It’s one of the comments I get MOST OFTEN. I just want a “normal birth” which I 100% get. Today I’m talking about what a “normal” birth looks like and how you can get THAT!
Today’s guest is my friend Tara. We worked together at the same hospital for a long time and I just adore her. She’s also a new mama and I thought she had a lot to offer everyone!
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — if you’re looking to have a confident, collaborative hospital birth.
How to Have a “Normal” Hospital Birth:
In this episode
What a “normal birth” is
How to manage the expectations of the COUPLE during labor.
How to communicate with your team during your birth (especially about your fears).
How people’s “normal” hospital birth looks different for everyone.
Other things that might interest you
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
Check out all my podcasts:
[00:00:00.060] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on Episode 98, we’re doing what everybody just goes, hey, Hilary, I just really want a normal birth. How do I make that happen? Today, we’re going to untangle it.
[00:00:21.760] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:46.540] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, before we get started, could you please subscribe? You might have found this podcast on my blog or Instagram or I don’t know where, but if you just go to your favorite podcast player type in the Pulling Curls Podcast, you’ll find my curly haired head and subscribe.
[00:01:01.580] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks. OK, guys. Today’s guest is my friend Tara. We used to work together. I’m so excited to have her on because she just had a baby. And I think she brings a lot of good information, both from the viewpoint of a mom who’s having a baby and a mom who’s been a nurse. So I want to introduce my friend Tara.
[00:01:20.590] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel prepared for your delivery? In just three short hours, you can be prepared for the competent collaborative delivery you want, you’ll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I’ll use humor stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alyssa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all, you guys are going to be on the same page from Bump to Bassinette.
[00:01:45.400] – Hilary Erickson
Join the online prenatal class for couples today. You can save 15 percent with coupon code untangled. You can find the link in the show notes. Hey, Tara, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:01:58.210] – Tara
Hey, I’m happy to be here.
[00:01:59.950] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, I’m so excited to have you on. I love it when I have friends come on. Because you haven’t done like 20 podcasts before this.
[00:02:05.320] – Tara
Yeah, no, this is my first podcast, so I’m a baby for sure.
[00:02:08.470] – Hilary Erickson
Not your last, Tara. OK, you just had a baby. How old?
[00:02:12.580] – Tara
I did. So she is turning six months old this week. I know time is flying, right.
[00:02:17.380] – Tara
It’s kind of crazy.
[00:02:18.520] – Hilary Erickson
Tara and I did not work together like we would work together a fair amount and then she got married. But anyway, I think I’ve seen her three times since she got engaged.
[00:02:26.020] – Tara
Yeah. I think you saw me get engaged.
[00:02:28.240] – Hilary Erickson
And she got pregnant a fair amount after she got married.
[00:02:31.660] – Tara
So, yeah, it was like you saw me when I got engaged and then you saw me maybe when I was like six months pregnant. And now you’re seeing me again with a six month old baby.
[00:02:40.240] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Tara got engaged at work.
[00:02:42.760] – Tara
Yes, I did. It was like a total shock. Of course. It was like a crazy day, too. So I had to go back to work after getting engaged, which was kind of fun.
[00:02:49.550] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. We were trying to get you off. We were trying everything.
[00:02:52.850] – Tara
Yeah. I don’t think the stars aligned. I mean, it was a great day, but it was kind of crazy.
[00:02:58.990] – Hilary Erickson
We will all always remember it.
[00:03:00.700] – Hilary Erickson
It was an insane day.
[00:03:02.740] – Tara
Yes it was. But it was fun and it’s a good memory to have. I’ve got some fun pictures.
[00:03:06.790] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. OK, so I want to have Tara come on because she’s a labor nurse who just had a baby. And I have to tell you that when you are a labor nurse having a baby, whatever you’re experiencing in your mind, that labor nurse has it like twenty fold because we think of every single thing we’ve ever seen that’s gone wrong.
[00:03:21.940] – Tara
So. Oh, absolutely.
[00:03:24.010] – Hilary Erickson
Not so great. So you were probably really just hoping for a normal vaginal.
[00:03:28.510] – Tara
[00:03:29.350] – Tara
You know, I think that, like, sometimes they say like ignorance is bliss. And I think in this case, like, it feels like I’ve seen almost everything. And so when I found out I was pregnant, you know, the anxiety kind of kicks in. You’re like, oh, my gosh, like, what if this happens and this and this? And so I think it was good because I kind of knew what to expect. But then there were still parts where I was like, oh, I still feel like a new mom.
[00:03:47.440] – Tara
Like, do I really know what’s going on?
[00:03:49.300] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And I have to say that I had given so many baby baths to other babies.
[00:03:54.400] – Tara
I know. I think I think honestly, I felt more comfortable, like taking care of like other people’s babies than when my baby came. I was like, oh my gosh, she’s so fragile. I mean, you know.
[00:04:03.580] – Hilary Erickson
I know. Yeah, it’s so different. Anyway, so, so many people say, Hilary, I just want, like, a normal delivery. And I think when they say that they’re meeting, I don’t want to have, like, what people might term as like a hippie birth or, you know, they probably don’t want to birth in the tub. They probably don’t want to squat by the bed. They just want to have a normal delivery.
[00:04:20.500] – Hilary Erickson
They trust their doctor, but they also don’t want a lot of they don’t want a C-section and they don’t want that.
[00:04:26.350] – Tara
Which is totally fair.
[00:04:27.460] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, none of us do. I think a lot of people think, oh, I’m going to have this birth plan. It’s going to be new for these labor nurses. Everybody doesn’t want a piece of me. Everybody doesn’t want a C section. They’d like to avoid pitocin in general.
[00:04:38.980] – Tara
So, yeah, I think that, like everyone’s definition of normal is a little…
[00:04:42.550] – Tara
I mean, it’s their own, obviously, but to me it’s the same thing I like went in with an open mind. And I think that that’s really important. I obviously have experience working in labor and delivery, so I kind of had an element of knowing what to expect. But I think that the best thing was to just be open minded and know that I trust my doctor. I delivered where I worked. So I trusted the nurses that were taking care of me.
[00:05:01.930] – Tara
And even as somebody if I didn’t have that experience, you have to trust that your nurses and doctors want to do what’s best for you. We’re not in there like, oh, I just want to cut this girl and do a C-section because I got places to be. And so I think having an open mind, but also if you do have a birth plan or you do have something in mind that you’d like to do, uh, being open, and communicating with your doctor and nurses is really a good way to bring down that anxiety.
[00:05:25.300] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, yeah. I think it’s so normal to be anxious and especially when you have a birth plan that you feel like this is what I want to have happen.
[00:05:32.290] – Tara
Yeah, I think especially like after taking care of people, if you’re like somebody in your life or like you have a lot of control over the things that you do and the people you surround yourself with, it’s kind of scary. You know, I went into my doctor’s appointment at thirty eight weeks, like, OK, I’m like healthy things are great.
[00:05:46.840] – Tara
I got like two more weeks to prepare and have my baby. And then my blood pressure was through the roof and my doctor was like, girl, it’s time we’re going to induce you tomorrow. And I was like, what? And I live- I lived an hour and a half away from the hospital I was delivering at. So you know, for me, like I didn’t have all my things. I didn’t I didn’t have anything prepared. And so that was anxiety inducing.
[00:06:04.180] – Tara
But I think that, like, if you are willing to, like, go with the flow a little bit and know in your brain, like, OK, these are the normal things I want. And if you’re not doing anything to kooky, like, things generally work out that way. And your delivery’s going to be fine. I mean, we’re going to take care of you, whether it was U.S. or vaginal delivery, like you’re going to have a baby.
[00:06:22.950] – Tara
And the goal really is to be healthy, healthy mom, healthy baby, right?
[00:06:26.040] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, and happy.
[00:06:27.060] – Hilary Erickson
And I feel like a lot of times, guys, you might not want to hear this. Your unhappiness is caused a lot by you wanting a specific plan rather than what happened at birth.
[00:06:36.750] – Tara
[00:06:37.780] – Tara
You know, I think it’s hard because you want to manage your expectations. And yeah, I think a lot of people, they’re like, this is my first plan. It’s concrete. This is what’s going to happen. And then they find themselves getting really disappointed when they’re not dilating the way that they thought they would or they’re not. They might need like a vacium delivery. You know, there’s all these things that maybe they thought, oh, I’m not going to have all of that.
[00:06:56.550] – Tara
And then it kind of just starts progressing that way. And so you kind of just want to manage your expectations and be realistic. But also, I’ve had dads who get extremely frustrated and it’s like, well, well. You know, we’re trying to do it for mom and baby. I don’t need you yelling at me when we’re trying to do what’s best and have a healthy, safe delivery.
[00:07:16.050] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, I think that’s really true, because you’ve got two people’s expectations and sometimes they’re not even on the same page.
[00:07:21.180] – Hilary Erickson
I do think it’s so funny when you have a very chill mom and then you’ve got this dad in the corner who’s like Googling everything you’re saying and you’re like…
[00:07:27.390] – Tara
Oh my gosh.
[00:07:29.580] – Tara
And like, I’m all about like I think knowledge is power. I think that it’s great. Like if you’ve done your research and your evidence based and both of you are really into whatever you so choose that you want to maybe have on your birth plan. But yeah, I’ve had a situation where the baby’s heart tones were down. It was an indication for a C-section. The mom was like, yep, here’s my content, let’s go. And the dad was like, we’re not doing that.
[00:07:49.980] – Tara
That’s not natural. We’re not.
[00:07:51.150] – Tara
And it’s just like, well, we kind of need to have a live baby delivery, you know?
[00:07:56.010] – Tara
And so I think being on the same page, but also like the dad needed to be realistic, too, because he’s not the person who might be injured. The mom and the baby are really our priority in that moment.
[00:08:07.500] – Hilary Erickson
So and actually legally, mom comes before because it’s her body at that point. So we wouldn’t ever take dad’s, like, refusal of consent before that. Now, that is their own marriage problem. Good luck tonight.
[00:08:21.210] – Tara
So, yeah, I definitely think that, like the mom and dad, they are a package deal. And so, like as a nurse, you are juggling both of their expectations and what the mom might know, the dad might not. You don’t know if they’ve talked ahead of the- ahead of time. So I think definitely like having those conversations when I first meet them and saying, like, OK, like, what’s your plan? What do you what do you think it’s going to happen?
[00:08:38.580] – Tara
Or like if you have any questions about things, I like to answer those as soon as I would meet my patients, because I feel like that sets you up for success for the rest of the day. And if both parties are anxious.
[00:08:47.970] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. And and especially if they answer honestly.
[00:08:51.330] – Tara
[00:08:52.610] – Tara
I like to think I’m like pretty approachable when I come in the room. I don’t have any patients I can text and be like, hey, what do you think? But I definitely think, like, if they can be as honest as they kind of like me and be like, listen, this scares the living hell out of me. OK, then I’m going to explain things in a way that’s not going to scare you and we’re going to approach things in a way that is best for you.
[00:09:11.670] – Tara
Everybody is different. And what I might have done in one delivery, I might not do in another, you know?
[00:09:16.080] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I love that, because… Just be honest, because sometimes you’ll be like you’ll notice that they seem really afraid or their blood pressure is a little bit high and you’re like, hey, are you are you nervous? And they’re like, no, you’re like, yeah.
[00:09:27.930] – Tara
You’re like, sis… It looks like you’re maybe a little anxious or, you know, I’ve had situations where, like, you’re in labor and like everything is starting to become really real. Like you just start crying or something scares you or as the nurse, like, I don’t know what’s going on in your head. I can’t read your mind. So if you’re just sitting in bed crying, like, I’m going to ask you what’s going on. And I feel like it’s a good time to be vulnerable.
[00:09:48.750] – Tara
And if there’s something going on, let me know if I can try to make it better. I can’t fix your marriage if something’s going on there, but I think I definitely come in stressing you out or if there’s somebody that’s helping take care of you that you’re not vibing with. I can kind of eliminate that stress. Like you need to let me know.
[00:10:04.140] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. So often we have patients who all of a sudden will start to cry.
[00:10:08.010] – Hilary Erickson
And I mean, my head always initially goes to what did he do? It’s like I almost always find that it’s something that the spouse did, but sometimes they’re just scared out of the living daylights and they’re going to be a mom. Like there’s so many emotions. It’s not just delivery, which.
[00:10:21.540] – Tara
[00:10:22.440] – Hilary Erickson
You should be afraid.
[00:10:23.640] – Tara
I was going to say… Yes!
[00:10:25.440] – Hilary Erickson
Because there’s a lot changing.
[00:10:27.150] – Tara
There’s a lot of changes. And like your hormones are going wacky, your life is about to change for the better. And I mean, you get situations where, like some people, they’re in happy marriages, things are great. Some people, they just broke up with their baby daddy. But they want the father, their child. They’re so they’ve got some, like, social stuff going on that maybe we didn’t know about.
[00:10:45.630] – Tara
But that’s really on their mind, you know, so there’s always something going on. And as a nurse, I would like you to be as honest as you can with me so I can try to make it the best experience possible for you. You don’t want to look at your birth story and be like that was the worst thing ever. That was so traumatic for me. My nurse didn’t care about me.
[00:11:02.430] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, we- I would- I would be devastated if I found out one of my patients felt that way.
[00:11:07.050] – Tara
[00:11:07.950] – Hilary Erickson
Although, I mean, sometimes I probably just don’t vibe with a patient and I wouldn’t be shocked if somebody felt that way. But I think if somebody that I which would be like ninety nine percent of my patients that I felt like I got along all day and they were just like she didn’t support me at all, I would be devastated and I really would have wanted to know that for sure.
[00:11:23.230] – Tara
Yeah, that would break my heart.
[00:11:24.550] – Tara
I mean, you try your best. Like every single person you meet is like a fresh slate and you try your best to make it the best experience you can for them. And like you said, not everybody is going to like you. I’m very upbeat and perky and happy. And if somebody is looking for someone who is really mellow, I might not be your girl. But at the same time, like, you want to give the best care that you can.
[00:11:41.830] – Tara
And so, yeah, you just roll with it.
[00:11:44.170] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And if there’s something that you’re just like, I wish my nurse was a little bit this X, Y, Z and you’re changing shifts. Sometimes I’ll be like ask my patients to be like, do is there like a kind of nurse that you wish, especially if I’m not vibing, that you kind of wish things were different. You were more mellow. Not as funny because I am very funny, you know.
[00:12:04.470] – Hilary Erickson
You know, there’s something I have asked people that before and then I’ll go to the charge nurse will be like, hey, could we get her just because I want you to have a great stay. And if I’m not your great stay…
[00:12:13.690] – Tara
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, and I think what’s great about labor and delivery is you’re not some people don’t have their baby. As soon as they get in there, like some people are there for a couple of days, which can be normal for them.
[00:12:23.800] – Tara
And so they want might want the same nurse back or they might want somebody who’s either like you or the complete opposite of you. So, yeah, I think if they tell you that before shift change, like, hey, I had Nurse So-and-so last night, is she on again? I want her back if we can make that happen. I loved doing that. I think being with someone familiar is… Makes you more comfortable, especially in this type of situation.
[00:12:43.600] – Hilary Erickson
I think that’s always so surprising. So I never delivered. I love this conversation, but we’re going to get back to normal birth. Don’t you worry, people. Yeah, yeah. But I one of the nurses I had on my third baby came up to visit me in postpartum and I was amazed at how happy I was to see her, which I had done that as a nurse so many times. But seeing a friendly face in the hospital is so nice.
[00:13:03.100] – Hilary Erickson
[00:13:03.700] – Tara
I was gonna say, I loved doing that for my patients too.
[00:13:06.310] – Tara
Well, and like, you’re so vulnerable. I mean, you’re like all your lady bits are out for your nurse and doctor and everybody to see. And like, I think there’s something to be said about how amazing having a baby is and like how vulnerable you are in that moment. So, yeah, seeing a familiar face makes you feel good. But also you’re like, yes, I did it. You know, it’s kind of like a fun celebration for you both.
[00:13:24.250] – Hilary Erickson
The same point, though, if you didn’t like your nurse from last night, I always give people an out, too. I would say, you know, if you didn’t like her, that’s one hundred percent fine. Just let me know. And and I can make sure that she’s not your nurse tonight because.
[00:13:36.190] – Tara
[00:13:37.990] – Hilary Erickson
Nobody’s going to get offended, especially if you do it before they are assigned you. It’s worse once you’ve started that path.
[00:13:43.480] – Hilary Erickson
So there you go.
[00:13:44.440] – Tara
Yeah. I’d be like, oh girl… let’s switch.
[00:13:47.800] – Hilary Erickson
So OK, so back to normal birth. OK, so I think sometimes people don’t understand what normal is. So it is normal if we’re talking percentages to have a vaginal delivery, right. Yes. Because one third ish depending at your hospital and your provider, hopefully we’re decreasing that number. It is normal to tear a little bit on your first baby. So that’s just something that is normal. But it is not normal, I don’t think, to get cut.
[00:14:13.270] – Hilary Erickson
Definitely not where we worked.
[00:14:14.800] – Tara
I was going to say where we worked, I think they were working really hard to try to prevent like a first time mom having a C-section unless there was indications. Most C sections, it’s like the baby’s breach or maybe you have a placenta previa or in emergency. So you’re eight centimeters. The baby’s heart tones are going down. They’re not going up. When the nurses and doctors are doing everything we know that we can to try to raise those heart tones, then, yeah, you would need a C-section.
[00:14:39.790] – Tara
But I would say most people feel like normal would be a vaginal delivery. Yeah, but definitely I, I think some people have a stigma against C sections and there’s really nothing wrong with those either. I mean, you have to have a healthy baby. That’s the goal. And the healthy mom, you don’t want the mom to die trying to have a vaginal delivery either.
[00:14:56.480] – Hilary Erickson
So one hundred percent, seen times that it’s saved either mom or baby, multiple, multiple, multiple times a year.
[00:15:03.520] – Tara
[00:15:04.510] – Tara
Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, I think normal I mean, it can depend, but I think when people think of normal they definitely think of vaginal delivery.
[00:15:11.230] – Hilary Erickson
OK, here’s another little newsflash for everybody. I think at most hospitals it’s normal to have a little pitocin.
[00:15:17.800] – Tara
Yes, I would say so too, especially in that hospitals I’ve worked at, I think for an induction, unless you’re like three or four centimeters along and they just need to kind of like augment, you know, the time they start with the side attack or maybe cervadil.
[00:15:31.480] – Tara
And then once you dilate a little bit more, they would start pitocin and get the ball rolling or else you’d be in labor for a week.
[00:15:38.140] – Tara
It would take forever.
[00:15:38.830] – Hilary Erickson
But I will say most doctors, even if you just come in and like regular two to three contractions, they’ll be like, just throw a little pit on her. And that’s one hundred percent up to you to say no, there’s absolutely no reason that we need to throw pitocin on you. But…
[00:15:50.800] – Tara
[00:15:51.250] – Tara
I was going to say at the end of the day, like, the patient can always say no, but yeah, I think it just depends on everyone’s situation. Like I’m all for pitocin augmenting labor. I think it helps. And especially if you’re trying to go say natural or not, with an epidural for a while, you’re not wanting to be laboring in the bed for four days in your body. It’s a slow process, especially if it’s your first baby.
[00:16:13.330] – Tara
So it could take a while.
[00:16:14.710] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So that one is totally up to you. But I have to say that if. You’re looking at percentages at a hospital adding some pitocin, this probably on the normal end, I would guess more than 50 percent and I’m not even talking about it’s one hundred percent normal to get pitocin after the baby’s born to prevent bleeding. Yes, but yeah, it’s probably pretty normal to start with a little pitocin. Yeah, I agree.
[00:16:33.500] – Tara
And I think people get a little bit nervous about pitocin. Because they’re like, oh, it’s this medication and it causes me to contracts that we naturally make it in our bodies and we release it from our brains. And so I feel people are like I want to get the tests and I’m going to have an allergic reaction. Probably not, because our bodies naturally make this and it helps the process go. And like you said, we get it afterward to help prevent postpartum hemorrhages.
[00:16:54.260] – Tara
So it definitely helps and it has multiple different hats that it wears and jobs that it can do.
[00:16:59.690] – Hilary Erickson
And you can… We can just give you a little whiff, like we’re giving you like one drop in a half an hour, like that’s how you’re starting at. So don’t feel like if you’ve started the floodgate of pitocin that you can’t say, you know what, this is enough. I feel like I’m going fast enough. Stop. That’s the good thing about Pitocin. It’s very variable.
[00:17:17.270] – Tara
Yeah, absolutely. And we as nurses, I mean, we’re watching the contractions in the baby’s heart tones.
[00:17:22.250] – Tara
And so we’re going we’re changing it, we can go up on it. We can go down on it. We can stop it. And it has such a short Half-Life that really once you stop it, it’s kind of out of your system relatively quickly.
[00:17:32.180] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, it’s so great. Love pitocin. I mean, it gets such a bad name on on Tic-Tac and everywhere. But I love it. I’ve seen it save lives, so.
[00:17:41.480] – Tara
Yeah, yeah. I think I was going to say I’ve seen it save lives, I’ve seen it do wonderful things in terms of birthing babies.
[00:17:48.680] – Tara
And then also just as somebody who went through it, like I would have been in labor forever, they were inducing my body and I wasn’t- my body wasn’t ready to have a baby. My blood pressure said otherwise. But I think if I would have refused it, I would have been there for a long time and then my outcomes might have been different.
[00:18:03.230] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So, pitocin. One other thing I was thinking that’s also pretty darn normal is a little hiccup.
[00:18:09.290] – Hilary Erickson
So the nurses may run in, we might turn you in, might increase your I.V., all those kind of fun things. They might put oxygen on you, but that’s kind of like going by the wayside, luckily, because nobody loves that. Yeah. Sucking in that Barbie doll for hours on end. Yeah.
[00:18:22.040] – Tara
Yeah. Kind of dries your mouth out, but yeah, it’s definitely normal babies generally. They look beautiful in the monitor. Sometimes they’ll have what we call little variables and so maybe their heart goes down just a little bit.
[00:18:31.820] – Tara
And so that’s when we do what we call our intervention. So we might turn you we have peanut balls which are like these yoga balls we can stick between your legs that help open up your cervix and open up your pelvis. That helps a lot, IV fluids like you talked about. I know some people come in and they’re like, well, I don’t want to get anything. Like, OK, but can we agree on at least having an IV? So in case your baby needs a little extra fluid or we do need to start that pitocin, we can do that safely because the worst thing that could happen in my mind is you’ve got a mom who comes in, doesn’t want an IV, doesn’t want anything, and then we have to go to do a C-section or something emergent.
[00:19:04.520] – Tara
And we don’t have that access that we need. But yeah, I think moving patients very normal, giving them a little bit of fluid to help the baby out, especially when your waters have broken. Sometimes they’ll do an AMA on fusion. So that kind of helps give your baby a little extra if it’s getting a little stressed out during those contractions. There’s all sorts of stuff that we do as nurses to try to make it as happy as we can.
[00:19:26.210] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, and if you ever like, is this pretty normal? You know, ask. Because a lot of times people get nervous because multiple nurses come in. But a lot of times if I see Tara’s having a variable and she’s going down the hall, I’ll just go with her because it’s so much easier to turn a patient with two hands.
[00:19:39.050] – Tara
Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Teamwork makes the dream work in labor and delivery and all the I mean, the goal of our unit in general is that you want a safe delivery.
[00:19:45.890] – Tara
You don’t want to watch your coworkers patient having all this crazy stuff happen. And you’re like. Girl, good like have fun. You want everybody to work together. And yeah, as the patient, it might be scary to see a lot of people in the room, but in that moment your nurse might be focusing on like this, that and the other and then this other nurse like, OK, we’ve also got to do this. So everybody’s brains are working together to make your baby look beautiful on the monitor, but also make sure you’re OK, too.
[00:20:10.940] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. In fact, Tara and I a lot of times would work with these teams that we’re just like it’s like a dance when you go in there because you would just know, like, these two are going to turn this one, I’ll do the IV and that is so great when you work with a team like that. And so don’t be afraid if, like, there’s multiple nurses that come in. Yeah, yeah.
[00:20:26.600] – Tara
And I think too like, letting your husband or significant other or your partner, whoever it is in the room, also know these things because you can see they kind of like stand in the corner, really scared. They’re like, oh my gosh, where do I stand? Because everything’s happening and they don’t necessarily know what’s going on or what the nurses are doing. And so just them knowing as well, like we’re all in there to try to help and make like we want your goals of your delivery to come true.
[00:20:49.970] – Tara
And so if that means flipping and flopping and doing all of these things to make it happen and that’s what we’re doing and we’re not doing anything crazy or trying to, like, kick the dad out or put them in the corner, I’m scared either.
[00:21:00.080] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I think it is one hundred percent scarier for the dad.
[00:21:03.410] – Tara
[00:21:04.880] – Hilary Erickson
Everything’s just floating through their brain because they have zero control. Nothing’s happening to them. They’re just left out in the corner. So that is really hard. I love that. Yeah.
[00:21:12.770] – Tara
And I think like my husband, I mean, my husband is a resident physician and so he went through medical school. He kinda knows like the basic sciences of labor and delivery, but I think for him to be in that situation and I had to be flipped and flopped and I didn’t have, say the most normal delivery myself. And so he definitely was scared and he didn’t know what to do. And I think he felt powerless. But as long as they can just be your number one cheerleader, that’s like the best piece of advice I can give is just like they need to be supportive and a good cheerleader and just make you feel comfortable.
[00:21:41.600] – Hilary Erickson
But they can 100 percent ask questions, like sometimes dads come in and they feel like mom needs to ask all the questions. But no, I’m just as open to tell Dad whatever he wants to know as well.
[00:21:49.840] – Tara
Yeah, absolutely. Because I think as moms or when you’re pregnant, you’re doing a lot more research like what’s going on inside my body. You’ve got these apps on your phone now that you can be like, oh, this is happening and that.
[00:22:00.010] – Tara
But like the dads sometimes are a little left in the dark and they don’t really know what to expect or what’s happening or all the crazy fancy words that we might be using when you’re there having your baby. So, yeah, ask lots of questions.
[00:22:12.340] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. All right. So let’s just recap. It’s good to just kind of broaden your perspective of normal. You know, normal might be a little bit more medical. You’re probably not Caroline Ingles delivering on your bed in the prairie.
[00:22:24.220] – Hilary Erickson
That wouldn’t be considered normal anymore, especially in the hospital. So and then also just talking with your doctor about kind of what you prefer early on. I’m not talking like at six weeks. I’m talking like after about thirty weeks.
[00:22:35.680] – Tara
I was going, yeah, I think like a birth plan is great.
[00:22:38.500] – Tara
And like as a nurse, like I loved when my patients would be like, this is my plan. I want it delayed cord clamping or I want all the baby meds or I want to breastfeed or bottlefeed or whatever. So it’s like I think communicating that with your doctor and your nurses ahead of time is good, because the last thing your doctor wants to hear is when the baby’s coming out.
[00:22:54.340] – Tara
You’re like, I want to do like delayed Porchlight being for ten minutes and this and the other.
[00:22:58.690] – Tara
And you’re like, wait, where did that come from? You know, so definitely open communication.
[00:23:02.980] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Early on. Yeah. Yes. And then also being open to because if baby’s not looking so great, sometimes that delayed cord clamping is shorter than we wish, but all those kind of things. And that’s OK. I mean, let me to be honest, the delayed cord clamping just barely started like two years ago?
[00:23:18.040] – Tara
Yeah. They just- it just barely started.
[00:23:20.080] – Tara
And I know I was looking at the research before I talked to you, because at our hospital they would generally just regularly for like 30 to 60 seconds. And it wasn’t until recently where people are like, I want it delayed until it stops pulsing. And I really haven’t found any research on the CDC or ACOG or anything that says that that’s beneficial for the babies. But I mean, I don’t know. I think, yeah, if the baby is like gray and needs a little bit of extra help by the nursery nurse, you got to put the priority of the baby before your birth plan of wanting a super delayed cord clamp.
[00:23:51.400] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I feel like we’ve gone all the spheres because when I started there was a lot of real crunchy moms who wanted super long delayed cord clamping. And then I feel like it kind of disappeared for a while. But the standard of care is 30 to 60 seconds through NRP. So, yes, I mean, that’s what we do. Yeah. And that’s what they’ve shown. And- and just a side note, in case people want more info, once the court is in air and cold and not in oxygen, it starts to clamp off on its own.
[00:24:16.100] – Hilary Erickson
That’s its job because Caroline Ingalls, delivering by herself on her inner cabin, wouldn’t have been able to clamp the cord and cut it off on her own. She had a wait for Pa to come home and help her.
[00:24:26.740] – Tara
Yeah, no, thank you. I’m so thankful for modern medicine. I’m glad that she hopefully survived that delivery. But luckily, modern medicine is here and we don’t have to, like, go hug a tree and have a baby in the field like…
[00:24:39.880] – Hilary Erickson
You wouldn’t have made it.
[00:24:40.660] – Tara
No, I don’t do… I don’t think I would have. There’s no way. I had to have a vacuum delivery. I had to have, like, all sorts of fun stuff. So for me, that would have not have been a possibility.
[00:24:51.130] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And then I think after your delivery, if you feel like something wasn’t normal and it’s kind of bugging you, talk to your team about it because we can’t read your mind. Once I started learning more about birth trauma when I was up on postpartum, I would be like, hey, was there any questions you had about what happened during your delivery or stuff like that? But most nurses don’t because we’re so focused on like what the heck we’re doing that day.
[00:25:09.460] – Hilary Erickson
But yeah, just say, you know, like Tara was saying, she had a vacuum. And if she wasn’t a nurse, she might say, hey, was that normal? Does everything look OK on the baby’s head? How often do people get a vacuum? It wasn’t something I was prepared for or aware of. And talk with your team right after, because I think a lot of times people save that for that six week checkup and the doctor literally has zero recollection of what even happened.
[00:25:30.340] – Tara
Yeah, I think it’s really important and especially you you if you kind of didn’t understand it or that it was kind of emergent in that situation and they’re just wanting to get the baby out. And so, yes, they talk to you really quickly. But if the baby’s heart tones are down, they’re like, we have to do this or else we need to go have a C-section. And I think definitely like talking it out will help in terms of birth trauma.
[00:25:49.810] – Tara
But also the worst thing you can do is like hold it in and then you go home and you Google it and then you find everybody’s scary story on the Internet that that’s their way of dealing with their birth trauma. But it’s going to scare you more. And so…
[00:26:01.360] – Hilary Erickson
And it’s going to make it a bigger deal in your brain.
[00:26:03.220] – Tara
Oh, absolutely. I think by talking to people who like this is their job, most people, I would say, are experts that are working in that field.
[00:26:09.820] – Tara
If they’re able to explain it in a way that helps you cope with what happened, I think that that’s way better than going on like mommy blog dotcom. And reading somebody else’s really terrifying story, and then your postpartum hormones are all crazy and then you start feeling some type of way.
[00:26:24.390] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, and we love like labor nurses, postpartum nurses love to teach. I love to teach. Well, because there’s a lot of stuff we’re doing after you have a baby like housekeeping.
[00:26:32.970] – Hilary Erickson
And I would love to explain exactly why we use the vacuum. What I saw, how it all happened, why it was effective while I’m like cleaning up the room.
[00:26:41.130] – Tara
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I was using words like full of facts. And I think that’s what’s so awesome about labor and delivery is we’re constantly doing continuing education. There’s evidence, as there’s evidence based studies as to why we do what we do. So if we can share that to make our patients have a better understanding of what’s going on, but also if they come back and have another baby, they’re like, oh, yeah, I know about that.
[00:27:00.180] – Tara
I feel better about that. That’s the goal.
[00:27:03.120] – Hilary Erickson
We want you to be happy. So if there’s something that you’re like, this didn’t seem normal and it’s kind of sticking my brain talk to your nurses while you’re still at the hospital. Yes. Even if you get up to postpartum and it’s starting, you could ask your postpartum nurse, hey, is there a labor nurse that could just kind of explain what happened? It might feel a little awkward at the time, but we would so much rather than you have like that area of your brain smooth out so that you can, like, jump into motherhood.
[00:27:24.090] – Hilary Erickson
Not holding on to that.
[00:27:25.320] – Tara
Yeah, absolutely. I think, like, when you start your mother journey, you want to be the best prepared you can be because you also don’t want things lingering that are going to bother you. And then you’re taking care of a baby and you’ve got no sleep. And like I said, that your postpartum hormones are kind of going up and down and yeah, you want to be in a good headspace. Yeah.
[00:27:41.820] – Hilary Erickson
So I don’t know if this gave you guys advice, but we were mostly… Tara And I were talking about this in advance, like exactly what is normal. There’s things that usually happen. And if that’s what you want, that’s probably what will happen because that usually happens.
[00:27:53.550] – Tara
So yeah, I think like normal for one person could be your water breaks, you go to the O.B. triage, they do an amnesia test, your waters broken. We get you ready to have a baby.
[00:28:02.670] – Tara
And we kind of see, are you in labor on your own or do you need a little bit of pitocin to help you kick start? Or you could be someone like me that you go to your doctor’s appointment, your blood pressure looks a little funky, so they send you to OB triaged. They say, girl, this is not good. This looks like preeclampsia. We’re going to run some extra tests, but we should probably induce you. And in that situation, that’s how my labor story started.
[00:28:23.730] – Tara
So while that might not be normal for one person, that was my normal. And yeah, it’s hard to tell or somebody might be normal for them to get scheduled for a C-section. And that’s great, too. Maybe their first baby, they had a C-section because the baby was breech. They don’t feel like trying for the Vback and they just get scheduled and go. So I think like being open minded is awesome in labor and delivery because every single baby is different and every single delivery is different.
[00:28:47.070] – Tara
And so going in with an open mind, you might not want the weird crunchy granola. I don’t know what type of experience, but if you want something that’s very standard of care for us and you go in and you’re just going with the flow, I think you’re going to have a great experience.
[00:29:01.140] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I love that. Yep. Go with the flow. Be open to it. I talk about that a ton in my class because get education but then just be open to what, what unfolds because you’re not in charge of Mother Nature or your body, sadly.
[00:29:12.030] – Tara
And I think that that’s really hard. And that’s why I think like education classes, like the classes that you teach, there’s lots of Instagram’s by like labor and delivery nurses that are so helpful because the more you know, the better you’re going to feel. And I think in my case, like if I wasn’t a labor nurse, I would’ve been so scared. But honestly, like knowing what I knew. And also I took classes as well online, it helped prepare me to be in the headspace to kind of roll with the punches and also know that I was going to be taken care of regardless of what was going on.
[00:29:40.590] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, and you had trust in your team because you knew those people. But if you go in just being, like, saying affirmations to yourself, it’s something you’re concerned about. My labor team cares a lot about me because I will promise you that they do.
[00:29:52.330] – Tara
They do. And I know I might be we might be strangers when we walk in the door. But you’re going to get to know me. It’s not like I don’t know. I tell people about myself.
[00:29:59.460] – Tara
I tell people about my life. I’m ready and you get to know me on a more personal level. So you’re not like, oh, this girl’s just like a random stranger delivering my baby at my most vulnerable moment. Yeah. So I think, like, building that trust is really important and then also educating yourself before and kind of trusting that having your baby in the hospital is a safe space. We want to keep you and your baby safe and we want to do what’s best to give you the best delivery that we can.
[00:30:24.600] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, that’s what we’re here for. Yep.
[00:30:26.160] – Tara
[00:30:27.330] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks for coming on, Tara. This was awesome.
[00:30:29.100] – Tara
Yeah, you’re so welcome. It’s fun.
[00:30:31.200] – Hilary Erickson
OK, guys, I love that episode. It may need to go according to my initial, like, what I wrote on my phone, but I really liked how we talked about expanding, how you think of a normal birth. And we talked about like having dads understand that too, which is why it’s so important.
[00:30:44.370] – Hilary Erickson
But dads get a prenatal class. I just think understanding all these different things of what could be a quote unquote normal is so important so that you just feel confident in your delivery. So take a prenatal class. You could find Mike through the link in the profile. You can even save 15 percent with coupon code untangled. I don’t want you guys to miss out and be so worried during your delivery because the more you go with the flow, the flow just brings you a happy mom and happy baby. So hopefully you guys enjoy this one.
[00:31:07.680] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we help smooth out a few of the snarls in your life. We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.