15 Things I Never Thought I’d Say as a Nurse

And in case you forgot, I’m a labor and delivery nurse 😉

smell bad

To my coworkers:

  • I got blood on my shoes. When I was in nursing school, I never in a million years thought this would be a semi-common occurence.
  • It doesn’t smell like BV, it smells like chorio. Um, I’m talking about a vagina. But if you’re an obstetrical nurse, you already knew what I was talking about :/
  • The baby is positive for meth (or cocaine, or…).  No explanation needed.  What labor nurses know is that you basically have to do it before walking through the door to get a positive test result. I mean, we’ve all seen a ton of women who had consistent drug history throughout their prenatal period come into the hospital acting crazy, and then miraculously end up with a negative UDS. Maybe they’re on bath salts.  Who knows, but we do frequently get newborns that test positive for drugs.  I just never knew these words would come out of my mouth so often as an OB nurse.
  • I have three minutes to eat lunch or the baby might end up in the bed.  There’s always this perception of an impending consequence if we take more than a 5 minute break.  I mean, seriously—have you ever seen a nurse or doctor eat? They basically shovel the food into their mouths.
  • Smell this. Warning, nurses have to use all of their senses. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve said this. (p.s. don’t smell it)

oprah disbelief

To residents:

  • Don’t turn your back on a woman who is grunting.  I can’t count how many unknowing residents and new nurses learned this the hard way.
  • If she can’t sit down, the baby is probably about to fall out. We’re not really psychic, but if we see someone being wheeled to us from the Emergency Room hopping in their seat, we’ll put our money on the fact that the woman is probably in labor. In fact, grab a glove, the head may already be out :/
  • Just give her time, there’s plenty of room in there. Don’t worry, I know better than to say this in front of a patient. But sometimes we need to reassure everyone that a woman’s body is (usually) capable of amazing things 😃  Sometimes a position change and a little time can work wonders 😉
  • You almost dropped the baby in the bag.  There is more than one reason why we put a bag underneath our laboring moms.  It catches a lot of stuff… I’m just throwing that out there. I’m just saying thank God for those bags.
  • If the cord snaps, don’t think, just GRAB IT.  You have to clamp that sucker, or blood will spray to the ceilings and their baby will come out pale like a piece of paper. You wont care about putting sterile gloves on. You wont stop to check mom’s chart for infectious diseases. When you see that cord hosing blood, you will grab it and clamp it off. And I bet you don’t pull so hard next time…

To a patient:

  • I’m sorry my face is so close to your vagina.  It’s not like my face is right up in there, but it’s still a vagina and she just met me like 5 minutes ago. So it may feel like I’m examining it with a magnifying glass, but the truth is, all I’m trying to do is a vaginal exam with my unfortunately small hands.  Please excuse the weird face I’m making. I’m concentrating.
  • When was the last time you had sex? This just seems so personal.  Sometimes her mother—or worse, her mother-in-law, is next to her. And although we all know they do it, because hellooooo–they’re now in front of us, I still never thought this would be a question that I would have to ask every single patient. I always ask it in a whisper, like it’s a dirty little secret. And most women seriously look at their partner as if they can’t remember (even if they end up telling me it was 6 hours ago).
  • Spend some quality time with your partner…and tell them to focus on your nipples 😉 Let’s be real, they’re googling everything anyway. So if they’re term and in latent labor, I’ll try to help a girl out.
  • I think your blood is seeping through my scrubs.  I can not count how many times I have gotten someone’s bodily fluids on my scrubs. And scrubs are thin. Blood and urine seeps through our scrubs all cold, and amniotic fluid seeps through all warm… The weirdest part is that our first thought is usually “I hope this doesn’t leave a stain” and not “I hope I don’t have an open cut and I hope they don’t a communicable disease.”
  • Now we’re like BFFs, ‘cause I just got your amniotic fluid in my mouth. Thank God, I’ve only ever said this once, right before throwing up in that bag that we keep underneath the patient (it’s multi-purpose). Now, I move like a ninja when a provider is performing an AROM. Almost one of the most embarrassing moments of my life as a new nurse. Almost.

Until my next delivery ❤


11 thoughts on “15 Things I Never Thought I’d Say as a Nurse

  • June 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm
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    Haha, amniotic fluid in the mouth. Yuck, maybe you were my sister’s nurse! When hers broke it was a magnificent show of fluid – all over the nurse face and chest. Too funny! Love this! XO

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  • June 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm
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    Sisterhood of amniotic fluid in the mouth. Mine was a precip delivery. I managed to get one glove on. Pretty sure that’s the time I became GBBS+.

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  • June 10, 2015 at 6:58 pm
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    My IUFD fluid in the face and hair is a story for another time. Blah! Back in olden days when we still flew down to the delivery room with a pushing patient (no epidural, small hospital), I had my “trying not to push” pt. on the table, up in stirrups and encouraging the resident to gown and glove FASTER, that baby shot out of there like a bungee jumper jumping off a bridge! I reached over her leg from the side and caught a baby leg, mid-air. The resident caught an arm with his ungloved hand. Would have missed the bag completely! We looked at each other with that HOLY SHIT look only medical professionals can slyly make unnoticed and thanked our lucky stars! I learned when to break the bed/ delivery table at the right time after that.

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  • June 10, 2015 at 6:59 pm
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    I absentmindedly commented out loud, “I hope I got all the blood out of my scrubs” as I went to get the laundry. To my 11 year old son it was quite the phrase of the century! I still get teased!

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  • June 10, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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    I remember, back in the day, before we hooked the delee to wall suction, it was pretty easy to get a mouthful of fluid. Still makes me shudder!

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  • March 13, 2017 at 7:56 pm
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    Yup I am 37 years in the business…14 as an L&D nurse and 23 as a CNM and I have said and lived ’em all!!

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  • March 13, 2017 at 9:57 pm
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    I started L&D nursing in 1977. We didn’t have wall suction so used to pass the DeLee and then suck on the end that now hooks to suction. You had to watch the little vial becaquse if it overflowed it when you know where…..not many nurses who hadn’t gotten a mouthful of amniotic fluid.

    My other thought was asking about last sex…..awkward when you ask in front of the FOB but that’s now who it was with. After 35 years in L&D, I have lots of stories to tell :)

    Reply

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