You make a difference.
It can be a good difference or a bad one. I personally had an amazing experience with my labor & delivery nurses (3 different nurses, since I was in labor for 23 hours). But my experience with postpartum was not so great.
Let me start by saying I have the upmost respect for anyone who chooses this tough profession, I have several family members and close friends who are amazing nurses in everything from L&D to hospice. In any profession though we all have good days and bad. Sometimes we carry drama or stress from home with us to work and vice versa. Some days we’re more tired than others and that’s just fine. Please try to think about this though when you put on those scrubs and gloves and go into work with expecting and brand new mothers. This might be just another work day for you but this is one of the biggest days of their life, and you play a large role in how they remember it.
Labor & Delivery.
The nurses who assisted me during the 23 hours that followed my water breaking were nothing short of a God send. I went into this experience feeling excited, nervous, anxious, and a little scared but above all THRILLED that I would finally get to meet my baby at the end of it. Throughout the process, I was very active and tried every pain management technique available to me prior to finally requesting an epidural 11 hours in. The nurses were timely, helpful, encouraging and seemed genuinely excited for our baby to enter the world. I never thought one time “I wonder if they’re having a bad day or if they have a hard home life or if they got a ticket on their way to work, etc.” I never once thought about their personal life because they didn’t give me a reason to, they made it clear that their only priority was taking the absolute best care of me and my baby. I struggled a lot with feeling like I was “tapping out” too soon when I asked for the epidural and the nurse was there to comfort me when I cried and encourage me that I was making the best decision for me and the baby at that point. They never made me feel like a burden or an inconvenience.
At the end of labor, we were able to capture a photo of our sweet babe, but who was in the picture? The Dr.’s who spent 35 minutes delivering him, not the nurses who had been their for 12 hours at a time helping me out. When I looked back to find photos for this post I couldn’t find their faces but I was able to find the labor & delivery nurses helping hands in several photos. The hands that made all the difference and that allow me to say overall I had a GREAT LABOR & DELIVERY EXPERIENCE.
When they moved us to a recovery room we got to keep our LD nurse for a few because “We don’t have any postpartum nurses here right now, like there’s no nurses on this floor at all until the next shift starts.” Well once the next shift started it was pretty apparent that the nurse who did come on was maybe a little overwhelmed (I realize postpartum nurses have more than one patient unlike our nurse during delivery who only had to tend to us). Every nurse I had after delivery treated me as though they were annoyed and I was an inconvenience. When I was having a hard time getting my baby to eat because he was SOOOOO SLEEPY they made sure I knew it was my fault he wasn’t eating and that I needed to “figure out how to get him to stay awake”. After having second degree tearing and a TON of stitches I was in excruciating pain and was not able to sleep at all. After being awake for 38 hours straight I had expressed this to my nurse multiple times and her response was “I don’t know what to tell you, the best I can do for you is ibuprofen”. When the Dr came in a few hours later she said “I put Oxy in your orders, all they need to do is call for it and we should be able to get you some rest in no time”. The oxy had been in my orders the whole time the nurse just never checked. At the end of our stay the nurse who was supposed to go over discharge instructions was too busy so she had a nurse in training do it for her, she wasn’t able to answer any of my questions due to a significant language barrier and just kept saying “I don’t understand”, “I don’t know”. Throughout my recovery stay I had one CNA who was probably about 19 years old, she was sweet as can be and was the only person on that floor who didn’t make me want to bawl my eyes out. Now obviously as a new mom you are extremely hormonal and emotional so yes you are more sensitive than usual. I write all of this NOT to complain or to say that my postpartum nurses are horrible people or bad at heir job. While I was there I may have felt that way but after I left and had time to reflect I thought to myself; maybe they woke up late, maybe they’re going through a divorce, maybe they have sick kids at home, maybe they just couldn’t keep up with the amount of patients they had that day. I could speculate a million reasons why as a nurse you might get snappy with your patients or give them less than your best quality of care but we’ll never know what the real reason was.
You make a difference.
With that I say this though whether you are a CNA, Nurse, cafeteria worker, etc. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I think I speak on behalf of most first time moms when I say that during the week following delivery you are in pain, hormonal, and emotional. You have no clue what you’re doing, you need help and support like no other. As a hospital employee you have the power to make or break someone’s day SO EASILY. So especially if you work with brand new moms, PLEASE try to leave your stress, your workload, and your frustration at the door for that 3-10 minute encounter.