Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'll Take Call

I've never had a "call date" (being on-call for at least 6hrs on a night your scheduled to work...) and trust me, tonight was the perfect night for it. I kept thinking in my head on the way home from work this morning how I would 100% take the call option if they called and gave it to me tonight! After last night, I needed some time to think and just take some deep breaths.

I really didn't think that the whole shift last night effected me that much until I was writing about it this morning and bawling my eyes out...and then when I woke up from my nap this afternoon crying again after dreaming about it. I was feeling so guilty because I didn't shed a tear last night when everyone around me had lost it. I was really wondering why it wasn't getting to me when I knew it was a horrible situation and now I haven't been able to stop myself from tearing up every time I think about it since.

So after I decided in my head that I would take call tonight I got to thinking about the parents I bonded with last night...at least I felt I bonded with them. I wasn't there for the actual delivery, but I was the one who got to help them make the few memories that they will always have of their little boy. I was the one who got to help them make things to remember him. I didn't want to leave them without saying goodbye, and I hadn't had the heart to wake them up when I left this morning. So then part of me really didn't want to be on call tonight because I'm pretty sure they'll be gone by the time I go in tomorrow night.

My mom and I were out shopping pretty close to the hospital tonight, and I just felt inside that I had to do something to let them know that I was still thinking and praying about them. So I just got them a simple card. I didn't really know what to put inside, but I told them how lucky their little boy was to have them as parents, because even if he didn't get to grow up with them, they'll still always be his parents, and he'll still always be their little boy. I ran the card to them and left some candy with the poor nurses who didn't get the chance to be on call tonight. I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but when I went in and dad came over and gave me a bug hug and started crying again and just said thank you over and over again I about started crying too. I don't know how anyone could keep being thankful when your baby is gone forever, but they were.

So many people have told me how lucky I am to work in such a "happy place." I am, and I am reminded of that so often when I go to work and get to witness miracle after miracle. But then nights like last night happen and it's like a blow in the gut when it reminds me how the happiest place in the hospital can also be the saddest place in the hospital. Death is never a happy event, there seems to be some extra sting when it's a baby, and even more when that baby never even got a chance to live. It's nights like last night that remind me what it really means to be a nurse, and what it really means to support people and be there for people. I think sometimes as a L&D nurse I have a chance to make an even bigger impact on people at times like last night than I do when everything goes as planned.

This afternoon I dreamed that I was in heaven and all of a sudden a little boy ran up to me and threw his arms around me and said "Mommy, Daddy! This is her! This is the nurse who held me and helped take care of me and helped tell you that I loved you after I was born and didn't get the chance to tell you myself. She was the last one to hold me and rock me before they pulled up the covers." I don't know where that dream came from, but it some how shed a little bit happier light on the situation. I feel so honored to have been the one who got to help those two parents who never really got to know their son make some kind of memories with/of him before they told him goodbye. I got to be a part of that, and that's pretty special.

3 comments:

  1. As a fellow labor and delivery nurse, your post definitely hit close to home. It's amazing how many people think we have GREAT jobs, and 95% of the time I agree with them but it is in situations like these that I have to disagree with them. Being with a family experiencing a loss is one of the hardest things we deal with but to know you made a difference or at least made it 'better' definitely says a lot about you!

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  2. Thank you so much! It is 10 years this week since our baby died and I have often felt so guilty letting the nurse be the one to take her away. From the bottom of my heart thank you for painting such a beautiful picture of how she was hopefully treated. This picture and what you have done for this family mean more than you will ever know.

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  3. As another L&D nurse I feel you 100% on this! Just tonight I was out shopping and ran into the parents of a little baby who was a 24week IUFD that I ended up delivering. We all hugged and cried together again. Just two weeks ago we did it in the hospital room.

    I get so mad when people talk about how I just sit around and rock babies all day!! Wrong!! I work in a high-risk very busy L&D unit where half the time we are desperately trying to keep pre-termers pregnant, delivering babies with severe anomalies, or deliver babies who will never get a chance to take their first breaths! But we go back for the happy stuff, and knowing I made a difference in the lives of someone how has suffered a most unimaginable loss, the loss of their baby.

    P.S. I'm on call tonight too!

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