I got a comment on one of my previous blogs that I absolutely loved! A very smart woman said that her goal was to be the "perfect labor patient" and she wanted to know how to obtain that goal. So I've thought about it for a while and here are my suggestions...To preface my suggestions, remember these are my OPINIONS and don't worry, no good nurse will think less of you or take worse care of you if you aren't the "perfect" patient.
#1. Come in with an OPEN mind. It seems like the patients who come into their labor experience with a cut and dried, this-is-how-it's-going-to-happen mind set are the ones who have labors that are nothing like what they wanted. Those who come in who say "a C-section is the worst thing I could ever have happen to me" are the ones who end up in the OR and feel like a failure for not having a successful vaginal delivery. Also, I in no way believe that a C/S is any kind of "failure." It's just a different road to the same destination with different scenery and experiences to enjoy along the way!
#2. Keep in mind that as nurses (and all the docs out there too), our goal is a "healthy/happy mom and healthy/happy baby." Everything we do is working toward that goal. We aren't doing things to be mean, we aren't doing things to you to make things harder, we aren't doing things to you to ruin all your plans that you had, we really just want to make sure you and baby come out OK in the end.
#3. Try to develop a relationship with your nurse. I know that's one of my favorite parts of my job is forming that bond with my patients. When I think of what an honor it is to be a part of this amazing time in their lives it gives me shivers. The patients who come in and see me as more than the enemy who has to do all the "mean things" associated with having a baby (an IV, those painful vag exams, keeping you on those monitors) and let me into the memory that they're making, those are the patients that I remember long after I've moved them over to postpartum. Also, don't be afraid to tell your nurse what you're thinking. What you would "like" to have happen, what you are nervous about, what worked for your last labor (if you've had one) what your goals are for this labor. If you don't tell us we'll never know...
#4. The perfect patient is the one who comes in prepared, has read enough about giving birth to be informed about what to expect (but not just read all the horror stories they could find about all the horrible things that "could" happen) and are excited about delivering their baby, those are my favorite patients. Being nervous is OK and totally expected, but the patients who come in and are ready to enjoy the journey, those are my favorite!
Good luck to all the potential "prefect patients" out there! A "happy patient" is a "perfect patient!"
#5. All the nurses that I also asked for their opinion said that they remember the patients who bring food for the nurses :) Chocolate is ALWAYS a way to make friends with the nursing staff! Ha!