40 Ways to Know You Are a Labor and Delivery Nurse

40 ways to know you are a labor and delivery nurse

I loved being a labor and delivery nurse. It is a high stress job and you have to be able to make split second decisions, but the rush is amazing and the beauty of it is amazing.

1. You have answered a “can sex hurt the baby” phone call.

2. You can look at a patient and almost always tell if they are really in labor or not.

3. Looking at said patient you know her cervix is either closed, thick and high, or she is fully dilated and ready to deliver.

4. It is common practice to see private areas within minutes of meeting.

5. You have ever told a patient “it’s ok, your baby just needs a little extra oxygen” in a calm voice to keep her breathing nice and slow, while simultaneously willing the heartbeat to rise.

6. You have ever turned a patient, turned up IV fluids, turned off pitocin, given oxygen, call for extra hands, called the doc and got the tech to prep the c-section room, all while talking calmly listening to the beep………beep………beep…….of the fetal heart rate monitor.

7. When a patient comes in and says “don’t offer me an epidural, I want a natural birth” you prepare to stand up to the doctor when he orders pitocin so she can have a natural birth if she wants.

8. You have also heard the opposite “I am here to be induced and I want my epidural now.”

9. You have worked on valentine’s day and your first question to any patient presenting with contractions (or thinks their water is broke) is “did you have sex?”

10. You instantly prep the OR when a patient comes in with a birth plan, not because of the patient, but because there is this weird thing that happens when the OR is prepped and everyone seems to delivery vaginally. (Maybe AWHONN should do a study and make hospitals just keep an OR prepped at all times?)

11. You see, almost on a daily basis, a patient with multiple piercing and tattoos, who states, “I hate needles”

12. At least half of your patients test positive for some drug, and they adamantly deny it, even after the baby tests positive.

13. On a daily basis you are asked “if you put in a catheter, how does the baby come out?” Then you have to go into an anatomy lesson.

14. You are constantly asked, with every bag of fluids or medicine you give, “will that hurt the baby?” often from the same mother who tested positive for cocaine or meth, and you want to reply in one of two ways, “not as bad as the drugs you did” or “why yes, it will, I am so glad you brought this to my attention!” But instead you just reply with a smile on your face, “no, it is perfectly safe.”

15. You have ever told a patient “don’t worry about it, it happens all the time” while cleaning up all sorts of bodily fluids.

16. You have worn any of the these bodily fluids.

17. You have ever hyperventilated while trying to help a patient breathe.

18. You have pushed with a patient and actually found yourself trying to push with the patient.

19. If you have a patient that has been having decels, you eat you lunch where you can see the monitor.

20. You know that chances are if you do get to eat lunch, your patient will be ready to deliver as soon as you get it, along with the other 4 patients, and chances are they all belong to the same 2 doctors.

21. You can eat lunch next to a placenta waiting to go to pathology and not think twice about it.

22. In an emergency, you can get a baby delivered in under 12 minutes, and both mom and baby are healthy, and you are ecstatic about it!! ( Yes, I did it! Best time yet!)

23. You have a hate-hate relationship with tangled IV lines and monitor cords, and you know that you can try all you want to untangle them, but they will be tangled again in 5 minutes.

24. You have ever said “you are having more pain, that is great” and “you have a great bloody show”.

25. Charting is the worst part of your job.

26. You know how to ask a patient about domestic violence when she is alone because you know that the most put together and unexpected people can have the biggest secrets.

27. “Is she all the way over on her side, I mean ALL the way over?” is the solution to almost any problem.

28. Going to the nursery to “get the box” or “get the camera” is never a good thing.

29. You get a call that a patient is coming in by squad and you know she will either deliver before she gets to you, or most likely be sent home in a couple of hours (not always, but sadly, more often than not).

30. When the doctor arrives to evaluate the patient you tell him what orders you have written, what you have done, what you think, and what further orders you want, and he says “sounds good, go ahead.”

31. Everyone has a list of tips and tricks to get a laboring woman to complete and into position to push the baby out, and if you have exhausted all your efforts, you are not afraid to ask your peers for advice.

32. You know when a nurse yells from another room, you go running.

33. When you arrive at said nurses room you can tell almost instantly what is going on and what needs to be done. If a stat c-section is called, every nurse knows their job, who to call, and what to do without talking.

34. When a nurse asks for the ultrasound machine and there are no heart tones on the monitor yet you bring it in without question, then hang around just hoping for a little blip or movement.

35. You know that you can have a crappy strip and a stat c-section and have apgars of 9/9, but a beautiful strip can just as easily mean a bad baby.

36. You have answered a call and the patient asks “I think I lost my mucus plug, what should I do, and do I need to save it” and you explain that no you do not need to see it and labor could still be weeks away.

37. This same patient comes in just 3 hours later, just to show you the mucus plug.

38. If a patient comes in saying she hasn’t felt the baby move all day your first instinct is to ask if she has had anything to eat or drink all day and instantly get her apple juice and crackers.

39. After working on labor and delivery, you decide to have kids of your own, then decide that was a mistake because you will worry every single day about what is wrong with your baby because you know what all can go wrong. (True story.)

40. Every time you see a baby born it is amazing. You love your job and you love seeing miracles every day!! Every time you see a birth you want to cry with joy with the parents and you know why you endured all the long days and nights of studying to become a nurse!!

I am sure any labor and delivery nurse can relate to this!

If you are a labor and delivery nurse, do you have anything to add? Maybe I will add it to this one day!

Thanks for reading, Cassie

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