labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More on the Plug

So I was grocery shopping the other day and hear my name being called out. I turn to find a couple that was in my most recent childbirth education class. The wife was looking tired and swollen. The husband looked eager and excited. I began with, “Oh, how nice to see you!” but was quickly cut off by the wife.

“I’m having a funny colored mucous plug, I think.”

Oh, jeez… here we go. Those damned mucous plugs!

“Oh, really?” I replied. I was secretly hoping my lack of specific questions would change the topic.

“Ya, it’s like this bright orange. And then some brown mixed in it.”

Sounds like a 1970's plug to me. Perhaps we could add some avocado green.

“Have you talked to your doctor?” I asked.

“Yes, I called them during the night and the doctor on call said I was fine.” Oh, how the on call doctor must have loved getting that call at 3AM!

And so she continued on with every ache and pain, every symptom, every twitch. I tried to gently remind her that she was in the last days of pregnancy and most women experience unpleasantness. I reminded her that the mucous plug couldn’t specifically predict when labor was to begin.

Her reply was, “But my due date is 11 days away. Could I really lose a mucous plug now?”

My answer began as I started pushing my cart. This could turn into an hour long consultation if I didn’t make my move. I felt bad trying to cut this short, but could I really triage her symptoms at the grocery store? Did the other customers want to hear all of this (she was mighty loud)?

And so as tactfully as I could, I said, “Well, some women lose the mucous plug very early. Some don’t. But I hope to see you soon! Take care!” I could see the disappointment in her eyes, which made me think that she probably wasn’t getting many answers from her doctor and that she was getting very scared.

Perhaps I will have her in labor so I can work my magic!


Joyce said...

That was a good segue into moving along and not having a whole consultation in the middle of the grocery store aisle.

Anonymous said...

I've learned more about mucous plugs that I ever knew! Thanks to you I will not be a plug-preoccupied primip when my time comes (in springish of 2009, if biology cooperates).

-A reader of obstetrical blogs despite 10 months until waiting to try date.

Joanne said...

When I hear someone complaining about being sick of being pregnant before their due date I want to scream "I went TWO WEEKS past my due date, you wimp!" (I know my due date was right because I know exactly when I got pregnant.) I know the end of pregnancy sucks, but I think there should be a rule that you can't complain too much untill you are past your due date.

Labor Nurse said...

Joanne, I second that motion! I've even heard women say they wouldn't mind giving birth at 34 weeks! Can you believe this?

AtYourCervix said...

ohhhh, the dreaded mucous plug conversation. We were just talking about this at work last night. A patient mentioned that she lost her mucous plug - we were as professional as we could when we said basically "yeah, so what?" (not in those exact words, ya know!)

I've even flat out told patients that the mucous plug doesn't mean diddly when it comes to predicting labor or delivery.

But they all still seem to be focused on that damn plug.....

Jack and Lexi's Mom said...

I always resist the urge to say something like, "Congrats! Let's frame it! Call the press! Your muccus plug is an excellent reason to ruin the 24 minutes of sleep I will get tonight!" I HATE THAT STUPID PLUG! I am normaly a very nice and gentle midwife, I swear!

CrankyProf said...

I have to admit that I've never actually had the whole "mucous plug" thing. And I certainly can't imagine just bringing it up in conversation.

The only thing ruder would be to keep it in a freezer bag, or something.

motomama said...

when i lived in california, the state gave away free flu shots. i looked up the address and the nearest location was at a grocery store (safeway), they had set the nurse up t a table in the fruit & vegtable section. riht between the peppers and the eggplant. I found it very calming. Maybe your local grocery store would let you set up an information booth on plug awareness?

Labor Nurse said...

motomama, I was wondering where the hell you were going with that.

Perhaps a more appropriate place would be the dairy section.

KatherineK! said...

I guess what makes me rather sad about this is THAT SHE DIDN'T have anyone else to share these details with. I mean COME ON girl. OR should I say--- poor girl? Does her provider not give her enough support? Gosh... I can't even imagine talking to a stranger about this-- but then again maybe that says something about your skills and compasion and sweetness and coolness!!! :):)

Labor Nurse said...

katherinek!, my thoughts were the same. I would bet money that this woman's doctor did not spend much time with her at all. I think this is the case in general, because many of the women in my childbirth classes look to me for that support, question answering, etc. There are times that after class a few will stay late to ask me their specific questions that their doctors haven't bothered to address.

But all that being said, I really don't want to be discussing mucous plugs in the produce aisles.