Episode 034 - NICU Nurse Becomes NICU Mom

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Heather had been a NICU nurse for years before finally deciding to have her own kids.  Facing a lot of anxiety because of what she had seen as a NICU nurse, she just wanted so badly to normalize her experiences of pregnancy and birth.  Her first labor was long and complicated - ending in an emergency c-section that left Heather traumatized but with a healthy baby boy who she instantly bonded with, entering into the most magical period of her life.  

When her daughter was born after another traumatic labor and cesarean delivery, Heather was forced to face all of her fears as a NICU nurse as her daughter had totally unexpected respiratory complications and ended up in the NICU where she fought for her life for a couple of weeks.  

Heather shares how difficult it was for her to separate her instincts as a mother from her clinical perspective, how she learned to advocate for herself and her children when being treated inappropriately by hospital staff, and not being able to just take her daughter home and enjoy the postpartum period like she had for the first time.

We loved feeling like we were eavesdropping on the magical love and bond that Heather describes having with her children... her mother heart is so apparent in this conversation and it will give you all the feels like it did for us.  ❤️


In This Episode:

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  • After being a NICU nurse for years, felt that she really excelled as a nurse once she became a mother

  • The impact that working with sick babies had on her own readiness to have children

  • Choosing to deliver her babies at a hospital without a NICU to help relieve her anxiety

  • Being in labor with her first baby for 54 hours

  • Having an traumatic emergency c-section where all of her worst fears seemed to be coming true

  • The blissful postpartum experience she was gifted with and how amazing she felt

  • Wrestling with whether to try for another VBAC after being advised against it

  • Going into labor slightly prematurely with her second and being in intense pain, but the hospital staff doubting she was in labor due to lack of cervical change

  • After over 24 hours of laboring in the hospital without being admitted, a nurse who was a friend came on shift and finally advocated for her to receive the care she needed

    • Hearing all the details of an emergency c-section that wasn't going well while she was waiting for hers
       
  • Feeling like sometimes she can't process or grieve like a mother because of her clinical perspective
     
  • Understanding that birth trauma usually isn't in the details of birth but instead in the support and respect received
     
  • Expecting that her daughter would need minimal medical intervention since she was only slightly premature, but instead her daughter facing a significant struggle to survive involving complicated treatment
     
  • Feeling ready to go home since she knew she would know if they needed help
     
  • Missing the easy, relaxed newborn experience she had with her first while helping her daughter become healthy
     
  • What it was like to transition back into NICU care after the birth of her daughter


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About Our Guest:

Heather Gemmer is a Pacific Northwesterner with a mama heart the size of a canyon.  A lover, photographer, adventurer, nurse, and mama to otis + fern, she spends her time showering love on sick babies and documenting the magic of being a mother.

Check out her fabulous photos on Instagram.