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NAKED IN THE LABOR/DELIVERY ROOM

Written by Ruth DonoghueRuthie

Time: December in the early ‘90’s.

Place: Nursery in a Catholic hospital where 5,000 babies pass through in a year.

The call came from unit secretary.

A nurse was requested as soon as possible to pick up a baby in delivery/labor room three. (Every newborn baby was sent to the nursery to be bathed, examined and observed).

Request the nurse be naked.

I believed this was a religious event, since it was permitted in the Catholic hospital where I worked. It was a time when we were trying to be more understanding of other religions and promoting better relations. Recently our department had finished seminars on religious and lifestyle diversity. Any employee not willing to extend understanding would be sent for counseling. Since I was close to retirement, I volunteered to take the call.

I grabbed two surgical masks, stapled them together and applied them as a bra. Disposable mother mash pants served as bottoms. A heavy starched doctor’s coat was applied for traveling.

Upon arrival the whole family—mother, baby, grandma, grandpa, father and sibling—was present, smiling and naked. The doctor had managed to skillfully leave.

The thermostat was set at 90 degrees. I removed my doctor’s coat. Nobody noticed.

They allowed me to place their beautiful baby in a blanket. I quickly donned my heavy doctor’s coat and departed, pushing the baby in the crib.

It was an accomplishment because now I wouldn’t have to go for sensitively counseling in contrast to some others.

On a cold January day, a month later, in the hospital elevator, I encountered a couple, lightly dressed, carrying a baby in a blanket only. Smiling, happy and healthy. They didn’t recognize me.

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