Susanna shares her thoughts on the miracle of birth from her perspective as a labor & delivery nurse
“To all the mommas who give birth, adopt, foster, who love their babies in heaven, who yearn for pregnancy, who are now empty nesters, and those with a full house, you’re all super heroes”
Though I’ve never been pregnant or had a baby myself, I’ve taken care of countless women through all stages of pregnancy and delivery. I get to see it all from a completely different perspective. I’ve had the privilege of being a Labor & Delivery nurse for over eight years, three of which I was able to work as a travel nurse caring for diverse populations throughout the country. Every day I work, I labor on (quite literally) with women one of the most significant days of their life. Being with a woman during her most vulnerable hours or days has opened my eyes to the strength we as women have within us. Whether they have an elective induction, a scheduled c-section, homebirth, epidural, no epidural—they are bringing a baby (or babies!) into this world and that is beyond incredible! I’ve delivered a mom’s 10th baby, and I’ve delivered a couple’s first baby after years of infertility and their last attempt at IVF. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the miracle I get to witness most shifts, but I still have deliveries where I tear up like it’s the first one I’ve seen. Coaching that mom, encouraging her that she can keep doing this, that she is strong and capable, and then seeing her continue pushing with every ounce of strength she has in order see her baby and hear that first cry is one of my favorite parts of this job. I’ve helped labor and deliver my sister, my dearest friends, and patients who started as strangers and left as friends. I’ve built bonds with patients and their families that I will always cherish. Just last week I was at a local coffee shop and was recognized by the father of a baby I helped deliver several years ago; it was so special to have been remembered and especially to get an update on the family! I love to see them years later, either around town or back in the hospital getting to help deliver their next baby.
Not all labor stories are as joyous or easy as ones we so often hear about. Just last year I monitored the unborn baby of a momma who was intubated in the ICU due to COVID-19. When days before I had done the same, but had conversation with her and learned her baby and my nephew I helped deliver 3 months prior shared the same name. Praise Jesus she and that baby boy are strong and healthy today! I’ve been a part of a team of nurses and physicians coming together to save a woman and her baby, performing an emergency c-section and delivery within 12 minutes of the patient arriving on the unit. Sometimes I’m the first person to be with a woman has she is having a miscarriage. I have felt a fraction of the pain a mother feels when she is told her baby no longer has a heartbeat. You never get used to delivering, bathing, and dressing that baby; to hearing the sobs of the family and crying alongside them.
The journey of pregnancy, to labor & delivery, and postpartum can hold the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. To all the mommas who give birth, adopt, foster, who love their babies in heaven, who yearn for pregnancy, who are now empty nesters, and those with a full house, you’re all super heroes. I am always is awe of you! So keep going, be reminded of your strength, know that you are not alone in the challenges you face, don’t be afraid to ask the questions and talk about the hard things—ask your doctor for more information, let your family and friends know how you’re struggling (they can probably relate!). Pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum carry a load of emotions, changes to our bodies, and so many unknowns. So as a labor & delivery nurse who has cared for many mommas in many stages, I’m here to tell you that you are STRONG, CABABLE, BRAVE, and are part of a community of others cheering you on and there to empathize and run alongside you (and sometimes even carry you).
"It is okay to grieve the birth story you thought you would have, while also honoring the birth story you have"
"On the 8th day of Jack's life, he experienced complications and passed away. The heartbreak engulfed my body but my baby was at peace and not experiencing any discomfort or pain anymore. As difficult as this experience was, I am not the only mother to experience it, nor will I be the last."
"I just remind myself to take it day by day and whatever happens happens. But by far, the most interesting and confusing time of my life, was when I first found out I was pregnant."