Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Natchez Regional Medical Center labor and delivery nurse Alicia Smith attends to newborn McKenna Darlene Jordan Monday afternoon in the hospital’s Women’s Center. When the nurses are not helping deliver babies or attending to them in the nursery, they are busily preparing for the next day’s delivieries.
Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Natchez Regional Medical Center labor and delivery nurse Alicia Smith attends to newborn McKenna Darlene Jordan Monday afternoon in the hospital’s Women’s Center. When the nurses are not helping deliver babies or attending to them in the nursery, they are busily preparing for the next day’s delivieries.

The real Labor Days: Nurses spend holiday delivering

Published 12:01am Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NATCHEZ — Labor was no day off at all for four women at Natchez Regional Medical Center Monday.

Two new mothers and two nurses spent their Labor Day, well, in labor.

Labor and delivery nurses Alicia Smith and Noelle Speed each worked one delivery — a boy and a girl.

Though the nurses knew they’d be working on the holiday that typically honors workers with a day off, they came to work Monday without any actual labor planned.

No births were scheduled — because of the holiday. Of course, when you work in labor and delivery, the schedule can mean very little.

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Noelle Speed, at top, prepares a warming bed in one of the hospital’s deivery rooms.
Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Noelle Speed, at top, prepares a warming bed in one of the hospital’s deivery rooms.

“Every day is a birthday here,” Speed said.

And Labor Day welcomed the two new babies who cared not at all that it was a holiday.

From the nurses’ point of view, the day was fairly uneventful.

“There are less people here than normal, but it isn’t too different from a normal day,” Smith said. “The only thing different about today is that the cafeteria was closed.”

Neither Speed nor Smith complained about working the holiday.

“I really enjoy what I do,” Speed said. “It takes a special kind of person to do this job.”

The job, Smith said, is about more than just labor and delivery. Smith works every day to create a friendly atmosphere for patients, she said.

Speed was so friendly that a family named their child after her once.

“Sometimes people come back and visit us with their babies because they got to know us while in the hospital,” she said.

After Monday’s newest babies made their arrival, the nurses were able to slow the pace a bit and enjoy the day. Speed and Smith began preparing for the next day’s deliveries and taking care of babies in the nursery.

At Natchez Community Hospital, labor and delivery nurse Teresa Lipsey was ready and waiting to work, too.

But the babies allowed Lipsey to relax a bit, saving their entry for another day.

With no deliveries, Lipsey said she spent her day assisting the nursery.

“When labor and delivery isn’t busy, we assist other departments, like the nursery,” she said. “But, you can never really predict when someone will have a child, so you always have to be ready.

Today, labor may really kick in at both hospitals.

Natchez Regional Medical Center’s labor and delivery has two births scheduled and Natchez Community has four.

“(Today) will pick back up with a vengeance,” Lipsey said. “The births we have scheduled don’t even count the ones that might come in.”