Yesterday I said to D that "Today was one of those days that made me happy I'm getting into nursing." She said, "Write that down!" I said, "No, you write it down!"
But I think that I should. So here goes:
In the past two days I've been on my labor and delivery rotation for clinicals. I expected it to be a little odd, but everything I've come across so far has been a little odd. In other words, everything is new. On Monday I was assigned to an expectant mother who had already dilated to 10 cm and was effaced 100%. She was ready to start pushing. So while she was pushing, I was holding one of her legs as the nurse I was assigned to follow coached her through the contractions. After two hours, a little head poked out and the doctor showed up and helped the baby and mom with the last few pushes and then everything was a blur. The baby came out and cried and the nursery nurses swept the baby up to the mom's side and the dad held the baby for what felt like a long time and then the baby got weighed and measured and graded and then the dad held him again while the doctor finished delivering the placenta with the mom. Then the new family clustered around the baby, who was now in the mom's arms, and my nurse showed me the parts of the placenta and I poked at it and examined it and then it was lunch time. (I realize now the timing of this seems odd, but I included the lunch part only to note the extremely fast passage of time, not that playing with a placenta made me hungry.)
Emotionally, it was amazing. I almost cried watching this father, who had been stoic for the pushing, break a teary smile as he held his son for the first time and I laughed inside at the sister, who was told to shut up by her pregnant sister while coaching during the pushing. I can't really explain it, but it was the first time I have thought during clinicals, "I could do this for a living."
Yesterday I saw a patient (or client, as some people would have them be called) have an emergency c-section and the precise movements and actions by everyone in the room made me proud to be a medical professional. The nurses were prepping and calling and setting aside supplies while the doctors were slicing and sewing while the respiratory techs were standing ready to treat the patient for any respiratory distress and and and. It was like being in the middle of a hive of ants, except instead of carrying food they were intent on saving two lives. Within one minute of slicing through this woman's skin, muscle, and uterus, the baby was delivered and was perfectly healthy. And the mother was fine too, after recovery.
Two hours later (after lunch, which again seems odd timing), the patient I was originally assigned started pushing. Again, I was bedside as the baby delivered and despite a couple of complications that developed, everyone there on behalf of the hospital quickly reacted and ensured that mother and child both left happy and healthy. It could have been a lot worse, but it wasn't, because everyone did their job. And it was amazing.
I told Rich that I liked it and he said that bordered on being creepy. Apparently I stumbled upon one of the few remaining bastions of prejudice towards males. Usually it is females who are subjected to workplace stereotypes, but after looking at a few forums online (and here, too), it would appear that male nurses working as labor and delivery nurses have to confront more stereotypes than females in the same position. It's not as though I am infatuated with the anatomy; I have just seen nurses actively changing lives and participating in one of the most profound events in a patient's life and then fade quietly into the background, only to do it again a few hours later. I don't know if I want to be an L&D nurse or it's just a phase (like that time I borrowed a keyboard so I could write and produce music with my laptop), but I do know that yesterday was a good day.
So I want to be a nurse.
3 years ago