Today was anxiety day on the labor deck.
Not one but two women in the OR tried to look at the needle during placement of their spinal.
Miss PTSD (post traumatic distress disorder) had two anesthesiologists on her prior section miscommunicate, with each thinking the other had loaded up the epidural before incision. Yes, she felt it. In these situations, I have a formula: establish rapport, reduce anxiety by answering all questions, frame the perspective for the patient (baby is so exciting, and soon!), hold hands and do not chart prior to delivery, and medicate as needed for anxiety. And of course give Reiki throughout, especially while holding the patient's hand.
My colleagues in Obstetrics think that's just me being nice. No, I am using every tool at my disposal. I know it's effect is working because when they go to recovery room after the surgery, they have pain, throw up, get nervous, itch.
Miss Nurse-that-has-seen-too-much-and-is-now-a-patient had been off her meds
the whole pregnancy and was a basket case in pre-op. I spent twenty minutes sitting on her bed talking to her and her husband. For free. We are not compensated for talking. Only for work. But I knew she would miss out on an important life event if she gave in to the anxiety.
The plan worked flawlessly, of course until recovery room...
Miss Asian Persuasion with braces as an adult fooled me. Anxiety I could not see in prep, language barrier, compounded by urgency of surgery due to fetal distress. She confused pressure and pain, or had a poor block. She screamed during delivery of the infant. Of course, there was a six foot five inch linebacker obstetrician assisting, and pressing on the upper abdomen with a size nine glove paw of a hand.
After delivery she went out. Scramble the brains...lots of medication to erase the memory and deeply sedate. In recovery room she was all smiles. Go figure!
Slowly, with each laboring patient, with each woman in the OR, my message is 'you can!' 'You CAN!'. And they do.
Remember, women, it's your power. Take it! It is all in how you think about it. Not in birth plans, hypno births and birthing balls. You do not need external strategy and devices to give birth. Just go in each moment, breathe, and take advantage of the resources that are offered you. Select from anesthesia, nursing, obstetrics, perinatology, and all of our vast experience helping people just like you. It is your call.
'today you have given birth. you are the Queen!'
That is what my postpartum nurse said to me when she helped me take my shower in my room.
Peace and love, and Namaste,