#142 | Healing from Birth Trauma with Hypnosis: Molly's Birth Story

January 5, 2022

Molly had a textbook first pregnancy and went into labor just at 37 weeks. After an uneventful labor, her baby was born with an APGAR score of one.  Despite a successful resuscitation, her baby was put into an intentional state of hypothermia for seventy-two hours to prevent or reverse any potential brain damage. During this time, Molly knew very little about why this was happening, what caused it or if it was really even necessary.
Thankfully her baby made a full recovery; but, needless to say, she left  her first birth with significant trauma.

 In preparation for her second birth, she sought out a hypnotherapist and a midwife. She learned trusting herself, her decisions, and her physical body were essential to achieving the birth she desired. She created mantras and vision statements and cultivated a daily practice to get there. Three years later, that dream came true with the birth of her second child.

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View Episode Transcript

I'd summarize it with what the neonatologist said to us while we were in the hospital, which is I'm not going to tell you what the worst case scenario is, but the best case scenario is she's going to be perfectly fine. And you're going to go home and five days completely traumatized. And he was right. That was exactly what happened. The day after my daughter was born, my first daughter was born, my first thought was, I have to do this again, I need to do this again. I need to I need to fix this, I need to cover this up. I need to make it right. But I would never have made the decisions that allowed me to have the second experience that I had. And for that I am, I am very grateful.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Hi, my name is Molly. I am 36 years old. I live in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a podcast listener of down to birth for about probably the last year and a half. And I live with my husband and our two daughters. My oldest daughter will be four in about two weeks, and my youngest will be one in about two weeks. So I'm coming up on one year postpartum.

Great. Molly, we're so happy to have you here. It's my understanding from the email that you sent us that you have two you had two births. One was quite traumatic. The second was quite healing. And we're going to mainly focus today on this space between your two births. How you prepared for your second, and what that taught you. Does that sound about what you have in mind?

Yep, that's perfect. I'm, I'm excited to share the two different experiences and sort of what I did in those three years between the birth so as Cynthia mentioned, my first birth was in December of 2017. It was what I would, I guess call it textbook that's an air quotes, pregnancy. Everything was was healthy and everything seemed all my testing normal. And I birthed with a kind of a big hospital in San Francisco. It was one of those sort of like OB midwife groups where you saw different obese and different midwives over the course of your prenatal care. And I ended up going into labor at 37, about 37 and a half weeks, my water had broken 37 and a half weeks, and there were no signs of concern. As I mentioned, there was nothing I wasn't GBS positive. I didn't have gestational diabetes, there was nothing that when my water broke was it was kind of a concern for anyone. I talk to my doula, we had decided that we would wait to go to the hospital, I knew that my hospital would want me and labor about eight to 12 to 18 hours later. So we made the decision to stay at home and wait, I waited for labor to start on its own labor started about 12 hours later. And I went to the hospital. When I got to the hospital. It was about I was about five centimeters along and the transition to the hospital was really hard for me. The car ride, it was the middle of the night at 3am. Very dark. And when I got to the hospital, the hospital was very bright. The lights were as you can imagine, like the lights were bright, triage was small. There were a lot of people in triage. And I remember I was getting bombarded with questions at triage. How far along are you? What was your due date? When did your water break? Why did you not come sooner? How long has it been since your water broke? And I was getting hit with question after question about about sort of what had happened over the last 15 hours. And you know, I didn't think at the time that we've made any kind of decisions that would would have been concerning. So we got checked into the hospital. And my daughter was born about seven hours later. I'd been pushing for about an hour and 40 minutes. Again, nothing, nothing that was particularly concerning at the time. And I'd had an epidural A few hours earlier. And when my daughter Lily was born, she had came out she was not breathing. She was very blue and purple. She was unresponsive. And at the time her Apgar score was a one. And so before I remember going to kind of grab the baby find out if the baby was a boy or girl because we didn't know the sex of the baby at the time. And she was gone. She was taken across the other side of the room. I remember a door opened up and probably 10 or 15 people kind of just barreled into the room. And I had no idea what was going on.

There. The room became very chaotic. It was very loud. There was a lot of lights. And I remember just screaming going over and over again like what's happening, what's going on. Where's my baby? What are you doing to her? To make a long story short, she had high levels of lactic acid that were tested for after birth and she had suspected infant HIV, which is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. As you can tell I'm not a medical doctor, which is one of the things that made this really challenging. After she was born. She was taken away from me she was resuscitated successfully. But they had a lot of concerns about the lack of oxygen potentially that had been going to her brain During the last maybe hour or two of labor and delivery, so she was taken away from me. And they had made the decision due to the due to this high levels of lactic acid and the concern about potential brain damage that they would take her to the to the ICN. And she would undergo a process called neonatal therapeutic hypothermia, which is where they basically chill a baby, they cool a baby, you may have heard of someone saying, like, Oh, my baby was cooled. And what they do is they basically lower the baby's body temperature by about three degrees for a course of 72 hours. And the goal here, as it was explained, to me was to keep kind of keep all of her major organs sort of shut down in a way so that any energy and any sort of oxygen in cells in her body would be going to her brain to kind of help potentially heal any brain damage that had happened. While kind of monitoring for seizures, you can imagine babies don't like to be cold, they don't like to be away from their mom, they don't like to be sitting on a basically it's like a little, it's like a mattress like it's like a water bed, but it's cold. So they put the baby on morphine for their 72 hours on a glucose line, and you just sort of wait. And those 72 hours while she was chilled, and then the about 36 hours after while we waited to find out the prognosis were were just the most awful hours of my life. There was a lot of uncertainty about what her prognosis would be. And there was not a lot of information that I was given at the time. And, you know, for me, the biggest, I think the real the real trauma for me happened was the gap between my expectation I thought I was going to see my baby, hold my baby, I had expectations around how we would delay the cord clamping that I wanted to keep my placenta that I wanted, obviously an hour if not more of skin to skin. I mean it was it was a hospital birth, but I had at the time, like what I thought was a really thoughtful birth plan. I had a doula I had taken a childbirth education course outside the hospital. So I had you know, I had a plan going into this birth, and what I had expected to happen after she was born. And basically everything that I had expected did not happen. The way I'll remember this is the morning after she was born. I remember being in my recovery room. I remember seeing my birth plan was you know, two pages long fold in half remember seeing it on the table, and I just took it and I ripped it off and I throw it across the room. And I was like I never want to see this again. Like I never want to see these words, because everything on it was that everything that was on it that I had wanted during the afterbirth didn't happen. And you know, to make a long story short, she had a really great prognosis. We were very fortunate. 72 hours later, she was rewarmed. about 24 hours later, she underwent an MRI. And it came back all clear. There was no suspected brain damage. And I'd summarize it with what the neonatologist said to us while we were in the hospital, which is I'm not going to tell you what the worst case scenario is. But the best case scenario is she's going to be perfectly fine. And you're going to go home and five days completely traumatized. And he was right. That was exactly what happened. She was perfectly healthy. She was perfectly fine. And we went home five days later, just completely traumatized from the experience of having this baby resuscitated taken away for the first couple of days of her life.

Are you saying Mali that she did not actually have this condition at the time of the birth that this was all done unnecessarily? Well, how does that even happen? And what happened in the two hours preceding her birth? As far as monitoring you that didn't give anybody any indication that something was wrong?

Such a good question. So this was at a large kind of, I guess I'd call it like a teaching university hospital. And the way the neonatologist explained it to us after the fact was we have very broad kind of definitions for how we classify these different levels of concern. And instead of doing what he would call personalized care, we have very much a standard. And if you fall within the standard, we are going to do this procedure regardless of how far on that spectrum your baby might be. And I think that's relevant. You know, when I talk a little bit about kind of preparing for the second birth and the conversations that I had with with my new midwife that they basically said, it is possible that we have overreacted, right. And it is possible that we have done a process or procedure that wasn't necessary, but we never know. And out of an abundance of caution. We do this for any baby that exhibits the symptoms that have the scores.

I just can't I can't fathom it. It's insane. I mean, I just what happened after the birth she had a Apgar score of one and then what was she transitioning normally after that? I mean, how did they put your baby on ice for three days when nothing was wrong?

So they took her way they resuscitated her. She was resuscitated successfully. She was breathing fine on her own. But they said that because her lactic acid scores had not I guess, either gone down or up whatever direction they were supposed to be going. They had not Ragus returned to a normal level at a fast enough period of time in these two hours. after she was born, was when they made this decision out of abundance of caution. And if it sounds like I don't know all the details very well, it's because I don't know all the details very well.

They probably didn't give them to you.

Who knows exactly what details even exist?

Did your baby have signs in labor?

So you know, I remember a few hours later that night after she was born, the midwife who, who was there for the delivery came back and kind of went through and ticked through all of the all of the possible causes for this. Low blood pressure, high blood pressure, Newtonian present, prolonged pushing baby would be in an abnormal position, plus uterine rupture, placenta problems, shoulder distortion, you conium she went through, those are just the 10 that I could name I'm sure there were more interested, you didn't have any of those. There were none of these things were present in the hour and 40 minutes that you were pushing. What I do know that happened was in the last about two and a half minutes, while I was pushing the Lily's heart decelerated. And so they wanted to get the baby out as quickly as possible without any sort of intervention.

But prior to that two and a half minutes, her heart rate had been fine. I mean, two and a half minutes is it's not a crazy amount of time.

Not a crazy amount of time.

Yeah. So just to understand, from my perspective, she was born with a very low Apgar, she was resuscitated Trisha, are you saying it's very likely they could have basically gone home once the baby was resuscitated and the Apgar scores went up?

Well, maybe not gone home, maybe still had an observation, observation monitoring, but to take your baby away and put your baby in an ice pack for three days seems so far beyond what was necessary. It's just astonishing.

The crazy thing is they could have done the MRI before the cooling and found everything was fine.

So they apparently there's this golden window of opportunity, which is very different, by the way from the golden hour. Or I say that because I was obviously feeling very spiteful of losing my golden hour. But there's a golden window of opportunity of six hours, that if you put the baby if you kill the baby, within six hours, I guess, again, standardized data would say that the baby has a better outcome. So it was very important that they do this very quickly. I remember going down to see her I was I was you know about two hours postpartum, you had to wait two hours to go down to the ICN, I was wheeled down and I saw her and I remember thinking this is great, at least I'm gonna hold her right there was no infection, they were monitoring her. She's on antibiotics, again, out of an abundance of precaution. And then as soon as I got in there, they said, like, you can't hold her, you can't touch her, we've got to get her on ice, like we have to move very quickly. And that was when I felt like my whole world kind of came crumbling down. So I spent about a year really processing Lily's birth, I had gone back to the same therapists that I had worked with, during my pregnancy with her. And this was a therapist that focused on the motherhood, transition pregnancy, fertility, the postpartum period. So I went back and spent a number of months with her really processing this birth, I did a few things kind of outside of therapy, I started volunteering as a peer, parent mentor for other parents at this hospital whose babies went through the same condition to try to provide them some support and solidarity as they went through the same procedure. And about a year later, I felt like, I felt like I had sort of come to terms with Lily's birth and come to terms with the fact that I would really never know why this happened. I would really never know like, why these decisions were made. And that most importantly, I don't know, if there was anything that I could have done, that would have given me a different outcome. So about a year later, we got pregnant again. So this is about two and a half years after Lily was born, we got pregnant again. And immediately as you can imagine, my biggest fear was really around. How on earth am I going to give birth again, how on earth because, you know, I know that the first trimester is really scary. I had had three early losses for my second baby. And I had two early losses before my first. So I've spent I'm comfortable with the fact that the first trimester for me can feel very fraught. But as you go farther and farther along in the pregnancy, I start to get excited, I started to get more confident. But for me, it was the finish line, because I knew that you could get all the way up to the point of having the baby, you could get all the way up to the point of being in the hospital, delivering the baby being fully monitored. And then all of a sudden, everything comes crumbling down. So for me, like the finish line was so far away, and I basically felt like I was sort of stricken for that for that entire pregnancy.

So what happened? So I had to make different decisions. To be very honest, logistically, we had moved pretty far away from that first hospital. And so I would have had to made a much longer drive in order to give birth there. And so I sort of that was sort of the forcing function for me to think about maybe doing things differently the second time around, and most importantly, the biggest sort of, I guess, the thing that I grappled with the most in this pregnancy was if I went to a large hospital with a large kind of OB midwife group where I would see different providers every appointment, I was going to have to tell this story, every single appointment, I was going to have to explain to them Yes, I know my pregnancy seems normal. Yes, I know everything is proceeding textbook, but I had this really sad scary experience and what can we do to try to prevent that in the future. And frankly, I didn't want to spend my whole pregnancy retelling the story, what I wanted to spend my pregnancy doing is making different decisions and getting ready to mentally be in a mindset where I could walk in to a hospital where I could birth my baby, and not be completely stricken with with fear about what was going to happen. So I started doing some research. At this point, I think I'd been started listening to your podcast and sort of doing a lot more research about, you know, not only physiological birth, but also just what happened, you know, in this hospital where I gave birth and kind of what their processes and protocols were, I ended up finding what is sort of like a hybrid model of a midwife. And the way I would describe it is she had admitting and delivery privileges at a private hospital. But she also had an office outside the hospital where all of her prenatal visits would occur, and she would be on call for my birth. Within that first meeting, I just felt this like deep sense of relief, because she understood where I was coming from. And she understood kind of the the fears and the my past experience that I brought into the birth. So I made you know, with this, this was a different decision, I decided to birth in a different hospital with a different provider. And frankly, I was still I was still scared. And I had actually, over the course of the last two and a half years have connected with a number of moms who had been through similar experiences with as I had with my first whose babies had been cooled. And then they had gone on to have a second birth that was really powerful, really healing and really, really supported. And so I asked them, What did you do, there was probably two or three of these women, they all said, I worked with a hypnotherapist who specializes in sort of HypnoBirthing childbirth, and I worked with her and it changed my life and it changed my birth and immediately I sat down and Googled her and and went to her website and within a week had a meeting with her and those two things together for birthing in a different place with a different provider. And working through the process of sort of mentally opening myself up to be able to go back to a place of being scared of being fearful but to approach it with a different mindset was what I had to do during those six months.

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You know, it was interesting when I went into working with Rachel I thought it was sort of all about the birth and all about how could I get to a place mentally where I could feel like I could physically give birth. And working with Rachel, what I learned was that it wasn't just about the decisions I made leading up to birth but it was really about my ability to trust my decisions and to trust my brain and to trust my body in all aspects of my life. I think I mentioned this in the past, which is like you birth how you live. And I realized that in order to be able to birth the way that I live. I had to really start trusting myself not just in the decisions I made around birth but in the decisions I made. But my personal life or my professional life, my career and sort of how I how I made decisions and how I prioritize things and so working with Rachel was really powerful she we had these live sessions on on Zoom where she would kind of put me through a guided, sort of like meditative process in a really like personalized, like hypnosis where I would go back to the trauma, go back to the pain go back to talking about what happened. But more importantly, not just talking about what happened, but talking about how I wanted to feel, how I wanted to make different decisions, how I envisioned not just my birth, but my life. And just going to a place where I could really envision it, it was almost like I was, during our sessions together, we worked together, just about every week for about six months, I spent a lot of time both during the sessions as well as during, we had a lot of sort of meditative tracks that she provided me with that I would do on my own nearly every day. And that experience allowed me just to go to a place where I could say, What do I want this to look like? What do I want my birth to look like? What do I want my birth to feel like? What emotions do I want to have there? What things do I need physically, but not just in birth, kind of across all aspects of my life. And, to summarize it, you know, I kind of came up with vision statements and and honestly, I have these vision statements on my desk today, a year later, unrelated to birth. And one of them was I make great decisions. As I relax and fully trust myself, and I have an I am more than enough on every level in my life. And so I just sort of repeated those two vision statements. Every time we went through this process, every time I did a meditation, every decision that I made for this birth was was really about trusting that I would that I could not only make great decisions, but also trusting that if I made different decisions, if I picked a different provider, if I picked a different environment, then I would have a greater chance of having a different outcome. Because again, as we mentioned earlier, it was very unexplained why this happened. I don't feel like there was anything I could have really done differently in the decisions that I made when I went to the birth with my first time around. And so I had to believe that if I made different decisions if I put myself in a different environment, that that the outcome can be different. And I would make right decisions leading up to them.

So in hypnotherapy, and in hypnosis, we know that we know that the more you're emotionally invested in the desire that in the outcome that you're seeking, the more likely you are to achieve it. There are no guarantees, right. But most women think their entire birth is out of their control. And it's also not entirely within our control. But the reality is there's so much more within our control that we can influence than we realize, such as who your provider is, such as birthing in the position of your choosing, even influencing fetal positioning, but you basically programmed in your mind that you're going to birth in a way that's in alignment with who you are. So what did your second birth? How did it play out? Was did is that what happened? What happened in your second birth?

Yeah, I remember you sharing that in an episode. I was listening to it probably when I was very late in my pregnancy, which is like I think maybe it was Cynthia, even you've said this, which is the body achieves what the mind believes something along those lines. And like you said, there was no guarantee right. And so I did have this lingering fear in the back of my mind that there's no guarantee, right, there's no guarantee that this is going to go differently. I felt very confident that the Earth would go differently. But there was really no guarantee that I would get the outcome that I wanted, which was I wanted to birth that felt safe. I wanted a birth where I felt supported. And I wanted a birth where I was holding my baby after he or she was born in the minutes, seconds, minutes and hours and days after after they were born. That's what I so deeply desired. So I'm the second burner,

I want to repeat what you just said, because it's something that I think is really important when I'm working with clients. The goal isn't to achieve full confidence. You know, we're not preparing for a TED Talk where we're like, yes, you know, I can do this. It's not like that. We want to get to a point where we're at peace, where we feel fully prepared, where we feel like we can relax and look forward to labor beginning almost to a place where we're curious, like, gosh, I'm so curious to apply everything I've learned, it's never about full confidence is that kind of how it felt for you.

100%, I was excited, I was eager to hear how this birth would unfold. There was always a little bit of lingering fear going into it. But I just had to trust trust the decisions that I had made, and trust the team that I had in place. And you know, like I said, I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to feel supported. I did want to give birth in a hospital again. But I wanted to really have that continuity of care and knowing who my team was going to be and that they were they were looking out for my interests.

And you also had peace of mind knowing that as far as you knew you did influence everything. You had the ability to influence and you just had to surrender to the rest. But you've checked you ticked off everything that you know you could.

Yes. And I think the last thing I'll share before I jumped into how the second birth unfolded which was you know, one thing my midwife really said was, you know, I can't tell you why this happened. But what I can tell you is that we could make different decisions. If you were if for some reason the baby was born under the exact same circumstances next time around and she's like, I don't think that's going to happen, but if it did, we can make different decisions in how we handle the seconds and then That's an hours after the baby's born, we could resuscitate the baby on you, we could initiate scan the scan, we could initiate breastfeeding. And we can monitor how the baby how the baby responds to it. And maybe we wouldn't have to undergo the same type of procedure. So even just knowing that, if everything did proceed ABCD exactly the same way, you could still take a different approach, because that was her model of, of, of approaching birth, and approaching what can happen after birth. And just that alone gave me a breathing room to say like, we can go do this now because it could be different. So my second daughter was born about three years and two days after my first I went into labor on my own unexpected, to be honest, it was a it was a couple days before she was due. And the entire birth was two hours and 11 minutes. From the first time I said, I think something might be happening to having the baby in my arms. And during that time, you know, a lot of decisions were made very quickly, right? Because we we had a hospital birth, we had to make decisions around when to go to the hospital, you know, kind of what to do before we left what to do while we were in the car. And I'll tell you every single decision, I thought to myself, gosh, this might feel too soon. Gosh, I'm not, you know, I'm not really sure if it's quite time to go yet. And then and then I said I, you know, I trust myself, I trust that I'm going to make a great decision. And looking back in hindsight, I'm so happy about the decisions that we made. You know, we got to the hospital, about an hour and a half after I had gone into labor. And I don't ever forget, I saw my midwife standing outside because she had again, she had the ability to sort of direct me to the hospital without having to go through triage. And I saw her she was wearing a black and white sweater and the sweater it looked like what a baby would look at a high contrast image, you know, babies like high contrast black and white images. And as soon as I saw that, I felt like a baby, I had tunnel vision. I just saw her and I felt this deep sense of relief, which was, I'm here I'm here at the place where I'm going to give birth, I am here at the port with a person who's going to to help me support me through this. Everything's going to be okay. And as soon as I tumbled out of the car. Unlike my first birth, there was no questions about when did this start? How long did this happen? How was the car ride? You know what's going on? I just I draped my whole body over her. And I just had this one of the most intense contractions of my of the labor at this point. And all she said was you look beautiful. You look great. You sound amazing. This is perfect. Keep doing what you're doing. And it was it just I felt like I felt I wasn't one like hugging her. But I felt like she was the one kind of wrapping herself around me. And I knew it was going to be okay. And it was going to be okay, we quickly got into the hospital room. It was not bright. There were no bright lights. No one asked me any questions. You know, the person in the front door did asked me if I had a fever that day because it was late 2020. So you can't go anywhere without someone asking you if you have a fever. But I made my way into I made my way into the room. My water had broken in the elevator while we were while we were on our way, the room was dark. And I didn't know anyone who was in there other than my midwife and my husband, I knew that there were a bunch of nurses in there. And I immediately said, I want to be checked. I want to know what's going on. I'm a person that likes data and information. I really like I really like having information to inform my decisions. Part of me feeling like I make great decisions is having different data points and being able to apply them. So I asked how far along I asked how I looked. And she said, You're nine centimeters. You're having this baby now. And I said, Wait, what? Holy. And the room sort of erupted in laughter. And I remember saying what do I do next? What do I do now? And she said exactly what you're doing. Just birth your baby exactly what you're doing. And at that point, I remember seeing her take the team, there was a couple of labor and delivery nurse because again, this was a local hospital that had their own labor and delivery team. She worked with them. It was actually really special because she does work with a lot of clients who are seeking out more of a physiological birth. She sort of has her team of nurses that really liked birthing with her and she knew the room that would be dark that would be in the center of the hospital that wouldn't have any windows. So she sort of already like she knew her team wasn't and she brought the team. And at one point I saw she was scrubbing up in the corner and she pulled the curtain around her. And I didn't know what was happening because I was you know, in the middle of a pretty intense contraction. But I saw them and she came back and then at least a few hours later, after the birth, my husband said to me, do you know what happened while we were in there? And you know, we got to the hospital at two. My baby was born at 142 41. So we were only in that room for you know, less than 40 minutes. And he said Amy got the whole nurse team together and said I need you to understand where this mom is coming from and you do to understand very quickly how her last birth went. Someone is going to be standing next to her at death's to this mom and explaining everything that happens as her baby is being born after the baby is born no matter what happens. Someone stays by her side and talks to her about what's happening and is explaining what's going on and is not leaving her side. That's so incredible. Unbeliev and I didn't even know she was doing that at the time. But I think even in hindsight knowing that made made all the difference, I push my baby out in a matter of minutes. She was placed on my chest, my husband announced the sex of the baby as he did the first time around. But this time and in a much more, I was much more present, mentally and physically for hearing that. i There was no time for an epidural. Even if that had been something that I had been thinking about. There was no time, there was only enough time for me to walk in and birth the baby. And in hindsight, I feel like the fact that the birth went so much faster than I had expected. It was exactly what I needed. There was almost no time for me to be scared. And I, you know, I, there were a couple of times while I was there that I know that they had asked Is the baby, okay, is the baby. Okay? You know, in hindsight, my midwife told me, You frequently were asking if the baby was okay, if the baby was okay. And they use the external Doppler a couple of times and said, the baby's Great. Just keep doing what you're doing. And I remember after the fact, when I asked the midwife like were, were you ever scared? Were you ever worried? Like, was there ever a time that things seemed scary? Because again, with my first birth, I had never, I'd never been told that anything was going wrong. I didn't expect me things were going wrong. And I sort of just needed to know after the fact I needed to know how, like, if, if there was ever a period that was of concern, and she said, No, I was never worried. And she said, No, even if I was, what different decisions would we have made, no one was going to get that baby out of you faster than you were, you were birthing your baby so quickly, that there was nothing else we would have needed to do anyways. And that gave me so much peace. Knowing that not only did the birth feel beautiful, not only did the birth feel empowering, it felt safe, I felt supported. But also that in hindsight, it couldn't have gone any other way.

That moment, you described seeing your midwife in the black and white top and the hug and the touching. And that feeling that came over you in that moment was trust. And it seems so obvious, you know, it's like, oh, you know, you want to trust your provider. But you trusted that she wasn't going to traumatize you, no matter how the birth outcome went, exactly that she was going to communicate that she was going to make the decisions with you that you were going to know what was happening.

Yeah, if I had told you, you know, two days prior how I thought it was going, I was going to go or what I thought I would need, I don't know if I would have scripted it exactly the same way. But in hindsight, looking back, it was the exact birth that I needed. Based on my experience with my first I always tell pregnant women that they know they found the right provider when they can't wait to see that person's face when they're in labor, because they'll be overwhelmed with relief, and a sense of safety and happiness. I do want to ask you, we speak to so many women who have traumatic births, and so many who come to share their stories who have beautiful, we can say healing for some women, births and for others no, because they're still traumatized by the prior experience. But I do want to ask you a different slant on this. Did your first birth serve a purpose? And if so, what purpose did it serve?

I think about the person who I am now four years later, and I think almost across the board in my life, I am a different person because of that first birth. The experience of having a baby in the NICU made me incredibly empathetic to you know, parents who have babies in the NICU for all sorts of reasons. I'll tell you a really sort of, I guess, intimate story, I'll tell you a really, it's not something that I've shared with many people. And I've only to be honest, shared it with a few people who have had babies go through the same experience, which is, the day after my daughter was born, my first daughter was born, my first thought was, I have to do this again, I need to do this again. I need to I need to fix this, I need to cover this up. I need to make it right. And that's not necessarily feeling that I'm proud of that I immediately thought how quickly can I redo this How quickly can I fix and improve that it could be different. I had to sort of heal through that. But because of that first experience because of what had happened to me, it set me up on a trajectory to make completely different decisions the second time around and I would have probably never found that midwife and I would have never gone through an experience of going through hypnotherapy and and going through a path of trusting myself and trusting my decision making while also being open to uncertainty and being able to handle uncertainty had I not had that first birth and you know a lot of people ask me do your you know is did you close that chapter right is are you healed? Is it is it all better now? And you know, I say that the traumas never gone, but at the same time, I am so appreciative of that experience because had I not had that experience with my first I would never have made the decisions that allowed me to have the second experience that I had. And for that I am, I am very grateful.

What you're saying is it wasn't in vain. Isn't, has not gone and it wasn't in vain. And just I just want to make a quick comment on what you said about, you know, you felt like I need to do this again. That's why Trisha and I are always emphasizing the importance of a satisfying birth experience. Because it wasn't satisfying. Yes. And we all we all are seeking satisfaction. Like we have a longing to fulfill it, the whole pregnancy, we just want to feel like, like there, I've done it. And then some of us end up, you know, holding our breath at the end, when we don't have that sigh.

Yes. And I felt after the birth of my second daughter, I felt I felt so satisfied. I felt euphoric. First of all, I was running on adrenaline, my body and brain which had both been moving very quickly for about two and a half hours, sort of caught up to one another. But I felt I felt so relieved, I felt satisfied. I felt so much gratitude for my midwife for my team. And for that environment. It was the best experience of my wife. And you know, my, I always say my first daughter's birth was one of the most profound experiences of my life. And my second daughter's birth was really, really the most euphoric experience in my life. It was the perfect partner. And you know what, I'll tell you two minutes later I said I'm going to do it all over again not because I have to fix it but because I want to feel this way. Again, like I want to feel this way every day of my life like how can I exhibit like in you know, like in Judaism Shabbat is like the world in its perfect state, right until like, you have a time every week where you can experience the world in its perfect state. Like I want that for birth like I want every day to feel like this like just deep contentment that I and some of you to close your eyes and you meditate on it, you can get back there and it's like, what a gift. How lucky am I that I have this feeling of like just complete contentment, satisfaction and I just want I want to feel that way every day of my life just for a little bit.

Thank you for joining us at the Down To Birth Show. You can reach us @downtobirthshow on Instagram or email us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com. All of Cynthia’s classes and Trisha’s breastfeeding services are offered live online, serving women and couples everywhere. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.

It's funny, he said you haven't shared this intimate moment with many people and now you're gonna share it with the whole world.

You know, when I shared it with one person, they were like, I felt the same way and I think a lot of women feel that like it's like a rush to cover it up. It's a rush to fix it so rushed to prove that you can do it and that it doesn't have to be this way and frankly had I gotten pregnant. Two weeks later that wouldn't have been the right decision.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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