Northeast Iowa Doulas | Celebrating National Nurses Week | Meet a L&D Nurse/Patient Educator

It's National Nurses Week!

In celebration of National Nurses week we are featuring some of the best nurses Eastern Iowa has to offer. As this special week comes to a close, we are so excited to introduce this wonderful nurse to you.

Tracey Huinker is a registered nurse (RN) and works at Allen Women's Health in Waterloo. She works in the clinical setting as a patient educator and also works as a labor and delivery nurse at Unity Point-Allen Hospital on an as-needed basis. 
I have known Tracey for several years now and she is one of the most kind and nurturing women I have ever met. She is such a joy to be around, and her smile lights up the room. 

If you haven't had the opportunity to meet Tracey yet, you're missing out!

NEID-Kaity: How long have you been a nurse? Where did you attend school?

Tracey: I started my college education with a Bachelor's Degree in Women's Health Promotion at UNI. After being a sexual health educator for a year, I decided I wanted more direct care with patients and went back to school at Hawkeye Community College for my RN degree. I still can't believe it, but in July, I will have been a nurse for 11 years.

NEID-Kaity: What inspired you to become a nurse?

Tracey: I would say "technically" my internship through UNI really sparked my interest in a career in nursing. Although, I think subconsciously, my mother played a huge role! She was a labor and delivery nurse for years and continues to practice as a women's health ARNP.

NEID-Kaity: How did you become interested in this line of nurse work?

Tracey: Besides my mother, I really think my internship in college drove me to birth work. Part of my internship was attending a variety of childbirth classes, because many childbirth educators at that time had Health Promotion degrees. I remember being so fascinated by everything! I probably attended 10-15 classes, and they all covered the same basic material, but I remember learning something new at each class. I just LOVED it! 
Now I really appreciate how birth can transform women and hopefully give them strength to conquer other challenges in life.

NEID-Kaity: What do you enjoy most about being a L&D nurse and working in the Women's Health Clinic?

Tracey: My roles in the clinic and L&D are very different, but I love them both! I feel like working as a L&D nurse really "fills my bucket", I guess. Welcoming new babies (and parents) into this world is such a pleasure and honor. In the clinic setting, I have the privilege of sitting down with women one-on-one during their pregnancy for educational sessions. I really enjoy getting to know clinic patients throughout their pregnancy and helping them develop a plan for their birth and for when they bring baby home from the hospital. Of course, the best is when I have the opportunity to care for my clinic patient during their labor!

NEID-Kaity: What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Tracey: Although pregnancy, birth, and parenthood are all amazing and can bring so much joy, not everyone is so fortunate. We encounter a lot of tough situations as nurses and sometimes there's not a lot we can do about it. I think sometimes the most challenging part of nursing is just not having the answers for families when they ask, "Why me?"

NEID-Kaity: More expecting parents in the area are hiring out the professional support services of a birth doula and/or postpartum & infant care doula. How do you feel about that?

Tracey: Doulas are amazing! We know that women and families who choose doulas, often have healthier outcomes at their birth and a more positive perspective of their experience. Having worked briefly as a birth doula myself, I definitely appreciate how hard it is to be in that role! It is a demanding profession which requires a vast knowledge of the birth process, a strong work ethic, and a deep dedication to their clients. As a L&D nurse, I love working and learning alongside doulas!

NEID-Kaity: What is one thing you always say to your patients?

Tracey: I think the one thing I always tell patients is to trust their intuition. Each pregnancy and birth is so unique that it really can boggle your mind if you constantly compare pregnancies or birth stories looking for the "right answer" or what is "normal." 

NEID-Kaity: What advice would you give an expecting parent as they are approaching their due date?

Tracey: Oh those last weeks! (I remember them all too well!) I try to encourage patience, but I know that is really easier said than done. I guess I also encourage moms to enjoy those last weeks, if at all possible. Enjoy every last little twist and turn of baby, every last hiccup they do. Soon this pregnancy will just be another memory tucked away.

NEID-Kaity: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Tracey: Well, I'm a wife and mother of three, so my free time is usually spent in the sand box or playing dinosaurs! I guess I would also say I'm a political junkie and I also enjoy running....you know...during all my down-time away from the kiddos! :-)

NEID-Kaity: What is your favorite food?

Tracey: Just one?? Hmm....let's just say sweets. Any form. :-)

NEID-Kaity: Please share a favorite memory with us about a time at work.

Tracey: Oh wow, I have definitely been blessed with many great memories from my patients and great co-workers! I think the best, though, is being able to care for a family with their subsequent births. 
Having formed that relationship during their first birth and being able to jump back into it with a second delivery is just so great. Having that connection with a family really helps create a peaceful, beautiful experience for everyone.


Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed, Tracey. We appreciate the knowledge, experience and expertise you offer new and expecting families in the Cedar Valley and are so grateful to have the honor of working alongside you. 
Happy National Nurses Week!

Northeast Iowa Doulas | Celebrating National Nurses Week: Meet a L&D Nurse

It's National Nurses Week!

We would like to take a moment to acknowledge the very important roles nurses have - they truly are the heart of the medical team. 
Our area OB nurses, labor and delivery nurses, and pediatric nurses are patient, kind, caring, supportive, and compassionate; the best Iowa has to offer. 
They absolutely love their job and it shows.

In honor and celebration of this special week, we took some time to interview some fantastic nurses in the Cedar Valley. We at Northeast Iowa Doulas are so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such wonderful hospital staff, while caring for and supporting our clients.
Thank you for always welcoming us to be part of the birth team and thank you for all you do.

Don't forget to thank a nurse this week!

We had the pleasure of interviewing Bethany Anderson. She is a labor and delivery nurse at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo. I would like to share a little bit about my very first experience with Bethany.

My laboring client, her partner, and I had walked into the room to find Bethany standing there waiting for us. She greeted us with a big smile, introduced herself and immediately said, 

"I am so happy to see you have a doula! I love doulas."  
"Do you have a birth plan? I love birth plans."

And she truly meant it.

It was an amazing experience working alongside Bethany, from beginning to end. Our clients have had nothing but wonderful things to say about Bethany and the care she has provided them during one of the most momentous occasions of their lives.

NEID-Kaity: How long have you been a nurse? Where did you attend school?

Bethany: I have been a nurse for just over 4 years. I completed my General Education classes at Hawkeye Community College and then Graduated from Allen College School of Nursing in December 2012. I then became a labor and delivery nurse in March of 2013.

NEID-Kaity: What inspired you to become a nurse?

Bethany: Being a nurse is something I've known I wanted to do since I was a child. There was never a question in my mind of what I was meant to do in my life. I am a third generation nurse. As a child I spent a lot of time at my Grandma Phyllis' house, who was a labor and delivery nurse for 19 years, and so she always had a lot of stories to tell and we would always watch labor and delivery shows on tv together. She continues to be my inspiration every day, and her picture will always stay on my locker at work.

NEID-Kaity: What do you enjoy most about being a L&D nurse?

Bethany: The best part of my job is getting to be part of my patient's story. Everyone that I encounter while I'm at work are in the middle of a huge life shift, and I get to be part of it. I get to watch women become mommies, and men become daddies. I get to watch children become big brothers and sisters, and parents become grandparents. I get to guide people through the most exciting moments in their lives. I get to watch women be in the most painful moment in their lives, and then conquer it. I get to watch the reactions of parents who find out the gender of their baby. I feel I'm pretty blessed to be able to spend my days guiding others in the most exciting moments of their lives. 

NEID-Kaity: What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Bethany: The worst part of my job is bringing angels into the world. It's something that will never be easy. It will never be easy to see a mommy leave the hospital without her baby. I can't imagine the pain that comes with losing a child, so all I hope to be is a friendly hand, or a sturdy shoulder. If that's the only difference I can make, that's good enough for me.

NEID-Kaity: More expecting parents in the area are hiring out the professional labor/birth support services of a doula. How do you feel about that?

Bethany: Working with doulas is wonderful for me! Doulas are so helpful and supportive, and I think that when a woman is in the most trying moments in her life, she can never have too much support! 

NEID-Kaity: What is one thing you always say to laboring/birthing women?

Bethany: "This is temporary. It won't last forever. It won't be this painful forever. It's only today. It's only right now."
I try to encourage and empower every woman. I think women tend to look at labor as a whole and think "there's no way I can do that" but I like to tell my patients to take one contraction at a time, one moment at a time. I think that when a woman is in labor, you have to take each case in itself. The only thing that I try to be is supportive, regardless of my patients choices. If my patient chooses an epidural over natural childbirth or bottle feeding over breast feeding, I support her all the way. 

NEID-Kaity: What advice would you give to an expecting parent as they are approaching their due date?

Bethany: My biggest advice for someone nearing their due date would be to educate yourself on your options, so you know what you want. Also, I try to tell my patients to really enjoy the last moments before their families grow, before all their energy goes towards this new little one.

NEID-Kaity: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Bethany: In my spare time I like to spend time with my 5 month old son, my husband, my nephews, and my family. I also like to play volleyball, and knit or crochet when I have time.

NEID-Kaity: What is your favorite food?

Bethany: My favorite food is any type of dessert with chocolate, caramel or peanut butter! 

NEID-Kaity: Do you have a favorite memory of being at work that you would like to share?

Bethany: I have many great memories about my days at work, but my craziest delivery has to be an unplanned, very fast vaginal breech delivery for a first time mom of a healthy baby boy! My heart has never beat faster!


Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Bethany. You are amazing and each one of your patients are so lucky to have you as their nurse. We look forward to working with you again soon.
Happy National Nurses Week to you!

Natural Birth Only? Let's Put That Misconception to Rest.

There is a common stereotype that doulas are only for those planning a “natural” birth. This can have many meanings but oftentimes refers to an unmedicated labor resulting in a vaginal delivery. Many have said they haven’t even considered hiring a doula because they already know they want pain relief via IV meds or the epidural. Well, we want to take a moment to shout it from the rooftop:

NORTHEAST IOWA DOULAS SUPPORTS ALL BIRTH CHOICES!!!

Seriously...We don’t come in with that “natural birth agenda.”  We support you in whatever your birth preferences are; period.

Unmedicated? Great!
Epidural? We love epidurals!
IV pain meds during labor? Fantastic!
Planned cesarean? Super!
Change in plans? We've got your back!


It is so important for a laboring mother and her partner to feel safe, supported and as comfortable as possible when they are working so hard to bring their baby into the world.

Another misconception is that your doula is your advocate…

This should NOT be the case. It is completely out of the scope of a doula to speak on their client’s behalf. We will not take away your voice by speaking for you in any situation but will empower you to speak for yourself. OB’s, midwives, nurses, and family practice docs did not get into this profession so that they could purposely inflict harm or discomfort in their patients. We truly believe that healthcare professionals want you to have a great experience just as much as you want to have a great experience. We look at our professional birth support as complementary to the clinical care you receive from your providers. Northeast Iowa Doulas has fantastic working relationships with the healthcare professionals in the Cedar Valley and Corridor areas. They know that when one of our doulas walks into the room, we are there to be a team player and collaborate with them to provide the best overall care to the mother and her partner.

"Providers are focused on healthy moms and healthy babies. Doulas are focused on a healthy mind and a healthy bond." --Randy Patterson, ProDoula Co-Founder

So, what can you expect when you hire Northeast Iowa Doulas for something other than a planned ‘natural’ unmedicated birth?

Support for an Epidural
Oftentimes it can take up to an hour before the anesthesiologist arrives in all his glory. It can be very difficult to sit still through contractions while the epidural is being placed. Once in place, it can take a good 20 minutes or longer before the epidural is providing much pain relief.

While waiting for anesthesia to arrive we can offer support by:

  • offering an explanation about what to expect

  • verbal coaching, praise and encouragement

  • massage, counter pressure or position changes

  • relaxation techniques (taught in our childbirth education class)

Once your epidural has been placed and has taken effect we can offer support by:

  • Position changes, massage, utilizing the peanut ball in bed

  • Keeping mom engaged in the process if she desires or assisting her in a position that allows her to get some much needed rest

  • Maintaining a relaxing and comfortable environment

  • Keeping the focus on mom and her partner; not the monitors

There are times when the epidural does not work or sometimes it only works on one side and this can be very frustrating to a laboring mother who is expecting a pain-free labor and delivery. Attempts can be made by the anesthesiologist to place another epidural but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Then what? Then your doula is there with her skills and knowledge to support you through it.


Support for a planned cesarean
This includes but is not limited to:

  • Prenatal discussion about the process:
         -Checking into the hospital    
         -Administration of medications 
         -Preparation for surgery and being brought back to the OR
         -Assistance with creating a family-centered cesarean birth plan

     
  • Support during admission while waiting to go back to the OR:
         -Creating a relaxing environment   
         -Massage and other comfort measures
         -Helping the family unpack for the hospital stay

     
  • Providing support to the mother's partner during the time they are separated
     
  • Assistance with breastfeeding after baby has arrived
     
  • Extended postpartum support in the hospital to help the family get settled

The 'wait-and-see' approach

Maybe you aren't sure what kind of birth experience you want...Maybe your only goal is a birth that results in a healthy mom and healthy baby. Great--We support that!

Maybe you like the idea of having a 'natural' unmedicated birth but you are totally open to pain relief options if and when they become needed. Fantastic--We support that, too!

Support when plans change

Sometimes things don’t go as planned and that is okay! Just because one part of your plan changes doesn’t mean the whole plan needs to go out the window. All of our doulas are trained and skilled in helping you transition when your birth experience is unfolding differently than you had hoped.

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We’ll say it again... We support ALL birth choices! We support you in whatever your plans for birth are and no matter how your birth unfolds.
Feel secure in the fact that a knowledgeable, reputable expert in birth support is there to unconditionally accompany you throughout every part of this experience.

By hiring Northeast Iowa Doulas you can be sure that you will receive only the best professional support that Iowa has to offer. For more information about our doula services click here or contact us today for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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For more great #WorldDoulaWeek blogs from doulas across the country, visit http://louisvilleareadoulas.com/blog/2016-world-doula-week

Co-authored by: Victoria Cartland & Kaity Klotzbach

 

 

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