When Emma's first baby was one year old, she opened her phone to review her baby's photos and realized she had spent that year completely avoiding looking back at any images from the first three months of her baby's life. It was clear in that moment, she had experienced significant postpartum depression and delayed bonding with her baby, and the photos were a stark reminder of a truth she hadn't been ready to face. Six months later she ruptured her spleen, resulting in a post-traumatic stress response for which she sought out EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) Therapy. As she worked through her trauma, much of her first birth experience and PPD memories resurfaced. Later, when she found out she was pregnant again and considered where to birth her next baby, she ran the gamut from a fully medicalized birth to free-birth (unassisted home birth) and landed on a hospital birth with a "unicorn OB." She chose to birth in a hospital because it "scared" her, and was a fear she felt she needed to overcome. Emma was GBS positive and established a "No IV, no antibiotics" birth policy and confidently declined. Her water broke just minutes before she welcomed her eleven pound baby safely into her arms. That's right: Eleven pounds. ======== Work with Cynthia: Work with Trisha: Please remember we don’t provide medical advice. Speak to your licensed medical provider for all your healthcare matters.
When Emma's first baby was one year old, she opened her phone to review her baby's photos and realized she had spent that year completely avoiding looking back at any images from the first three months of her baby's life. It was clear in that moment, she had experienced significant postpartum depression and delayed bonding with her baby, and the photos were a stark reminder of a truth she hadn't been ready to face. Six months later she ruptured her spleen, resulting in a post-traumatic stress response for which she sought out EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) Therapy. As she worked through her trauma, much of her first birth experience and PPD memories resurfaced. Later, when she found out she was pregnant again and considered where to birth her next baby, she ran the gamut from a fully medicalized birth to free-birth (unassisted home birth) and landed on a hospital birth with a "unicorn OB." She chose to birth in a hospital because it "scared" her, and was a fear she felt she needed to overcome. Emma was GBS positive and established a "No IV, no antibiotics" birth policy and confidently declined. Her water broke just minutes before she welcomed her eleven pound baby safely into her arms. That's right: Eleven pounds.
Work with Cynthia:
Work with Trisha:
Please remember we don’t provide medical advice. Speak to your licensed medical provider for all your healthcare matters.
What I needed was to put the final sentence and the period on this four year story of suffering and pain and fear, and not trusting myself, my mind or my body. She turned to leave. And I said, Well, I actually had a few questions for you. And while I asked my questions, she stood with her hand on the doorknob. So I decided then, again, I'm just just at the end, or just out of my first trimester. I said, That's it, I'm taking a radical level of responsibility for my care, and my birth and myself, as I have over the last year and a half for my mental health. And we're turning this train around.
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.
My name is Emma, I'm from Cincinnati, I have two daughters. My oldest daughter is four years old, and my younger daughter is four months old. My story begins pretty much with the first, the birth of my first daughter, I had a pretty typical experience, ran to the hospital as soon as I thought I was in labor, and had a cascade of interventions that followed. So I was able to have a vaginal birth with her. But I, I was in labor for 30 plus hours and on Pitocin for more than half of that. And it really just was not what I had envisioned my birth looking like. But I think that birth really kick started something that was probably already going to happen, which was my postpartum depression. And that I really started showing signs of probably before I even left the hospital. Now looking back, I can say that things felt very dark, just from the beginning. And I felt very alone and very hopeless and very anxious as well. I had all these kinds of irrational thoughts that like my baby didn't like me, or we had a lot of a lot of trouble breastfeeding in the beginning. And I thought that she was like being vindictive, like my new baby was like doing it on purpose or something to me, and just a whole host of absolutely irrational thoughts that now I can see where they were coming from. But I remember going to my six week appointment with my OB. And she asked me two questions, I will just never forget one. Are you more tired than you like think is normal or than you think is reasonable? And she asked me, Do you find yourself crying more than you think is normal? And I had no idea what normal was. And I absolutely had those were huge red flags for postpartum depression. For me, I was so sickly fatigued, that I couldn't even see straight. And I was crying every day. But of course, I had no gauge of what was normal. Or, you know, if that was, I just thought it was hard. You know, it's hard to have a new baby. So I thought this was a normal level of hard.
I wonder why she asked you those questions, because in my opinion, the first one is really useless. Everyone is painfully tired when they have a baby. And that doesn't indicate postpartum depression at all. Of course, the exhaustion can feed postpartum depression, it can make us absolutely crazy. But that isn't an indicator to for a woman to say she's very tired or exhausted isn't an indicator of it. But more important, she's going by these assumptions that postpartum depression is indicated by weakness. And that is only a percentage of women. There's so many things under that umbrella like rage, or some women don't cry at all, and they have postpartum depression and it manifests as anger and rage and other women have OCD, or anxiety and they don't cry at all. And some women cry easily in their lives and they cry more on a normal day of their life than then some women do who have postpartum too. Question. So it's unfortunate that she asked questions that were not useful and gave you reason to ponder those questions as though they were meaningful. But just before you continue, why do you think she asked you those? What were what was she getting at? What do you think she was looking to do? If you had said yes to both of those?
I really don't know. Because the disappointing thing that happened was when she started asking me those questions, I started crying. Because I just couldn't help it. And I'm, I am not a crier. That's not usually what I, I had cried more in those six weeks, and probably the six years leading up to it. So I she asked me those questions. And I started crying while saying, No, I think this is normal. I think I'm okay. And I mean, she was just looking at her piece of paper and writing down what I said, not really, not really reading me. So I don't think that there was much of an objective other than to just write down what I said probably,
I think it's sort of a standard screening process. It's a way to initiate the screening process. But the real question is, what, what is she going to do with those answers? And if you had said just simply no to both of them, which she then just write it off as No, there's no postpartum issue here. Which is probably the case.
And if you had said yes, she likely would have because this is all we ever hear. A dismissed it as the blues and told you it will go away or be written you a prescription, which really ignores what the research shows is helpful. Both of those, ignore that. So alright, so what was what was your experience?
So I left that appointment. And that was at six weeks, and I returned back, I was working at the time. So I went back to work a couple months later. And things got a lot darker at that point, because I went back to work and back to where people were thinking that that would feel really nice to be around other adults again. And I got all of I call them the don't Chia questions, which are questions that you must answer yes to the the implied answer is yes. Like, don't you just love her? And doesn't that just make you want 10? More? And couldn't you just and those kinds of questions that you that people are assuming that you will say yes to, but I didn't feel those things. I really wasn't in love with her yet. And I did not want more. And I couldn't just stare at her all day. So when I got back to work, and everybody came at me with this, like, aren't you so in love and in this like euphoric state, and I was not, I felt like, I didn't understand why nobody understood me. Everybody seemed to be speaking a language that I did not speak. So that really compounded my loneliness, and also the shame that I felt that I wasn't in love with my three month old.
And at what point was this when you went back to work and started having this experience, I think I went back to work around three months, it might have been a little bit sooner than that, up until this point, you had not actually had anybody identify or are taking any action for postpartum depression.
None. I really, during that time, my maternity leave, which was about 10 or 12 weeks, I really alienated myself, which of course was another red flag I really did not allow. I did not allow anybody in emotionally or physically, I did not allow really visitors to come I didn't reach out to anybody. And it was just a whole host of worse begets worse basic right? Of course, time helped a lot. So I remember at my daughter's for I was getting ready for my daughter's first birthday. So at this point, she's 12 months. And I was going to have a little party. So I went back to look at some photos from her first few months like to print off photos for her birthday party. And I realized at that point at one year, that that was the first time in her life that I had been able to scroll back in my phone to look at basically like her first three months, I had not to that point, scrolled past basically like a third a certain line in my phone. And I realized that I hadn't seen these photos in a year and I thought Hmm, that's that's, that's, that's an indication of something. That was the first time that I really like thought, Okay, what I experienced might have been a different level of hard again, I never sought like a diagnosis or help I just kind of with time got better. But then, um, Fast forward a bit to this is in May of 2020. So this is like in the height of the pandemic insanity. It was the day before Mother's Day, I was sitting with my husband and my daughter just having coffee one morning and I started to have this strange pain. In my side, it was very unlike anything I had ever felt. Turns out that my spleen had spontaneously ruptured inside of my body. And my husband had to call I had like a large seizure, and my husband had to call 911. And luckily, he was there with me when it happened. And I was transferred because this was in the pandemic, the hospital that I was taken to by ambulance was very short staffed, and there was nobody there to perform a surgery. So I was given like multiple blood transfusions thrown into an ambulance and transferred to another hospital, where I luckily made it and had surgery to stop the bleeding and, and remove that damaged organ. But because it was during the pandemic, I was all alone. So my husband was not allowed to come with me. I was in the hospital for five days after and he was not allowed to visit once. And unfortunately, I wasn't in the best hospital because I had to just go to the one that was available at the time. So Emma, was this a year postpartum? Or when was this about 18 months postpartum?
I can't even imagine having a surgery like that, and being alone in the hospital for five days, and they didn't allow your husband in there. I just cannot believe the abuses that have happened during COVID that they allowed. It's just you'd think these aren't humans making these decisions and how this in any way was in the name of health. And you had a baby no less that you couldn't see for five days, right? But you woman can go crazy.
Oh, well. I absolutely did. Because I had not I had only been away from my daughter for one night. Like in the 18 months. That was the extent of I had been away from her for one night a couple of times. So to be away from her for five days. And then also away from my husband. And I had this really, really intense surgery, I was very incapacitated and had to make all of these decisions for myself and advocate for myself and I couldn't, I was barely functional. But I was alone. And that foreshadowing In fact, in my therapy, I remember telling my therapist, the incident was very traumatic, and I'm suffering a lot from that. But the hospital stay after, just made everything so much worse. So I was in the hospital for five days, I get home. And my physical recovery was horrible. It's a very, it's a huge surgery. And it happened very violently, you know, with with the how much blood I lost and all of the things. So my physical recovery was very, very hard. But about maybe two months later, I ended up back in the emergency room because I was having all of these crazy, crazy symptoms, like my heart rate would absolutely race, I felt like I was gonna pass out I was having a horrible pain. I was shaking and losing my peripheral vision. And just I was just terrified that something had happened again. What I learned at that point was that I was having very severe panic attacks. And I knew I wasn't doing great mentally during in that two months, but I was really so focused on physically just trying to function. I could I mean, I could not pick up my daughter for five or six weeks. It was just, it was horrible. So I was really focused on my physical recovery. But ending up back in the emergency room really brought to light, how poorly I was doing or how much I was struggling mentally, because I didn't need I didn't even realize that what I was experiencing was really severe panic attacks. So I get home from that emergency room stent, and luckily I had an established relationship with a therapist that my husband and I used for premarital counseling years before. So I reached out to her and I started telling her what I was going through. And she literally stopped me mid sentence and said, You need EMDR therapy. She said, we can talk about this till we're blue in the face. But this is what you need. So she connected me with my wonderful therapist who I've now been with for, you know, over two years, who's licensed in EMDR therapy. So that's really when my acceleration my journey of healing began was when I found her. So we started EMDR therapy, and I'll tell you a little bit about what EMDR is first, but EMDR it stands for eye movement, desensitization reprocessing therapy, it's a form of therapy with you and a certified therapist, that goes a little bit deeper than traditional talk therapy. And for years, it's really been used for situations like mine, like life threatening, huge, huge traumas that are affecting your ability to function and your day to day. But more recently, it's been used and I used it for both in for smaller traumas, like anything in your past, that causes you to have a negative view or belief of yourself. So it uses bilateral stimulation, which is either eye movements, like you watch a dog on a screen move from side to side, or you can do tapping, like with your hands on your shoulders or your legs. And then paired with that is a guided free association with your therapist. And the goal is that you start to access the same process that your brain goes through in REM sleep, and what your brain goes through in REM sleep is basically categorizing and organizing everything that happened to you that day. So that's why, of course you don't remember like driving to work three weeks ago, because your brain recognize we don't need that memory, let's toss it. But you will remember your your child's first steps for decades, because your brain recognizes that's a very important memory. So let's categorize it accordingly. So the point of accessing that process, in terms of the trauma you've experienced, is to start to identify what is the likely subconscious negative core belief that you're holding about yourself, that's basically re traumatizing you every time you remember. Or you're you're triggered by something that relates to that trauma. So, for example, when I remembered or thought back on the splenectomy and the whole trauma surrounding that, my negative core belief was, I'm out of control, and I might not make it. So I, I felt I was walking around really believing that my body was unsafe, like I felt as if my body was on the attack to essentially kill me at any moment. So I was on the verge of, of panicking, always, because my body felt as if it was faulty, like miswired, faulty broken. So through months of therapy, the goal was not only to desensitize myself to the memories that were causing me pain, but also to then assign a positive core belief. So of course, I'm, I'm not going to look back on those memories with fuzzy feelings and feel great when I think about them. But the goal is that I can look back on that trauma and and feel my positive core belief, which I decided was, I am safe, and my body is healthy. So after several months, I was doing a lot better. I started having fewer panic attacks pretty much right away. But what I noticed in the therapy was my therapist would start a few minutes of free association, based off of my trauma with my splenectomy, and my mind would bring up memories of my postpartum time with my daughter. And they felt very intertwined. I should say, because of all of this, I had pretty much totally made the decision that I did not want any more children. I just didn't see how I was capable. So I didn't I wasn't necessarily making that decision based off of what I truly wanted, or what I thought was best for me or my family. I I was making that decision out of desperation or necessity. With time though, I started to really believe my, my positive core belief. And I went from feeling on edge and fearful at all times to really a switch flipping and feeling more whole and confident and not broken. That brings me to last November of 2021, I found out I was pregnant again. So this is about a year and a half, right? Yeah, about a year and a half after the surgery. And that's almost a year and a half of EMDR therapy. So I found out I was pregnant in November. And I felt a lot of things, I was obviously very excited. But I felt very apprehensive and scared, a little, a little bit more on edge about it all.
But at the time, so at the time, we were moving. So I found out I was pregnant, and we moved a few weeks after that. So I had no established care at the time. So when I was after we moved, I did a little bit of research and I found an OB that I thought was going to be a pretty good fit for me. And I went through every option, all the way from I'm just going to do what my doctor tells me to and relinquish control and let it be in their hands, too. I'm gonna free birth in my bathroom. And everything in between. By the end of my first trimester, I knew that I, I wanted a natural birth, and I knew that that was likely going it as long as everything went smoothly that that was going to be the most beneficial to me. In my mental health. I hadn't decided on home birth or hospital birth at that point. But after a few visits with this, OB, I knew it was not it was not the place for me. So at this point, I'm like 13 weeks, give or take. She told me I needed a cervical check a pelvic exam, a breast exam and an STD screen. And I was I was very confused. And I said, What? Why could you possibly need to check my cervix at 13 weeks? And she was like, oh, we need to make sure it's closed. Oh, my God. Why are we assuming it's not I don't understand.
I think it's part of often part of the routine, initial prenatal visit. Unnecessary are not as just what it's what they do.
I mean, imagine like having a farm and having pregnant mammals on your farm and just feeling like you've got to stick your hand inside them and make sure their cervix is close. You see how with another perspective, it just looks absolutely. But it looks absolutely crazy. But with humans, we conditioned ourselves to believe that this is that this makes sense. And someone else is out there thinking well, yeah, well, what if it isn't closed? Well, then, like, right, what if it isn't closed? Like, Hey, Ben, we're gonna give you guys terbutaline or some drug to to keep it closed. It's just such overkill, a breast exam, by the way. Like I said, I I asked, Why do I need a breast exam? And she said, Well, we I was a new patient. So she said, Well, we need to establish like a baseline of care. Because you've never been here before. And I said, Well, I do understand that however, I'm 13 weeks pregnant. So my, my breasts are are they've changed baseline, and they're going to continue to change. So whatever exam you do today, it won't necessarily relate to the exam you do later. So that doesn't make sense to me. Well, part of an initial part of an initial visit is a comprehensive physical, and that's it's how they build. Because if she has, there are some conditions that might make it so that she can't breastfeed, and that's something that she would want to know in advance. They do like to make sure that there's no no signs of lumps or masses because lumps or masses and pregnancy can become very serious very quickly. But again, it's a lot of you know, it is a lot of overkill, although I do think even in midwife practices, if you are new to the practice, a full physical exam is usually part of the initial visit. But I like what you said about the cervix like it's you don't you don't need to check that the cervix is closed. We just We the assumption is that the cervix is closed and that's pretty invasive, and unnecessary.
Well, it wasn't I was doing okay with her. I did understand I was a new patient that I I had no history of care with them. And of course, I can understand that that's if that's what you are supposed to do. That's what you're going to assume to do with me. And that was okay. But the kicker and when I never went back was after I declined all that. And I said, I appreciate you telling me but I'm not comfortable with any of that. She turned to leave. And I said, Well, I actually had a few questions for you. And while I asked my questions, she stood with her hand on the doorknob, waiting to leave. And we still had time in our appointment, because you were going to do all of these exams. So I know you're not rushed to leave. But she's the whole time she talks. She had her hand on the doorknob, but she can't bill for your questions. She can only bill for all the other stuff.
And now she's already looking at you being like this, you know, this woman isn't going to just listen to everything I say. So I'm moving on.
Yes. Yeah, I I could red flag red. So what happened? He was super happy with me. But I wasn't super happy with her either. So. So as she's standing with her hand on the doorknob, I'm thinking, and that's so disrespectful, this, I have two questions for you today. My next appointment, I'll probably have 12. And if you can't stand here and answer my questions, it's not a good relationship. So I left and I never went back. But I walked out of there feeling so indignant, I was I felt so robbed. And I was, I just thought, there is no way that this is the best out there. There is no way that these are my options. Somebody who won't even answer my questions, and looks at me sideways. When I say no, thank you. I don't, I don't want a breast exam today. So I decided then, again, I'm just at just at the end, or just out of my first trimester. I said, That's it, I'm taking a radical level of responsibility for my care, and my birth and myself, as I have over the last year and a half for my mental health. And we're turning this train around, basically, because I knew there had to be something better. And I found my unicorn Obi just a gift from heaven into my life. Because he had his it was a man which at first I was very apprehensive about I wanted a woman in the beginning. But I was open to at least meeting him. So I scheduled a consultation with this man. And he spent an hour talking to my husband and I before we had even agreed to be patients just as a as a consult.
An hour is a really long time for a doctor to keep their hands on a doorknob.
He sat, he sat and looked at you and gave me eye contact actually said that that was a that was an improvement. But it was just at this point, I had listened to all of your provider red flags, episodes, and it was just green flag after green flag, I brought up home birth and he said, I love home birth, you would be a great candidate for home. He's you know, he doesn't do the home birth. But he said, home birth is wonderful. And you would be a great candidate for home birth. And he doesn't do inductions for post dates or big babies or anything like that. And he doesn't believe in cervical checks in pregnancy or labor. And in his office, he had two graphics, one about the cascade of interventions that follows inductions. And then he had one about the is it the brain, the brain acronym to ensure that you're receiving informed consent and the questions you should ask. And what made me fall in love with this man was that he told a story about many years ago rushing to the hospital because one of his patients was about to give birth and things were happening very quickly. And he almost missed it. And after the birth, he was talking to a doctor that was that work there at the hospital. And the doctor said, man, it seems like it seems like all of your patients, these babies just slide out of them. Like it happens so quickly. You're always rushing here. And he said he looked at the doctor and he was like, Well, yeah, if you if you leave women alone, generally that happens. And then he used the word. When describing about why he left larger practices and started his own practice. He said that he found many other doctors to just be too meddlesome. And I thought that's a great, that's what I felt at that OB that I left. So I bet he didn't ask to check your cervix at the first visit.
No, no. He I told him about that. And I of course told him like why I was leaving and what I was looking for and how I felt at that previous obese and when I said you know this is what they asked for, and when I declined, I didn't appreciate, you know how they treated me and he goes, a breast exam. He was he was confused as well. So it was just green flag green flag, and I left feeling so. So confident. And I already trusted him so much because I didn't even have to explain my explain myself or I didn't even really have to ask for what I needed. He already believed the things that I that were important to me. So I just felt so good leaving.
I think this is an important point also to make. Because you know, there are some women out there listening, and some women out there are thinking, I'd like that whole exam, I sure do the breast exam, let's make sure I'm sure check the cervix, I'll feel better knowing it's closed. I personally think it's overkill. I love that you said no. And I would like to think I would have said the same thing. I personally like that. But my personal feelings don't really matter. What really matters in these stories is, is each woman with the right provider. So it's easy for us to sit here and assume the conclusion is that your last provider was bad or wrong. But the message is, she is wrong for you. And you had to have the wisdom and the insight and into intuition to know that because she was never going to know that or care if she was right or wrong for you. So for any listeners who like that, it's like good may, may you find that right provider and maybe others find the new providers, that's all it is, this is a matter of pairing, it's a matter of who is right for whom. And that's it. So you have to know yourself and you have to introduce them sufficiently to make that determination yourself. That's the takeaway I hope everyone is getting from this.
And to just to add to that, the reason that you knew that the first provider was wrong for you in the second provider was right for you is because of what you felt inside. At the end of each appointment. In the first visit, you felt unheard, you felt disrespected. You felt mistreated. And the second appointment you had you were filled with a joy and a comfort and a happiness and a peaceful feeling. And that's really only need to look at to know if we're with the right person or not. Is that feeling inside of our body? What are we physically feeling? Not so much what we think is right or wrong? But how do we How does our body feel in that moment?
Yeah, I remember telling my husband when we were still going to the first provider, on the way to an appointment. I remember telling him I don't like feeling like this. I don't like feeling like I have to go in with my armor up. Or that I'm going to be uncomfortable there. I don't feel good going here. I don't and that was that was before, I think our last appointment where I said that's not the place for me. But it was really the feeling I felt uncomfortable or stressed out going to those appointments. And I remember telling him, I have so many of these appointments ahead of me. I don't want to feel like this every time.
When I left that appointment with him, I was still on the verge of home birth or hospital birth, I decided on the hospital birth for two reasons. One, I really loved my provider, and I really trusted him. But to I was very scared to do it. And I wasn't scared in the sense of like, the hospital is going to take something from me, I was scared in the sense of I don't know if I'm capable of giving birth in the hospital. And for me, what I needed was to put the final sentence and the period on this four year story of suffering and pain and fear, and not trusting myself, my mind or my body, obviously couldn't control my birth. But what I could control was my approach to it and my belief about myself, and my belief about my ability to do it. And so I wanted to go back in the hospital and rewrite the story, basically of like, where it all started with my first daughter, but also where it compounded with my surgery.
When you said the second reason was that you were afraid to do it. Did you mean that you were afraid to give birth in the hospital? And you felt the need to overcome that fear?
Yes. Okay. Yes. So, from there, I started prepping. And I learned my goal was to learn everything that would give me confidence. So I learned everything I could not only about the physiology of birth, but the research on every intervention and test and anything that could come my way. Between then and the birth, I wanted to fully equip myself to deal with it. So fast forward a bit. And that brings me to the actual birth. I was 42 and three, so I was pretty far along when I went into labor. And I should say that I two things that happened during my pregnancy one I had very, very significant Braxton Hicks contractions, my entire pregnancy, like in starting in the first trimester. And the other thing that happened was that I was GBS positive, my entire pregnancy. So it was in my urine, which of course meant that there was a little bit more of a risk with not receiving antibiotics, but not receiving antibiotics. And not having an IV was one of my policies. I referred to my birth plan my whole pregnancy as my birth policies since I was giving birth in the hospital. But that was one part is That's brilliant.
I figured if I'm going to give birth there, I will use their lingo. So they were my birth policy, write that down. People write that down. Policies. These are my birth policies.
Yes. So that was a that was one of my top policies was no IV and, and no antibiotics. So at 42 and three, I had a non stress test that morning at my doctor. And I remember him coming in and he looked at the results and he said me you are having contractions are you? Are you worried? Are you good? Are you okay with those? And I was like, yeah, it's just another Thursday. I've been doing this for like nine months at this point. I'm not, they're fine. Because I had joked my whole pregnancy that I was going to miss early labor because of these annoying Braxton Hicks I had had. And I did. I missed early. That was early. That was my early labor. That was around 10 or 11 in the morning, and we went home. My husband was taking a nap. And I was just sitting with my daughter watching a movie and I was I started to notice it was getting they were getting a little bit more in a pattern than they had been. And around 2pm I think I started timing them. And they were about three or four minutes apart. And over a minute long at that point. But by 5pm I was in full active labor. We packed up and eventually made it there around seven I think I just remember there was no panic in any of it. And it was all so peaceful. And I had really you know, I had my mom was at my house for the beginning of labor. And she was like, Emma, you gotta, you gotta go, these are three minutes apart, you gotta go. And I was like, Mom, if I have the baby in the car, I have the baby in the car, everything is fine. And I just felt so strong in all of it. And I really just felt like my body had my back, you know? So we got to the hospital around seven. Transition started. And shortly after that, around eight, and around 830, I started telling my husband, I don't know, I don't know how much longer I have in me. I don't know how much more I can do.
I'll tell sign of being almost ready to give birth. Yes.
Which, if you're aware, listening, prep your husband because he was ready. And he was giving me little 10 minute increments to get to and encouraging me and just giving me like, I look just let's just do a few more babies. Like, let's just get to this point, you're so close. And that was so encouraging to me. But when I knew I was GBS positive, but I had this non negotiable non negotiable policy about no IV. My whole pregnancy, I visualized, I prayed over myself, I told my body that my waters would remain ink intact until it was time to start pushing. I spoke it out loud over my body. And at about 830, I felt my body I was in the shower with my husband. And I felt my body push. And I was like, I can't start pushing my waters haven't broken, something in me told me, you need to go lay down. I lay down on my side, and two or three pushes later, my waters broke. And I immediately it was it was go time from there. So that was around 930 ish. And my daughter was born at 1015. It was absolutely astounding and empowering. And I don't want to say it was an out of body experience, because I was just totally inside myself. But it was just nothing that I had ever experienced before. So she was born at 1015. And she was 11 pounds. I think I'm still totally pulling what this has done for me, like I think I'm still gathering from this experience, how it's changed me and what I've learned, but I can say the work I did, and then choosing to take that that radical responsibility and listen to myself about what I needed. This experience to teach me and then going headfirst into it has absolutely changed my life. I obviously would not recommend anybody have a baby like to heal your mental health. But I can say that you have more say, and more autonomy than you really even know. Because even even once I got into therapy and I was describing my postpartum experience, my therapist was like, yes, Emma, I need to validate you that that was what you're describing as postpartum depression. Even with that I still had all of these doubts in this like negative self talk of it. It wasn't it was it wasn't that bad. Like you, you were weak or you just weren't a good mom, I have gained so much grace for my past self and so much empathy that I wasn't weak or I wasn't a bad mom, I was really resilient and very strong to make it through all of that. And then then take responsibility for it and and be able to have this experience so it's it's been amazing.
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I started looking for podcasts. I think I started on Instagram and I just started I think I just searched natural childbirth. And I started looking at through all of these accounts and yours was one that I found and so I started following your Instagram and realized you had a podcast. So it was very early on in my second trimester and I listened to it I don't even basically all of them I listen to almost every episode that I could and I send it to every single person that I know that wants to have a baby.
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