(Photo: UB Media Affairs and Publications Office)
As a nursing student, at 17, I was exposed to clinical duties in hospital floors. My first major exposure was at the Delivery Room. It was so nerve-wracking you’d pray your shift would be over soon. My participation was in the care of the patients that included assisting the staff nurses in the antepartum (before delivery) and postpartum (after delivery) care of the pregnant and those that have just delivered their babies.
My experiences in the delivery room made me realize the value of life, or rather, that life cannot be assigned value. One time in my duty, I saw a mother crying due to pre-term delivery pain. I heard the doctor say that the fetus was only about 16 weeks old and 4.6 inches in length. In such conditions, a newborn will not likely to survive outside the womb. The newborn’s skin appeared so thin one can see every organ inside the body.
The newborn was placed on the mother’s chest. The baby’s heart was beating strongly... Until it stopped. I can say it’s one of the most devastating moments in a nurse’s job – seeing a life slowly come to an end. It hit me, and it made me rethink everything I knew about life.
The doctor and the midwife asked the mother if she took some drugs used to intentionally remove the fetus from the womb. She denied it. My tears fell as the fragile soul was not given a chance to live. It dawned on me that my presence in that room was not just about my grades and Nursing requirements. It was more importantly about the deeper truths in life.
I am just saddened by the cold reality that helpless little souls have to sometimes suffer the cruelty of rejection. When obstacles confront us, some of us tend to turn away and opt for the easiest way out, even if it means heading down the wrong path. Somehow, the sight of a baby being born overshadows the gray areas in the picture.
I enjoy seeing newborns and hear them cry, because a baby’s cry in the Delivery Room means life. After months of being in the mother’s womb, the baby finally comes out, accompanied by loud cries– the sound of a new life. It’s the happiest moment in a student nurse’s hospital experience.
When I reminisce everything about my hospital exposure, I couldn’t help but remember every mom who put her life on the line to make way for a young life to take form, who surrendered half of her life for another life.
I wish I could let others see what I have seen, feel what I have felt, and experience what I have gone through. I can only share an account of how fragile life is, and that, really, everyday is a gift that should be unwrapped with enthusiasm, optimism and hope.
– Danielle Tamarah Corpuz, School of Nursing