Many moms-to-be enter the hospital in labor with some anxiety and fear as to what is ahead, and that is characteristically the norm.
You see, there are so many unknowns. That, my friend, is the case for all of us. Completely unexceptional, and entirely understandable.
No doubt, you have apprehension about the length of your delivery, whether or not you'll want--or need--an epidural, and will breastfeeding come naturally?
If you have any questions or concerns, by all means ask your labor and delivery nurse when you enter the hospital for the big event. Your L&D nurse is the one who cares for you throughout your delivery and postpartum period. She’ll also help you with your newborn and ease you into your first hours as a new mom.
She is an indispensable part of your total birthing experience, getting to know you and yes, embarrassingly enough, parts of your body that you normally keep pretty private. No need to be modest, here. Cherish the moment and remember this: it's her job, one she loves and does every day.
But what if your labor and delivery comes part and parcel with a nurse that just doesn’t click with you? Sometimes we meet people that just rub us the wrong way, and we really do get that. This is one of the pinnacle events of your life, and you want it to be the greatest it can be.
Let’s take a look at some ways that may feel that your L&D nurse may be the wrong one for you, and how to deal with it
7 The Nurse Sends You Back Home After Triage
Okay, so you’ve entered the hospital in what you thought was full labor. But the triage nurse wants to send you back home. Sure enough, you are 3 cm dilated and the contractions were 3 minutes apart when you arrived at the hospital.
But after an examination, the whole process has slowed down and for that matter, has almost come to a halt. The head nurse wants to you to go back to your condo and put your feet up for a bit longer. Notice I didn’t say that you have going home in mind, also? Try to keep positive and understand that the nurse sees lots and lots of pregnant women in the same situation.
Your L&D nurse is not getting the full picture of what you are experiencing? She just doesn’t grasp the scenario - you are here now and want to get the ball rolling.
How to deal:
●Don’t be embarrassed. That’s why the nurses are there, to help you figure out the whole mystery of childbirth.
●Try not to be angry - the nurse doesn't want you in the hospital, walking around trying to revamp a labor that has stalled. She feels it’s a more valuable decision for you to go home and try to rest in preparation for the real thing.
●Better to go to the hospital with a false alarm than not make it in time.
●Remember that the nurse makes the decision based on the individual and their medical history. Yes, your friend may have been told to stay when she entered in similar circumstances, but each and every delivery is different, and varies greatly from person to person.
●The nurse does indeed understand how emotionally confusing this can be.
6 The Nurse is Taking Too Long at Admissions
You are in full labor and are being admitted for the birth. The long awaited day is here!
Once you have been admitted, the L&D nurse assigned to you will ask a number of questions and perform some routine tests in preparation for the delivery.
Taking things minute by minute is a brilliant approach according to the nurse, but for you maybe not so much. For certain your caregiver sees no rush to all of this, but we definitely understand that you are quite possibly feeling much different. Try to be reasonable with the birth attendant and keep as calm as you can while you answer the barrage of questions and undergo a myriad of tests.
Your chart has to be set up after all, and for a fact, did you know that once your records are in place, your nurse has to chart your progress at minimum every 30 minutes during the shift?
How to deal:
●You will be asked to give a urine sample. That’s not so bad; at this point your bladder is facing a lot of pressure from the baby.
●Your blood pressure and pulse will be taken also.
●Your nurse will ask when you last ate, and inquire if you are managing your pain.
●When your nurse takes you to your room for orientation, be sure to ask where extra blankets and washcloths are kept.
●Chat your nurse up a little bit. Ask her if she has children - many nurses have kids of their own and are happy to impart a little advice about their experiences. Not to mention the fact that making things a little more personal will help you to see the nurse as more than just a person who pokes and prods you when you least feel like it.
●You may be fed up with all of the pre-admission tests and talking right now, but when the going gets tough, your nurse will be your support and communication line.
5 The Nurse Doesn't Understand Your Pain
Every so often, a nurse may come along who appears to not understand the level of pain you are experiencing. You may wonder why your nurse isn’t ordering the epidural that you are asking for right now.
You see, there is something else that comes into play other than just asking. Your body has to be at a certain point in the labor process in order to start the medication.
We assure you, your L&D nurse isn’t ignoring your request, or putting it off until she gets around to it. Your nurse will be checking your progression in labor and monitoring the baby, to ensure that any pain medication that will be given to you is administered at the correct time.
How to deal:
●Request another form of medication which can perhaps be given through your IV, to take the edge of until you can have an epidural.
●An epidural can only be started when you are at least 4 to 5 cm dilated, no matter how much pain you are feeling, because there is a chance the labor can slow down if given too early.
●An epidural normally takes approximately 15 minutes from insertion and starting the medication until you have relief from the pain.
●Bear in mind that your nurse wants you to be as comfortable as possible and will call for the anesthesiologist when the time is right.
Your nurses care, and hope that you will have a positive experience.
4 What About My Birth Plan
Nurses work crazy hours and can be under constant stress. They are responsible for making many important decisions throughout the duration of your labor and delivery.
However, if you have prepared a birth plan and it does not seem that the nurse is following it, you have a right to ask questions and inquire as to what is happening. Doing so doesn’t mean that you are being unreasonable. For one thing, birth is awesome and it is your magical day - but for the nurse, it is her job day after day.
Even so, nurses love to see the miracle of birth - that is why they are in the field. Still, in the crazy, chaotic world of the delivery room your birth plan can be put on the back burner.
How to deal:
● Make sure your birth plan is no more than one page long. Nurses can follow it more easily if there is not too much information to wade through.
●Have your partner speak to the nurse about the birth plan if you are unable.
●The labor ward is a busy place to work. Nurses cover charts, patient care, postpartum assistance, admissions and discharges along with helping you deliver - don’t worry about reminding the L&D nurse about your plans for how you would like your delivery to flow.
●Sometimes the nurse has to deviate from your birth plan. Follow their instructions for your safety and the safety of your baby.
●Every so often, if possible thank you nurse for her help. She will appreciate it and remember that as she cares for you over her shift.
3 Why Isn’t My Nurse Calling My Doctor
You feel as though delivery is imminent. After repeated inquiries as to where your OB is, your nurse replies that she still has not contacted the doctor. Does it upset you that despite your yelling and complaining, the nurse does not seem fazed a bit? You still cannot convince her to make the call?
Nurses make important decisions when it comes to your labor. We’re going to tell you the truth: you will spend way more time with your nurse throughout the labor process than you will your doctor. To be truthful, it may be that your L&D nurse will take a lot of flak from the obstetrician for calling before it is time.
Your nurse is not making you wait to see the doctor because she wants to see you become unglued, in actuality your nurse quite possibly has limits as to calling the OB. Often, the doctor arrives when the baby is only minutes away from arriving.
How to deal:
●Your nurse is super skilled in coaching mothers. Timing contractions, helping with epidurals and aiding in inducing labor are just a few of her skills.
●Nurses often handle what the doctors don’t want to deal with.
●L&D nurses are skilled and trained in keeping an emotional balance when the going gets rough.
●Your caregiver is resourceful and can deal with the unexpected.
●She is a critical thinker and a skilled communicator. Don’t fret - your nurse will call the doctor when the time is right.
2 Understand the Daily Pressures on Your Nurse
Nurses are highly skilled professionals who have trained for one of the toughest jobs ever. They have patience, perseverance and dedication to the highest degree.
Still, nurses work the trenches - it is not easy to work shift work and have such a disruptive sleep schedule. Emotional stability is key to their job, no matter what their home situation is, or whether their own baby kept them up all night the day before a 12 hour shift.
We totally get that this day is all about you and the arrival of your baby. But try and look at the human side of your nurse.
What qualities are required in a great labor and delivery nurse?
●physical strength and endurance
●emotional strength to deal with all types of outcomes
●ability to take verbal attacks from women in pain
●capable of making snap decisions and acting with quick response
●qualified to be able to juggle many patient loads
●ability to maintain respect at all times
●have flexibility when situations change
●know how to project great interpersonal skills
Nurses memorize and administer medications, teach breastfeeding skills and ensure you know all about umbilical cord care. In brief, they are a very important part of your birthing day.
1 What Your Labor and Delivery Nurse Wants You to Know
Even though you may feel that the nurse assigned to you for the next 8 to 12 hours is the person you would not have chosen, in reality the nurse cares and hopes you have a positive delivery experience.
Here are a few pointers for ensuring the delivery you hope for (as close as possible, not forgetting the fact that the situation can easily change):
●Nurses want you to voice your concerns at all times and ask questions as needed.
●Please do not bring your older children to the labor room.
●Don’t demand that your nurse take away all of the pain.
●Do not demand an epidural the second you arrive at the hospital.
●Remember that your birth plan may not go as you had hoped.
●Point out a few key issues in your birth plan; maybe it won’t all happen. When things get hectic, please do not get angry if plans change.
●Remember that your nurse is your advocate. For example, if uninvited relatives show up to the delivery room, she will happily tell them to leave.
●Nurses do not take care of husbands during the labor and delivery, only you!
Your labor and delivery nurse is your right hand man on delivery day. You may see two or three nurses at your bedside, depending how long the labor stages are you for you. If you are not happy with your nurse, chances are the shift will change and another will take her place. If you really aren’t feeling the groove with your present nurse, you may ask for a change and if at all possible, you will be accommodated. It’s your miracle day - enjoy and cherish.