April 26, 2009
At the hospital where I work, the OB department is a couple floors up from the emergency room. After hours, women who are coming in to be seen in L&D come into the ER, where the triage nurse calls us, tells us who's here, her doc and her reason for the visit. We then send the scrub tech or secretary downstairs to bring her up by wheelchair. Most of the time, this gives us nurses time to pull her prenatal record and get the room ready for her. But every once in awhile, we either get a call from ER triage that they are bringing a patient up, which usually means the patient is "active" or the scrub tech calls on her way up to let us know to either get ready, or that we better meet her in the hall. You never know what you're getting into after those calls. They are few and far between but not too long ago, I got a call from the scrub tech. She politely said "Nurse Lochia, would you mind meeting me half-way?". That's my cue to grab the precip delivery kit (a basin for the placenta, bulb syringe, 2 clamps, scissors, and a baby blanket), and grab another nurse and we go dashing down the hallway. Before I go on, let me describe the woman who will get this kind of attention: Huffing and puffing, leaning to one side in the wheelchair, making those deep throaty moans that tell you 'hey, she's pushing'. And 90% of the time you either have a mom who hasn't delivered her baby yet only because she still has underwear on, or, she's 1cm dilated with a raging UTI. Seriously, there's usually no in between. So, back to my story. I get called to meet them in the hall and I actually know nothing about the patient coming up as I didn't take the call from ER triage, so I'm thinking "Crap! Is she term? Is she preterm? Will we make it? Is this real?" The last couple times I got "the call", we've gone running and when we checked mom, she was only 1cm. Usually though, if its the scrub tech instead of ER calling with a patient like this, it's more likely a hurry your butt down here, she's having a baby. So I grab the charge nurse who just happened to be the one in the hall at the time (and also a former NICU RN), and we take off running. Picture a slow motion, hurried, worried scene where 2 nurses are running in slow-mo, carrying a precip tray, something like you would see in some soap opera. Ha ha, just kidding. Anyway, we meet the scrub tech in the hall and as expected, mama has a sweaty upper lip, hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, leaning to her left side, Dad is carrying 2 pillows, a bag and a suitcase looking like he could yak at any moment, and we realize we're probably having a baby! We pull her out of the wheelchair and as we rip the pants off of her, out comes the baby's head and a second later, we have a screaming full-term infant hanging out in this mom's underwear that's only pulled half-way down! It turns out this mom had been in a couple days before, thinking she was in labor and sent home. She was so embarrassed at coming in too early, that she kept refusing to come in because she wanted to make sure she was really in labor. Finally, her husband decided they were going when she started making "funny grunting noises" and that's how she ended up with a delivery in the hallway in the middle of the night. Now that's a good story to tell your kid when they ask about their birth!!