AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: August 29, 2012 | COMMENTS: 14 Comments
CATEGORIES: Melanie’s Healthy Mama,
What’s your favorite story to tell?
For most mom’s, hands down, it’s the story of their delivery day. In fact it’s inevitable that if a flock of mothers is grouped together for any given length of time the conversation will eventually turn to delivery day! It’s quite obvious why the births of our children is a favorite go-to topic during coffee clatches and book clubs–after all, who doesn’t love reliving a miracle?
Among the staple key elements in the plots of our birth stories are a few common characters–a husband or partner, a doctor, and the lifeline for so many of us–a nurse. I cannot state more emphatically what an integral part our labor and delivery nurses have played in the births of our children. In fact we wrote about the compassion and empathy that flooded Logan’s delivery from a small team of angels that made our time with him, albeit brief, so special.
I’ll never forget before delivering Drew a wise woman telling me, “Love your nurse! She’s going to be your lifesaver.” I had no idea what she meant, but soon learned when I found myself feet in the stirrups with an epidural that wasn’t working. Not only did my L&D nurse keep me from ripping Sean’s face off, but she even took great pics when all was said and done!
When Ryan and MK were born, under less than ideal circumstances, our nurses kept us calm, explaining everything the NICU teams were doing.
And when the twins were born, our nurses knew our story and rejoiced in our happy ending. There wasn’t a dry eye in the delivery room that day.
There’s no surprise as to why this group of professionals are known to so many as angels on Earth.
But can you imagine the stories they have to tell?
My friend Melanie’s been an L&D nurse for many, many years. She’s cracked me up with her stories of regrettable tatoos, far too many potential fathers in a delivery room, and over the top hysterics of family members during a birth. I swear she missed her calling as a SNL actress, but thank God she’s in the profession she is. I’m sure there’s nobody more grateful than the expectant moms who’ve become her patients.
It’s my pleasure to bring you her “Insider Tips” for a more enjoyable labor and delivery experience. They’re a little cheeky, but that’s her. How else is she supposed to cope with all the crazy stuff she sees?
Insider Tips from a Labor and Delivery Nurse
Tip #1 – I’ll Be Your Bouncer…Just Say The Word
Sometimes deliveries can turn into all out parties. Most doctors are tolerant of as many people present as you (expectant mom) want, but if ever there is someone in attendance that you don’t want in the room, just say the word! Give me a whisper, and I’ll make an excuse to get the guest-turned-crasher out! I have no problem being the “bad guy” for you! (And this includes eager residents and medical students that have asked you for permission to observe!)
Tip #2 – Think Before You Ink
Tatoos are a trendy way to express yourself–I get that! What I wish is that tatoo artists would warn their female clients that tatoos stretch oddly, sometimes losing their appeal during pregnancy! For instance, that sweet little sun that you wrapped around your navel will look more like a solar explosion when you are measuring nine months. And word to the wise..,those rays of sunshine aren’t likely to go back to their original placement after delivery, so think about the placement of your ink! You’ll be grateful that you did!
Tip #3 – Leave the Nursery At Home
We are equipped to dress, diaper, bathe, swaddle and all out generally care for your baby during your hospital stay. So, give yourself a break by leaving your personal baby care items at home. Use our stuff! There’s truly no need to bring diapers, ten changes of baby clothes, an infant swing, bottles, etc to our unit! Two outfits (one for a picture and one to go home in), and a carseat is truly all you need! Trust me…you’ll be lugging all that stuff around with you soon enough!
Tip #4 Leave the Good PJ’s at Home
Post partum is an exciting but messy time for a new mom! I understand that a pretty robe may be the pick-me-up you need after delivery, but leave the rest of the ensemble at home in favor of our hospital nighties or some cheap pj’s that you won’t mind tossing after your stay!
Tip #5 Eat before You Arrive
Labor can last a long time so you may want to consider a light snack before arriving at the hospital! Why? Well ninety-nine percent of the time your ob/gyn will put you on a NPO (nothing per oral)once admitted, which means nothing goes into your mouth until your baby comes out! The NPO is issued just in case you end up needing anesthesia during delivery! So eat something before we tell you, you can’t! You’ll be happy you did!
Tip #6 Expectant Fathers…Never Eat in Front of A Laboring Mom
Along the same lines as tip #5, nothing can irritate an already uncomfortable laboring mother more than the sound of you chewing or slurping down a meal–especially when she’s hungry (and doing all of the work)! If you need to grab a bite, scarf it down quickly in the cafeteria or in the hall way. And if you do leave labor and delivery for a meal–make it a quickie and leave your phone on! You never know when your presence may be needed!
Tip #7 Dads, Put Your Big Boy Pants On!
Labor and delivery is a challenging feat for a mom! It’s also painful which can often cause a women to say things she doesn’t really mean! So consider yourself forewarned. You may need to disregard a few utterances that are mumbled/screamed during the intensity of labor!
Tip #8 If You Are Bringing Siblings into The Delivery Room…
We understand that some patients may desire to bring older siblings to experience the birth of their brother or sister. As nurses, we fully support your decision! That being said, we implore you to prepare your child(ren) about what they’ll be seeing and hearing during a delivery so they aren’t scared. Talk about what to expect, read a book, or watch an age appropriate movie so your child will understand what is happening. And, understand, that as much as we fully support your decision to have an older child present, nurses cannot babysit said child. Our focus has to be on you and your baby, so make sure you have other adults to help in case your older child needs attention.
Tip # 9 Never Feel Like You Have to Apologize
Know that us nurses have seen it all! There’s nothing you can do, say that will offend us and there’s no bodily function that will take us off guard! Never feel like you have to apologize! This is our job and we signed on for it! So relax and don’t worry!
Tip #10 A Word About Baby Names
We understand that many, many people like unique names and creativity is what makes our world such a colorful place. That being said, be aware that if you go WAY outside the box when it comes to a name, it’s likely that you’ll become part of labor and delivery folklore that will be passed down for many years to come! So to all the parents who’ve used names like Moxy Crimefighter, Apple, and Shepherd–consider yourself forewarned!
A Baby Inspired Give Away
In honor of Melanie’s wonderful labor and delivery tips, Mama on The Fly is thrilled to be giving away a $30 gift card to Babies-R-Us! All you need to do to qualify is to leave a comment describing your favorite labor and delivery nurse moment/memory! Melanie will pick from the comments and the winner will be announced in next Wednesday’s (September 5th) post!