The rest of the hospital hates flu season, but for us, summer sizzles in more ways than one.
Maybe it’s the combination of the heat, or maybe it has something to do with the humidity, but every summer any given labor unit seems to be bursting at the seems with women in labor and PIHers.
Sometimes I come to work, and by chance there are six people who normally charge that are working the floor. That’s when I get nervous. God takes care of fools and babies, right? And then I hold my breath and wonder what will walk through the door.
Summer seems to bring out the PIHers. I don’t know about other units out there, but it feels like every other week during the summer someone is eclamptic. I’d been a new graduate nurse for six months before I saw someone seize. She had been brought up (by a unit secretary, I might add) from the emergency room because she “just had a headache.” It was very evident she was pregnant, so the ER wanted her off of their unit as quick as they could wheel her out. (Just like we don’t like people that can’t breathe, they don’t like pregnant women). She stood up and I asked her to get into the triage bed. I knew I had a problem when she asked “where’s the bed?” She seized 30 seconds later. I remember feeling so panicked.
When a pregnant woman seizes, it’s very frightening, no matter how many times you see it. In a labor and delivery unit, your voice only has to sound a certain way for people to come running. I was on an LDRP unit at the time, and when we have an emergent situation like that, everyone comes, whether you work postpartum or you’re a NICU nurse. And then we all move as if we’re all listening to the same silent symphony. Everyone surrounds the bed, ensuring the patient doesn’t fall. Someone will give her meds. It will take more than one person to hold down her arm to get in an IV. Someone will get mag ready. Someone will call her physician. Someone will call anesthesia. Someone will call neo. Any physician that is on the unit at the time will head to the OR and scrub in, just in case her doctor hasn’t arrived by the time we’ve pushed the patient to the OR. Someone will put in a foley. And all of this will happen at once. It will probably be less than five minutes from the time she started seizing to the first cut in the OR. It happens that fast.
And then we all pray that mom and baby are okay. After all, that’s what it’s all about. Hopefully her retinas don’t detach, hopefully she doesn’t stroke out, hopefully there’s minimal brain swelling, and hopefully her baby is okay.
Working with a majority of women—strong, opinionated, and sometimes aggressive women—can be challenging. Everyone on an obstetrical unit usually has a very distinct personality, and there aren’t too many wallflowers. Sometimes we don’t get along, there’s always a lot of talking going on, and everyone has an opinion about everything. But any one of the women I work with would run to a room if someone called out for help. We joke with each other, we’re gross with each other, and I wouldn’t trade a single one I work with. We’re like a family…kind of a dysfunctional one, but still a family. I’m very thankful that I work with such a great group of women, and I’d like to think it’s like that in so many other places across the country.
So here’s to heat, high blood pressure, and the kids being out of school. Pull your scrub pants up ladies and get ready for the surge of labor patients, summer is just around the corner! And I hope that laboring patients are the only thing that walks through your triage door. This summer I pray everyone is surrounded with exceptional nurses who would run to your room or towards your voice if laboring patients aren’t the only thing the summer months brings you. Love the people you work with, because teamwork and working well with others is what it’s all about. ❤
Oh, and the next time you’re at work, look around and see how many people can charge 🙂
Until my next delivery ❤
I thought these webinars were so good. Ask your manager about purchasing one of these (remember, they have a budge for this sort of thing!). If they say no, think about purchasing it anyway. Especially if you’re a new OB nurse.