24 July 2010

The One with the Last Day

Yesterday was my last day of OB/Maternity clinicals, and man, what a way to wrap it up.
6:00 am - we get to the hospital and wait for our assignment, which includes finding out what nurse we'll be with and who our patient for the day is.
6:30 am - I'm in the Level II nursery! I asked - since it was my last day - if I could be in there. Level II is one step down from NICU, and I wanted to experience what it would be like to care for the sicker babies. It was a little intimidating - some of those kiddos are itty bitty and have wires coming out everywhere.
I was assigned to a baby with a mild case of pneumonia who was just about the cutest thing ever. I got to feed him, change him and rock with him for a little bit. He fell asleep in my arms, perfectly content and peaceful. Then a little later in the day, his world came crashing down into a million pieces.
Yes. The doctor came in for the inevitable "C" word.
My job was to provide a pacifier dipped in sweet-ease and whisper promises to him like, "Hang in there little guy! This will be over soon! You're doing great!"
The doctor was quick and efficient, and explained the entire process to me as she worked. She even asked me if I had any questions, and didn't seem to think that I was dumb for asking things like, "So, what happens if parents elect not to have this done until the kid is 12 or something?"
Seriously. I've heard stories about that happening. Ouch.  
M. didn't want to hear the details.
In any case, it was an interesting procedure to watch - completely the opposite of what I thought it would look like. My little guy only seemed to be upset about being held down for the process - afterwards, he fell back asleep, completely exhausted from his rough morning. 
At 1:00, we left the floor to get our lunches and sit down for post-conference. I'm getting ready to take a bite of my lunch when my clinical instructor came in the room and said that there was going to be a c-section at 2:00, and would I be interested in watching? 
Um...do I even need to stop and think about it?
So instead of eating lunch, I found myself in the nurses' locker room scrubbing in and helping move the patient from triage into the OR. The patient and her husband were an AMAZING couple - very generous and more than happy to have students along. And the nurse I was with was also fantastic - she let me do more than I thought I would be able to do.
Aside from the basics like putting a blood pressure cuff and compression cuffs on the patient and making sure the fetal heart rate monitor was attached and working properly, I also got to hang an IV bag - which is NOT easy when you're barely 5' and the IV pole is a gazillion feet above your head. The patient started laughing and said, "Come on, Shortie!" Haha. Very funny. So glad I could take her mind off of her impending surgery with my congenital abnormalities.
Once in the OR, the nurse had me and my classmate Natalie do things like help count instruments and write them down, help make sure that everything was where it needed to be - and the most important part - helping calm the patient as she got her spinal. Natalie wanted to watch the spinal go in, which was fine with me. I got to do what I'm really interested in - standing in front of the patient, my hands on her shoulders helping her stay as relaxed as possible, talking to her and trying to keep her from freaking out about the needle going into her back. We had a great time talking about her little baby that was on it's way, her son that was waiting to meet his new little brother, and what her husband was probably thinking as he waited for us to call him back to the OR. What made me really feel like a real nurse was when the patient felt comfortable enough to lay her head on my shoulder while she was trying to relax. I absolutely loved being able to be a comfort to her. At least I hope she felt that way. :)  
Once the c-section was underway, Natalie and I took orders from the scrub nurse and got to actually be a part of the entire procedure. I thought, after talking to some of my classmates about their c-section clinical experience, that we'd only be able to stand back out of the way and watch. Holy cow, not in this case! When they told us to put on gloves and stand in closer, I was like, "Whoa. Seriously??" I mean, we didn't do anything major like stitch up the momma or pull out the baby, but we were handed instruments and sponges to either soak in sterile saline or put in the sponge counter (you don't want to leave any in the patient!). I made ice packs, helped with the erythromycin on the baby, calculated the Apgar score and charted the baby's vitals, put away instruments and helped wheel the patient's bed from the OR to her room on the Maternity floor. Once in the room, we re-hooked up her IV, hung more bags of LR (insert more short jokes here) and made sure the catheter wasn't twisted and hanging from the bed. So seriously, nothing major, but it still made me feel like an integral part of the process.
Oh, and at the request of the dad, I was handed his camera and asked to take pictures. It. Was. Awesome. Such a happy, healthy family! And such a great experience to cap off my last day of clinicals.
What made Natalie and I really giddy was that after everything was over, our clinical instructor came up to us and told us that the scrub nurse was really happy and complimentary about how we did during the whole thing. Yay! A for-real nurse thought we did great! That made me just about float down the hospital hallway. 
To summarize my entire OB clinical experience, I'm happy to say that I got to do a little of everything this past month:
1. Watch/assist with a vaginal birth
2. Watch/assist with a c-section
3. Take care of a post-partum vag mom
4. Take care of a post-partum c-sect mom
5. Watch a circumcision
6. Take care of Level II babies
7. Gave my FIRST INJECTION on Thursday!
First kisses, first day of school, first steps down the aisle and first injections. Highlights of any girl's life. :)
If only studying for my next Patho test could be as interesting...
Today I love: Diet Coke that allows me to stay halfway awake to study and the beauty that is indoor air conditioning.

PS: I'm back to renaming my posts via Friends episode titles. I just can't help it. I'm an addict.

1 comment:

Grace Wheeler said...

I love babies, births, and all that stuff too!!! :) Oh, and HEALTHY babies at that!!!