A Day in the Mind of an L&D Nurse

Do I work tomorrow? I need to check my schedule. Yes, I work. I guess I should go to bed, it’s 11pm and 5:30 comes early.  I wonder if my scrubs are clean.  Nope.  Do I stay up and wash my favorite pair, smell them to see how dirty they are, or Febreeze them and keep watching The Good Wife?  Urghhh.  I’ll just wear the pair that’s a little snug.  I don’t think the seam in the back of the pants is coming apart yet and no one can tell that the fabric on the inside of the thighs is worn.  I need to lose weight.  I should work out right now.  That elliptical is just sitting there.  If I could lose weight just by running in my head, I’d be a size 2 right now. I’ll buy new scrubs, maybe a size bigger, on my next day off.  Right now, I’m going to focus on The Good Wife.  That’s what I’m going to be from now on…a good wife. And a good mother.  I’m going to wake up extra early tomorrow and write a little love note to my daughter.  And maybe to my husband.  And I’ll leave food in the crock pot so that my family will actually get to eat at a normal hour.  Oh my God, there’s a full moon.  I better get to bed.  This episode will have to wait.

Does this count as excercise?
Does this count as excercise?

OMG I slept through my alarm.  It’s 6am.  Didn’t I just fall asleep?  I have to hurry.  Forget the crock pot.  I’ll pick something up for dinner on my way home (again).  And I’ll just text a sweet note to my daughter to my husband’s phone and he can just let her read it.  I hope night shift has made a fresh pot of coffee.  Maybe one of the physician’s brought us breakfast. I wonder how many people are on the floor.  I wonder how many laboring patients we have. I hope it’s a 1:1 kind of day.  I wonder who is working.  Man, I love the weekends. No managers, only one physician…I hope it’s qui—- I better not even think the word.

Raise7

I’m so excited. I got this. I’m going to be a baby-delivery machine today.  I’m going to chart every single thing I do and I’m totally going to chart in the room.  These elevators are so slow.  I can’t clock in even 1 minute late or I’ll get docked 15 minutes.  That has to be an OB urban legend.  I’ll probably get out an hour late, so doesn’t it all even out?!?  Maybe I should just take the stairs. I know I need to lose weight.  Nah, I’m still tired, I’ll just wait.  I’m so glad no one else is waiting for this elevator, I don’t have time to stop on every floor. I better stand near the back so I can just pretend to try to hold the elevator open in case someone tries to swoop on in at the last-minute.  That’s so hateful.  I’m totally getting like 15 patients for that comment.  I better stand near the front and lose an arm trying to keep the door open if someone runs up.  That’s what I’ll do.  In fact, let me hold it open for a few seconds just in case someone comes around the corner…

 

Whoops 😞
Whoops 😞

There are four strips pulled up in the break room.  How many labor nurses have I seen….one, two, three.  Not bad!  I hope I don’t get the patient in room 101.  Her strip looks like a pancake. Was that a late?  I’m not clocked in yet, I’m not going to look at it.  Well, let me just pull it up really quick to see what it looked like before I got here.  Oh good, it wasn’t a late. And the strip looked better 10 minutes ago.  But it’s still flat. It’s a little iffy.  I hope she’s just been Stadol-ed or at least turned to a lateral position.  I hope I get a primip who is being cervadiled or a multip who is in active labor.  Or a primip in active labor. Or anyone in active labor!  You know, I just want someone who is pregnant. I totally don’t want to work mother-baby today.  I feel like being a labor and delivery goddess.  I’m pumped up.  Just give me someone who is pregnant, in active labor, with a good strip.

Annie_fingers_crossed

Whoop-whoop.  I did not get the patient in room 101.  But yes, she had just been Stadol-ed and yes, she’s in a lateral position.  But I’m still glad that patient isn’t mine. I’ll still keep my eye on that one. Just in case.  Thank God that girl has a good nurse.  What’s going on with my patient.  Hmmm G1P0.  Fingertip/thick/high.  Being induced for postdates,  42.1.  God bless her.  She tried to give her body time to go into active labor all on its own.  She should get an award. I’ve got my work cut out for me.  If I get her delivered before my shift is up I should get an award. I’ll let her rest until I eat breakfast and then I’m going to encourage her to get out of that bed.  I hope it’s not a 12 pound baby.  I hope it’s not thick mec.  I hope she doesn’t have a secretly scarred cervix she’s not telling anyone about.  I’ll find out more when I check her myself.

Ohhh not bad. Not bad at all.  She’s soft and anterior.  There’s hope!  I’ll get her moving.  Lets get out of bed…yes, you can do it. Before you got to the hospital, you were walking around. Trust me. I’ve had this same conversation a million times before. Just because we put that ID band on you doesn’t mean you can’t move.  Yes, it does feel better in the rocking chair than in the bed!  I’m like a psychic.  I should charge money. Oh wait, I get paid pretty well.

PsychGif11

Here comes another patient presenting to triage.  She’ll be a keeper. She can barely keep her bottom on the wheelchair.  She’s doing that half-sit, half-wobble thing dance.  I’ll laugh at myself if she’s closed.  I hope she’s term. She looks term.  That’s no 30 week belly.  Complete! +3!  She’s about to have her baby on the triage floor.  That labor nurse is grabbing an NTN, that labor nurse is grabbing an IV start kit and postpartum Pit, and I’ll grab some gloves and tell her to breathe. I hope the unit clerk called a physician. We don’t have time for a start kit. I hope someone brought an IM needle. Oh no, she’s grunting. Blow it out! Like a candle! Like a candle!  Too late, there’s the baby.  And it’s bald!  I haven’t seen one of those in a while.  I hope the physician makes it here for the placenta.

There goes room 101 again. Definite lates. Is the nurse in there? Yes.  That nurse is always on top of it. Uh oh. My baby is crashing. God, I hope there’s been a miracle and she’s complete.  Let me do a gentle vag exam while she’s on all fours.  Oh no.  I’m not supposed to feel anything pulsating. This prolapsed cord has bought me and my patient a ticket to the OR.  There’s no repositioning my way out of this one.  And now my hand has to stay in here.  Oh well, at least I got the easy job. My hand just has to stay in her vagina as we roll to the OR and I get to watch everyone else scramble. I wish I’d done a perineal wash 2 seconds before her room flooded with nurses.  I swear it didn’t look like this 10 minutes ago.  I hope everyone remembers she just SROMed.  She feels kind of hot in here.  When was the last time I took a temp?  Is that amniotic fluid soaking through my bra?  I hope it’s amniotic fluid and not urine. Oh, she SROMed thick mec. I guess it doesn’t matter which one it is… I need to pat the patient’s leg to reassure her that everything will be okay.  God, I hope this baby is okay.  Man, I don’t get paid enough for this.

brittney spears

So thankful for teamwork and a doctor that can get a baby out lickity-split.  Damn, I missed lunch.  I have so much charting to do.  Oh look, the patient in room 101 had a SVD with 9/9 apgars while I was in the OR.  Oh well, I got 8/9 apgars with a prolapse, so I guess everyone’s a winner!  Oh no, was I supposed to be recovering that precipitous delivery that happened in triage?!? I was the last one out of the room…  Hopefully the charge nurse is all over that.  What will I pick up for dinner tonight? I’m too tired to eat.  I’m too tired to stop and pick up food.  How can I skip so many meals at work and still not be skinny?  Why does my doctor say that working is not the same as working out?  It feels like I’ve worked out.  I wonder if my husband will divorce me if I order pizza one more night this week.  Did I remember to send my love note text to my husband’s phone for my daughter to read?  Man, I hope the kids are fed and bathed when I get home.  I don’t care if my daughter hasn’t washed her hair in a week, I’m too tired to wash her hair tonight.  Will she need therapy when she’s older?  I better just wash her hair.  I’m so glad to be home.  Maybe I’ll finish watching that episode of The Good Wife. Whoops, I forgot to check the schedule to see I work tomorrow.  I hope someone washed my favorite scrubs.

 

Until my next delivery ❤


60 thoughts on “A Day in the Mind of an L&D Nurse

  • June 22, 2014 at 6:38 pm
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    I am a CST in a high risk unit in Austin. This is sooo how a day goes. I love your blog.

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    • June 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm
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      I’m an L&D CST as well!! 10 years now, and I still love my job.

      This blog is 100% accurate. I’m not a doctor or RN, but it’s still amazing to me at how quickly some laboring women become my surgical patient.. I’m always honored (and humbled!!) to help.

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      • June 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm
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        My name is actually Rhonda, not Rhonds.. lol

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      • January 4, 2016 at 11:18 am
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        I am a proud charge nurse of a team that once had a patient come in by ambulance and from door to baby in warmer was 7 min!! I was thinking damn we are good!

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  • June 23, 2014 at 3:12 am
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    I love this! I work nights but it’s still the same things that run through your head! I love reading your blogs! Thanks!

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  • June 23, 2014 at 4:01 am
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    I so have lived this life. Only another L&d nurse will understand all of this. So glad to be retired.

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  • June 23, 2014 at 5:41 am
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    Wow! That was great:) I only worked L&D for 18 months and that was after 18 months in the NICU…as a new grad…thank you Navy!! Both jobs were soooo stressful, almost more than I could handle. That was a perfect description, the stress of having those two fragile patients where almost anything could happen, ugh!! God bless you L&D nurses:)

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  • June 23, 2014 at 11:38 am
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    My daughter is an L&D nurse. And I see her in this and I worry about her a lot. It seems to be a career that one can both love and hate. Yet, I’m so proud of her for going to school and choosing to do this. I’m proud of her for being able to support herself, if she ever has to. I’m proud of her for working in a charity hospital and for caring about those that the majority of people could care less about. I’m thankful that she’s an amazing mother and that she has not given up. But, if she chooses down the road to do what she loves I’m behind her 100 percent.

    Thanks to all of you nurses. You responsibilities are vast and I admire you all for what you do.

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    • January 4, 2016 at 11:27 am
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      My labor career has injured me and caused me 4 shoulder surgeries and has stressed me to my limit at times but I feel proud to do what I do because it is the most special time in a mothers life and I get to make her experience that she will remember forever. If I do my job right, she will remember me for her life even though I may never remember her. There are so many careers that I would hate that others love and just felt this is what I belong doing with my life even if it hurts my body. Some people don’t understand but I was lucky to be raised by a cardiac nurse who taught me how to treat everyone like they are the most important thing going through my mind, even if they are on drugs and screaming at me. I’m glad not everyone can do my job because I wouldn’t want to do theirs. I’m glad you are proud of your daughter because it means the world to me that my mother is proud of me.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm
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    Omg this is so true! A typical day for us L&D nurses :)

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  • June 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm
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    I’m an L&D nurse for 38 years! Such an accurate accounting of a day in the life! I still love it tho! Just gotta hang in there 6 more years so I can retire!

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    • June 25, 2014 at 1:01 am
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      Any laboring patient would be lucky to have your years of expertise!!

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    • October 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm
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      Same job same timeline! And so true!

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  • June 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm
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    You nailed it.You just blogged my life.

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  • June 23, 2014 at 6:21 pm
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    I worked L&D for nearly 18years until disability forced me into early “retirement”. You really nailed this one! I still miss it soooo much.

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  • June 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm
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    I worked this for 37 yrrs and miss it desperately! The Docs, the girls in labor and yes even the lady who drops her cord. I miss it all. But chronic illnesses won over, so…….. I was just wishing,,,,,,,,

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  • June 23, 2014 at 10:27 pm
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    Every word true!

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  • June 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm
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    Almost every day… But worth every minute!!

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  • June 23, 2014 at 11:34 pm
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    hilarious! this is my mind, never dreamed being in my head would be so comical

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  • June 24, 2014 at 2:13 am
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    I think I recently worked one of the days!!!

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  • June 24, 2014 at 2:13 am
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    Oh my word, you’ve hit the nail on the head with this post. My cousin posted a link to your blog on my facebook telling me I’d probably enjoy it. I must say I have and I can definitely relate! I’ve worked high-risk L&D my entire career. I’ve been a nurse for 20 years and a traveler for 12 of those. This post made me think of the night we had 7 nurses to 18 patients and none of us sat down that night. We were so grateful when our shift ended and so thankful that nobody died. We were also grateful that there was a bar that opened in that city at 0700 just for the nurses. ;-)

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  • June 24, 2014 at 2:25 am
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    You got it right on. This seems to be most days for our unit, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!!!

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  • June 24, 2014 at 4:27 am
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    This was my exact night last night! You captured it perfectly. Good luck out there! :)

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  • June 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm
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    LOVED this!! So what L&D is like!! I, too, had a cord prolapse and hopped on the stretcher holding baby off the cord until they got her prepped and open to the uterus! Lots of praying done. Precipitous deliveries- pit, stadol, catching couple babies… How I miss it! LOVED working L&D until unfortunately a car accident took my career away as a L&D nurse- can’t do clinicals any more. But, teach and share still. Thanks for bringing back many wonderful memories of good days in L&D!!

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  • June 25, 2014 at 4:30 am
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    I really enjoy reading your blog. I have retired after 37 years as an RN, 29 of those years spent in L & D. You are so true to life and I can relive all those hectic, stressful, I loved them to death days reading your stuff. I loved being an L & D nurse….

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  • June 25, 2014 at 5:18 am
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    Recently retired…really agree with your blog !!! Enjoy your working years…I miss L&D so much after 50 years! I simply loved every second I was there.

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  • June 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm
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    Wow, I have empathy for nurses. To be honest, many people say I want to study medicine at Oxbridge because it is prestige and is every parents dream. But are people actually prepared to sacrifice their flesh, their will for the care of others? #foodforthought

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  • June 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm
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    Perfect! The best/ worst job ever. I’ll def start reading this!

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  • June 29, 2014 at 2:34 am
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    So true. I remember those days. I went back to school to become a Certified Nurse Midwife to slow down and gave 1 on 1 care. I am my own boss but some days still so busy. It takes special people to be nurses especially L & D nurses. Keep up the good work. You are loved and remembered. God bless you.

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  • July 4, 2014 at 7:36 am
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    Oh.my.word. so true. Every word. Great blog.

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  • July 11, 2014 at 5:39 am
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    I started reading this and really started missing my old job, but by the end of it I was AGAIN such a happily retired L&D nurse. But … ok yes I still miss my job.

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  • July 12, 2014 at 2:40 am
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    Full disclosure, I am not an LD nurse. I run a company that makes software for LD units so I can at least understand some of the lingo…Enough to enjoy this awesome blog! Intense, emotional, funny, sad. You are multi talented! Thanks for your time doing this.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 2:49 am
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    After 35 years in L&D I truly enjoy your writing. You are spot on and proof it doesn’t matter where you are we are all sharing the same experiences. Well done!

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  • August 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm
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    I am a new L&D nurse,my first weekend on nights was kind of like this day you described! it was pretty crazy

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  • October 6, 2014 at 3:06 am
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    I was a L&D mother baby nurse for 13 years before God moved me into hospice. I do miss it so. This made me laugh and cry. I also did 6monthe in NICU and traveled for a 4 month assignment once in a level 3 L&D unit. This was how most days played out! Thanks for sharing. Love it!

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  • November 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm
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    Oh My Gosh…I just LOVED this post! I always go to bed the night before SO prepared and then the morning is SUCH chaos…I think my trip into work mimics yours, all the way down to my evil elevator thoughts :P
    Isn’t it funny how the day just zooms by and then at the end (or near-end) you think about your family/dinner/love notes and any other misc things that just TOTALLY get forgotten for our patients??
    #NICUNURSE

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  • November 15, 2014 at 12:55 am
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    I love your blog! I am that Postpartum nurse (26 years), and NICU nurse who takes over after you have done your job. Love seeing it from your perspective.

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  • February 27, 2016 at 1:25 am
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    Once anOB nurse always an Ob nurse at heart.Retired now. Worked In a small community hospital and at times it could be hetic if you were the only nurse on nights. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything

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  • December 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm
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    I have been doing this 23 years and you just so nailed it! I laughed so hard! That is exactly how my mind rolls ALL THE TIME. Thank you!

    Reply

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