This is Couplet Care

limp

Recently I worked as a mother-baby nurse for the first time in months. Leaving work, I limped to my car. My feet felt like they were going to fall off, my back hurt, and my right knee was throbbing. I threw my head back in despair and groaned when I remembered that my husband had texted me earlier to remind me to pick up diapers on my way home. For a moment, I seriously contemplated wrapping my baby’s bare bottom in an old shirt as a makeshift cloth diaper. Reality soon set in. We needed diapers. As I was checking out at the grocery store, the young cashier noticed my scrubs and asked me what kind of nurse I was. I told her that I worked with moms and babies. She smiled from ear-to-ear, telling me how she was thinking about applying to nursing school, and how she’d love my job. Moments of my day flashed through my mind.

I had taken care of three mom’s that day, which translated to assessing three perineums, inquiring about hemorrhoids on three different bottoms, and looking at three sets of nipples. I had spent at least four of my twelve hours helping mom’s breastfeed, kneeled on the hard floor next to the rocking chairs they were positioned in. I repeated the same words of encouragement and tried to ease the same fears and concerns. Like a detective, I managed to find extra pillows for every single one of my patients. I answered at least two hundred questions from everything about newborn rashes to molding (their head will go back to normal!) to how to swaddle a baby. I filled water pitchers, passed out socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and four different kinds of juice, all before 8 in the morning.

One of my patient’s had a severe mood disorder and literally pressed her call button fifty times so that she could “just ask me one question.” One mom was only thirteen, and the only support she had was her boyfriend, who looked even younger than she did…but he never left her side and helped her with everything ❤ One mom had so many family members, it was hard finding a good time to pry the baby away from their eager arms so that I could do my head-to-toe assessment. And across the hall, one mom sat alone in her room for the entire twelve hours.

I gave out Motrin and Vicodin like they were tic-tacs, constantly asking patient’s to rate their pain on a numeric pain scale and then having to reevaluate their pain within the hour, while trying to provide comfort measures to also help decrease any stress, anxiety, or pain. So while I agreed with the cashier at the counter, working with mothers and babies is more than just bouncing a baby around on your hip all day.

Instead of laughing at the cashier in front of me, I smiled and thought about the mom’s that I had supported while they initiated breastfeeding. I thought of the words that I had told my teen couple when I discharged them…be good to each other and be good to this sweet baby. I thought about sitting in the rocking chair next to my mood-disorder mom after tending to all of my other mother’s needs when I knew I’d have an undivided ten minutes to spare. I thought about my patient’s family wanting me to be in the picture they were taking of their baby, and that kind of made my heart hurt, it was so sweet.

I smiled at the cashier.  Yes, you should definitely go to nursing school. Working with mom’s and babies is the best thing ever. Every day I go to work, I watch women become mothers. I get to see these babies all start off—as babies…sweet, innocent, and all with the possibility to do and become anything.

I limped out of the grocery store and back to my car, headed home thinking about every single reason I love my job.

As I pulled into my driveway, I realized I forgot to also pick up wipes.  And I also realized I forgot to chart the discharge instructions I had given 😃

 

p.s. my feet still hurt

Until my next delivery ❤

 


8 thoughts on “This is Couplet Care

  • August 12, 2014 at 4:31 am
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    I love your blog! I work the night shift as a tech on a LDRP floor and I love my job. I’m able to assist with sections and vag. deliveries, but I also get to do the first baths, first time ups, mom vitals and since I work nights I get to help take care of the babies that come to the nursery at night. I was curious about what kind of help you have on your floor. Do you have any kind of CNA/PCT or CST on your floor to help the nurses out?

    Reply
    • August 12, 2014 at 4:39 am
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      We do, and they’re all able to scrub in for sections and they come in for vaginal deliveries. They do vitals on mothers, but they don’t do anything with the babies. xx

      Reply
    • August 12, 2014 at 10:24 pm
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      Wow, so lucky! At our small rural hospital we do total care from start to finish on moms & babies. Only RNs work on our unit. No assistants or ward clerk.

      P.s
      I love your blog too!

      Reply
    • August 14, 2014 at 2:27 am
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      I am retired, but we had 4-5 mother baby couples. We did have a p.c.a.(patient care advocate) to do vital signs, help with baths, make beds etc., sometimes. It was exhausting, but I loved it. I always wished it was like the old days when you could spend time with the patient.

      Reply
  • August 13, 2014 at 3:52 am
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    I haven’t laughed and cried so much as when I read these insites. You have nailed it and I have shared so many of your articles that most of my co workers have subscribed to your site or at least have enjoyed them as much as I have. This after one of those days, all the rooms filled, flexible assignments, helping each other through the day but at least today we got to eat! Thanks.

    Reply
  • August 16, 2014 at 7:40 am
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    I am a mother baby nurse and an IBCLC.I worked Nsy, NICU, and PP for 13 years. I have also taught OB for 24 years and worked relief on the side. Ten years ago I had to quit working relief due to a diagnosis of RA. Two years ago I had to stop doing clinical because of more disability issues. The only thing more rewarding than teaching students to love moms and babies is being there at the bedside. I always viewed my work as a sort of ministry. I miss the babies so much that I still dream that I am at work. I try to visit all the OB units as often as I can,

    Reply
  • July 14, 2016 at 2:07 am
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    Thank you for your post! I have breastfed my twins for 3 years and I want to help other moms with this journey. I have my Masters in Education but would go get my BSN and later become a lactation consultant. How much of your day is focused on Baby – Friendly practices??

    Reply

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