Sometimes babies will stink because they are infected or just came from an infected uterus, but that wasn't the problem here. As I rapidly looked over this baby, I found the source of the smell: there, on her upper chest and neck, were feces, the mother's feces. Mother, as she was pushing her baby out, had also pushed some of her own feces out and they had gotten on the baby. The nurse and I wiped off the feces and threw out the dirty towel, giving some relief from the smell.
This may seem gross to some of you (and it is), but it's actually not that uncommon for mothers to have bowel movements while pushing during childbirth. In fact, mothers are often exhorted by the caregivers to "push like you're going to have a bowel movement," so it's hardly a surprise that they sometimes do. Usually it doesn't get on the baby, but it still manages to stink up the delivery room.
It's just one more thing that makes me feel sorry for moms during delivery. It's bad enough, dehumanizing enough, that they have to lay there with their feet up in stirrups and their bottom exposed to the few or several people in the room, but then to have those people witness you having a bowel movement seems just downright degrading. However, I think that many women don't realize it when they have a bowel movement during delivery, and even if they do, they might not care given everything else that is going on.
I don't think I could be an obstetrician. The sight of the blood and fluids I can take, but man, the smells and sounds would bring me down real fast.