Y’know, it seems to me that when I’m running around my labor and delivery (L&D) unit so busy that I can’t remember where I’m going, that’s when I want to write so badly, I can barely contain myself. But on nights like this–those unusual nights where I have a brief reprieve from the chaos that is my work–I barely have two words to rub together.
I’m not a new nurse–not at all, honestly. I’ve done all kinds of nursing, but none like this before. My last few months were spent on orientation, trying to learn the ropes in this highly specialized field. And what an intense few months it has been.
Don’t get me wrong–I know how fortunate I am. Many nurses would kill for my job. But L&D nursing, as rewarding as it can be, has its ups and downs just like any other specialty in my highly diversified profession. Contrary to popular belief, my job entails much, much more than cuddling babies and holding the hands of laboring women.
Labor is a natural process, there’s no questioning that. Mammals of all kinds have experienced labor in the process of safely delivering offspring into the world from time immemorial. But just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s without its dangers, and especially in the case of labor, history–if nothing else–will testify to that.
As an L&D nurse, I exist in this strange middle ground. I’m a mediator who makes every attempt to steer the natural course of events down that narrow road that’s flanked on either side by inaction, intervention, and all the associated the pitfalls therein. I still have much to learn, and I follow in the footsteps of my preceptors and coworkers, the great men and women who have taught and are continuing to teach me the tricks of their trade.
So whether you’re a student nurse, a new mother, an expectant father, an OBGYN, an L&D nurse yourself, or just a curious passer-by, go ahead. Take a read. I’ll see you on the other end of my next post.