July 7, 2009

Feeling a bit low

Sometimes its really disheartening working in labor and delivery. I know that most people think "oh, it must be so nice to sit and rock babies all night" but ask any labor nurse and she/he will tell you there is little sitting and rocking babies. If only. Don't get me wrong, it is awesome to see a mother bring her baby into the world. There's nothing else like witnessing a birth of a baby and the birth of a mother. Lately, though, it seems like there have been so many women having babies that, really, probably shouldn't be. Or family situations that really suck. This last month it has been an oddity to see a mom and dad, who are together and excited about their coming baby. Instead, its been filled with a drunk moms who couldn't keep peeing from her pants (and yes, it was urine not amniotic fluid), moms who dabble in cocaine and pot, but "I don't smoke cigarettes", parents whose other 8 children have been taken away by DCFS, abused mothers, dads who commit suicide or who die from an overdose on drugs, homeless single mothers, some who fled an even worse situation who see living at the shelter a huge improvement, moms who come in seeking drugs, etc. Seriously, it's been like this. It's heartwrenching to see these people in such horrible situations and know that they are bringing an innocent child into the mess that is their life, and that there is little, if anything, that I can do about it or help them. Yeah, I'm supposed to keep a certain professional emotional distance from patients, but damn, it's hard when you see that the best meals the mom has had in months is the hospital food and that this sweet, innocent little baby may have a very hard life. I wish there was a magic wand we could utilize in these situations and just wish away the hardship for these families.

9 comments:

Jennifer (Niffer) said...

I hear you! Where I work we all kind of go "Wow!" if we have a planned pregnancy/a married couple/insurance/ and no drug history! so sad! Don't get too down, next month will be better... you KNOW it never stays the same!

Mrs. Spit said...

I'm sorry. That must be very hard to deal with and know that you can do so little.

Taking Heart said...

I am right there with you.

pinky said...

I know this might sound naive. But I have to think that these folks can change. That miracles do happen and that people do get clean and sober. Not all the time but some do. I also have to think there is a God watching over these children. I have to think this way. Because, I am, like yourself a L&D nurse. We don't get to choose who we take care of.

I have had folks in my own family stop drinking and taking drugs. They became better people. They became happier people. And their lives got better. If they did it, so can other people. Some of the folks in my family have been clean and sober for over 20 years. Many of them say they did it cause they didn't want to hurt their children and they couldn't be a good Mother when they drank or used drugs.

So maybe the pregnancy will change many of these women's minds. Maybe not on your shift but at some point, they may decide that clean and sober might be a better way.

Maybe if you think of these folks as sick misguided unfortunate individuals, that would help you not feel so helpless about the situation. Sick misguided unfortunate folks can change. Really.

Joy said...

When I've mentioned maybe going into the L&D field in some form (doula, midwife, nurse) everyone thinks it'd be all rainbows and sunshine.

But they don't realize that sometimes babies die or even mothers die and of course the whole slew of issues you just mentioned.

I'm sorry you're feeling discouraged!

Alethea said...

Oh but you are doing something. You are doing something potentially bigger than anyone may have ever done for these women. You are there for them. You are there and you listen and you attend to their needs and you feel compassion for them. Please do not ever than that what you do is nothing. It is somthing beautiful, and it might just be everthing. Remember to stay present, to do what you can, and to trust that what you gave today is exactly what was needed. Honor yourself and what you give. If you do you honor the compassion in all of us who work so passionately to enhance the lives of moms and babies in our communities. I sprinkle some uplifting labor fairy dust your way. The world needs women like you, like me, like so many other LD nurses who truely care about what we do.

Surrounded By Boys said...

I had never thought of this until my dr who delivered my first two sons told me about this "dark side" of L&D and how I (married, stable) was a rarity. My midwife who home-delivered my last son, however, told me that almost without exception she only dealt with clients who were like me. I guess that makes sense, since anyone who can pay for a home delivery is probably much more affluent and very into the health of the baby.

Pam, mom, honey, said...

we had a preemie and one of the worse things in the NICU was the drug babies, there stupid parents would come in and do things like lay them upside down in the bed. then the moms would cry and make excuses. and all i could think was, these people are taking there kids home in the next few days and my baby will be here forever and all i did wrong was drink caffinated drinks. i so understand your thoughts.

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