Labor Room Myths with Mandy Irby, The Birth Nurse — Episode 114

Labor Room Myths with Mandy Irby, The Birth Nurse — Episode 114

woman in the delivery room

Today we're talking about some of the most POPULAR myths from the labor room.

Today's guest is Mandy Irby -- The Birth Nurse, is a trauma-informed parent and nurse educator passionate about a more parent-centered and respectful birth culture. In her decade at the bedside, she noticed that parents and nurses are frustrated and confused by the current assembly line process of birth in hospitals. She's now on a mission to change birth culture to be parent-centered, trauma-informed, and safe for all by educating and advocating for voice, choice, and physiology.

Mandy’s also a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Authorized Peanut Ball Trainer, Spinning Babies Parent Educator, Owner of the Birth Nurse Academy and the Trauma Informed Birth Nurse program, and loves empowering nurses and parents in-person, online, and on her popular YouTube channel @MandyIrby. You can find her on social media or on the road traveling and teaching at L&D units across the country. Find her at

This episode was inspired by my post on labor room myths.

Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples -- if you want all these myths busted before you come to the hospital, it is the class for you!

In this episode

How much time your doctor will spent with you at delivery

If your doctor will deliver your baby?

The rules in labor.

If you have to deliver on your back

Breaking water

If you'll be hungry in labor.

Other things that might interest you

Saying No in Labor with Mandy

Movement in Labor

How to go into labor

Producer: Drew Erickson

  People are always so shocked that nurses are at the bedside the entire time.


[00:00:00.000] - Hilary Erickson

Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on Episode 114, we are talking about labor myths. It's one of my favorite things, and I have one of my favorite guests coming on, so let's untangle it.

[00:00:21.110] - Hilary Erickson

Hi, I'm Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast. We untangle pregnancy, parenting, home and even travel. We know there's no right answer for every family, but hopefully we can spark some ideas that will work for yours. Life's tangled. Just like my hair.

[00:00:44.810] - Hilary Erickson

Okay, guys, before we get started, leave a review. I mean, this podcast is pretty much gold, so you're going to want to leave a review after, so just do it now so you get it done. Checkmark. Such a good feeling to check up off.

[00:00:56.750] - Hilary Erickson

Today's guest is one of my favorite people. I think this is her third, possibly her fourth time on the podcast. Well, we just love getting together and talking about the labor rooms. She is the birth nurse on TikTok and Instagram. She's just amazing, and she talks a lot about birth trauma. She really changed how I looked at birth trauma, but I want to introduce today's guest, Mandy Irby, the birth nurse.

[00:01:21.850] - Hilary Erickson

Do you feel prepared for your delivery? In just three short hours? You can be prepared for the confident, collaborative delivery you want. You'll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I'll use humor stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alyssa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all, you guys are going to be on the same page from bump to bassinet on the online prenatal class for couples today, you can save 15% with coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find the link in the show notes.

[00:01:57.160] - Hilary Erickson

Hey, Mandy, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast.

[00:02:00.530] - Mandy Irby

Hey, Hilary.

[00:02:01.280] - Mandy Irby

Thanks for having me.

[00:02:02.340] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah, I love having Mandy on. If you guys, I'll put all of her other episodes as she's been on the show notes. So check them out because they're some of our most popular episode.

[00:02:11.390] - Mandy Irby


[00:02:12.110] - Hilary Erickson


[00:02:13.220] - Mandy Irby

Well, we do have a lot of fun.

[00:02:14.700] - Hilary Erickson

We like to share all the secrets.

[00:02:16.340] - Mandy Irby

We do.

[00:02:17.660] - Hilary Erickson

Okay, so today we're talking about myths from the labor room. And boy, oh, boy. Are there are a lot of them?

[00:02:21.750] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. I think a lot of people have a lot of fear because there are a lot of myth. It's a big part of my childbirth Ed class is reviewing. Is this a myth? Where did this come from? Why do we all think this?

[00:02:31.740] - Hilary Erickson


[00:02:32.630] - Mandy Irby


[00:02:33.170] - Hilary Erickson

Well, and I think a lot of myths start just because one person had this experience.

[00:02:36.890] - Mandy Irby

Yeah, for sure.

[00:02:37.680] - Hilary Erickson

And then you're like, no, not so much. Okay. I'll start with my first one. Doctors do all the work just like in the medical shows. When they're putting in the IV and putting in the catheter. I'm like, what was the last time one time I even asked one of the OBS? I'm like, do you want to help us with the IV? They're like, I haven't put an IV in 30 years.

[00:02:54.200] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. They're like, I am not a safe person to aspect.

[00:02:58.800] - Hilary Erickson

So they do the blood pressures.

[00:03:01.190] - Mandy Irby

They do everything on those shows.

[00:03:02.960] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. They call the code never happens.

[00:03:05.470] - Mandy Irby

No. And they're really not at the bedside. I think when I watch those shows and I'm with people who aren't in medicine, I say they should not be wearing the white coat. They're doing everything that nurses do. And patients, like families and pregnant folks are still so shocked when the nurse is at the bedside the entire time. They're like, oh, my gosh, nurses do so much. I'm like, yes, write a letter to CBS right now. Yes.

[00:03:30.010] - Hilary Erickson

Is once a while I'll see a show. I feel like night shifts to that show. And on Er a lot of times, they kind of showed more that the doctors were out of the room back in my man. Oh, man. Did I want to be Juliana Markle?

[00:03:43.390] - Mandy Irby

I know.

[00:03:44.580] - Hilary Erickson

Plus, I have the hair. I mean, we are twins.

[00:03:46.980] - Mandy Irby

What a bad bitch. I know they really portrayed her in a way that was powerful. And many of your listeners are not going to have seen Er.

[00:03:54.670] - Hilary Erickson

Okay, get on the Netflix or whatever. You can find the ER and friend and come on Instagram if I am Julianna Margolis.

[00:04:04.500] - Mandy Irby


[00:04:05.430] - Hilary Erickson

Okay. Well, my second myth, we might as well just piggyback on this one. Is that your doctor is going to be there with you while you push. I get people that are so anxious. Like, what are you calling my doctor? And I'm like, girl like, a long time from now when we're really closed.

[00:04:21.180] - Mandy Irby

And I wanted to just say, if I call too soon, they'll leave anyway. Yeah, they will.

[00:04:26.380] - Hilary Erickson

And they're not helpful. It's not like if we called them, they'd rip roar that baby out.

[00:04:30.840] - Mandy Irby

No, there's really.

[00:04:32.770] - Hilary Erickson

Well, they would. They might rip road that.

[00:04:34.500] - Mandy Irby

I pause and I'm like, Well, unless you want unnecessary intervention, then you wouldn't call them. So you call them if someone's asking, like, I'm done, I want a vacuum.

[00:04:46.160] - Hilary Erickson

But or if we're not making progress or we see the baby, there's all these reasons that we went into all your doctor, but most often we're the ones. We're the best people to educate you on how to push. And we have the most experience at the bedside.

[00:04:58.790] - Mandy Irby

We know you the best. I don't know how your listeners feel about this. And if they're like, my doctor would not be that. Or maybe I've had a baby before, and that's what I realized. And now I know. But you really spend a lot of time with your doctor during pregnancy. If you see them or your midwife if you see them of the most and you don't have a large practicing, you're not kind of shuffled around.

[00:05:18.830] - Mandy Irby

You really.

[00:05:19.720] - Mandy Irby

I had such a great relationship and pregnancy. I was like, look forward to seeing her and telling her about what was going on. And she would give me some tips, and I would be thinking about, oh, yeah, I need to ask that question. When I get to the appointment, I'm gonna write a note. I would think about her all the time, and it was kind of a bummer that she wasn't there at all. Even though she was in the hospital. I really didn't get to be like, I just need you close by me.

[00:05:42.310] - Hilary Erickson


[00:05:42.760] - Mandy Irby

Kind of a bummer. It's kind of set up to really get to know someone and trust someone. If that's your relationship with your provider, and then you don't really get to see them too much. No, I'm a labor nurse. Not then the nurses aren't great, and that's what their skilled at is education and bedside care, and really with that trusting relationship short-term during that labor and birth. But you really get to know your doctor for not a lot of time together in the nursing room.

[00:06:07.120] - Hilary Erickson

I get a lot of people really upset with large practices, though, because I think that's where the method of care is probably shifting in the US. And I'm always like, I know that you want to have Doc Baker there with you as you deliver your baby, but it's unlikely that you won't see them very long, and it's not really as big of a deal as you make it out in your mind to be. But I understand that they want the same provider.

[00:06:26.860] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. There's a level of comfort and familiarity and trust. And I think folks are set up to believe that they'll be there. I think they're told by their doctor, I'll be there with you.

[00:06:36.960] - Hilary Erickson

I'll be there.

[00:06:37.900] - Mandy Irby

I'll be there. And even the nurses in the prenatal appointments.

[00:06:41.350] - Mandy Irby

Oh, no, he'll be there.

[00:06:42.700] - Mandy Irby

She'll be there. I'm, like, in the same building is not enough.

[00:06:45.340] - Hilary Erickson

That's true. I'll be in the city.

[00:06:48.080] - Mandy Irby

I'll be less I'm on vacation that if the kids are out of school and then I'm not.

[00:06:54.080] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. And they have to have lives. I mean, these older OBs literally had zero life for so long, right?

[00:07:01.210] - Mandy Irby

Isn't that the shift we're saying?

[00:07:02.740] - Hilary Erickson

I don't know that that's the doctor I want anyway, right?

[00:07:05.500] - Mandy Irby

We want humans. I want someone who has a family, you know, if that's what they want.

[00:07:10.230] - Hilary Erickson

So I want someone who has a life and hobbies who has a life interest.

[00:07:14.700] - Mandy Irby

If you have hobbies and you don't have a family, like, oh, I wanna know about that. I wanna get to name if you have your own practice, you don't do anything but down call. Yeah. Even if you have a family and you stress because it is a very stressful thing. So, yeah, they're just really high, strong. So we're moving away because our providers want all the other things.

[00:07:32.610] - Hilary Erickson

And we want them to have that. Ultimately, it's just hard to think of the whole picture when you're just like, oh, another new provider when you see them in the office. But there is a benefit to that, too, because then you find out that a provider X I'd ever deliver feedback or whatever you find the provider be totally. We'll do a feedback, so there's benefits.

[00:07:51.220] - Mandy Irby

They change shifts. So if you're not really vibing, yes, there's a shift change, and then you can find and someone else to vibe with. I wish, as a labor nurse, I had more time with people pre Nataly. Wouldn't that be cool?

[00:08:02.820] - Hilary Erickson


[00:08:03.300] - Mandy Irby


[00:08:03.630] - Hilary Erickson

I've always wanted to do home visits like they do on all the midwife. Basically. Yeah.

[00:08:08.790] - Mandy Irby

That's my dream job. She wouldn't be this way.

[00:08:11.410] - Hilary Erickson

I guess I could do with a call. I want to be a midwife without me alone in a house with Roaches. Man, you just took a sip of a drink. I was worried she was going to see it on our keyboard.

[00:08:23.610] - Mandy Irby

She paused for roaches. Is it coming out her nose? Yeah. I mean, there's good and bad with that. Neither you nor I are headed to a midwifery track at this point. But sharing what reality inside of a hospital, I think, can be really powerful for folks getting ready to go if they're really needing their provider there. That's a special conversation. How much are you going to be there? Can you just be with me? Because that's probably when the truth comes out of. Oh, no. I have eight other patients at the same time.

[00:08:51.970] - Mandy Irby

I'll check it.

[00:08:53.460] - Hilary Erickson

That's just the way it is. You're not paying. You could pay them out of pocket. Probably $9 million. And they would come be with you.

[00:09:00.070] - Mandy Irby


[00:09:00.520] - Hilary Erickson

If you're Meghan Markle. Your doctor said, yeah, I will come deliver the 20th in line for this room.

[00:09:06.510] - Mandy Irby

Yeah, probably. If you're Meghan Markle. But maybe. Maybe not. She didn't have. Yeah. I don't know what her treatment was.

[00:09:11.860] - Hilary Erickson

We'll never know.

[00:09:12.640] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. You'd have to have a private staff. I mean, I could be your private nurse. Actually, as we talk about that, is this the thing may be Megan Markle's nurse.

[00:09:22.480] - Hilary Erickson

You would?

[00:09:22.920] - Mandy Irby


[00:09:23.230] - Hilary Erickson

I don't know that I would. This is a story for another day.

[00:09:26.160] - Mandy Irby


[00:09:26.830] - Hilary Erickson

I loved I've always delivered. And really, my last hospital wasn't super low income, but we definitely had a lot of very low income. And I think those are the people when there's, like, a little Hispanic mom who does everything at her house, and I get her out of the bed and I change her sheets. That is my favorite thing ever, because they're just like, oh, you don't need to do that. I'm like, yes, I do. Someone needs to change her sheet. And Pamper, you my friend.

[00:09:48.930] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. I love care. That caring. Yeah. Okay.

[00:09:52.200] - Hilary Erickson

Let me get that freak. Were Tanaka, you. What's your next myth, Mandy?

[00:09:56.160] - Mandy Irby

Mine. Mine's kind of a theme. Mine is that people think that there are so many rules in labor. And we've done a whole podcast episode on rules and labor. But it's a strong myth held by birthing people, birthing folks and nurses and physicians and providers that patients and birth and people have to follow hospital policies.

[00:10:17.010] - Hilary Erickson

No, I do. Yep.

[00:10:18.700] - Mandy Irby

The nurse does.

[00:10:19.590] - Hilary Erickson

Well, I did.

[00:10:23.010] - Mandy Irby

We did.

[00:10:24.420] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. And I think it's so funny when they the doctor hides behind. This is the hospital policy. I'm like, no, funny.

[00:10:30.520] - Mandy Irby

Not funny. Right. This is what I have to say and tell you, this is my recommendation. According to the information that I have, the information that I've read by choice.

[00:10:41.620] - Hilary Erickson

This is the information I've chosen to believe.

[00:10:44.230] - Mandy Irby


[00:10:44.430] - Hilary Erickson


[00:10:45.000] - Mandy Irby

I'm like, wait a second. We're not talking about complete evidence based care inside of hospital systems right now. So a lot of it is subjective and biased. And that's coming from two people working on our biases. Right. We understand that everyone is biased inside the hospital.

[00:10:58.090] - Hilary Erickson


[00:10:58.540] - Mandy Irby

But the policies are for the hospital. They're not for the folks coming in. So I get a lot of questions, especially in class, but on social media. Oh, my gosh. I had no idea I couldn't push in any other position Besides my back. And that's a myth held by people who've given birth.

[00:11:12.480] - Hilary Erickson

So I see on TikTok all the time that it's the hospital policy that you give birth on your back. And I'm like, there will never be a policy that requires a patient to give birth on their back.

[00:11:23.160] - Mandy Irby

I think policies are often made up also hospital culture or its culture.

[00:11:28.360] - Hilary Erickson

I usually do.

[00:11:30.210] - Mandy Irby

And there might be a policy about safe use of stirrups. Like there might be some really archaic information and policies that can totally happen if people don't want to change them. But also culture and policy are used interchangeably and still really don't have much to do with the client.

[00:11:46.230] - Hilary Erickson

Well, and the good news is any policy that you say, no, I don't want that. You are going to get a boat load of education. So let's say our policy is that we have content of fetal monitoring. If you're on Pitocin.

[00:11:59.490] - Mandy Irby


[00:11:59.910] - Hilary Erickson

And you say, I don't want that. So then we're going to educate you. And we may possibly turn off the Pitocin because it's still our license and we're not monitoring the baby. But you 100% can always make whatever choice you want. Yeah.

[00:12:11.440] - Mandy Irby

That's a great example, because in order for me to follow the policy, which was written by a bunch of people who probably aren't at the bedside and reviewed by some people that are at the bedside, so sometimes makes sense. Sometimes it doesn't always make sense. They've deemed that this is how we can safely do what we do. Often we've written a policy about stuff we do often or needs guidelines around it. And so as the nurse legally and are my license and the rules of the hospital, I have to follow the policy.

[00:12:40.090] - Mandy Irby

So the consequences. Okay. I have to turn off the photos and we have to take a break. Let's talk about options. If you don't want this, what else can we do? What are some other options? And that's a great example.

[00:12:50.920] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. Okay. Speaking how you mentioned delivering on your back, that's actually one of my myths , because a lot of people say that we I make you deliver on your back. We don't. But I will say that a lot of my patients with an epidural, we'll go side to side and we'll try and do some other things. And then I'll be like, what do you like, what do you prefer? And I'll be like, I kind of like on my back. And I'm like, Great. Let's make it work.

[00:13:09.340] - Mandy Irby

I love that. Let's make it work. I do think some places force birthing on your back. Just because I have thousands of comments that I will say a lot about doctors.

[00:13:17.320] - Hilary Erickson

They will deliver on their back.

[00:13:19.220] - Mandy Irby

So that goes back to policy. When people say it's our policy, it may very well be doctor preference. And now you're weighing is the doctor's preference better more important than my preference or anyone else's preference, which no one's preference should matter except the person you've embursed. Yeah.

[00:13:35.300] - Hilary Erickson

I mean, that all being said. If you are in baby stuck and you're like, no, I want to do this. And the doctor's, like, my best way to get this baby out is to flip you on your back, because that's how I best know to do these maneuvers. Then at that point, the do their best work.

[00:13:48.530] - Mandy Irby

Still not.

[00:13:49.760] - Hilary Erickson

I mean, still your choice. Still your choice.

[00:13:52.120] - Mandy Irby

And also, that is not within the myth. If I'm having an emergency, my gives me a recommendation. Do I have to follow it?

[00:14:00.080] - Hilary Erickson


[00:14:00.350] - Mandy Irby

No. But that's also an emergency like that situation that you're saying. And I think the preference comes first in many, many, many cases. And that's just a culture.

[00:14:10.580] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. It's a hard thing because you wish doctors would only say, seriously, I feel way out of my comfort zone right now.

[00:14:16.640] - Mandy Irby

Exactly. Yeah.

[00:14:17.860] - Hilary Erickson

Instead of my comfort zone is any room I walk into. Everyone needs to be on their back. Instead of this is a shoulder dystocia.

[00:14:23.720] - Hilary Erickson

This is the only way I really know how to fix that or in an emergency to do. And I'm giving a recommendation.

[00:14:28.690] - Mandy Irby

It is hard. And the language, I think, should be more clear. But that's why there's a lot of myths, because the language isn't clear. If it was super clear, the policy. This just means I have to chart this way carrier options, and I'm here for whatever. If I'm honest, I will have consequence if you don't do this, but you will not have consequence.

[00:14:46.620] - Hilary Erickson

You would have a consequence if you didn't follow policy and then the patient or from the OB? Yes. From the OB. Probably not for my manager.

[00:14:55.150] - Mandy Irby

Maybe the manager is like, oh, well, did you explain it in a way that made it so that our policy was more ideal? Right.

[00:15:04.850] - Hilary Erickson

Would you say it was their only option?

[00:15:06.520] - Mandy Irby

Yes. Exactly.

[00:15:08.240] - Hilary Erickson

It recursive way you explain it to nobody. I will say I had really good managers who never really looked at it that way. They just wanted to make sure that we just charted our buns off because you got to realize that when we do that, I literally want to start my nurses note, do your members with the jury as I sat in the room and realized that I know that's how we're taught to talk.

[00:15:30.340] - Mandy Irby

But yeah, it's consequence for the nurse, so it's uncomfortable and sticky for the staff, but it shouldn't play as big of a role. And the patient experience is it. I think that it does. And the stories that people come out with.

[00:15:41.090] - Hilary Erickson

No, I agree.

[00:15:42.130] - Mandy Irby

Regardless of how it was framed inside, they leave saying, no, there was no other option. And that's really unfortunate where it should be offered in the more open way instead of. Oh, well, they didn't ask to move, so I thought they were okay with it. And then that same person says, no, they didn't offer me any other option and told me this is the best way. Yeah.

[00:16:02.630] - Hilary Erickson

That's why I take you a prenatal class and knowing that there are lots of different options.

[00:16:06.520] - Mandy Irby

Yeah, for sure. Hillary and I are all about.

[00:16:08.240] - Hilary Erickson

Though I will say little tiny Vietnamese ladies, probably. I didn't give them the option or I didn't talk it through because we couldn't even understand each other. I knew the P word for push.

[00:16:16.990] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. There's a lot of this is bringing up the privilege of speaking the same language and the privilege of being in a place where the staff and the positions and nurses are taking their time to explain things instead of just assuming that everyone got childbirth education because or trail birth education is in one language right now, as far as I know. So there are a lot of limitations with choice. Again, if we just had the language clear. Yeah, that's true. It wouldn't be so tricky.

[00:16:48.730] - Hilary Erickson

All right, man, did you have another myth?

[00:16:50.690] - Mandy Irby

I like birth on your back.

[00:16:51.890] - Hilary Erickson

You like to birth on your back?

[00:16:53.300] - Mandy Irby

No, I like that myth.

[00:16:54.620] - Hilary Erickson

I don't ever want a birth again. I woke up the other day thinking I felt a baby in my stomach, and I quickly want to make sure my IUD was still in and my friend was like, oh, did you think you had cancer? And I was like cancer or a baby? That's a tough one. It would be a tough choice.

[00:17:07.640] - Mandy Irby

No, that is a myth that I hear a lot. Let me think of another one. Oh, the myth that you will give birth on your due date or early with your whatever it is. First baby, second baby. Then there is that you'll have your baby on your due date is a lie. That is a flat out lie. Well, it's a giant estimate, of course. Right? Yeah. It's an estimate.

[00:17:30.520] - Hilary Erickson

I mean, it's just like with anything like your contractors or your movers, it's all just an estimate. And some times your stuff shows up.

[00:17:37.670] - Mandy Irby


[00:17:37.970] - Hilary Erickson

And sometimes it shows up. Really?

[00:17:39.940] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. Yeah. I think when people say, oh, my gosh, I'm almost having my baby, I'm like, oh, my gosh. Really?

[00:17:46.190] - Hilary Erickson

How do you know?

[00:17:46.790] - Mandy Irby

And they're like, well, I'm due today.

[00:17:48.460] - Hilary Erickson

Oh, yeah.

[00:17:50.110] - Mandy Irby

Within the next couple of weeks, you will have your baby.

[00:17:52.780] - Hilary Erickson

Have you had people show up just on their due date?

[00:17:55.610] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And that's lack of information, that's heartbreaking.

[00:18:00.560] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah, right.

[00:18:01.490] - Mandy Irby


[00:18:01.840] - Hilary Erickson

Although in kindergarten, we used to have people who just bring their kid when they were five.

[00:18:06.520] - Mandy Irby


[00:18:06.910] - Hilary Erickson

I mean, that's just true.

[00:18:08.830] - Mandy Irby

Not everyone's ready for the same stuff at the same time.

[00:18:11.440] - Hilary Erickson


[00:18:11.990] - Mandy Irby

Some babies take longer. Some babies take shorter. The myth that your water will break as your first sign of labor.

[00:18:19.900] - Hilary Erickson

I always really wanted that to happen. You did, like a real big gush, but no, because I was always like, it is labor. And then I'd feel stupid because I was a labor nurse. Then finally, I'd call one of my friends, and she's like, You're not in labor because we can tell over the phone a lot of times, I'm like, oh, go on.

[00:18:38.810] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. One of your friends right now, don't call me again. And I'm not gonna tell you when my baby's born by. It's hard for nurses. I have nurses in my child birth ed class. And they're like, I'm still taking those classes in nurse. I was like, okay, well, think of it as continuing education. Then. They're like, oh, my gosh. Labor nurses really don't have a personal perspective on this. We just kind of teach from what we hear and what we see, but we don't really know what it feels like.

[00:19:02.870] - Mandy Irby

And, yeah, there is no big boom. Usually when labor starts. No, the movies. However, your water breaks in Walmart. Everyone sees it, and everyone tells you that I didn't want the babies coming. Commercial break and then, boom, your baby's coming.

[00:19:16.790] - Hilary Erickson

And it's out. It's actually out after commercial. And it's not the extra long. Commercial break It's just a regular one.

[00:19:22.280] - Mandy Irby

It's a Hulu. Yeah. It's a drive to the hospital. And then, boom, you have a baby. And that can cause a lot of fear and also confusion because physiologically, what is it? 10% of people's water break, folks, water breaks. At first, it's real low. It's just a tad higher than the percentage of folks who will have a baby on their due date. It's just not as common.

[00:19:42.980] - Hilary Erickson

I mean, even if in you're a rip roar and labor at home, and then your water breaks. Just breaking your water outside the hospital is pretty low.

[00:19:49.180] - Mandy Irby

Okay, for sure.

[00:19:49.880] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. One of mine was that it takes a long time. Like, pushing doesn't take very long. That baby just slides right out once we start to push.

[00:19:57.700] - Mandy Irby

It is a surprise when it's like, oh, wow. We've been doing this for 2 hours.

[00:20:01.300] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. And you're like, this is average, my friend. You're doing great because I think everybody feels like a big failure.

[00:20:06.520] - Mandy Irby


[00:20:06.890] - Hilary Erickson

I know I did. My second baby was way bigger, and I kept being like, Is he even moving? Am I just the worst pusher ever? Because get him out.

[00:20:15.230] - Mandy Irby

So many factors play into that.

[00:20:17.450] - Hilary Erickson


[00:20:17.910] - Mandy Irby

Physiologically, your water stays intact, right? Physiologically, it stays intact and it's protective.

[00:20:23.950] - Hilary Erickson

And it's nice when you're laboring without your water roof, and it's a little bit easier.

[00:20:28.710] - Mandy Irby

And there's the clock. If you're laboring in a hospital, that clock. Everyone looking at you like, the clock started, isn't there until your water's broken, and then they're like, oh, wow. I have to do something.

[00:20:40.630] - Hilary Erickson

We just broke your water.

[00:20:42.620] - Mandy Irby

So now we have to do something else. We wouldn't want you to be pregnant all day. So without it broken, with leaving it intact, it usually breaks. Like, what? Transition are pushing. And that's a surprise to some people. What if it never breaks?

[00:20:55.300] - Hilary Erickson

Then your baby lives in the semiotic sack its whole life, and it's just haven't you seen the kindergartener?

[00:21:00.710] - Mandy Irby

So there's just a tadpole in the sack? Like, no, then it's your lucky baby.

[00:21:05.440] - Hilary Erickson

Although when I start pushing without it being broken, I'm always like, because I'm afraid it'll break while we're pushing and go all over me and into my mouth.

[00:21:14.920] - Mandy Irby

And. Well, now I think since last year, we've got a mate you got.

[00:21:20.960] - Hilary Erickson

So that's true.

[00:21:21.980] - Mandy Irby

And much more covered up. I hope that there's more in Calvert because of that, because, again, preferences dictate that the nurse and the provider want to break the water as you're pushing because of the pressure behind it. So the pressure is greater. The water breaks. There's a balloon in front of the head, and that usually sprays, and it can spray across the room.

[00:21:41.300] - Hilary Erickson

It's pretty- yeah.

[00:21:42.140] - Mandy Irby

But also, you can just tuck the chucks up a little bit if you're anticipating. If it's a controlled rate, if someone breaks it for you, if they don't, then it potentially could go everywhere. And that's safety personal preference. I feel like if you're on hands and knees and aiming down, it's not going to spray on anyone. If you're in the bed.

[00:22:01.430] - Hilary Erickson

I just would stick a checks over. Exactly. And then just take a glance at it, because there is a safe. We want to keep our nurse to safe and we don't know what you have, and we probably don't want it in our mouth, just like you probably don't want RP in your mouth.

[00:22:13.340] - Mandy Irby

So we put a mask on the face shield. But happening at the end is not absurd. It's actually a physiologic. And pretty cool. You mean you might be able to see it? I don't know.

[00:22:24.930] - Hilary Erickson

I think it's first. So the baby can be born with a sack around it. And the first time I was delivering it myself, oh, God. And I was like.

[00:22:32.910] - Mandy Irby

Because it was fast.

[00:22:34.040] - Hilary Erickson

What the heck is wrong with this baby? And then there's a skin or the pain? Yes. And then the more experienced nurse was like, it's being born in the sack. And I was like, okay. Yeah, this is cool is fine.

[00:22:47.750] - Mandy Irby

Well, because the water doesn't look like a head and it looks like water with white stuff floating in it. And so as the baby or what, we think the baby is coming through and crowning. It is white. And so I always thought, oh, my gosh, what's wrong with the baby's skin? Is the baby not perfusing? What is that? Why is the baby start white? Oh, my gosh. It's a right. Then the bag breaks course. I'm like, oh, the realization. And it sprays everywhere, and it can be a little unsettling if expecting it with the bag over the baby's face.

[00:23:19.270] - Mandy Irby

But you just Peel away. And baby's born. No.

[00:23:21.430] - Hilary Erickson

And then after that, I was cool with it. But it's your first one and you're delivering it.

[00:23:26.040] - Mandy Irby

You're like, everything.

[00:23:27.300] - Hilary Erickson

I am so screwed. Let me just hand my license over. I don't know. I broke the baby before the baby. Yeah, maybe it's fine.

[00:23:35.310] - Mandy Irby

Just side note, so that pushing experience. My guess is that that person gave birth quickly.

[00:23:42.030] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah, well, that 2 hours once that a provider show up, 2 hours after we called them. They were not always not, but I'm sure it was quick. Probably.

[00:23:51.060] - Mandy Irby

Yeah, that sounds quick.

[00:23:52.120] - Hilary Erickson

But yes, like you said.

[00:23:52.990] - Mandy Irby

It can take a while and think people expect it to be okay. It's time to push. Time to have a baby because we say those things and it can take hours. Yeah.

[00:24:00.870] - Hilary Erickson

Okay. Here's one other myth. I just heard the other day that somebody was really upset on TikTok because the nurse told them that they shouldn't push. And just an FYI. We're required to say your doctor is not here. We probably shouldn't push. And we are required to chart that. And then I wink at them, and then I'm like, I know this isn't the first baby I've ever delivered.

[00:24:22.140] - Mandy Irby

That's interesting. Interesting. Interesting. When we always talk about requirements and charting and things like that, being nurses from different States and different parts of the country, I would not. Now, maybe I used to in my early days that I would never tell someone not to push.

[00:24:35.520] - Hilary Erickson

They said we were required to say it just so that we could cover our buns in case something happened.

[00:24:41.190] - Mandy Irby

Sure. I mean, I understand it, but I also can do a lot of damage. Oh, I really, really damaging to the person's body, to the baby as well. So I see someone says, no. My nurse never said, don't push. She just looked at me with huge eyes and was panting like a dog so that I would breathe. That's what I do.

[00:25:00.480] - Hilary Erickson

What you charge now even know I would chart initiated. Panting.

[00:25:05.400] - Mandy Irby

And panting initiated. Yes. Panting activated. Panting. That's what I would have.

[00:25:11.640] - Hilary Erickson

The big eyes.

[00:25:13.040] - Mandy Irby

Panting protocol. Watch my eyes. Because there's no way they can stop pushing if they have the urge. And also constructions happen, so I wouldn't want to blame or shame them if the baby comes out. And they were like, because I've heard that it takes that awful sound in their voice. I swear I wasn't pushing. It like, oh, we have no air in the air.

[00:25:30.280] - Hilary Erickson

And the beauty is, if your baby just comes out where you're not giving a whole lot of effort, then it's gonna come out fine. The problem is, there's no problem. Yeah.

[00:25:37.240] - Mandy Irby

If we're pushing. Really, really. So really, that's up to me. Maybe coached pushing. If that was happening, I would hurt that I would not doing that. And I was encouraging the patient to blow. But I can't also that's the problem with the hospital.

[00:25:51.900] - Hilary Erickson

It is true.

[00:25:52.470] - Mandy Irby

Your doctor isn't always right. There not a problem with the pushing.

[00:25:55.340] - Hilary Erickson

And I think, like, 90% of my first year was learning when to call the provider because it is just such a sticky. They do not wanna be there early and they do not want to be there late.

[00:26:05.710] - Mandy Irby

Gosh. And then my patient says, do you think we're gonna have this baby by 10:00 p.m.. I'm like, I have no idea. I literally have no idea. But the hardest part of my job is timing perfectly when to call your doctor into the room.

[00:26:19.420] - Hilary Erickson


[00:26:20.330] - Mandy Irby

I thought you didn't know. I didn't. I guess with the information that I had, and sometimes it's too early. Sometimes it's too late. It's impossible.

[00:26:30.080] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah, that is the hardest. So you got to realize that your nurse is trying to balance all of that. And that, again, is part of that's a huge hospital problem. Personally, I think I think you're right where I'm really having to balance that providers wishes.

[00:26:43.010] - Mandy Irby


[00:26:43.750] - Hilary Erickson

Again, what? The patient being there a half hour early. Is that going to kill you? You definitely have charting a notes, right?

[00:26:49.540] - Mandy Irby

Exactly. It should not be our priority. Our priorities should be our patient in our state and their safety and our charting and all the things that should be our priority. And as the nurse, I don't take the bottom of the bed off. Usually my patients are on their side or they have a peanut ball or it's really not logistically possible.

[00:27:06.200] - Hilary Erickson

No, I don't.

[00:27:06.880] - Mandy Irby

But then the babies just kind of I'm there and the babies in the bed. I don't encourage nurses catching a baby but I also wouldn't want to encourage the forcing of not pushing. You sit there, you ask for another hand, you call them to the the nurses station, never leave the patient side, and then they have a baby in the bed. And then you initiate the next steps as safely as possible as we do routinely when providers aren't there. But I did see that conversation on tick Tock.

[00:27:34.430] - Mandy Irby

And it happens a lot. And it sounds very painful. Emotionally painful, really upsetting and distressing.

[00:27:41.060] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. So just so you guys know, the nurse may be required to chart that. But then again, you can do whatever the heck you want, because it is our policy. And again, and that's our license. So we can't be there to deliver any other babies if we lose our license.

[00:27:54.080] - Mandy Irby

And we also can't feed our little kids.

[00:27:55.940] - Hilary Erickson

So we do have to follow some policies. But again, you don't.

[00:27:58.970] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. I love that. I love that.

[00:28:02.480] - Hilary Erickson


[00:28:02.840] - Mandy Irby

Yeah, we have to. But what's the consequence? The consequence is to us. If we don't, the consequence is not here. You have a baby, and then the consequence might be you feel the need to discuss that issue with your provider. Where were you?

[00:28:18.270] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah. Why couldn't you be there a half hour early?

[00:28:20.670] - Mandy Irby

Why did you need to go do the thing that you needed to do when you were encouraging me to have a baby?

[00:28:24.960] - Hilary Erickson


[00:28:25.430] - Mandy Irby


[00:28:25.680] - Hilary Erickson

And sometimes it just happens sometimes.

[00:28:27.530] - Mandy Irby

So. Sure.

[00:28:28.140] - Hilary Erickson

You know, suddenly I've seen eyes between legs, and you were 4 CM last time.

[00:28:34.110] - Mandy Irby

I so took a nap after you're amazing epidural in boom.

[00:28:36.780] - Hilary Erickson

Oh, my gosh. We're all miracles. Yeah.

[00:28:39.660] - Mandy Irby

We always seem so shocked when everyone met the goal and the baby's coming out.

[00:28:43.980] - Hilary Erickson

And then, oh, my gosh.

[00:28:45.810] - Mandy Irby

I was thinking about this the other day.

[00:28:47.310] - Hilary Erickson

Everyone's like, oh, call everyone the baby's core.

[00:28:51.210] - Mandy Irby

We've been here for 10 hours together trying for this. And now everyone who drops their pants, it actually happens. We're prepared.

[00:29:00.840] - Hilary Erickson

No, he's not prepared.

[00:29:01.890] - Mandy Irby

And I think that's the surprises people are like, Wait, now I wait. No, starving. It.

[00:29:08.940] - Hilary Erickson

No, wait. I'm not waiting. Yeah. Okay. That's my last myth that people are always saying if they're going to be no, I have one more that they're going to be hungry in labor. People always are like, I'm so worried that I'm not going to be able to eat. And I very rarely I would check it with my patients and be like, hey, I have food. Don't tell anybody I said that. How are you doing? Could I get you an icy or some juice? And they're like, no.

[00:29:33.840] - Hilary Erickson

And the husband's like, yeah, you should drink. And, like, I just. I'm not hungry. And it's like, when you're running away from a bear, your body is kind of running away from bear. They're just not gonna be hungry while they're running away from the bear. But as soon as the Bear's gone famished give me a Turkey leg.

[00:29:50.250] - Mandy Irby

I would eat a bear. A Turkey. Like, I would eat anything.

[00:29:54.030] - Hilary Erickson


[00:29:54.290] - Mandy Irby

Mi, wonder if your listeners who've had babies remember that first meal. It's that first meal. People always remember. Oh, that made me sick in labor. Like, I won't be eating that. And then they're my first meal, some really raunchy Turkey sandwich. Like, I would never otherwise.

[00:30:09.200] - Hilary Erickson


[00:30:09.650] - Mandy Irby

But it was like, pure, bliss dreamy. And I never cut myself off from food in my labors because I know about the policies and they don't matter to me. And if I was hungry, I was gonna eat. My food bag was huge. I can only educate on my personal experience, but my food bag was huge and stayed huge. I ate Thai food, and I was like, oh, yeah, I just can't sit still long enough. Like, I was kind of hungry.

[00:30:33.240] - Hilary Erickson

But I couldn't sit still.

[00:30:34.200] - Mandy Irby

And I was like, okay, it's probably time to go to the hospital if I can't eat. That's an amazing dinner that I have. But the food dug stayed bold because there's just a lot of work to be done. It's helpful, I think, to have options of like, I like that kind of stuff you have at the hospital. But I think postpartum I say, don't skimp on the food bag. You will be hungry at some point.

[00:30:51.820] - Hilary Erickson

It probably angry, or your partner will be because they might not be able to get out or whatever. I always let him slip out in the hallway or just trail mix something that doesn't smell. Not like KFC.

[00:31:03.590] - Mandy Irby

No, I thought when you said that the partner was like.

[00:31:06.030] - Hilary Erickson

Yes, get the food.

[00:31:06.990] - Mandy Irby

I thought they were like, I'm hungry because I don't have labor hormones and I'm starving. It can be a long process. Yeah, having food is great, but it's kind of funny when you look back and you're like, I just wasn't hungry. That's weird.

[00:31:18.590] - Hilary Erickson

A lot of things end up being that way. Like, I didn't shave before I had the baby. Turns out I didn't care. I pooped on the delivery. Turns out I didn't care.

[00:31:26.270] - Mandy Irby

Turns out I didn't even know I took my shirt off.

[00:31:28.680] - Hilary Erickson


[00:31:29.180] - Mandy Irby

Yeah, didn't care.

[00:31:30.170] - Hilary Erickson

It's just not the way you would be. Well, you're just regular life. It's just not.

[00:31:34.790] - Mandy Irby

But you also can't anticipate it. So, you know, I left clothes on for one, and I'm like, oh, no, I just I thought I would be fine being naked, and I just wasn't. And then other things just didn't matter. I thought, hey, would you just can't guess. And then Yo, look back and you're like, I guess that's why we like to tell our stories a lot. Our birth stories a big deal. And you're like, oh, man, I planned so much.

[00:31:53.930] - Hilary Erickson

I took Hillary's class.

[00:31:55.400] - Mandy Irby

I took a Mandy's class.

[00:31:57.170] - Hilary Erickson

I listened to their podcast.

[00:31:59.000] - Mandy Irby

I was on their TikTok. And, man, so much stuff still happened that surprised me.

[00:32:02.700] - Hilary Erickson

Yeah, I love it. But isn't all parenting that way? I'll never let my teenager have a cell phone.

[00:32:09.070] - Mandy Irby


[00:32:10.080] - Hilary Erickson

All, live love.

[00:32:11.240] - Mandy Irby

I have a small trampoline in my backyard.

[00:32:14.460] - Hilary Erickson

Though I didn't end up doing that.

[00:32:17.610] - Mandy Irby

Most nurses were like really many. Really? Is your insurance?

[00:32:23.040] - Hilary Erickson

That good. We have a tiny one in our playroom because it's Arizona. So during the summer, when we had small kids, it was hard to get out our Wiggles. So we have one of those tiny ones. They would stand by and the couch and jump on it.

[00:32:33.450] - Mandy Irby

Hey, I'd put my kid on a leash if I needed to. It at this point, all the things I said I wouldn't do, like, sometimes you just got to get that energy out.

[00:32:40.280] - Hilary Erickson

I totally leash my kids. But we also live by the Grand Canyon. It's like Motherhood Heck.

[00:32:45.860] - Mandy Irby

Motherhood Heck.

[00:32:47.330] - Hilary Erickson

Wait, like that close to the Canyon.

[00:32:48.870] - Mandy Irby

Like, you put your lease on a kid so they didn't drop into the Canyon.

[00:32:51.500] - Hilary Erickson

It's like, the worst. It's literally just, like, right there. They could just fall to their death.

[00:32:55.820] - Mandy Irby

Oh, man. You gotta have, like, fence with barbed wire.

[00:32:58.940] - Hilary Erickson

Newsflash. When it's a protective National Park, there is no fence. Yeah. Anyway, I've totally leashed kids. But I don't think I would have said I wouldn't leash kids before. That's just how I am. I'm Alice.

[00:33:12.550] - Mandy Irby

No, I was judging with judge said no judge right now are not all that. No, you just kind of go with it, and then you get to tell the funny story at the end.

[00:33:22.330] - Hilary Erickson

All right, let's summarize these myths for our good listeners. So the main thing that I think we learned is that nurses and possibly doctors, although doctors can always override policy. So whatever they're telling you, you about policies, a big fat. Like, I might have to follow policies, but as a patient.

[00:33:35.590] - Mandy Irby

You know, Ding, Ding, Ding.

[00:33:38.370] - Hilary Erickson


[00:33:38.620] - Mandy Irby

I think that's the big myth birthing on your back. I have to do these certain things. And then physiology will sometimes surprise you, because that's not what we're taught in school and in the media or just what we thought it was going to be.

[00:33:55.120] - Hilary Erickson

Because, I mean, yeah.

[00:33:56.660] - Mandy Irby

Because the story is different. Everything's different.

[00:33:59.300] - Hilary Erickson

Well, in every bursts, different. So even on number three, I went in thinking, this will be like, XYZ, and then it wasn't. And that's fine.

[00:34:05.560] - Mandy Irby

Yeah. There's so much within normal and within everything's still okay that it still can sometimes be surprising. So all those extra super duper planner type a print. Hello?

[00:34:17.590] - Hilary Erickson

Raising my hand. I do. We're here with you.

[00:34:20.860] - Mandy Irby

It's a rollercoaster, and you've got it. Yeah.

[00:34:24.070] - Hilary Erickson

Especially when you get education with people, like, near Mandy. So I will leave a link to Mandy's birth courses in the show. Not. Thanks for coming on, Mandy. It's always so fun. Thanks, Hillary.

[00:34:34.050] - Mandy Irby

This is so fun.

[00:34:34.720] - Hilary Erickson

Hopefully we'll see you soon. Well, I see you. I mean, on Zoom someday we'll meet IRL in the Grand Canyon. Not too much.

[00:34:44.250] - Mandy Irby

Okay, I'm Virginia. Come on over.

[00:34:45.850] - Hilary Erickson

I'll come. All right. Have a good one. Mandy by Hillary.

[00:34:48.760] - Mandy Irby

Thank you.

[00:34:49.150] - Hilary Erickson

Okay, guys, such a good episode, because I think understanding that you can say no to anything in the hospital can be liberating because we're not going to be like or you could say no. I mean, we might, but we can't give you every single other option that's out there, right? You could squat. You could kneel. You could... But if you tell me, I'd really like to try this, then I'm going about heaven and Earth to make that happen. But you kind of have to have an idea, which is why you take a prenatal class with me or Mandy.

[00:35:14.200] - Hilary Erickson

I mean, obviously, more likely me. But I love Mandy's, too. And if you have had incidences of trauma, I would actually take Mandy's over mine just because she really talks about the mental load and all those different kind of things in addition to just childbirth, you could take both. I mean, that's like the golden thing. So anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this episode, and I hope this deleted some of those myths from your mind.

[00:35:34.480] - Hilary Erickson

Thanks so much for joining us on today's episode. We know you have lots of options for your ears, and we are glad that you chose us. We drop episodes weekly. And until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.

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The post Labor Room Myths with Mandy Irby, The Birth Nurse — Episode 114 appeared first on Pulling Curls.

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