Oh, boy. I remember giving birth to my first like it was yesterday, probably because going through childbirth is a very, very memorable time in person’s life.
And just like with so many other social situations that humans encounter, there are other humans to be dealt with. Sometimes a certain set of people who find themselves in a room together mesh well. They get along, and whatever has to go down goes down pretty — in fact, amazingly — smoothly.
And yet, with “unpredictable” being the name of the game when it comes to labor, delivery, babies, people, and, well, life in general, life is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get.
To deal with the nurses, check out what we have to share today: 15 rules hospitals make nurses follow (and 5 they always break!).
First up, here are 15 rules hospitals make nurses follow:
20 Mama Must Ride To The Recovery Room
It’s not something that’s up to them. After a mom has given birth and hopefully had an adequate shot at the whole breastfeeding thing, she’ll be cleaned up, go pee, and what have you. When all is said and done, it’s time for both mom and baby to make their short journey to another room: the recovery room, where many new fams will spend at least a few days adjusting and healing.
19 Don’t Admit Moms ‘Til They’re Dilated To A Set Amount
This was the one thing that made me kind of nervous. Labor? Sure, that will be an exciting experience! Birth? Bring it on! What a trip! But what about getting to the hospital at the right time? That can be tricky, most especially as a first-time mother. If you get there too early, meaning they check you and you are not yet quite dilated enough to be admitted, they won’t escort you to a birthing room.
18 Take Care While Taking Blood Pressure
I actually have a real-life story with this one, as I do with most of these pregnancy and birth topics by now as a mom. You will notice that the main thing nurses do, any time you encounter them in your life is, yep, you guessed it! Take your vitals, predominantly your blood pressure. They should make sure your arm is in the right position and you are seated correctly. If they don’t, your hand can start to balloon up quite terrifyingly…
17 Don’t Let Mom Stand Up On Her Own After Birth
It just isn’t done. Many moms opt for pain-numbing epidurals. Some don’t. But rather than risk you collapsing or fainting or otherwise causing harm to yourself and others while trying to stand up on your own right after GIVING BIRTH, nurses in L&D will assist you as you rise and move on to the next step.
16 Watch Her Pee For The First Time
To be honest, I don’t always even bother with doors in public restrooms now that I’m a mom. It’s a practical matter of steadying a little toddler but on the potty or fitting one or two kiddos in there with me while I go. And this non-private restroom use starts right after giving birth: The nurse will help you there, sit, do it (running water helps…), clean up with a peri bottle, and get outfitted with your postpartum undergarment setup.
15 Collect The Pee For The First Few Hours
Not only will the nurse watch you/help you right after you give birth, but they will also actually collect your urine in an insert potty thing that sits positioned within the John, which is a very grandma/grandpa way of saying “toilet.” They want to know that you’re not dehydrated and be able to monitor for other problems.
14 Teach Her To Clean Up With A Squirt Bottle
I mentioned the cleaning up after birth, right? Well, get used to “wiping up” in a whole new way… In some countries, people may already be quite familiar with using a stream of water to cleanse themselves at certain times, via a bidet. Well, it’s standard after giving birth to use a little plastic squirt bottle: Just aim and fire!
13 Clean Up Deuces From Everyone In The room
Nurses also have to act as janitors, of sorts. Sure, the hospital will likely also have an actual cleanup crew, but seeing as it’s a nurse’s job to keep things sanitary and healthy when mom or baby has a “movement” they take care of it — time after time.
12 Send Moms Home Or Offer Them The Chance To Roam The Halls
Okay, so earlier I mentioned that a woman in labor will often not be admitted to the hospital unless she is dilated enough to be considered far enough along in labor that she actually belongs in a delivery room. Well, nurses are trained to present you with two options. The triage nurse will tell you that you can go home or elsewhere, or, likely, feel free to walk about the halls to encourage labor to progress.
11 Don’t Demand The Doctor ‘Til It’s Go Time
Don’t stress too much about if “your” doctor is the one to deliver your baby. The thing is, it’s more about the nurse or nurses on duty when you are admitted. Not until the very last moments of pushing, in many cases, will a doctor be called in to perform the actual delivery, funnily enough.
10 Get Delivered Moms Out And Still-Pregnant Ones In
When a nurse is on shift, it’s a cycle (some argue connected to the moon cycle, but that’s a whole other article…) of women coming in and out. They have to keep the actual delivery rooms open, and so I’m just saying they might appear quite eager to get a mom who’s given birth moved out and over to a recovery room so that the next one has a place to do her delivery thang.
9 School New Parents In Newborn Care
Nurses aren’t just there to take care of the mom. They are not just there to take care of the baby. They are there to make sure that this brand-new caretaking relationship is off to a good start, and so they will school you in techniques and make you watch videos, most likely, to learn how to actually take care of that new tiny human.
8 Quiz New Moms In Self-Care
Beyond this, they need to know that you have all of the knowledge and tools to take care of yourself. A social worker will likely pop by during your postpartum stay to check in and let you know that there resources for all domestic and mental health situations that may arise or are currently afoot. Regular nurses will instruct you in pain management and taking care of your postpartum body.
7 Don’t Let You Go Home ‘Til You Seem Capable
So yes, they’ve schooled you — and nurses won’t be able to discharge you until the paperwork says that you’ve got it down. Are you doing okay? Is your baby? They have the experience and medical knowledge to assess this. Though a doctor will be the one to sign on the dotted line that you get to get out of there, a nurse will be the one to walk you through step by step.
6 Don’t Let In People You Don’t Want There
Nurse — aka bouncer? Perhaps. You get to decide who you want in your labor and delivery or recovery room, and who you don’t. Ideally, a hospital will have a careful system for admitting visitors which involves not only providing ID but also signing in and out and being on the list of welcome visitors.
And here are 5 rules they always break:
5 Giving Meds From Their Personal Stash
In the best cases, nurses (like teachers or, say, librarians…) are doing what they do because they have a deep-seated desire to take care of others. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this, alone…
When my husband and I were in the hospital, he had a headache, and I didn’t have my usual stash of ibuprofen in my bag because I had just been PREGNANT. The nurse said she’d be glad to share from her own stash if she had any (but that she couldn’t give from hospital supplies because he wasn’t a patient).
4 First Step: Put Mom In One Of Those Gorgeous Gowns
They will tell you to go in the bathroom and change into a gown, or help you to do so, perhaps. This is not just with childbirth but in all cases of being admitted to a hospital. But you know what? Sometimes there isn’t time. Sometimes moms don’t want to feel like an ill patient and their determination and attitude stays up when they dress like, well, themselves. I ended up giving birth in my fave maternity tank.
3 Food Is Served At Certain Times
Okay, so, the cafeteria is part of the business, and it’s staffed at certain times, and meals are ordered and prepared and served at set meal periods throughout the day. But when you’ve just given birth, “normal person” hours don’t apply to you. You need apple juice and toast at 3 a.m. You need a fruit popsicle, like, NOW. And from the breakroom supply, your lovely nurse will likely do her best to oblige.
2 Keep The Environment Clean
Eliminating the spread of sickness and disease and promoting healing: This is a nurse’s job. But it is also her job to do a LOT of other things, and so I noticed that making sure your bedding, restroom, and so on and so forth are clean and fresh may sort of fall by the wayside.
1 Respect A Mother’s Birth Plan
The best of plans, man… Nurses will often ask about your birth plan when you are admitted. Shifts may change, and if you’re lucky, your NEXT nurse may also ask or check your chart to see what your wishes are. But also, this whole thing is sort of a routine for them. You know — the daily grind of a really rather repetitive job… This is why some women feel they really need to speak up about their wishes, or even bring someone along to be their advocate, be it a birth partner or doula, or both.
Sources: BabyCenter.com, BabyGaga.com