Can any other profession say that? I didn’t say we make good mother’s every time. But every day, that’s what we do, we make mothers. Whether her baby lives or whether her baby dies, a family is made on our units, even if that family only consists of a mom and her baby.
This mother’s day, I can’t help but think of all the women I’ve helped to become mothers. Did I make each woman feel special? Did I make her feel confident in her abilities to mother a child? If she delivered a baby that would never take a breath, or if she delivered a baby that would only take a few breaths, did I nurture and validate her feelings of motherhood for that child? I don’t know. I hope so. Some days are better than others. But I hope all of us, not just labor and delivery nurses, but obstetrical nurses in general, remember that what we do is so monumental, not only in that woman’s life, but in the life of her child. I want her to be a good mother. I want her to be the best mother she can be. My job as an obstetrical nurse is to foster that maternal-infant bond. When we do that, and we do it successfully, it means that we support a woman to be gentle, and nurturing, loving, and protective….everything we love about mothers.
Every mother’s day, I think of a patient I once labored. It was her first baby, and her parent’s first grandchild. All day long we laughed and made bets on when the baby would be born. Her fetal monitoring strip was perfect. Nothing could prepare me for her delivery…an undiagnosed teratoma ruptured during the birth of her sweet baby and the best nursery nurses and NICU team in the world could not save her. She died in route to a larger hospital. The next day, my patient asked me to take care of her. I always think of her and her husband every year at this time, because even though she left the hospital without the first child she expected to bring home, she left the hospital a mother. And even though being a postpartum nurse those few days after she delivered were the hardest days I’ve ever worked, I pray to God that I helped in some very small way. We still keep in touch. The experience that she went through with her husband, their parents, and the rest of their family was life-altering. But she came out stronger and I know that now she is a wonderful mother to her new son.
My own mother is a nursery nurse, and I frequently “see” her at deliveries. I always feel more reassured when I see her walk through the door and I realize that she’s my transition nurse. Sometimes I slip and say “mom, what are my Apgars?” The patient’s love it! They always look back and forth at us and say “that’s your mother?!?” And we laugh and nod.
Obstetrical nurses know a secret that most women out there don’t know—the birthing experience is different for every single person, but the birthing process is the same for everyone. We have to remember that for every single woman we care for, we have the ability to affect and completely alter her birthing experience. And if you’re going to make a mother, don’t you want that experience to be a great one? 🙂 To all my obstetrical colleagues out there, Happy Mother’s Day…today, and every day 😉
Until my next delivery ❤