Dec 192012

“I’m just not happy until they cry.” - NICU nurse to mother just after birth. Nurse was roughly rubbing and handling baby in order to make baby cry in mom’s arms, even though baby was pink, breathing, and alert.

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 December 19, 2012  birth, L&D Nurse, newborn, NICU, postpartum  Add comments

  20 Responses to ““I’m Just Not Happy Until They Cry.””

  1. If you don’t stop touching my child, I’m gonna beat you ’til YOU cry! After all, a bloody nose without you bawling your eyes out just won’t work for me.

  2. Because, naturally, in this moment, right here, right now, the most important thing is what makes YOU happy…

  3. Isn’t crying one of the APGAR tests? So basically, although the baby is doing great, the nurse wants to force a perfect APGAR score.

    Talk about treating the numbers rather than the patient. :-b

  4. What about that first cry at the time of birth that most babies give? Isn’t that enough for the APGAR?
    Also, I’ve heard nurses say something like this, and it hits me in the heart every time. I know they need the baby to be ok, and crying shows that, but there’s a way to say everything nicely, and this just isn’t it.
    There’s one nurse at the hospital where I often attend clients, and she’s so sweet to the babies. Even when she’s rubbing them to help them cry, or doing whatever the baby needs, like suctioning, she coos and talks and encourages them with sweet, gentle words, it’s amazing. So there are some good ones out there, which I know that you all know, but when I have a happy story to share, I like to.

  5. I’m reminded of my grandmother telling me, when I was sixteen and had just obtained my license, that “I don’t think anyone’s a really good driver until they’ve gotten in their first accident.”

    Ten years later, I’m apparently still not a good driver.

    Sometimes you just can’t win.

    • What a strange thing to say! I have been driving for almost ten years and have been in one accident, but it wasn’t remotely my fault (I was sitting at a stoplight.)

      Though I guess my mom would have been in your grandmother’s good graces – on the way home after getting her license, a deer rammed into her car out of nowhere. It took her days to wash the last glass shards out of her hair.

    • Maybe your grandma was confused with horses- they say you aren’t a good rider until you’ve fallen off 100 times…

  6. Let me get this straight; Making newborns cry makes you happy?!

    What is wrong with you?!

  7. And I’m not happy when you don’t respect someone else’s wishes to leave them alone.

  8. Who cares about YOUR happiness lady?

  9. This is mine. I commented and pink linked it earlier today, but it seems to have not posted for some reason. Oh well. Anyhoo, this was just after my daughter was born. The hospital staff was generally great, respectful, and gentle, throughout our very long (28 hour) induction. Our daughter was classified “at risk” for a number of things, due to some tough circumstances throughout the pregnancy. Cardiac concerns were at the top of the list of worries, even though all our perinatal imaging had come back normal – it’s just impossible to rule everything out in utero, even with the best perinatologist available. So we went to great lengths to make the birth as gentle and low-stress on our daughter as we possibly could, just in case a heart problem did crop up during or just after birth. And we did, indeed, achieve an unusually calm and gentle birth (thank you, HypnoBirthing!), especially considering it was a pitocin induction. Our daughter gave one little yelp at birth, then quieted right down, slowly transitioned to breathing as the cord pulsations slowed, pinked right up, had her eyes open and was even lifting and turning her head to look around, and then settled right in to nurse. She couldn’t have done any better, and we were thrilled! Then this NICU nurse showed up to evaluate her, because of her at-risk status, and was alarmed that she was so totally calm and quiet – only a few minutes had passed since birth at that point. So the nurse was hell bent on roughing her up to make her cry. Which seemed so completely backwards to me. I mean, if you have an elderly gentleman in the ER with a suspected heart attack, you don’t rough him up to see how he responds. So why on earth would you do that with a newborn who is at-risk for cardiac defects? That defeated to whole purpose of having a calm, quiet, dark, and gentle birth. I wanted to smack her, but I was also so in the mindset of maintaining a calm space that I just slowly moved away and did what I could to minimize this unpleasant interaction so she would just leave us alone. It was also a surreal moment of how some medical staff consider babies to be totally fair game, and don’t ask permission before making contact. In what other arena of life would it be okay to just grab somebody’s tiny little baby like that?

    Happy ending, despite all odds, our daughter is healthy, strong, and whole, with just a few little inconsequential oddities here and there. So far, nothing major has turned up. She is one tough little cookie. And I’m grateful to our midwives and nursing staff who worked so hard to see that our preferences were (mostly) honored.

    • So despite the presence of the doctors, the NICU nurse decided she was the authority on your daughter’s condition?

      I’m glad your daughter is okay.

      • Thank you, Jane.

        Funny, despite how long the induction took, everyone but me and our HB teacher seemed surprised when she was born. I went from 7cm to crowning in one, maybe two surges, and then she was born with just one push on the next surge. So nobody in the room was quite ready. They didn’t even have the birth supply cart in the room – when I pointed out that the baby was coming, like right that second, the nurse had to run out into the hall to get it. So we just had our midwife and our labor nurse there. I think they must have called the NICU and told them to send someone pronto, since they were caught off guard.

    • Okay, this was appalling enough before I read your story – but to do it to an infant at risk for heart issues…. I don’t EVEN. Seriously, could she not have talked to people in the room first? Argh.

      Glad your daughter is well!

  10. This nurse would have loved my third child! She didn’t cry at birth and, even a year and a half later, she still doesn’t cry often! She slammed a door on her fingers and just stood there staring at me! I would have been so mad if someone intentionally aggravated her to make her cry!

  11. And I won’t be happy until I rip your arm off and beat you to death with it.

  12. So what does this nurse do up in the NICU? Most of her patients are too young to really cry. When my daughter was in the NICU, I saw that the goal was to calm down the babies, not rile ‘em up.

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