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!

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

 

 

The Northeast Iowa Doulas Difference

Northeast Iowa Doulas prides themselves in providing only the most professional, reliable, and experienced doulas to families in Northeast Iowa and beyond.  In order for us to achieve these results we have worked tirelessly to set ourselves apart in the Cedar Valley and the Corridor areas. We offer the best trained, highly educated and qualified doulas who will provide your family with unconditional, unbiased judgment-free support.


Our Certifying Organization
Each of our doulas are trained and certified, or pursuing certification through ProDoula. Being uniformly trained through the same organization ensures the very best continuity of care for the families we serve. Being part of ProDoula also allows us to be connected to an international network of professional doulas, whom we can turn to for advice or support at any time. Finally, ProDoula encourages members to continue their education where they provide ample opportunity for us to do so. Once we have completed a training through ProDoula we are encouraged to repeat that training as often as we like, at no additional cost. New trainings are being offered all the time and we make sure to take advantage of every single learning opportunity we can. We are proud to be affiliated with such an amazing certifying organization.


Continuing Education
Continuing education is very important to us at Northeast Iowa Doulas. Whether this is through additional training, workshops, mini training sessions within our agency, or attending meetings hosted by other professionals, we are continually gaining more knowledge in order to continue serving our clients to the best of all our abilities.


Something for Everyone
Northeast Iowa Doulas offers a wide variety of services your family may find beneficial during this journey. From private or group childbirth education, birth doulas, placenta encapsulation and postpartum support; we have something for everyone. We do it all!


24/7 on call Availability & Guaranteed Support for your Birth
When you choose Northeast Iowa Doulas for your professional birth support needs you will receive a team of two doulas who will go on call for you and your partner 24/7 from the moment the contract is signed up until after your baby has arrived. You have unlimited access to your doula team anytime you have questions, worries, fears or even if you just want to talk. This model of care guarantees you will have support during your birth from someone you and your partner know well. She is also someone who knows the two of you and is familiar with your birth preferences...no more back up doula that you never even got to meet. We’ve got you covered!
 

Unwavering and Unbiased Support for ALL choices
Finally, we will unconditionally provide your family with support that is completely free from judgment, opinion or bias. This means no worrying about someone judging you about the choices you make regarding pregnancy, birth, and parenting. The only agenda your doula has is to support you in your choices; period. Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, or whether you plan use attachment parenting or scheduled parenting or anything in between; the choices are yours and you can rest easy knowing that your doula will have your back each step of the way.

In Conclusion
By hiring a doula from Northeast Iowa Doulas you can be sure that you will receive only the best professional doula support, childbirth education, and placenta encapsulation services that Iowa has to offer.

For more information about the wide variety of services we offer please click here or contact us today for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Authored by: Victoria Cartland
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach

 

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