10 July 2010


You all know how I am with babies.
They freak me out. I don't know what to do with them. They're needy, hungry and slobbery, they have absolutely no muscle control so I'm constantly afraid their head will fall off and they look at me with a face that says "I know I scare you to death, so therefore I will pee on your arm. Deal with that, lady." 
So it's no wonder that my very first clinical experience ever just happens to be in OB/Maternity. God has a wonderful sense of humor. 
I'm at St. Clare hospital in Fenton, which is stinking awesome. The hospital is just over a year old, state-of-the-art and just plain fancy. All of the rooms in the Family Birthplace are private, and you could fit about four of my bedrooms inside each one. Each room has a giant flat-screen TV, DVD player, walk-in shower, pull-out couches so the husband/significant other can spend the night the ENTIRE TIME that mom is in there, floor-to-ceiling picture windows and hospital beds that have actual oak headboards. Oh, and round-the-clock room service with a full menu. The hospitality area on the floor has a place where families (and nurses!) can get free coffee, tea and...wait for it...slushes! Since pregnant women are usually put on a liquids-only diet before delivery (in case they have to have an unexpected C-section...you don't want to go into surgery with a full tummy!) it's an understatement that they are thrilled with the prospect of a yummy slush vs. the usual ice chips.
The nursery is really cute. The floor and ceiling are decorated to match the walls, and all of the bassinets look like little oak dressers that roll up and down the hallways. It was fun to walk in and see about ten babies just lying there all rolled up in their blankets like little baby burritos.
So anyway, our first day was Thursday. I will admit it was a little boring (ok, a LOT boring)...paperwork, meetings, more paperwork, tours of the hospital, lunch, then more meetings. We didn't really get to do anything, so it was kind of blah. One great part of the day was when some people I know from my hometown of Sullivan walked into the cafeteria while I was there eating lunch. It was pretty sweet to see some familiar faces on my first day to help calm me down. :)  
Friday was a different story.
Let me start out by saying that we're doing 10-hour rotations. We have to be at the hospital by 6am (which means I get up at 4:30 and am on the road by 5:15) and in the nursery scrubbed out by 6:15 to get our assignments from our clinical instructor. Once we find the nurse we'll be shadowing for the day, we get hear the night shift give report to the morning shift around 6:30. After that, we're on the floor.
For real.
I was thinking that since Friday was our first "real" day on the floor, it would be more like a stay-out-of-the-way-and-observe-and-try-not-to-knock-anything-over sort of experience.
So, so not what happened.
The patient I was assigned to just happened to be dilated to a 4 by 6:30am. The nurse I was following was pretty cool and pretty much told me everything that was going on...and showed me everything that was going on. And told me things I could do while everything was going on. She had me take vitals on the mom every hour, get pillows, sheets, ice, and everything else that a mom-to-be would happen to need. We checked the fundus during and after contractions, set up IV meds and met with anesthesia about the mom-to-be's epidural. At 10am the doctor showed up to check the patient, and said she was complete, which I quickly figured out meant that she was now dilated to a 10. Then the doctor left and told us to call him when it was time.
HOLY COW. The baby was on it's way! The nurse showed me how to read the monitor that shows contractions, and I was told that every time a contraction came to grab a leg (the husband had the other one) and to help the mom breathe and count while she pushed. It was AMAZING to help this woman through the birth! The nurse pretty much did everything, which surprised me...I thought the doctor had to be in the room for all of the things like checking the position of the baby, help the mom push, etc. - but the nurse did it all until the baby's head was crowning. Then the doctor came in and took over. He looked at me and asked me to raise the bed a little...and I froze. I mean seriously - how hard is it? You push a button. But this is REAL. It's not playing "little nurse" in the simulation lab - this is a REAL doctor asking me to do something REAL in a REAL situation.
But I did it and came through with flying colors.
Yes. I raised a bed. Tomorrow I will conquer world peace.
But seriously, it was a fabulous experience. When the baby came out, I teared up a little. I mean, really. Let's put this into perspective. I'm just a little student nurse who was graciously allowed in the room during this incredible experience that someone I didn't even know was going through. Little old me who knows how to do little more than put in an IV and change a bedpan got to help a little LIFE come into the world.
My first thought: how could anyone not believe in God after seeing that? Such a cool little miracle.
Afterwards, we got the baby cleaned up and the nurse let me do the newborn assessment.
Fact: babies do NOT like getting their temperature taken. 
Another fact: babies love the blankets that come out of the warmer. And so do I. A blanket warmer is now on my Christmas list of absolute necessities.
To date: best day ever.
Today I love: unforgettable experiences and lots of coffee (with Splenda...I'm officially - and unapologetically - back off the wagon with that one.)

1 comment:

Momma said...

You have the heart of a nurse. I have seen hundreds of births and I always feel the same way....with a tear in my eye I wonder how anyone could not believe in God after such a miracle!

You go, my little nurse!