Hi! My name is Hollie and I am a registered nurse that has worked in Women’s Health, primarily Labor and Delivery, since 2001.
I hold national certifications in both Inpatient Obstetrics and Electronic Fetal Monitoring and am an Intermediate Fetal Monitoring Instructor for AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing). I am also nationally certified in Patient Safety. I’ve worked in hospitals of every size, from facilities that do fewer than 400 deliveries a year, to facilities that do more than 3000 deliveries a year.
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Working in Labor and Delivery is an incredibly emotional experience, but there is no other place in the hospital that I would rather work. I have the privilege of working with families who are having the best day of their lives. When things go as expected a new life enters the world and all is well. But sometimes, I walk with families who are experiencing the worst day of their lives. Having a baby who is not healthy, or is not born according to plan, can be an extremely difficult experience.
Sometimes the situation is already occurring when the mom gets to us at the hospital. For example, I remember one mom who came in ready to deliver except for one major problem. She was breech and the foot was the first thing trying to come out. When we examined her further, she was found to have a cord prolapse (when the cord comes out before the baby). We rushed her to the Operating Room for an emergency C/Section and transferred the baby for cooling therapy at a bigger hospital. Even though we did everything we could as fast as we could, both the nursing staff and the doctor wished we could have done more to give the baby the best chance possible.
Sometimes the situation happens during labor at the hospital. I remember another situation where the baby was definitely showing signs of distress. I had done everything in my control to remedy the situation and get as much oxygen to the baby as possible. Finally, after much discussion (and maybe a few arguments), the doctor did an emergency c/section. We transferred that baby for cooling therapy at a bigger hospital too. I’ve always wondered how that baby did and whether there were any long term issues because of the labor and birth.
As a nurse, it is situations like these that I’ll never forget. I can’t tell you the names of patients or situations when everything went right. But I can list the names and give crystal clear details, years later, of situations where things went drastically wrong. The vast majority were no one’s fault and still had positive outcomes in the long run. But even still, those situations are the stories that keep nurses up at night and that they tell to the next generation of nurses to help teach.
When unexpected situations happen, parents often don’t know what questions to ask or understand everything that they are being told. Often, mom is recovering from major surgery or the baby is transferred to a different hospital. It is important to take notes or have another family member there to help you remember what the doctors and nurses say. It is also important to get copies of the medical records so that you have them if you ever need them.
It is also important to explore your legal rights (quickly) if you think a mistake was made that caused injury to your child. There are time limits in each state for how long you have to take legal action and getting in touch with an experienced birth injury attorney early is important. Together with medical experts, this attorney can also help you determine if your child’s injury could have been avoided.
I know that you might be thinking “but I like my doctor” or “What will people think if I sue my doctor”, but ask yourself this: Is it what is best for your child? Do you need financial resources to help care for your child, now and in the future? How will you get work and get your child to all of their therapies, appointments, etc.? Remember that looking into legal action does not mean you are personally attacking your doctor or nurse. While both doctors and nurses are sworn to do no harm, they are human, and mistakes can happen. You must do what is best for you, your child, and your family.
If you have questions, think your child was injured at birth, or need resources please fill out the form on the Birth Injury Web official website. I am looking forward to hearing from you and helping you and your child.