Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Super Comment! Unexpected Guest Post from a Mother-Friendly L&D Nurse October 14, 2009

A couple days ago I posted this:  One Woman’s Journey To Her Own HBAC Water Birth and 360 Degree Career Change


Like always, I woke up this morning and sat down in front of my computer with my bowl of Cheerios to check the comments left on my blog.  I was pleased to see that I had a few comments about that post.  One in particular however, actually brought me to tears.  I was especially moved by her “garden” metaphor.  (I know, I am such a sap!)


Alethea is from Colorado and has been working with birthing families as a labor and delivery nurse for the past 8 years.  When she comments on my blog, she often writes about how she is truly inspired and amazed by the power of birthing mothers. She became a trained BIRTHING FROM WITHIN® mentor out of her desire to help guide more women along the path of empowerment through their birth experiences.  Alethea is also a co-founder of Colorado Conscious Birthing.


I think I was so moved by Alethea’s comment because I feel the same way about being an L&D nurse as she does.  Witnessing the miracle of life, the power, strength, and determination of women, and the overwhelming love of family and friends as your job is pretty amazing.  And I love it.  Even when I am having the worst day imaginable, I still love it. 


So I just couldn’t let this comment die, hidden away for only a few stragglers to read as they come across the old blog post.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  It really brightened my day!!




Dear NursingBirth,


This post spoke to me 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 my own two hands.  Make a better place, with my 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 (minds, attitudes) full of weeds (doubt).


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 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 who want to bless me not 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.





7 Responses to “Super Comment! Unexpected Guest Post from a Mother-Friendly L&D Nurse”

  1. StorkStories Says:

    Thank you NursingBirth and Alethea for this! I also LOVE the garden analogy and want to post this little segment up at my hospital to kill the weeds there! Thank you

  2. Alethea Says:

    Wishing I would have done a little more careful editing before I posted this, oh well. I am honored and flattered that you felt so moved by my comments that you put it in the catagory of Super Comments! Reminds me of this t-shirt of I have with the Superman logo and RN in the center. Anyway, thanks for your kind words and your amazing blog. I’m always excited to see a new post from you in my Google Reader.

    • NursingBirth Says:

      Alethea, I thought everything about your comment was perfect!! But if you want to *edit* anything just let me know 🙂 I just loved the spontaneity of it. If I had told you I was going to post it, you would have tried to change it!!!

  3. birthinginasia Says:

    Alethea, that was so beautiful!

  4. Johanna S Says:

    That was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. When I read comments like these, I want to be pregnant and give birth all over again, but there is so much more to think about and consider in deciding if we want to try for #2 or not. I am not the type to focus on what could have been, but I so wish my birth experience would have been different. I failed to educate myself enough and, because of this, I feel like I failed my daughter. Labor was so hard on the poor kid (thanks pitosin). But, back to positive thoughts, it is great to hear that there are nurses like yourselves out there!

  5. Rachel Says:

    Thank-you so much for sharing….It is so nice to have found a site that has like minded labor and delivery nurses. We need this as nurses….we need to know that there are those who have found beauty in normal births. I also think it is important for women to understand that there are nurses out there who support this model. So, thanks again…this post has inspired me and will help me get going on those rough days:)

  6. Meg W, RN Says:

    Love you Alethea!
    I am privileged to work along side Alethea, learn from her, and be inspired by what she has done at our hospital for about 4 years now!
    Great post!

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