January 20, 2021

Meet our Experts: Liesel Teen

Liesel Teen is a labor and delivery nurse from Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a mom, wife, and business owner. She has been a labor and delivery nurse for 6 years and currently works part-time weekends at the hospital. She spends the rest of her time blogging and creating captivating Instagram content for her brand - Mommy Labor Nurse! She started her brand in February of 2018 as a way to educate more moms in the online space about the birth process. After having such a fulfilling birth experience at her hospital, she felt that she wanted to educate other moms in hopes that more women feel empowered and educated about their births, instead of scared and anxious. She has always had a passion for educating women and thoroughly enjoys spreading knowledge and awareness about birth!

Giving birth can be intimidating, especially if you're a first-time parent. Let Liesel, the Mommy Labor Nurse answer all of your questions and help you feel more prepared for that special day!

Crane- What is your biggest piece of advice to women who are about to go into labor?
Liesel- Educate, Educate Educate! Whether you’ve got 2 or 10 weeks left of your pregnancy, it’s never too late to learn even more about your upcoming delivery - whether you end up having a vaginal delivery or a c-section. Many moms go into the delivery process nervous & frightful, and educating yourself about options you have during the birth process can really help lessen anxiety. Also, REST! If you’re nearing the end, I always recommend moms rest up before the big day - instead of tire themselves out with last minute to-do’s, and extreme nesting activities. Take these last few days or weeks to put your feet up & rest before you meet your sweet babe!

Crane- What type of birth experience do you recommend to first-timers?
Liesel- Certainly, one that simply aligns with how you envision your birth to go! Do you envision a very calming, unmedicated birth? Or a home or birth center-birth? Make sure you’re with a provider who aligns with your wishes. Maybe you don’t want to feel a thing, and you desire an epidural as SOON as possible - make sure the practice that you’re with is epidural friendly, too!

Crane- What is your advice to new fathers during the delivery process? How should they be included or there for their spouse?
Liesel- My advice I always tell partners can be very difficult to watch your loved one go through the pain of labor. My husband expressed this after I delivered our first - how he was not prepared for the emotional turmoil of watching me labor naturally. He knew how to support me, but he didn’t know how to calm himself down! I would communicate this with your partner, that it may be harder than they think to watch you labor. Sometimes just communicating this to them, helps them prepare a bit more for it! In regards to supporting you, how do you envision your partner to be there for you? Telling you you’re doing a great job? Being a silent observer? Lots of touching/massage? There are about a thousand different ways to support a woman during birth, and the most helpful thing you can do for yourself (and for your partner) is communicate to them how they can best help you! :)

Crane- What is something you wish you knew before giving birth for the first time?
Liesel- I wish I knew how difficult breastfeeding actually is! I didn’t prepare myself fully for it, and I struggled a lot. Along with prenatal education, I always advise moms who plan to breastfeed, to take a breastfeeding educational course, or read a few books on breastfeeding BEFORE they actually start! It’s often a big blur in the 2-3 days you have at the hospital (where all the nurses and lactation consultants are) - so getting a good foundation before you begin can really set you up for success!

Crane- Do you recommend delivery with or without an epidural?
Liesel- This one is totally personal preference! I personally opted out of an epidural for my birth, but that’s not to say I recommend that for everyone. How do you envision your birth to go? Epidural, or not? Epidurals are a very safe pain control option during delivery, and I do recommend them to all moms who are interested!

Crane- How long after giving birth do you start to feel like your normal self again?
Liesel- Again, this one is certainly going to be different for every mom. Personally, I started to feel “normal” after 10-12 weeks - which seems like a LONG time, I know. Once my baby started to sleep longer stretches, and we were on more of a schedule...that was about my time frame of getting “back to the swing of things”. This may not be you, however! It may be shorter than this, or much, much longer - especially if you struggle with mood disorders after giving birth. I encourage you to give yourself grace here and recognize too that some moms never feel “normal” again, they only adjust to a “new normal”. 

Crane- How long does a normal delivery typically last?
Liesel- This one is a WIDE range, and depends on what baby this is for you, your anatomy, how big your baby is, how well your cervix responds to labor, your method of delivery and so much more! Some moms will deliver vaginally in 1 hour of labor...others will have unplanned c-sections at hour 48 of labor. Some moms will have scheduled c-sections, too! It’s a very, very wide range! I will say if this is your first baby - EXPECT things to go a lot longer than you think. First-time moms often are blown away by how LONG labor CAN actually last, and how long it takes to push a baby out. It’s not uncommon to have 24+ hour labors, and 2+ hours of pushing if you are a first-time mom. Many moms do it in less time but don’t be surprised if you’re in it for the long haul, this is NORMAL! 

Crane- What are some items you advise the family to bring to the hospital on delivery day?
Liesel- I really like recommending parents to bring their own pillows, especially if they are particularly sensitive to sleeping in a different location. Personally, I have a hard time sleeping anywhere but my own bed - and bringing my own pillow to the hospital is crucial for me to get any rest! Another helpful item I recommend moms to have are shirts that open in the front if you plan to breastfeed (as opposed to t-shirts) - this will make breastfeeding baby a LOT easier :)

Crane- Did anything unexpected happen to you during your delivery that new moms should be aware of?
Liesel- Personally, I had a very long labor that involved a LOT of back labor - I didn’t anticipate this to be as bad as people say it is...but gosh that back labor is terrible! Some things I did to help were lots of positional changes, counter-pressure on my back, and laboring in the shower/tub. 

Crane- What was your most rewarding/memorable delivery?
Liesel- I would have to say my own! Giving birth myself gave me a whole new understanding of how important my job is as a labor and delivery nurse, and also showed me a whole new level of empathy for my patients going through labor. It certainly changed my practice for the better! :)

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