Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

A Very Inspirational Update March 30, 2010

This one is for all you VBAC mommas out there!!!

In October of 2009 I posted a letter sent to me by Kelly, a mother who, at 35 weeks of pregnancy, was startled, hurt, confused, angry, and scared to find out that her supposedly VBAC friendly obstetrician was actually leading her on the whole time….


Dear Nursing Birth,


I’m a day short of 35 weeks pregnant today and went in for an OB appointment this morning. My doctor said that if I don’t go into labor on my own in my 39th week that (depending on how much and if my cervix is dilated) she might put me on pitocin- although she did say that “they don’t induce labor for VBAC patients”. But that they won’t let me go to 40 weeks, and that by 40 weeks they will have to schedule another c-section for me. (I live in Cedar Falls, IA)


I am shocked and angry! First of all- since when is 40 weeks, too late? My OB says it’s not wise to go to beyond 40 weeks due to increased risk of uterine rupture. But this just sounds like B.S. to me!


And how does the doc get away with not telling me something important like this until NOW? Unbelievable!!  My doctor and I have already gone through my birth plan, line by line, because I want as few interventions as possible and no drugs, seeking a natural vaginal childbirth. I’ve taken 12 weeks of Bradley method birth classes to help my husband and I be better prepared this time.  I also have a fantastic, knowledgeable, and supportive doula. But I can’t believe what a fight it is to have a VBAC!


If I had known sooner that this was the doctor/hospital policy for VBAC, I probably would have gone somewhere else. Since it’s so late in the game now, I’m probably going to stick it out. I don’t have to do anything they say, I can always stay at home and come in when I’m ready, and that will be after I am already in deep labor on my own.


I was just wondering if perhaps this reflects a change in my hospital’s policy for managing VBAC? One of the other OB’s I met with at the hospital said that after a high maintenance VBAC patient a few months ago (who also insisted on a natural vaginal childbirth, and did it, but most of the hospital staff were very unhappy dealing with this patient…?) that the hospital is reviewing whether to allow VBAC at all. I’m probably not helping the situation by openly trying to avoid their planned interventions. I KNOW I’m required to have continuous electronic fetal monitoring… but I’ve also been told that my labor has to be pretty much “text book” regarding continuous dilation of my cervix, and of course no tolerance for fetal distress…or else!


I just wish all women would know this before their first c-section. If you thought recovering from a c-section was bad, wait till you try to have a VBAC and deal with the red tape and lack of support from the medical community. It’s just so frustrating to have to be prepared to battle, and yet relax at the same time! 


Have you heard of this kind of change in management of VBAC? That VBAC isn’t even allowed to go to 40 weeks?? Thanks for writing such an informative, educational blog and for being so supportive of natural childbirth! I have enjoyed your tips and insight from the hospital perspective (about writing birth plans, and managing your OB, and also the many ways hospital staff really will be supportive- even if you barf!).








I replied to Kelly in my post entitled “The Ol’ Bait and Switch, OR Finding Out Your OB Has Been Leading You On” with words of encouragment and some information about other scare tactics that some health care providers use to intimidate VBAC planning mommas.  My main message was this:

“You deserve the opportunity to have the unmedicated, intervention-free birth that you have planned for.  Your desires for said unmedicated, intervention-free VBAC are well supported by the research.  You deserve to be cared for by a birth attendant who shares your philosophy regarding (among other things) childbirth and VBAC.  You deserve to NOT have to worry about fighting anyone to be given a fair chance at having the birth you have been planning…not the hospital, not the nursing staff, not your obstetrician, NOT ANYONE.  You deserve it for THIS birth. “


Fast forward 4 months.  I was struggling with the thought of returning back to blogging as NursingBirth.  I was working for a hosptial with a 40% C-section rate.  I was feeling powerless.  Until I saw this in my inbox…..


Hi Nursing Birth!

Hope you still plan to come back after you settle in from your move- we miss your great posts!


Also, just wanted to say thank you -again- for posting about my comment awhile back!  I wanted to update you and tell you that I had a successful VBAC!  Thanks for your suggestions, resources, and support!


You can read my story over at my blog:


Hugs and best wishes,




Needless to say I was touched, proud, empowered, honored, and ESTATIC!!!   There is no doubt in my mind that Kelly’s email was a main factor in my decision to return to blogging as well as take the plunge and start yet another new job!  So thank you Kelly for being just as much of an inspiration to me as I was to you!!!  I am so lucky to be a part of this awesome community we call the “birth blogosphere” 🙂

Congrats again Kelly!!  You rock!!



Hey NursingBirth!!! Where the HECK have you been?!?! March 29, 2010

Filed under: Ramblings — NursingBirth @ 11:57 AM
Tags: , , ,


“Hey did you hear what happened to Nursing Birth?  I heard she was struck down by a bolt of lightning when she encouraged one of her patients to push in an upright position instead of on her back in stirrups!  She hasn’t been the same since!!


“No, no no…you’ve got the story all wrong!  I heard that the government had to put her into the witness protection program after she suggested to a  room full of obstetrical residents that a woman could indeed deliver a baby WITHOUT pitocin!  And it didn’t help matters when she then told the group that women do not have to have a vaginal exam every two hours while in labor!  That really set them over the edge!!


“I heard she was captured by an angry mob of obstetricians after mentioning the possibility of a TOLAC for a woman who showed up on the ward in labor after 5pm at night!  They held her captive on a deserted island where she was forced to listen to lectures touting the “benefits” of elective primary cesarean sections for all pregnant women!!”


“You know what I heard?  I heard she had a nervous breakdown after hearing 20 maternity nurses simultaneously utter the phrase “Why don’t you just let us take the baby to the nursery tonight and give him a bottle so that you can get some rest” while at the same time shoving a box of pacifiers into her mouth!


“No, you all have it wrong!  I heard that she had to flee the country after a group of anesthesiologists overheard her admit to a patient that indeed epidurals do carry some RISKS to both mothers and babies!  Rumor has it they chased after her screaming “HERETIC!  BLASPHEMY!”


No you are not seeing things!  It’s really ME!  Your old friend NursingBirth!  I’m sure you all just did a double take when you saw my post pop up on your google reader but it is true, I am back!  However as hard as it is to believe, none of the above scenarios are true! 

Despite the fact of me being back, however, being “better than ever” is unfortunately debatable.  The last 5 months have been a whirlwind of highs and lows, with Christmas time with my family, a newborn nephew, and more than double the amount of sunny days being a few of the “highs” and the selling of my first home, moving TWICE and to a new state, dealing with the bureaucracy of multi-state boards of nursing, a panicked job search, a husband out of work, moving away from my very best friend, and starting a new job as being some of the, well… “lows.” 

When I wrote my last post back at the end of October, (WOW, I haven been “gone” for 5 months.  No wonder why my readers have been getting frantic!!) I truly did think that I would be back in action at the computer in only a few weeks.  But the multiple moves really took a lot out of me especially since we spent one of those months without the internet.  (AAHHH!  NO INTERNET!  Lame I know but I am crippled without it!!  Haha!)  However, the biggest hurdle that I had to overcome in order to return as “NursingBirth” was my “new” job. 

Why was my “new” job a hurdle you ask?  Seems like a new job would bring an endless amount of new material.  And in reality it absolutely has.  However as I stated in my last post, when my husband and I decided to move and hence leave behind my “old” job (which hereby will be referred to as “Big High-Risk Urban Hospital” or BHRUH) I started out on a quest to find and work for a hospital or birth center that was both truly mother-friendly as well as baby friendly in their philosophy, attitudes, actions, and outcomes.  I did not want “more of the same.”

But what happened is that I, NursingBirth, became a victim of the Ol’ Bait and Switch!!!!

What was supposed to be a beautiful beginning to a long career at a nice community hospital turned into a deep depression as day by day I realized more and more that I was in waaaaaaaay over my head.  However, I wasn’t in “over my head” as far as my nursing skills or knowledge was concerned.  In fact, I saw, experienced, and managed  situations at BHRUH daily that the nurses at my new job (which will be henceforth referred to as “Bait and Switch Community Hospital” or B&SCH) experienced monthly or even yearly.  (Not that that is good or bad.  No value judgements here.  I also fully acknowledge that there is still much I have to learn and have yet to experience as a nurse.)  I was in way over my head because the “mother friendly/baby friendly” hospital that I thougth I was working for was actually a:


“Don’t under any circumstances rock the boat or the nursing leadership will throw you under the bus–We do things here this way because that is the way we have always done them so don’t confuse me with the facts– If you don’t give me my way I’ll just take my patients to your biggest rival instead– Look at all our big screen TVs and SHINY THINGS while we distract you and seperate your baby from you at every possible opportunity– Your nursing license and the safety of the patients comes second to keeping doctors happy– Give them all an epidural at the door to keep them quiet– My C/S rate goes up when I am in a bad mood– Every admission to the nursery= More money for the hospital–No midwives allowed–You can’t do anything to change things here because nurses are not an equal member of the healthcare team” hospital.


   And it wasn’t until I made the very hard decision to leave B&SCH that I have had the motivation and inspiration to start writing again.

But today I also come to you with good news!!!  As of May 3rd I will be starting a yet another NEW job at community hospital #2 which I will from here-on-out be referring to as “Birth Center in Disguise” or BCID!!  Luckily my decision to leave B&SCH coincided with a random, word-of-mouth, unlisted job opportunity at BCID that lead to an interview and job offer last Thursday!!!  I feel revitalized and excited and nervous and joyful as well as so many other emotions that I just had to write about them all!! 

I hope you will all stick with me over the next few posts as I process and debreif the last 5 months of my life.  I feel like there is so much I want to share with you about what I have been going through and I haven’t had anyone else to process all this with!  I also want to appologize for going MIA for so long.  It was so hard for me to come back but I hope that I am back for a long time.  I didn’t realize how much I really got out of blogging and I really missed how much I learned from all of you!

Thanks again for all your words of encouragement and pleas for me to return over the past 5 months.  There is no doubt that without them I would never have returned!  You all rock!!