Nursing Voices

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Girls Just Wanna Have... Babies.

You know her. She's the labor-wannabe. Let's call her Labor Girl.


Labor Girl arrives in the ER, breathless, cheeks flushed, anxious but elated. This must be it!

Her husband, let's call him Dear Hubby, parks the car and then joins her in ER triage, arms loaded with suitcases, birthing ball, boppy, radio and fan. He is a little panicky... a trickle of persperation slides from his upper lip. What have I gotten myself into?

But Labor Girl is thrilled. The deck of Uno cards is tucked into the front pocket of her suitcase, and a CD of soothing music resides in the portable stereo. This is going to be fun!

She is quickly retrieved from the ER and wheeled to OB triage, breathing obediently when her belly hardens. The babe inside her kicks in protest. She smiles knowingly.


Once she is safely ensconced in her tiny (if not somewhat unsatisfactory) triage room, she slowly strips out of the clothing she had carefully planned as her "going to the hospital" outfit. Dons the threadbare and breezy hospital gown, careful not to displace her perfectly coiffed hair and generously applied makeup. Pushes the call light.

Dear Hubby commences hand-wringing in the corner. Perhaps Labor Girl should share her deep-breathing techniques with him.


Soon the monitors are applied, blood pressure and temperature checked. Labor Girl dutifully answers the questions of the triage nurse, alternately smiling and breathing with the periodic tightening.

"Well... I'd rate these contractions about 6 or 7 on the pain scale." Straight face. It's that darn pain scale again.


Bad news.

"I'm only dilated to 2 cm?"

Labor Girl is clearly disappointed.
Doubt begins to curl around the edges of her optimism.
"Are you going to send me home?"


After a short while, the monitors are removed, and Labor Girl begrudgingly goes for a stroll. This isn't as fun as she had anticipated. Who wants to go for a walk at 2:30 in the morning? Another wave of doubt crests. Maybe if I walk a little faster.


Round and round she drags Dear Hubby, whose exhaustion has overtaken his fears.

The nurses smile understandingly each time the determined couple rounds the corner. Does Labor Girl think this is a race that she can win? That if she makes it through the hallways quickly enough or does enough laps, then we'll keep her?


It's time to be rechecked.

"Yes," Labor Girl nods to the nurse. "The contractions feel much stronger!"

She holds her breath, awaiting the verdict.

"I'm still 2 cm?!"


And now, here it is: the Walk of Shame.

Poor Labor Girl.

She trudges out the doors, pouting, vistaril in hand. How can this NOT be it?

Dear Hubby gathers the belongings and follows her solemnly home. Thank goodness this wasn't it.


And so, you see, sometimes no matter how badly you want it, labor it is not.

Maybe next time, Labor Girl.

I'm sure we'll see you soon...


mitchsmom said...

*Head nodding* LOL

...except you left out the part where she starts in "... but can't you just induce me if I request it?" (topic for another post?)

Although, it seems like you may have a different clientele delivering in your unit than most of my patients. It sounds like yours are a little more prepared (aside from thinking they are about 8 cm's when they walk in the door with mild menstrual-like cramps :).

I have NEVER had a patient come in with a birth ball, music, birth plan, etc. I'm lucky if mine are even aware that it might be a good idea to *time* the intermittent stomach pain they are having! Seriously, most of our patients walk up to the nurses station with no earthly idea how often their pain is occuring - I mean, they can't even make a guess at it!!! And that's just the *beginning* our our typical labor adventure.
At least there's lots of opportunity for teaching for those of us who like that :)

Mother Jones RN said...

Poor Labor Girl....

I can't wait for your next entry where you describe her change of heart about "wanting this" when she's going through the last stages of labor. Poor Hubby.


Kelly said...

This is the best laugh I've had all week! And so very true!

Kelly said...

Actually, I want to add that I thought the perfect ending would be a c-section! ;)

JustCallMeJo said...

Poor labor girl.

In my area, they come in to the ED with their suitcases. Similar deal.

Alyson said...

Too bad Labor Girl didn't think to hire a doula. Then she'd be more likely to be walking in at 6-8cm.

Laura said...

okay i will raise my hand and confess that yes, i was labor girl a couple of times.
thankfully the last time (baby #4) my nurse was very sympathetic and understanding....having just come off of 99 days of complete bedrest and a terbutaline pump, 3 cm dilated, i was sure that it was time when i showed up. can you blame me? she understood having admitted me 99 days prior when my water broke at 26 weeks.

missbhavens said...

Oh, yeah! I know Labor Girl! The 2cm one who comes back after two hours of "walking" (read: sitting in the waiting room watching tv) and is...surprise! Still 2cm!

This is the Labor Girl that we send home that doesn't actually GO HOME! She gets discharged but sits in the lobby of the hospital until dawn even though she lives less than a mile away. Not only that, she actually TAKES the Benadryl that we specifically instructed her not to take until she is in bed!

Then she arrives at the unit, yet again, hours later at change of shift at 7am...

2cm and half-asleep.

missbhavens said...

(oh...but our Labor Girls don't being any accoutrements...sometimes not even a suitcase because they rushed to the hospital so quickly because they were sure they were going to have a baby any second! With BIG happy pain-free smiles on their faces!)

apgaRN said...

Mitch's Mom, Amen on the induction request! I've even had a patient whose mother said, "I refuse to leave until you do something to induce her! She's been in labor for 4 days... blah, blah, blah." Unfortunately in her case, the doctor gave in, which only perpetuates the myth that you can make that decision based on desire. Oh, and this is not the only type of patient we get. I just thought it fun to describe this kind of typical clueless primip. Hee hee. :)

MJ, Right on... it's amazing how their perception of "real" labor is altered once they're IN IT.

Kelly, You're probably right, too, as fate would have it!

Jo, I never really imagined they'd come to the ED with suitcases... that's too funny. Who WANTS to stay in the hospital???

Alyson, Yes, I suppose so. And she'd be more likely to have some idea what to expect, how to deal. We don't get many doulas.

Laura, It's okay... we've all been guilty! Of course, most L&D nurses would be horrified to make that walk of shame. We're notoriously reluctant to come to OB triage unless we think we're dying. Fortunately for me, I had fast, smooth labors.

misbhavens, That sounds pretty familiar, too. :) I always laugh when those we've sent home with a sleeper come back a few hours later, confessing that they never took it. Why??? "Because I'm in labor!" Duh.


Anonymous said...

I don't get it, ploise explain!

Why shouldn't you bring your stuff if you think you're going to be admitted? Admittedly I left mine in my car whenever I had monitoring, but I had it on hand, just in case something funky was happenning.

Isaiah said...

Thank you for this article, really useful material.
Nanaimo apartments