Nurses on my unit had to take care of a patient the other day who was admitted for vaginal bleeding (again). She tested positive for pcp (again). The big difference this time? This time she delivered her 24 week fetus who will likely die.
On the day before, a woman came in to the hospital with a big group for their pre-natal class and tour. During the first half of the tour, she felt a little wetness. She thought her water broke so she came into our triage to be checked out. Within 30 minutes we were delivering her baby via emergency c-section for a placental abruption at 34 weeks gestation. I hadn't seen that much blood in a long, long time.
Last week we had 5 losses. Two sets of twins and a 39 week, full term pregnancy.
The week before that I had my hands wrapped around the trunk of a baby born not breathing, with no heart rate, limp and cold and blue as a river stone. One and two and three and breathe and one and two and three and breathe and one and two and three and breathe and... 3 minutes of chest compressions on a three minute old baby whose cry (finally!) filled the room like a giant, exploded whipped cream canister.
Whenever people hear that I work in L&D they always say the same thing: "Oh! That must be so great! Always good news!". Yeah. Not so much.
When we have a happy family, happily expecting a baby that is born (and stays) alive, we fall over each other like court jesters on ecstasy. We sniff that high like you read about. We draw in the moment and squeeze it down tightly into our guts because we know we'll be drawing from that endorphin bank account all too soon.
I have this really incredible job. People don't see what we see. So I'm here to hand you the binoculars every once in a while.