First of all, thanks SO MUCH to NurseWeek for the wonderful article in which Codeblog was mentioned. It’s very exciting to see something that you’ve worked hard on in print! If there are any nurses out there that want to share a story, you can do so here.
“Jules” has already taken advantage of the Submit Your Story link and this is her submission:
I work in recruitment for a large health system – sometimes we tend to look more at the paper credentials, and forget the humanity behind what you all do – I have the highest respect for nurses!
I’d like to share my experience as a patient, though. Hopefully any of you who have cared for someone like me will know how lasting the impressions are, and know how much the things that you do to treat the whole person are appreciated!
I was pregnant with my first son, and was utterly convinced (and still am, frankly), that women’s bodies were built to bear children, and that we don’t need medical intervention to help us along in a normal situation. Further, I was convinced that once you start intervening, the interventions keep coming until you end up with (gasp!) a C-section. I had a very supportive husband, an excellent direct-entry midwife, plans to give birth in water at a free-standing birth center, yada-yada. What I didn’t do, was listen to everyone’s advice to prepare myself in case the birth didn’t go exactly as I pictured.
Fast-forward to my 37th week of pregnancy. Picture lots of edema (I had to wear men’s shoes because women’s shoes weren’t “tall” enough for my swollen feet), a HUGE belly (something about too much amniotic fluid), labs that were off in many many ways (high uric acid, anemia, etc) and the beginnings of preeclampsia. Long story short, I ended up being admitted and induced, which was the second-to-the-last worst outcome I could imagine.
You L&D nurses are probably smiling to yourselves thinking, yep – I’ve treated her. And I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I marched onto the L&D unit with all kinds of demands – rolled into a “birth plan” – - no pain meds, hold baby ASAP, don’t cut cord until it stops pulsing…. Silly me, I still thought I could control what was happening!
I had some fantastic nurses. There must be some kind of communication that goes on with you-all, because everyone seemed to both know and respect my wishes. With one exception, all of the 28 nurses who cared for me during my week at the hospital hotel (my friend counted) treated not only my physical condition, but my emotional state as well. I had expected to have the nurses roll their eyes and say “Oh, a granola mom” or “Ha, Natural Birth. She doesn’t know what she wants” – - I NEVER felt as though this was the case. In fact, every one of my nurses bent over backwards to welcome my midwife into the room (though she didn’t have hospital privledges), and help me make sense of what the OB was ordering. One even said to me “You know, you can wait to have that done if you want” when he wanted to break my waters on the second day.
After 65 hours of labor (yep, not a typo – we finally succombed to an epidural at Hour 59 – blissful sleep!), my husband and I finally decided to have a C-section. Both our decision to continue with the labor, as well as our decision to have the surgery were unconditionally supported by our nurses. I was very frightened of the surgery, and the nurse who would be assisting took extra time to hold my hand, stroke my forehead (amazing what touch can do to calm a patient who’s frightened!), and explain over and over what exactly I would be experiencing, who would be there, etc. Even though I know she must have been incredibly busy to coordinate two nurse-anesthesists, the OB, two additional nurses, a resident, a clean OR room, etc, etc – she took the time to make sure I was comfortable, and to listen to my fears. In the OR, she made an extra effort to ensure that I could see my baby the whole time they were fiddling with him on the table, and brought him over as soon as possible. For
her kindness, I will be forever grateful, as she truly helped ease my fears.
I also remember a night shift nurse who had been assigned to me for two of the three nights I was in labor. After my son was born, she popped in my room to check on me, even though I was assigned to a different nurse (so appreciated!). Later that night my son woke up and started crying. My husband, who was staying with us in the hospital got up to get him and bring him to me, but I was having a hard time sitting up. I remember being so distraught that I couldn’t even sit up in bed to help my newborn son – I was so upset and discouraged. The nurse, who was not even assigned to me, answered the call button and both she and my assigned nurse helped me sit up in bed and nurse our son.
The other item that I want to share, which I truly think is a kindness, was the postpartum nurse who we had in the days following my son’s birth. What I appreciated most about her was how matter-of-fact she was. She helped me stand and take my first few steps after the surgery. She helped me shower. She helped to clean me up after I went to the bathroom for the first time post-cathater. Never was I embarrassed by the VERY INTIMATE things that she was doing, because she did not make a big deal out of it at all. It was just “You need to get up and go to the bathroom. Great job, now let’s get you cleaned up.” Ditto to the help we had learning to breastfeed. Fourteen months later, my son is a pro, but it took a bit for both of us to get the hang of things.
I am so thankful to all of the nurses who helped bring my son into this world, and helped me let go of my pre-conceived (get it!) notions of a hospital birth setting. I am humbled and amazed by the caring, compassion and love that we received while spending a week in the “hospital hotel.” Thank you for educating me, respecting our wishes, and coordinating the meals, labs, visitors, visits from the OB, and lactation consultant. Thank you for holding my hand, brushing my hair, encouraging me to take a shower, and cleaning me up. Thank you for welcoming my midwife, my family, and allowing my husband to stay overnight. Thank you for keeping me safe and healthy, for watching over me, for helping my son take his first breath, for teaching me the finer points of being a mom, and for turning a very scary situation into a powerful and empowering experience. Thank you.