Labor & Delivery is a place unlike anywhere else. It is a place where new families are created. It is a place where dreams of a new family are shattered. It is a place where countless women and babies walk the tightrope between life and death. Working in Labor & Delivery can be extremely stressful and oftentimes overwhelming, but there’s a reason why we keep coming back. Watching women turn into mothers and men into fathers in a single instant will never get old.
Labor & Delivery is getting tears in your eyes when you watch a couple you’ve connected with welcome their baby into the world. Even though you’ve just met and will likely never see each other again, there’s something special about sharing that experience that makes you feel like you’ve known each other forever.
Labor & Delivery is a place full of opposites. A woman grieving a devastating loss can be in the room next door to a family celebrating a new addition and 14-year-old mother can be in the room next door to a 45-year-old mother. Regardless of the circumstances, each family that walks through the L&D doors will be forever changed.
Labor & Delivery is immediately turning to look at the fetal monitoring board when you hear the deceleration alarm go off even though you’ve never met the patient and know nothing about her. For those tense moments when lives hang on the line, all conversations cease and all staff not involved in the patient’s care stares at the screen and prays for the heart rate to go back up.
Labor & Delivery is seeing things that make some people pass out, but bother us so little that we have no problem eating lunch immediately afterwards. Sometimes I have to remind myself that placentas and amniotic fluid are not normal mealtime topics.
Labor & Delivery is where emergencies are the biggest version of controlled chaos imaginable. When an emergency happens, what seems like a million people respond, each doing a specific task and working together as a team to resolve the situation.
Labor & Delivery is knowing that while you may not remember a mom and her baby several years down the road, she will remember you. Every word you say, every action you take and every smile you give is important and meaningful to patients.
I’ve attended many births, and at each one, I find that I am often overwhelmed with the presence of love and importance of possibility as a new life enters the world. No matter what the parents' circumstances are, whether this child was planned or not, or how many children they have had before, all questions go to the side as a parent looks into their child’s eyes for the first time and imagines the possibilities. More than anything, working in Labor & Delivery is having the privilege of being invited to share in that most special moment of a family’s life, and that’s something I’ll never take for granted.