I just want to start out by saying that I love my job. I love that I get to witness one of the most important events in people's lives. Sometimes I feel like an intruder looking in on such a huge moment. But, every now and then, things happen that make working in L&D not so fun. For example, pregnant women who have no respect for the gift they have been given. Not too long ago, I took care of a couple in their late 30's, pregnant with their first child. They went through fertility treatment after fertility treatment and finally they were pregnant, with a girl. I met this couple at 35 weeks. For a delivery of a stillborn. It was heart-wrenching, as it always is. The baby was born and looked perfect except for the tight knot in the umbilical cord. Now I cant even imagine what it was like for the parents. I can tell you that there was not a single dry eye in the delivery room that night. It's SO hard trying to maintain your composure enough to take care of the patient. I have no problem crying with the patient and family. God willing, they will have another child they can take home in their arms.
Then there are patients like the one I took care of this weekend. She was pregnant for the 3rd time. She had a 6 y.o. daughter she had just gotten back from DCFS custody. She was 24 weeks (viability) and her water had broken. Now, she had done EVERYTHING she could to cause this, horseback riding, punching herself in the abdomen, cocaine, etc. She had delivered her 2nd pregnancy at 20 weeks by doing the exact same thing. Her reasoning? She didn't want to mess up getting custody of her daughter back. When asked why she didn't have an abortion, she said she just kept thinking that she'd do it tomorrow, and praying that God would take care of it. Sick, sick, sick. Anyway, she'd come in 5 days after her water had broken and was close to delivery. The baby was still alive, and able to live outside the womb, although would have many hurdles to face. She refused any resuscitation. So she delivers a perfect little boy, breathing, CRYING, and all we could do was let him go. He was wrapped in warm blankets as he slipped away. Afterwards, she then says, "Maybe I should have let my Aunt and Uncle take him, since they haven't been able to have kids". It was bad enough the first time she did it, but even worse that she did it twice. Now, it's very, very difficult to take care of a patient like this, but I had to. I had to refrain from judgement and focus on the woman and provide good care.
At the end of the day, the good always out weighs the bad. I can remember the names of the mother, father, gestation and sex of the baby for every stillborn/too early delivery I've had. A month ago, the couple who had been my first delivery of such, a 23 week delivery, came in a delivered a healthy little boy. I doubt that they remembered me after 4 or so years, but I remembered them. Again, I cried with them, but this time they were happy tears. Then I remember, Hey, I do like my job.