Saturday, May 2, 2009

Keeping my Mouth Shut.

So, last Friday, I had an amazing moment.
Most of the nurses on the floor in the hospital I'm in for L&B, who discover the woman who wants to give birth without intervention, who wants to do "Natural Child Birth" (OMG!), she's automatically labeled as: crazy, insane, masochistic, f'ed up.
And you know what I said?

I'm a nursing student. I kept my mouth shut.

What I want to say?
When I first wrote this, I was really really angry, and I typed out what I wanted to say. But...
I was taught if I can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all. So I didn't. I want natural child birth too. I think I said that, but in a very even tone, so as not to rock the boat. And I clearly remember the shock in the voices around me, "Really? Are you kidding?"

I respect the mama who wants to scream, moan, blow out her pain with her breath.
I respect the mom who looks at the doctor with "crazy eyes" and says, "I can't do this, help me, pull this kid out of me," and the doctor says, "You're almost there, you CAN do this, I know it, breathe, focus" and then winks at me with all the love in her heart.

And I DO NOT respect the "nurse" who interferes with that beautiful, human connection that the patient and I have.

My patient:
She reached out to me, grabbed my hand while pushing, one of her most intimate moments in life that she will remember forever, she holds me, and I whisper to her, "I'm here for you, I'm right here, and I'm not gonna let you go."
And the nurse, with her degree, and her NCLEX, and her knowledge- she subtly reaches over and peels that womans' hand from mine,
and places it on a grip bar attached to the bed and says, "You might feel more comfortable here."

And the baby boy is so beautiful, and mom and baby are so happy when he is finally with us in the room, "crazy" mom and her little boy and dad who is super supportive...
and the nurse takes me aside,
"So, that birth went well, but um, DONT EVER let a LABORING woman GRAB your hand like she did, she'll break it. Protect yourself. You did really well except for that one thing. You're not aware of your safety."
And all I could do was nod.
"Okay. Thanks."

Inside, what I wanted to say, "What. The. Fuck."

I had one of the most intimate moments I could ever have with a patient- she reached for me, gently, to support her, and that nurse, so afraid of intimacy, took it from both of us.

I think that moment really topped off a very disheartening day with this particular nurse, who seemed very disconnected from her patients even though she was young and fairly new. She liked hanging out with the monitors rather than being present with the patients, and I heard the charge nurse asking, "Please, can you help and be a team player? I really need you here." And this particular nurse, sighed, rolled her eyes, and stomped off like a toddler, not even introducing herself when she came in the room with the woman she labeled as crazy for just wanting to trust her body.

Even my Clinical Instructor: "wow, what a beautiful moment..." then I continued with my story... her comment, "how sad. How sad for that nurse that she didn't feel comfortable being present with her patient at a very vulnerable moment. What a sad, reserved, afraid human that nurse must be to be so unavailable at the moment her patient needed her more than anything..."

Exactly what I thought.
How sad.
And how sad that I kept my mouth shut.
I hope that young nurse changes specialties. L&B is not for her - sheesh, maybe not even nursing. But that's not my call.

And what a blessing to be present with my patient.
What a blessing.
How beautiful.
I support a woman's right to choose, and that includes the conditions surrounding her labor and birth. What a beautiful thing.
The MD asked if I wanted a job on the floor. If emergency weren't my thing and L&B were (ok, so it is, but emergency more so), I might consider it.
More to be discussed.

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