Celebrating Nurses Week: A Birth Story
I never really had to make a decision about having my babies at work, I just knew that it was the place that I wanted to birth. Once in awhile someone would say to me, “…but they will see all your bits?!” and I usually laughed and said, “Yep, but it’s really not a big deal”. Worrying about my modesty during birth was never a deciding factor, after all the people I work with are skilled professionals and I knew that they would treat me with the utmost respect. It turns out, I was totally right.
After a stressful pregnancy with my third baby I was finally given the clearance from the top docs to deliver at my work place and not at a hospital with a more acute NICU. My pregnancy had been filled with constant nausea and vomiting, bleeding, dozens of ultrasounds, an amniocentesis, blood tests for cystic fibrosis, constant measuring of baby’s echogenic bowel and growth problems that started in the second trimester. I could go on and on really. It was a lot and it was scary.
When I got to 35 weeks I was told that baby looked great and I could deliver with my work family. I felt a sense of total peace and for the first time in my whole pregnancy I relaxed. My breath was easy and my heart was full. All the nurse friends that had continually checked in on me through out my pregnancy were gearing up for my birth too. That sense of love and compassion was so palpable and it really put me at ease.
I was booked for an induction of labour because my blood pressure was going up, something that happened with both my other babies too. The first nurse I had was Nurse Karen, she had been with me on my pregnancy journey since I got the news at 21 weeks that the baby was measuring way too small and all of the red flags started going up. She constantly checked in with me and gave me the reassurance that I needed when we were initially preparing for a possible premature delivery.
There was a point at the end of her night shift where we both looked at each other and we both had tears in our eyes. My emotional journey was not just me traveling alone but she was right there giving me her support. Nurses are amazing at tapping into a patient’s emotions and they realize how stress and fear can effect labour and birth. Having her share that moment with me was really special.
It was great timing for me because the next nurse on duty for my active labour was the same nurse that took care of me with my first birth. Having Nurse Mitra in my room was an instant feeling of relief and comfort and I knew exactly what kind of labour support she would give me. I knew I could do the ‘birth yodel’ and she would be okay with all my sounds.
My induction was not as smooth as my second labour and I remember feeling a bit frustrated and disappointed and that ‘hurry up’ kind of feeling. I felt really blocked and overly emotional about the lack of progress that I was having. Cue Nurse Cheri, my friend and my coworker. Also the person who constantly checked in on me while I lay in bed on bedrest and someone who would always told say, ‘How’s the baby girl?’, even though we hadn’t found out the gender (surprise: it was a girl!).
Nurse Cheri took charge when my labour went from 0 to 180 within two minutes. She invested her full self in helping me cope while I was losing my cool. She took charge when I felt like I wasn’t coping, she rubbed essential oils on me and made me focus on my breath and be present. All while monitoring everything else that labour and delivery nurses do.
I dilated at rapid speed from 4 cm to 10 cm in a matter of 15 or so minutes. It was a wild ride and the baby did not like it and her heart rate plummeted to 60 beats per minute when it should be over 120 beats per minute. I remember glancing up and looking at the faces on my work family. Their faces looked intense and so I closed my eyes.
I kept my eyes closed and I knew that the baby was coming, I just could not hold it back and the need to push overwhelmed me. Before I really knew what was happening our sweet baby girl was born and I finally opened my eyes and saw this glowing ring of nurses encompassing me. I don’t even know where they came from and I didn’t even know some of them were working, but there they were. They were ready to help me and ready to help my baby. Nurse Mitra, Nurse Cheri, Nurse Stephanie and Nurse Cornelia. This baby was born right before shift change too.
At the two hour post partum mark the baby had to be moved into the NICU and I was fortunate to have some strong nurses taking care of Elisabeth. Nurse Jessica was on the ball when it came to her assessment skills and she even made sure to do the little things that matter to mamas, like giving your four day old baby a bit of a wash.
I know that I couldn’t have survived and thrived without all of your support and I feel so fortunate to have had all of you as my nurses. There were so many more amazing nurses that touched our lives during our week stay in the hospital and they will never be forgotten.
Happy Nurses Week to all nurses who continually make a difference in their patients lives.