Labor Day with a Labor and Delivery NurseSep 1, 2017
Labor Day celebrates the end of summer and all the hard work you put in over the course of the year. While many people get the day off, some jobs work through holidays, like nurses. And on Labor Day, who better to talk to than someone who experiences labor every day – a labor and delivery nurse.
Ashton Henry, a labor and delivery nurse at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, has been working in the OB unit for a year and a half. She went into labor and delivery nursing because she thinks that bringing children into the world is one of the most a beautiful things and she loves helping families through the process. Ashton walked us through a normal day on the L&D floor.
What‘s it like being a labor and delivery nurse?
It’s the most rewarding job. It’s a rollercoaster ride, because it seems like such a happy time, but it can also be a sad time and stressful time. Most days it’s happy, but some days you have unfortunate things happen like a stillbirth. When that happens, you have to just love on the mom. Even with those bad days, it’s still incredibly rewarding. It’s wonderful seeing those beautiful babies come into the world. It makes it the best job.
What is a normal day on the Labor and Delivery floor like?
We come in at the start of our shift (either 7 AM or 7 PM) and get our report for the day. We only have one patient at a time on the unit, so we either admit a patient coming in or take over caring for a patient that is already in a room and in labor.
We stay with the mom and help her through labor – checking monitors to make sure mom and baby are doing well, we help with coping techniques, offer birthing balls, keep mom hydrated and encourage her through the pain. We are in there almost 24/7 and focus on giving Mom everything she needs.
Once it’s time for the baby to arrive, we coach mom in pushing and call the doctor in for the delivery. If mom needs a C-section, we prepare her for surgery and make sure she’s comfortable and knows what is going on. After the baby is born, we keep mom and baby for about two hours to do skin-to-skin and let them bond. After that time, they are moved to either the Mother/Baby floor or the high-risk unit, depending on the situation.
If we still have time left in the shift, we may move to a newly admitted patient to help another baby come into the world.
I always hope that by the end of my shift my patient has a baby. You work with a mom and get to know her really well, so getting to coach her through the whole process is rewarding.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love all the things about my job, but I love seeing the face of the parents when the baby finally arrives. Seeing that joy and love is amazing. It’s such a unique feeling, and being able to be a part of that process is incredible.
What do you wish more moms knew about Labor and Delivery?
We are there to help! We are there to do whatever we can to help them. Our goal is to have a healthy baby and a healthy mom. At the end of the day, that’s what we want. It may not be an easy process, but we will do everything we can to make it as smooth as possible.