Sometimes it hits you...

  1. 35 It was five minutes till seven at the end of a long but good shift. I was on my way to fill my water bottle before giving report to the oncoming nurse. A nurse called out to me, "hey aren't you a family presence facilitator?" I am, she had just seen the mother of one of our little patients run the patients sibling out to the waiting room and then run back to the room (our unit is VERY large so we couldn't see exactly what was going on). I put my water bottle down, yelled to someone to watch my kids and went to investigate.

    I came into a scene all to familiar in my cardiac intensive care unit. A plethora of doctors and nurses, a crash cart, a tiny baby getting chest compression that seem all to brutal on her tiny 7 pound body, and right outside the room is the mom, gripping the wall for support.

    I'm too late to join in on the action, but that's not why I'm there, I go straight for mom. It's after hours and the weekend and we are waiting for the on call social worker. She grabs onto me for support. I explain everything that's going on and when the doctor yells out to call for ECMO I ask her if she wants to give her baby a kiss before the room becomes a sterile surgical field. She wants to, the doctor agrees. The crowd clears slightly while still flowing smoothly to set up for ecmo, the only people who stay at the bedside are the respiratory therapist and the person keeping her little heart beating, gripping my hand, mom leans in for a kiss and then turns and runs, dragging me out behind her.

    Dad shows up and they fall into each others arms. They stay and watch while I update them and answer their questions. Baby stabilizes on ECMO and they return vigil to her bedside.

    I've done this before and I'll do it again, but sometimes, like today, it really hits you, how unfair and painful this all is. A mama should never have to kiss her baby good bye while someone does chest compressions on them.

    Days like this, I don't hate my job, but I wish it wasn't a necessary one.
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    Visit  umcRN profile page

    About umcRN

    umcRN has '4' year(s) of experience. From 'usa'; Joined Nov '10; Posts: 872; Likes: 836.

    31 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  cardiacrocks profile page
    8
    You did a great job with that mom, you did exactly what she needed at the time. You just brought me to tears and almost to my knees. As a mother myself I could not even imagine how this mom was feeling. This is so incredibly sad, I pray this baby makes it. For whatever it's worth that mom will never forget what you did yesterday. She herself is fighting a battle today, however, she knows she's not fighting it alone. Your job although a tough one is an incredible calling and I for one think you are in the right place. You sound like an incredibly compassionate person. This must have been difficult on you as well. This makes you hug your little one just a little tighter. One of my biggest fears is losing my son, I just don't know how I would go on. Each day is a gift and we need to never take one breathe for granted. YOU ROCK!!!!
    srdavis6, brian, CLoGreenEyes, and 5 others like this.
  5. Visit  mindlor profile page
    0
    Life is many times cruel and unfair. That is the way of it.

    Sometims all we can do is pick up the pieces...
  6. Visit  cherryames1949 profile page
    11
    I am grateful that you were there for that Mom. To me, what you did for her is the very essence of nursing. Job well done.
    snwqueen83, setownsley, srdavis6, and 8 others like this.
  7. Visit  AnonRNC profile page
    2
    I love that your facility values taking care of the parent. I recall a code - years ago - the mom went into the bathroom and could be heard vomitting while we coded the baby. I'll never forget that.
    poppycat and barbyann like this.
  8. Visit  Beautiful Mind RN profile page
    7
    Nurses like you make my drive to finish school and get into the field all the more. I know nursing is hard, but to have moments like these when you can reassure a patient or their family in their most vulnerable times just makes it all worth while. Thank you for the tears this morning, it was a heart moving story and a reminder to me that this is the type of nurse I want to become.
    setownsley, brian, which_path, and 4 others like this.
  9. Visit  pnut8377 profile page
    2
    Nurses like you are the reason I've always wanted to be a nurse and now finally in school chasing my dream. Your story brought me tears. Thank you for being you
    setownsley and brian like this.
  10. Visit  umcRN profile page
    4
    Thank you for the wonderful comments. Some days these situations just hit harder than others. The PICU & CICU in my hospital have done a wonderful job training family presence facilitators therefore being able to better allow family at the bedside during a code. We of course have social workers but like in the situation I was in, when it's after hours they are waiting for the on call social worker, who while wonderful, does not necessarily know the family or is able to get there fast enough. Having nurses trained in the units and having them as a set role in our codes has been shown to really help the families. Especially when the family knows the person they are talking to, for instance, I had just taken care of this little on a week before. We are lucky in our unit to have quite a few nurses having gone through this training, because of course if you are trained but it is your patient that is coding, you cannot be with the parents.

    I truly love my job and do love being able to be there for my families during their most difficult moments.
    hiddencatRN, poppycat, AnonRNC, and 1 other like this.
  11. Visit  barbyann profile page
    4
    I was that Mom many years ago (+25). I am glad to know there are people like you who step-up to the plate during times of crisis. Thank you for all you do and please know you make a difference.
    chuchie, BrandybunsRN, poppycat, and 1 other like this.
  12. Visit  LadyFree28 profile page
    0
    Quote from umcRN
    It was five minutes till seven at the end of a long but good shift. I was on my way to fill my water bottle before giving report to the oncoming nurse. A nurse called out to me, "hey aren't you a family presence facilitator?" I am, she had just seen the mother of one of our little patients run the patients sibling out to the waiting room and then run back to the room (our unit is VERY large so we couldn't see exactly what was going on). I put my water bottle down, yelled to someone to watch my kids and went to investigate.

    I came into a scene all to familiar in my cardiac intensive care unit. A plethora of doctors and nurses, a crash cart, a tiny baby getting chest compression that seem all to brutal on her tiny 7 pound body, and right outside the room is the mom, gripping the wall for support.

    I'm too late to join in on the action, but that's not why I'm there, I go straight for mom. It's after hours and the weekend and we are waiting for the on call social worker. She grabs onto me for support. I explain everything that's going on and when the doctor yells out to call for ECMO I ask her if she wants to give her baby a kiss before the room becomes a sterile surgical field. She wants to, the doctor agrees. The crowd clears slightly while still flowing smoothly to set up for ecmo, the only people who stay at the bedside are the respiratory therapist and the person keeping her little heart beating, gripping my hand, mom leans in for a kiss and then turns and runs, dragging me out behind her.

    Dad shows up and they fall into each others arms. They stay and watch while I update them and answer their questions. Baby stabilizes on ECMO and they return vigil to her bedside.

    I've done this before and I'll do it again, but sometimes, like today, it really hits you, how unfair and painful this all is. A mama should never have to kiss her baby good bye while someone does chest compressions on them.

    Days like this, I don't hate my job, but I wish it wasn't a necessary one.
    Very raw and REAL...I appreciate you sharing this!!!
  13. Visit  LadyFree28 profile page
    1
    Quote from AnonRNC
    I love that your facility values taking care of the parent. I recall a code - years ago - the mom went into the bathroom and could be heard vomitting while we coded the baby. I'll never forget that.
    WOW... :-/
    annette1 likes this.
  14. Visit  JDougRN profile page
    2
    As nurses, we can't always change an outcome, but we can make most situations, even the most painful and horrific...just a little bit easier to bear with our compassion and how we care. Nurses rock, and most of my most intense "I am a DAMN good nurse" moments come from helping the patient and family cope.
    annette1 and umcRN like this.
  15. Visit  SaoirseRN profile page
    1
    I don't work with babies, and I'm not sure I could, either. Your story reminds me of those days we all have, I think, that were brutally hard, yet tend to remind us why we do this job. Scary, sad, and difficult, for sure, but for those moments you were exactly what that mom needed. Those moments, as difficult as they are, and the types of moments that keep us going.
    umcRN likes this.


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