a day, er’ night in the life of a L&D nurse…

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I am one of “those” who knew in high school what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not typical, I would say. There is so much growing up to do, and life to experience that it’s a bit unnerving to declare which occupational direction to go at that age. All I knew from very little on, is that I was going to do something with babies. So nursing seemed to be a logical career—besides having my own!

This week we have been busy having babies and I have just happened to be on call. A lot. Sometimes when the phone rings in the middle of the night,, I can’t see past wanting to stay in my bed. Sometimes the tears come because I know I’m going to not be the best mom to my kids simply because I am lacking in sleep.

And many times the tears come with the birth of a baby. Last night was one of those. I never know what’s going to make it happen? It can be as simple as witnessing the special moment between a husband and wife, or a single mom giving her baby up for adoption. It can be the death of a baby, or an unexpected abnormality. It can be the joy in not knowing the sex of the baby before it’s born, or the joy of preparing for months with an already named baby and seeing it for the first time. And it can also be the surprise of an incorrect sonogram reading resulting in an unexpected boy when you thought it was a girl or vice versa. It has happened!!! Many times. Ha!

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In the last 18 years of labor and delivery nursing, I have had so many joyous tears, I can’t even count. And there are a handful of very specific times that I have been in complete and total despair over different situations—to the point of never wanting to go back. But those happy times far outweigh the bad. When talking with people about my job, I will always say that MOST of the time, it is the happiest place on earth. But when it’s bad, it’s really bad.

On a lighter note, it must be documented that after 18 years, I think I have mastered a particular skill that I have been known to fail at. I am here to tell you, it is NOT easy to fill in those little holes from a heel stick and squeezing of baby’s feet. Not at all!

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You see these 5 little circles filled with blood? I have NEVER been able to fill these without blood on other areas of this paper. This is a test done on every baby prior to going home. Which means I have done a lot of these in my life.

I have been made fun of, and rightly so. They have talked about the bloody aftermath of me doing this test. There have been times I’ve wanted to hide and lock myself in the nursery so no one can see the horrible job and blood strewn slip. BUt, I am here to tell you all—-this week, I have mastered it. And to know how seriously proud of myself I am and was, I had to take pictures and send to coworkers who weren’t there to witness this themselves. I feel like I have arrived….

Ok—enough with the drama. Honestly, after talking with a friend yesterday about Mary & Martha, I was asked if I still did labor and delivery nursing. And the obvious answer is yes. The blessing is, the opportunity to do both.

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2 responses »

  1. Even though I have moved on in a differant direction with nursing, going from delivering new life to seeing long life end, I still miss those years working with you at HHC. Thank you Steph for giving me great memories.

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