05 Nov At The Core
Labor and Delivery Nurses are at the core of a hospital birth experience. They have an undeniably wide presence and impact on the laboring environment.
Having been witness to almost ten years’ worth of client births has helped me develop a genuine sense of respect and admiration for the L & D nurse, knowing their great value and seeking to be nothing but helpful to them, always.
My focus today, is to share some insight into world of the L & D nurse. I’m pleased to have been able to casually interview a nurse that I see often at one of my local hospitals and who no doubt has touched the lives of many families.
Q: Why did you become a nurse?
“I have never been a person who enjoyed traditional 9-5 jobs or hours. I knew I enjoyed working with people and I also knew I wanted a challenge. Nursing is a career of immense flexibility and a broad array of jobs within the degree itself.”
Q: What is one of your favorite things about L & D nursing?
“My favorite part of this type of nursing is bonding with the patient and their families. Helping them on their journey to parenthood, teaching them tips and tricks. And of course, who doesn’t love snuggling a newborn baby every once in awhile?”
Q: Ok, how about the hard parts?
“Yes, there are hard parts to my job. The family birth center isn’t always a happy place. We help families deliver babies who can’t survive outside the womb, babies who won’t ever take a breath. Mine is a job that does not always witness the happily ever after. Bad things, things that weren’t expected can, and do happen.”
Q: How do the tragedies and other difficult scenarios challenge you?
“You never want to see how wrong things can go and how far plans must deviate sometimes. Babies have their own agenda, and it is part of my job to understand that and keep them safe. It is difficult to tell a patient what they don’t want to hear, because I am looking out for the safety of them and their unborn child. It is difficult to be pegged the bad guy, and often I am. I don’t want to go back for surgery, EVER. I want you to have the birth you envisioned, knowing that it isn’t always possible.
I have children and I get it. I understand, which sometimes hits close to home. I often take a patient’s disappointments to heart and the patients I’ve bonded with the most, who had everything change….I remember them years after the fact. I argue for you, bargain for you and wish the best for you and sometimes I cry for you. Sometimes that makes the job difficult, because I feel so much for you.”
Q: Ok, wow. Your heart for this work and your patients blows me away…How would you describe your typical work day?
“My typical work day is not typical. I work 12 hour shifts in Labor & Delivery, Antepartum, and Postpartum, as well as in the OR for cesarean sections. Each day is different. Some days I spend all day in one area and some days I’m in every area. I help deliver babies, work in the postpartum end, take care of newly born infants, work in triage, and more.
Some days I can’t take a breath -rooms are full and everyone is in labor. And other days I am sitting at the desk, praying for someone to come in in active labor.”
Q: How would you summarize our conversation?
“Being a Labor and Delivery nurse is an exciting job! You can never expect the same thing every day and miracles happen daily. It is filled with wonderful, caring people -a close team of nurses, doctors and midwives. My job offers variety and challenges, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
What a valuable piece of perspective for me as a professional Doula, and for the rest of our community. THANK you for your heart, and for working so hard for our area’s families.