Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

One Woman’s Journey To Her Own HBAC Water Birth and 360 Degree Career Change October 12, 2009

I found this video on It’s Your Birth Right! this morning and was so incredibly moved that I had to share it with you all:


My Journey to a VBAC by Lindsey Meehleis


What an amazing and empowering story to watch on so many levels!  I am inspired by Lindsey’s story in many ways:


First, as a woman who has yet to have any children.  After watching this video I am left with feelings of awe, reverence, and respect for what we as women are capable of!  I can’t help but be excited about my own potential as someone able (I hope of course) to conceive, grow, nurture, birth, and nourish a new life!  (I am giving myself goose bumps just thinking about it!!) 



Second, as a labor and delivery nurse.  Watching this video reminds me not only of what consumers of maternity care are capable of but also of how much of a difference each one of us can make just by changing our own attitude, educating our own minds, and stacking the cards in our favor to help shape our own experiences!  (Now I’m going to be humming Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror for the rest of the day: “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change!  Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah!”  J)  And as a labor and delivery nurse I hope to help as much as I can help by strategically, respectfully, and appropriately planting little “seeds” of encouragement, knowledge, and know-how in the minds of the many women I am fortunate enough to meet in my personal and professional life.



Third as a labor and delivery nurse who has yet to have children!!  Lindsey wrote, “As the years pass and [my daughter] grows I soon find myself sending my baby off to kindergarten!  Fighting off the urges to have another baby over the years because of the intense fear I have of having the same birth experience again.   I know that its time and I must face my fears head on!  All of my training and experience with over 175+ births has surely had to of taught me something!  Without looking back I take a leap of faith and trust my body will work!” 


I hear nurses I work with all the time say “Oh I am so glad I had my children before I started working here!  I would have been a nervous wreck if I was in your position!”  My first thought it always “Umm yeah thanks, that isn’t very comforting.”  But I also know that I am so very fortunate to have worked where I work before having kids.  I think about how much I didn’t know before I started and how I very easily could have been a victim of situations like these.  However, as much as I know in my heart that I want to take that leap of faith and trust my body will work as I have seen it so many times before, even labor and delivery nurses like me have that little voice of doubt in the back of their minds.  You know the one that says “But can I really do it?”  So reading stories like Lindsey’s where even a midwife has that little voice is very reassuring to me that a certain amount of worrying and doubt is totally normal and doesn’t mean that I will fall victim to the old adage “Oh she’s a nurse?  Set up the back for a cesarean!” 



Forth, as a nurse with aspirations of becoming a midwife.  Lindsey wrote, “I knew at the deepest level of my being that I had to help women, educate women” and I have to say, when I have the privilege of being part of an incredibly empowering birth experience I can’t help but think to myself, “I have to be a midwife!  I just have too!”  Likewise, when I find myself in one hell of a mess at work (especially if a midwifery model of care and the Six Healthy Birth Practices that Support Normal Birth are not followed for any other reason besides true medical necessity) I also think to myself, “I have to be a midwife!  I just have too!” 



I hope you enjoyed this video as much as I did.  Stay tuned for next time as I have been excited to tell you all about an absolutely amazing birth I was lucky enough to be a part of where I had My First Catch


14 Responses to “One Woman’s Journey To Her Own HBAC Water Birth and 360 Degree Career Change”

  1. Krista Says:

    How funny, I just blogged about this same video as well! She really is inspiring, isn’t she? That’s great that you’re thinking of becoming a midwife! I know that you are blessing women right where you are (in your hospital) but I’m sure it will be tremendously exciting when you take that step and become a midwife.

  2. mac0517 Says:

    Of course, I’m crying. How beautiful! I also had a section with my first, not as traumatic but still left with the feeling that there has to be better and that I won’t feel whole until I experience natural birth. I am currently 5 weeks pregnant (crossing my fingers I stay that way) and am desperate to have an HBAC, but also terrified. I hope I find the courage to rely on my body. This video gives me SOOO much hope and confidence. I also am working on my doula, women need to educate women, and how can I resist being paid to witness beauty on a regular basis. More women have to share their positive birth stories, there are too many bad ones being spread around out there. Thank you for this post.

  3. mac0517 Says:

    Also, I love love love, the picture of her in the pool with her head on the dog. I think that’s when I started crying. What a good dog.

    • NursingBirth Says:

      mac0517, OMG I totally started to cry at that point too! How funny! My husband’s old dog was a German Shorthaired pointer, like in the video, and we have a dog now (border collie/black lab) who would totally do something like that! He is such a protector and so cuddly! It is like you read my mind!

  4. Holly Says:

    What an amazing video! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  5. Joy Says:

    Very inspiring and beautiful!

  6. Sharon M Says:

    A wonderful and inspiring video! Thanks for sharing. I love this blog. I’ve had two hospital births, both decent experiences (especially my first doctor, who has one of the lowest c-section rates in TX), but since I have been such a low-risk pregnancy, I’d like to try a birth center for my third. It seems more… natural.

  7. Stephanie Says:

    I just wanted to respond to your comment about having that little voice of doubt in the back of your mind. I just delivered my third baby all three of which I’ve been blessed enough to have had naturally. Despite having had to wonderful deliveries before I still had that small bit of doubt that maybe I wouldn’t be able to do it this time. I wonder if it’s because of our culture and how much we as women are given the message that we can’t…I don’t know but I do know that with enough knowledge, trust in self and good support those seeds of doubt can be pushed aside enough to allow our bodies to do what they are able to do. Thanks for your blog – I love reading all the encouraging stories and research you bring forth that supports women like me.

  8. Stephanie Says:

    p.s. My last baby was caught by our nurse (thankfully! I don’t think the doctor was ready/willing to let me try something other than sitting on the bed using stirrups…) so I can’t wait to read the story of your catch.

  9. Alethea Says:

    This post spoke to in ways that I can not express in written word, but I will try. I also am all four of these women you write about.

    1) As a woman who has yet to give birth: The power of a woman giving birth the way nature intended (regardless of the setting) takes my breathe away every time. This was a beautiful, inspiring, empowering montage. I hope to some day be empowered by my own strength and beautiful birth.

    2) As a labor and delivery nurse: My inspirational theme song is Ben Harper’s With my own two hands …”I can change the world, with our own two hands. Make a better place, with out own two hands…make a kinder place….I can make peace on earth…I can reach out to you….gonna make it a brighter place, gonna make it a safer place, gonna help the human race… with my own two hands…I can hold you…I can comfort you…but you got to use, use your own two hands…” Empowering women to search inside themselves and tap into their deep well of intuitive knowledge and strength is what keeps me coming back for more despite how tired, burned out, and sick of the politics I might be. Forgetting the hustle and bustle outside in the hallways, my job is to delicately plant the seed that they can do this, they are strong, they are capable. Bearing witness to the strength and power that women are capable of is an honor. I am an advocate of normal birth, an advocate of women, an advocate babies and daddies and doulas and new families. I am a labor and delivery nurse because I love supporting women with my own two hands, occasionally being lucky enough to be the first human to hold new life in my own two hands, but especially helping to break the cycle of doubt and fear in order to inspire women to understand that they can birth with their own two hands (or on their own two hands and knees.

    3) As a labor and delivery nurse who has yet to experience birth: It seems to me that because Lindsey is a home birth midwife she had the distinct advantage of seeing mostly normal, natural, beautiful births to inspire her. And yet she still had that little seed of doubt threatening to take over her mind. Like a weed in a garden, we have to pull up those seeds of doubt so they don’t take over our beautiful gardens. We must lovingly attend to our gardens (growing baby, growing minds) nurturing the beauty, inspiration and trust. Sometimes we pull up a weed, but we don’t get the entire root, and it comes back, even stronger and with a vengeance. Threatening all the beauty and strength we have worked so hard to grow. Pregnant and birthing women need to surround themselves with people who want to help tend to the garden, and avoid people whose defeatist attitudes are apparent in their neglected gardens full of weeds.

    Working in the hospital we do see a lot of “failure”. Failure to progress, arrest of decent, fetal growth restriction etc, etc, etc. The weeds (negative thoughts) in the hospital birth culture are rampant. It takes even more hard work and dedication for those of us immersed in it to remember that the majority of birth could be normal and natural and beautiful if we nurtured and support physiologic birth and weeded out unnecessary intervention. I am confident in my body, in my strength and in my capabilities. I actually feel so blessed to have been a labor and delivery nurse for so many years before I have children. I am well educated and well informed about how my choices. I have seen powerful births, and tragic births. And through all I have seen I have learned so much. I truly understand how my mindset, my choices and the people I choose to surround myself with when my time comes to give birth can impact how my birth plays out. I am not denying the potential for an outcome I would love to avoid, or the potential need for medical interventions. But I know what I need to do and what I need to avoid to put myself in the best possible position for an outcome that will make me proud to be a woman and confident in my capability to be a awesome mom. I will not let the nurses who believe in the “The curse of the nurse” destroy my dream of an empowering birth. We have the power to create magic with our words, I choose to surround myself with people what to bless me no ones who wish to put a curse on me.

    4) As a nurse with dreams of becoming a midwife: When one has been called to something in life, you can only ignore that calling for so long. I too feel that pull to empower women and touch their lives in an even deeper and more meaningful way. As an LD nurse we often meet women for the first time when they walk in the door in active labor, and after they deliver, we may never see them again. We don’t know if they felt empowered or deeply wounded by their birth experience. I dream of working with women throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum to help guide them to experience birth as the wonderful, life changing right of passage that it can be. The time is not right now. So I will give what I can and continue to pour love into my current role in birth, but not let go of that dream that someday I will be a midwife too.

    Thank you NursingBirth for inspiring me to write about my experiences with birth and providing the forum for sharing my love of the work that I do.

  10. Katherine Says:

    How exciting! Can’t wait to read about your first catch! 🙂

  11. […] Super Comment! Unexpected Guest Post from a Mother-Friendly L&D Nurse October 14, 2009 Filed under: Birth/Inspirational Stories, Super Comments! — NursingBirth @ 9:25 AM Tags: birth stories, labor and delivery nurse, midwife, natural birth A couple days ago I posted this:  One Woman’s Journey To Her Own HBAC Water Birth and 360 Degree Career Change […]

  12. Adam Says:

    So inspiring and moving! rarely you come across that kind of material, and I find it so important to share with the rest of us. I was just reading about water birth and was wondering if it’s possible to get a better understanding of the experience somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing, I wouldn’t have found this if not for you!

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