Labor is one of the most difficult and painstaking experiences that women will undoubtedly ever endure in their entire lives. That is—unless they go through with it more than once. It will push their bodies to heights they never imagined, limits they didn’t know existed and new depths they didn’t think were possible. Their reward is that it is also one of the most beautiful and breathtaking things that they will ever go through all at the same time.
From the moment you discover it’s time to make a mad dash across town or hopefully across the road, you don’t really know what you are in for until to get there. Lamaze class is great, but it’s nothing like the real thing, the baby. After enduring all of the preparations, the hospital room awaits us and we start to settle in for what will be our temporary new home. We meet our labor and delivery nurse, who is all smiles because unlike us—she’s been through this a million times. We relax a bit, thinking that we’ve just found our new best friend—but oh—don't think they're there to wait on you, hand and foot, because they probably have a couple other patients to tend to as well. Here is a list of 20 times they can completely ignore laboring moms.
20 More Ice Chips, Please
When you arrive at the hospital—you are in pain but somewhat anxious to get the process of labor over and done with. The doctor may have warned you beforehand that once you get admitted, food is going to be next to impossible to come by. If you were fortunate enough to be induced to labor, then you are about to experience an involuntary hunger strike.
According to ACOG, obstetricians recommended that a laboring mother not consume any foods up to six hours before being admitted into the delivery room. Once the nurse brings your cup of ice chips, don’t plan on any refills for a while.
19 The Contractions Are Coming
Labor contractions are a whole different force of nature packed into an all mighty punch ready to give you about 20 rounds of a TKO. If you’re lucky, you only have to be there a few hours before your cervix decides to open up to a six. According to Circle Of Moms, that’s the magic number when people start talking to you about how and when you can have some type of pain relief.
Therefore, you can hurt like nobody’s business and complain to the nurse each time you see her, but she’s going to keep walking out of that room for (insert any excuse) until it’s time for some doctor action.
18 More Meds Now
So—you made it to the second to last part of the big countdown. The doctor has been nice enough—or so it seems—given you your epidural and it’s dripping ever so slowly. A part of you wonders if the thing is even working at all. Karma has officially stricken you for all of your negative actions is life.
You ring the call button for the nurse to ante up the take, but ultimately, it's not up to her whether you get more pain meds. According to the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, "registered nurses (RNs) who are not licensed anesthesia care providers should monitor but not manage the delivery of analgesia and anesthesia by catheter techniques to pregnant women." Unfortunately, just because mama wants to up her pain meds, doesn't mean her nurse needs to comply.
17 A Hand To Squeeze, Anyone?
Most women have their hospital bags packed and sitting in the closet ready to go about a week after finding out that they are expecting. We want everything to be perfect and heaven forbid we forget our favorite pair of house shoes because we were in a rush. Once we are in that bed and ready to push, we need something to hold onto for support or to try and offset the pressure.
Well, the nurses know that and are going to get a temporary case of hearing loss because according to Very Well Health, injuries during labor are more common than you think, and they know it.
16 Is This Epidural Going To Hurt?
Have you ever donated blood? Or had your tongue pierced? The reason that this hurts is that it was a 16-gauge needle ripping through your flesh or trying to find a vein—and my goodness, are those things huge!
The needle on an epidural is the same size and it doesn’t hurt any less. However, chances are that you’ll be too terrified of moving to notice while they are inserting it because they told you at the last second that it could cause paralysis if done improperly. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, malpractice suits are up by 31% and nurses are trained to skip over answering this question to avoid liability.
15 We’ve Been At This For 12 Hours Already
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but according to Pregnancy & Baby, a woman’s first labor and delivery is said to be between 12 and 24 hours on average. That does include start to finish—from when the contractions begin to be about 10 minutes apart. If you are going through with a scheduled induction, the doctor will have given you medication to speed along the process.
However, if you came in for a natural delivery, then the nurse is probably going to tell you it’s standard procedure or disappear before you can start complaining about the time it’s taking - especially if she's reaching the end of a 12-hour shift.
14 When You're Beyond Famished
Before it sets in that you are going to starve until your beautiful prince or princess is born, you may be tempted to ask your nurse if you can have a snack or something to drink—especially if you have been at it for a while or all day.
It's pretty standard at this point for hospitals to deny laboring women food or drinks for a because, according to BabyCenter, "The threat of a caesarean section under general anesthetic is the reason why many hospitals [...] still discourage women from eating during labour. If you have a general anesthetic, there is a small risk that food in your stomach might be regurgitated and inhaled into your lungs." So rest assured, your nurse is not flat-out ignoring you, she's just following protocols.
13 Walking The Halls
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and walking makes a labor go smoother. If your little one is almost ready to make their debut but your body isn’t quite keeping up, someone will suggest going on a mini-marathon —right down your hall in the maternity ward. According to Baby Center, walking during labor helps the baby move down quicker.
Hopefully, you have your spouse or labor pal on hand to keep you company on your trip as a labor and delivery nurse either won't be up for the task or just won't have time. As American Traveler states, the duties of a labor and delivery nurse "include monitoring fetal heartbeat and the length and strength of contractions, as well as administering medication, coaching the woman and assisting with any complications that arise." Since she likely has other patients, walking the halls is not an option for her.
12 That Wasn’t In The Birth Plan
Birthing plans are carefully and meticulously thought out—down to the last detail—and you expect your wishes to be followed through. According to JS Online, 60% of women have their plans thwarted by unexpected complications.
Your doctor and nurses have taken oaths to protect you and your baby’s best interests—which in the most pressing emergency situations will make the call without your input if necessary. A nurse—while there to be your coach—is primarily there to assist the doctor in delivering your baby. If deviating from the birth plan is the safest way to bring your baby into the world, don't count on your nurse to be your advocate, she's just trying to get you through the labor as safely as possible.
11 When You Look Your Worst
Labor is definitely a one of a kind experience. As a mother, you want to look photogenic for memories, baby books or birthing videos. Naturally, you may get a little vain when your curls fall, you begin to smell like you didn’t shower that morning or you’re sweating as if you just ran a marathon.
According to Baby Center, the most complained about thing in labor is not having enough makeup. As the nurses are changing your bedsheets or fluffing your pillows, they may appear to be nodding as you ask them to get your hairbrush or deodorant but they could really care less because they’ve seen it all.
10 When You Have Nothing Nice To Say
Labor is an emotional experience, and the pain may make you do or say things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do or say in your right frame out mind. Sometimes the worst thing a person can do during this process is to unknowingly diminish the experience. Hearing words like “it’s going to be okay”, “it’s just a little push”, or “ it can’t be all that bad”, are not what you expect to hear. Of course, you rightfully react to that in a super intense sort of way or because you are a pregzilla.
According to Alpha Mom, the reason the nurses are not responding is probably due to auto-tuning all that noise out.
9 To Push Or Not To Push
When it is time to push, your body will let you know and there is nothing that you can do about it. At times you may not be sure if you are supposed to, scared that it may be too soon or just want some reassurance that this one will be the final frontier.
According to What To Expect, nurses aren’t always fully equipped to deal with this or have only assisted under the supervision of a doctor. If you notice that they don’t spring into action when you shout “Oh my god”, then it may be because they are making an informed decision to wait for the doctor or a more experienced nurse.
8 Things All Outta Wack
According to She Knows, a good majority of women lose total control of their bowels and bladder during the course of labor. This is due to the immense pressure being exerted on your body, and the meds too in some cases. So when the doctor says to bear down and push, they are expecting you to let it all out with the understanding that it is totally out of your control.
You may feel like the vilest, disgusting thing on the planet but unless you have a nurse who is super squeamish, then it doesn’t matter what type of fluids are coming from your interior. They might not even notice. They're used to it, whether you are or not.
7 The Head Is Crowning
PSA ladies—you are not at the hospital for your husband to deliver any parts of your baby. Once you are in full motion and fully dilated, your entire birthing team is required to be right by your side. On occasion, the hospital will be short staffed or your doctor may have another patient who is there for a delivery too.
According to The Nest, "While nurses who work in labor and delivery might deliver a baby if the doctor doesn't make it into the room fast enough, the only nurses specifically trained and legally allowed to deliver babies are certified nurse-midwives." If she seems hesitant at the getgo and the baby's crowning, it could be because a) she's not licenced to delivery a baby on her own, or b) she's never delivered a baby without assistance or supervision before.
6 During A Shift Change
If you are lucky, your nurse has been tending to at least some of your needs throughout the birthing process. However, once the new help comes on board, she may just forget about you over there in the corner of the room. After a long, exhaustive shift, she has to fully brief her replacement on everything that is going on with her patients. A few details may get left out, after all, she's only human. According to Nurse.com, labor and delivery shifts average 12 hours each and can sometimes be doubled if there is a call off or not enough staff.
5 When Your Water Breaks
One of the most significant signs of labor is that your water has broken, or that feeling you get when you feel like Niagara Falls just came out from between your legs. Usually, this occurs before you leave home or somewhere along the way to the hospital. In those cases where you arrived before that occurred, then it can be a pretty crazy experience.
Don’t plan on the nurse getting all hyped up about it because she may not even tell you it happened and run straight for the doctor to check your cervix. According to Just Mommies, the amniotic sac ruptures days before labor in 10% of women.
4 Even If Baby’s Heart Rate Soars
During the course of labor, the baby can get distressed with all of the commotion of labor. Hence, the heart rate monitors that are attached to you and your belly throughout the process to avoid complications. Of course, from time to time you may glance over and see the numbers skyrocket and notice that it belongs to your baby.
Before you freak out, everyone on the team is aware of this and will readily assuage your concerns and do what is in the best interest of you and the baby under the radar. According to American Pregnancy, the increases are temporary and not usually cause for concern.
3 Shake, Rattle, And Roll
During the last phase of labor, the rush of hormones is likely to cause you to have a huge case of the shakes. This is extremely common in the delivery room. According to Mommyish, they don’t stop once the baby is out and can continue for days after the delivery is complete.
Most mothers report that they experience them on an increased basis after they have gotten a dose of Pitocin. Don’t expect the nurses to run and fetch a million blankets because this is seen as totally normal in their eyes and all a part of the typical birthing process.
2 When They Have To Use The Restroom
When you gotta go you just—well—gotta go! Nurses may seem like superwomen given everything that they have to juggle, but they are human beings just like the rest of us. Their bladders work just the same—unless in labor. If they have been standing or walking around all day and every time they get a chance to go relieve themselves the doctor gives them another order—then they just wait until the doctor is gone.
According to Live Science, the full-sized adult bladder can only hold up to 16 ounces and that is if there are no other medical conditions that would interfere with it functioning normally.
1 Ring, Ring
Now everyone knows that you aren’t supposed to have a cell phone on in certain areas of the hospital, especially around certain types of equipment that can be affected by the signal it sends out. Well, just about every single person who works in the medical field/hospital (or not) is going to absolutely break that rule—especially if they have a family.
According to ECRI Institute, cell phones are the main reason for overburdening the hospital's Wi-Fi networks and causing patient errors. So if they unexpectedly receive a phone call or silent buzz from their son/daughter/husband/wife etc, then you’ll notice that they disappear - but let's be honest, wouldn't you put your family above your work, too?
References: ECRI Institute, Live Science, Mommyish, American Pregnancy, JustMommies, BuzzFeed, She Knows, What to Expect, Alpha Mom, Baby Center, JSOnline, Pregnancy & Baby, Becker's Hospital Review, Very Well Health, Circle Of Moms