By P. Berman, K. Hecht, & A. Hosack
I’m going to die. I’m going to die. No one cares. I am all alone…
Claire Caldwell is 15 years old and scared to death; she is a lone in a room on the maternity floor of a local hospital. The nurse briefly checked her out, said it was going to be hours before her child was born; without a backward look, the nurse had turned the lights off and told Claire to sleep. The contractions are so painful Claire wonders if she is going to die alone in the dark. The head nurse on the maternity floor noticed at admission that Claire was alone; this let off a red flag. Women who arrive with a family member or close friend are more likely to have a healthy delivery and more likely to have sought out prenatal care. The head nurse assigns Nurse Karin to Claire’s case and encourages her to check on Claire as frequently as she can to offer help if it is needed.
Nurse Karin checks on Claire about twenty minutes after she was admitted. She turns on the lights low, hoping Claire is asleep. When she sees the wide awake, “deer in the headlights look,” she comes into the room, wipes the sweat off Claire’ face and asks her how she is doing. Claire blurts out that her body feels like it is ripping open. Nurse Karin checks her out, agrees with the admitting nurse that there are many hours ahead and tells Claire that the pain she is experiencing is normal and to hit the call button if she needs help.
Claire doesn’t want Nurse Karin to leave, she still worries she is going to die. Maybe this horrible pain is normal, but that nice nurse can’t tell how bad the pain is. She also doesn’t know that Claire has never be able to do anything right. She just wanted love. She didn’t intend to become a mother. But of course, she couldn’t do anything right. So here she is, flat on her back, in agony, and deserving every bit of it.
Nurse Karin tried to check on Claire once an hour – it was hard to do; a lot of babies were being born today. She wondered where were Claire’s family members?
Why wasn’t there at least a friend with Claire?