When I gave birth to the Wild American Seabass at the hatching grounds – oops, the hospital – I was lucky enough to be attended to by a dear friend who is a labor and delivery nurse. We didn’t plan this – it just worked out perfectly. I thought it might be fun to ask her a few questions about the nature of her job in the delivery room. Here’s what she said.
How long have you worked in your field?
I’ve been in maternal/child heath for 15 years.
How have things changed since you started?
Changes in labor and delivery are always happening – not so much for the natural process, but on the medical side. The most astounding change I think I’ve seen is the increase in cesarean sections, for many different reasons. Natural childbirth is my preference and if I can help a woman get there, I will. Sometimes things are beyond our control.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I have many favorites parts of my job. Encouraging and helping a woman surrender to the birth process and letting it roll with her body, shows power and strength through surrender. Watching a new father cry when he sees his baby enter the world. The cherished moment when a baby wants to lock eyes with his/her momma or turn to his/her father’s voice. Participating in helping mother and baby breastfeed in those early days. The list is so long, but those come to mind.
What’s a favorite story from work?
Story? I got stories!!!!!! But here’s a fun one. When the birth happened, the mother looked at her husband’s face with anticipation of emotion and when she saw the look in his eyes, she said, “WHAT?” You could tell she was frightened. He couldn’t help but give something away through his expression – his eyes were popping out of their sockets!! He responded, finally with, “It’s a girl!!” Again mom said,”WHAT?” Then he handed her their daughter and then they both cried. The ultra sound said it should have been a BOY! They shopped for BOY, had a shower for BOY. The whole family and friend network was expecting a BOY! I can still see the whole scene in slow motion. Classic and beautiful. They were overjoyed, because they admitted to me that they secretly wanted a girl. Just glorious!
One of my other favorites is when I walked into the room when a woman was obviously in transition, screaming out of control. The other nurses were rushing about trying to get things ready and get the doctor there. I grabbed her screaming face and said, “Look at me. You are going to have your baby!” She stared desperately at me and said, ” I can’t do this!!” I said,”You ARE doing this and you WILL grab your legs and push!” She did just that and we delivered her baby as she gave the battle cry, the cry of a primal warrior woman. It was beautiful and we all celebrated with tears when she held her baby in her arms. I was so fortunate to have participated in this birth.
Who has been your worst patient? And please, for the love of God, don’t say me.
The most difficult and demanding types of patients I have are the ones who come in with a mind set of how they expect to have their experience. A birth plan in hand, refusing most if not all types of medical/supportive suggestions and care that the doctor, midwife, and/or nurse and staff have to offer. The patients who treat us like the enemy. Like we are here to control their world. I sometimes wish they would deliver somewhere else. It is just frustrating to be there with the knowledge and background and be shot down. I, more than anyone, want a patient to have the best birth experience she and her partner can have.
Any advice for expectant mommies?
My best advice for the expecting mommy is to surrender to a life change. Nothing will ever be the same. Life as you know it will be pretty much altered, interrupted, faced with new challenges and blessings. There is no black and white. So for you Type A personalities, it would be smart to always have a plan “B”!!
Any advice for expectant daddies?
Dads refer to the previous answer and try to be supportive. In labor, be mom’s advocate and know you can’t “fix” labor. Take on more responsibilties at home. This will be a family soon, so work together. Communicate with each other daily about your growth, frustrations, plans, etc. Don’t wait for the baby to be old enough to play with. They need you from the first day. You are a very important role model.
Who is the cutest baby you’ve ever seen?
Cutest baby I’ve ever taken care of? Um, there are thousands and I can’t remember all their names. But God gives us the cutest baby every time – they all have very special qualities!!!
Thank you SO much for taking the time to answer all these questions. The only one you got wrong was the last one. The correct answer was SEABASS. I mean, come on.
You are very welcome and I have to say that, yes, Seabass is most definitely one the most gorgeous babies I have seen in my career. He is just so scrumptious!!