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Pregnant doctor's water breaks while delivering patient's baby

POSTED September 22, 2017 6:01 a.m.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Doctors have to be highly skilled at multitasking, but one pregnant Iowa obstetrician earned her stripes when she finished delivering a baby — only to realize she was in labor herself.

As an OB-GYN resident at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Emily Jacobs is no stranger to delivering babies. Since the beginning of her residency in July, she grew accustomed to 80-hour weeks — delivering dozens of babies over the course of the first month, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

"That’s the typical pace of OB,” Jacobs said. “It can get pretty chaotic."

Amidst the madness of residency, Jacobs was also nearing the end of her pregnancy. She and her husband, Ryan Jacobs, were expecting their first child on Aug. 24.

"I felt good the first three weeks, delivering babies and working night shifts at the hospital," Emily Jacobs told the Press-Citizen.

But in the early hours of July 28 — about a month before her due date — Jacobs had just finished delivering the third baby of her shift when something caught her eye.

"I noticed what I thought was amniotic fluid of the patient as the baby was delivering," she told ABC News. "It wasn't until I left the room when I realized that it was my water that had broken."

Jacobs left her phone at home, so she had to borrow a colleague's cell to call her husband — who was fast asleep.

"I got a call at 4:45 a.m., but didn’t answer because I didn’t recognize the number,” Ryan Jacobs told the Press-Citizen. "Then she texted me with what was happening and I took off."

Meanwhile, Emily Jacobs was still trying to process what was happening.

"I was freaking out a little bit because we were still seeing patients and (my supervisor) just kind of smiled and told me to go back in one of the triage rooms and wait for her to confirm that it was my water," she told ABC News.

With the help of her doctor, teacher and fellow residents, Emily Jacobs welcomed her healthy baby boy just a few hours later. Jett Eric Jacobs weighed in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces — "pretty big for a 36-week baby," she told the Press-Citizen.

Jacobs said the whole experience — from delivering prematurely to jaundice to a mean case of mastitis — has helped her become a better doctor.

"It's definitely made me more empathetic and more aware of what it's like going through some pregnancy complications," she told ABC News. "People will come in (who are) in preterm labor often ... very worried about the health of their baby and health of themselves. Until (I went) through it, I can definitely appreciate just how worried and nervous you get."

Little Jett — who is now weighing in at 10 pounds at 7 weeks old — will be staying home with his dad for his first year while his mom goes back to delivering babies.

"I wanted to help Emily with her dream of becoming a doctor and a mother ... ," Ryan Jacobs told the Press-Gazette. "I'm really looking forward to it."

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