I Want to be a Labor Nurse

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I frequently hear people say “I want to be a labor nurse.”  Sometimes when I sit in on interviews, I hear fresh-faced new grads say this, and when I ask them what makes them want to be a labor nurse I usually get an explanation of their own great birthing experience or a proclamation of their love for babies. That’s not what makes me want to be a labor nurse.  When people from the outside look at labor and delivery, they see birth and babies and happiness. And that’s true…it’s like the icing on the cake after a lot of really hard work. But sometimes the birth isn’t what we thought it would be, sometimes the baby doesn’t present the way we want it to, sometimes there’s heartache and sometimes it’s just gross.

One of my first memories as an L&D nurse was of a patient coming into triage around 21 weeks 8cm with a bulging bag of water.  The physician broke her bag of water right there in triage, with what seemed like no notice or warning.  I watched as her family (and some of her nurses) became hysterical.  All around me there was so much commotion.  And the patient just sat there in bed, staring at the ceiling and silently crying.  I had been thrown into triage by my preceptor, who wanted me to get exposure to preterm labor, artificial rupture of membranes, and ultimately, a fetal demise.  This preterm labor looked just like regular labor and the AROM happened so fast not a single nurse knew it was coming. But I did get an experience.  The experience I got was of the patient. As a flurry of people hustled and bustled around her, the patient just sat there, alone in a sea of people. We made eye contact for a moment and for a second it felt as if time stood still.  We just stood there staring at each other as people screamed and cried all around us.  I walked out of triage and saw a nurse sitting on the floor, her head in her hands, sobbing that this was it. Crying that she could no longer do this this way. I’ll never forget that.  She did not quit (not that day, anyway) but it taught me a very valuable lesson about how people—patients, families, and nurses alike—handle death and the unexpected.

We frequently get splashed with amniotic fluid, with blood, with urine and with poop.  If we wrote everything up as an incident we would never get any work done. And do you know what they would tell you if you did (I know, because as a new nurse I tried to do it the right way)…they would tell you to wear protective gear.  (Seriously!? I’m supposed to wear a mask and goggles and a suit to every single delivery?!?)  And we all have back problems from lifting legs and rolling patients and bending over to pick up babies from open cribs and from helping moms breastfeed.  Sometimes we massage a fundus and the patient bleeds and bleeds and bleeds while a thousand family members are in the room, oblivious to the fact that their daughter/wife/sister is asking for a bucket to vomit in and hemorrhaging to death.  And sometimes the doctor’s don’t make it and we deliver the baby. Although, I can’t really complain about that one because most precipitous deliveries the baby comes out red and screaming, or there may be facial bruising from hitting the cervix so hard, but I don’t care, I’ll take it (as long as it’s screaming!).  What’s worse is when the baby comes out limp like a doll and looking like a Smurf.  Then you have to pray that everyone around you knows what they’re doing….because God knows, I’m only so-so with the babies.

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And then, lets face it—we stare at vaginas all day long.  We see hairy ones and bare ones and stinky ones and normal ones.  The only constant is that you never remember what they looked like when you step out of the room.  I remember my first day as a labor nurse, I told one of the nurses (who helped deliver my daughter), “I’m so sorry…I thought only bad girls did that!” (shave)  lol  I was wrong.

So every time I hear someone say that they want to be a labor nurse, that’s what flashes through my mind, like segments from a movie…bad behaviored physicians, a fetal demise, nurses at the end of their rope, amniotic fluid splashing into my mouth, limping for a year thanks to plantar fasciitis, straining my back to ensure the patient doesn’t roll off the bed, catching a baby from a precipitious delivery with my bare hands, bagging a Smurf baby, holding a patient as she sobs that her baby is dead, or worse, telling a mom her baby has died after delivery, watching a mom’s eyes roll into the back of her head and she hemorrhages, getting to work before the sun has come up and getting home after the sun has gone down.  And that’s just the start of it.  So I leave you with this: the next time you hear someone say they want to be a labor nurse, smile and think of every crazy/bad thing that has ever happened to you, or that you’ve ever seen.  And even thinking of the laundry list of weirdly wacky things that you’ve been witness to, I bet you’d still answer the same way…yes, you want to be a labor nurse. Could you seriously imagine working anywhere else?!?  But I bet it’s not your own magical delivery or your love of a baby that keeps you coming back for more.  😉

 

 

Until my next delivery ❤


129 thoughts on “I Want to be a Labor Nurse

  • April 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm
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    Lovely! One of my reasons for wanting to become a L&D nurse was because of the bad experience I had birthing my boy. I can’t explain it though, I knew thats what I wanted to do and I loved my OB clinical, everything else just couldn’t compare.

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    • April 28, 2014 at 7:15 pm
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      I hate it when people ask me where I work and I reply in” Labor & Delivery” and they reply “Oh the happy fun, floor where you play with babies all day! GRRR… it is rarely happy and or fun!! Oh, by the way, I usually answer “Labor and Birth” floor, but most people look at me puzzled, and say “Oh, so you do home deliveries? Geez…

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      • April 29, 2014 at 2:50 am
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        Uh, in comparison to having 4-5 300 lbers that you have to wipe and clean, it’s the happy and fun floor.

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        • April 29, 2014 at 4:22 am
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          LOL That seriously made me laugh out loud. True that Anonymous! But try wiping down a vagina every hour! But I love OB, I know we got the best end of the stick lol <3

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      • May 19, 2014 at 3:15 am
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        @anonymous unfortunately we have women who are 300lbs that get pregnant as well who do u think takes care of them

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    • May 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm
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      The part where you state you “look at vaginas” all day, reminds me why my husband, a retired Ob-Gyn, can’t recognize or remember any faces. What did he look at all day? ‘Nuff said.

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    • August 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm
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      Wow…you couldn’t have described it better ! Just got done with pp hemorrage from a lacerated cervix…ya fun.

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  • April 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm
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    I agree, you stated it perfectly! I always wanted to be an L & D nurse because I don’t know why. It is magical at times, exasperating at times, and just plain boring at times. Things change very quickly on L & D, us adrenaline junkies love that. I love helping the mama feel safe.:)

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  • April 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm
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    I WAS A LABOR/DELIVERY NURSE 75 YEARS AGO, AND STILL “LOVE IT” TOO MANY “GREAT EXPERIENCES” NOT TO. andra

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    • May 2, 2014 at 7:49 pm
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      Do watch “Call the Midwife?” on PBS. Jennifer Worth was a mid-wife in the 1950s. The standard practices for deliveries remained in place til the late 1980s. Why did it take so long?

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      • May 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm
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        Everyone tells me to watch that show! Lol my mother-in-law was a midwife for forty years. I’m going to rent it!

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  • April 27, 2014 at 5:02 am
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    Retired after 45 years realizing that all of those experiences took their toll. I am glad people think it “must be wonderful”. Exciting and a privilege but not always happy and always very hard work.

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  • April 27, 2014 at 11:46 am
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    “You work in Labor and Delivery? What a happy place to work! Don’t you just love rocking all those babies?”

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    • April 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm
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      What every family member thinks we do, right?!

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  • April 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm
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    I was an L&D nurse for the first 25 years of my 32 years as a nurse. I left for two reasons:1) it stopped being about coaching and caring for the mom, but about computer charting and all the bedside machines, and 2) the years had taken a toll on me – the final nail was being exposed to TB by another criminal alien and having to take INH for a year!

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    • April 29, 2014 at 7:21 am
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      I took exposed by TB,after living in NY riding on crowded subways all my adult life,working as and L&D never was exposed,moved to S Florida was exposed to TB,from illegals. I have been in nursing x44 yrs in L&D,soon to retired. Back injuries from the patients,heavier equipment,computers. I have had rotor cuff surgeries on both shoulder from laboring patients pulling on me. We now dealing with visitors in room with laboring PTSD who are in our way,never helping but having us take care of their needs also ( customer service). Labor and delivery is not what it use to be. Mother’s are overwhelming,lazy,demanding. I don’t feel like a nurse anymore,more like a servant.

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  • April 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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    Anyone mention Post traumatic shock issues????

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  • April 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm
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    Why were nurses “screaming and crying” as a demise was happening? That is way beyond unprofessional. That poor patient must be scarred for life, for numerous reasons.

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    • April 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm
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      I have yet to not cry at a demise, and they are the women who almost always send thank you cards for their compassionate care.

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    • April 28, 2014 at 7:34 am
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      Professional? I would trade professionalism any day for humanism! Many times I have cried with women over their lost children. I’d rather show my humanity to patients than my professionalism anytime!

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      • April 29, 2014 at 11:23 am
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        Crying is one thing. “Screaming” is quite another. And yes I work in Labor and Delivery.

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    • April 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm
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      I am a labor nurse and yes there was a time I did cry with my patient when she lost her term baby or times where I cry alone. A fellow L&D nurse told me that “it’s okay to cry because the moment I stop crying is the moment that I stop caring.”

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    • April 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm
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      Sometimes it’s more than a nurse can handle. We are only human.

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    • April 29, 2014 at 5:20 am
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      Obviously you’ve never been there when the MD just wants to get it over with, doesn’t have the compassion to sit down and explain that their baby cannot survive no matter what at that point. Then they do it, (break the waters) and leave a hysterical family and shell shocked woman to deal with the aftermath.Have you ever sat with a woman who held her dying baby, and then talk to her about funeral arrangements and then took the baby to footprint it, dress it, bless it, cloth it and take momento pictures for her, obviously not. Sometimes it’s being human and to cry with a patient can be the most you can do to comfort the woman during that situation. If you took the time to actually digest what she wrote, the person was outside the hall and not doing it in front of the patient. You are a total uncaring asshole.

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    • May 23, 2014 at 8:01 am
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      I would agree with that the calmer the situation remains the more calm and safe the patient feels,

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  • April 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm
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    I wanted to be a Peds nurse until my first day on L&D rotation. I saw a C-section and the baby was OP. When they opened the uterus he was staring right up at us. Hooked me then and there. 38 years later and I’m still here loving it!

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  • April 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm
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    God Bless all the GOOD People in the Medical Field. THANKYOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • April 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm
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    Even with all the stories I hear from my L & D daughter. The nights or mornings she comes home crying and calls ” Mom please pray for me and my co workers and a family that went through a horrific experience tonight or Day that I can not even talk about because it’s so wakeful or sad”. There is so many more trouble deliveries because of lifestyles of people in that area. My daughter and a few other L.& D nurses I know in the same hospital are compassionate loving and prayerful nurses that ROCK that L& D floor. I am soooo proud to call her my daughter and many of her co workers & loving friends. ANYONE would be blessed to have her as their L & D nurse. Am I prejudice because she’s my daughter? Absolutely BUT! It is 100% true. Ask anyone who works with her or knows her. I’m so proud to say “She’s is my daughter”. And a beautiful person inside and out!

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    • April 27, 2014 at 11:20 pm
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      Hey… You took the words right out of my mouth! Sounds like you are writing about my daughter Julia. So blessed to call these couragous women our daughters!

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  • April 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm
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    You summed it up so well! I am not sure I can verbalize exactly why I love L&D, but I never want up work anywhere else. Landed here sort of by accident almost 20 years ago (I went to nursing school to be a NICU nurse), and I can honestly say it was meant to be. I now have the honor of working with my daughter – a NICU nurse – and she is right where she belongs also!

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    • April 28, 2014 at 10:56 am
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      Haha well I work with my mom and in our tiny L&D unit we are all cross trained for L&D, NBN and PP. She’s been a L&D nurse for over 20 years and I’ll have been there for 3 years this August. I absolutely love my job and lots of the time I don’t know why but love it none the less.

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  • April 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm
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    This is so true but. … it’s not just the nurses that feel all of the above, OB Surgical Techs go thru the same ups and downs of the job and are on their feet more.

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    • April 29, 2014 at 10:12 pm
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      I don’t know about on your feet more . I think everyone in the field is on their feet plenty. I know I hardly ever sit or pee lol

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    • August 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm
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      Glad to hear someone acknowledge the OB Techs! We go to every delivery, get all the patients up & clean their beds afterwards, and make sure the OR is ready to go for the sections. I watch strips right along with the nurses. When babys down i need to know so i can open the OR or get a table ready. Ive also cried during the demises and helped moms with breastfeeding in the middle of the night. :)

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  • April 27, 2014 at 7:34 pm
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    This is the job I was BORN to do. I knew it from the first delivery I witnessed. You summed it up so well, it’s not always some beautiful, unmedicated, perfect birth story but I feel like the hard days, the babies that don’t make it- those patients are the ones that sometimes touch my heart the most. I have ALWAYS said, I would rather work the hardest, saddest, worst shift in L&D any day than work an easy shift on any other unit. Moms and babies are my passion. Thank you for the beautiful post.

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    • April 28, 2014 at 1:21 am
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      I love hearing that there are nurses out there that love it like I do. Thanks for taking the time to read it! <3

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  • April 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm
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    It is an awesome oh so scary time in a womans’ life when she gives birth. Thank GOD for the dedicated caring women who stand by your side, doing all they know to do to help you!! Mother of eight

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  • April 27, 2014 at 10:23 pm
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    Worked in L&D for 22 + years ….there were times I loved it and times I hated it. But it was never, ever boring! Most of the time it was exciting and rewarding, but there are a few times that I would have nightmares for weeks because of what had happened….like the near total decapitation of an 11 lb demise that mother just could not push out because she was so exhausted! That one had me wondering if this was what I really still wanted to do….but I hung in there for 10 more years. It was physically demanding which is why I ended up leaving the hospital…..but would I recommend it to new grads? ABSOLUTELY !!!!!

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      • May 23, 2014 at 8:13 am
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        I started in OB as a cna 25 yrs ago and went to nursing school and came back to work the next 20 yrs in L&D and truly loved it. It was a total accident that I went to OB I was going to cardiac floor but they didn’t have the shift I needed @ the time so I switched floors with a friend and never looked back.

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        • May 23, 2014 at 11:18 am
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          Oh my God, I love that story. I thought I wanted to work nursery, like my mom, but the director said she couldn’t have family members working the same area, especially because my mom was a charge nurse. So I said I would try L&D! I cried my first day, but by the second I was hooked!

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  • April 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm
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    I always thought I wanted to be an L&D nurse, too. That is, until I experienced pPROM at 14 weeks and lived in antepartum for a month before delivering at 30 weeks. After that experience, I knew I wasn’t cut out to be one of the few who could stomach the job with grace. Blessings to those of you who do this job well, you’re appreciated more than you might realize.

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  • April 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm
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    8 years as an OB nurse and despite the 12hr full time shifts and the havoc it reeks on family life, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I can easily get choked up when I see a dad cry when he sees his baby for the first time. I’m not afraid to show emotions, I’m only human. I must admit in this area of nursing I feel spoiled, its a happy place most times. But when you are the primary nurse for a still birth or fetal demise, I try to cry in private but sometimes I can feel overwhelmed. I will quickly pull myself together so I can support my patient and her family. Thankfully, they only happen a few times a year, and the amazing co-workers I have will make sure that I get the support I need too. I love my job!

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  • April 27, 2014 at 11:48 pm
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    L & nurse for 17 years. I hate when people think our job is so happy or when the nurses from the floor/ICU/ED thing we aren’t “real” nurses! I am passionate about women babies and families and love the birth process but you are right on! Don’t forget the seizing patient the ED was treating for a headache because they didn’t get it until it was too late or when “the bus unloads” and there is no end in sight! Or the mom having her 7th baby being take by CPS is next door to the woman who is loosing her baby after years of infertility treatment or the mom who sneezes and her placenta (previa) breaks loose or or or…we could all write a book of stories! Thanks for the post!

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  • April 28, 2014 at 12:17 am
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    This is a great article and very well written. But I do have to say some in the situation did act unprofessionally. What happened to support the patient; educate pt. & family and be prepared for whatever is going to happen. Then offer support or a shoulder to cry on for those who needed it from the staff. Thanks

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    • April 28, 2014 at 1:22 am
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      Totally, but I think we can all say that we’ve seen plenty of times when a nurse didn’t act professionally. And that’s what I remember about it, how crazy that nurse acted. I understood that she was at the end of her rope, and there were sooooooo many juicy details I couldn’t disclose, but it’s not hard to see how she had gotten there.

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  • April 28, 2014 at 12:23 am
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    This is the most perfect description of what we really do. I’ve been doing it for 20 years and I plan on doing it until I physically no longer can. We have the greatest job in the world, happy or sad and I am so proud to call myself a labor nurse. Thanks for the wonderful post.

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  • April 28, 2014 at 12:25 am
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    I was an L&D nurse for almost 23 years ,and yes I can say I experienced almost every scenario you could imagine, but would not change a thing.It was a wonderful experience I hope for most of my Moms, and me.

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  • April 28, 2014 at 12:35 am
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    I was a L&D nurse for almost 7 years. I work on M&b now , but i still have ldr in my blood . Instead of o pos I am ldr. It never leaves you.

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  • April 28, 2014 at 12:39 am
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    30 years and counting, other than calling blue babies a Smurf-(I prefer ragdoll), this about sums it up..

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  • April 28, 2014 at 1:36 am
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    I actually had a grandson who was stillborn. The worst day of my life. Blake Michael, he would be 14 years old now. But remember, “God don’t take no trash”

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    • April 29, 2014 at 2:29 am
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      I always feel compassion for the parents, but the grandparents are the ones who really get me. Especially with the population I take care of, because most of the parents are young. Even 14 years late, I’m so sorry for your family. <3

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  • April 28, 2014 at 1:59 am
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    One of the saddest days of my life, is when my Son and Daughter-in-Law lost their twin sons. She was 7 months pregnant and they were still born. So sad,

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  • April 28, 2014 at 3:10 am
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    I worked in a hospital with a NICU that was a regional referral center for SW Washington State (hi Tina). I worked there for 32 years, retired last year. People would always say, “Oh what fun”. I would reply, most of the time, yes. A coworker whose background was ICU/ER came to the birth center, to “have a break” told me one day that we did critical care nursing in labor and delivery. I liked hearing her put into words what I had always felt. I loved my years there, taking care of families in good times and in heartbreaking times. And I don’t miss it.

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  • April 28, 2014 at 4:08 am
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    One of the best births I’ve ever experienced in my 7 years in L&D was a 34 week demise. The patient was so uncomfortable and needing to push that we didn’t wait for the doc. Her perfect baby girl was born and thank God there were other nurses in the room to do the “work” because at that moment, after working with this family for two nights in a row, I was heartbroken for them and with them. I helped them bathe their daughter and helped them pose her for pictures. And when I came back the next night to check on them they were all smiles showing me how lovely the pictures came out. It’s a very different part of our job, and a tough one, but can truly be the most rewarding.

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    • April 28, 2014 at 10:31 am
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      And those parents will probably cherish those memories forever. I’m so thankful that they got that kind of experience from you!

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  • April 28, 2014 at 5:56 am
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    I worked L&D for 22 years of my 28 so far. I finally had to get out when the 14 and 15 year olds were having babies and their 38 and 39 year old mothers were thrilled that they were going to be grandmothers. And this was on top of management that didn’t support their nurses at all. I tried OR but the cliques are worse than high school. I’m too old to work with divas. Now I’m a Med/Surg nurse. Never thought I’d enjoy Med/Surg nursing, but most of the time I do.

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  • April 28, 2014 at 6:02 am
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    I love crazy pregnant women! Thats why I did it… all you said is true and correct for L&D and I wouldn’t change a thing now… I STILL love those crazy pregnant women!

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  • April 28, 2014 at 7:51 am
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    Confused…..Why to L&D nurses feel the need to prove themselves to others, especially other nurses? Who cares? I’ve been an L&D nurse for 15 years, and never concerned myself with how that looks to other nurses. My coworkers are like my family, we help each other on the floor, and that’s all that matters. And, ICU and OR nurses don’t actually know what we do, and for that matter, neither do new grads who are interviewing, so maybe cut them some slack if they have an altered sense of what it’s like to work in L&D. And finally, while I know that we deal with a lot of heavy issues (and RNs on other units do as well- so this does not make us unique), and we have our own weird humor that helps us cope with tragic events, please think about how your words may actually hurt some people who read your blog. Calling a stillborn a “Smurf” (or a Ragdoll, as another poster said) is incredibly inappropriate and insensitive. I know that this is your blog, and you are free to say what you wish, but you might feel differently if you were the one reading this and you had to labor and push out your own dead baby. And no, I personally have not lost a child. But, the only thing I feel when a grieving mother says her last goodbyes to her infant is extreme sadness and loss. I respect my patients too much to think of their dead child as a Smurf. I found your blog through a friend’s link on Facebook, and I came here hoping for some light humor. Instead, your post seems like it was written by someone extremely immature and unprofessional, and frankly, someone who feels like she needs a crown for being a Labor and Delivery nurse. Guess what? We are a dime a dozen. Maybe try being more humble, and appreciate what an honor it is to advocate for women and babies, and support and care for them. Did I just catch your post on a bad day?? Hope so.

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    • April 28, 2014 at 10:27 am
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      None of your comments bothered me except your perception that I would call a stillborn a Smurf! Smurfs are babies that need O2. Your comments confirm the fact that there are nurses everywhere that take everything the wrong way.

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      • April 28, 2014 at 6:50 pm
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        When I saw “smurf” my interpretation was blue, not dead. And “ragdoll” was for a baby that needed stimulation, not dead. I don’t know any L&D nurses that would tag a stillborn with either of those names. I think Ms Perry must have been having a bad day.

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      • April 28, 2014 at 11:11 am
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        I agree. Normally it’s the nurses from everywhere else around the hospital who think we are “a dime a dozen” but I’d love to throw them in some of the situations we thrive in. I’ve heard it all from we “just rock babies” to we “don’t really do anything” but in all honesty this job isn’t cut out for everyone and no I don’t need a crown but a little respect and some understanding is always nice.

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      • May 23, 2014 at 8:27 am
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        I personly think it takes a special person to work L&D and they are not a dime a dozen if so why is there a shortage of L&D nurses properly trained?

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    • April 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm
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      A dime a dozen? I don’t hardly think so. Not the good ones anyway…

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    • April 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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      The comments “rag doll” and “smurf” refer to newborns needing some resuscitation…I didn’t take that as offensive at all.

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    • April 29, 2014 at 2:59 am
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      Sorry Ms Perry, but I read this story and can totally see myself and my coworkers in it. Those little ones that come out blue and need a little inspiration are smurfs to us as well. And smurfs and rag dolls seem to run together. We have to have a lighter side to things because if I have to choose between calling a baby a little smurf or a blue cyanotic infant that requires a lot of help to live, I choose smurf and laugh instead of resuscitation and cry. I have sat with way more mothers than my share that have lost their angels and cried along with them. New nurses will either get the fever and learn our weird way of life, or move on to another area that makes gives them that special feeling. We are unique, but we are not any more special than any other nurse. Take the story for its face value. Most people choose to see the fun part of our jobs. When we talk about our job, do we say we delivered 3 beautiful babies today, or do we talk about the meconium, amniotic fluid, and the blood that we were exposed to? I choose the babies. The meconium is our little secret that we save for the new nurses :)

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      • April 29, 2014 at 3:31 am
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        <3
        I love how you talked about getting the fever. My boss once said 'if it's a duck, it's a duck, we can't make it a swan.' I thought that was so funny. It doesn't take anyone long to know whether or not they're cut out of ANY part of OB. xx

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  • April 28, 2014 at 9:41 am
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    I love your blog!! It is so true all the time, even though I am not L&D. I knew from the time I was 13 that I wanted, or so I thought, to be an L&D nurse because of my love for babies. I decided shortly after I got hired that the SCN was the place for me. So go ahead and give me your “Smurfs” those are my speciality. Even though the pts and families are in such a state of shock, they barely remember the nurse that made their child breathe and stay alive. But it is all worth it because we don’t do it for the recognition. Keep up the good work!!

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  • April 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm
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    I’m about to graduate from nursing school (in 3 weeks!! yay) and I’m one of those who said from even before I started that I wanted to work L+D. I’ve been a lactation consultant for years, and went back to school to get the RN specifically so I could better serve this amazing patient population. I am passionate about providing excellent, holistic, and compassionate care to families, and I absolutely adore being able to come alongside in whatever circumstances a child makes their entrance (and sometimes, exit). Please don’t think that all of us new nurses who express desire to do L+D are ignorant of what it really is like, or just want to rock babies ;) There’s at least a few of us who are going in with eyes wide open, and still totally passionate about this specialty :)

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    • April 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm
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      Yeah, my comment was not aimed specifically at new grads. A lot of people say it! I’m so happy that you are about to graduate. We need passionate nurses. And from one IBCLC to another, I’m sure you will make a fantastic nurse! <3

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  • April 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm
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    Having been both a labor and delivery nurse for eight years and now an Ob/Gyn physician, it makes my heart ache that the only way doctors are portrayed here is negative.

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    • May 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm
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      I agree, but then I have to remember that before I applied to medical school, I have to remember all my negative role models who made me think “Even I could do better than THAT!!” I just hope that now I am actually doing better than that. And much as I love and respect many of my physician colleagues, I still sometimes make my family laugh when I am occasionally moved to say “Doctors are a__holes!” So some of my own heartache about doctors being portrayed negatively is that I hope that image is not always deserved, and some of it is because I know it often is deserved.
      And maybe some of the phenomenon of negative portrayal of doctors has to do with the human tendency to tell stories about all the horrifying stuff that happens to them, and to forget to talk about all the good stuff. Once I realized that I was making my children afraid to become parents with the stories of loss and heartache I brought home from L&D, I had to remember to tell stories like: “Guess what? Today I delivered a healthy full-term baby vaginally after a perfect labor to an adult woman and her husband who had planned the pregnancy, were well-educated, didn’t use drugs, and who obviously loved and planned to take good care of the darling child! And all the grandparents appeared sane and healthy and thrilled with the baby, too!”

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      • May 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm
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        The post that I published last night was tribute to my favorite doc and talked about our tendency to remember bad things. Your comment was so genuine I thought about it for days lol

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  • April 29, 2014 at 12:02 am
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    I was an L&D nurse for35 years. I tried antenatal testing but I realized that I am a labor room nurse and that’s what I am!

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  • April 29, 2014 at 1:29 am
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    Besides watching my wife deliver 9 children naturally, I’d caught a few myself in the ER. Our 10th was born just as I left ER for L&D 23 years ago (we ended up with 12). Why did I switch? I believed it would be challenging and that I’d be good at it. Both proved true. The privilege of helping moms birth their babies, and getting them to latch successfully, give L&D (at least for me) a unique power to keep you there. But another big factor is the comraderie I’ve experienced with my coworkers—RNs, MDs, OB Techs—who are some of the most caring people I’ve met on this planet. I agree with the statement, and say it often myself: “We have the best job in the world!” —pastordavidrn

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  • April 29, 2014 at 1:38 am
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    Married to an l&d nurse for 30 years, have seen and heard it all from my lovely wife, I truly believe she has made a huge difference in many peoples life and was and still is a blessing to her patients and co workers
    Love you honey
    Luke

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    • April 29, 2014 at 2:26 am
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      That is so sweet! I wish I had someone to talk to, my husband covers his ears as soon as I mention L&D. lol That’s one of the reasons I started the blog in the first place. xx

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  • April 29, 2014 at 2:40 am
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    I knew I wanted to be a labor nurse after I had my daughter. The nurse held my hands, told me there was not much time to explain, but things are getting ready to go seriously fast and my daughter was in trouble. She could tell me what was going on, or help get my daughter out. One emergency C/S later, I had a beautiful girl and a nurse that was so tired but still stayed with me until she could finally explain what happened. Triple nuchal cord, and a true knot. I was scared but saw in her eyes it was going to be OK. Several years later and nursing school, I was back in that same department as a new nurse, and she was my mentor. That baby girl is now 20, my mentor has retired, but I have filled her shoes and have had to hold many mothers hands and tell them they had to trust me and hang in there. Yea, I have had all kinds of fluids all over my body that were not mine. I have cried, laughed, and screamed on my way home, but every delivery was mine again and it was personal. I wouldn’t trade a single delivery. I can honestly say every single one of them were special to me.

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    • April 29, 2014 at 2:42 am
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      That was such a sweet story. I love how your nurse had that kind of impact on you. How lucky are we to have that kind of opportunity on a daily basis? Thanks for sharing :)

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  • April 29, 2014 at 2:46 am
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    I still want to be a labor nurse (and eventually midwife). But after 14 years as a doula and a birth assistant attending in home, birth center and hospital births I am still as passionate about that desire as I have always been. 22 days to graduation….

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  • April 29, 2014 at 6:39 am
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    I love your blog, keep it up. My mom was a labor and delivery nurse for 20 years and although I knew I couldn’t stomach the actual job of being a L&D nurse, I am now a birth photographer and love getting to be an observer to you salt of the earth workers. xo

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    • May 26, 2014 at 1:27 am
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      I seriously think there should be birth photographers at every hospital. People don’t realize that they will get caught up in the moment and forget to snap pics. I’m always like ‘WAIT. DON’T CUT THE CORD. THEY NEED THE CAMERA’. lol and usually I remember not to even start pushing until they have the camera in their hand! But you also want sentimental moments captured…the look on your family’s face, the room number on the wall, the clock…

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  • April 29, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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    Working in lAbor and Delivery can be one of the most exciting jobs ever ,also one of the most difficult, I love the different day different scenario, something new all of the time, however there are the moments that you never forget, like pushing for two hours with a Mom, who is delivering an ancephalic baby with each push the eyes bulgeing, I still see this in my dreams, never goes away.
    Nobody could ever understand some of the horrers that we see on a daily basis some that are out of the control of who they are encountered by, or those that are man made….such as the 37 week pregnant patient on her way home who encounters a gunshot and is transported to the trauma center with a kidney hanging out ,and the choice is Mom or baby. Neither survive then picking up the pieces of the family members who were brought there by the police to see their daughter, sister wife etc.
    Then after all of that simmers down, on to the next patient ,next scenerio, term pregant 13 year old, with no real support except the 16year old who is the father of the baby, homeless because both families kicked them out for having “sex”. Yet sex is not a topic of discussion in either house. She is screamimg in pain and 1 cm, zero% effaced and no abillity to cope with labor much less the birth of a baby, oh yes it’s 2 AM on a Saturday night and social services is off on the weekends.
    I could go on but I would not want to discourage the new labor and delivery nurses of tomorrow, think before you leap its not always what you think that it will be, seeing or experienceing a couple of good deliverys does not a labor and delivery nurse make….it’s the difficut experiences that define who we are and what we do, and stick around long enought to do it well. I would never change my L&D days for anything else, except maybe some sanity.It’s a job you either love or leave running.

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  • April 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm
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    Been a new grad L&D RN for about a year now. I cannot tell you how many times I leave work crying/frustrated. Just wondering if I made the right choice–feel so stupid sometimes and the “old timers” can be mean–just a few but still the mean ones stick out. Love what I do but when am I going to drive to work without the pit in my stomach?????

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    • April 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm
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      I mean this sincerely…you will find your rhythm. Just kill them with kindness and eventually they will come around. And don’t ever forget how it feels…Do not ever be that way when you are no longer the new grad and you’re the one with experience. It will get better!

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  • April 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm
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    Great post. Loved reading it.
    I would be obliged if you could also check out my blog DoubleThink. I’ll drop its link below!

    DoubleThink is an up and coming blog that is extremely satisfying for every kind of a person, be it the thinker, the optimist, the pessimist, the poet, the musician, the couch-potato, the bookworm or the photographer.We are a bunch of people with different backgrounds, contradictory opinions but one voice. And this blog is our voice.
    Come hear us at :
    http://doublethinkhub.wordpress.com/

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  • July 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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    I’m really enjoying your blog! I have a question for everyone: so how DO you know if you are cut out to be a L&D nurse? What separates the men from the boys? What separates people who “just love babies and had a great birth experience” from people who have the capabilities to make a really great nurse for their patients?

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    • July 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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      (Maybe I should add that I currently work as a doula so that I can learn everything I can about L&D nurses before making a decision to apply to nursing school or not)

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    • July 31, 2014 at 1:16 pm
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      Lol I was joking. Some people go into for that reason…That’s just not why they stay. They stay because they love it. The only way you still know if you are made for it is to try it :) I don’t know how anyone could not LOVE it…

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    • August 1, 2014 at 12:57 am
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      Or, what separates the men from the girls? I’ve been a male RN for 33 years, 23 of them in L&D. It has been an awesome experience. The hardest part is seeing fresh new humans born to dysfunctional people who may end up warping their future. At the same time, my Christian faith sees the possibility of God’s grace helping any individual through such a challenging environment. I have a webpage of L&D Tips gleaned from over the years. Feel welcome to check it out on pastordavidrn.com.

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  • July 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm
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    Loved the article- and the responses! 45 years in L&D was an awesome career. I’ve got to say though, it is “blood, sweat and tears” along with other bodily fluids. My only resentment was the folks who did make that Oh you work in L&D- such a happy place, which tended to diminish the significance of what happens there. I am an adrenaline junkie, and birth never failed to provide a great deal of excitement.

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  • September 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm
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    Just remember….. All as nurses….. We all deal with things differently… demise.. or not….We need to support each other….. I find we are harder on each other in this profession no matter what department we are in. I want to thank all of you for what we do even when we leave the bedside. I love being a nurse and I have done quite a few different things and I will tell you this… loved loved loved working LDRP and NICU… we had to work in both places…. I would have to say that was my favorite in my nursing career…. The abuse was really hard for me… continually abused by other nurses…. doctors….. management…. Techs….. I worked in a county hospital… huge…. If you were pregnant you came and saw us as we treated you for all things…. we had those who came in all strung out on cocaine, meth, raped… drug mommas, abused mommas of all sorts, gang bangers with their semi automatic guns strapped to them…. hookers…. mommas running from child services, running from the law….. I have had a gun pulled on me on my unit….. lots of HIV positive in times we were not sure about that… Hep C…. Hep B…..and don’t forget the sickle cells mommas and all they can go through…. and what about all the std’s and vaginal bugs…. while I worked here and was getting training…..I had over 21 preceptors… hmmm…and in that two years…. I didn’t meet a couple that was married… little alone… the daddy of the baby… the pre term… to all the things that can go wrong with pregnancy we took it… yes we were full fledged any one that is pregnant….. who do not know a lick of english.. learning different cultures as they can be so different than yours….and religions … and let’s talk about family…..must I say more…..

    I loved that job…..I loved my patients….. I learned so much….. We lost mommas….. we lost babies…. sometimes both….. not always the happy place…..

    I still would love to do LDRP….. It is my first love in nursing….

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  • April 25, 2015 at 2:48 am
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    This was so interesting to read. I still want to become a labor and delivery nurse after reading this. I have a high tolerance to all the nasty gross stuff. Only thing that worries me is dealing with the death of a baby.

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    • April 25, 2015 at 9:06 pm
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      Seeing death is part of being human, in or out of the hospital. But because nurses get such a bird’s-eye view of it, we must observe it from a spiritual perspective of hope, or we’re tempted to harden through sheer repetitive exposure. In my 24 years in L&D, neonatal deaths have been hard experiences, but very meaningful. My pastoral bivocation has allowed me to minister beyond my own patients as a spiritual resource when my coworkers’ patients experience perinatal loss. This kind of ministry inspired a poem and a painting to encourage hope while validating grief. They were published together last year by a DutchEnglish website linked below, and might serve as helpful material to share with those in need, whether or not you become an L&D nurse….
      http://www.artway.eu/content.php?id=1763&lang=en&action=show

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  • April 26, 2016 at 9:49 pm
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    I was exposed to TB between my 1st and 2nd year of nursing school and took INH during my 2nd year of nursing school. I guess I should have quit before I started…but I didn’t.

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  • April 26, 2016 at 10:00 pm
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    I have worked on med/surg, telemetry, in the ED, as a hospice RN, and now on a small L&D unit where we do everything from L&D to couplet care, to nursery, to scrubbing and circulating. I love what I am doing now and feel like my background has been a great asset for the difficult days dealing with IUFD and crashes. I work with an amazing group of nurses. The teamwork is like nothing I have every experienced before. I have worked with some great people in the past, but this team has made me feel so welcome!

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  • December 17, 2016 at 1:29 pm
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    I’m a NICU nurse at the moment, but I’m thinking about switching to labor & delivery. I have 2 years of NICU experience and I love the work, but the lateral violence is off the charts… I don’t know what to do… Take it and grow as one of them, or go to L & D and hope it’s different on that unit… Any ideas help!! Thank you!

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    • December 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm
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      I all not trying to sound corny, but I think you have to be the change you want to see. I’m going to vlog about this later because you’re like the fourth person this week to mention this.

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  • April 28, 2017 at 1:29 pm
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    you have nailed it to a tee.. Thank you Thank you.. Thank you..

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