In this episode, I am joined by Evidence Based Birth Instructor Jessica Hazboun, a childbirth educator and registered nurse with a background in labor and delivery. Jessica created her own birth business, Nearly Nested, to help empower new parents with evidence based information.
Hear Jessica detail her two very different birth stories, and how evidence based information changed her entire perspective on birth and how she relates to her clients and patients. In her words – “everything about the Evidence Based Birth culture completely knocked me off my feet!”
- Follow Jessica at Nearly Nested on Instagram, Facebook, and at nearlynested.com.
- Want to learn more about becoming an Evidence Based Birth Instructor? Applications for the Spring 2020 cohort open soon, and we are hosting a series of Q&A webinars all about the program, staring next week. Click here for all the details!
View the transcript
Rebecca Dekker: Hi everyone. On today’s podcast we’re going to talk with Jessica Hazboun about her role as a nurse and Evidence Based Birth instructor, and about her empowering birth experience that she recently had.
Rebecca Dekker: Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth Podcast. My name is Rebecca Dekker, and I’m a nurse with my PhD and the founder of Evidence Based Birth. Join me each week as we work together to get evidence-based information into the hands of families and professionals around the world. As a reminder, this information is not medical advice. See ebbirth.com/disclaimer for more details.
Rebecca Dekker: Hi everyone. Before we get to today’s interview, I have several announcements I wanted to share with you. First, we are in the middle of our preorder period for bulk copies of Babies Are Not Pizzas. If you’re interested in ordering a set of 10 copies of Babies Are Not Pizzas at half off the list price, you have until January 27 to put your preorder in, and you can find that link at evidencebasedbirth.com/book. Also we have an instructor Q&A coming up if you’re interested in applying for our instructor program. The first Q&A is January 29, and you can sign up for that Q&A at evidencebasedbirth.com/instructor.
Rebecca Dekker: Next I want to talk a little bit about how the World Health Organization has declared 2020 the year of the nurse and the midwife. The World Health Organization says that the world needs nine million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. This year on the Evidence Based Birth Podcast, we’re going to be featuring a lot of nurses and midwives, including today, we’re going to be featuring a nurse, Jessica Hazboun. And I’m also excited to announce that the Australian College of Midwives has designated every episode of the Evidence Based Birth Podcast as an Australian College of Midwives approved CPD or continuing professional development, activity. You can find more information about how we are now an approved activity for Australian midwives by visiting our show notes at evidencebasedbirth.com/112. And that’s another announcement and that’s the fact that we now have a blog article that goes along with each podcast episode, where you can find a full transcript of the interview, as well as links to all the resources. And now with that, let’s get to our podcast interview with Jessica.
Rebecca Dekker: Hi everyone. Today I’m so excited to welcome Jessica Hazboun to the Evidence Based Birth Podcast. Jessica describes herself as a wife to her high school sweetheart, who is now a pediatrician, a mom to three children and two puppies, and an RN with a background in labor and delivery. Jessica is also a certified childbirth educator and an Evidence Based Birth instructor. As a nurse, Jessica realized the need for childbirth classes that would educate and support families and set them up for a safe and positive pregnancy and birth experience. She created her own birth business called Nearly Nested with a hope of empowering new parents to take on this new role and new life by providing classes with evidence-based information. Welcome Jessica to the Evidence Based Birth Podcast.
Jessica Hazboun: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Rebecca Dekker: So, Jessica, I wanted to hear a little bit about how you got into teaching childbirth classes, because you started as a labor and delivery nurse.
Jessica Hazboun: Yes. So, after we had moved, I had a chance to step away from the unit or from inpatient care, from labor and delivery, and I really took a step back because I felt really burnt out actually. And I was trying to figure out why that was. I mean, my passion and my love is for maternal child care and I think you can ask any of the people that I worked with, or even my husband, it brought so much joy to my life. Nothing more can give me so much joy than helping a mom deliver a baby or give birth to a baby, and seeing this new family unit, and even those moments leading up to the birth are just my absolute favorite. But, like I’m saying, I kind of just felt really overwhelmed with hospital care and politics that went into it, and I felt like I couldn’t really give myself to the patients as much as I wanted to.
Jessica Hazboun: And so I was trying to figure out how I could still be involved in that, and kind of make a bigger difference. And so I started looking at childbirth education, and I remember I worked nights, and so we would sit at the nurses station, we would talk about what is going on with the childbirth education, how can we change it? And we always threw out these ideas like, “We should be the ones that teach it,” or, “We should be the ones to go and answer questions, and this stuff needs to change.”
Jessica Hazboun: And so as I was really digging in to see what my options were and how I could still make this dream of mine of being a part of a birth experience happen, I realized that I really wanted to make a difference in a broader aspect by reaching out to the community and kind of starting way before. I remember having patients and doing my best to educate, but not having enough time within that 12-hour shift or even three hours left before they had their baby to explain what was going on and educate.
Jessica Hazboun: And so I thought, “Okay. This is where I’m going to start, baby steps. Let’s see what I can do.” And as I was getting certified, I came across Evidence Based Birth and was just 100% blown away and just wrapped into this. Not because it’s any sort of cult or anything like that, it’s just it was such great information. It’s such a wealth of information. It’s all evidence-based. It’s stuff that’s actually … it’s tangible. I can show evidence behind it. It’s not anecdotal, everything about it is so much science-based and I can jump on board and I can hand out pamphlets or the information sheet and show them where to look up this information, and it’s all true, and it’s all powerful and it’s just an amazing culture you have going, Rebecca, and I’m so excited to be a part of it.
Jessica Hazboun: So, when I had the chance to become an Evidence Based Birth instructor, I jumped on it and I think it was like three weeks after finding out even about Evidence Based Birth. And then when you opened up the childbirth class, I jumped on that opportunity as well because I was already so much in love with Evidence Based Birth as a whole. Now, as an Evidence Based Birth instructor, it has brought so much, like so many layers to what I can offer. And not only that, it’s become such a big part of my life that I even took it with my husband for my latest birth. And that experience in itself … I was just telling my clients yesterday, it’s one thing to teach this class, but it’s another thing to go through it and to see how powerful it really is, and how it really shaped my birth experience.
Rebecca Dekker: So I want to pause before we hear about your birth experience, to kind of go back a little bit. One of the things you mentioned about being a labor and delivery nurse really intrigued me. So did you feel like the majority of your clients that you took care of in the hospital were not adequately educated about the birth process?
Jessica Hazboun: I didn’t, no. I don’t know if it was just the culture of the community that I worked in, but I felt like many of my patients kind of came in and they were like, “You’re the expert. Do what you got to do.” And while it made my job a little bit easier, it also kind of made me a little bit sad because of the fact that they didn’t really know how to take active participation in their care. And so they weren’t really aware of what was happening, things that were good and things that were not so good. And now that I looked back and knowing all the evidence that I do now, through Evidence Based Birth, I can see that a lot of the practices and routine practices and policies that we had in place were not very beneficial to them. I didn’t feel like a lot of my clients even took any sort of childbirth education class, even the ones through the hospital were very outdated. It was definitely needed, and I wish I could have offered it to them before.
Rebecca Dekker: And what were some of the other aspects of the job? You said by the end you felt burnt out. Yeah, what was going on there?
Jessica Hazboun: I kind of felt burnt out because I wanted to give so much more to my patients, but I felt like I couldn’t. There was always a pool to help out in other ways, and I’m sure this is like this across the United States, that as a nurse you’re required to not only give your time on the unit, but also go to other meetings and be involved in as many ways as you can. And while that was great, I kind of felt like it pulls away from patient care, and it was a little bit overwhelming. And so I was trying to handle that and deal with the politics of the hospital, and just the life changes. I had my first baby and there was so much going on and I just felt a little bit overwhelmed in all of that.
Jessica Hazboun: I remember trying to change policies or having meetings about certain things that needed to change and there was a lot of pushback. So little things like that were just very overwhelming and defeating, especially when you go into maternal childcare with the dreams of, “One day I’m going to be a nurse midwife and I’m going to make a difference in obstetrics.” And when reality doesn’t really match with your dreams, it’s really hard and it can be very, very overwhelming and exhausting, and it can make you really feel defeated. Yeah.
Rebecca Dekker: So you mentioned too, while you were in your labor and delivery nursing career, you got pregnant with your first child. What was it like to have a baby being a labor and delivery nurse?
Jessica Hazboun: So when you have a baby and you’re a labor and delivery nurse and it’s your first baby, you think that you know everything, you think you’re ready to do it. But I actually found my experience was completely different. My pregnancy was not an easy pregnancy. I remember having late contractions, there’s just a lot of stuff that was happening, possible previa, a little bit of bleeding. There was just a lot of stuff that was kind of piled on top and I thought, “Of course, this is going to happen to me. I’m a nurse, this is the nurse’s curse.”
Rebecca Dekker: Do you hear that a lot? Labor and delivery nurses call it the nurse’s curse for childbirth?
Jessica Hazboun: Yes. Anything that kind of happens that’s not expected or strays away from the normal, we kind of term as the nurse’s curse. And so if that’s bleeding too much or a difficult delivery, or anything, or difficult pregnancy, we refer to it as the nurse’s curse.
Rebecca Dekker: That sounds so defeating and sad.
Jessica Hazboun: Yes. And so I kind of was sad about it, especially because I had dreamed of just an easy, fun pregnancy, and I waited my whole life to have the baby, that was my number one thing. I went to labor and delivery because I loved labor and delivery and I love births, but I also could not wait to be a mother myself. And so when I was pregnant and just going through all of these kind of defeating moments leading up to my birth, I remember thinking like, “This birth has got to be magical. It’s got to turn it around. It has to be positive because I feel so defeated right now.” And then when it came time, I had to have a medical induction for his heart tones and low fluid. And so it definitely wasn’t something that I was hoping for, but I thought, “Okay. You’re a nurse, you know how this goes. You just have to do what we have to do for the baby’s safety. Let’s do this.”
Jessica Hazboun: And through the induction process, it was so painful. And I remember thinking like, “I’m just going to be a great patient. I’m just going to lie down. I’m going to do what I have to do. I’ll get an epidural when it feels uncomfortable. I’m terrified of pain. I have the worst period cramps when I have my periods. So I know I’m going to be a complete wimp when it comes to having actual waves or contraction.” So, that’s exactly what I did.
Jessica Hazboun: I lied down. As soon as Pitocin was started and it started to get a little bit more painful, I decided, “Okay. Now’s the time to get another drill so I don’t have to feel a thing.” And now looking back, I kind of think from that point on was a little bit of a blur. I did sleep a little bit, but I just remember being woken up to being checked and moved side to side and make sure the baby was okay. And I remember there being meconium, I remember there being a threat to have a, not a threat, but the chance of having a cesarean because it wasn’t progressing, despite his heart tones.
Jessica Hazboun: And I just remember just feeling very stressed out the entire, and even afterwards, after he was born, it was very stressful because he was a big baby. He was nine pounds and his blood sugar dropped and he didn’t breastfeed as well, and he had to spend the night in the NICU and it was just a lot for a first time mom, and even a nurse, when you expect something so beautiful and positive and it ends up just being very, very tolling emotionally. I just remember crying that first night a lot, just being exhausted and losing a lot of blood, and just feeling so sad.
Jessica Hazboun: After we got him the next day, I was like, “Okay. This is exactly what you wanted. Let’s do this,” and I tried to make the best of it and it was a great experience after that. But with all of that as your first experience as a mother, it was very, very, very defeating. From that point on, I kept thinking like, “The rest of my births cannot be like this.”
Jessica Hazboun: And so I remember having conversations with my husband about what we can do next time and what’s going to happen if we have another big baby, how can we prevent that from happening, or his blood sugar drops and he goes to the NICU? What can we do? And so after that experience, I remember taking those feelings and emotions back to the hospital with me and just advocating for my patients a lot more than I had before. And it actually changed me as a nurse and really ignited my fire for childbirth education and really getting that information out there.
Rebecca Dekker: So did you feel that you, with that first birth, even though you were a nurse, you weren’t necessarily prepared for having a baby in the system?
Jessica Hazboun: Yeah. I was not prepared at all. I knew what we had told our patients to do, and I thought if I just go through the motions like I would tell my patients, that everything would be fine. But I didn’t feel like that was the case, and I felt … not that I didn’t have great care. I had my friends taking care of me and they tried with all their heart, they gave me so much love, but my birth and my whole entire pregnancy just felt so overwhelming, and I just wish I knew a lot more.
Jessica Hazboun: I wished I knew how to comfort myself, how to get up and walk around. I wished I knew to do skin to skin for two hours and not to let the baby get off of me for any tests, or measuring, or assessments. And I just wished that I knew how to have a lot more support during that entire time. I remember just sitting in the hospital with me and my husband just watching a movie and letting this medicine do its work, but not thinking anything else of it. Just kind of going through those motions. So yes, I definitely wish that a little bit more education and a little bit more information [inaudible 00:15:35].
Rebecca Dekker: And what about your husband? He was a pediatrician as well?
Jessica Hazboun: Yeah, he had actually just finished … he was in medical school and he had just finished his OB rotation like a few days prior before our baby was born. And so I thought, “He’s got this. He’s just finished his rotation. He knows what to do, he’s going to be able to help me out.” And he was like, “I don’t know what to do as the dad.” He sat there and he kind of looked at me and he kind of just shrugged his shoulders when I’d be like, “Now what do I do? Should I move around or?” And he kind of just shrugged his shoulders and looked at me like, “I don’t know. I wish I do, but this is not my interest. I know how to deliver a baby, I know how to check cervixes, but I don’t know how to support you.” So in that moment I remember thinking, I wasn’t resentful, I understood completely because … I just expected him to come with all of this knowledge that he just had from this OB rotation and be the superhero support coach, but he definitely was not [inaudible 00:16:36].
Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, I think it’s a good lesson to remember that being a medical professional or a nurse doesn’t necessarily prepare you to be that person or the partner in a birthing situation.
Jessica Hazboun: Oh no, absolutely.
Rebecca Dekker: So tell me about what happened next. You had a second baby while you were still a nurse?
Jessica Hazboun: No. We had just moved to San Diego and he had just started his pediatric residency. And so it was my first year off from being a nurse. So I was just a year out from not working and we had Luna, and we had Luna at a teaching hospital, which was very well known in our community. And I remember going in, and I have the prodrome list of prodromal labor. So my labor was very drawn out. I had been contracting pretty regularly for a week and I had gone into my doctor’s office and she was great. She was hands off. She just wanted me to let my body do what I was going to do. And once again, my heart rate was like in the 120 so she was like, “This is not normal. I need you to go in and get checked out.”
Rebecca Dekker: Your heart rate or the baby’s heart rate?
Jessica Hazboun: My heart rate. My heart rate was like 120, and so the baby’s heart rate was 150, so we knew that it wasn’t hers. So she was like, “Okay. You need to go in and I want you to do an EKG and I just want you to be monitored.” And so of course as I go in, I’m having waves because that’s just what my body does. And so they wanted to check me and they checked me and I was five centimeters and I hadn’t changed after that. So I asked to go home and they agreed because my everything was fine with my EKG, of course. And those just continued throughout the night. And so in my head I’m thinking, “I have to go back in. I have to go back in.”
Jessica Hazboun: And so we had gone back in and I had changed to one centimeter more and so that was enough for them to want to keep me. But then of course, what happens when you get admitted? Everything just stalled out. And so we thought, “Okay. Do we go home or do we stay here?” And being GBS positive, and being aware of all of the risks that come along with that, I knew I needed to be treated and it was my second baby. I wasn’t sure how fast I was going to be having her.
Jessica Hazboun: So we decided, “Okay. We’re going to stay.” And then I asked the nurse for a birth ball and she brought me one, and I sat on it and I looked at my husband and I was like, “Now what do I do?” And I was just beginning all of my classes for childbirth education. I didn’t even know about Evidence Based Birth yet. I had no idea what to do on a birth ball, and we didn’t really have them at my old hospital, so we weren’t even trained on how to use them.
Jessica Hazboun: So I looked at my husband and I asked him like, “What do I do on it?” He was like, “I don’t know, just roll around.” So I called my nurse in and I asked her, “What do I do on this?” She said, “Do figure eights or just bounce around.” And so after 15 minutes I was like, “Okay. This is not doing anything. This is not comforting at all. I don’t even think I’m doing this right.” So I got off and I laid down in the bed, and within an hour the doctor came in and said, “Your contractions are stalling. Let’s start,” I think she was a resident or a, yeah, a resident, she said, “Let’s start Pitocin. Let’s rupture your bag of membranes and let’s get you an epidural so you can sleep for the night.”
Jessica Hazboun: And right away, my head was like, “Jessica, stop. Think about this.” And I looked at my husband for support and he knew how I wanted to have a little bit hands off. And he kind of just looked at me and said, “It’s your choice.” And so I’m very bad at conflict and very bad at saying no. I’m the worst person to go to a car dealership because they will sell me a car if my husband is not with me, it’s horrible. So I just looked at them and I said, “Okay.” And that’s exactly what happened.
Jessica Hazboun: And so once again, I had this passive laboring experience, and it wasn’t horrible, but it definitely wasn’t something that I had been dreaming of. And I had started learning about a lot of the hands off care and evidence about it through the program that I was becoming certified with, but I didn’t know how to assert myself and how to feel empowered, and how to explain or to verbalize how I wanted my birth and ask for ways to help me so that I can make that happen.
Jessica Hazboun: And so when I look back, I don’t have any regrets about it. I am grateful for the care that she received. She was a healthy eight pound baby. She was beautiful, everything was great. I just remember being woken up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning before shifts change saying, “Let’s check you. You’re 10 centimeters, let’s push.” And so I didn’t even feel anything. I just pushed along with the coaching and I remember having her and everything was fine, but it definitely was not something that I had envisioned.
Rebecca Dekker: So then you entered the Evidence Based Birth instructor training, and what were some of the things that opened your eyes as you became enmeshed in that new world?
Jessica Hazboun: Can I be completely honest and say everything? I mean, even from I’m allowed to wear my own clothes, to I’m allowed to just have a salient lock and it’s completely safe to I can eat and drink in labor, to different positions and comfort measures, and the evidence behind it, and baths. I mean, everything, Rebecca. As a nurse I learned how to read strips. I can check cervixes, I can deliver or catch a baby when a mother is pushing. I can do all of these things but I wasn’t 100% sure about the reason or the evidence behind these policies and our procedures. Everything about the Evidence Based Birth culture completely knocked me off my feet. Even as far as like the epidurals and being able to still drink through them. I mean, honestly-
Rebecca Dekker: You mean being able to drink fluids while you have an epidural, you mean?
Jessica Hazboun: Yes, everything. Yes, yes, exactly. I never even thought about why it’s safe to eat during labor. That was one part of just the normal script that we would say, “Okay. Once you reach active labor, there’s no eating or drinking. You can have some ice chips or we’re going to give you fluid. We don’t want you to throw up and aspirate or choke during your labor or while you’re pushing. So we’re not going to let you eat.” And then that was just part of our scripts, and I never thought twice about it because I figured, “This is a hospital. These are our policies. These are thought out. These are the doctors that agree with this. I’m not going to question this being a new nurse out of school.”
Jessica Hazboun: But after hearing all the evidence and everything you taught, I was completely blown away. Like I said, I was just aghast. I remember having conversations after everything, I went, “Michael, did you know this?” And he would like, “Yeah, I heard something about it. But I’m not an OB person,” he always says, “This is why I’m in pediatrics. I can’t do OB.”
Jessica Hazboun: So, hearing all this was just, it was amazing. It was empowering. It brought me to tears a few times thinking like, “I did all of this to my patients out of a good heart. I really thought I was helping them,” but in fact I was not. And it really broke my heart thinking about all of that. And so from that point on I was like, “This is it. I’m going to get this information out there. I don’t care whose feelings I hurt about it, or I want people to know that there’s more than just hospital policy. There’s more than just doctor preferences. There’s more. You have a say, you have a choice. You have the opportunity to make your dreams of an amazing birth come to life, and this is how you do it.”
Rebecca Dekker: Wow, that’s amazing. It brings tears to my eyes and I’ve met a lot of nurses like you, that’s really something to work through your feelings about the policies that you recited, that you had memorized, and then realizing that they weren’t necessarily evidence-based and yeah, that’s a lot to work through as a nurse and as a human being.
Jessica Hazboun: Yeah.
Rebecca Dekker: So then you started teaching the Evidence Based Birth childbirth class and you were a part of that first cohort in January of 2019 to get trained to teach. What was that experience like teaching the class to the first couples that you started teaching?
Jessica Hazboun: I was so excited because one, you have this amazing curriculum, and I always explain how your curriculum includes all of these comfort measures, not just breathing through it, not just one comfort measure to focus on. Because I had realized in my second birth, how just focusing on breathing or focusing on just sitting on a birth ball, there comes a point where it doesn’t work anymore. And so you have all of these layers to it. Not only is it just this amazing meaty information, but it also gives you actual things to practice. And so, I’ve taught five cohorts I believe this year, and including myself and my husband, and they … I cannot tell you how much feedback I’ve gotten back, they’re like, “Wow, this is a lot of information. Do I need to know all this? Am I going to be tested on it? Is it something that I need to know in the birth room?”
Jessica Hazboun: And the answer is, no. But when there comes a situation where, “Okay. Let’s talk about induction, you’re 40 weeks now,” you know, “Oh yeah, back in my mind palace,” they have all this information and I can ask questions like, “Is this necessary? How is my cervix? What is my Bishop score?” You have all this information kind of stored, and even if it doesn’t come right to you, you have your manual that you can flip to that page and look through those questions really quickly and then, “Oh yeah, actually I do have a few questions about that Dr. so-and-so, or midwife.” And I love that we give our clients all of this information and literally a manual to carry along with them and to help them through this pregnancy. It’s so empowering.
Jessica Hazboun: Just being able to offer all the information that we learn, all the information that blew me away, being able to put it tangibly into someone’s hands, was just amazing to me. I was so excited to be able to do that. It was exactly why I became a childbirth educator and I finally had an organized systematic evidence-based information way of doing that.
Jessica Hazboun: So, this class has been amazing. I can’t imagine teaching anything else. I’d come up with my own curriculum after I became certified as just a childbirth educator, and that did not match anything that you have created, Rebecca. It’s just amazing. And you’re always updating it. That’s what I love even more. My first manual that I got from that first cohort, and it only started in January, is already changed a little bit because you update it, and that is just amazing to me. You’re just on top of it and thank you for that.
Rebecca Dekker: Thank you, Jessica. And so now I’m really curious, how did you and your husband take the class? So you’re teaching the class and then you got pregnant with your third. So how did you go through that process of educating your husband with this information?
Jessica Hazboun: I made him watch the videos at night while we were lying down and the kids were asleep and I’m like, “All right. We’re going to do this differently this time, Michael. Let’s lie down and watch this video.” And he had already watched some of them or heard them while I was listening to them during my training, at the end of the day. So he had heard them, but watching them and making him practice with me, and doing relaxation exercises, and him practicing massage, and he is very much, he’s a doctor and so he values evidence. If you tell him something, he wants to see citations of it, he might want to read an article or two about it. And so being able to provide that for him, and I’m very much the same way, so being able to provide that for him to show him got him 100% onboard, and he loved the class, he loved the information. He supported everything.
Jessica Hazboun: We kind of talked about it beforehand and I even made him practice how to advocate for me, because I remember in my last birth, it was not really an option for me to … it was just, “This is what we’re doing,” and it was like me looking at Michael for help and him looking at me for, “Nope,” and me having to just say, “Okay.” So we practiced advocating and he did an excellent job, and I felt like even our pregnancy, regardless of all the ups and downs that this one even had, it was just so exciting because I was looking forward to that day. It was like something for me to … like a light at the end of the tunnel. I was just so excited to put this all into practice.
Jessica Hazboun: So we did. We practiced up until, like I said, I have prodromal labors and so I was in labor for an entire week before having Maisy. And it was at home and there was a point where I was just exhausted. I didn’t know what to do, I was getting frustrated, and so he gave me my birth ball. He had me sit down, he gave me a massage. He would tell me to take showers, he would diffuse lavender for me in the diffuser, he was just very much hands on this time around, and it was such an amazing and empowering and really helped me to get through that last week. [inaudible 00:29:41].
Rebecca Dekker: So, can you talk a little bit about what you mean by practice? So for our listeners who don’t know-
Jessica Hazboun: Yes, I’m sorry.
Rebecca Dekker: … in the Evidence Based Birth childbirth class we have these like basically practice assignments that you do every week during the class and then continuing up to the birth. So, can you explain what practice did you do a lot of?
Jessica Hazboun: We did a lot of relaxation exercises. He made a playlist, a musical playlist, and he would play it for me. So when I would take a shower, he would play it. When I was getting frustrated and having Braxton Hicks, he would come and massage my shoulders. He would do deep breathing with me. He would have me practice doing all the different positions with a birth ball, with a peanut ball. He would actually tell me to go get into the bath. He would actually tell me to lie on my side and he would rub my back. He would practice the different acupressure points, not very hard because obviously I was … I delivered her at 38 weeks, so at 37 weeks, he actually practiced them. He would do them with me in my room. He was just very much, by what the manual said, he would do them, he would practice them every week.
Jessica Hazboun: And so even if that was creating a playlist, he did it. If that was taking a shower for extra long time, he would let me do that. He would have me take bath. I am not a bath person, Rebecca, at all, but that actually got me through my labor because of all of this information. And actually-
Rebecca Dekker: Wow. So the water therapy?
Jessica Hazboun: Oh my gosh. Water therapy is amazing. And can I just tell you a month after having her, I had a kidney stone, and it was the most painful thing of my life, but I was exclusively breastfeeding, and it didn’t have much stored up. So I only took Motrin and Tylenol for it, and getting into the bathtub was my saving grace, honest to God. So PS, everyone, hydrotherapy is amazing. So, yes.
Rebecca Dekker: So you had a week prodromal labor?
Jessica Hazboun: Yes.
Rebecca Dekker: And you had had that with a prior pregnancy?
Jessica Hazboun: Yes.
Rebecca Dekker: So what happened when things started really ramping up for real?
Jessica Hazboun: When things started ramping up for real, it felt a little bit different. I wasn’t sure that it was labor because I was waiting for excruciating pain like I had felt with my induction, because as you can remember with my second birth, they gave me an epidural right after they had broken my water. And so I didn’t really even have time to feel active, strong labor. And so I was waiting for that to happen, and I didn’t feel it. And so I was very much hesitant to go into the hospital, but knew that they were coming every two minutes. And I knew that I wanted to get there in time to have her.
Jessica Hazboun: So, we went and my midwife had checked me and she was like, “Jessica, your cervix is very, very soft and thin. Let’s just keep you for observation.” And I kept saying like, “No, I think I should go home.” She was like, “Why don’t you just walk around a little bit?” And so I did and she actually didn’t check me for hours later because she is very much hands off. And so I was walking around the unit, I was squatting, I was lunging, I was sitting on a birth ball and rolling around. I was dancing. I was doing everything that I could to kind of get everything back in gear.
Jessica Hazboun: They had definitely teetered off since I had got there because I’m very much an anxious person. And so right away my husband fixed the temperature in the room. He got out some oils, he gave me my clothes, he made sure I was warm, and it wasn’t until I was completely comfortable, and actually the next morning she had come to check me, and she, for some reason when she did a little sweep, and that is when everything just started.
Jessica Hazboun: It felt so different. It was not excruciating pain by any means, but you can tell the way that they felt. The intensity was very, very much different than I had felt before. And I was so excited. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I didn’t feel like I was in agonizing pain. I was so excited because I knew that each wave that came that was stronger meant that it was getting real and I was actually feeling real contractions and it was a different mindset. I wasn’t scared of them anymore. I was embracing them. I was so excited for the next one to come, and I was so excited when that one felt stronger than the last one. So, just that positive mindset was a big change for me from my previous births because I was so scared of pain before.
Jessica Hazboun: Once I was in active labor and just started going, and I had gone in at six centimeters and I hadn’t changed all night. And so when it had started going and they were getting closer, and I felt like, “Okay. These are getting really hard to walk with, I have to do something else.” I knew what else to do. They had offered me a volunteer doula and we didn’t really budget for one, and we didn’t have one. And so right away, I jumped on that opportunity because I knew about the benefits because of you. And so I jumped on the opportunity of having her, and it was amazing, and I had no idea who she was. I had never met her before.
Jessica Hazboun: She walked into the room and I was a little bit nervous because she was a new face, and within five minutes, she became my best friend. She was very much supportive of not only me but of Michael as well, and kind of helping him help me. She had brought her oils. She had helped me think of different things to do to get comfortable. I was squatting on the bed. My nurse was amazing. They have a “birthing center” on the labor and delivery unit, and that’s where I ended up going. I had planned to just go to labor and delivery room and get an epidural, but they offered me the birthing room, the volunteer doula, and I jumped on that opportunity as well. They brought out a CUB that they had there already, they brought out birth balls, [inaudible 00:35:28]-
Rebecca Dekker: A CUB, and for those of you who don’t know, a CUB stands for comfortable upright birth. It’s a brand of like kind of a birthing … it’s not a birthing stool, but it’s something you can sit on in labor for birthing.
Jessica Hazboun: Yes. So they brought out all of these different things that I didn’t even know hospitals could have, but they had it. So they brought it out, they brought out a stepstool for me to do deep lunges on to open up my hips. So there was like a side lunge. The nurses walked up and down the hallway with me along with my doula and along with my husband, I had my midwife coming in to check on me. And once I reached, I think it was eight centimeters, I felt that transitioning kind of anxiety about not being able to do it, and they offered to get into the tub. And so I did. And it really did pull me through. It was the most amazing experience.
Jessica Hazboun: And for everyone listening, I had told myself that my plan was just to go in, get an epidural just like before once I start to get uncomfortable, and to just enjoy this labor because I wasn’t sure if this is going to be my last baby, and I didn’t want any trauma from it. And so that was in my head. I had seen a lot of births without epidurals and I knew that they were painful, and I knew that the delivery part was going to be very, very interesting. And so that wasn’t in my plan, that wasn’t in my books.
Jessica Hazboun: And so by the time I realized, or by the time I even thought, “Okay. I think I kind of want an epidural,” she was already coming out and I was involuntarily pushing. And so I did have that moment of, “Oh my gosh, can I do this? I don’t think I can do this. I’ve seen this before. I’m not sure I can do this.” And with all of the support in the room, I had someone putting a cold compress on my head, I had my husband at my face, I was squatting in an upright bed, so I had my husband right in the other side, he was just holding me, and I had my nurse holding my other hand. I had my midwife trying to slow the baby from the descent so it can be just a slow controlled delivery or birth. And I just had everyone in the room telling me I could.
Jessica Hazboun: And then all of a sudden I realized that she was out. There was a lot more struggle and a lot more breathing and a lot more discomfort than that sounds, but when I look back and I think about it, I realized all of that support helped me to do something that I thought was completely impossible for me. All of this knowledge, all of the things that I’ve practiced with this class, coming to life, coming to fruitition and actually just seeing the positive benefits of it, I still get goosebumps, I still kind of cry about it.
Jessica Hazboun: And I talked to my husband the other day and I thought, we were reminiscing because we were listening to the baby playlist, and I asked him, “What did you think about that experience?” And he was like, “I never thought that a birth could be like that.” He said that, so this is by far the most hands on he’d ever been in any of the births, but he said, “This is the most awesome experience he’s ever had, witnessing a birth but also being a part of one.” And so when he was in residency, he would go to a lot of births usually to make sure that the baby was okay or the delivery wasn’t going as well, and so just seeing a hands off non-medicated delivery from his wife and everything going smooth and as to plan, and just kind of a dream, he was so blown away as well. And he was so excited and just looking up at him and seeing the huge goofy smile he had on his face while I was slowly pushing the baby out, helped me to get through it as well.
Jessica Hazboun: And so I’m telling you, it’s one thing to teach the class, but it’s another thing to actually go through the class, deliver your baby with all the dreams that you dreamt up because of this class, and knowing that it’s possible, and feeling supported, and not even thinking about an epidural until it’s time to push. That was something that … there’s so much value to it. I can’t even explain how grateful I am for this experience to not only teach to be a part of this entire EBB family.
Rebecca Dekker: And I think it’s really amazing, I can hear the change in your tonal voice, and even the look on your face from when you were sharing your first birth story to this one. And I think it really just boils down to the support around you, but also you were totally equipped to handle everything that came your way, even though you weren’t planning an unmedicated birth, when it started happening that way, you were able to cope with it, and yeah, that’s amazing.
Jessica Hazboun: Yes, absolutely. I love that. I love, love, love. I had found as a nurse that a lot of my patients for their first babies were so terrified of birth because of the stories that they had heard about how painful it is. I remember people saying like, “I am horrible with pain,” and I said the same thing. “I’m horrible with pain. I’m definitely going to get an epidural.” And so it was always a fear. There was a light at the end of the tunnel because the baby was your prize, but the entire process was completely scary. You think about Knocked Up, or all these movies that portray it as horrible or as painful, and it is pain … you know, labor is labor. It is called labor because it requires a lot of work. But changing the mindset, helping me to feel empowered, helping me to feel ready, helping me to feel excited about each wave that comes, I think that played such an important role too in my experience, and even postpartum as well.
Jessica Hazboun: Just feeling like so supported all the way around, feeling positive about my experience, feeling positive about, or knowledgeable about what’s coming after and what to expect. It might have been because it’s my third baby, but also, just being excited for that whole experience afterward. And then I love that this class covers breastfeeding, it covers postpartum, what to expect. It covers how to equip the partner how to help the birthing mom during postpartum when she’s feeling overwhelmed, or she’s having baby blues, or how to limit visitors so she’s not feeling overwhelmed. Those kind of things are so important. It doesn’t just end with birth. It continues for your entire postpartum experience, and I love that as well, and I appreciate that because oftentimes we do feel like we have to let everyone come to see the baby. But you forget that you yourself are healing and you’re becoming a mother in that part. And so, learning to be patient with yourself, learning to speak up, learning to say no, learning boundaries is so awesome.
Rebecca Dekker: Well Jessica, I really appreciate you coming on the show to share your story. It’s really inspiring to hear how education and support could transform your experience into parenting the third time around. I noticed you have a really vibrant Instagram account, and if people want to see some really … there’s a really amazing picture of you in labor on your Instagram page, just follow you at Nearly Nested, it’s nearly_nested on Instagram. And there’s some amazing pictures of you laboring in your own clothes, on the CUB, in the tub, with the saline lock, not hooked up to an IV pole, with your husband supporting you. And then you can also see your birth story in the comments.
Rebecca Dekker: And I love how you say at the end, you said moral of the story, labor is freaking hard. Birth isn’t always predictable, but having the knowledge, being prepared with all the right tools, being given a support that every birthing person deserves, and playing an active role in your own care is key to an amazing plus positive birth, and healthy postpartum for you and your loved ones. You’ve got this.
Jessica Hazboun: Yes, absolutely.
Rebecca Dekker: Thank you so much, Jessica, and I’m so proud that you’re part of our community and that you’re going to continue teaching parents in the San Diego area.
Jessica Hazboun: Thank you so much, Rebecca. I cannot rave more about you and about Evidence Based Birth, and I am just so grateful for having the experience that I did because of your EBB childbirth class. So thank you so much.
Rebecca Dekker: Thank you everyone so much for joining us today to listen to Jessica’s interview. I was so pleased to be able to feature a nurse who’s part of our own instructor program. And if you’re interested in our instructor program, we are hosting a Q&A. The first one is coming up on January 29. We have several opportunities after that. Just go to evidencebasedbirth.com/instructor to learn more. Also one last reminder that you have until January 27 to get your preorder in for the Babies Are Not Pizzas bulk order. Thanks everyone and I’ll see you next week. Bye.
Rebecca Dekker: Today’s podcast was brought to you by the Comfort Measures for Labor and Delivery Nurses workshop. Last year at Evidence Based Birth, we hosted focus groups and talked with nurses from across the US, who told us that they wish they had a way to learn or refresh their comfort measure skills to use with birthing clients. So we created the Comfort Measures for Labor and Delivery Nurses workshop. This is a three-hour in-person workshop with nursing contact hours. If you’re a nurse, midwife, or doula who wants hands on practice with massage, acupressure, upright breathing positions, Rebozo techniques, and more, visit evidencebasedbirth.com/events to find a workshop near you.
Listening to this podcast is an Australian College of Midwives CPD Recognised Activity.
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