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“I am a nurse. For 30 years of my career, I was a labor and delivery nurse. I took care of women through all stages of labor and through their delivery. Due to the many times that I have worked 16 hour shifts, I bonded with many women and helped them through long hours. Finally, through much work on the mom's part with my guidance, she would be ready to deliver. In would sail the doctor, spend five minutes catching the baby, and then pose for all the pictures. I would hear from the families how wonderful he/she was. Really? Then why is my back killing me because I stood for two to three hours with a woman in a variety of positions including resting her foot on my shoulder while she pushed? Oh, and did I mention that she is also paralyzed from the waist down from the epidural, so I was also helping to hold her up while she squatted to push? Why have I had to change my scrub clothes twice in a shift because someone either puked on me or amniotic fluid soaked everything? Really? Who is it that actually got that IV started while reassuring the poor mom? Who is it that took the camera out of the daddy's trembling hand and started taking family pictures because she knew that otherwise there would be no proof that he had even been in the room? And capturing the look of wonder on both parent's faces at the same time. Who is it that cleaned up every body fluid that can spew from a human, with a smile on her face and encouraging words for the mortified patient who has never been sick in front of a stranger in her life? Who is it that tracked down the anesthesia people, chased them out of the lounge, and threatened them with their lives if they didn't take care of her patient, NOW? And when things didn't go well, who was it that took that poor baby that didn't make it, cleaned it up, dressed it, wrapped it in a soft blanket, and brought it to the broken-hearted parents to hold for the first and last time? Oh, yeah, Dr. Marvelous is just great. I'm just a nurse.”—
- Kathy Hurst Davis, Nurse, quoted in this Slate article.
I’m sure this goes for all nurses, really- lots of gruntwork that gets overlooked while doctors take credit (not that doctors don’t deserve credit- of course they do- just not for the crucial work that nurses perform). But it does strike me that with the way labor and delivery works in low-risk pregnancies with no complications here in the U.S., nurses don’t get nearly enough appreciation. (And ironically enough, though they do mainly the same things, the title of “midwife” seems to get more respect).
16 and pregnant pisses me off sometimes. Like no, you should not be asking for an induction because you’re uncomfortable and no doctors should not allow it nor should they suggest c-sections just because labor is going to slowly for their liking.
When I’m pregnant, it’s definitely a priority for me to find an obgyn that respects my body’s natural birthing process unless the baby or I am in legit danger. Thank god I’m educated enough on medicine (and will be even more so by the time we have kids) that I’ll know when meds or a c-section are actually necessary.
PrincessMelissa Throwback #1
A very young person on Twitter just said he’d like to start “a blog or something with just words.” I instantly felt old as shit recalling the days I’d sit in my studio apartment in LA putting up “web entries” before I knew it was even called “web logging,” then shortened to just “blogging.” In the year 2000, y’all. I kept that blog going into 2009. Just words. One place. Old school PrincessMelissa. It had exactly three looks in nine years. There were the icons of my paintings on the original. Then there was the splash page where you click on the sofa to come in, like “Have a seat and read with me.” And then there was the tiny PrincessMelissa logo all over with the tag line “Them chickens is ash and I’m lotion.” People really liked that last one because it had font control! Make this bigger, wow!
Some folks have emailed me to say that they’ve been reading my stuff for ten plus years. I’m like FOR REAL FOR REAL? Thank you! (small voice) We are old! But wasn’t it so great then? This whole thinking up original content. There was no reblog button. Think about that shit. Whoa. Anyway, in the spirit of “just words,” I’m going to dust some of those relics of the past off and present them here. Let’s start with Lomi stomping through my vagina, shall we?
My Labor and Birth: The Short of It
* I will be writing a full birth story, but at the moment I cannot fully process it and have been writing in short spurts. It is really emotional and raw for me. My story was part nightmare and partly a story of an amazing rescue. I have been called to the carpet to question everything about how I approached my birth and the people I entrusted my care to.
In the days following the birth of my beautiful son, Everett, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my birth story.
If you couldn’t tell from the pictures I have posted, I ended up at a local hospital in a transfer from my home birth. Long story made short: I had to transfer after laboring at home for over 24 hours due to failure to progress and a suspicion that my son was asynclitic (you can read more about asynclitism here at spinning babies - a lot of these symptoms were exactly what I was feeling).
The call to leave my house was after pushing for five hours with no progress and broken waters. I had asked about the hospital quite a few times but was discouraged by my midwives and in retrospect I feel that there was extreme fear mongering taking place, Shawn agrees. After seeing my condition deteriorate to a really unhealthy place (note: baby had consistently good vitals that were checked every two-three minutes) Shawn finally announced that he was taking me out of the home environment and to the hospital. It was a very dramatic and tense moment, I felt like I was being rescued.
At the hospital I was able to receive an epidural with a very small dosage of pitocin and rest for two hours. The hope was the baby could move further down and I could find some relief from my extreme exhaustion.
I pushed for three more hours in the presence of 1/2 of my midwives and her apprentice (who did the majority of the work with me, midwives did not come until very late in the birthing process), Shawn, my mom, and best friend - Katie. Originally they were not planning on being apart of my birth (mom and Katie) - but at this point I needed the safety of family and friends by my side.
I connected with all of the hospital staff I encountered and was made to feel like a warrior birthing mama rather than someone that ditched out of a home birth. I value each and every one of those people I encountered, they provided me with so much good energy to deliver my son with.
The end of the story was that my baby was born via caesarian section after a 34 hour labor. It was medically necessary and I felt accomplished in the end knowing that I did absolutely everything I could do in my power to birth my son naturally and/or vaginally.
I have been left to wrestle with some really heavy feelings. My sad feelings come from the home birth portion… I felt highly unsupported and isolated in a dangerous and scary situation. As the days pass I have been able to tell those close to me my birth story, this might be all I am ever able to do.
There are many tears some of sadness, confusion - others of complete joy at the experience I had at the hospital and the birth of my son. I feel like I experienced every birth and I felt the power of all of those birthing women.
My greatest epiphany has been that birth is hard, no matter what route you take. The work of bringing forth a human life is never a failure. I have developed such a healthy respect for the westernized medical system where there used to be disdain. I am so thankful for this knowledge and being released from this fear of the “system”. I found a “system” that was filled with passionate, knowledgeable people that wanted to help me have the dream birth I wanted balanced with the desire to have a healthy child and a healthy me after the process was said and done.
My labor/birth has changed me in ways that I cannot even begin to really understand and I know there is just so much more to unfold in front of me.
I just wanted to clarify how my birth went without seeming like I was shrouded in disappointment. My birth was beautiful, long, painful and full of dedication - I bring all of these things into motherhood with me.
Here is to letting the story unfold. For now I rest, I heal, and I take care of my boys. More than ever I am blessed.
You guys have already proven you are magic.
So if you maybe send good vibes to a woman in a hospital in central jersey, who is trying very hard to meet her baby today, a year after her first baby was stillborn.
She is the kindest, most lovely human and I want her and her partner to have the most beautiful day, even if its bittersweet.
My patients kill me with feels.
i had mentioned in an earlier post how recovery has always been my biggest fear, and I was extremely correct.
I was in a lot of pain right after and massaging my uterus was actually one of the worst things I’ve ever felt in my life, I wanted to scream. I’m not exaggerating at all, out of all my pain experiences that topped absolutely everything. I was still getting contractions really bad afterwards, and that shot I got in my hip for the epidural itchiness started hurting SO bad.
I felt so bad because when they massaged my uterus I had to have Cody hold Tristan, it just hurt too badly to focus on anything else other than how shitty I felt. I hadn’t eaten for almost 24 hours so I was starving, the nurse had chicken nuggets so I was trying to eat them but I got extremelyyy shaky afterwards, I felt so weak like I had had the flu.
Everyone of course was dying to come in and see him, but since I was hurting so bad my mom and mother in law said I could have everyone wait, but I let them come in because of how excited they were. They were supposed to come in two at a time but at the end I was like ok hurry up and there were like 12 people in the room, I just wanted everyone to hurry up and see him so they could get out haha. Everyone could tell how beat up i felt and I could see they felt really bad for me, they told us they Ioved us and went home.
When it was time for me to get up I just wanted to get it over with so I got up with the nurse and went pee. It was hard to walk because of the amount of pain in my hip from the shot, my hip killed me! I peed and it wasn’t as bad as I thought, leaning forward really helped.
At about 7:30 pm they moved us up to the recovery floor.