Delivery_Queen’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Labor and delivery nurse

Last night I watched two helicopters arrive and leave from the top of the hospital parking garage I used to work at. It brought back memories again. I remember on quiet nights peering out the window with the coworkers watching incoming helicopters arrive in the parking lot. I would always say……I could never be a flight nurse. I hate heights and turbulence. It seemed like an exciting job though being a flight nurse. Risky yet fulfilling. It takes a special nurse to be one. I could never be one. I am so glad there are other nurses willing to be the special one. I always watched from the distance never believing that I could be anything other than a Labor and Delivery nurse. Today I am not a nurse. I am watching from the outside looking in. Someday I’ll join the medical field once again. Today I am healing the wounds of my past. I watch from the distance. I wait so patiently. I am on my way on a journey of self discovery.

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Not to long ago I responded to a fellow nurse who had experienced some of the same things I did. After so long in one position, job burnout can be an issue. But how is this possible you might say. Especially on a Labor and Delivery unit. Under staffing was a big problem. Fear of something going terribly wrong while being there was another. Not too long ago I talked to someone who still works on the unit who told me about an incident that had happened. My only response was this…I am glad I wasn’t working at the time. It will be a lawsuit for sure. It’s one of those things that every nurse dreads. You wonder. Will the hospital attorney’s back me up. Do I need to hire my own attorney. Why didn’t I have extra malpractice insurance? Being a Labor and Delivery nurse can be very fulfilling. There is nothing more joyous than being a part in a couple’s birth story. I came across the thank cards I received from so many years ago. It’s so hard for me to part with them. It reminds me why I loved being a nurse. I have always like the fast paced action when it was time to scramble and get the patient ready for delivery or an emergency c section. One of my most memorable emergencies happened when I was 7 months pregnant with my son. My coworker had a patient who had a prolapsed cord. I was the one who discovered it. I’ll never forget riding on the patient’s bed with her back to the OR. The coworkers helped me get off the bed. Everyone was concerned not only for the patient and her baby but also for me since I was the one under the surgical drapes. The outcome was a viable baby. When I heard the baby cry, it brought tears to my eyes. Another successful outcome. Another live birth. Another life to live. Another birth story to tell. I still dream about being a Labor and Delivery nurse.

I had just left the unexpected visitor’s house last night when a car warning signal went off. There was no sound just a light. Well it can’t be serious like I am out of gas. But the signal had an exclamation point in it. I had no idea what it meant. When I arrived home I looked in the owner’s manual. The horseshoe sign with an exclamation point means low tire pressure. Now why do the car manufacturer’s put stupid symbols up? Why can’t they put a simple tire light up instead. How many times in life have we ignore warning signals? These maybe either internal or external ones. I used to ignore railroad crossing signals and go around them. I don’t do that if I have my children in my car. But what about the internal warning signals? Those are a little difficult for me. I have a strong fight or flight response. It builds up until I have one hell of an anxiety attack. The last anxiety attack happened the day I quit my job as a Labor and Delivery nurse. The stress of overworking had did me in. I felt unsafe and unappreciated. I am in a better place now. I feel safe within the confines of my home. The rest of my life is another story. I am learning to be in a new relationship. I am learning to love myself for who I am. I am learning not to ignore the warning signals. I need to remember to stop, look and listen at life’s railroad crossing.

Strewn about my house in boxes and in books lie many different cards that I have received over the years. This year I managed to throw away the cards that I received from my bridal shower. I have plenty other cards that bring back better memories for me. Many of these cards are from the patients I took care of when I was a Labor and Delivery nurse. When I worked as a nurse, many patients would ask me what I wanted as a thank you gift. I said please do not give me candy….It would just land up on my hips. I would always ask them for a thank you card or letter. I told them that in my most difficult times I would reread the thank you notes and realize why I was a Labor and Delivery nurse. It has been awhile since I have looked at those thank you cards. So same cards now remind me that I am no longer a nurse. I want so badly to go back to my old job but I can’t. This is what hurts the most……The thoughts of coworkers asking me if I am still married and other personal information seeking rumor spreading gossip. I will not be a part of that. I deserve better I tell myself. Some day I will return to the field of Labor and Delivery. But not as a nurse. Maybe I can be a Labor doula or a lactation consultant. For now I’ll sit back and relax. I’ll contemplate on what I really want. I’ll read those thank you cards and tell myself….I really loved my job as a Labor and Delivery nurse.

My life changed the day I found out I was pregnant at the age of sixteen in 1981. I decided to keep the baby rather than have an abortion. Having an abortion was against my religious beliefs. I had my firstborn son in December of 1981. I had him over Christmas break and I didn’t have to miss a whole lot of high school. During my Junior year of high school, I was inducted into the National Honor Society. I maintained my NHS honors throughout my high school career. My mother and father encouraged me to become a nurse. I started to take my nursing prerequisite courses even before I graduated high school. I loved going to college. I felt that I fit in there much better than I did in high school. I was pretty much of a loner or burnout in my early high school years. Having my son saved me from my self destructive behaviors. Having my son helped me when I became a Labor and Delivery nurse in 1989. I have always had a deep compassion for young teen moms. When I took care of a teenager, I would encourage her to stay in school. I would tell her a little of my success story. I would get a lot of thank you cards from my patients. It made me happy to see that I was making a difference in a  young mother’s life. I wonder what those young mothers are like today. Do they talk about the caring nurse that took care of them? Do they remember me? I wonder….. My life is changing all the time.

On October 4, 2008, it will be two years since I left my job as a Labor and Delivery nurse. I miss being a part of a couple’s birth story. I miss being able to hold unlimited amount of babies. I miss helping the Nursery out when they needed an extra hand. The unexpected deliveries that I assisted delivering babies. Helping mother’s cope with the losses of their babies. I did this for 17 years. The money was great. My best friend worked with me. Being a Labor and delivery nurse had its pros and cons. I am headed down a new path now. As soon as I heal from my injuries sustained when I got hit by a semi, I want to return to college. A new chapter will then open in my journey through life. So far I like being able to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the work force. I deserve a break today…….I deserve Mc Donald’s LOL.

Labor day on a maternity wards takes on a special meaning. I remembered when I worked the holiday I would always tell my moms this….You will never forget this day. Thank you for letting me be a part of it. I have helped countless of women through their labor pains. They came from all walks of life. I have been on the giving and receiving end of being the caregiver and being the patient. I always treated my patients the way that I would have wanted to be treated. I explained the procedures and the childbirth process to them. I explained why their doctor wouldn’t be coming to the hospital when they were only 1cm dilated. I have delivered countless numbers of babies who just couldn’t wait. Being a labor and delivery nurse was my labor of love. I loved it. I recently looked in the Sunday job section and saw that a new hospital is opening up in Oct. They are offering a $5,000 sign on bonus for the midnight shift. I thought about it for a moment and then thought to myself I will never return to a very difficult job. Countless hours of standing. Many a night not being able to go to the bathroom for over 8 hours. Missed lunches and extreme hunger pains. Priceless moments in my life that I really don’t care to relive. I closed that chapter on my life 2 years ago. Every day was Labor day during my career as a Labor and Delivery nurse for 17 years. I am grateful for the experience. Another life lesson learned…..Another life lesson shared.