Last night was a tough one in the neonatal ICU. I was on call, and over the course of the night, it seemed like every bad thing that could happen did happen. One super-premature infant (born at 26 weeks gestational age) started having bloody diapers, and it now looks like he has necrotizing enterocolitis. Another premie (30 weeks) with bad lung disease developed a pneumothorax and needed an urgent chest tube, as well as initiation of big-time cardiac support meds and inhaled nitric oxide. The obstetricians delivered a baby via emergent C-section and inflicted a 5-cm, down-to-the-bone laceration on the newborn’s scalp. A baby in the newborn nursery, who had had an arterial blood sample done just after being born, developed blue fingertips. A baby was transferred in from another hospital with horrendous lung disease, and needed bloods drawn every few hours and aggressive respiratory management. Everywhere I turned, there was a baby that needed intervention, and while I stayed on top of it all, I felt like I could be sucked under at any moment.

The nicest thing about hard nights on call is that, while the hits keep coming, it’s impossible to stop the clock. By 6:30 AM, one of my classmates was there to take over her kids; my other two teammates were there by 7:00, and the whole team was rounding at 8:00. By 10:30, I was out of the hospital, and by noon, I was soundly asleep in my bed.