Monday, June 30, 2008

Bad Days

Generally, the response I receive when I reveal my job to new people is one of 3 things:
1."Ooooh babies!"
2."Oh my _____  just had a baby"
                    3."Wow, what a happy place to work."

I'd say about 90% of the time, #3 is correct. And then there's that other 10% that nobody ever talks about. The cases that went bad. The baby that went bad. The baby that passed away. Very few people understand that while we have some great highs in Labor & Delivery, we also have some really really low times as well, lower  (in my opinion) than other departments. 

Saturday was one of those low days. It seems like we have waves of fetal demise or IUFD patients. Some months we'll have zero, and then, like this past week, we'll have 6 deaths in 2 days. I was witness to 2 fetal deaths on Saturday, one of which was  22 weeks, born alive, but too immature to perform any life-prolonging measures. This sweet little girl, barely bigger than my hand, lived for about an hour and died in her daddy's arms. Who had to tell the family that the baby's heart stopped beating? 

Me.

Our second death was of a patient who did not speak english and was under the assumption that her baby was perfectly healthy.  She had come to the hospital having contractions, and a heartbeat was never found. She was 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I was there for that delivery as well, and this patient's sobs, her guttural wailing, her cries to God I can still hear in my head. 

Postmortem care? Me again. 

What a difficult day. After long hours and little relief and little recognition, the entire unit is in a very low place right now. I love the girls I work with and it's what gets me up in the morning. We work so very hard for our patients and there seems to be little changing to ease the burden we're all carrying. So yesterday afternoon, in a "secret/anonymous" meeting with our hospital directors, we all cried out together. An hour and a half of venting and crying, cursing and screaming and I think they got the picture of what was really going on. The problems that aren't going further than our immediate supervisors and managers, and the underhanded things they've been doing to keep the unit looking perfect.  Our directors cried with us and gained a lot of respect from the nurses in attendance. I will be more hopeful when changes start occuring. I don't know one person that I work with who is not worked to the bone and ready to throw in the towel. We all expected things to be crazy and chaotic in the beginning, but now we've been open and operating for over 3 months and had well over 1,000 babies. Things should no longer be crazy and chaotic.  

And my mouth hurts.  And my eyes still itch. 

I just had to throw those last 2 in for good measure. As if I werent already feeling bad enough for myself! 

On a positive... We leave in 3 days for sunny California.

Current song stuck in my head: I kissed a girl by Katy Perry




3 comments:

Shannon said...

Oh Hollie...I can hear the hurt of your heart all in your entry. I am so sorry that you have to go through the bad times in what should be such a happy time. I can not imagine what you go through when you have to give bad news to parents. I can't imagine what you have to see. Sweet little babies, going from this earth to God's arms in a few short breaths. You are a special person to have the gift to do this. I hope things change at your office, for you and the staff. Know I'm thinking of you! Love, Shannon P.S. Enjoy your trip!!!! Take time to relax.....

Melissa said...

:( My heart aches for those parents and for you... I know I couldn't handle it.

I love you.

jenniphers said...

Thanks for sharing Hollie, I had no clue what has been happening less than 100 feet away from me. Also want to tell you if it was me I would want it to be you to get me through it. hugs, Jen

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