While I cannot share any details I was able to see and do some amazing things! I will share that on my first day, within three minutes of being there, I saw a birth. What a beautiful, joyful experience! I learned a lot throughout this clinical experience not just from a nursing perspective, but about my personal beliefs and thoughts.
I'd like to preface this by saying that I do not have my own children, so I am speaking from a viewpoint of never going through labor. Everyone has their own beliefs on what they feel is right/best for them, today I'm sharing mine! I'd love hear your thoughts on them too!
1| Meet people where they are in life.
This is just a good life lesson in general. UVA is a huge teaching hospital, so the people we work with come from all sorts of backgrounds. It was rare to see a nuclear family, which was sad simply because bringing a baby in the world is a huge responsibility and a lot of these moms are doing it all on their own. Regardless, you need to throw your judgement card out the window (come on, we are all guilty) and care for everyone the same. No one person is better than the other or deserves special or different treatment.
2| BreastFeeding is Fantastic
Not that I have personal experience, but it's not necessary to, to know how great it is for both mom and baby. Breastfeeding promotes instant bonding for mom and baby, there are tons of health benefits for mom and baby (short and long term) and best of all it is FREE!! Formula is expensive and your body is providing you will free food that will always be 100% better for your baby than formula. I spent most of my days on Postpartum and some moms were completely against Breastfeeding and others embraced it. Do your research before hand, learn the benefits, become educated and know that it is a learning process for both you and baby. The hospital employs Lactation consultants to help you and teach you, use them! And just always know that if breastfeeding doesn't work, that does not mean you are a failure.
3| Epidural = Catheter
Something I had no idea about (and probably most of you don't either) is that after the anesthesiologist places an Epidural, the nurses have to put a catheter in your bladder. The epidural causes you to loss feeling in your legs so you are unable to tell how full your bladder is. A catheter is placed to drain your bladder for you. Also, once you get the epidural you are bed bound. The obvious plus of an epidural is that it takes the pain away, which for some is extremely important. Once again, do your research, know the risks and benefits and pick an option that works best for you. You can have pain medicine through your IV if you do not want an Epidural, though these are not long lasting. Prior to this clinical I would have told you that I wanted an Epidural ASAP. Now, post clinical, I'd say that I really want to try to go without it. I'm sure all the moms out there are shaking their heads and saying "this girl has no clue" and I don't, but I know it's definitely possible to be done (plus I don't want to have a catheter!).
4| I will have a midwife, not a Obstetrician.
During my OB class we had a midwife come speak with us and I was already very intrigued by the idea. There is research to show that midwives use less intervention (i.e: pitocin, epidurals and C-Sections), you do not have to be on the monitor constantly (at UVA you are strapped to a fetal heart rate monitor and cannot walk around), and you can labor in different positions, in a tub, etc. Midwives have a much more holistic approach to their care and I think are much more personable. When people think of Midwives, I think a lot of people think of "at home births" or water births, which is not always the case. You can still have your baby in a hospital with a midwife or at a birthing center. Seeing birth in a setting where so many interventions are used, I now know that I want the complete opposite of that experience (though I still want to have it in the hospital to be on the safe side).
5| Enjoy the newborn stage
Newborns are the best! There was nothing better than snuggling with the newborn babies and getting to look at their peaceful little faces. So many opportunities and experiences await these little precious beings, what an exciting time! Babies don't keep and before we know it they will be going nonstop! Even though the newborn stage is exhausting, soak in all those special moments because you never get them back.
This clinical experience was an amazing opportunity and I'm so glad we started off with such a fun one! While I'm not sure I could be an OB/GYN nurse, I definitely enjoyed my time on the unit. I learned a lot about myself and what it is going to take to become a successful nurse. NURSING IS NOT FOR THE WEAK. There are no scheduled lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, time to get your head together. It's all on the go and you better be able to keep up!
I can only pray and hope that all my clinical experiences are just as fantastic as this one!
What are your thoughts on any of the above points? Let's talk!