TRANSCRIPT EPISODE 8 – All About Pregnancy & Birth With Dr. Nicole C. Rankins

Transcript episode #8: 
birth stories - 3 babies in 4 years using hypnobirthing with dr. charmainE Gregory 


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Nicole: Today is a birth story episode and boy oh boy, do I have some birth stories for you. We talk about miscarriage, followed by three babies in four years, all born using hypnobirthing and that is just the beginning of what we discuss.

Nicole: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins a board certified Ob Gyn physician and certified integrative health coach. Every week I break down topics, share birth stories or interview experts to help you have your very best pregnancy and birth. Quick note, the information is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at

Nicole: Hey you, I'm so glad that you are here because this is a great conversation today on the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I am talking with Doctor Charmaine Gregory about her birth stories. Charmaine is a speaker, author, physician coach, burn out thriver, podcaster, night shift emergency medicine physician and wellness champion. Her stint with physician burnout really propelled the manifestation of resilience and strength in her life and that fuels her commitment to wellness in the form of exercise, mindset coaching and self care. Charmaine speaks nationally on the topics of burnout, wellness, night shift life, work life integration and fitness. She's the author of two books, The Chronicles of Women in White Coats and Thinking About Quitting Medicine Volume 2. She has a personal podcast, Fearless Freedom with Doctor G, and hosts the Women in White Coats podcast. Now today Charmaine is here talking about her experiences giving birth.

Nicole: We have a great conversation and you are going to learn a ton from her experiences. She definitely has what you would call unique and not necessarily typical birth experiences, especially for a physician, but there is just lots of great information here, lessons to be learned as well as some awesome encouragement. Now before we get to the show, I want to do a quick listener shout out. This is a shout out to Stephanie RN, that's Stephanie comma RN, so I presume she's a nurse. Stephanie left me my very first of what are now several reviews in iTunes and she left this in early January. And Stephanie says, Doctor Rankin's is very knowledgeable and breaks things down to where they are understandable, and not so scary. I recommend this podcast to others who may want to learn more about pregnancy, birth and beyond. Thank you so much for that review, Stephanie, and for being the first brave soul to leave me a review. Now, I would love to give you a shout out on the podcast too. So head to Itunes, leave me a review and then I can give you a shoutout on a future episode. All right. Without further ado, let's get to the conversation with a doctor Charmaine Gregory.

Nicole: So, hey Charmaine, thank you so much for being here today.

Charmaine: Thank you for having me. I'm super excited.

Nicole: Yeah. Now I mentioned in the introduction that you're an emergency medicine physician as well as other things, a speaker, an author, a podcast host, a coach. But today you are here to really talk about your personal experience, not so much as a physician, but as a woman who has given birth. So why don't you start by telling us a little bit about you and your family.

Charmaine: Okay. So we are now a family of five. And I married the man that I met when I was in college, but didn't realize that we were a match until I was in residency. So there was a big gap there. So we got married, I was 30, so I got done with residency and then got married and started a new job all in the space of a couple of weeks. It was a whirlwind and, you know, we kind of had in the back of our minds that, you know, we were starting a little bit later then lots of colleagues, people that we'd gone to college with as far as a family. And so we wanted to kind of enjoy our, you know, each other for a couple of years. So we did that. We tried to have babies, and the first go of it was a little bit interesting because I had a very irregular menstrual cycle, like essentially from the very beginning. I mean, I would literally have a period like once every 70 days or 80 days or it was just like all over the map and I just wasn't sure if having children would even be a possibility.

Charmaine: So I kind of told my husband beforehand, I was like, look, you know, there's no guarantee. I don’t know. So we tried and we did the whole one year thing and then we talked with our Ob and he suggested that we try some stimulants. So I tried Clomid and the first couple of rounds, it didn't really work and then we finally got pregnant, only to sadly lose the baby on Mother's Day.

Nicole: Oh, that sucks.

Charmaine: It was pretty terrible. It was awful. But the positive side of that was that we were now aware that my body could become pregnant and that was the positive side of that situation. So then the first child, shortly after that miscarriage, we were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and then that's when our son was born. And he's now 10. So, you know, it's been a really cool experience just kind of watching him grow and all that. And then I subsequently had three children in four years, so I was literally like pregnant, nurse, pregnant, gave birth, nurse, pregnant, gave birth. That was just like, all right, if I don't get it done before 40, we're probably not going to do this. So he wanted four. I wanted none, but settled on one and then we ended up with three.

Nicole: So you went from, can I get pregnant to miscarriage to pregnant, deliver, pregnant, deliver, pregnant, deliver, pretty quickly. Yes. That is quite a whirlwind.

Charmaine: Yeah. In the middle of like being a new attending and trying to do all the things there are and trying to get involved in academic medicine. So it was a lot happening.

Nicole: Yeah, I bet. I bet. For sure. So now you have three children. Tell us a little bit about each one of your births.

Charmaine: Okay, so the first one, so which is my son, the 10 year old who is very rambunctious by the way, but we love him to death. So the pregnancy went fine. Like I was literally like taken aback by it because I kept on hearing all these stories of, you know, how horrible pregnancy can be and all these things.

Nicole: And how old were you?

Charmaine: So I was like 33, I had a beautiful pregnancy. I didn't really have morning sickness. I mean it was like a dream. And so, I'm very type A in that regard. Like in certain things, not everything got some kind of laid back at work, cause I have to be, you know, you have to have a cool head and emergent situations.

Charmaine: But throughout the pregnancy I was like looking at all this stuff and I was researching everything and I was determined. I was like, I am not. Because I had a really good friend, and I know this is an anecdotal story, but I had a really good friend and my best friend, I was there for the birth of her second child and she had gotten an epidural and it didn't work. And so I saw kind of what she went through and I was just like, wow, I didn't think these things didn't work. Like, you know what I mean? People talk about all the time and they usually work the majority of time, but in her case it didn't work. And that was just kinda like, hmm, it didn't work. And then after she was done giving birth, feeling everything, she still couldn't walk. I was like, oh no, that's not going to be me. So I made a decision at that point that I was not going to have any drugs for the delivery. And so then I started researching ways in which I could accomplish this and I came across hypnosis.

Nicole:Oh you got to tell us all about this hypnosis for birthday. I know our listeners are going to be very interested in hearing about this.

Charmaine: Oh yeah. And so it kind of drove my husband a little crazy though, but he came on board it in. So there's a program called Hypno Babies and apparently it is one that can be done as a  live program, but none of the live programs were anywhere near me. And so I said, oh my gosh, this is, this is not good. What am I going to do? So then I found out they had a home study program. So I ordered it and I started doing it and I started listening to the mp3s and you know, really going through all of them, into exercises and the mindfulness that goes along with it. And I just did that. I did the program like all the way through. I think I started maybe like the second trimester and I did it all the way through to the end. I had my birth plan all set.

Nicole: How long did it take you to go through the program?

Charmaine: So it's a six week program. But I did it like a couple times in there. I was able to kind of get through it a couple times because it's, it's self paced so you can kind of like a do it however you know, as you're getting it and you could move to the next thing and then you can go back and review and then they have specific ones that you, um, specific mantras that you say every day and specific monsters that are going to help you during the actual active labor process.

Nicole: So you got through that, got your birth plan?

Charmaine: Yeah, I got my birth plan out together, and I'm one of those patients who are like, don't check me. I don't want to be checked, you know, I don't want my cervix checked.

Nicole: This is so interesting. You know, I think people have this perception that physicians, you know, we're really, really into medical intervention unnecessarily. And it sounds like you're describing something not quite like that.

Charmaine: Yes, you're right. But I was crazy. And so you know, my doctor, I was like I'm like close to the advanced maternal age right at 33. Right. So then,he's like saying, well, you're not quite there yet, but you know we need to think about these things. I was like, look, this is all I want. I want you guys to do the 20 week ultrasound. Does the baby have four chambers of the heart, does the baby have like hydrocephalus? Is the baby needing any kind of surgery immediately after birth or did do I need to deliver at a specialty hospital? Like that was all I cared about. I was like, okay, no? Great, we're good. You know, I come, you get my pee, but nobody is putting the gloves on my cervix.

Charmaine: He thinks I'm crazy, but we know each other socially too. So he does, he knows like my deal. And so everything goes well. So to my due date now when I'm in labor. I'm timing it and I'm like, okay, these are getting on the close side. Now my husband's like, are you sure you're in labor? I was like, dude, I never done this before, but I'm pretty sure that I'm in labor. So he was like, all right, you know, how close are they? And I told him, I was like, I don't think we're a go just yet. So he decides he's going to go golfing. I'm like, all right, if you're going to go golfing, I'm going to go stopping. Okay. So I get in my car and I go to Target and I'm like in Target and like pushing the cart and then it's like a little contraction and I stop, I breathe through it.Cause there are a lot of breathing exercises that go along with the hypnosis program. So I'm doing that and then I'm shopping or whatever and I get home and you know, we, we do everything in the evening, going to go to bed. And so I'm in bed and then I feel the wetness and I'm like tapping him on the shoulder because he’s asleep and tap him on the shoulder. And I'm like, dude, I think my water broke. And he's like, you're sure it broke? I was like, dude, I have never done this before, again, but I'm pretty sure I didn't pee on myself. So if it's got to be amniotic fluid, right? So he goes, okay, fine. So he reaches over, put his hand in it, and he's like, oh goodness.

Charmaine: So I'm like, all right, my bag is already packed at this point. And I have like, you know, I had my cute little pink pajamas, you know, for afterwards and everything and all the stuff that’s in my little hospital bag. And so I'm like, well, I'm not going to go there all stinky. I'm going to go take a shower. So I go and I take a shower and I'm like, taking my time. And you know, this is, thankfully this is in the middle of the summer. So it wasn't that like there was an issue of like bad roads or anything. Cause we get pretty nasty winter storms and sometimes the roads can be pretty bad. So, we get to the hospital and they're like, oh, it's your first baby, it’s going to be a while. And that was like, my water already broke. It's not going to be awhile, but nobody believed me. So I'm like, okay, whatever. So then, they're like, do you want anything for pain?Do you want an epidural? I was like, no, I don't. I was like, you could put an IV in and give me some fluids and I should be good. And so my husband was trained to be the coach. So he got the music going and in the end a different mantra is going and we're going through through it and everything and I was getting into a zone and the contractions are coming closer and closer. And then, it was time. I was like, guys, I think maybe he's coming. And they were like, ah, no, because it hadn't been that long.

Charmaine: By the time I got to the hospital, it might have been like two o'clock in the morning or something. And you know, I was starting to feel like this is eminent probably a few hours later. And so they were just kind of like, no. I'm like, all right, well, I'm getting up. So I get up and I'm like moving around and everything. And then I laid back on the bed and I'm like, I really do think this kid is coming. And so they take a look and of course he is crowning.

Nicole: Oh my goodness.

Charmaine: Then he got kind of stuck on my coccyx. And so, but anyway, he came out, he was fine. He had a big hematoma on the back of his head. And yeah, I did it without any drugs. And it was fine. I was able to get up right afterwards and go take a bath, take a little shower. I was able to walk around the room and hold him and hang out with him. So it was a very beautiful birth experience. It was safe. It wasn't pain free. You know, it's never going to be pain free, but it allows you to have your mind go somewhere else during those, you know, two minutes or whatever it is that you really feel that intensity.

Nicole: Yeah. So you felt like the hypnosis really helped you?

Charmaine: Yes, yes, yes. I did feel that way, so much so that I used it for all the other ones too..

Nicole: Okay. And then in the end, we'll talk about how it helped you through your other two deliveries. I'm curious, how did the hospital staff respond to you saying I'm going to use hypnosis, or did you even bring it up?

Charmaine: Oh, I told them, this is what I'm doing. My money's green and this is what I'm doing. I'm sure they probably went to the nurse's station and was like that crazy Dr. Gregory is like, you know, she's in there trying to wing it with her hypnosis. I didn't care. I don't care.

Nicole: Yeah. So in the moment you felt like you just went contraction to contraction, even though it was painful, you were able to deal with it?

Charmaine: Yes. Yes. I definitely did, and I don't know because I've only experienced it in this body, I don't know like what it is like for other women in labor. So perhaps my pain threshold might be different. But I do believe overall even, and I even talk about, I know this sounds kind of strange, but I do talk to my patients when I am able to, when they’re not in a crisis, I talk to them about the power of their mind. Like, you know, whenever I have a patient that is acutely ill and you know, their mindset is starting to dip into the negative, I really try to like go the extra mile to talk with them, hold their hand, encourage them, give them some words of encouragement because I feel like the mind is extremely powerful. How you physically are is a lot to do with your mind. And so it didn't surprise me that I was able to utilize mindfulness to control my pain.

Nicole: Right, right, right. And I agree 100%. The mind is very important, very powerful.

Charmaine: And no one's saying that, you know, you can cure or fix everything just using your mind necessarily, but it certainly plays a huge role and it definitely doesn't hurt. And it also can help you feel more calm and in control of a situation for sure. Cause you have control over your mind. Nobody else does.

Nicole: That's right. That's right. Yeah. So what were your other two births like with hypnosis?

Charmaine: So the second, I was advanced maternal age when she was born.

Nicole: Yeah. And I guess that you weren't really feeling that label too much?

Charmaine: No, I wasn't. I was like, why you gotta put that on the freaking chart. Right. Can I say that? You know, it was just like, are you kidding me? Like I just don't get it. But, you know, then of course the offerings of all of the testing and I was like, I'm not going to get those tests because if the test shows me something, I'm not going to be terminating the pregnancy. So what was the point of getting the test? So they knew that was the one thing that I didn't want any of the tests. I just all out, like I said the same thing again, check in my urine and make sure I'm not going into like Preeclampsia or anything like that.

Charmaine: So I was pretty fit and I worked out during all of these pregnancies. So the second one I did a lot of yoga because I had really bad sciatica with that pregnancy. And so I did a lot of yoga and that really helped. And of course I was working, I pretty much worked like right up until. I'll tell you about the third one, because the third one it was, it was kind of ridiculous with that one. But the second one, everything was smooth, a good pregnancy again, so definitely feel incredibly blessed. Then at her birth, she was the one that almost fell on the floor. So they basically said again, your labor is too short for a first time mom.

Charmaine: And I was like, okay, whatever. And the second time they were like, oh, you know, you couldn't be ready right now. So, she's born in the winter. The last two were born in January. So, it was kind of rough getting to the hospital. My water didn't break for her. It was kind of rough getting to the hospital because the roads are bad. So, you know, it took a while and of course, you know, it's like your bumper to bumper driving over the snow and that's not comfortable, even though I was sitting on my pillow, I had a body pillow with me.So, you know, there was that kind of feeling like I was going through contractions when I wasn't, because the ride and the snow, even though the hospital's not that far from my house.

Charmaine: I was like, oh my gosh, I hope we don't have to deliver this kid in the car, you know. And so there was all that angst. So the hypnosis helped me to kind of calm down during that and helped my husband too, because he's not medical. He's a computational chemist, so he's like, ah, okay, what is this? I don't want to look when it was happening and kind of you didn't want to look and see. And so we got to the hospital with her and you know, she was just like, she was crowning but the bag was still intact and my water never broke. So they’re like, all right, well we'll break the water. And I was like, all right, fine. They broke the water night.

Charmaine: Literally two minutes later she was like ready to come out. I was squatting or something, I was in some kind of weird position to kind of help gravity to get her out. So they're like, you know, getting all gowned up and everything and I'm like, I can't hold this baby in. And I did a push and another push and then I pushed again and then she flew out and I was like, oh my God. I mean, they were there, but they were like, still like getting ready. They were like two pushes, right? Goodness. This nurse was like a gem. She caught her by her leg. She fell on the floor.

Nicole: Oh my gosh.

Charmaine: Yeah, I know. I know. So to this day we call her the surfing baby, because she surfed on the water when it broke and she rode the water right on out of there. She's a fiery one too. So that was the second one.

Nicole: And did you have a physician for your care during that pregnancy as well?

Charmaine: I did, yeah, I did. I wanted to do hypnosis, but I didn't want to deliver at home. I just wanted to deliver at the hospital. It wasn’t anticipated there  would be at complications, but I just wanted to do that just in case. And you just never know. I know that people deliver at home all the time. No problem. Like my mom and my uncle were delivered at home, but they didn't have a choice there.

Nicole: Right, right, right.

Charmaine: I didn't mention that my son, I mean everything was fine, but he did have to go to the Nicu just for a procedure. So he had some blood and it was like basically, he coughed up some blood and so they scoped him. And it turns out that it was just blood from the birth. And you know, there's a little bit of trauma there, like I said, cause he got stuck on my coccyx.

Nicole: Gotcha. And for the listeners, scope just means they just looked down with a camera.

Charmaine: And then, the daughter, the second child now she was jaundice. So you know we ended up having to be admitted to the hospital while she sat under the bili lights there.

Nicole: Okay.

Charmaine: But no sleep for mom because she kept us squirming.

Nicole: And the first you shoot out and then second has jaundice.

Charmaine: Right. And then the third one, okay, so this third one now, oh man. It's amazing how each kid is so individual and amazing. So this one. So I was like, now I'm even older, right? So I'm like, alright, I am determined to make this be the most awesome pregnancy ever because I don't want anybody telling me that because I'm advanced maternal age that I can't have a great pregnancy and a great delivery. So of course, you know, I took my exercising to like, the next level. I actually ran a 5K at 27 weeks.

Nicole: Wow.

Charmaine: Which I know is crazy, but I was doing that and I was lifting, I was doing like a body pump, which is like a whole body weight based exercise program. I was doing that, I was doing my yoga and I was working out, like a lot. So much so that I literally worked out, the week that I delivered her.

Nicole: Wow.

Charmane: And then her story is kind of funny because when I had my children, there was no paid maternity leave. Like, you are guaranteed 12 weeks that your job will be kept for you, but you weren't paid anything during that time. So it was a huge, huge decision to have children because that was three months without pay and I did it kind of consecutively. So each time, we took a big hit. So I am working up to that very last day because I want this baby to come and I literally put it out there.

Charmaine: I was like, I want the baby to come on my last day of work, because I want to have the full time with her. Because the other two were off by maybe like a week or a few days and that kind of felt like I was cheated that time.

Nicole: Gotcha.

Charmaine: So this one, she was like, okay mom, I got you. So I went to work that night. And again, it was winter. I don't know why I decided to have winter babies twice. So it was winter. So I got to work. I was at work and I was literally in labor at work. I was like talking to the patient, and I'm like, excuse me. I step outside, breathe, breathe, come back inside. I'm sorry, what were you saying? Right. My poor clerk was like at her wit's end because she's an older lady and she was like, oh my God, that's it. I can't believe that you're like in labor. Like what are we going to do? How many, how far are part are the contractions? She, like all of the nurses, are all in. They were like, what can I do for you? And so then finally the shift ends at 7:30 and I was like, man, these are getting closer and closer. I probably should go upstairs. I go upstairs and first of all they were like, no, let's take you in a wheelchair. I'm like, why? I've been walking the whole shift, right? I can walk. I got this. I'm not disabled.

Charmaine: Yeah. So I go in the chair and I'm like, yeah, I'm about to have this baby, you know? And so they're like, you know, okay. So they're still not thinking anything's going to happen anytime soon. So all right, no problem. They get me settled in and in the room and my doc, the last two babies were not delivered by my ob. They were delivered by partners in his practice. Right. Okay. And every time I'm like, dude, you gotta deliver at least one of my babies, you're my Ob. And I always joke about it. So I was like, okay, this one you are definitely going to deliver. And he was like, yeah, I'm on tonight which is great, it's perfect timing. The contractions were super quick. And then I said, you know the water hadn't broken again, just like the last baby. And so he was like, do you want me to break the bag? And I was like, yeah, sure, that sounds great.

Charmaine: And I’m like, dude, don’t go too far because I sort of feel the baby's coming soon. So he says, I know, we'll keep an eye out. Hmm. Okay. So I'm like, all right, this is how I felt just before the other two were about to come. And my husband's like, what? Really? And so he gets on the, gets on the patient intercom. And he tells them that the baby's coming and they need to come in and you would think my doctor would come in at this time, right? It's the nurse who comes to check and see the situation, you know, like figuring out what's happening first. And so I'm like, all right, well you could be over there gloving up, but I'm going to let you know that I feel like I'm going to push. And when I push, usually babies come out. So she was there putting her gloves on. I was like, okay, I can’t hold the baby anymore. And I pushed and the baby came right out onto the bed.

Nicole: Oh, Lord have mercy!

Charmaine: I was in my squat position. I got up on the top of the bed cause I knew what was going to happen, right?  Like I was upset and I had my hand on the handles and I pushed. And then out she came. My husband was like, oh my God, how bad,I was like, I really didn't need to see that. I really, didn’t need to see that.

Nicole: Now, there’s one thing I know, I'm going to listen to a woman who doesn't have an epidural. She's done this a couple of times before. If she says her baby's coming then her baby's coming.

Charmaine: Yeah. I mean I don't think they disbelieve me, but I think they just didn't think it would happen that fast. And then she was like, oh, the baby’s out. I was like, yeah, of course. Everybody's like rushing in at that point. And I'm like, I was kind of laying there, right? Yeah. I basically I was joking with them. I was like, so do I get a refund now? Cause you guys didn’t do anything, like she delivered herself. And she was the one kid that didn't have anything after, she went home with us right away. But yeah, those were the three birth stories.

Nicole: So you have had quite the interesting range of showing that things can be similar. So each one you did hypnosis, each one things were pretty quick, but also things were a little bit different. Like your water didn't break. Like it did the first time. And each one needed different things afterwards. This is something that I try to stress that each pregnancy and each birth is a different experience. So you can't necessarily say that one thing that happens one time, it's going to happen the next time.

Charmaine: Right, right. I mean it's almost the way I look at it as like the pregnancies, the birth and the children are always going to be different. They're not going to be like in any way. Really.

Nicole: That is a very good way to put it. For sure. Very different people.

Charmaine: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Nicole: That's a good point. Cause I think, I think, and no, don't get me wrong, I think it's great to learn from the stories of other women because you know the ranges of what to expect. That's why I feature women telling their stories on the show. But that's an excellent point. You don't expect that your children are all going to be the same, so you certainly can't expect that each pregnancy in each birth are going to be the same. So looking back, would you recommend hypnosis for women? Would you say that it was a great thing for you?

Charmaine: Yes. Yes. I definitely think it was. It was phenomenal. It was phenomenal. I will say though, the caveat being what I mentioned before, you know you have to be all in because it doesn't work if you're not right. Like like everything else, like if you're doing, if you're doing mindful practice you have to be all in on the mindful practice and you have to be consistent with it. If you're not then it won't work.

Nicole: Gotcha. That makes a lot of sense. Makes perfect sense. And then were there any other resources that you found helpful during your pregnancy other than the, and you used Hypno Babies, right?

Charmaine: I did. Yeah.

Nicole: Any other books or resources or anything else that you found useful?

Charmaine: I was an avid reader of Fit Pregnancy so that magazine, Fit Pregnancy was the one that I read a lot cause I was kind of nervous about all the things I was doing activity wise and I just wanted to make sure you know, and I cleared that with my doctor first.

Nicole: Of course. That was what I was going to ask. And you should, women, I will say it for those listening, you should continue to exercise and work out during your pregnancy. You may have to modify it a little bit, but it's perfectly fine to keep doing it.

Charmaine: Oh yeah. But what I would say is, you know, I wouldn't be somebody who doesn't work out regularly and then all of a sudden start doing strenuous exercise when you're pregnant. But if you've been running, like I have a colleague, she has three kids also, and I mean she runs marathons and she did them when she was pregnant too. You know, so it's like you just wear a belly band to support your belly. Or you know, you'd just do certain things, but you can still do your usual activities. So I guess this is one thing that I will say though that I regret about the working out and it's the way that the did pushups. Like I really shouldn't have done the pushups the way that I did because it weakened my abdominal rectus muscles.

Charmaine: And so I have a little bit of a diastasis rectus as a consequence. So I have like a, a hernia in the front, like in the middle. And so what I should have done was I should have done my pushups, not like standard pushups, which is how I was doing them. And I probably shouldn't have done as many planks as I did. I should have really done things on the incline or against the wall. Because I think that that wasn't helping me, right. Because I mean, afterwards I had to work on it, and I'm still working on it. This is seven years later, I'm still working on my abs as a consequence when, you know, I could have avoided that. Okay. So that's the one thing that I would caution people, you know, is just to make sure you do the exercises in the appropriate manner for someone that has a uterus sticking through.

Nicole: Right, right. So just to wrap up, what is one thing, the one thing that you would tell other women as they get ready for their birth?

Charmaine: I would say that the biggest thing is to make sure that you focus on your nutrition and your overall wellness, mental wellness. And that can be in many ways. I mean, you could address that in many ways. Like for me, I made sure that I did things that made me happy, you know? And it could be as simple as that. It could be as simple as watching your favorite television show once a week or something, or reading a book or knitting a blanket or whatever it is, whatever that thing is that's going to give you that mental peace, I think is huge. And then the other thing to remember is that when you're pregnant, but when you pregnant, you feel like so amazing, like you’re, you know, like all these hormones are flaring up inside, your hair is like thick and bouncy and you know, you have a glow to your skin and you just feel so awesome.

Nicole: Right?

Charmaine: And I do realize that there are some pregnancies that don't feel like this. So I don't want you to feel like if you don't feel this way, that something's wrong with you. Cause there's not something wrong with you. But I'm just talking from my experience. And so you do have this awesome high that lasts for literally nine months. And you do once the baby's born, you do have a low that comes with that because it's almost like you're high, high, high and then you just get dropped. And I don't know how else to explain this, but I didn't really appreciate it as much with the first two. But that last one I had a really bad, I didn't get to the point where actually had like postpartum depression, but I definitely had the blues and they were pretty intense. Like I was just kinda like, oh this is it. No. And it kinda didn't help that the first three months to me in my opinion, again, I'm saying my opinion, cause this is just from my experience, but the first three months are the roughest months of parenthood.

Nicole: And completely, I will concur.

Charmaine: I mean anybody who has like all these people who are on our Instagram or you know, social media talking about like, oh, it's so wonderful. It's not.

Nicole: And you know what? I mean I remember sitting, yeah. And I don't want to get going up to, I remember sitting up in the middle of the night holding my baby on the couch for like three o'clock in the morning and like, what are we doing? Like will be able to sleep, you know, the first three months are rough, it is not like a vacation.

Charmaine: It's not. It's not. And so you see it's rough for you. You don't have that euphoria of the pregnancy anymore. And you have a loving individual who doesn’t know how to show you love yet. You know, all they know to do is cry who cry because they're hungry, they're dirty or they're sleepy and they can't tell you what the cry is for. And you're getting no feedback on a positive side. But there is a silver lining right around that three month mark. When you feel like you’re about to lose your mind all the way, the little gummy cherub just kinda turns their head towards you and they flash that gorgeous gummy smile that makes it all better. So, you know, it's, it's definitely, it's worth it. You know, it's an awesome experience if you're, if you're able to be a part of it, it's awesome and no matter what, you are enough. Okay mom? Like literally you're enough. Don't let anybody tell you that you're not, don't, you know, don't get into that rut of feeling like you're not. You are enough and you don't have to be like, you know, the Hollywood moms or, you know, the moms that make it look like it's perfect because it's not. Real life is messy. Real life is dirty, real life is not scheduled. And it’s not filtered and all. Beautiful. So you're enough.

Nicole: Well, that is a perfect place to end it. Thank you so much for being here. That was a ton of great, useful information, sharing all your different experiences with pregnancy. Where can women connect with you if they're interested in finding out about more of what you do?

Charmaine: So I have a podcast it’s called Fearless Freedom with Doctor G and that is a podcast focused on helping professional women face fears, overcome them and emerge victoriously. And I have various social media platforms, on Instagram I am FW Shermaine, on Twitter I am Charms Fit Doc and on Linkedin I am Shermaine Gregory MD.

Nicole: Okay. And I will link to all those in the show notes folks so you can check out her stuff. Check out her podcast for sure. And again, thank you so much for being here. I really, really appreciated this, it was a great conversation.

Charmaine: Thanks for having me. All right, bye bye.

Nicole: See, didn’t I tell you that that was going to be amazing? I really enjoyed our conversation and I know that you did too. So after I have a guest on the show, whether it's an expert interview or a birth story, I like to give a little something that I call Nicole's notes. It's just my top three or four things that I took away from the conversation. So here we go.

Nicole: First thing I took away was preparation. If you intend to have an unmedicated birth then it's best for you to prepare. Charmaine says she went through the hypnobirthing program, the six week program, not just once, but twice during one of her pregnancies. So preparing can be a really big part of making sure you're able to have that unmedicated birth if you want to, and you don't have to do hypnobirthing. You can do other programs if you want, but do something to prepare.

Nicole: Number two, Charmaine was not afraid to advocate for herself and she said, my money is green and this is what I'm doing. Now, I know that you may be thinking, well, she's a physician, so of course she can advocate for herself, and that's true. She may have a little bit of you know, a leg up in the medical community, but she didn't do anything that you can't also do for yourself and that you shouldn't feel comfortable doing for yourself. Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself if you need to or have someone with you who can advocate on your behalf.

Nicole: Number three, Charmaine talked about that emotional wellness piece and how important it is to look out for your emotional wellness. She talked about mindfulness. She talked about doing something as simple as watching your favorite TV show. She talked about how exercise was an important part of her emotional wellness. So be sure to do something to take care of that emotional part of you. And then the last thing that Charmaine talked about is that you are enough. Don't compare yourself to what other folks are doing and what you see on Instagram or filters and Facebook and all that stuff. Just know that you are enough.

Nicole: All right, so what were your top takeaways? Let me know in the podcast community Facebook group. If you are not already a part of the group, you should be. This is where we can connect after the show and discuss episodes and share insights with one another. So go to Facebook, search for All About Pregnancy and Birth Podcast Community, or just even search for all about pregnancy. It should be one of the first things that pops up. We will review your request to join within 24 hours that link to join the Facebook group is also in the show notes.

Nicole: Also, be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, Spotify, stitcher, Google play, and if you feel so inclined, I'd really appreciate you leaving an honest review on iTunes. It helps other women find my show and I would love to give you a shout out on a future episode.

Nicole: Next week on the podcast we have an expert interview with a very special Doula, Kesha Graham. Keisha is going to talk about what Doulas do, how to choose a Doula and so much more. 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 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 feeling knowledgeable, prepared, confident and empowered going into your birth. Head to to learn more.

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