I am at the hospital, sitting in the nurse station. It had been a quiet night. The nurse station is at the back of the hospital; it is cold in the cold months and hot in the hot months. This morning it is hard. I am tired, cold, and ready to return to bed. The dayshift nurse arrived at 0645; during good mornings, we received a call saying a patient was on the way, thinking her water had broken. I told the dayshift to get her coat and stuff off, and I would get the patient into the room and connected to monitors.
The unit is set up with the labor and delivery nurse station at the back of the hospital. There is an outer nurse station for postpartum, a long hallway with the door leading to the nursery, double doors, then the labor and delivery hallway with four doorways leading off. The labor and delivery hallway has labor rooms 1, 2, 3, and triage. Down the long hall comes a young lady, petite, blond, and very pregnant, waddling, smiling, and appears in no distress.
I lead her into room 3, our most enormous room. The room is set up with a computer and monitor tower. As soon as you walk into the room, the bed, a nightstand, two chairs, and the bathroom door is to the left. The room is painted off-white with large windows. It is a bright, clean, and pleasant room. I flip on the overhead lights and tell her to go into the bathroom and change out of her clothes. She tells me this is her first child, and her water broke at approximated 0630. The patient denies pain, contractions, nausea, or vomiting; she is very calm. This means to a labor nurse that this will take a while, and the baby will most likely be delivered while I am off or even during the following night shift.
I am standing at the computer tower wondering how long the day shift could take to remove a coat, scarf and hat. I am sure she is probably taking her time and talking to other nurses. When the patient comes out of the bathroom, I tell her to lay back on the bed and I will get the monitors in place. I am always going over what needs to be done so I can go home and get into my bed. The patient lies down, and I ask her about her history and what led her to come to the hospital. The patient is answering questions then tells me something feels strange down there. I do not get excited because it is her first delivery, and it takes time.
I am still wondering what is taking dayshift so long as I tell the patient I will do an exam. I do not expect to find anything exciting. I think this is a first-time mother, and she is just worried about the experience. I am tired, ready to go, and not wanting to go through all the education we give first-time mothers on what to expect. I start explaining the exam, turn around to get gloves on, and hear her scream; my heart stops, sinks, and starts to race. I quickly grab gloves; I know what that holler means. I promptly return to the bed and raise the patient's gown; sure enough, the baby is crowning....