By Dianne Kemp, BA, RN
I have had many amazing experiences in my nursing career. This is one example.
I frequently developed relationships with the students in my Childbirth classes. And all too often, it was the expectant moms who planned an intervention free birth and ended up with a Cesarean Section.
This happened to Sue and Don (not their real names). I spent most of her labor with her – her first baby. Sue’s mother waited patiently in the waiting room for her first grandchild.
There were complications during the labor and the doctor decided a c-section was necessary. Obviously, this is a very frightening time for the patient and her family.
I was often assigned the role of “baby catcher” during a c-section. This means I would scrub and gown in sterile surgical attire and would receive the baby at birth – handed from the doctor to me. I would then take the baby to a warmer, do the initial assessment, dry the baby, wrap it and show it to the mother. I often called the father (if he was present) over to the warmer to meet his new child. I encouraged him to talk to the newborn and it never ceased to amaze me that his voice would calm the usually crying babe. This of course, made dad very proud. Yet another proof that babies hear in utero.
The next step was to take the baby to the nursery for further assessment before being returned to mom in recovery. I would carry the baby, stopping by the waiting room for family to take a great peek. This time, knowing how worried everyone was, I asked the dad if he wanted to carry the baby. After some initial hesitancy, he agreed and gingerly took the baby into his arms. I walked slowly with him – he looked like he was carrying a bunch of raw eggs fearing they would break! Grandma was in the waiting room – she was an older woman and had difficulty walking. Dad walked in with the baby and stood in front of grandma. She looked up at him and he carefully placed the baby in her arms. The look of amazement and adoration was beautiful as they both laughed and cried. Dad handed me the camera he had in his pocket and I took a picture
I then took the baby from grandma and dad helped her walk to the nursery where they both watched the nurses bathe and dress the baby.
I received a letter from that couple a few years later.
Grandma had passed away and the family was going through her things. They came across the picture that I had taken that day and wanted to thank me for the happy moment and memory.
Labor and delivery nurses have a career with many highs and lows – most nurses do. But memories like this one bring such joy.
Dianne Kemp was born in Detroit and moved to Lexington at age 9. She received her Associate Degree in Nursing Science in 1972 from SC4, and a Bachelors in Healthcare Psychology from Graceland College (Iowa) in 1996.
Dianne’s career developed from her love of babies. She was a Maternal Child nurse for 45 years – developing and teaching childbirth and parenting education classes, working as an RN in Mother Baby Care and was the first lactation consultant in the county. She is now volunteering as a chaplain at River District Hospital since losing her vision in her left eye due to a retinal detachment in 2010.
Dianne is the proud mother of three children (one who was disabled and passed away in 2007) and two grandchildren.
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