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

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Countdown to Shitting My Pants

Yes, I think we should make one of those construction paper chain countdowns til I start my next clinical, which includes baby catching, perineum stitching, and general stress and anxiety. For those who want to make that chain, you will need 9 loops; preferably pink and blue. Through in some yellow or green if it makes you happy.

I don't think I've been more nervous in my life. My mother may remember me being more nervous about other events in my life, but I certainly don't remember nerves like this. Seriously. I keep thinking of all the possible scenarios.

Dropping a baby as it emerges from its mother's womb; having an uncontrolled delivery of the head thus blowing out the mom's perineum; stitching together the labia; having mean preceptors; shaking so badly that I can't control injection of local anesthesia; being "fired" as the student nurse midwife because the family thinks I'm incompetent. The list could go on and on.

I was just talking about how I feel comfortable in my role as a labor nurse; but I realize now that there is so much I have not noticed. Like, how the perineum looks like ground beef to me no matter the degree of laceration. I understand what a first degree, second degree, etc, laceration is but to be able to determine this by assessing the actual perineum? Ya, right! Let me tell you, it doesn't look as neat and defined as texts will have you believe. As the labor nurse, I ask the doctor what degree tear the woman has and fetch them their suture. Then I go about what I need to do. There is just so much that I miss doing my "busy" work as the labor nurse. Who knows what else I've been missing!

And to think I just bought new underwear. Bad timing on my part.


geena said...

"Like, how the perineum looks like ground beef to me no matter the degree of laceration."


I do not like thinking about someone thinking that my perineum looks like ground beef! :(

Anyway... good luck in your new role!

Labor Nurse said...

Geena, I can't blame you. But I don't think everyone thinks that. It's just I can't make heads or tails of it and it's intimidating. Being the labor nurse doesn't require me to be able to assess the degree of laceration, so the prospect of learning this having only glanced here and there at a perineum that is torn (and bloody) is overwhelming!

Jack and Lexi's Mom said...

It takes time to see how the puzzle fits together. Give yourself a break. Do you remember the first time you checked a cervix and it all felt like mush?

AtYourCervix said...

What I do is (if I have time) try and watch the repair, asking questions of the provider - what degree is this? Location? To help familiarize myself with what is what. It also helps me in my hand off report to the postpartum nurse (ex: she had a 2nd degree perineal lac)

I feel, that because you are so nervous about things to come, it's going to make you a more consciensious (can't spell that word!) nurse-midwife, and you're patients will see that! I think you'll do great.

T Nurse News said...

Haha, that title is just too funny.

We just started a nursing news blog, so please check us out and leave some comments. We'd love to know what you think about the happenings in our industry.

frectis said...

Congratulations on the countdown. I am heading the opposite direction from midwife to nurse (and then back to nurse-midwifery). I have my last prerequisite and then I'll join half a million students on the waiting lists for programs all over the state.

Labor Nurse said...

frectis, good luck! I am sure that you are heads and tails above others on those waiting lists. You'll do great! Just brace yourself for the medical dogma regarding birth that is taught in nursing schools.

frectis said...

Thanks-- I plan to detox every day I leave the classroom/clinics ;)