Will it wreck me? Would it wreck you?

  1. 0
    I'd been - up until now - thinking that I want to go into Labor and Delivery. I've posted before about what it took for my wife and I to finally have our son. 10 years of infertility battles, then 3 miscarriages, then full term stillbirth of our first son, then finally our true miracle boy (who will be 4 in February) and then 4 more miscarriages since him. So, having been through the worst, and the best, I want to be there for those who are going through what I've gone through.

    But then I started thinking about my emotional fortitude. What if every time I see a happy outcome, a family getting to take home their new bundle of joy, I hurt inside because I so wanted to give our boy a sibling and we cant. And what if when someone does go through the worst, and I'm there for them, and doing what I know helped my wife and I when it was our time. What if that just totally wrecks me? Part of me thinks it will help me grow, and it will help me feel gratified in what I will be doing. But part of me thinks it will hurt too much.

    Or, in terms someone not in my situation might understand: If you'd lost someone to cancer, could you work in oncology and feel like you were going to be OK, that you'd be doing something for the greater good, something that makes it ok for someone else, or would it hurt you too much?

    I did get the opportunity to transfer for next semester to the section that will be going to OB clincals at the hospital we delivered our boys, where I'd thought I wanted to work. And now that I'm faced with it, I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to deal with it.


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  2. 26 Comments...

  3. 0
    You know there were so many days - in any area that I worked in where I wondered if I had the strength and the fortitude to deal with things internally. I decided I didn't and left to work in areas that were less emotionally taxing - even taking myself completely out of nursing for a year.

    But...ultimately - what makes this work the most painful is also that which makes it the most rewarding. When I went back, I chose to play a bigger game, to expose myself to all the highs and lows. For me it was so worth it.

    You have a special gift of having been in the very shoes you are feeling burdened by at this moment. So many people have so much to gain from your wisdom and insight and experience. You may find the experiences you have with others even provide some measure of healing for you over time.

    My husband was in your shoes with his previous wife - 8 miscarriages and 1 loss of what would have been a viable infant were it not for a placenta previa. We now have a 4 year old son - my 5th child - his only child. I know for him that helping others through those experiences ultimately helped him deal with his own.

    I would strongly encourage you to take an infant loss training course - there are many available - so that you are just that much better prepared to deal with the things you will face.

    It won't be easy for you but then if it were easy, anyone could do it...

    You may love it - and if you hate it, you can change it.
  4. 0
    I don't know if this will help, but I'll share a *little* of my own experience.

    Before I became a nurse, I had a severe Trauma. My GCS when EMS arrived was 5 (though I *think* they assessed wrongly, I do not recall the event at all)...It improved to 8 then 10 and now it is usually 15. I had a SDH which resolved, hemothorax, fractured pelvis, and a busted up jaw. As well as some other stuff.
    Needless to say i spent some (not too long)time in the ICU on a ventilator. (I did spend time in the ED and transport I suppose as well). I was not a good patient and I self extubated once.
    When I started as a new RN in Neuro ICU, I really understood what was happening for patients when they started to buck the vent. I understood how frightened patients can get in the unit, and I was able to put that aspect into practice.
    I only did ICU for one year. I found I actually did not like ICU nursing that much and I much prefer the ED.
    I actually do sometimes have trouble with trauma that has a similar Mechanism of Injury, but it is usually after, not during, since during, I am too busy to process everything. When I worked staff (now traveling), many of my team knew about my accident and offerred really strong support.
    So my advice, is why not go into L and D. If it tears you up, you can move, if it doesn't you will probably be a valuable resource- as you won't take a successful birth for granted, and if there are problems, you will be quite prepared to assist. Make sure you go to an area where you can share your experience and be supported by your team if needed.

    Best Wishes.
  5. 0
    Iíll tell you an unrelated story, then tie it in.

    When I was in nursing school, I took care of this health care worker that had a baby. Now this healthcare worker worked with disabled children.

    Beautiful baby, but a downís baby. She took 1 look and said, ďTake it away, put it up for adoption Ė I never want to see her again.Ē

    I had to go through the next clinical day dealing w/ the weeping and crying and mourning of the family of this lady that were told (by her) that the baby was stillborn and then go back and help take care of this beautiful child.

    It took every ounce of fortitude to keep my mouth shut. For the life of me, I donít know how I kept from being flunked out of nursing school that day.

    It was every bit as bad as taking care of the crack babies and then trying to be civil to those moms.

    But what I kept thinking Ė why I kept thinking this was so wrong: who on earth would be better equipped to deal with this child than this parent? Itís like she was specially prepared to be this mom for this child. And she walked away from her. In my opinion, she walked away from the greatest joys and greatest trials of her life. And Iím sure her life is poorer as a result.

    Now let me tie it in:

    Who on earth is better prepared for both the laughs Ė and the tears Ė of childbirth than you? If that is your destiny, how could you walk away from it?

    As far as challenging your fortitude Ė it is my experience that most people havenít begun to challenge the limits of their strength. Let me humbly suggest that that applies to you as well.

    Only you can decide what is your destiny. But if your destiny has found you, you canít walk away because youíre afraid. There is a direct relationship between things that have the capability of shaking your core and things that are worth your investment.

    If your destiny is staring you in the face, donít blink.

  6. 0
    I think this is a very individual thing. I have seen nurses leave the area because it does affect them too personally after having losses of the same kind. You'll only know when you do it.
  7. 0
    ...I thought I wanted to be a chemo nurse coz my mom died of lung cancer in 1980, and there has been lots of cancer in our families. Well, I am on the medical/oncology floor for 2+ years and I just told one of our managers I didn't want to continue with chemo. So I still care for chemo pts. but don't hang it. I will monitor what is hanging--I work nights--but I am not a chemo nurse. I still work on the floor as we have many med pts.

    ...I think it got just too hard for me emotionally. I tried...and found out I can't be on the front lines.
  8. 0
    Thanks to everyone for your replies.

    I've gone ahead and accepted the transfer to the section that will be doing the next semester's OB rotation at the hospital where our boys were born. I think that this is what I was meant to do.

    I have to let the inspiration of my son the angel, and the motivation of my boy here on earth, guide me to do what I'm meant to do. I feel a sense of inner peace about it now. So, all I have to do is pass these courses... inner peace with regard to exams is a whole other story.

  9. 0
    Nurse Daddy

    Good luck with your decision next semester. You sound like you have a lot of experence with you and I bet it will be so positive. I think you will do great! Well the best of luck to you.
  10. 0
    I'm in a similar decision position. Thanks for this thread and for the other's encouragement (gaugeiv, zash, etc.). It has helped me. Reading your OP, NurseDaddy, I realized what I would tell you, but I also realize I could tell myself the same thing. That is: do it. We have the great fortune/blessing to be able to 'test drive' in nursing school and this will be where we can decide which way to go. We can even change course at any moment and that's ok. If it works, great! You'll be full of purpose and one happy man. If it doesn't, then focus your energy somewhere else, just keep going forward.

    Congratulations on accepting, hope this helps you as much as me.
  11. 0
    I have a co-worker who lost her mother to liver cancer. A long slow and painful death. By coincidence a couple of months she had to take care to two liver cancer patients. She said it was quite hard, but she was o.k. She definately said she couldn't work in Oncology on a daily basis.

    I think at first you were romanticizing nursing in ob. Now you're being realistic and honest which is a good thing. It's a tough, emotionally demanding job, but with many rewards.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by Tweety on Nov 14, '05

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