Transcript episode #45:Lynn's Birth Story: Advocating for Your Birth Wishes During a Long Unmedicated Hospital Birth
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It is a birth story episode. This one is about a long, but very fulfilling unmedicated hospital birth
Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified Ob Gyn physician, certified integrative health coach and creator of The Birth Preparation Course, an online childbirth education class that will leave you feeling knowledgeable, prepared, confident and empowered going into your birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and it's not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.
Well hello there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 45 and I'm so glad you are here with me today. So in today's episode we have a birth story episode. You guys know these are some of my favorite episodes and today we have Lynn Turcotte Schuh. She is going to share how she had a completely unmedicated hospital birth and although it took 53 yes, 53 hours, she is still very happy and satisfied with her experience. And in fact, she was so happy with her experience that she left her job as a Marine mammal trainer and founded Happy Mama Wellness where she is known as the toddler trainer. She's a certified childbirth educator. She's also a parenting coach and her mission is to help parents better understand themselves and their children so that they can spend less time yelling and more time connecting. Lynn is highly passionate about helping mamas find their power and trust their instincts during pregnancy, birth and beyond. I had such a great time chatting with her today and I know you are going to enjoy our conversation as well.
Now before we get into today's episode, let me do a quick listener shout out. This is to 1NatalieGomez and the title of her review that she left me in Apple podcast is so thankful and the review says, "this podcast has been so helpful and informational. I am so thankful for your insight into the world of birth and pregnancy. I wish more doctors and nurses were as up to date on this information as you this year. My husband and I are trying to conceive and I already signed up for your birth plan course. I'm sure you have a full plate as a wife, mom, doctor, and now your podcast, but thank you for this. I love it so much." Well, thank you so much for that kind of review 1NatalieGomez. I wish you and your husband well as you start your family this year. It is awesome that you're being so proactive, including signing up for my free class, how to make a birth plan.
Now, speaking of that free class, I have an announcement to make about it. I got a lot of feedback that women were interested in the class, but it was hard to make the time. So what I've done is I have converted the class to an on demand class where it's offered several times each day and you can sign up for a time that works best for you. So just go to www.ncrcoaching.com/register. Of course that link will be in the show notes and sign up for the class. It's chock-full information to help you make a birth plan that works to help you have the birth you want. Women absolutely love this class. It's 100% free. So sign up today. I hope this new way is more convenient for you so you can get this great information. It is not too early to start thinking about making your birth plan. So go ahead and go to www.ncrcoaching.com/register and sign up for a class.
Now remember this class is also a great way to kinda check out my signature program, The Birth Preparation Course. The Birth Preparation Course is a comprehensive online childbirth education class that gives you everything you need to be knowledgeable, prepared, confident, and empowered for your hospital birth. You can learn more about the class at www.ncrcoaching.com/enroll or definitely check out the free class at www.ncrcoaching.com/register to kind of get a feel for it. All right. So let's go ahead and hop into today's birth story episode with Lynn.
Nicole: Well, thanks so much, Lynn, for coming onto the podcast. I am super excited to have you share your birth story with us.
Lynn: I'm excited to be here and to share my story for sure.
Nicole: So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about you and your family.
Lynn: Sure. So, my wife and I have been together for almost 20 years.
Nicole: Oh wow.
Lynn: And I just turned 41, so pretty much half of my lifetime and we've been married for 10, and we knew from the beginning that we wanted to have children, but obviously we needed to have some help. We're missing part of the formula. So, our journey, before we even got pregnant, we went through about two years of just testing and prep work and counseling and all that kind of stuff. So we have one daughter, she's going to turn six in two weeks. I can't believe it. And then we have one angel baby that is about a year ahead of her. So we had a miscarriage about a year ahead of her. And so other than that, we're pretty a normal family. The same experiences as any other married person, any other mom.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Well I'm sorry about your angel baby. I don't think I realized that when we scheduled the interview. How far along were you when you had a miscarriage?
Lynn: I was about 12 weeks and it was actually an ectopic pregnancy. So like my numbers were kind of all over the place. They weren't quite sure if it was going to be viable or not. So we spent like, because we were doing the insemination I guess. So because we were doing that, lyou knew the instant we are pregnant, right? Like they're tracking things way earlier than anyone should even be starting to track things. And so it was just this rollercoaster of like, hh my gosh, we're pregnant. And then, oh, but the number's not good. Oh, but the number got better. Oh. But now it went down. It was just like this crazy three really long, three months. And, um, they started to suspect that it was an ectopic pregnancy. And so they said, you know, watch for vomiting or abdominal pains and all this kind of stuff.
Lynn: And sure enough, I was at work one day and I started to feel really nauseous then I vomited. And I was like, I need to call a doctor. Something just didn't feel right. Like I just knew. And we had an ultrasound that day and it confirmed an ectopic pregnancy. So they did the methotrexate. Cause when you, when you're in this situation, everything's heightened emotions. But in hindsight, I'm so grateful for that because the other option would have been surgery. So we went through that and took about a week and a half for my HCG levels to drop and the pregnancy to be over. And then we had to wait another three or four months before we could even try again. But we got pregnant on that very next try with my daughter. And the ectopic pregnancy experience, the emotion of it actually is kind of what led me down the more unmedicated natural birthing path in the first place. Cause I was like, I don't like, I just want to listen to my body. I trust my body. It told me what was going on before. I just want to be able to trust it again.
Nicole: Cool. Yeah. I don't think we do a good enough job of understanding the impact that, a pregnancy loss related to ectopic pregnancy. I don't, I don't think we appreciate that enough.
Lynn: Yeah. I didn't even know what it was and I, this is probably getting a little off topic, but I tried to be really open about my experiences even if I get emotional because I feel like pregnancy loss in general is just not something we discuss and it happens so often. But when we tried to have a second child after my daughter was born, she was about three and I went through seven cycles and we had three early miscarriages in those seven cycles. But I don't really like count those at losses in my brain because they were so early. If we had been not doing fertility, I wouldn't have even thought I was pregnant because I would've just gotten my period. And so it was very different than the ectopic experience, which we knew that we were pregnant. We weren't sure what was happening when it came down to it, even though there wasn't really a choice, like in a rational choice, I still felt like I was choosing life over my babies, which was difficult for me. So I tried to be really open about that experience cause I know there's a lot of other moms going through it.
Nicole: But yeah, absolutely. That's a really interesting concept when we are getting off topic a little bit. But I think it's important that of choosing your life over your baby's life. Yeah. Yeah.
Lynn: Which is ridiculous when you think about it because if we had let the pregnancy go on, neither one of us would have made it like that. That wasn't an actual choice.
Nicole: Right, right, right. But in the moment, that's what you felt.
Lynn: Yeah, absolutely. And will, I was like, I'm a mom and this is my baby and I would gladly give my life so that my baby could live. So that was kind of where my mindset was, even though that wasn't reality.
Nicole: Gotcha, gotcha. Gotcha. So I'm glad that you were able to get pregnant fairly quickly after that.
Lynn: Yeah, we were surprised, obviously like a little nervous, but my levels in the pregnancy where we had my daughter, they were like tripling in just a few days. So our doctor was very quick to be like, this one's okay. Like this is nothing like that last one. They are crazy high. Like you can breathe, can read. Now you're just in normal like pregnancy risks now you're just where everyone else would be.
Nicole: Right. So I'm guessing you probably felt some relief when you had that first ultrasound that showed a heartbeat.
Lynn: Absolutely. We actually saw a heartbeat with the ectopic pregnancy.
Nicole: Oh, crazy.
Lynn: But to see it in the right place and like see everything being what it was supposed to be was, it was, I can't even describe it, that feeling, it was like relief and excitement and like, o. h my gosh, this is real.
Nicole: Exactly. That's unusual to see a heartbeat with an ectopic pregnancy. So yeah, definitely had a little bit of different going on there.
Lynn: Yeah, they were really surprised because that was part of the reason that they were confused because they kept doing the internal ultrasounds and they could see like a little sack and they could hear the heartbeat, but they're like, that doesn't look like it's in the uterus. And it was just, it was just weird. Apparently I'm in the exception to all the rules.
Nicole: So when you find out you're pregnant and things are going well, what did you decide to do for your prenatal care? Did you see a physician? Did you see a midwife? Would it, what did you choose?
Lynn: I knew right away that I wanted to go with a midwife. I feel like, I don't know how to put this. I just like...
Nicole: Just say it, say it. My feelings won't be hurt if at all.
Lynn: It's not, it's not that at all. Just in general. I feel like Western medicine doesn't try to get to the root cause of things. I feel like a lot of doctors are just like, let's fix the symptom. And so I tend to look for more middle of the road practitioners that obviously Western medicine is needed in some cases, but not in all. And so I try to look for practitioners that see that balance. So I was immediately drawn more to a midwife than an obstetrician, but we were in a practice that had both so that if there was a complication, if we had to go to cesarean, I had met with the OBs that would be doing that. So that was kind of peace of mind for me. But our primary care was the midwife and she knew that we wanted to triangle unmedicated and we really wanted to have a vaginal birth, if at all possible with minimal interventions. And she was really supportive of all of that.
Nicole: Awesome. Now did you, now what part of the country are you in?
Lynn: In Connecticut.
Nicole: Okay. Okay. Some parts of the country don't have access to midwives unfortunately, but yeah. And so, but it's, it's great that you had had that option available and felt comfortable with the having the backup piece as well. So how did you feel about your prenatal care?
Lynn: I was really happy with it. There was a couple of visits towards the end of the pregnancy and I feel like multi doctor practices try to do this where you kind of rotate through everybody just so, cause you're going to see who's on call. I had a couple of those visits were really frustrating for me because I had gone through this, you know, my wife and I, a team effort. We had gone through this whole pregnancy, I'm seeing one of the two midwives and we really built up a rapport and they knew our, what our vision was. They knew what our hopes were and then we would randomly get thrown in with this OB towards the end who we would say things and they were like, oh, that's not possible. And I would, in my head I'd say, but our midwife's been telling us this whole time that that was fine. So that was just a little bit confusing, but it wasn't like it didn't put us off or anything. We just kind of let it roll off of our shoulders. So for the most part, I was really thrilled with the care that we got and the people were actually listening to us like I felt heard, which I think was really important for me.
Nicole: That's important for every woman. Absolutely. So I'm, I'm curious, what are some of the things that you wanted your birth and then when you throw out those things, that feedback you got from some of the physicians, that was sort of like, okay. Like, that's not what we talked about.
Lynn: Yeah. I'm trying to think of just something right off the top of my head. Okay. So we were very big on not wanting to have any IV fluids unless needed. I was like, I will, I'm sure we're going to talk about this, but we did the Bradley method for childbirth prep. So we, I mean my wife and I had basically like gone to school. We were learning about my body and like the process of birth and you know, all these different things that may or may not happen. And so I felt like I was coming from a semi-educated place. So I had talked to my midwives at length about wanting to really try to stay hydrated orally. And I would drink plenty of fluids. And when we got to the hospital, because I am not a good patient in the hospital, I knew that going in, and like needles and being hooked up to things like it just, my anxiety just skyrockets. And so I was coming from that place knowing that if I got anxious and fearful, here comes the adrenaline and now everything's kind of shot. So from that standpoint I was like, can we just not like, the less machines I'm hooked up to, the more calm I'm going to be. That kind of thing.
Nicole: And you were pretty healthy?
Lynn: I was old, I was geriatric at 35.
Nicole: It's so rude and disrespectful. The terms that we use.
Lynn: No, but other than that, everything was great. I was healthy. And so one of the OBs, our first appointment with them, it was a great rapport. We were felt comfortable with them and then they had said something about, well when you get to the hospital you'll be on IV fluids anyways so you don't have to worry about X, Y or Z. And I said, we are going to just do a heparin lock and hopefully not have to go on fluids. And the OB was like, no, we put everybody on fluids. And I was like that's not what the midwife said!
Nicole: It is not necessary. Like it totally is not necessary. So that's my soapbox moment, but...
Lynn: Thank you for that. So that was just an example of what probably you seem to completely, really little and insignificant to them that like just the, this is just what we do. We just put people on fluids so they aren't created. To me, I was like, Oh my God, now I'm going to be hooked up to an IV pole and I'm going to have to drag this thing around and I'm going to have a needle in me. And like that like started just causing anxiety for me. And then the next point when we were back with the midwife and she was like, no, don't pay attention. I'm going to write it down for you. And so, you know, it made it a little bit better, but so it wasn't huge things, but they were huge for me.
Nicole: Yeah, it makes total sense. And then the conflicting information is, you know, a little bit confusing as well. So I can totally see that. So I'm guessing it sounds like you just wanted lower intervention, so to be not connected to as much stuff as possible. If maybe intermittent monitoring or wireless monitoring if possible did you want to do, I'm sure be able to move around as much as you can.
Lynn: Yeah, absolutely. When I started looking for childbirth, like prep type courses, I had said to my wife that I really wanted a home birth because I wanted to feel safe and I wanted to, you know, make sure that I could keep my body calm and not get into that anxiety state. And my mother, God bless her actually like literally had an intervention, like literally brought family members to my house and staged an intervention circle of everybody around you, like legitimate, like a legit intervention and she said it's not safe. You're going to put yourself and your baby in danger if you have a home birth. And I just was like, what? What are you talking about? I love you but you have no idea what you're talking about. I think she was thinking I was just going to go in the backyard and have a baby.
Lynn: Yeah, no, it was, it was comical. So I was respectful. Like I tried to play it respectful, but at the same time I was like, no, this is not like you. I will send you the research like this. I was like, I'm still like, there's still a midwife there. There's still like, it's not like I'm just in the middle of the yard. After that, my wife came up to me and said, I will do whatever you want. But a home birth makes me a little nervous as well. So like, okay, well your opinion matters. Like so we sought out Bradley and so my goal was to kind of have as close to a home birth experience in a hospital setting. That's kind of what my vision was.
Nicole: Yup. Yup. So you decided to use the Bradley method for preparation. How do you feel about that? Or how did it work for you?
Lynn: It worked great, but I know like in the core of my being that it worked great because my wife and I put in the work ahead of time. So we were super diligent about every single day doing relaxation practice and you know, a couple of times a week we would do a labor rehearsal and try out different positions and we like, we really were like, we are preparing for a marathon and this is the work we need to put in. And I had a really physically strenuous job and I very vividly remember people being like, Oh, let me get that for you or let me do this for you. And I'd be like, no, I'm in for a marathon. And I'm like, I need like my body to be strong. I'm trying to do things for me. So I like, we really had that mentality about it. And so when the day came, I was physically prepared, mentally prepared, emotionally prepared because we had put in the work. So I've seen other families, cause I taught Bradley for a couple of years, I don't anymore. But I saw a couple of families go through it and they were like, the curriculum helped, but I just didn't feel ready. And so I kind of called them out and said, well, did you do all the stuff we talked about each week? And they'd be like, no, not really. Or, you know. I feel like with anything in life that you kind of get out what you put in. So I feel like that's why it worked so well for us. But the, the curriculum itself was great and I felt really prepared and educated for sure.
Nicole: Okay. Okay. Got it. Got it. So did you do anything else other than Bradley to prepare?
Lynn: No. Well, we took a hospital tour so that we could visualize where, where everything was going to happen. I feel like that helped a lot with my anxiety. But other than that, we just followed the exercises and nutrition and the, the relaxation stuff that Bradley was providing for us.
Nicole: Got it. Okay. It sounds like you did so much of the, obviously you were very prepared and you also paid attention to that mental piece and creating, creating the right energy surrounding your birth, because that really makes a difference.
Lynn: I tried hard, so I'm hoping that I need to think all those hours of effort and practice were really for nothing.
Nicole: So why don't we get into what was your labor and birth like let's get all the details.
Lynn: Yeah, absolutely. It was long. It's really long. But I always tell people when I'm telling my story or sharing my story that I feel like you either have a really short intense labor or you have like a really long, not super intense labor. Like the faster it goes, the more intense it is. So in some ways I'm, I'm glad that I had such a long labor, but I, I had, it's prodromal labor that the name of it were like really extended early labor. So I was getting real labor contractions, not Braxton Hicks, but they were just sporadic all over the place for about two weeks before things kicked into a pattern. And I actually was a Marine mammal trainer. So I was on stage on microphone, like talking to thousands of people at a time working with sea lions. And I have very, like, it was yesterday kind of memories of having to say to the microphone, you know, and my friend Jen is gonna take over for me for just a moment.
Lynn: And I would walk back stage and have a contraction and then I would come back out and be like, I'm back and here we go with this kind of, it was like, it was just like a comedy of it was funny. So, so I worked right up until really the pattern started to kick in and I told my supervisor, I said, I'm not coming back. This is, I'm going on my weekend. I'm not coming back. So just, just know, like this is it. I'll see you in a few months.
Nicole: And how many weeks were you?
Lynn: I was 39 weeks, so my daughter came just a just a week early. So on a Saturday morning, my contractions were starting to get into a good pattern. So they are about like 15, 20 minutes or so apart. So it was something we could actually time at that point. And I made the mistake. Talk about lessons. This is one of the 11 I've made the mistake of calling my mom and my sister and telling them that and they live over an hour away so that piece of the story will be coming. But I told them, oh, contractions are in a pattern now and we'll keep you posted. And so my wife and I just were at home and I was just kind of doing whatever my body was telling me. I did a lot of standing. We have like a banister at the bottom of our staircase. I did a lot of just kind of leaning over the banister and swaying back and forth. I was on our birth ball, I was in our tub. Like I just was kinda all over the place just trying to go about my day and not really get too worked up about anything in either direction.
Lynn: And very, very slowly the contractions started to come closer together. And then I went to sleep on Saturday night cause I was really tired and they, they didn't stop but like I could sleep for an hour or two and not really feel anything. So I got up a couple of hours of sleep on Saturday night and then early on Sunday morning I woke up and things are getting a little more intense and so I woke my wife up and I was like, we need to like, I need you now. I need you to like be my coach now. Whereas on Saturday I was kinda, she was there and if she tried to leave the house I was like, where are you going? But I didn't really need her like do anything with me. I just needed her to be there. So on Sunday, we are just kind of doing our relaxation stuff that we had practiced and the contractions continued to get closer and closer together and around five o'clock on Sunday evening, the contractions were about five minutes apart and I started to get nauseous, like really nauseous.
Lynn: Then I started to vomit, which is I now understand is a good sign, right?
Lynn: In the moment you're like, Oh my God, can this get worse? But you know, that was a good thing. So after like the second or third time that I had gone into the bathroom, I came out and I looked at my wife, I said, it's time to go. Like we needed to go. So we got everything ready, got in the car, we drove to the hospital. We actually called our Bradley instructor on the way to the hospital just to like confirm that we are ready doing the right thing. And when we arrived at the hospital, my mother, my aunt and my sister were in the waiting room as we walked past. Because when I called on Saturday morning, they had come down and rented a hotel room next to the hospital so that they could be there.
Lynn: Like the second we called and said, Oh, so like I know. So I kind of like waved and was like, okay, they're here. And then just kept going. Cause I was in my own little thing. I was getting really frustrated when we got to the hospital. I feel like at least 10 people, and I'm not really exaggerating, were asking me, do you want a wheelchair? Do you need a wheelchair? And I was like, no, I'm not crippled. Like let me, I need to walk. I need to keep moving, just stop asking me that. But it did take, we had to stop many times on the way to the maternity unit because I was having contractions. So they admitted me and the contractions were like really close together. I was about six centimeters dilated. I was really excited about it.
Lynn: And my daughter was still pretty high up and stationed, but other than that they were like this is great. And the, the doctor was on call cause it was a weekend. He made the mistake of saying we'll have a baby tonight. So I always say it was his fault, those famous words. So I was again really tired and I was trying to get some sleep and I honestly don't even remember this nurse's name. And this is not all nurses cause the next shift was amazing. But this one particular nurse, she kept coming in and flipping the lights on in the room and waking me up because I had the telemetry on, I had the wireless waterproof monitors. So she kept saying, your contractions are, like spreading out, we can't have that happen. And I just kept looking at and saying, but I'm just tired.
Lynn: Like I'm just so tired. And so all Sunday night it was just this back and forth, back and forth, and my, I could feel my anxiety going up. I can feel my stress going up. And so when the midwife came on shift on Monday morning, now around 8:30 she checked me and I was only seven centimeters. I had only gone one centimeter overnight. And I'm like,
Nicole: Oh, like over 12 hours.
Lynn: Yes. So I looked at her and she's, she was like, you look exhausted. You know, did you sleep at all last night? And I told her what had happened and she said, Oh no, Nope. That is not acceptable. She said, I'm turning lights off, you are getting in the bed and no one is coming in this room for a couple of hours, like you will close your eyes. And so I really think that made all the difference because I felt safer. I felt like she was listening to me and like, okay, I can go to sleep. And I literally closed my eyes and I slept for three hours straight even though the contractions were really, they were pretty close together. I just slept right through them cause I was so tired.
Lynn: So this is now like around noon time and the midwife comes in and she says, okay, you're nine centimeters just like you're almost there. And she asked if she could break my bag of water and I said, no, I feel really good. That nap really helped. Can we just wait like another hour or so and see where we're at? And she said, absolutely. So I was up, I was moving around, I was like, come on gravity. Let's do, let's do this. And after about an hour and a half, she came back in. I was still just nine centimeters, so she broke my bag of water and the couple of contractions after that were the only ones that I remember thinking to myself, this really hurts, like this is really painful. I don't know if I can do this. But after the first couple I was like, okay, this is just kind of the new normal and I was able to get on top of them and it didn't, I like I wasn't stressing out about it.
Nicole: Gotcha. Now who was there with you?
Lynn: Just my wife.
Nicole: Okay. And then did your mom and your aunt and your sister just hang out in the waiting room? The whole time?
Lynn: They all were in the waiting room, until about, I was told, until about 1:00 AM on, on Monday morning and then everybody got sent home cause they were like nothing.
Nicole: And then I forgot to ask, did you think about having a doula?
Lynn: We kind of did at the time, but we ended up not getting one. And I always think to myself like what differences could have been made because I really, and again this nurse that was there could have been the most wonderful person on the planet like, but...
Nicole: But she was rude turning on the lights every time she came in the room.
Lynn: Yes. So I always think like if we'd had a doula that advocated for us, like what, what wouldn't have happened because my wife just didn't feel, she's not confrontational so she wasn't, wasn't advocating. She was just like, Oh okay. The nurse said get up so let's get up. And so she was an incredible coach for the rest of the time. I seriously couldn't have done it without her like it was for sure a team effort. But that's the one part that I'm always like, hmm, that's everything. Just all the, and I know that it was, cause I was just anxious and stressed and not, not feeling heard. I wasn't feeling supported. I was feeling like no one cared what I was trying to tell them and I was just another number at that point. They were trying to make things go faster. So I feel like a doula could have really helped in that situation for sure. And I encourage people all the time to check out doulas because they don't replace your coach. Right? They're kind of like a third member. They fulfill the, the circle, right. They round out the team. So I am a huge advocate for doulas in general.
Nicole: Okay. Gotcha. So you were nine centimeters. She offered to break your water, you wanted to wait and then she did and the contractions went up in intensity.
Lynn: Yeah, they did only for a couple. And like I said, I was kind of like, okay, this is now the new normal. Okay. And then it took another couple hours before I was fully 10 centimeters dilated cause my daughter, she was still really high up so there wasn't like a ton of pressure from her head. So by the time she was low enough and I was feeling an urge to be pushing and I was fully dilated. It was five o'clock in the evening. So I started to push actively at five in the evening and I pushed for about two hours and my contractions were so spaced out in that stage that I was pretty much losing all of the progress in between the contractions that I had made during the contraction. So my midwife said we'd like to start a Pitocin drip to augment attractions, get them closer together.
Lynn: So instantly I was like, absolutely, cause I'm exhausted. Like I just, I just want this, I want her out. I want to be done. So they started the Pitocin drip and that was like around seven, seven 30, and it seems like a long time, but I pushed for another, two, two and a half hours after that and she was out. So it seems like that was a long time after the Pitocin, but really like there was nothing happening before. So she was born at 10:03 PM and I just like, she came out and I had a baby and then we were in new parent mode and it wasn't until the next morning when our nurse came back in and she said, we've been talking about you all morning because that was the longest labor we've ever seen and we clocked you in at 53 hours. And I was like, say what now? So I had no clue that it had, like I was just in the moment I wasn't keeping track or anything. But after that I was like, Oh my goodness, 53 hours. But then I was like 53 hours, excuse my french, but I'm a bad ass. Like I can do anything. I was amazed.
Nicole: That is very true. Now how did you like stay? So, okay, so like mentally you weren't, obviously you felt physically tired, but did you feel like, like how did you sort of like stay in the game during all that, that long time? Or was it just like a moment to moment thing?
Lynn: Yeah, because I just kept telling myself, okay, we're just going to focus on this next contraction. Like I'm not going anywhere else except this next contraction. And I also went into, I knew all of my options for like medicinal pain management. My goal was to be unmedicated, but I was like, I'm not going to be a martyr. Like it's really painful. I want to enjoy the experience. So nothing was off the table for me. So I would kind of check in with myself for each contraction, say, okay, at the end of it, can I do another one of those? And my answer was always yes, but I had told myself ahead of time if I ever answer no, then that'll ask for help. So it was just like this moment to moment. I just took things one contraction at a time and that was really all like, I didn't really think about anything else.
Lynn: I had a playlist. Music is really, we're a very musical family. So I just like if I started to feel really stressed I would put on certain songs or if I was starting to like lose my Gusto I would put on like, you know, like a song like happy on like a song like that and I started dancing a little bit and like get myself energized again and so it really was just moment to moment. That's why I was so surprised when the nurse came in the next morning cause I was like, I feel like it was just a couple of hours. I just was thinking about it in those terms.
Nicole: Wow. Now I just, that's just a really long time. But it is something that I hear commonly for women who do an unmedicated birth who are successful with it is that you take it moment by moment and then you don't realize how long or how much time it takes. Yeah.
Lynn: There really is no concept like, like zero.
Nicole: Right, right, right. Now, do you feel like, do you remember whether or not the contractions with the Pitocin felt different or stronger? I think contractions on Pitocin are a little bit, feel a little bit more intense. But I'm curious what you think?
Lynn: Yeah, I definitely remember them being more intense. And I remember, when I was pushing before they gave the Pitocin, I could feel the contraction building. Like, you know how it kinda like you start building up to that peak. I could feel that process. Right after the Pitocin, I remember this, that they just kinda came, like I didn't have as much of a warning that they, like it just went from like zero to 100. And so before the pitocin, I would do my, you know, breaths, like I'd breathe in and breathe out, and then I would get myself ready. But the Pitocin contractions I'd be like, Oh my gosh, it's here. I have just feeling, okay, here we go. But it wasn't like it didn't hurt more, if that makes sense. It just felt more intense for me because I didn't have that time to work up to it and just was like, here it is. Here we go.
Nicole: Okay. Okay. Okay. And then I presume they did skin to skin and delay core clamping?
Lynn: Yes. At the time, which this is only six years ago, so this tells us how far things have come. Right. But, at the time our hospital did not do skin to skin as standard protocol, so I had to really advocate for that and we had to really push for them to delay the clamping of the cord. They were like, no, we don't do that here. I was like, but you can. There's no reason you can't.
Nicole: Right. And even the midwife didn't either?
Lynn: Yeah. She, that just wasn't, that wasn't their protocol at the time. She was the one that, that was another one of the things that she was like, yeah, there's no, there's no reason we can't. We just don't usually, and then the OB came back and said, we don't do that. I was like, well, you're going to do it this time. We've already talked about it and you can. But now those same, that same team at the same hospital, because I see my midwife that was with me when I gave birth to my daughter. She's now my gynecologist. And so we talk about this stuff all the time. And um, she's always like, you wouldn't believe how fast things have changed. Like this is the standard now. This is standard now. This is, you know, and people don't have to fight for it anymore. So that makes me happy.
Nicole: Yeah. That's awesome. So overall, do you feel like you were happy with your experience? It sounds like it.
Lynn: Yeah, absolutely. I tried really hard not to have expectations going in. My goal was to have a really empowering experience that would allow me to trust myself and my instincts as a parent. That was really important to me, that I could listen to my body and listen to what my instincts were telling me during the birth process. So that as a parent, I knew that if I listened to my instincts, that that was the right course. And that's exactly what happened for me. You know, we didn't have a completely intervention free birth, but at each step we did what felt as the right choice for us in that moment. And so I don't really, I don't regret anything that happened. The only thing that I might go back and change again was that overnight where the nurse kept waking me up, like have a doula present, tell my wife to get her big confrontational pants on or like, I don't know.
Nicole: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lynn: Everything else. It just, I was great during the whole thing, like I was healthy and we didn't have any medical complications. My daughter didn't have any issues with, with stress, like her heart rate was great the whole time. The medical team was beyond supportive. That nurse and the midwife that started their shift at 8:30 that morning, they stayed over there shift to, to be there when my daughter was born at 10. Like, it just was, I felt so supported and just like I was like my extended family was there in the room because they, we just had that rapport throughout the process.
Nicole: That second nurse was just much better in terms of support?
Lynn: Yes, absolutely. We still have coffee. I keep in touch with her. Like really truly that made the whole difference for me was having her there and the fact that she was hearing me and you know, letting, letting me not letting me do what I wanted to do in terms of like you are running the show, but hearing what my feelings were, what my concerns were and saying, okay, what if we do this or this and then helping us figure out that decision.
Nicole: So exactly. Yeah. There is nothing in this world like a good labor nurse. It can make all the difference in the experience and I think people don't necessarily appreciate how important the labor nurses role is because she's the one who's there actually most of the time.
Lynn: Yeah, for sure. It made a huge difference for me. I can't even, I don't even want to think about. If she had been the one during the day and like when my daughter was born, I can't even imagine. It would have been completely different because I wouldn't have felt safe and supported. I would have been on edge and feeling anxious and I have no idea how it would have turned out.
Nicole: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Feeling safe, feeling supported are just so important. Your body works so much better with the process of labor if you're feeling safe and supported in the in the moment.
Lynn: Yeah. I feel like it's so important and I thought that's just how it went. Like, Oh, this is what everybody experiences and I such an incredible birth experience that I moved on. I never went back to my job as a Marine mammal trainer. I actually became a childbirth educator because of that, because the experience I had and my eyes were opened big time because I realized how lucky I was because it is not the norm. Like I was the exception and that that made me really sad to be honest.
Nicole: For sure.
Lynn: So I try as much as I can to to share my story without being judgemental because you know everyone's gonna have different choices and preferences and you know, I don't do well in hospital, but another mom maybe would be freaking out at home and wants all the bells and whistles and machines to be present. So everyone is going to be different and I just really try to make sure that moms know that they, they have the power but you know, it's their experience, their decisions and do what I can because I don't want to be the exception anymore. I want what I experience to be the rule and not the exception.
Lynn: Awesome. Awesome. I love that. I love that. Now if you had to pick like your top couple things that you learned during your pregnancy and your birth that you'd like to share, what would those be? I think it's really cool how it, it totally transformed like your, your birth transformed, like your whole life.
Lynn: Yeah, it really did. It really did. I think number one and the pregnancy part, my mentality was I am not sick, I'm pregnant. Like I don't need to like obviously I'm not going to go horseback riding activities. I don't need to, you know, be a blob on the couch. If I'm tired then I'm going to sit. But I don't need to force myself to do anything specific. I'm going to stay active, I'm going to keep doing the things that make me happy and feel good. And so I just had that, I'm not sick, I'm pregnant and I'm preparing for a marathon. And those two things made such a huge difference. So I feel like when you're pregnant sometimes people treat you like you're sick, right? So like as the mom, if you cannot follow that lead and not think of yourself in that way, I feel like that would be a huge make a huge difference. I agree. And then during the labor, I think the biggest lesson, and this kind of just goes with life in general for me now honestly, is to just take it one contraction at a time. Like, take it one moment at a time, one day at a time, especially some days in parenting, wooo.
Lynn: Just having that mentality of, you know, one breakfast at a time, like where do you get through breakfast? And then we'll see how we are with that. Then just get through lunch. So just not projecting so far out into the future, just being in the moment and can I handle what's happening right now?
Nicole: Right, right.
Lynn: Those are probably the two biggest takeaways.
Nicole: Those are, those are great, great things to, to keep in mind and for women to know. Now, are there any other resources that you'd like to share that you've come across that you've found helpful even during, either during your pregnancy or since you've now become a childbirth educator?
Lynn: Yeah. I love the spinning babies website. I did not have the opportunity to use it when I was pregnant, but, I feel like I don't send people there and say, hey, try this at home kind of thing. But I feel like there's so much really great information on that website and conversation starters because I feel like everything's so behind closed doors with labor and birth. We just have this vision of what it's like in the movies and which is not at all realistic. So people were like, Oh, I'm going to be on the bed, hooked up to, you know, a million machines and I'm gonna pull my knees up to my ears. And that's how you give birth. And so I feel like the spinning babies site just gives you so many different perspectives and alternatives and you know, just different things to do.
Lynn: So I really liked that resource. And just in general, a childbirth class I feel like is probably the best resource. And I'm always like, cause I work at a hospital, I teach at a hospital, but I also have an online course that I had created. So I'm always like, I don't care if you're doing it with me, but do it with somebody. Just do it with somebody because you don't know what you don't know. And the more you understand what's normal and what you can expect and um, you know, what options might come at you, the more tools that you have, all of that equals less anxiety and most likely a labor that's going to progress better and an experience that's going to feel better. I feel like the biggest resource just in general is taking a class regardless of where you take it.
Nicole: Yeah, I agree. For sure. There are lots of different options. Obviously, you know, I have an option if you have an enough, you have to find what works best for you. You're going to click with different people and styles and all that kind of stuff. But for sure just find a childbirth education class please.
Lynn: Yes. Yes. I read a statistic last year that it said like only 20 or 25% of new parents take a class. And I was like, this is crazy. Like people buying a new car do more than they research having a baby.
Nicole: True. Yeah. Yeah. And then in the system that folks are giving birth in really a childbirth education class is key.
Lynn: Yeah, I totally agree. So that's one of the reasons that I really was drawn, I found you on Instagram, but I was just drawn to your account because the content you're posting and the words, it was like you're in my head. I'm just on the same page about especially that like it doesn't matter how your baby comes into the world. What matters is that you feel supported and you feel safe and you feel like you had like that you are the one that was in the driver's seat and things weren't done to you. Right? Like all that kind of stuff. I feel like we're in alignment.
Nicole: Absolutely. And along those lines, why don't you tell us where folks can find you? Because we need to connect and work together and guys, you can reach out and find different people who have, of course, those supportive messages. I don't think women can hear that enough during pregnancy. So tell us where women can connect with you and some of the things that you're working on.
Lynn: Absolutely. My services have kind of morphed as my child has grown, so I still have that online childbirth course, um, but is actually now part of a membership community that I have. So I now do parent coaching. Like it just keeps changing us and I get it. But everything, all the information about me, how to work with me, um, other resources can be found on my website, which is www.happymamawellness.com and I'm constantly updating that with new stuff. So that's, that's the best place to go.
Nicole: Okay, awesome. And we'll link to that in the show notes. Well thank you so much Lynn, for agreeing to come onto the podcast and share your story. You have such lovely energy and I'm really glad that you came on
Lynn: Me too. This was wonderful and I love sharing my story, so thank you for the opportunity.
All right. Wasn't that great? I really love Lynn's energy and her passion. Now, one thing I asked her after we finished recording that I forgot to ask while we were recording is did she get pressured to get pain medication or an epidural? And the truth is, she did say that she got asked a lot whether or not she wanted medication or an epidural. And she said actually her wife was really helpful in this regard and being kind of like a gatekeeper to keep that pressure off so she didn't feel like she had to get it. So that was one thing I wanted to mention that I forgot to ask during the episode.
All right, now you know after every episode I do something called Nicole's notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the episode. So here are my notes from my conversation with Lynn. All right. Number one, think about having a doula to advocate for you. Lynn mentioned how things maybe would have been a little bit different if she had a doula who could have advocated for her, especially she talked about around that instance of having the nurse who can't turn it on the lights in the room. And I think that's a great example of where a doula can either speak up for you, or sometimes that can be a little tricky cause maybe it puts doulas in a little bit of an uncomfortable situation like where they're talking to the hospital staff. Not all doulas feel as comfortable doing that, but a more experienced doula will or they can also just say like when you know, when it's a quiet moment in the room, say hey, you know, next time she comes in maybe you can say or ask your partner to say, do you mind that turning on the lights when you come in? So kind of giving you that language to help you or your partners speak up. So again, having a doula to advocate for you, whether they speak on your behalf or whether they help give you the language to speak up as well.
All right. Number two, Lynn talked about the importance of feeling safe and supported during your labor. This is so important y'all. This is very important. Your labor goes so much better. It's smoother, you know, I would even say easier. If you feel like you are safe and supported, when there is fear or mistrust surrounding your labor, your body just does not work as well. The process does not go the same so it's really important that you feel safe and supported during your labor.
Now a really important part of doing that is point number three that I'm going to talk about and that Lynn mentioned as well and that is getting prepared for your birth. You definitely need to take some time and educate yourself before your birth. There are lots of options out there. Lynn said she did the Bradley method. There are lots of options out there and you have to find which option works best for you, but you definitely need to do some type of childbirth education. Of course, I have my signature program, The Birth Preparation Course, but again, like I said, there are other options that work for folks and you just have to do a little bit of research, but please, please take the time to invest in some good comprehensive child birth education. That is the best way in order to have that great energy surrounding your birth to feel safe, to feel supported, to feel empowered going into your birth so I cannot stress that enough.
All right, so that is it for this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple podcast or Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts and if you feel so inclined I would love it if you leave that review for me, especially in Apple podcasts that helps other women find the show. It helps the show to grow and like I said, I love giving listeners shout outs, so leave that review for me an Apple podcast. If you don't mind, I would be most most appreciative. Now next week on the podcast, I am going to do an overview of all the tests that are done during pregnancy and why each of those tests are done. This came from a question that somebody posted in my Facebook group community. As a matter of fact, if you're not part of that group, you should join it. It's the All About Pregnancy and Birth Community on Facebook. I can link to it in the show notes and what I'm gonna do in the episode is talk about all the tests that are done. I've created a handy guide that you can download as well, so you can have that information handy for you. So be sure to come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.
Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan as well as my comprehensive online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course with over eight hours of content and a private course community. The Birth Preparation Course will leave you knowledgeable, prepared, confident and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.