MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
"Labor is like a box of chocolates--you never know what you're gonna get," according to some mothers while describing the process, referencing Forrest Gump.
At Misawa Air Base, uncertainties still exist, but one guarantee is the doctors, like Capt. Paola Rosa, a 35th Surgical Operations Squadron obstetrics and gynecologist physician, will stand by families' sides every step of the way.
“It’s amazing that I get to help bring life into the world,” Rosa said. “To me I never wake up and complain about going to work. I never have that feeling, even if I have been working for hours upon hours each night.”
From the beginning of adulthood to the precious moments of birth, the OB/GYN physicians are there to walk all women alike through each stage of life.
“We do routine well woman care for our patients, gynecology issues and family planning contraception, which can include surgeries such as big cases like hysterectomies,” Rosa said.
Rosa explained that ever since she was younger she knew her calling was to be an OB/GYN doctor.
“It’s one of the happiest fields in medicine,” Rosa said. “When my mom got pregnant with my little brother I was really involved with all her obstetrics care and went to all her appointments with her. I was really interested in being a doctor who could take care of women, provide health care and play a big role in their health not only as moms, but female care in general.”
Rosa said families are the backbone of the Air Force, which is what makes her job so crucial. She explained she gets to help each family's connection stay strong during their child's birth, even if members are deployed.
“It’s gratifying to help our military population because it’s so unique,” Rosa said. “The fact they are having their deliveries in a military facility by military doctors, we can understand the struggles the women go through if their spouse can't be there.”
To accommodate for the families’ choices to serve their country, they allow mothers and fathers to video chat each other during deliveries, which civilian medical facilities often will not let people do.
“So many times [the parents] are away from each other, and it’s something we find ourselves doing to keep families together for those special moments,” Rosa said.
Although the career field is mostly a happy one, there are times when tough situations occur.
“There is so much that can go wrong while a woman is pregnant to the time they are delivering,” Rosa explained. “Sometimes moms can bleed very fast and a baby can be in danger. In order to ensure the baby and the mother are okay, you really need to act quickly. You not only have one, but two patients you are taking care of.”
Even though hard-times do happen, Rosa said she still finds every part of her job worth it.
“Every single time I do a delivery I choke up because I think, ‘Oh my goodness, this life was just born and thank goodness this baby is healthy and the mom is okay,’ it’s like a high of happiness,” Rosa explained. “Sometimes I work 24 to 48 hours in a row and I’m still so excited to do what I do.”
Rosa’s most recent patients, Airman 1st Class Monet Murdock, a 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron customer service technician, expressed her thankfulness to Rosa for assisting her during the delivery of her daughter, Aaliyah.
“I thought having Dr. Rosa was great,” Murdock said. “She was very calming and knew what to say when things were not going well. It definitely made my experience a lot easier.”
When service members decide they want to have a family, from beginning to the end, Misawa’s OB/GYN physicians are there to secure the health of all mothers and babies during the process.
“I find so much joy in my job and my patients make it so rewarding,” Rosa said. “At the end of the day, even though it’s hard being away from family and working long hours, it’s a very gratifying and rewarding experience to provide my patients with the best care the Air Force has taught me to give.”