small, outlying hand visible. The day begins.
First, one surgical procedure. Then on to another procedure and a trip to the pathologist; heartbreaking news for one patient, but the work goes on.
A third operation begins when Dr. Swanson is notified that Tawanda Fakayode is in labor. It is her third child; each born exactly eight years apart.
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A swift walk through the bright corridors of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center brings Dr. Swanson to Tawanda; she is very close to birth. Pain marks her face, but the touch of her husband’s hand and his gentle murmerings seem to comfort her.
Dr. Swanson coordinates Tawanda’s contractions with breathing and pushing: “1, 2, come on! Good job! 3, 4, You’re doing great! Keep going ... 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Great. Now breathe,” urges Swanson.
The darkened room is quiet but for the beeping heart monitor and Tawanda’s breathing until it’s time to push again.
At 11:43 a.m., baby Ifeoluwa Fakayode emerges into the waiting arms of Dr. Swanson to be whisked away by baby nurse Lori Overton. Ifeoluwa is measured, weighed, tested, cleaned and bundled before making it into her smiling mother’s arms. Just in time, it seems; a nurse leans into the room to tell Dr. Swanson that in the next room Karen Raybuck is ready to deliver.
At 12:48 p.m., Evan Raybuck is born. It was a difficult birth; the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and Karen required stitches, but an exhausted Karen beamed as she was handed her swaddled baby.
Minutes later, Jennifer Swanson leans against the counter at the nurse’s station and takes a deep breath before heading back to the OR.
Hours later Aaron Sudbury heads back to his office for scheduled appointments and a waiting meal. “My staff takes good care of me,” said Sudbury as he popped a french fry into his mouth and filled out forms on a computer tablet. Other than a shoveled mouthful of scrambled eggs in the morning, Sudbury hadn’t taken a break.
Five expectant mothers were examined before Sudbury was stopped short in the hallway by one of his staff; he was urgently needed back at the hospital.
There was just enough time for a couple more notations, a phone call and one more french fry.
With a smile, a wave, he was away.