OUWB student delivers baby alongside her physician father
Mark and Sarah Dykowski in scrubs and hair nets in a hospital

It was not the average day for rising fourth-year medical student Sara Dykowski when she stepped into the operating room and delivered a baby alongside her father Mark Dykowski, M.D., Obstetrics & Gynecology, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

OUWB is affiliated with Beaumont Health; third and fourth year medical students spend their days at the hospital rotating through different specialties, including labor and delivery. When Sara made the decision to attend OUWB, the father and daughter knew that this opportunity might one day arise.

Though Dr. Dykowski’s schedule is inconsistent and difficult to plan around, he had a C-section delivery scheduled during Sara’s labor and delivery rotation. He asked the parents-to-be if a student – Sara Dykowski – could help out, and when the family realized that the two were related, they were thrilled to have her participate.

Sara recognizes the weight of this experience, as this delivery was a goal that had been thought about and discussed for a long time. “The probability of he and I working together was so small, which made it memorable and something we both could appreciate from our own perspectives,” she explained.

She felt more pressure being on this rotation than most others, but her father reminded her to: “be yourself, and do the same great job you’ve done in every other rotation.”

Sara’s path to becoming a doctor

Growing up with her father, Sara became familiar with the work and lifestyle of a physician. “I think seeing my dad’s work hours gave me a realistic dose of the demands of a career in medicine,” she said. However, her path toward and ultimate decision to attend medical school were determined all on her own.

A former all-state softball player at Troy High School, Sara encountered numerous injuries, initiating relationships with sports medicine doctors. “My personal encounters with the medical field, desire to help others as well as my love of science and lifelong learning made me realize that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she said.

As her undergraduate years at Michigan State University came to a close and she began thinking about her next steps, Dr. Dykowski hoped to convince his daughter to become a physician’s assistant. “I told her there would be so much more flexibility,” he said.

Though her father’s career did not ignite the spark for her interest in medicine, she aspires to pursue a career in physical medicine and rehabilitation while exemplifying some of his many attributes as a physician, including: “respect, compassion, kindness, integrity, professionalism and strong work ethic,” she listed.

Dr. Dykowski believes his daughter is already on her way to achieving these attributes. “She very much listens,” he explained. “She wants to be a part of their (patients) lives, a part of their treatments going forward.”

“When you interact with Sara, you know she’s looking at you, not through you,” he continued. “She’s so much a person. And I really think it takes a person – a human – to be a great provider.”

Another memorable delivery

One of Dr. Dykowski’s most memorable delivery moments took place alongside another OUWB student – Lauren Lendzion, Class of 2018. “We did the delivery together at 2:30 in the morning, and as she walked back to the nursing station, she started to cry,” he said. “I asked what was wrong, and she said: ‘it’s my first hands-on delivery, and my mom wanted me to remind you that you delivered me 25 years ago.’”

Dr. Dykowski, who keeps record of each of his deliveries, checked his notes and found that he had done exactly 4,000 deliveries between Lauren and the newborn baby girl. The two shared the news with the new parents, who were honored to be part of such a special delivery.

For Dr. Dykowski, this incredible full-circle experience exemplifies the significance of meaningful participation in one’s community. “I can say that I’ve been around the community long enough that I delivered several of the students who are now going through Oakland’s program,” he said. “That’s a really neat thing to be able to say.”