As a first time mother, labor and delivery can seem a bit scary as you don't know what to expect, how long it will last, or if there will be any complications. During this critical time, nurses have a powerful influence on the emotions of the expectant mother and can be a rock of stability. I experienced this myself when I delivered my baby at Sentara Williamsburg.
Betty was an extraordinary nurse during my labor and delivery. Having decided against an epidural, I was in tremendous pain at the end of my labor and relied on Betty's encouragement to make it till the end. She understood my desire to limit medical interventions during my labor and provided me with advice when needed about how to handle the pain.
At one point I turned to Betty and asked if she was going to leave me and she responded that she was trying to be respectful of my space and allow my husband and me to labor in peace without having to be interrupted too often. I told her I didn't need any more space and instead needed her to stay to help me through the last bit of labor. She smiled and said she wouldn't leave me. That meant the world to me at that moment because although I trusted my husband, I needed the reassurance of a medical professional. She provided the emotional support I needed even though she didn't have to.
When it came time to push and finally deliver, I wasn't sure I would make it or if I could handle the pain. I repeatedly asked Betty how much longer it would last, how many more pushes I needed before my daughter would be born, and when the doctor would arrive. Of course you can never fully know the answers to these questions as it's difficult to assess how long something will actually take. Betty could have easily dismissed these questions but she always responded with encouragement and helped me to see that the end was in sight. She helped me remain calm and keep pushing forward even though my body wanted to give up.
It could have been easy for Betty to have viewed me as just another patient in her charge to watch over but instead she provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to have a successful and positive birth experience. I owe a great deal of the success of my daughter's birth to Betty’s compassion and for her encouragement during that difficult time.