Labor Rules

I’ve read this list before, but didn’t post it fully. I’ve recently came across it on another blog in full, so this time I’m going to put it here. Rather than risk sending negative traffic her way, I’ll just copy and paste it.

Before reading the following, I’ll say that some of these — maybe even most of them — are supposed to be sarcastically funny and taken with a grain of salt. Even though I’m not an L&D nurse and never have been, I can see humor in a lot of this, because change the setting from hospital to pharmacy and I could have written it myself. It’s called “dealing with the public”; and I daresay every profession that has to do so has a list of “rules” similar to this one. But I still don’t like it — even while I can see the humor in it. Sometimes when you “blow off steam” you just end up building up even more steam and more steam.

I’m sure that most L&D nurses have had to deal with most of these things — from teenagers or women who don’t know who the baby’s daddy is to druggie pregnant women who are putting their babies’ lives and health at risk on a daily basis to women who fake labor or exaggerate their claims. And there’s nothing that L&D nurses can do, except their jobs.

I will insert some comments here (and just because I don’t comment on every one doesn’t mean I like or dislike it; or that I approve of the rudeness and attitude).

Rules of the Labor and Delivery area

1. Don’t ask me if my wheel can tell you if you got knocked up on the 15th or 16th. That’s too damn close to have 2 different partners anyway. Just suffer for 8 more months, assuming the father is not the one it should be.

2. Bed rest does not include walking around Walmart or running by the mall to pick up something.

3. Don’t come in the middle of the night because you’ve been throwing up for a week and then ask me to get you something to eat.

4. Breathing hard and faking to your family like you’re having contractions WON’T open up your cervix.

5. Tears and rolling around in the bed also will NOT open your cervix.

6. Doing sit ups while in the bed to make the monitor “go up”also… WILL NOT open your cervix.

7. Until your cervix is opening, don’t plan on staying.

8. If you fight with your boyfriend and need a little TLC… go to his mother’s house, not the labor room.

9. If you are there with someone in labor, don’t try to read the strip and tell me what’s going on. You don’t know the difference between a fart and a contraction and you’ll likely just piss me off and delay your loved one getting pain medication or her epidural.

10. When I ask the patient a question, that’s who I want the answer from… OK? I don’t need her mother to tell me when she had sex last….

11. This day and time, if a patient is between the ages of 37 and 42… she has had approximately 2-5 partners. If she is between the ages of 28-36, the average is 7. If she is in her early to mid twenties, then her age is how many partners she’s had… If she is a teenager, then “too numerous to count” applies.  (and she has had, or currently has chlamydia or trich) [Probably all too true, sadly!]

12. Open your damn legs. If you were a virgin, you wouldn’t be here. [Yeah, but maybe she’s a victim of past sexual abuse. Or just likes privacy. Or doesn’t want numerous, invasive, and unnecessary vaginal exams. Just because you want to stick your hand up her vagina doesn’t mean she has to let you.]

13. Shave that sh*t. If we wanted a trip to the jungle… we’d go there. [No offense, but, if you don’t like pubic hair, maybe L&D isn’t where you need to work, hmm?]

14. Clean your ass before you come in. Unless you have the umbilical cord hanging out, are in a serious accident, or are bleeding profusely, take time to wash it up a bit… it’s going to be on display.

15. You’d better be nice to your nurse. She, not the physician, decides when you get pain medication… There is such a thing as placebo. We can also make you wait the entire 2 hours… adding 45 minutes for our convenience… or we can give it to you 15 minutes early…. it’s all in your attitude. [This attitude is extremely unprofessional, and I hope that few nurses actually act this way.]

16. The fewer visitors you have in with you… the better mood your nurse will be in.

17. Get rid of that one “know it all” visitor before it’s too late. She can ruin the entire experience for you by pissing me off.

18. If this is your 6th baby, either get the epidural before you come in, or don’t plan on one.

19. Don’t blame us when you’re baby can’t say its own name when it’s 5. Chances are, it was the cocaine you snorted in the parking lot, just before you were rushed in abrupting.

20. If your pulse is 50 when you come in… from all the downers you’ve been downing… chances are your baby will be several bricks shy of a full load. It’s your fault, not ours.

21. When I ask you if you smoke… you should include marijuana in that answer. Other things that should be included are, hashish, crack, meth, and any other illegal drug that you may have smoked. Nicotine is the least harmful of all the crap you could smoke…dummy.

22. Don’t bitch at us because your baby has to stay in the hospital until it’s 2 months old, weaning off of Methadone or Morphine. Regardless of what the bullshit clinic says to you…. Methadone is NOT healthy for babies.

23. If you call us and say you’re bleeding profusely, then I’d better see some blood when you come in. Do you know how many people we notify for shit like that!

24. Hard labor doesn’t just stop with 1 bag of IV fluids. We know a faker when we hydrate one.

25. If you’re an addict, we already have a preconceived notion about you, and we probably don’t like you. Nothing personal… it’s just the way it is. You chose that life… now live it. [I agree with this — when I worked at the pharmacy, we could just tell who the druggies were; and, yes, you lose sympathy when you abuse drugs. That’s non-pregnant; if you’re pregnant, then you’re putting your baby at risk, which is even worse because your baby doesn’t even have a choice!]

26. Regardless of the fact that your neighbor’s sister’s aunt had ababy at 30 weeks and it is perfect… that does NOT mean we’re going to let you have yours at 30 weeks.

27. Your neighbor’s sister’s aunts baby likely had to stay in the hospital for 6 weeks, and could possibly have problems that you’re not aware of… dumb dumb.

28. You’d better tell us if you’re on narcotics… trust me……We’ll know soon enough, because our drug of choice is Stadol…. HA HA.

29. If you have track marks on your arm, “NO YOU CAN NOT GO OUT AND SMOKE” with your IV. What do you think we are, Stupid?

30. Don’t scream. We hate screamers. It gets on our nerves and we just sit at the desk looking at each other and grinning and making faces. It’s not to your advantage.

31. If you don’t have custody of your 3 other kids, chances are you won’t go home with this one either. We ARE calling Social Services.That’s our job.

32. If the baby’s dad is in jail, and he’s still your boyfriend, we automatically assume “birds of a feather flock together.”

Your thoughts? Funny? Sad? Twisted? Sick? Hateful? “Oh those poor mothers who get nurses like that”? “Oh those poor nurses who get mothers like that?”


7 Responses

  1. This is literally my first visit to you blog; I haven’t read anything else but I am a little stunned – I don’t think any of these should be justified as funny, I went in with a grain of salt, but lost it pretty quickly – I can’t help but feel the hate and racist undertones in many of these sentiments. It makes am sad, sad, sad. I think this also speaks to the atmosphere of some medical communities. I am sorry they feel their jobs/lives are so miserable.

    • Maybe I should have said “with a handful of salt”? 🙂

      Perhaps I’m just more inured to the attitude, having read so many birth stories from the perspectives of both nurses and laboring mothers, that I was not terribly surprised by much of this list. It is sad, and disturbing, I agree. The worst part of the system being set up the way it is, is that while nurses are feeling the drudgery of their day-in, day-out jobs, they are taking care of women who are experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime event — the birth of her child. While she may give birth many times, she will only give birth to that child this one time, so she deserves for it to be cherished and special in the eyes of everyone who deals with her, not just herself and her family.

  2. A little bit of both. I mostly don’t like the attitude in these rules.
    I must say though, that when I had my last baby they wheeled in a roommate for me at 1 AM, and the first thing she had to do was go out to smoke and get her percocet. It was so upsetting to me that I cried all night long, and then got a nasty attitude about it from my nurse and my doctor.
    Women go through a lot when they have a baby, I think that gets taken for granted sometimes by people who do this as a job every day.

  3. Hi, I am a nurse and this is the first time I have read your blog. I have worked in women’s and childrens health for the past 20 plus years. I am also a mom, who had a c-section with my first and a VBAC with nurse midwives the second time around. So, I know a little professionally and personally about childbirth, motherhood, etc. I really like your blog, but have a problem with this post. I am not sure where you came upon this list. For sure it was written as a joke and not meant as the standard of care for labor and delivery. Are there horrible L&D nurses? Of course, I know some personally. But the vast majority are dedicated to what they do, and are major patient advocates. They are the ones working their asses off at your bedside, comforting you, encouraging you, fighting for you to have the delivery you want and deserve. But of course, what is a more interesting read is the list posted above. I have never seen this list in the 20+ years in the business, so it is obviously not a prevalent attitude. I have been to tens of thousands of deliveries and have never felt like it is just a job I do every day. I understand peoples anger at the audacity of this pretend list, but do not project that anger on labor and delivery nurses.
    Thanks for your dedication to woman and I will keep posted.

    • Yes, I think it was primarily a joke, but like most jokes, there is an element of truth in them.

      As I said in the post, change the setting to pharmacy and I probably could have written it myself when I and the other pharmacy techs I worked with got together and groused about our jobs. Except we would talk about the idiots who waited until 5 minutes to closing to bring in their ten new prescriptions, who didn’t have their pharmacy card, and complained about how long it took for us to fill the order — as if WE wanted to be there one second longer than we had to be, and completely forgetting the fact that we were already ten minutes past time to go home. Or the lice-infested people who would come in and scratch themselves all over while we filled their prescriptions… and then go back to their homes where they would get infected again… and again… and again. (Yeah, we worried about the children who were getting Lindane exposure repeatedly; we also didn’t want to catch it from them.) Or the people who would gripe about their “insurance” not paying for something, or for it costing so much ($1 or $3) to get a month’s supply of medicine, when their “insurance” was state Medicaid and our taxes were paying for their drugs, and it only cost them $1 for medicine that the government (that’s us!) paid the rest of the $130 that it cost. Or the people who complained that we didn’t put their whole family’s medicine together in one bag, causing them to forget someone’s medicines, although each child had a different father and therefore a different last name, so they should just be grateful that we even got any two of the people together — we’re only human! Or the people who would get their child’s asthma medications filled (on the taxpayers’ dime, I might add), and when we give them their medicine through the drive-through window, smoke just bellows out of their car, because all four adults are chain-smoking with a poor asthmatic baby or child in the middle of the backseat unable to escape. Or the kids that aren’t even in seat belts or car seats; or the baby being held in the baby bouncer on the front passenger’s lap (yeah, I did actually see that!). Or the druggies who go to the dentist complaining of unspecified but horrible pain so they can get just a few pain pills, but “can’t afford” to get the antibiotics to cure their infection. And that’s not even going into the prescription fraud — changing 10 into 40, adding refills, stealing prescription pads, adding C-II narcs to their prescriptions themselves, making a carbon copy of their Oxycontin Rx so they could get twice the drugs for one doctor’s visit. The list could go on even longer.

      If someone had heard us talk when we went out for dinner together or at our Christmas party, they would probably conclude that we were all heartless and horrible people. We weren’t; we called it “blowing off steam.” We’d get together and retell all our stories of frustration and anger, and say, “Remember when so-and-so came in and…” or talk about general but oft-repeating circumstances, such as people calling in wanting a refill on their “little white pill” (um, do you people know how many medicines come in little white pills????? And everything you get is generic, and we sometimes get different-looking pills, so they may be yellow today!). But I found myself getting more irritated by customers when I complained about things like this.

      You sound like an awesome nurse! However, I have read numerous birth stories in which there were less-than-desirable nurses. In fact, there has been a discussion on one or more L&D nurses’ blogs I read just in the past few weeks about burnout and attitude and all of that — it wasn’t from the same L&D nurse’s blog that posted this. The blogger wrote something along the lines of frustration and burnout, and several nurses chimed in with their own stories of things they had seen their fellow nurses do that were evidence that those nurses had burned out and considered their jobs a drudgery — and while not everything they mentioned was something on this list, the same attitude behind the list was similar to the attitude the nurse’s colleague saw.

      And, finally, I didn’t post this list to make people angry, but rather to make them aware. Aware not just that it’s possible for their nurse to be unsympathetic, but also of the pressures many L&D nurses must be under in order for this list to even be in existence. When I think of the “average pregnant woman,” I don’t think about someone who fits the criteria of the people who must exist in order for this list to have been made — even as a joke. Nurses have to beat their heads against the wall at the attitudes and apathy of some of these women, which is bound to take its toll on a person sooner or later. Most of the things on this list would not apply to most of my readers, I daresay; and the few that might (I would think ones like someone trying to read the EFM monitor or the “know it all” person) can be a learning experience to them, should they ever find themselves in such a position. I know it irritated me for customers to tell me how to do my job, when they didn’t know the first thing about my job, so I can just imagine what a nurse might feel for someone equally uninformed telling her what was going on with the monitors. If women who are planning a hospital birth read this list, I hope they take away compassion for the nurses who must deal with a lot of crap every day (literally and figuratively!), as well as a greater understanding for some of the hard situations they must deal with fairly frequently, and some little things that might unnecessarily p*$$ off the nurses; as well as knowing that it is possible to get a less-than-sympathetic nurse who may show some of these attitudes, and they can request a new nurse if their present nurse is not a good match for them.

  4. Wow, this was interesting! Very interesting. Some of the comments I could imagine identifying with immediately (such as the ones pertaining to drug habits). Some were just disturbing (like #12). It was hard to tell if she was just blowing off steam, or whether she needed a sabbatical horribly, LOL! And I couldn’t help wondering if someone who apparently has such a tremendous aversion to unshaved pubic hair should be in L&D at all!!!! Thanks for the post. 🙂

  5. hehe, labor is a painful but the very most rewarding experience for woman. It is a gift that only woman species received. You can visit some nursing practice test about OBSTETRIC

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