Summer and Seizures and Labors—OH MY!

The rest of the hospital hates flu season, but for maternal-child nurses, summer sizzles in more ways than one.

Maybe it’s the combination of the heat, or maybe it has something to do with the humidity, but every summer any given labor unit seems to be bursting at the seems with women in labor and women with preeclampsia.

Sometimes I come to work, and by chance there are six people who normally charge that are working the floor.  That’s when I get nervous. God takes care of fools and babies, right?  And then I hold my breath and wonder what will walk through the door.

nurse_chews

Summer seems to bring out the preeclampsia. I don’t know about other units out there, but it feels like every other week during the summer someone is eclamptic.  I’d been a new graduate nurse for six months before I saw someone seize. She had been brought up to the unit (by a unit secretary, I might add) from the emergency room because she “just had a headache.” It was very evident she was pregnant, so the ER wanted her off of their unit as quick as they could wheel her out. (Just like we don’t like people that can’t breathe, they don’t like pregnant women).  She stood up and I asked her to get into the triage bed. I knew I had a problem when she asked “where’s the bed?” She seized 30 seconds later. I remember feeling so panicked.

When a pregnant woman seizes, it’s very frightening, no matter how many times you see it. In a labor and delivery unit, your voice only has to sound a certain way for people to come running. I was on an LDRP unit at the time, and when we have an emergent situation like that, everyone comes, whether you work postpartum or you’re a NICU nurse. And then we all move as if we’re all listening to the same silent symphony. Everyone surrounds the bed, ensuring the patient doesn’t fall. Someone will give her meds. It will take more than one person to hold down her arm to get in an IV. Someone will get mag ready. Someone will call her physician. Someone will call anesthesia. Someone will call neo. Any physician that is on the unit at the time will head to the OR and scrub in, just in case her doctor hasn’t arrived by the time we’ve pushed the patient to the OR. Someone will put in a foley. And all of this will happen at once. It will probably be less than five minutes from the time she started seizing to the first cut in the OR. It happens that fast.

And then we all pray that mom and baby are okay.  After all, that’s what it’s all about. Hopefully her retinas don’t detach, hopefully she doesn’t stroke out, hopefully there’s minimal brain swelling, and hopefully her baby is okay.

Working with a majority of women—strong, opinionated, and sometimes aggressive women—can be challenging.  Everyone on an obstetrical unit usually has a very distinct personality, and there aren’t too many wallflowers. Sometimes we don’t get along, there’s always a lot of talking going on, and everyone has an opinion about everything.  But any one of the women I work with would run to a room if someone called out for help.  We joke with each other, we’re gross with each other, and I wouldn’t trade a single one I work with.  We’re like a family…kind of a dysfunctional one, but still a family.  I’m very thankful that I work with such a great group of women, and I’d like to think it’s like that in so many other places across the country.

So here’s to heat, high blood pressure, and the kids being out of school.  Pull your scrub pants up ladies and get ready for the surge of labor patients, summer is just around the corner!  And I hope that laboring patients are the only thing that walks through your triage door.  This summer I pray everyone is surrounded with exceptional nurses who would run to your room or towards your voice if laboring patients aren’t the only thing the summer months brings you.  Love the people you work with, because teamwork and working well with others is what it’s all about. ❤

 

Oh, and the next time you’re at work, look around and see how many people can charge   😃

 

Until my next delivery ❤

 

 

I thought these webinars were so good.  Ask your manager about purchasing one of these (remember, they have a budge for this sort of thing!).  If they say no, think about purchasing it anyway. Especially if you’re a new OB nurse.

AWHONN Webinars:

Medication Treatment Recommendations for Preeclampsia

Making Sense of Preeclampsia Laboratory Values

 


12 thoughts on “Summer and Seizures and Labors—OH MY!

  • May 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm
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    I am a CST in L&D and I love your blog

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  • May 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm
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    Wonderful writing. It is nice to read someone celebrating what we do ( I am a LD nurse as well ). Your team can make or break your shift! There is a tone of voice in a staff member that gets you running just like when a laboring woman’s tone changes!

    Reply
  • May 6, 2014 at 4:55 am
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    I’m retired but reading your blog rings so true and brings back lots of memories. Sometimes I miss the adrenalin rush of those emergency situations – and then again, sometimes I’m glad I don’t have to anticipate them at this age! But at the end of the emergency, when everyone is OK and things go well, it is a great feeling – – and a memory for a very long time!

    Reply
  • May 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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    I too am retired and sometimes I do miss it but glad not in the madness but love reading the experiences of the madness!!

    Reply
  • Pingback: I Still Want to Be a Labor Nurse « Adventures of a Labor Nurse

  • August 3, 2014 at 11:32 am
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    I love reading your blogs. Although I am not a labor and delivery nurse, I am 27 weeks pregnant with twin girls. It made me laugh when you said that yall don’t like patients who can’t breathe Bc I ended up in labor and delivery last week Because of breathing. Turns out I have a mild case of pneumonia, who knew. You are such a good writer and I really enjoy your blogs. Keep them coming :-)

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    • August 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm
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      That’s not what I meant lol lol lol. ER doesn’t like anyone pregnant, so they immediate send them to us. I don’t like people who can’t breathe bc I don’t know what’s wrong with them!! That’s an ER problem! (If it’s not pulmonary edema from preeclamps). Thanks for reading my blog…27 weeks with twins and pneumonia, that sounds miserable you poor thing! Girls, boys, or one of each?

      Reply
      • August 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm
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        Twin girls! Everlie Rose and Ella Reese! If I could handle blood and not pass out, a nurse is what I would want to be (I’ve been trying to work on this before the delivery room, don’t worry)! Thank you for all you and all nurses out there do. It takes a special person to care for another human being and yall are truly a blessing in so many people’s lives.

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  • August 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm
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    I’m thankful everyday for those L&D nurses! Great blog!

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  • April 20, 2016 at 9:46 am
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    Your 2nd to last paragraph rings so true. It sounded as if you were talking about my unit! We are the same way, a bunch of strong opinionated, and we may not get along together all the time. But when the chips are thrown down I am confident that each would come running to a cry of help. We are for sure a dysfunctional family, but I wouldn’t trade my HH family for anything.

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  • April 20, 2016 at 2:32 pm
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    I’m curious. Why are women now so quickly prepped for a caesarean with the first seizure? I had eclampsia with my last baby 16 years ago. I was 30 weeks when my husband woke up to me doing the funky chicken in the middle of the night. I was in and out of seizure activity for the next 30-45 minutes before getting to the hospital by ambulance. They stabilized me (mag sulfate, etc.) in the ER and then transferred me to the city hospital where the doctor gave me the option to have a vaginal birth despite his obvious preference for a C-section. I was induced and our son was born vaginally 11 1/2 hours after my first seizure started (about 4.5 to 5 hours of fast hard labour). Is it no longer an option to try and stabilize women before defaulting to caesarean?

    Another interesting point. My only full-term, non-complicated pregnancy and birth was in the middle of summer. Both my pre-eclampsia/eclampsia babies came in the middle of winter. I strongly feel that a significant difference was related to exercise. With my summer baby I walked all the time and biked until my belly got too big. In the winter I just hibernated. :)

    If you’re interested in my birth stories, you can read them here. http://www.childbirthcompanion.com/birthstories.htm

    Reply

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