Giving birth is never an easy task. Nothing is guaranteed to run smoothly, and a lot of patience is required of everyone involved.
Amidst all the chaos that may ensue in the delivery room, the maternity ward nurses are there to make the birthing process as comfortable as possible.
Nurses play an integral role from the moment an expectant mother arrives, to postpartum care after the baby is delivered.
Lianne Jones is a maternity ward nurse at the Whitehorse General Hospital. She is currently on maternity leave herself, after giving birth to a son, Benson, two months ago.
Jones admits she wasn’t able to set her professional instincts aside when it was her turn in the delivery suite.
“I tried my best to help out, clean up after myself, watch the monitors, and try not to be a fuss,’ she says.
Jones has been a maternity nurse for seven years and worked in Africa and British Columbia before coming to Whitehorse.
“Both my mother and grandmother were nurses. I knew since I was seven that I wanted to become one,” she says. “I am very fortunate that I absolutely love my job.”
The experience of working in a maternity ward is different from nursing in other wards.
“In the mat ward, you develop a close bond with the patients. Sometimes you even work overtime just to maintain a strong bond with the new mom,” Jones says.
Individual care and monitoring are very important aspects of a maternity nurse’s job.
“It is important to always watch the mom before she gives birth, during birth and after,” she says. “Once the baby is born we make sure that they are breathing normally, and that both mom and baby are well.”
Although Jones enjoys every aspect of her job, there can be some difficult times.
“Unfortunately, I have been there when a mom gives birth to a stillborn. It is one of the most traumatic experiences, and we do our best to offer support and counselling.”
Overall, Jones is super happy about her career.
“I find being a nurse to be very rewarding and I am honored to be a part of the childbirth process.”
The field of perinatal care refers to the support provided to mothers and babies in the weeks before and after birth.
This can include everything from preparing the mom-to-be for the childbirth experience, to helping establish a proper breastfeeding routine and coaching the new parents as they become comfortable caring for their newborn.
Carol Anderson has worked in nursing for over 30 years, and has extensive experience as a perinatal nurse specialist.
“I decided to become involved in maternity care after the birth of my first baby (in 1977),” Anderson says.
“Through my own pregnancy and childbirth, I became very interested in maternity nursing, as I realized the impact of quality nursing care at this important time.”
From there, Anderson gained experience at a teaching hospital, and even had the opportunity to teach as a clinical nurse educator for the University of British Columbia, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
She believes both prenatal and postnatal care are just as important as what happens in the delivery room itself.
“Pregnancy and childbirth are normal life events, but sometimes there is a health risk for the woman or the baby. Prenatal health care is very important to ensure the optimal health of the woman and the baby through the pregnancy,” Anderson says.
“Postnatal care provides support to the new parents as they recover from the childbirth experience and learn to provide care for the newborn baby. Becoming a parent is a major life transition, and quality care makes a huge difference.’
For Anderson, working in maternity care is rewarding and fulfilling.
“I share in the joy as each new baby is welcomed into the family. Newborns are amazing little people, with unique character and temperament,” she says.
“It is fun to help parents as they get to know their new baby.”