A Focus on Nurse Crane
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.
On pregnancy loss, the Modern Midwives version:
This week I receive a call from our radiology department. The radiologist tells me that our patient, Gloria came in for her routine 18-week ultrasound fetal anatomy screen and there is no heartbeat, an intrauterine fetal death. I have the radiologist tell Gloria and her husband to come see me in Labor and Delivery. I meet her at the front desk. We go to an empty room, me holding a tissue box, and as gently as possible I tell them that their long dreamed about baby is dead. There are tears, hugs, questions and explanations. After their baby is born, they will have the choice to see and hold. They will be provided with pictures, mementos, resources and access to a support group. Much has been learned since the 1950-60s about how to best help parents get through such terrible grief. After providing my patient with as much sympathy, support and comfort as I could, I go find a co-worker, and with a big sigh, bury my face in her shoulder and get a big hug. “ It is never easy, but we can show them how”, says the really not so crusty Nurse Crane.
On mentoring others:
Since I practice in a teaching hospital, a big part of my job is teaching new practitioners. Not just midwife students but new nurses, medical students and resident physicians. It is wonderfully satisfying to provide a midwifery perspective and see lights go on when I discuss normal birth and how important it is to help mothers feel safe in the hospital. But I don’t just teach about midwifery. I often find myself teaching about compassion, about listening and about love. Witnessing the microcosm of life and love that comes before me as a midwife, in all its forms and combinations has been humbling but, I hope, has made me wise. At this later stage in my career I am compelled to pass on this wisdom. I hope I can do it a little more palatably than Phyllis Crane.
As Call the Midwife so consistently dramatizes, episode after episode, love is sad, joyful, messy, romantic, funny, comforting and complicated. No matter what your beliefs, no matter what or who or when, in the end love is all that matters. And as the PBS disclaimer says, that is my opinion. But obviously, it is the opinion of the scriptwriters of Call the Midwife as well. So stay calm, my friends and call a midwife!
Deborah McBain (CNM, MS, BSN, RN) is a nurse-midwife who has practiced in Metro Detroit for nearly 20 years. McBain received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science from Wayne State University-Detroit, Master’s Degree from the Case Western University-Cleveland and midwifery education through Frontier Nursing Service.
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