Tuesday, February 28, 2012

There is a Reason I Wanted to be a Nurse...


In the fall of '95, I found myself at college, unsure of what I actually wanted to be "when I grew up" but reminded daily by the baby growing in my belly that I'd better hurry up and make a decision.

I was 18, unwed, and scared to death. I knew a few things...I knew I loved kids, did NOT want to be stuck in an office filing all day, and needed to have a profession that would allow me to support myself and my unborn baby financially. Every aptitude test I had taken had pointed me toward nursing, teaching, social work, dietitian, etc. People stuff.

Fast forward 5 months, to February 17th, 1996, the day I became a mom, and the day I realized what I wanted to do in life. The nurses I had during my labor were my everything. They supported me, they cheered me on, they redirected me, they calmed me and nurtured me and showed me compassion I had never before seen.

They made me want to be one of them. A nurse. More specifically, a Labor and Delivery Nurse.

When I returned to college that following fall as a sophomore, I declared my major and embarked upon catching up with my class so I could still graduate in 4 years.

Immediately after I graduated, I began my career as a nurse in the field I dreamed of, first in the postpartum unit, then one year later in Labor and Delivery. You guys...my job? It's amazing. It is utterly, breathtakingly, incredibly amazing. I get to witness the miracle of birth every. single. time I work.

I get to be that person who was so vital in the birth of my firstborn (his funny birth story is here, if you'd like to read it!). That cheerleader, that coach, that voice of reason, and sometimes even that stern nurse who tells you how it really is or how it needs to be.

What is so incredibly rewarding to me are the notes. The notes and the cards and the chance meetings at Target when a mama I have cared for stops me and tells me what I difference I made in her birth experience.

I often leave those chance encounters or slip those notes back into their envelopes with tears in my eyes. Tears of gratitude that I have been able to give to someone else what a few nurses gave to me so many years before. Their appreciation for me and the care I gave them is more rewarding than any paycheck or gift.

And seeing that baby who that mama in Target has in tow? That baby I gave his first bath to? That baby I helped her mama latch onto her breast and breastfeed for the first time? That teeny, tiny, soft, amazing newborn that I saw last and is now all big and fat and cooing and smiling?

Priceless.

Capella University and BlogHer have given me this opportunity to write about my career as a nurse- a choice I made, and never looked back on! If you are considering a career in nursing, I strongly encourage you to look into it...you will not be disappointed!

At Capella, you will develop the knowledge to help others reach their potential. Your degree will change more lives than just your own, just like my nurses and the path they set me on.

Wait...I'm not done!! Please read the paragraph below to see how you AND I and the "My Little Life" (or Five Crooked Halos, whatever you like to call this...place) community can make a difference.

BlogHer is donating $1 FOR EVERY COMMENT (up to $500) on this (and the other 3 sponsored posts) to the charity I have chosen. I chose The American Lung Association in honor of my sweet nursing classmate, Kelly, who passed away from complications of Cystic Fibrosis between our junior and senior year.

Let's see if we can get BlogHer to max out that $500 for Kelly. Just leave me a comment about how your labor and delivery nurse made a difference in your life (or how any nurse has made a difference in your life)! Spread the word, my friends...spread the word.

Rules:

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total donation entries by leaving up to two comments in response to the prompt on this post.

This promotion is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

The Official Rules are available here.

This promotion runs from 2/28/2012 - 3/31/2012.

Visit the BlogHer.com Capella page to check out more blogger stories and for more donation chances! Also visit Capella on Facebook and YouTube!



46 comments:

  1. What a great opportunity to help others! Go M!

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  2. Thank you for this post; the timing is perfect. I am currently in nursing school and have been frustrated beyond belief by certain things going on. I just told my husband last night that I'm beginning to hate it. But this post is the reminder I needed of why I decided to go to nursing school in the first place. I want to help others feel better and calm their fears and hold their hands. Thank you for this reminder; the timing couldn't be better.

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  3. My labor and delivery nurses meant the world to me. Our situation wasn't a normal one to say the least. We knew before birth that our son had 5 heart defects and would require immediate surgery. So when my water broke at 34 weeks we knew it was go time. They ended up doing an emergency c-section requiring general anesthesia. My husband was unfortunately unable to be with me during it. As they prepped me, I sobbed. The last thing I remember before going to sleep was Nurse Katie wiping my tears away. She was the first face I remember seeing as my husband was in the NICU. She and my husband held my hands as our doctors told us that our son didn't have a trachea and there nothing left for them to do. Nurse Katie and our NICU nurse, Christina, spent their day taking pictures for us, keeping our son warm as his cooling skin bothered my husband, escorted family to our room, playing dress up with our son since they couldn't reach a baby photographer. Because of them I have over 500 pictures of my son. Because of them I have a bit of joy during that horrible day. They have made a permanent place in my heart. I don't know how you nurses do it but I love you all for it.

    Samantha
    Www.thegudenkauffamily.blogspot.com

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  4. I am thankful for the wonderful nurses who care for my father daily in his nursing home. And for the patient and funny nurses who have cared for my children when they were hospitalized. I think nurses are earthly-bound angels.

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  5. Truth be told I don't remember much about my L&D nurse. I was in labor for 12 hours....slept a lot, then had an emergency c-section! My second baby was a scheduled c-section.....but I know that they are blessings in disguise just by reading Samantha's post above.

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  6. My husband and I lost our first baby in the first trimester. It was a complete shock to us and it changed us in a way that we'll never be the same. But, I remember the day we found out. It was our first ultrasound. The nurse showing us our sweet little baby was very quiet and reserved. But, through her kindness, she showed compassion. She didn't say much but, it was in the way she looked at us and, when she did speak, spoke with us. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be in this field and see both the extreme highs and lowly lows that come with it but bless you for what you do. You mean more than you think : )

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  7. To follow up on my last comment, nurses outside the hospital atmosphere can be just as helpful. We decided to have our first full term pregnancy end where it began. At home. We had our amazing midwife and her incredible assistant with us, both who are registered nurses. They had been trained what to do in every situation. His birth went amazing but If something had gone wrong, I have no doubt they would've taken just as great of care of us. I'll never forget the day our beautiful baby boy was born. It was wonderful and beautiful and I will never do it any other way. Thanks again for all you do. Nurses are amazing : )

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  8. The labor and delivery nurses I had with both of my kids were amazing my first child was a scary expeierence and they kept me calm thru the fast paced delivery. My second baby was scheduled c-section and they were very nice to tell me what was going on what they were doing once they got the baby out and even positioned the bed where they were cleaning up my son where I could focus on him and see his first few minuted. I am currently in school to become an EMT a life long dream of mine but I value what the nurses do very much in every aspect of the hospital.

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  9. My L&D nurse was awesome. She was my go-to person before and after baby. She helped push for the induction when my bp was skyrocketing. She helped me feel comfortable while my husband was still away doing Army stuff by talking to me and letting me know what I should expect. She really took me under her wing (or so it felt like but I imagine she did this with everyone). Even after Baby K arrived, she made the doctors listen to me when my bp was still up really high. She callled doctors for me and shook her fists at them until they helped me (Ha! ok, probably not). She was great, though. Really, really great.

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  10. I needed to read this today, so even though it's a sponsored ad, I greatly appreciate it!!!! I am struggling my way through my second semester of A&P and this post reminded me that it WILL be all worth it when the day comes that *I* get to be the L&D nurse! That's my dream too, and to see you are so happy after all of these years, just encourages me that I am on the right track!

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  11. My Mother in Law is nurse, and it is great! I think every family should have one (it is so nice being able to call her with questions and know she will guide us in the right direction)!

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  12. Great opportunity to donate! Great post as well!

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  13. As a now retired nursing professor who once taught pediatric nursing and occasionally ventured into maternity nursing clinicals and who also directed a baccalaureate nursing program, I was so pleased to see this post. Today in retirement I volunteer as a nurse in a crisis pregnancy center and love it. Every nurse, regardless of specialty, is an important member of the health care team (and in my biased opimion - probably the most important!). Just about everyone I know who has been in the hospital speaks of the difference their nurses nurses made in their care. We need more great nurses!!

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  14. I had such an amazing L&D nurse the first time. I was in for a medical induction, and from the time she started my pitocin till the time my sweet babe was born (8+ hours later) she left my side 1 time, and 1 time only. She was everything I needed. Honest, caring, stern when need be, caring, and gave me my space when I really needed it.

    She was so amazing, that when it came time for my 2nd baby, I was also a medical inductin, and I requested her to be my nurse. She happened to be working that day (thank you God) and she was there the entire way. She knew when something was wrong, and called the Dr, and the NICU team when it became necessary, all the while I am thinking I am having an easy peasy labor and birth. She was so calm, and never let me know of the situation that was in front of us.

    I wouldn't know what I wouldn't have done without Skipper. She was amazing!!!

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  15. My L&D nurse with my second child helped me get through it. She was so motherly and nurturing, she knew just what I needed even though I didn't. I enjoyed her so much that I requested her for the delivery of my third child.

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  16. Ive always thought about being a nurse but I was scared of the schooling...Im not very good at math or science but I think I would love the job. I ended up getting my degree in education and I am now a teacher but I still think about possibly getting my nursing degree one day :)

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  17. When I had my son, we had unfortunately just buried my father in law the day before. The nurses found out and were VERY attentive with me. They even came in one day and just sat in my room asking if I was OK or needed to talk. They were extremely caring even though at the time I remember thinking, "why are they just staring at me" but now I can appreciate their concern. Hats off to ALL nurses!!!

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  18. I do have to add....although I don't remember exactly who was my L & D nurse, I DO remember how kind she was. She really helped me through the pain. Even if I'd scream when she'd walk out the door. LOL

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  19. I never knew how awesome nurses are until I was in the hospital having my first baby. The L&D nurses were wonderful. They helped me so much and were so kind and encouraging.

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  20. I just had my third baby 6 months ago and once again was so encouraged by the L&D nurses. I was induced at 6 days overdue and things moved along pretty fast for me. From piton IV starting to delivery was less than 3 hours. I was ready to push and the nurse called for the doctor, another nurse came in saying my doctor was delivering a baby in the next room. I was going nuts (no pain meds). This nurse got right in my face and yelled at me (in a good way) to get me back under control and helped me calm down. She tried to get me to relax and wait for the doctor but it didn't work. Nurse Kim delivered my son.

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  21. L&D nurses are the best. I had So Much Fear of delivery (to this day I can 't quite believe I did it--twice) and they just got me through it, I don't even know how. God bless them!!!

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  22. With my son the best nurse was my lactation consultant. She was so patient and kind and got me going in the right direction with that.

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  23. When I was a kid I was in a bad car accident and spent 9.5 weeks in the hospital in traction. Believe me I knew my nurses well and their efforts made such a huge difference. I had a few that I loved, some that I liked, and the ones where I dreaded their shifts. The nurses attitude definitely makes a huge difference in a persons recovery.
    One of my nurses during that time was expecting and she worked an evening shift. She would come in my room when all her other duties were done and fill out her charts while putting her feet up and we would chat. It was nice that she spent that personal time with me when she could have easily sat at the nurses station.

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  24. My brother had a lung transplant for pulmonary fibrosis, and his nurses in ICU were amazing. Their mastery of not just medicine, but technology, is impressive.

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  25. my dad has been in the hospital several times recently and it always make his visit easier when the nurses are awesome. I appreciate any person working in that capacity.

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  26. My L&D nurses were great, but I don't remember their names. :( I do remember having surgery a year or two before I had my daughter, and I had a great nurse named Carla. I felt so comforted with her, and was a bit disappointed when her shift was over every day. This is great what you're doing. Hope you reach your goal!

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  27. I had my oldest in a teaching hospital, and one of my nurses was actually a student - a grandma who had decided to do something different and become a nurse. Her name was Bonnie and she was amazing. I don't remember the other nurses' names, though they were all fabulous, but I will always remember Bonnie. She was reassuring and so excited for me to become a mom. She kept me laughing the whole time. She actually skipped a class (with her instructor's permission) so she could be there for my daughter's birth. She was a comfort to me and even though it's been 11 years since then, I haven't forgotten her. Now I'm in school studying to be a nurse, and it's my dream to work in L&D so I can give back what was given to me!

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  28. As a nurse for 27 years I applaud you for going after your dream. My work has been a calling in my life. It is an honor to be present when a new life enter this world, and in my case as a critical care nurse, to be with one as they leave us. To care for the patient and his or her loved ones is a sacred job, Hard work, technically challenging and ever changing, but I would do no other!

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  29. You are *so* right about the role of the L&D nurses. I wrote them a Thank You note because they were so great - they got me on the path to breastfeeding when I most certainly would have given up, and I ended up nursing my babe for 14 months (!). They also took pictures of our baby during my C-section so hubby could just sit with me and hold my hand. Talk about going above and beyond. I am so thankful for those nurses.

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  30. What a priviledge to be there for so many miracles! :) J.

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  31. What a priviledge to be there for so many miracles! :) J.

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  32. As I read this, we're coming up on the first birthday of our grandson, born via gestational carrier far from his parents' and our homes. The doctors and nurses permitted our daughter and her husband to share in the magical moment when the little guy appeared via C-section, and the family circle encompassed FOUR families: ours, our son-in-law's, the carrier's and her husband's. Love can expand in many directions, and the nurses orchestrated the day. Thank you!

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  33. I have 4 children and varying experiences with nurses. I was inspired by 1 nurse who I really clicked with and did such an amazing job helping me.

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  34. Thank you for the opportunity to help a great cause.

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  35. This is a great post! I have loved all the nurses that helped me in L & D with all of our babies...we have 7. I wanted to pursue nursing between our 2nd and 3rd child, but soon enough I was pregnant with our 4th. I still would like to pursue nursing and really feel that I would truly love it. I hope to get that chance. For now, I'm a "nurse" at home in every aspect to our seven children....oh, yes, and Daddy, too!;)

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  36. This is a great post! I have loved all the nurses that helped me in L & D with all of our babies...we have 7. I wanted to pursue nursing between our 2nd and 3rd child, but soon enough I was pregnant with our 4th. I still would like to pursue nursing and really feel that I would truly love it. I hope to get that chance. For now, I'm a "nurse" at home in every aspect to our seven children....oh, yes, and Daddy, too!;)

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  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  38. Hi, I am a CCU RN.trying to help you max out your comment charity giving.

    Just a strong reaction to a little sentence. I hope that you are not always the one who give the first bath. Maybe I am reading this too literally.
    Personally, I would be extremelly annoyed (I really wanted to put "pissed" but I guess it is not that nice...) that someone else than me gave my newborn its first bath. As a nurse, I totally understand your pride and joy in it; as a mother of three, I am saddened by the thought.
    My husband (lucky me I realize that) gave the first bath (first everything besides any medical care). I did not give birth at a hospital but with my midwifes who let us direct our efforts in this journey and gave guidance, support and strehght ( a lot believe me!). I just hope that you are not always the one who does the first thing with the babies you are helping into the world (unless per hospital policies or no one in the audience wants/can do it).
    I agree that nurses are just the best thing there is to nurture people in any health care event. And the patient and support system (husband, companion, grandmas,grandpas, friends, anybody attending the birth besides the mother) empowering force.
    Nurses are here when nobody else is sometimes.

    I love nurses and I am one too.
    I really hope you get the max amount given for your friend.
    Steph.

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  39. My L&D nurse literally saved my life. I had bounced in and out of the hospital for 2 days due to dehydration we thought was because of a stomach virus. They finally admitted me and as the nurse was talking to me I was having another round of stomach pain....right upper quadrant pain. Yup...she realized I probably had HELLP syndrome and immediately spoke to the on-call doctor and ordered the necessary tests that confirmed it. I was 35 weeks and my husband was on the other side of the country....I was able to reach him and have him head home on the red-eye. They stabilized me and my Mom stayed with me until the morning. My husband showed up at 6:45am and my sweet red headed baby girl was born at 7:30am. Luckily she was big and totally fine. Me, it took 5 days in the hospital before I was even beginning to recover. That baby is now nearly 15 and has a brother that was a full term v-bac born 2.5 years later. We feel very blessed that that nurse realized I had HELLP Syndrome. It could have been a disaster for both my daughter and I if she had not.

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  40. My sister in law is a hospice nurse and she is wonderful!

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  41. My L&D nurse was an angel. I have a soft spot in my heart for her and for everyone else that makes delivery so personal and special. She cheered me on when I needed it most and I cried when I had to say goodbye to her. My special little daughter that she helped deliver spent the first year and a half of her life in and out of the hospital due to various illnesses and complications. My world then opened up to pediatric nurses and the gift they are to struggling parents with sick children. They will make or break your experience and luckily for us every single pediatric nurse she had was literally sent from above.

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  42. To be honest I can't remember many of my L&D nurses specifically. I think it's because my anesthesiologist outshined them all. He was amazing!!! I still remember his name and talk about him often.

    Anyway, back to the nurses, any nurse who listens to me and values me as a person, rather than just another patient to see in their long and busy days, is a blessing to me. I hate to say it, but I've had some bad nurses. But, I've also had some really good ones. Ones who made me feel like I was their only patient. Ones who listened to me right away when I said I was a hard stick and required an IV nurse (instead of sticking me 4 times to prove they could do it on their own). Nurses who have gone out of their way to make my hospital stay a little more pleasant. Nurses are a blessing and deserve so much more recogntion, especially those ones who listen to their patients needs.

    Oh, and there was one nurse in particular who really helped me out after my DD was born. I was so swollen from my c-section when I was ready to leave the hospital that my pants wouldn't fit. Even the maternity pants I wore into the hospital wouldn't go on! We had already signed our discharge papers and were ready to go. I felt awful! My nurse went and got a pair of her own scrubs and let me wear them home. She sure prevented a new mom meltdown there, and I hadn't even made it out of the hospital yet!

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  43. I'm looking hard at going back to school this fall. If the country ever goes to a flat tax system and I find myself out of a job, being an L&D Nurse could totally be my backup plan!
    I lost a friend to CF in high school - glad my comment could help in memory of your dear friend!

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  44. My L&D nurse was amazing! My daughter came along so quickly, really unexpectedly, that it was just me and the nurse in the room! Thank goodness she was there, she was awesome.

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  45. And oh, I forgot to mention, one one my friends is an OR nurse. If I ever need surgery, she is the one I want. She's calm, organized, and extremely efficient. Nurses rock!

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  46. I know this is late, but I just had to post. My nurses for my first L&D were wonderful(the same place where you work!), but the most amazing, best L&D nurse I had was my mom. She was there for my first and second labor and delivery and everything she did I trusted. It was nice having someone who is actually a L&D nurse, as my L&D coach. My mama(who you use to work with!)

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I love comments! And, I welcome your thoughts that aren't in agreement with mine...as long as they are respectful!

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