I worked this past weekend. Three nights in a row - don't feel too bad for me, they were only 4 1/2 hour shifts. The first two nights I was actually blessed to be the primary nurse for birthing women. For those of you who don't know me well, this is what I do in my professional life. I am an OB RN. Have been for almost 21 years. For the first 10 years I worked 9 of them in a major hospital. I learned so much there. I also had the opportunity to begin working with expecting couples teaching classes on the birthing process. That developed into a fabulous job where I worked for a Doc who built and opened a free standing birthing center and basically had my own business. Best Beginnings. It was glorious.
When Lynn was recruited to move to Whatcom County and be the county CEO for the Boy's and Girl's Clubs it was a great opportunity for him, and I figured since we had been married over 25 years I probably should go with him. But it was back to an in hospital birthing environment. So I decided to just work very part time....keep my hand in. It has been a stressful 10 years. Technology continues to be the order of the day. Women are no longer encouraged, educated or expected to give birth without a multitude of medical intervention. Nurses are taught to monitor and maintain equipment, rather than working with women.
Many, many, many days I have wanted to just say "thanks, but no thanks" to the hospital. But then I have an experience like I did this weekend.
My assignment was for a wonderful couple, having their first baby. It had been a very long exhausting day already for them. Even though she had an epidural in place, it never gave her relief from the incredible pressure she felt. When I entered the room, introduced myself, and actually placed my hands on her as I coached her through a contraction everything just felt right with the world. She and her husband were willing to try some different positions and comfort techniques and we made good progress. Soon we were working on pushing this baby out. She was amazing. Strong, dedicated, powerful. And sure enough she soon had her precious baby boy in her arms. Lots of tears. After 20 years I still cry, mostly when the Dad's cry. It's always a miracle. It's always a blessing. It's a belief in a future that can still happen.
The family was wonderfully thankful for my input and involvement. It's so nice to be appreciated. The next night, when I came back to work again with another patient, they sought me out, offered me a slice of birthday cake and again told me how much they appreciated all I did. I told them it was all the Mom.....she was a warrior and I was so proud of her. I told them they are the reason I still come to work, once in a while! She will always remember her first birthing experience as being very positive and powerful.
If only every night I worked could be so rewarding. I love what I do. I'm very good at what I do. But I get so darned frustrated working in an environment that focus's all the attention on the medical, technical, legal possibilities rather than the life changing, positive, personal experience childbirth truly is.