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Looking for supportive labor and delivery nurse stories

I’ve written a lot about the importance of finding a truly supportive OB for a hospital-based birth.  But your labor and delivery (L&D) nurse plays an equally pivotal role.

From Why homebirth/HBAC:

Most births in the hospital environment are managed by L&D (labor and delivery) nurses, with your OB arriving just in time to catch the baby. So while you may have grilled your OB during your interview, you are going to spend far more time with the L&D nurses who you did not have the opportunity to screen. You just get whoever is working that shift. I say with a little sarcasm: “Lucky you.” You might get a superb nurse who listens to your desires, reads your birth plan, and respects your wishes. Or you might experience what most of us do. They ignore your birth plan that you spent hours researching and putting together because it conflicts with their job. Their job is to enforce hospital policies and procedures and where your birth plan counter those policies, guess what will prevail?

I’d like to create a database of supportive L&D nurses so that when future moms go to the hospital, they can ask for a specific nurse.  It is only when hospitals see that women want NCB (natural childbirth) friendly nurses that, hopefully, they will be more inclined to hire them.

You know the nurse.  She’s the one who supported or respected your decision to go drug-free.  She’s the one who suggested you walk the halls rather than lay in bed.  She’s the one who, when the OB suggested a cesarean because ‘you are taking to long,’ advocated that you get another hour.  She was really a midwife-doula hybrid in disguise.

So, if you are an L&D nurse and are supportive of natural childbirth (drug-free with no or minimal interventions) or have had a hospital birth experience that was positively impacted by an L&D nurse, and are willing to share your story on this website, please email the following information to info at vbacfacts dot com.

Nurse Name
Hospital Name
City Name
State Name
Describe how your nurse was supportive and/or respectful of your wishes and the birthing process
Birth story (optional)

Whether you ultimately had a vaginal birth, cesarean, VBAC, or home birth transfer, I’d love to hear from you.

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4 comments to Looking for supportive labor and delivery nurse stories

  • Paula Basden

    Hello from an L&D nurse who is very interested in giving my patients the experience they desire. I have worked in L&D for many years….have seen lots of changes. I work in a fabulous unit now….our main goal is of course a healthy baby, but our second is to give our patients the birth experience they desire. We use lots of different strategies with our patients that desire a drug free birth…the birth ball, getting in the shower, ambulation, breathing techniques…..birth is an adventure to be savored…..one of the most amazing things a woman will experience in her life. It does not always go as planned, but going into the experience with an open mind and heart is always helpful.

    Paula, Thanks for your comment! I would love for moms in your area to be able to ask for you when they come in. What is the name and city of your hospital? Best, Jen

  • Julia

    I work and manage a L&D unit that is also along side of a Midwifery center (Hospital based). In the 9 years the Midwifery center has been apart of our hospital the nursing staff has learned a lot from the midwives and the patients. Whether the patient is in L&D or midwifery (VBACs can not deliver in the midwifery center. the doctors associated with the center desire more monitoring than in the midwifery center). We encourage the patients to walk, though some do not wish to, but we still encourage especially if not in good active labor. We encourage showers to help with the discomfort of the contractions and even if the mother is connected to the monitor they can be up be the bedside or on the birthing ball. Most of the staff are willing to listen to the patients and do what they feel is best for them and their baby and it is important for the parents to listen to the nurse if she feels there is a problem.
    Julia Rice, RNC
    Clinical Coordinator
    Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
    Center for Birth
    Norfolk, Virginia

    Julia, Thank you for the work you do! Best, Jen

  • Michele
    Mercy San Juan
    Carmichael, CA

    After spending a couple of hours at home wondering if I was in labor, My boyfriend and I loaded up our 3yr old, got in the car and drove to the hospital. We arrived at about 10:45pm. We meet my boyfriends mother, and at the time 18 year old daughter on the way into the hospital. By this time the contractions were undeniable, but still very manageable. Upon arriving to labor and delivery I was told they had a full house and would have to meet my labor nurse in triage. I used the triage bathroom, peed in a cup, changed into the usually hospital garb, and immediately realized as I walked out of the triage bathroom that I’d forgotten my birth plan. Even knowing how some nurses and doctors laugh at the thought of following a birth plan, I still felt very vulnerable without, that is until I meet Michele, my nurse. She was a little older, perhaps 53, than the average L&D nurse at Mercy, yet I would say a lot wiser. Her energy was very good when she approached me, and even though she had routine, like most nurses I could tell immediately she was still inflexible.

    I told her I forgot my birth plan, and she told me it was okay and to give her a run down. I told her, I didn’t want pain medication at all, even offered. I didn’t want to be continuously monitored and I wanted freedom of movement. I didn’t want to be checked often and I didn’t want an iv. Her reaction was that of excitement because in her own words, “Women hardly ever trust they can do this anymore”. She wanted me to have the natural birth I desired. She even went on to talk about her pregnant daughter and how she hopes she can deliver natural.

    She then told me that I had to be monitored for at least 30minutes in triage, but she would cut it down to about 15minutes if she could get good tracings in that amount of time. She agreed to check me once, and then only again if there was a clear reason to do so or if more than 4 or so hours had passed. When she checked me I was 5cm. Once she saw I was five centimeters she stayed to observe me having a contraction and then quickly deduced that I was going to be trouble. She said I handled them very well and that it would be very hard for her to tell what stage I was going through, and that she had a feeling I was going to be the silent type until it was time to push. She thought she might have to catch the baby. She was joking around with me, but serious too, because she felt I wasn’t as vocal as most moms in active labor. Now was the time, in her experience, women were screaming or crying for their epidurals. I was telling her don’t even whisper the word.

    The iv, she begged me to compromise on. She said, it was hospital policy and my doctors standing orders to have one. She didn’t want to give me, but ask that I at least get an hep lock. Then she said I could think about it for a while. And left while Rick (my boyfriend) and I talked it over. I really said yes, more because I liked her so much, and knew she really was looking out for me as well.

    She didn’t make me stay in triage too long, and so I got up, walked around for a little under an hour..waiting for my room. And when I finally got it, she observed me and asked me how I felt. After a contraction, I told her fine, and then I had an urge to push. I told her and she said: “I told you, you were trouble!” She asked if she could check me, I was 9cm stretching to 10. She just gave me a wink and shook her head at me. If I wasn’t so uncomfortable I may have laughed at that.

    Once the doctor came in, I reminded everyone, no directed pushing. And my nurse smiled at me. It was the warmest smile yet. I just loved her hands off, yet nurturing approach. I should note too, that my doctor was awesome. She didn’t hook my back to anything, she didn’t try and give me pitocin for management of the placenta delivery and she didn’t count once. I delivered my baby in a dim light room, with no noise, no beep, beep, beep of some machine. No cheerleading, no direction. My boyfriend whispered a few things in my ear and my wonderful nurse rubbed my arm. It was awesome, and a totally different experience than my other hospital deliveries.

  • Melissa

    I recently had a successful VBAC at home. I see you are looking for nurses — are you interested in knowing an amazing Midwife practice in NOVA? Birth by Design (www.birthbydesign.org) is amazing practice! I came into the pregnancy knowing I wanted to try for a VBAC but I wasn’t getting a lot of support from my OB’s. And, so few women planning on having a VBAC actually get one when they go to the hospital. So, I decided to do it at home. The midwives monitored me very closely and I wasn’t concerned at all. I had a long labor, but absolutely nothing but a great birth. They are also getting ready to open a birthing center for those who aren’t quite ready for a home birth. It is called NOVA Birth Center. (www.NOVABirthcenter.com) I HIGHLY encourage all women to check them out. They calmed all of my fears and I cannot imagine doing another birth without them. Know your choices!! You can have the birth YOU want to have!

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