Pink and Blue – a Poem

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Nursing, Night Shifts & School

I love the color blue. But not on a baby’s skin. For skin we want bright pink.

Blue ok on feet and hands. Immature circulation, normal. Not face, not lips, not chest. 

My stethoscope is baby blue. No baby’s chest should match it.

Cut the cord quick. Get her to the warmer. Start NRP. 

I stand there at attention, ready to take the order.

Shouldn’t be that color. Not pinking up. 

Did she cry? Did she make a sound? I can’t remember now. 

So many births. They start to blend together. 

But can’t forget that blue blue chest, my stethoscope against it. 

“Can you hear anything at all?”

I strain to hear the thready beats, too slow. Breaths too soft to hear. 

I count. Only 60 beats in 60. Too slow. Too slow. 

In utero, it was 175. Too fast. Distress. 

Still too blue. Chest isn’t rising. Red button. Call NICU.

Oxygen mask on nose and mouth. Heartbeat going up. 130, that’s better.  

They come so fast, thank God. A team including doctor.

Suction! What happened? 

Maternal fever. Fetal tachycardia. Baby in distress. Meconium aspiration.

Tylenol brought down fever. IV antibiotics in. Black hair, blue body. Green placenta. 

Send it to path. Get cord gases.

Suction! Mec is hard to breathe. Got more than we thought. Intubate!

We’ll take her for a while. Help her clear her lungs.

Mom moves to postpartum, no baby in her arms. Goes to visit NICU. She’s holding on but barely. 

I wake up breathless. Seeing blue. I send my love and light. 

I love the color blue, but not on a baby’s skin. Pink. Pink. Pink on a baby’s chest and face. 

Not blue. Not green. Not blue.

*Details have been omitted or changed to protect patient identity and privacy. Sorry for being so dark. Being a Labor and Delivery nurse is the most joyful job in the hospital, except when it’s not. I usually leave the poetry to my daughter, but have found it surprisingly therapeutic to write the images that keep me awake without attempting to form them into cohesive paragraphs or assign deep meaning. 


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