I've been a Obstetrics nurse for over 20 years, and a international board certified lactation consultant for 7 years. I've delivered hundreds of beautiful babies.

My son-in-law is helping me do this AMA so forgive any spelling errors or details lost in dictation.

EDIT: I want to take a minute to plug some resources.

Listening to Newborns, a program I helped develop.

Breast Crawl Video

MotherWoman a great organization that helps mother deal with postpartum depression.

EDIT 2: Alright everyone, thanks for all the great questions and enjoy your Mother's day!

Comments: 53 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

yummy_babies10 karma

Thank-you for all you do! It must be a wonderful line of work, but I think I can imagine it can sometimes me unbearably difficult. Having experienced pregnancy loss myself has opened my eyes to how frequently losses occur. I'm sure you've witnessed some births that didn't have a happy ending. How do you cope with those losses?

drinkywinky14 karma

This job has the highest highs and the lowest lows. We go home and cry too. We're crying with you. I'm crying now just thinking of it. It's such a horrible part of our job.

One way to cope is to help the mother cope. Some ways this is done is by letting the mother hold the child, doing prints of the babies hands and feet, memorializing their life.

thissideup187 karma

Is there anything I should warn my husband about the baby before I go into labour, so that he doesn't freak out (other than coneheads and babies being purple at first, already covered those ones!)? I know my dad was really caught off guard by the fact that I was immediately placed in an incubator (standard procedure at the time/hospital), and I want to avoid any of those moments of panic about things that are totally normal.

drinkywinky9 karma

A lot of Dad's think their baby is deformed when they see it come out because the head is wrinkly and being squished. This is normal. Babies can also be covered in a waxy, cheese-like substance called vernix, also normal.

Warn your husband that there's a lot of body fluid involved. Blood especially, which can look startling when it's spread all over a sheet!

BrewsterG7 karma

How do you feel about allowing laboring women to move about during labor to allow gravity to help out? Do you think hospitals are constrictive about things for fear of lawsuits in general?

drinkywinky13 karma

Women should be moving the way their bodies are telling them to move. Their body and their baby will work together to find the right position.

Women can be constricted for a number of reasons, not usually for fear of lawsuits. The expectation in a lot of hospitals is that women are going to have an epidural. Once you have an epidural, that's it, you're not moving. At my hospital we delight in more natural births.

Sometimes women are constricted because they're being continually monitored because of complications. We use a system called Telemetry which is like wireless monitoring.

imbeingcerial6 karma

Happy Mothers Day! What was the most significant delivery that you were involved in and why?

drinkywinky17 karma

Well, probably my own delivery. But after that, I've delivered multiple generations of children. So, I delivered a woman's child, and then twenty years later I delivered that child's child!

orthodoxOP5 karma

Have you ever had to explain to a parent that their child is a hermaphrodite? How did that conversation go over?

drinkywinky10 karma

That would fall under the pediatrician's job so, I haven't had to have that conversation. I've seen parents' reaction. They're shell-shocked for a few days, and then they have to figure out how to integrate this new situation into their lives.

420YEEZUS4205 karma

How many women actually poop while giving birth? I didn't know that was a thing until a few months ago...

drinkywinky12 karma

Haha. About 50% of vaginal births. Don't worry, nobody notices.

cocosmama5 karma

Can you explain why it hurts SO bad to get a manual cervix exam? I remember wanting to kick someone in the face with my last baby and in July I'm doing it all over again and the memory haunts me. Also, what are some good ideas to bring in as a gift for the nurses working when I go into labor? I have thought about cookies or cupcakes but I want to know what you would recommend. Thank you for doing your job and helping to bring babies safely in the world, I know it is one of the most challenging jobs and I appreciate everything you do! Oh, and happy Mother's Day!

drinkywinky6 karma

It hurts because you're not used to people touching your cervix or having people's hands in your vagina! Here's a tip to make it less painful: Flop your knees way out, tilt your pelvis forward, and bare down very gently as though you're having a bowel movement.

As far as gifts, we love sweets but we eat too many of them already! A heartfelt card is really appreciated. Some fruit or vegetables would be great. Really, a card says it all.

nancyraygunn4 karma

Whats the best advice can you give for a new mother regarding breastfeeding? Plus any tips for dealing with a heavy let down?

drinkywinky9 karma

A brand new mother should practice "kangaroo care" meaning skin to skin with your baby all the time, giving the baby the opportunity to nurse when/wherever he or she wants to.

For heavy letdown, try laidback nursing (baby on top and has the ability to control the flow of the milk.) That's a generic answer, I'd have to hear specifics to answer with more detail.

MizzleFoShizzle4 karma

I just want to thank you for what you do! When I had my daughter, there was no lactation consultant for me to consult with. But we pulled through and I breastfed her for a year and a half. With my son, the lactation consultant was wonderful and told me I was a pro. She then gave me tubes and pump parts for my medela.

drinkywinky5 karma

Awesome! Thanks for being a breastfeeding champion. Get the word out.

Eternally653 karma

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drinkywinky11 karma

There was one birth that was a peaceful, easygoing water birth when all of the sudden the mother's water broke and the cord came out first, which is bad. It can compress the cord and slow the baby's heart rate.

We had to pick the mother out of the tub, put her on her hands and knees on a bed, and wheel her to the operating room while somebody held the baby's head (still inside the mother) to keep it from compressing the cord. The baby was fine after the operation but, my heart was racing.

DonaldFlorzes3 karma

have you ever had to explain to the parents why their baby is ugly?

drinkywinky12 karma

Hahaha! We always find some endearing feature about the baby to focus on. Beautiful hair, great skin, long eyelashes, etc. Gotta focus on the positives. In general, we do think babies are beautiful.

TaoIsTheAntiChrist3 karma

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drinkywinky7 karma

It's not truly the nipple the baby suckles on. The nipple goes pretty far into the baby's mouth but not down her throat. The important thing is that the baby brings enough in to be suckling on the breast. It may be tender at first but not painful. Nipples sense pain, breasts feel pressure.

lilylees3 karma

-What are some things you see really often that people wouldn't expect?

-What's your favorite part of your job?

-What are women (or partners!) often most surprised by or have off-base expectations of?

drinkywinky13 karma

-The biggest misconceptions are about normal baby behavior. People come to me with what they think are problems but are actually normal behavior. Such as: crying whenever you put them down, wanting to nurse really frequently, babies cry a lot when they have gas or are going to poop. Almost 100% of their mothers think their baby is uniquely gassy but, all babies are just fart machines.

-The immediate intimacy you feel with a family. Not just after birth but, the whole day. You become really intimate with someone you just met that day. Some nurses cry at every birth.

-Similar answer to the first question, baby behavior. Partners are extremely surprised by the process of birth. The intensity and emotion of it, what the baby looks like, the fact that their partner could do something like that, how much they fall in love with the baby immediately. Also, lots of women poop during labor.

Nessabug952 karma

I'm going to school to become a RN and I wanted to know any advise that you wish you had when becoming a RN. It's my first semester at this so any advise help 😩😁

drinkywinky1 karma

It's a great career with lots of options, flexibility, and great pay but it's important to know if it's actually a fit for you. Work as a nurse's aid or do an internship at a hospital to see if you think it'll work.

[deleted]-1 karma

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drinkywinky1 karma

It falls on your head.

morelove1 karma

i have no idea what this is in reply too... but the options are kinda funny!

drinkywinky1 karma

Haha. I could tell you what it said but, it might take the fun out of it.