Recently I worked as a mother-baby nurse for the first time in months. Leaving work, I limped to my car. My feet felt like they were going to fall off, my back hurt, and my right knee was throbbing. I threw my head back in despair and groaned when I remembered that my husband had texted me earlier to remind me to pick up diapers on my way home. For a moment, I seriously contemplated wrapping my baby’s bare bottom in an old shirt as a makeshift cloth diaper. Reality soon set in. We needed diapers. As I was checking out at the grocery store, the young cashier noticed my scrubs and asked me what kind of nurse I was. I told her that I worked with moms and babies. She smiled from ear-to-ear, telling me how she was thinking about applying to nursing school, and how she’d love my job. Moments of my day flashed through my mind.
I had taken care of three mom’s that day, which translated to assessing three perineums, enquiring about hemorrhoids on three different bottoms, and looking at three sets of nipples. I had spent at least four of my twelve hours helping mom’s breastfeed, kneeled on the hard floor next to the rocking chairs they were positioned in. I repeated the same words of encouragement and tried to ease the same fears and concerns. Like a detective, I managed to find extra pillows for every single one of my patients. I answered at least two hundred questions from everything about newborn rashes to molding (their head will go back to normal!) to how to swaddle a baby. I filled water pitchers, passed out socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and four different kinds of juice, all before 8 in the morning.
One of my patient’s had a severe mood disorder and literally pressed her call button fifty times so that she could “just ask me one question.” One mom was a teen, and the only support she had was her boyfriend, who looked even younger than she did…but he never left her side and helped her with everything ❤ One mom had so many family members, it was hard finding a good time to pry the baby away from their eager arms so that I could do my head-to-toe assessment, while one of these mom’s sat alone in her room for the entire twelve hours.
I gave out Motrin and Vicodin like they were tic-tacs, constantly asking patient’s to rate their pain on a numeric pain scale and then having to reevaluate their pain within the hour, while trying to provide comfort measures to also help decrease any stress, anxiety, or pain.
Instead of laughing at the cashier in front of me, I smiled and thought about the mom’s that I had supported while they initiated breastfeeding. I thought of the words that I had told my teen couple when I discharged them…be good to each other and be good to this sweet baby. I thought about sitting in the rocking chair next to my mood-disorder mom after tending to every other patient’s needs when I knew I’d have ten minutes to spare. I thought about my patient’s family wanting me to be in the picture they were taking of their baby, and that kind of made my heart hurt, I thought it was so sweet.
I smiled at the cashier. Yes, you should definitely go to nursing school. Working with mom’s and babies is the best thing ever. Every day I go to work, I watch women become mothers. I get to see these babies all start off—as babies…sweet, innocent, and all with the possibility to do and become anything.
I limped out of the grocery store and back to my car, headed home thinking about every single reason I love my job.
As I pulled into my driveway and I realized I forgot to chart the discharge instructions I had given 🙂
p.s. my feet still hurt
Until my next delivery ❤