There are many things I like about my job. There are many things I don’t like about my job, but that’s a story for another day. Being a labor and delivery nurse, I have the privilege of welcoming tiny miracles into the world every time I work. I help women through one of the most difficult physical experiences they can go through, and they usually come out smiling by the time it’s done. I think when most people think of what it means to be a labor room nurse, this is the aspect that comes to mind.
There’s a whole other side to it. To start, thanks to shows like “The Baby Story” and all of the other TLC rubbish, mommas-to-be think they have a keen insight into what goes on in labor and delivery. I hate that show. My coworkers hate that show. I need to write a tell all book about what to really expect when you go into labor. And when you think you’re going into labor. In fact, I’m going to put that on my bucket list. Because you have no idea. No one really does except for the nurses, doctors and OB techs. I’ll share that information, but not today. No, today, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite quotes and events that I’ve experienced over the last four years.
1. “If I could round house kick you to the face right now I would.” This was said by a triage patient to the father of the baby when I made her go walk for an hour to see if she was truly in labor or not.
2. “I need my epidermal.” For the record, epidermal refers to the skin. Epidural refers to the anesthesia technique that makes for a happy laboring patient. More often than I like to admit, patients get the two mixed up.
3. The ER calls saying EMTs are bringing up a patient and the baby is crowing. They rush the patient up to triage. They are gowned and gloved ready to deliver a baby. I check the patient. She is dilated 2 centimeters. I inform the EMTs she is intact not crowning, and I then make her get up to the bathroom to change into a gown and give me a urine sample. This has happened several times.
4. The ER calls up to labor and delivery triage stating they have a pregnant patient that needs to be evaluated with a due date based on her last menstrual period, and she hasn’t had any prenatal care. We refuse to take the patient until they have a positive pregnancy test. The ER nurse isn’t happy with us. The ER nurse later calls back to triage to inform the triage nurse the aforementioned patient is in fact NOT pregnant. The patient, however, is insisting she is 16 weeks pregnant with puppies, and the puppies were moving all around in her belly.
5. I mentioned the epidermal thing already. There are several other words and procedures that are called by an incorrect name. Example, pitocin (drug used to make contractions stronger and closer together), is frequently called potassium. Induction (the process of attempting to start a patients labor) has been called anything from seduction to introduction to production.
6. The many names for vagina. OMG. No one says vagina. For example, hooha, coochie, kitty cat, pocket book, stuff, purse, girl…the list is endless. It’s simultaneously really funny and really sad.
7. A patient comes to triage with complaints of some bleeding. I ask, “Did you have intercourse?” Her response, “No, I’ve never done that.” Um…
8. A very pregnant patient comes to triage wearing a shiny zebra-print fitted shirt, a purple thong and fishnet tights. True story
9. A patient is discharge from triage and is instructed to get dressed and she can go home. About ten minutes later, the patient comes out of her triage room still wearing her hospital gown. Only her hospital gown. And the hospital gown is not tied in the back, allowing for a full view of her rear. And then she left. True story.
10. A patient comes to triage to rule out labor. Labor is ruled out. She decides she’s just going to walk home rather than wait for her ride to come get her. She doesn’t have any socks or shoes with her. She refuses to put on a pair of hospital socks because she doesn’t like things on her feet. It’s mid November and quite cold outside. True story.
I tell you, it’s an adventure every time I work. We’ll see what happens tonight!