This past week, I took care of a mom laboring with her 2nd baby. Her husband was one of the those guys who was constantly cracking jokes, sometimes a little inappropriate, but the patient didn't care. That was apparently how he was all the time. They were both incredibly excited and you could tell by just walking into the room. She was ready for delivery and I stepped out to call the doctor in. Dad followed me out of the room, but didn't go back in after I'd made my call. I wondered where in the world did he go so close to delivery. Five minutes later, he comes walking in the room, dressed in our blue disposable scrubs we give dads for c/s, complete with hat, mask, and wet hands held up in the traditional scrubbed position. I thought everyone in the room was going to wet there pants and I worried the patient would laugh her baby out before doc could get there. I suppose some people wouldn't have found the humor in it, but it was pretty darn funny. He had asked one of the scrub techs if she could help him out so he could pull this little prank. Because he was dressed in scrubs, when the doc got there, she asked him if he wanted to deliver his baby. This wasn't anything he expected, but he was able to help catch his son. It was pretty cool. This guy who was a cut-up all night was now speechless, teary eyed and in awe of his wife.
Then I had another dad that wasn't quite as enjoyable. This couple came in and they just had something about them that made you uncomfortable. Just in the things they said, the way they acted, it just wasn't pleasant. Anyway, mom had come in after SROM at 33 weeks, and she was a repeat c/s. I had noticed she had been seen in our department before and that she had a birth plan. I asked if they had a copy, but she said they hadn't gotten a chance to write it down because they thought they had more time. So I ask them to tell me what they would have included in the plan. The dad immediately says "Save mom before the baby". Mom then says "They already know to do that" and then she turns to me, gives one of those quick, snotty smirks. And that was all. That's right. Their entire birth plan was save mom before our daughter. Now I would understand if she was like 22 weeks, and her blood pressures were out of control and she could die if she wasn't delivered, or something along those lines. But this was a 33 week mom with no other pregnancy or health issues, other than being preterm. She was going back for surgery in 45 minutes and the doc was already there, and there wasn't anything that could happen at that point where it would be a matter of having to choose one over the other. I realize they might not have understood that, but really, most times at that point in a pregnancy, the mom wants all measures to save her baby. I really tried not to be judgemental but I couldn't stop myself from saying "so I see you've really bonded with this baby." To that, they both just shrugged their shoulders and continued on and it just really wasn't a big deal to them. I had hoped that after they saw the baby, they would bond more, but not the case. They saw her briefly, dad declined going back to the nursery with the baby (dad usually accompanies baby and the ped and nursery RN back to the nursery while they finish up surgery) and they really weren't interested in seeing the baby in recovery or even the first few hours after she was out of recovery. And it wasn't because she was in pain, or not doing well. She had a pain rating of zero. And conversation in the room wasn't about the baby. They rarely mentioned her. I sent through a consult to social services because it just wasn't normal. I just can't help but thing that here is a couple who had a child that they don't really seem interested in and there are many couples out there who would do anything for a child. It just doesn't seem fair. Thankfully, most parents are over the moon over their children. But, those images of this couple are overshadowed at the sight of the other dad, donned in full scrub attire, walking into the labor room. It was too bad they didn't have a video camera rolling!