Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More please!

Many blessings to whomever came up with idea for the on-call shift.

Its a great thing that I was able to spend today on the couch instead of on the job. Tonight, Jordan and I begin the first leg of our trip to Augusta. I'm thankful that I don't have to pack and swoop at 8:15 pm tonight, only to arrive in Houston at 11:30. (To swoop: that frenzied cleaning that you do when you know someone is coming to your house. Beware of opening closet doors post swooping. Other tell-tale signs of a recent swoop? Doors to various rooms are shut, hiding the mess held behind them. What can I say? I like a clean house before a trip/company.)

But instead of packing and swooping, what am I doing? I'm laid out on the couch in my pajamas, hacking up a lung, pushing clear fluids and advil, and blogging. The dreaded summer cold has impeccable timing. But, I'm grateful for a shift off to rest and hydrate and pack and clean and take the dog to the kennel and put together 50 baby invitations and finish laundry and exercise and catch up on my L&D Q&As.

Disclaimer: I haven't been doing this labor thing forever. I don't know everything. Things are going to get gross FAST. Don't say I didn't warn you. All names/patient identifiers have been removed. All stories written are my own experiences unless otherwise noted. If talking about body parts makes you uncomfortable, this isn't the blog for you. The end.

What's your take on hair down there?

This is another widely asked question, but less by laboring patients and more by curious friends. Let me start by describing what a perfect world in labor and delivery would look like. Enter a patient: She is of average height and build- and healthy but not overweight. Her baby is easy to monitor regardless of how she is positioned in bed. Likewise, her contractions are easy to monitor regardless of positioning. Her IV is easily placed in the middle of her non-dominant forearm and runs like a faucet when left free-flowing. She has taken a shower recently and is wearing deodorant. The bottoms of her feet are clean and her pedicure is perfect. Her teeth are brushed and she is not a smoker. Her legs are shaved.... and so is the vag- which incidentally smells like roses.

OK! So - I just stepped on a lot of toes with that one. Of course, that's a perfect world, and in the real world, there are many things outside of a patient's control. Like how the baby is positioned or what veins look best for the IV. But cleanliness and hygiene? I can think of very few circumstances where it is excusable for someone to come into the hospital dirty. Come on people! You wouldn't go to the dentist without brushing, flossing, AND Listerine-ing, right?! Take care of those HEB feet!

So back to the first question: what's my take on hair down there? (Haven't read the disclaimer yet? Now's probably a good time.) First and foremost, if I haven't already made this obvious enough, I expect my patients to be clean. This means I don't want to smell your lady parts before I pull the covers back! Soap and water! Use them!!! Secondly, at the least, be well-manicured. Got a chimpanzee hiding out in your underwear? You'd better tame that sucker before coming in to have your baby. Look- there is a lot of stuff (secretions, fluids, blood, poop!) that comes out of the hoo-hah while in labor and all that hair down there just gets gross. Am I really all that put off by Amazon Woman? Not particularly. But -like I said- in my perfect world, there would be no hair. Wouldn't it be great if that were a side effect of pregnancy? Loss of pubic hair? {chuckles}

Here's a side note: If you know you're having a c-section, take it all off. Because if you don't trim the beast, I will. And I have to do it with a hospital grade electric clipper, which is not as gentle as Schick's twin moisturizing strips. Plus, it hurts enough to have a bulky pressure dressing taken off of the incision after surgery. Add in the torture of pulling off your lady hairs along with the dressing and you'll understand why I encourage my patients to take it all off. Yowzers!!! Next question!

Are most laboring moms vulgar?

The ones who do it without medication/epidural usually let the language fly. Not horribly so, but think about the last time you stubbed a toe or even worse, stepped on a lego. Try pushing out a baby without muttering a few expletives. Most patients are fairly well contained and some don't curse at all during labor. I think a lot depends on what the patients know to be appropriate in their own lives, and stressful situations (a la labor) can magnify a person's character. For example: A teenager from a rough neighborhood uses expletives in everyday conversation. I would expect she would be prone to let the profanities loose when the difficulties of labor set in. Conversely, A pastor's wife finds cursing to be distasteful and disrespectful and chooses to use other, more appropriate words to describe her everyday experiences. She'd probably be one of those who keeps it contained while in labor. Everyone is different and every situation is different.

In my own opinion, however, it's not the patients you should worry about. It's the nurses and doctors who are the real potty-mouths.

Thank you to once again to Pinterest for the picture. And thank you for not automatically assuming that I too am a nurse with a foul language problem.


Single Dating Mommy said...

in the hospital, i was known as the screamer. my nurse went on break and when her replacement came in, she was like, "oh, so you're the screamer!" horrified, i said, "you can hear me???" she gave a little chuckle and said, "honey, the whole hospital can hear you..." i'm pretty sure i shocked my mother (and the whole hospital) with the language that came out of my mouth during those 24 hours....
in my defense, he was 10lbs 6in with a head that was 14in in diameter and it was his shoulders that got stuck.....

Kristina said...

the morning I woke up in labor I took a shower and shaved my legs, brushed my teeth, and even put on makeup . Not long after my whole body was sweaty and my breath smelled from throwing up a couple much for that! ha. like you said the patient can't always control such things.

Jamie said...

Sorry for the invite pressure.. :-(
My labor...well..after two weeks in a hospital bed...nothing about me was I'm sure they hated coming to see me every hour. I tried to be very nice and cordial but then they sent a stupid trainee in to take care of me and she didn't know what she was doing and put 10,000 bubbles in the IV which made the machine go off every five minutes. Besides that and the check up every hour...I'm sure I enjoyed seeing them more than they enjoyed seeing me. :-) I've really enjoyed this series..keep writing!! Hope you feel better soon!

Krystal Guerrero said...

This questions series is HILARIOUS! I'm loving it! BTW, that pictures of the peanuts is the best!!

Cheryl said...

As a laobr and delivery nurse with 43,yes 43 years of experience ,i truly enjoy this site and agree with almost everthing said.We,myself and my team-mates have always said we could write a book .But without any talent in that direction,I'll leave that to you.You are great at it!!!!

01 09 10