A quick review just in case you haven’t been around my blog since it’s inception, or taken the time to read my archives- shame on you for that by the way- but in just one of my previous careers I taught childbirth education classes and worked as a doula for laboring women. Those facts are in part one of the essential reasons that I like my current job so very much as it puts me into an environment that I am very familiar and comfortable with.
There are days that I struggle though, because I am constantly walking through hospital corridors filled with laboring women. Some make their presence known in a much louder way than others. I am drawn to those closed doors, and at times I have to force myself not to enter. Working with laboring women and their partners gave me great fulfillment. My role as a doula will always significantly define who I am, but now it is not my place to enter until after the baby arrives.
In many ways I have experienced a love-hate relationship over the years with providers and staff who take a more medical approach to labor and birth. On the “how to proceed with labor spectrum” there are many viewpoints- from technological, intervention-filled medical management of labor to those who may choose a completely unprepared route. I fall much nearer to the home birth and/or minimally managed labor and birth end of the spectrum. I also firmly advocate for informed choice. I admit to some negative biases regarding medication and surgical delivery, and other procedures that occur during labor. I also know that providers and nursing staff have their own biases (often positive according to their views) toward these same things.
I have shared with you just how much I enjoy the staff at the medical center where I work. They are funny, they are friendly, they will answer any question or concern I have. They are patient and they respect me for the job that I do. My eyes and ears are always open. I listen and watch, even though I cannot be in the birthing room anymore. I know that this staff is open and interested in giving parents the birth experience they desire while they work within hospital guidelines.
Today I found myself listening once more and came away awestruck by what I heard and by the staff that I work with. Three of the floor nurses and the charge nurse were all brainstorming techniques to assist a mom during labor. They were not immediately tossing out the word cesarean even though her labor had slowed due to the babies position.
Shannan, our charge was reviewing options learned during the staff classroom experience with “Spinning Babies”.
The other nurses were discussing positions already tried with mom to encourage baby to move (hands and knees) and tossing around options like a modified Trendelenburg position to disengage baby from the pelvis- such as this-
and then a modified Sims position taught by Spinning Babies to encourage it to settle into a more favorable place in the uterus- sort of this, but with more drop to that hanging leg-
They knew that this mom was willing to try these techniques to avoid complications and interventions typically seen with prolonged labor. They were advocating for simple techniques that, if successful, could mean the avoidance of a cesarean delivery.
I could hardly contain myself when I heard them deciding, as a group to present these ideas to mom, and then if she agreed, work together as a team to encourage mom and help her accomplish these moves.
I was overjoyed! I wanted to clap my hands and give fist bumps all around! Then I realized that this level of professionalism is something that these nurses strive for everyday. I wasn’t see something new, something that they had only just now decided to try. I was witnessing a team using their skills to assist a woman in labor to have the birth experience she wanted. I gained a new level of respect for these professionals today.
It was also a good reminder that these nurses, my nurses, nurses in general- absolutely ROCK!