In many cases, birth wouldn't be possible without L&D nurses, and this post serves as a much-needed reminder of that fact.
"I am just a nurse. A Labor and Delivery nurse," the post begins. But then it goes on to explain why these often-neglected key players in birth are anything but "just" nurses.
"I am just the nurse who was there during the birth of your child. I am just the nurse who held your hand, looked you in the eye, and made you feel like the strongest woman in the world. I am just the nurse who recognized that you had severe preeclampsia and got an order from your physician for magnesium sulfate to prevent you from seizing."
The post continues, "I am just the nurse who carefully monitored your breathing WITH MY STETHOSCOPE because I know the possible complications. I am just the nurse who vigilantly monitored your baby's heartbeat and recognized that he was in distress. I am also just the nurse who had you on the OR table by the time your doctor was in the parking lot to deliver a healthy baby."
The post cites more examples of how labor and delivery nurses are there every step of the way, through all different kinds of births. Because, as anyone who has ever given birth knows, your baby's arrival doesn't always go as planned. But in any case, you can always use all the support you can get.
I remember relying on my L&D nurses tremendously during my three deliveries. Their eyes told me what I was feeling was normal, and that I'd be okay, no matter how painful it got, or how out of control things seemed. Their words of encouragement made me believe I could do this, even if at times I severely doubted myself. And their joy when the big moment came was so genuine, it was as if my baby was the first they'd ever seen come into the world.
Because of my very positive experiences with my nurses, one of my favorite lines from this eye-opening tribute is: "I am just the nurse who maintained your dignity and made you feel comfortable when you were at your most vulnerable."
The post also reveals the personal toll a job as an L&D nurse takes, pointing out that these selfless people take extra time away from their own families to help you safely welcome yours, and they often go without food or drink so they can act as sources of unwavering support for laboring mamas.
Another deeply poignant part of the post addresses a nurse's role when a birth ends in tragedy. "I am just the nurse who held your hand and told you, 'She is beautiful. I am so so sorry for your loss.' My heart ached for you. I wanted to hold my children and never let them go that night... but they were already sleeping because I stayed late to be with you."
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But through it all, the poster says, "I love every minute." The final line is: "I am JUST a Labor and Delivery nurse." But, again, it's clear that these amazing people aren't "just" anything. Here's hoping this post inspires families to recognize nurses more often; I know I sure needed this important reminder of how vital a role they play in birth!
What was your experience with your L&D nurse?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.