“This review was made possible by iConnect and Pampers. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.”
From holding their hands during labor, to teaching them how to change a diaper, nurses dedicate themselves to providing the best care for mom and baby, leaving a deep, long-lasting impression that fosters a bond of trust and transcends the hospital experience.
Have you ever thought about what it means to be a nurse? What is a nurse is made of? Why a nurse does what they do? It’s ok, I hadn’t either.
I’ll be honest from the start and tell you that over the past thirty-four (wait…is that how old I am?) years I have been your textbook, diagnosed, clinically speaking – phobic of all things medical. I don’t mean I just get scared of needles or blood or feel lightheaded, I’m telling you I would go into a full blown fight or flight, vasovagal syncope, tachacardiac panic attack until I hyperventilated and was unconcious on the floor. It. Was. Bad.
When I decided to have children I knew this was something I would have to not necessarily get over, but at a minimum find a way to deal with. Up until getting pregnant with Blake, I had avoided anything involving a medical procedure, blood draw or shot. In fact, my blood hadn’t been taken since I was eleven years old. I tried everything to conquer this phobia – books, hypnotherapy, meditation and exposure therapy. A few bad experiences with blood draws as a child built up a phobia and fear that seemed impossible to reverse.
The day after my baby shower, I was 32 weeks pregnant, while I was at work I felt something that felt like maaaaybe I could be leaking amniotic fluid. Just to be safe I went in to be checked. My doctor didn’t think I was leaking fluid and my cervix was completely closed but just to be safe she sent me next door to Labor & Delivery to have an ultrasound done just to check my fluid levels. No big deal right? It was just for an ultrasound. The doctor assured me there wouldn’t be any needles, we were just going to have an ultrasound done.
I walked into Labor & Delivery excited to think we would get another sneak peak at our baby boy. That’s when I met Kim. She introduced herself as the charge nurse for the day and walked us to the ultrasound room. The ultrasound was great. Fluids levels were perfect. Blake was bouncing around and happy. We did learn that Blake at the time was transverse breach but it wasn’t really a concern because he still had plenty of time to turn. Kim came and got us from the ultrasound room and as I was all set and ready to go, in her all too familiar New York sass accent, said “honey you’re not going anywhere yet, we have to hook you up to the monitors just to check the heartbeat.” Okay so that’s easy right? We’re just going to listen to the heartbeat. I get comfy, they strap on the two not so comfortable belly monitors and I figure we’ll be out the door in a couple minutes and on our way to get chicken wings. Kim stood looking at the monitor for a few minutes and then asked me how I was feeling. I told her I felt great and was ready to go. She seemed a bit puzzled that I said I felt great and left the room. She came back in 10 minutes later and pulled the printout from the monitors again and I noticed her eyes got bigger and she again, asked me how I was feeling. I again told her I felt great and I think this time mentioned that we were going to go for chicken wings when we left so I was ready to go! Kim then looked at me and said “but you’re having regular contractions every two minutes.” Me? No I’m not. There was no way I was having contractions. I felt fine. She said she would have to step out and call my doctor to discuss next steps. Now I started getting worried. I couldn’t be in labor this early. I felt fine. It was too soon. I wanted to leave because at this point the reality set in that if I am in fact in labor, they are going to either have to try to stop the contractions somehow or I could actually be having this baby. Next thing I know another nurse comes in with paperwork for me to sign and asks me if I’ve discussed a birth plan or csection since my baby is transverse breached. Wait…WHAT!? No!
My husband walked out into the hallway to talk to Kim and gave her a briefing on my medical and needle phobia. He nicely warned her that I would be “THE MOST difficult” patient she may ever experience. Minutes later Kim walked in with what I had been dreading my entire life – a giant IV bag. No! No! No! No! This was not happening. Not now. I’m not ready for this. I’m surprised Kim didn’t give up on me then and there. I wouldn’t have put up with me. I begged. I cried. I started to pass out. I tried to leave. There was no escaping this. Kim finally, in all her NY sass said “honey, you’re getting this IV or you’re having this baby.” Game over for me. We won’t go into details but it wasn’t pretty. I’m sure every other expectant mother in triage that night remembers my being there (sorry ladies). Kim got the IV in. It wasn’t fun, but I didn’t die. I was so overwhelmed by the time she got the IV in and it was over that I just picked my arms up and asked her for a hug. I’m surprised at that point she didn’t call the psych floor to let them know she had a new one for them coming right up! She gave me my hug.
Through all of this Kim stayed calm but firm. Given the extent of my fear she even managed to take a few viles of blood out of the IV port without me knowing before starting the IV. Worst case scenario, if I was having the baby that night she didn’t want to put me through another draw. Through the next couple of hours I was there, Kim kept coming back to check on me and at the same time shot me the same caring smile that also said “you’re ridiculous!” but she also never missed a beat and knew she could handle the challenge of having me a patient. The two bags of IV fluids stopped the contractions completely and I was finally able to go home that evening. I was dehydrated.
I’m not sure Kim realized the true impact she made that night. To her she was just doing her job. Starting an IV for one [crazy] pregnant girl. When we were leaving I gave Kim one more giant hug and as I was walking out I said “hey Kim, I’ll see you back here in two months!” She laughed.
I’ll save you the long details of my birth story with Blake, that’s for another post and another day. Let’s just say that two months later when my water broke at home, I showed up at the hospital on a day that Kim normally wouldn’t have been working but she just so happened to have switched schedules with someone the night before. I really do believe God put Kim in my path for a reason. Kim got me through the most difficult 23 hours of my life. She held me against her chest for my epidural. She snuck me a popsicle when I didn’t have it left in me to push anymore. She encouraged me to heal and reassured me I would be ok after what I tried my hardest to deliver Blake ended up as an emergency c-section following a 23 hour labor. Kim didn’t have to stick with me, but she did. Even once I was moved over to postpartum, Kim came by to see me and to check on me. When I learned that I would have to a have a few blood draws done post-op over the next few days in the hospital I got nervous and upset again, but Kim agreed to come over and do the blood draws for me. Here was a nurse who took under her wing a girl that was outright terrified and she showed me that you can have good experiences, even out of situations that in the past caused a phobia.
Due to my long labor and extended pushing – Blake ended up in the NICU for 10 days after he was born. Kim came by every day to check on Blake and I. She would come look at him and see how he was doing as if he was her own.
When time rolled around for baby number two, I was nervous again about the bloodwork and the thought of another c-section. I went out on a whim and called Kim at the hospital. I knew she had been promoted since then. I started out by apologizing ahead of time for what I was about to ask her – is there anyway she could do the blood draws throughout my pregnancy? I trusted Kim. I wanted to continue on the path of positive experiences so I could continue down the path of conquering this. I thought I was moments away from rejection when asking her this, she hadn’t heard from me in a year. Kim simply laughed and said “I’ll meet you at your doctors office when I get off of my shift and I’ll draw your blood Nicole.” And Kim did. She did ever single blood draw through my pregnancy with Mia. Kim made sure that I was able to schedule my c-section with Mia so that she would be there. Kim was ready and waiting for me the morning of my c-section. She did my IV and my blood draw. She helped coax me out of the bathroom when I tried to hide when it was time to walk to the OR. Kim held me against her chest again while the spinal was performed and she stood by my side during the entire surgery. Kim was one of the first people to see my daughter Mia enter this world and she was right there with me and for me throughout it all. Kim didn’t need to be in that OR, but she was there because I asked her to be.
If I was the Chief of the hospital Kim works at, I would have promoted her five more times already. See Kim is the true definition of what it is to Nurse. She’s got the right amount of sass and attitude to take charge of every situation so that things get done exactly how they are supposed to be. She also has the compassion, love, understanding and humble heart that it takes to make a difference…a mountain of a difference…in the lives of those patients she touches. Trust me when I say that the impact she has made on this little New York girl…can never be forgotten.
Kim taught me strength and gave me hers when mine was weak. Kim taught me rebuilding when I was broken. Kim taught me that one nurse has the ability to change lives, inspire, enlighten, encourage, educate and impact patients in a way that is unforgettable.
These days if I think about the idea of another blood draw, IV or surgery…I don’t break into a five alarm panic thanks to the positive experiences Kim has created. The idea of those things will never be something I will love to have done, at the time they might be unpleasant but you know what? I can say that I’ll be ok in the end. I’ll survive. But if the time comes around for a baby number three at some point…Kim…please still be there.
The first annual Thank You Nurses campaign, in partnership with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), honors nurses across three award categories: Labor & delivery, NICU and Postpartum. Three nominated finalists were selected and are being honored with short documentary videos showcasing their unique and inspirational nursing stories. The videos are currently available for voting at www.pampers.com/thankyounurse.
You can guarantee that in my book Kim Lenner deserves to be the recipient of Pamper’s Thank You Nurses award.
Thank you Kim.