labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Amazing Pregnancy Lessons for #2 from a Mom of 5

My first pregnancy was perfect. My labor experience came straight out of a text book.  My delivery was a breeze.  Because I did what I was supposed to and everything came out fine, I thought, “Ehhh, I can let go a little bit.”


My first indulgence was drinking my beloved Coca Cola. Now I didn’t go hog wild, I drank 1 20oz bottle a day.  My child is now 10 years old and he is probably the most hyper of my kids.  So my immediate take away Lesson #1. When the nurse and doctor recommend not eating or drinking something during pregnancy, listen. There’s a reason why there are diet and food restrictions. They tell you to limit caffeine. Now I know why.




I also didn’t eat as healthy. I ate more junk food.  I did gain the recommended weight gain of 25-30 lbs but the difference came in my baby’s birth weight.  My first baby weighed 8lbs 5oz and my second baby weighed 7lbs.  A significant difference.  Lesson #2. The foods and drinks you put in your body affect your baby’s development and health.


I found it harder to take naps with a toddler at home and still working 12 hour shifts. I found myself being tired more easily and probably a little bit more irritable–or so my husband says.

Lesson #3. Learn to take naps.  If you have a toddler, take a nap when they nap.  The chores can wait.  Remember, you’re making a baby and that takes energy.





One day, my water broke. I was confused. I wasn’t have contractions, how can my water break? I called my doctor (her number was again posted on my fridge).  She told me to go to labor and delivery and be evaluated.  It was determined my water indeed broke and I won a stay in the hospital. I asked if I could go home until I started having contractions.  I was told,”No, your water broke and we need to monitor you.” Lesson #3.  Once your water breaks, you will probably be admitted to monitor the progress of your labor.  If labor does not progress after 24 hours, the chances of an infection increases.  Your baby was kept safe inside your uterus protected by the amniotic fluid and your mucous plug.  Once those walls of safety are gone, bacteria can more easily enter and cause an infection.  I started walking once again, hoping to start my labor.  When I had a cervical check, I anticipated 6-7 cm, the nurse told me I was an outstanding 3 cm!? WHAT?! I told my husband, we’re going to be here forever!


I started walking, again. I started feeling those twinges but nothing that told me I was anywhere close to delivering. This time, I was able to eat dinner alongside my husband.  Unlike him, I wasn’t overly thrilled.  My nurse came back and monitored my baby with a Doppler.  Lesson #4. If you are having a low risk pregnancy, your baby can probably be monitored with a Doppler that checks on the baby’s heart beat to make sure it is not too slow or too fast.  You don’t necessarily have to hooked up to those huge monitors and be confined to bed.





It was getting close to 12 hours since my water broke. My nurse said if my labor doesn’t start soon, I would have to be induced.  She suggested using a breast pump.  Yes! The same breast pump you use for pumping milk.  She said the nipple stimulation can start your contractions.  I used the breast pump for 10-15 minutes each side.  Afterwards, I felt my contraction!

Lesson #5. Again, listen to your nurse.  She knows what she’s doing.  I was checked again and still 3 cm dilated.  It is now 3am!!  I predicted I would be in labor for another 6-7 hours.  Sad face emoji.


As my contractions continued, they became stronger. So strong I wondered how I did this medication free with my first one.  I was confined to being balled up in my bed.  I was on the brink of giving into the relief of pain medication when my nurse came back at 5am to check me again.  She came back up proclaiming, “Oh my! You’re already 10 cm! I need to call your doctor!” The doctor on call came in and told me my doctor was on her way.  I said, “I feel like I have to push.” The nurse said, don’t push yet.  Excuse me?!  How can I not push when I feel this huge urge to push?!  I was told to breathe.  So I breathed.  It did help.  If you’re breathing, you literally can not push. Try it. Lesson #6. If they say you’re not ready to push yet for whatever reason, breath.  HeHeHe. Puff puff puff. Whatever is easier for you.


My baby came a little after 5am. Eric was able to cut the umbilical cord this time.  Again that feeling of overwhelming love.  Again, Eric held his second son throughout the night. 



When our first son came to visit the next day, there was a gift for him from his baby brother. Lesson #7. It is a cute idea to give a gift for your first child from his sibling.  It lets your first child know, they will not be left out with a new arrival.  Let them help in a capacity that is appropriate for their age.


Breast feeding was painful. What was I doing wrong? I endured the pain.  Pain that made my toes curl with each feed.  I started bleeding. I wanted to give up.  Then I called the lactation consultant.  She told me to come in so she could see what I was doing.  She cringed when she saw me.  I put my baby to breast and felt the familiar pain.  The lactation consultant, without breaking the latch, adjusted my arms and miraculously the pain instantly disappeared. I looked amazed because she explained what was wrong.  I could have cried because I didn’t have to give up and it was so easy when I had help. Lesson #8.  Get help with breastfeeding.  That’s why there are nurses and lactation consultants–they there to help.  Know community resources available for breast feeding help and/or support.




Though my second pregnancy experience was not perfect and there were a few hiccups along the way, I learned to accept help. I learned how to manage 2 young boys, maybe not perfectly. They were beautiful, lovable boys.  They were my sons.  I was enjoying my life and I didn’t even know my third one was coming soon.





Kristine Walton, RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/ Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @




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pregnancy, Uncategorized

“C-Section or Not; You are a Mother”


She Cried Today.

She cried because her pregnancy journey will end with a Caesarean section (C-section).

She cried because pregnancy to her that means she didn’t earn her baby

She cried because she felt she wasn’t a ‘real’ mother/woman.

She cried because she will not be able to labor her baby into the world.

She cried because she was embarrassed to tell her husband.

She cried because to her – she has failed.

My heart hurt for this 1st time mother.  This mother who has planned from the 1st positive pregnancy test for this baby, prayed for this baby, dreamed about her pregnancy and mentally prepared for the birth of her baby.

My heart hurt because she could not see there is more than one road to a healthy baby.

She Cried Today

I spent time with her. I talked with her. I wanted my words to acknowledge her feeling and empower her to own her birth story.

I wanted  her to know :

She is a Mother

She is a Woman

She has not failed but is winning and has won.

She has carried this child for almost 40 weeks; who she loves without ever meeting. She has nurtured this child in utero doing everything right to set the stage to welcome her little one into the world.  Her desire is to have the perfect pregnancy journey, which to her is to have a vaginal delivery.

She Cried Today

She left her office visit with a look of resignation and anxiousness in her eyes.

I will see her once more before her scheduled C-section. I will speak with her, comfort her, encourage her to express her feelings, hopes, and thoughts.

In my mind and heart:

My hope , my prayer is that she will always know:

The journey of pregnancy and parenting may not always be linear. That she will learn to expect the unexpected, that plans change.

Regardless of how her birth story unfolds ; that she will remember:

She is a Mother

She is a Woman

She is Strong

Her name is Mama

Her Baby = Love

Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby


Mary Echols, RN , BSN, MSN

Wife/Mother/ Registered Nurse/ “Champion of All Pregnant Women”

Contact Mary @


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doula, labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

To Doula or Not to Doula?

To Doula or Not to Doula?

That is the question.

Benefits of having a Doula from a RN

As a former Labor and Delivery Nurse, it was my honor and privilege to be the nurse at your side helping you as you labor and deliver. It was my joy to be the one to breathe with you and help you summon your strength and push to delivery. However, there are times when Labor and Delivery would take a turn; and as the Nurse I had to spring into action to help you and baby-stay healthy ,alive, and safe. During that time, I would keep you informed but would also multitask. 

A Doula is not medical and therefore , the focus will not be on the medical aspect of delivery. The Doula’s priority is to remain at your side, be your advocate and support you during Labor and Delivery. Basically, a Doula will be all about you. This collaboration of care by the Nurses, Doctors and Doula offers more resources to keep mom happy, stress free and promote a healthy outcome. I for one will always promote: Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby.

However, first thing first? You may have heard about Doula’s and wonder exactly who and what is a Doula?

A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible (DONA International,2017). 


A Doula is not a Registered Nurse/Midwife or Doctor (but can be). A Doula’s main focus is not deliver your baby or medically take care of you ; but to provide support, care and be your advocate during pregnancy/labor and delivery and postpartum.

A Doula and Midwife are not the same. A Midwife is a certified, license practitioner who provides care and delivers your baby. (More on Midwifery on another blog post). While a Doula does not have to be licensed, but many are certified through organizations such as DONA International,2017; and Doulas do not deliver your baby.

Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery and Postpartum are one of the most miraculous seasons of your life; as you grow a life. A Doula is someone who can offer support and help you navigate the journey of these phases.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), 2014 states one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel. A doula is one who can provide such support (DONA International, 2017).

To Doula or Not to Doula….is the Question

This decision is a personal one for you and your family to decide. I encourage you to speak with your family and doctor on their thoughts regarding having a Doula with you in the delivery room.

6 Benefits of having a Doula from a RN View:

  • A Doula is NOT medical and does not offer medical advice or tell you to not follow medical advice. A Doula will work with your Nurse and Doctor to provide you with the best birthing experience.
  • A Doula is committed to you for the duration of your labor and will not leave for “shift change”. You are their only “patient”image
  • A Doula will make it about you and your partner- she will support you and your family. A Doula do not take the place of your partner or family, but will work with them.
  • A Doula can help you have the birth you envision and if there is an emergency, the Doula can keep you informed, stay by your side and help you understand what is happening.
  • A Doula is like your coach in a big game- along with your Nurse; your Doula will cheer you to the end and celebrate in your victory.
  • Pre-delivery- your Doula will get to know you and help you understand what to expect for each stage of your pregnancy.  

“Women with Doula support have lower odds of nonindicated cesareans than those who did not have doula as well as those who desired but did not have doula support. Increasing awareness of doula care and access to support from a Doula may facilitate decreases in non-indicated cesarean rates”

(Am J Manag Care.2014;20(6):e340-e352)

To Doula or Not to Doula?  Is a question you may encounter during your journey of pregnancy. The choice is yours and whatever decision you make is the right one.  The goal is to reach the end of your journey as a Healthy Mom with a Healthy Baby.



Mary E., RN,BSN, MSN

Wife/Mother/Nurse/Champion of All Pregnant Women



Safe prevention of the primary cesarean delivery. Obstetric Care Consensus No.1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2014; 123: 693-711. Found on

Hunter,L.P.(2016). The Womb Whisperers: Why More More Pregnant Women Are Hiring Doulas. Essence, November 22,2016. Found: www.

Kozhimannil,K.B.Phd.,Attanasio,L.B.,BA.,Jou,J.,MPH;Joarnt,L.K.,Johnson,P.J.,Phd.,Gjerdingen,D.K.,MD.(2014). Potential Benefits of Increased Access to Doula Support During Childbirth. American Journal of Managed Care. Published Online: August 28,2014. Found online: