Oh boy Fergus, do I agree with you! There is nothing like a newborn's first cry, like a new mom/dad's face when looking into the baby's eyes, like being a part of a truly blessed event. It is a challenging place to work, in that you have NO time to figure out what is going on, you must react almost instintively when something happens, you cannot ask your patient to wait even an instant. You meet a cross section of humanity, the parents, the grandparents, etc,etc,etc. You have a great deal of responsiblity. (The doctor can't be there all the time, and you are)
It is such a joy to meet a mom in the grocery or wherever and have her recognize you (I never recognize her) and call you "my labor nurse" and proudly show off "our baby".
It's a wonderful feeling to know that you were the one in the rural hospital that recognized the HELLP symptoms and convinced the doctor that, even though it was 2 AM, he needed to come in and transfer her to a tertiery center. You know that you are the one that saved not only her life, but that of her baby!
It's is so fun when the multip arrives at 7 cm, and you know the doctor can't make it for the delivery, and you tell him to be careful driving in, you have caught a baby or two in the past. At delivery, mom delivers a smallish girl. You think"She seemed larger than that". She crowns an intact bag of water--with hair behind it. Right, undiagnosed twins!.. While listening to the FHT, the mom asked why I was doing this. My answer? "Unless your placenta has a heartbeat, you have another baby in there! " Shortly after delivery of the second girl and the placenta, the doctor arrived. "How is my patient? Did she deliver?" I told him that I had delivered two babies for him. He looked surprised--"I had two patients?" The patient said "One patient, two babies, doctor, I had TWINS!" That was fun especially since everything turned out right, both babies and the mom (and dad) were fine and the doc has told the story so many times he's going to wear it out.
It is so sad when we lose a baby (or a mom). I cry with the family, I pray with the family. I do whatever I can to help the family at this difficult time. Even though this is a very hard time for OB nurses, it is a part of our beloved specialty. I try to accept that God needed that little angel in heaven.
I'm not usually this wordy, but you've hit my love--obstetrics. I've worked low risk L/D, high risk L/D, post partum, newborn nursery, and high risk antipartum, as well as working for a telephone triage that did only high risk ob patients. (I haven't hit NICU) I hear there are other specialties in nursing, but I doubt it, and if there are, I don't want to go there.