Cinderella - Nursing Labor and Delivery
Cinderella story is a traditional story. For me, it was more than a story, it was real. It was just another busy night in the labor and delivery unit. Nurses were running around trying to give the report to the oncoming shift; doctors were yelling that they needed another operating room opened for a cesarean section; babies were coming; families were laughing, congratulating each other; and as for the exhausted mothers, they kept on pushing and delivering babies.It was just another busy night in the labor and delivery unit. Nurses were running around trying to give the report to the oncoming shift; doctors were yelling that they needed another operating room opened for a cesarean section; babies were coming; families were laughing, congratulating each other; and as for the exhausted mothers, they kept on pushing and delivering babies.
I got my assignment. I had to get report from Cathy, the nicest and the most unflustered nurse on the unit. Before she started the report, she took my hands, looked me deeply in the eyes and smiled. Cathy had one of those smiles that could put a smile on the nastiest doctor on the unit, Dr. Jandi."My dear, you will love this patient. She is very nice. Her only problem is that she needs attention. I asked Susan to assign her to you. She needs a young nurse like you."My heart skipped a little. I was just a year out of nursing school. I was lucky to be accepted as a staff nurse at one of the country's leading teaching hospitals.
The obstetrical unit was one of the best in the country and specialized in high risk and textbook cases. I worked with doctors and nurses that were leaders in their field. In fact, I learned every day that I was at that unit. However, nothing prepared me for my experience that night.Before Cathy could give me the report, we heard screaming coming from my patient room. All the available staff ran to the room. Nothing prepared me for what I saw next.
The single room was in semidarkness, but I could make out the female form writhing on the bed and yelling obscenities. Do not get wrong. Yelling and cursing is a normal occurrence in the unit but, not like this. This person in the bed was not in physical pain. This person just wanted to be heard. Her screeching sounded like feeding time at the local zoo.Somebody turned on the lights, and my heart skipped! Shackled to the bed was a girl/woman. I call her girl/woman because even though her pregnant belly was straining with the weight of her unborn baby, this patient was still a girl. Her underdeveloped breasts were barely protruding from her chest; her face still had the soft innocence of a child, and the hair on her pubis area was still fine and hardly visible. The one thing that stood out from her face was her eyes. Her tired eyes seemed as if she had the worries of the whole world. Her tired eyes filled with fear, sadness, and mistrust. I could see that she was holding her tears back.My reluctant patient was writhing in pain. She was spread-eagle in bed like a fish recently caught out of the water. Her hospital gown was in tatters and wet with a combination of urine and some sticky, yellowish substance; her belly looked like an oversized, shining balloon, and feces covered her once whitewashed hospital gown. The room smelled like the men's bathroom at the trucking stop. There were two female correction officers trying to restrain the writhing girl/woman in bed. Feces and some mustard substance cover their well ironed uniforms. The younger officer was screaming on top of her voice at the girl/woman. The girl/woman reached up and spit in her direction while shouting out some expletives.
The new chief resident yelled in between the screams, "What is going on here."The patient answered her with a series of expletives from the girl/woman. At that point, everybody started talking and shouting at each other, and at the girl/woman. From where I was standing, I saw the girl/woman raise her hands as if to beg for help, and then the unthinkable happened. She awkwardly slumped down on her bed and the tears started coming.The chief resident started screaming, "Who is the nurse for this patient? Where is the charge nurse? I need this patient under control now! I have to make sure the baby is fine!"
I started questioning why I thought Cathy was the nicest nurse. Why did she recommend that I should be assigned to this person? I turned to look for Cathy, but she was already walking down the hallway. As I turned to chase after her, I heard the girl/woman scream,
"Hey nurse, get me some water now!"
As I hesitated, she screeched in a childlike voice,
"hey cow, can you f- hear me!"
Now I consider myself a very patient person, but I have problem tolerating any cursing of any kind. I walked back to the room and calmly ushered everybody out of the room well except for the police officers. After I had closed the door, I pulled out a chair and sat down next to the bed. I could smell mixture of urine, feces and vomit emanating from the girl/woman. The girl/woman looked at me like I just slapped the Pope.With the sweetest smile, I told my patient that I would not tolerate her cursing. I introduced myself, gave her permission to call me by the first name. I laid down the ground rule that I would help her but that she needed to behave, and talk to me instead of yelling and cursing. Surprisingly, she nodded in agreement.
The first thing I did after getting her the water was to move her to another room. Apart from the shackles, the move was easy. She only had her meager belongings a plastic hospital bag holding her orange jail suit and plastic flip-flop slippers, and of course the two officers. The officers gratefully exited the putrid room.In the clean room, I made sure that the patient, Nadine, was stable, comfortable and clean. I asked Nadine why she was yelling and cursing earlier. She explained that she wanted the shackles off her legs so that she could walk around the room. The officers insisted that the patient must be restrained. I left Nadine and her officers watching cartoons get more information about her.
As I was reading her chart, I started to sob. My charge nurse was sympathetic. She assigned another nurse to cover for me. This gave me time to finish my chart-reading-crying moment in the lounge without any interruptions.
Nadine was only 13 years old! She lived at home with her mom who started prostituting her to her series of boyfriends by the age of eight. Nadine was pregnant at nine, twice at ten, and twice at eleven, at twelve and now at 13. She had five abortions and one miscarriage. Her mother was eager to use her to attract men who not only raped little Nadine, but also physically and emotionally abused her. This time around, she became pregnant by her own father who came back into her life after 12 years of deserting them. He came back to rape his own daughter not once, but several times.
When she became pregnant at twelve, he beat her so much that she lost the baby.This time around, he started to beat her, but Nadine grabbed the nearest thing around a kitchen knife and stabbed him seventy two times! When the mother came home, she started screaming and hitting Nadine. Nadine stabbed her mother so many times that the coroner could not identify the number of stabbing. Nadine then lived with the dead bodies for nearly a month before neighbors started complaining of the rancid smell coming from the apartment.
The courts sentenced Nadine to be treated at a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, hence the shackles and the two officers. Upon admission, Nadine requested abortion, but she was too so far into the pregnancy. So Nadine decided to have the baby. However, she decided that she will give the baby up for adoption.After I cried and wiped my face, I decided that I would be Nadine's support person. I then realized why Cathy thought that I would be the perfect nurse for Nadine. I was closer in age with Nadine, and I have a gift of nurturing and mothering. For the rest of Nadine labor and delivery, I was at her bedside. When my shift ended, I did not go home. I sat with her. We talked about everything like long lost friends. Nadine was a normal 13 year old. She loved make up, fashion, Hollywood stars, MTV, rock and roll, malls, music, shopping. She was eager to learn different things. She loved going to school in the psychiatric hospital. Her mother never bothered to enroll her in school! The only thing that she did not discuss was boys. When her labor started, Nadine held fast on to my hand. When she cried, I was there to give her hugs and reassurance. When her water broke, I was there to explain and to comfort her.
I started telling her the story of Cinderella to get her mind off from the pain. After one severe contraction, she turned to me and asked me if I could call her "Rella" short for Cinderella. I laughed, but I started calling her 'my baby Rella.' She said that she loved it when I called her 'my baby'. I understood. When Nadine gave birth to her baby girl, she did not want to see her, but she wanted her named after me. Thirty two hours after I met Nadine, we parted ways, but not before she promised me that she would behave and go back to school.We kept in contact. I visited her often at the psychiatric hospital and later at a group home. When I moved away with a new husband to another state, we continued to keep in contact.
Nadine was 18 years old the last time she wrote to me. Then one day, as I was teaching a group of newly hired nurses how to set up the operating room table, one of them raised her hand to ask a question, "Excuse me professor, can we deliver Baby Rella in this room".I stopped in amazement. Only one other person knew the meaning of Baby Rella'. My Nadine had come home. I screamed and hugged her. We were crying and talking at the same time. The young woman standing in front of me was beautiful and self-assured. Her well styled hair was neat. She was wearing a well ironed nursing uniform. She walked like a royalty. Her once irritated eyes were sparkling with intelligence and enthusiasm. Nadine decided to be a nurse just like me. I was proud of her.
Today, 'my baby Rella', is the labor and delivery nursing director at the same hospital we met years ago. Although I now have my own children, I will never forget that day I adopted 'my baby Rella'. Nadine tried unsuccessfully to find her daughter, but she believed that one day God will send her home too. Nadine refused to get married, but she remains a very active member in the lives of my children, and my family. When I had my last child, she was there to comfort and to coach me.
Disclaimer: "The events depicted in this story are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental."Last edit by Joe V on Jan 24, '17
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Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 243; Likes: 659Nov 17, '14yikes, I said "i hate it" when my fingers slipped on the keyboard. I DO NOT hate this story, so sorry. It was a nice story.Mar 8, '16I wanted to upvote to say I liked this story a lot, however I can't seem to vote in the poll. Lovely uplifting story, chiandre.
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