Not Just a STAT Section

I had been a new graduate nurse for about two weeks when I experienced my first STAT section.  Even though I was not working triage that day, I knew to follow every other labor nurse as they ran towards the room. As I made my way in, I saw a mother lying there, soaking in a pool of dark red blood.  Her husband stood wide-eyed in a corner. Feeling temporarily frightened and frozen, I stood back, watching the other nurses.  They all instinctively knew what to do and who was doing it, it looked like they were all performing some sort of silent dance.  I then did the only thing I knew I could do…I grabbed a pen from my pocket and started writing on my hand: FHTs 30’s @… O2 @… IV in @….  As she was rushed to the OR I remember thinking, who called the doctor? Who called the anesthesiologist? But someone had called them and they were there by the time the patient entered the OR.

As the baby was pulled from her mother’s abdomen, I watched the nursery nurses spring into action. The baby was pale and limp, like a rag doll.  The baby made no effort to make a sound, but I could hear my own heart rate pulsating in my ears. I watched the nurses do chest compressions, again in sync with one another.  The mother was under general anesthesia, and in that moment I was so glad she was not awake to know that her baby had no cry, and that the only sound that could be heard was of the nurse saying “one and two and three and breathe” in the most calm and determined voice I had ever heard.

I walked out of the OR and the patient’s husband was pacing outside of the OR door. His eyes pleaded with me to tell him that everything was alright, that his wife was okay and that his baby was still alive. I told him the only thing I knew (or thought I knew) I was allowed to tell him: Your baby was just born and they will be taking her back to the NICU straight away.  Your wife is not awake yet.  You have the best people taking care of your family and the doctor will be out very soon to talk to you. But in my head I was screaming.  I wanted to grab him and shake him and say: oh-my-God. I’m praying that your baby is okay.  When she was born she was as white as that wall and she looked like a doll and I don’t know if she’s even alive.  Instead, I hugged him, and he began to cry into my shoulder.

For the rest of my shift, I could not stop thinking about the people who touched that patient and her baby that day.  Things would have been so much different if everyone did not know what they were doing, if the patient had not come to the hospital.  I watched nurses work on a limp and lifeless baby until a cry was finally compelled from her motionless body.  Before going home, I went to a bathroom and threw up.  I left dying to tell someone what I had seen, the miracle that I had witnessed, and every single event that had occurred. But my husband did not understand.  He listened to me and then tousled my hair and said “I’m sorry you had a bad day.” And all I could think of was what do you mean, a bad day?!?

When I said “dark red blood” every nurse reading this thought “abruption!”  And it was.  As the months went by, I would later realize that the unit secretary was the one who was calling the physician and the anesthesiologist (and lab, and blood bank, and…).  At the time, I didn’t think to ask who was watching all of the other labor patients while every labor nurse was dancing in triage.  Later, I would realize that the “ex” labor nurses who were now working postpartum were the ones watching the strips.  The OR techs only had to hear the word “STAT” and they had the OR opened in seconds.Every person on that unit knew what had to be done and everyone was focused on saving mom and baby.

Sometimes the outcomes aren’t as good as this one was.  It doesn’t matter what kind of STAT case we are presented with, we know what we have to do and we do it.  Every single person from the unit secretary to the nurse to the physician is working together to produce the very best outcome.  So the next time you are at work, look at the people around you and value what they can do for you and your patient, and value what you can do together.  Because when we work together during that silent dance, we do absolutely amazing things.

And for any woman out there who has been the mother in a similar scenario, know that our only goal as a nurse is a healthy mom and baby.  Everything we do, we do for you and for the baby that you carry.  If you were the mother who had to leave her baby in the NICU or the mother who did not get to bring her baby home, know that it is never just a STAT section for us.  Our voices may sound calm and determined, but inside, our hearts are beating in our ears and we are all praying for miracles.

 

Until my next delivery ❤

 

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Categories: Random

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84 replies

  1. Love this!! I’m not a nurse, or any sort of medical professional, but I work in the labor room as a Spanish interpreter. Labor room nurses are amazing, and I’m so proud to work with them!!

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  2. This literally made my breathe catch in my throat and my heart race to read. Beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am currently toward the end of my orientation in L+D and this week I’m spending every day in the OR to learn how to circulate Cesearean births. I’m really nervous about it. This post had my heart in my throat, but also made me more ready to take on the responsibility of this knowledge. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, wow, wow. That woman was me (well, not literally, but very figuratively). I am a mother who was in L&D, bleeding from an abruption. I was the mother who was hooked up to the monitor, and due to something I did not hear or see myself, all the nurses took one look at the strips and came rushing in – me on my side, oxygen on, all my belongings piled into bags. They literally ran my gurney down the hall to the OR, and the baby was out within 10 minutes. It was an orchestrated miracle. My baby was not one of the lucky ones – he was only 24 weeks and passed away the in NICU a month later – but those nurses saved us both that day. They gave me a month with my son. The coordination of all those people working together was something I’ll never forget, and will always appreciate – along with Irene, my nurse on L&D whose shift was over but who stayed with me in the OR, holding my hand, as anesthesiologists asked me questions and I signed consent forms. She was the last face I saw as I went under, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated her being the one face I knew in the terror of that room!

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  5. I held my breath reading this as this was me almost 5 years ago. I woke up at home in the middle of the night to what I thought was my water braking only to have my husband tell me I was bleeding everywhere. I was naïve and clueless at that time about the risk my children were in. I suppose that’s what got me through that moment because if I knew I don’t know that I could’ve been that calm. I remember rushing to the emergency room with no pants on because I didn’t see the point. Even the maintenance person asking me if I knew her labor and delivery was. My OB happened to be the one on call that night. I was pregnant with twins and after a quick ultrasound was rushed to the OR. I was blessed to have such a wonderful nurse that not only let me cry but literally wipe my running nose on her scrubs. As I was apologizing she was providing comfort and support that I now realize how much it made a difference for me to stay calm. I couldn’t have asked for a better team of people watching over me and my baby girls.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As the mom who completely abrupted and had to bury her baby and also partially abrupted and has her baby in her arms, this is hard to read for me as all those memories rush back. I am really thankful for the orchestration of the hospital staff in an emergency.

    Liked by 1 person

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