I have delivered three babies. It just doesn’t seem possible. Sometimes I feel like I could still be a cool college student with a carefree lifestyle…and then a glob of peanut butter or bubble of snot lands on my shoulder and I’m quickly snapped back to reality. Even though some days are hard (and long!) I am so grateful for my babies and the experience of bringing them into this world.
When I had Evie nearly four years ago, I had no idea what to expect. After laboring at home for the better part of 20 hours, I went in to the hospital hoping for a natural, drug-free delivery. When I explained my intentions to the resident, she rudely brushed me off and said, “call me when you change your mind.” Humpf! I felt very alone in my birth plan…until Nurse Amanda came in the room.
Amanda didn’t seem at all bothered by the prospect (and extra work) of an unmedicated patient. Childbirth is exquisitely painful, but she helped me remain calm and patient and focused during the entire process. Even though Amanda had likely attended hundreds (thousands?) of births, she made us feel like we were her most important patients. Thanks in large part to Amanda’s guidance and expertise, I showed that snooty resident a thing or two about making assumptions…!!!
Any laboring mother in the hospital quickly understands that the nurses are the real bosses. Yes, the doctor plays a very important role in the delivery of a baby, but the doctor tends to show up towards the end of the process. The labor and delivery nurse guides and cares for her patient from start to finish. The nurse fetches ice chips…and administers pain relief. The nurse brings fresh linens…and monitors vital signs. The nurse can make the experience more comfortable, secure and joyous for mother, father and baby.
With the delivery of Vivian just two weeks ago, I was blessed with a wonderful nurse named Dana. As I did with my first two babies, I let the staff know that I desired a drug-free delivery. Fortunately for me, Nurse Dana worked as a doula before switching to nursing, and her past experience really helped me through the toughest moments. She set up a warm bath (“the midwife’s epidural,” according to Dana), and her gentle encouragement and unending support made all the difference. Despite the sudden inducement and Pitocin, I’d say Vivian’s delivery was the easiest one yet. Thanks to my nurse!
After each delivery I sent thank-you notes to the nurses and aides who made my delivery and postpartum stay comfortable and safe. I hope they always know that their work is appreciated and important. They help bring new life into the world – what a gift!
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