At 16 years old Brende Lott knew she wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse. Now having delivered over 725 babies in the last seven years as a Certified Nurse Midwife, her hope is that every mom is respected and heard no matter what their birth preferences are.
“I grew up in Owensboro and went to Daviess County High School. When I was in high school my best friend had a baby when she was 16 years old,” Lott said. “She was terrified, understandably so. When I came to visit with her I was just really blown away by the compassionate care she had.”
Her friend’s fear of judgment and the display of incredible kindness of the nursing staff is what led to Brende’s lifelong passion.
“I knew in that moment that’s what I wanted to do. At 16 years old I knew I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse,” explained Lott. “and that’s what I did for 11 years.”
Having spent 11 years as a labor and delivery nurse, seven of those years were spent at the University of Kentucky Medical Center before her family moved back to Owensboro and she continued an additional four years as an RN.
“It was really after coming back to Owensboro, just seeing the culture difference in obstetric care that really made me want to go on to graduate school,” Lott said.
With a desire to continue safe evidenced-based care, Lott wished to a focus on lower Cesarean delivery rates, a nearly non-existent episiotomy rate and the desire to keep mothers with their babies unless a medical reason warranted otherwise. She went back to graduate school and has now spent the last seven years as a Certified Nurse Midwife, delivering babies here locally at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in 2011, one in three women who gave birth in the United States did so by cesarean delivery. This is a far contrast from Lott’s 2018 statistic of 9 percent cesarean rate of her patients’ births. In that same year, Lott had five VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean), something she believes, along with ACOG’s backing that many women can undergo a trial of labor after a cesarean delivery, and many will be able to give birth successfully vaginally.
“The way I usually approach this is that really making it clear that there is no risk-free way to have a baby,” Lott said. “The important part to me is to give the information to that woman and talk about the reason for that cesarean. What are the odds to have a successful vaginal birth, what are the risks, and what are the risks for a scheduled cesarean again because there are risks for either route.”
Lott said that for a whole lot of women just to be able to labor on their own, the baby to choose their birthday, and their body to be able to do what it is meant to do can be very redemptive for women when they are able to deliver vaginally.
Women may have consultations with providers asking questions to clarify if that practice or provider may be the right fit for their desired choices in birthing.
“If they are interviewing providers I think it would be wise to ask what their C-section rate is, when or why the provider would want to induce their labor, and under what circumstances the provider would not be present for their birth,” Lott said.
As a midwife, which oftentimes comes with common misconceptions, Lott, through her role at the Women’s Pavillion, can deliver babies, prescribe medicine, have an epidural if desired, is certified and licensed and maintains hospital privileges. She is one of four midwives serving the Owensboro area.
“I’m in an all-female group, Dr. Moore and Dr. Dawson are great physicians, great partners and respect women,” Lott said. “Anything that we have agreed upon or have discussed I know they will respect.”
Lott said Owensboro is fortunate to have an abundance of resources available that may not be elsewhere.
“We have 24 hours a day OB anesthesia available, we have 24 hours a day obstetric hospitalist available, and we have a button on the wall we can push for a hemorrhage for that quick response in emergency situations,” Lott said. “I do feel that natural birth is a safe option for most women and I do feel like an attempt of labor after cesarean is a safe option for most women, particularly in the environment that we are in.”
Lott believes it’s important for women to know their options when it comes to their birth preferences, to understand the recommendations given to them and the why behind that recommendation and to have the trust with their provider as they are oftentimes a partner in the birthing process.
“I’m here to be a partner,” Lott said. “Our hope is that every mom is respected and heard no matter what their preferences are.”