#23 | Lisa Bass's Birth Story: In the Hospital, In a Car, and At Home

May 13, 2020

Our guest today is blogger and mother-of-six, Lisa Bass, who you may recognize by her social media platform Farmhouse on Boone. Lisa is the epitome of the modern-day natural living mother. She's making sourdough starter one moment and sewing her children's clothes the next, while wearing her baby in a sling and managing her multi-platform business. Her husband is home with her full-time, and they home school.

Today Lisa joins us to share how her six birth experiences evolved, from her highly medical first birth to a planned birth center birth, which resulted in an unassisted car birth while her husband drove 70 mph down the highway.

All three babies after that were born peacefully at home.

Lisa's story inspires the intuitive approach to finding the right provider and right birth space, where a mother feels her safest during labor and most at peace with her birth experience.

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You can sign up for Cynthia's HypnoBirthing classes as well as online breastfeeding classes and weekly postpartum support groups run by Cynthia & Trisha at HypnoBirthing of Connecticut

Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

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View Episode Transcript

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.

Welcome back. Our guest today is blogger, Mother of six Lisa Bass, who you may recognize by her social media platform Farmhouse on Boone. Lisa is the epitome of the modern day natural living mother. She's making sourdough starter one moment and selling her children's clothes the next while wearing her baby in a sling, and managing her multi platform business. Her husband is home with her full time and they homeschool. Today Lisa joins us to share how her six birth experiences evolved from her highly medical first birth to a planned birth center birth which resulted in an unassisted car birth while her husband drove 70 miles per hour down the highway. All three babies after that were born peacefully at home. Lisa story inspires the intuitive approach to finding the right provider and the right birth space where a mother feels her safest during labor and most at peace with her birth experience.

Hey, I am Lisa Bass. I am a blogger over at farmhouse on Boone calm. I am on Instagram @farmhouseonboone and I share frequently my family over on YouTube with a natural bed. So I do from scratch food, natural living. And my story began with all of that around the time that I had my first daughter, and with my, with my first birth with her is when I started going toward the natural world just because I put all of my trust with the birth of my first daughter without doing any research whatsoever. I just put myself into the hands of the way that things go now and ended up not having the best experience. So that's kind of where my story starts and where I decided to start navigating a more natural path for my family and my birth and all that kind of thing. I didn't go into it thinking, Oh, I'm going to do this in a really natural way actually didn't go into it with any experts. Or any research or anything at all, I was just thinking, I'm going to go and end up having a healthy baby. I didn't think about any of the things that could go wrong or how if I did things differently, maybe it would have been such a traumatic experience. So just to briefly describe how her birth went. I went in there in labor, I ended up having pitocin just to speed things up, which I didn't really know it was standard, so I didn't know too, I never had any reason to argue against it. Another another thing that came up later, which I didn't know at the time was I had been Group B strep, positive. And so they hooked me up to IV antibiotics. I had no idea any of the ramifications of that and they broke my water. And knowing now what I know to be laying there with water broken with the GPS was terrible, but I didn't know it at the time. And she ended up you know, almost animals had a C section with her heart rate was poor. People were giving me oxygen I was ready to pass out. It was very scary. And she had to be pulled out with forceps and an episiotomy. And I had no idea that birth could turn traumatic like that. I just expected it to go easily. And I hadn't prepared in any way whatsoever. So I just assumed that what would be best for me my baby was what was going to happen that I didn't need to advocate for myself in any way at all. That was, I assumed that it just would turn out how it showed and the only way that it would turn traumatic is if something actually bad happened. I didn't realize that that's kind of par for the course.

Yeah, your your birth story is sort of a classic case of a birth that's not fitting necessarily the standard expectation in a hospital environment and the cascade of interventions that that take place that can be Quickly lead to a birth outcome for the mother emotionally and psychologically, That's not at all what she had in mind. And it's not that your doctors and nurses didn't have your best interests in mind because they do. They just don't have all your interests in mind and that self advocate advocacy become so important.

And in without doing much research beyond this, I could just say, Well, I ended up with a healthy baby, I was healthy, there wasn't a C section. And to a lot of people, that's kind of where it stops. But I did end up finding out that there was a much better way but at the time, I even kind of believe that they saved her life because her cord had been in a true knot. But I ended up having a home birth later with a true knot. I actually am one of the weird people who's had that happen to me twice. I midwife said she's hardly ever seen it and it's happened to me two times. So I at the time believe that they saved her life. In that I didn't know that the pitocin or the epidural all of that would have caused the heart rate to plummet. I thought wow had I done this at home with a true not she would have been dead was what I believe. Yeah, I think that what I went through with my first is very much a regular and standard birth you come in, they give you pitocin to speed it up a little bit they break the water speed up a little bit. It's there was there really should have been a time crunch because she was I was progressing. I was only a day or two past my due date. She was good. Like everything should have been completely normal. I could have just labored but I think it was all just in an effort to speed it up. There was no there was no distress till the end.

It was just protocol and because she was you know, this is protocol to get the baby out as fast as we can. This is active management of labor, give the pitocin break the water, get ready just to speak because I was already in labor. That's what looking back at the time. I had no clue. I didn't know anything. But looking back, I was in labor. Why? Why were we doing pitocin? There was no reason for it. It wasn't like, my, my water had broken. Nope, they did that they did that around seven, I think there was no nothing about it that had any risk factors. I was a healthy, you know, she was healthy. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever.

So what was your process after this first birth? What was your process for educating yourself and learning and at what point did you start to shift your thinking and you went on to have five more babies after that. So yeah, walk us through your journey there.

Yeah. Well, I would say that first after she was born. I wasn't traumatized by it. I know that a lot of women have and this is just a personality type thing. I'm not a very emotional person. I wasn't thinking, you know, I didn't get the bar. I wanted this deep though that did not happen, what it and nothing against what people have that at all I completely understand having a desire for sort of birth and that not happening. For me it was more of a practical thing. After I started reading, you know, maybe some articles on I don't really remember what I read, I read some natural birth books, it probably didn't become super interesting to me until she was about 15 months and I was pregnant again. That's when it started to become interesting. And I was thinking, Okay, I hear people talk about natural birth. I'm going to look into this not because I'm traumatized, because I did get a healthy baby. But because it seems so chaotic, like she was about to die, and they were willing to be away for a C section. And more than anything else, I didn't want a C section and I realized that if I kept down that path it was going to happen. There was a lady at my church at the time, who had 12 kids and she had them all at home. And I was asking her, what did you do? How did you prepare and She taught me about the Bradley method. And that was, that, to me was a pivotal point when I read about taking control of it, so not putting all the trust to the doctor, they'll get the baby out of me, but I'm going to prepare to birth this child. And that is what I did with my second pregnancy. I was still under the care of an OB GYN I hadn't fully convinced myself to go the midwife route at that point. So predictably, of course, I feel like this happens every time. Something happens and at 38 weeks, they feel that she has IUGR. And so I'm instantly brought in --

Lisa, I'm sorry to interrupt you. I just want to make sure our listeners understand what IUGR stands for -- intrauterine growth restriction. So they felt that your baby was not growing correctly according -- and I'll never know if that was true or not. I can tell you that the four after her never had any issues whatsoever. They would pass the due date all that stuff. So I'll never know No. Was that based on an ultrasound? Or was that just based on fundal height? Or do you remember how they came to that it was first based on fundal height, which I can tell you from the last all my other babies that my fundal height is very weird. I'll have an eight pound 11 ounce baby, and I'll measure 36 weeks. So yes, it was based on fundal height, then they did a stress test, which shouldn't reveal the best results. So that is what it was based on. So again, I can't say I do know that she wasn't that small for being being evicted at 38 weeks. So I had prepared to have a natural birth I was set on it. Unlike my first child, I had done tons of research and I was going into this like I'm, you know, going to do this completely naturally and then I get thrown the curveball at 38 weeks that no you're actually going in today to get induced. And so I went in and they did the physical survival and With the Bradley method, I kind of convinced myself that I really didn't want anybody to know as a laborer, because I wanted to do the deep relaxation. So I was laying there in that hospital bed. And the server still kicked me into labor. But the nurses didn't know that because they were planning to let it sit there for 12 hours, come back the next day and do pitocin. But what I didn't tell them is that I was in labor. And so they at 5am, which was, you know, I get I got it at 9pm at 5am. My husband comes running out of the room, hey, my wife is pushing. They're like, What are you talking about? She's sitting there with cervical and I have her very Wow. So there was intervention because she was induced, but I other than the cervical I had her with no other interventions at all. No, peasy Atomy. And she actually was face up. So it it was interesting to me.

Yeah, sorry to interrupt you with a monitoring you at that point. They weren't aware that you were well actually there was a There was monitors on me, but nobody was coming in because it was, it was supposed to be that I was going to get the pitocin at 9am. So nobody knew. And I wasn't going to tell him. Yeah, so that. Yeah, it worked out really perfectly for me because it was it was looking like it wasn't going to do as I was getting induced. And this is just now here we go the whole thing again, and ended up about as little intervention as you could have given the circumstances. She was born at 38 weeks. She was six pounds, which isn't small for I mean, that's not that's not small. So I, you know, had you gone to 40 weeks, she probably would have been around eight pounds.

Right, exactly. So then because of that, I sought out a midwife for my third birth. I thought you know what it seems like no matter what I do, if I'm in this setting, even if I advocate for myself, it still seems like something comes up and then I'm scared and I you always want to listen provider, that's the thing I don't recommend not listening to provider. So if your provider is not bent towards the natural looking at other options, like I'm sure my midwife would have gotten me on to some kind of diet with IGR that was never mentioned at all. And so I realized that it really mattered who my provider was because I needed somebody to trust and listen to and if it was an OB GYN, I knew that I was going to end up with some reason why I couldn't go to the term not use pitocin, you know, all adds up.

Can I just jump in? And this is a question for you or Trisha but what is the justification for inducing a woman and getting a baby out early? Because of Iu? gR I just feel like it makes so little Can you explain that? Well, I think it was the combination of that. And then she had had that same day a non stress test that they didn't like the result that was chosen so that those two things together they felt they didn't want to wait so the baby is presumably safer out right? So if the placenta isn't isn't nourishing baby properly, it's actually just going to get worse.

And that wasn't they had a little inkling of it. They just said, Let's do this. Oh, yeah. And it went so and then it went so well.

It went well, and I can't, I can't say I regret it at all. It all went well. But I wonder what would have happened had I been with a midwife would they have said, let's let's up the protein. Let's look at what you are deficient in. And let's see if there's a way we can take a less drastic measure. But again, I ended up with a healthy baby, and so no complaints, but it did. It did push me to seek further outside of the hospital for the third because I realized that there was so much intervention with the first two. I wondered what would happen if I saw something a little bit more naturally so I I ended up with my third going with a midwife, but the plan was the birthing center. I wasn't ready to come all the way home at that point, which is funny now because I realized that the birth center is seriously a home birth that you drive down Because there isn't anything there that is no, it's not a hospital. It's just a home. At least it is for where we go. So with him, I prepared with the Bradley method. Again, I read the book, do the exercises, I was very prepared. And I went to 41 week, 41 weeks in one day, and I went into labor. And I played this denial game with myself where I was relaxing through my contractions so well, that I didn't even believe myself that I was in labor. I called my midwife around 11pm. And I said, I'm having contractions just like while you're talking through them. But to cut to the chase at 1am. I had my son on a system in the back of our van. We were driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour. So well, you weren't driving down the highway at 70 an hour while you gave birth right? Yeah, we were well my husband.

Did you literally have the baby while the car was in motion?

Yes. Yes. I literally what he said Should I pull over and I said No, because if you pull over in the baby's dead, what are you gonna do get there? You want to keep going? Wow, wait, can you take us back and go right into the details of this? Because Yeah, fascinating to me. I have never heard of a birth that quite went like that. And where's where's it just the two of you in the car? Yep. Just the two of you. So you have this baby on your own 100%. Okay, so tell us about this. I'm amazed.

Looking back. I was in transition when we were leaving the house, because I had had the most. The funny thing is, I don't know what is with labor denial. I was 41 weeks pregnant. So obviously I was going to have a baby at some point. I hadn't even packed my bag from the birthing center. So I was around midnight, I was throwing things in the bag. And I was telling Luke, I think this might actually truly be it. And I had my mom come over to stay with the other two kids. And when she got there, everything changed from intense intense contractions to I am pushing. So we were driving Pretty quickly we are about 30 minutes from where the birthing center is. We got pulled over about five minutes after we left our house because my husband was very scared because I was clearly not going to make it right you got pulled over what are you saying by a cop? Yeah, we got pulled over because he was going so fast.

So then the cop let you continue right let us continue. He looked in the backseat my water had just broken and then we got about another I called the midwife then I told her we're not going to make sure like just pant. I'm like, okay, but that's not gonna help. This panting especially would not help slow breathing would help. She said pant, as far as I remember.

Well, yeah, she was probably trying to get you tonight. bear down with the urge to bear down to pant. Okay, try that.

Yeah, I don't know. She told me to pant. And there there. There was another hospital on the way my husband was like, should I pull in there? I'm like, No, just go to the birth center. It's fine. And I mean, yeah, he came out in about three pushes. And I told him he should slow down because now we have a baby. So, my gosh, how far were you from the birth center? At that point? We were probably about 10 minutes. We were five, six miles down the highway. I would say at that point, the midwife came out and met us. she'd already she was already there. She met us in the parking lot with blankets because it was March and helped us in and I mean, everything went remarkably well. He was I just have to ask, did you need a new car?

Well, my husband probably wishes we could have thrown it away.

We had to deal with that the next day.

You were busy with the baby. I was busy with the baby. So that was his job. But you know what he did with the burgers? We just went in had the placenta than we were driving home in a few hours. And like did that just happen?

That's an incredible story.

It was so he slowed. He slowed down and you had 10 more minutes to the drive.

Yep, just holding him in the backseat. Yeah, and we hadn't found The gender It was our first time not doing that. And so I had two girls before and then this was a boy. So I was kind of announcing it from the back of the van. But yeah, it was. It was very interesting. Did you feel scared at any point? Did you feel scared?

I wasn't scared, I was really prepared. I knew what was happening because I did have the natural labor with Johanna the one before so I knew what I was feeling. I know what it feels like to push and all of that. So whenever I got to the pushing phase in the car, I was actually quite relieved because for me that's the that's the part where it's like almost over and it's almost pushing doesn't feel good, but it almost does because it's the end of the contractions. Is relieving. It is relieving is kind of mine. It is and so I actually To be honest, was not scared. I knew like I just I felt like it was all going really well and my midwife told emulator that usually babies aren't born that quickly unless everything's going to go well, like, usually if the positions wrong, it'll be slower. And so she, she wasn't concerned either. And so I, I was just like, oh god, he's, it's over with. So I was I was not wanting to make it either. Yeah, I was going to say exactly that when when birth is going well, and everything is going right. I think mothers intuitively know that and that's why you didn't feel scared because you in that moment knew what was happening. Yeah, what was happening, whether you liked it or not. So you you become very calm and focused. And that sort of like mother bear instinct just really kicks in and you just write very present and let it and let it happen. And really trust the trust the process.

That's exactly how it felt. And my husband he did obviously didn't have that same feeling so to him This was scary because we were having a baby in the car by ourselves. But ya know, I wasn't scared at all. Yeah, but that's what led me to home. I did number four, or number four, five and six, I did not want to leave again. I thought this that doesn't make any sense to leave.

So no, that probably would not have been a good plan to try to go anywhere. Once you're when your baby comes back quickly home is the place to do it.

Right. And the other three all came pretty easily as well.

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What were your thoughts about that, like as the birth you're planning to have at the birthing center and the births you did have at home? What were the differences? Did you? Well, were there any either were but it's hard for me to separate if it came from my confidence. You know, I'd already had three kids that already had two natural births. And I really had done a lot of reading a lot of research. And at this point, I felt pretty confident that I knew what I was doing. So it's hard for me to tell if it came from that but I will say you know, by like the sixth kid it's exciting to go into it. Labor it. It didn't feel scary. It didn't feel like, Oh, I need to figure out exactly. You know, when these contractions are coming in and make sure that I make it in time. It was a more laid back thing where I just felt like I was hanging out waiting for my baby to come.

Were you working with the same midwife?

Well, last three, I had the same midwife for the band birth and two home births up all three of those were the same midwife. And then we moved and I had a different midwife for my sixth one that I just had in October.

Lisa, with respect to that comparison between a birth center and home birth, what I was wondering about was whether you sensed that a greater degree of responsibility was required of you in order to have the home births because that was the lesson that I personally learned. Did you feel that your home birth midwives held you to some kind of higher level of responsibility in preparing for your birth than the birthing center?

Well, I will say that in all midwife instances, I felt that responsibility. My midwife that I had the birth nurse was she's a home birth midwife also. So I guess that's probably why it would be about the same but definitely felt that I took way more responsibility for it because I knew that there wasn't going to be any kind of if some, you know, there wasn't going to be an out not to be able to take me in the other room and cut me open really quickly, like there was there was going to be I need to do some preparation for this and I did that kind of medically to I had a group B strep positive for several births even in my urine. And I you know, I this is a controversial topic. I did quite a bit of preparation and probiotics and garlic and I ended up not needing to go there with antibiotics and I ended up even testing negative from So anyways, I took a lot of responsibility for those kind of things, whereas I feel like before it just would have been like, Oh, I need antibiotics given to me. I was prescribed them in the first trimester even and I, I knew how to get past that.

So yeah, I sometimes feel like midwives hold us to a greater degree of responsibility in that they seem to take a greater interest generally speaking in our nutrition, they seem to take a greater interest late in pregnancy as to whether the baby is well positioned because they can't so readily just say oh, well we'll just speed it up then we'll just we'll just do a C section so I feel like the whole preparation is so different and by the time you're full term planning home birth, so many little boxes have been checked off that indicate you're highly likely to have a safer and easier birth because they've taken all those precautions.

Definitely. I completely agree with that. That I I agree. I felt like with my with the OB GYN birth with my second daughter. She actually Was breech until 30. Right before I had her, and it felt like with her, if she's still breech, we'll just do a C section. Whereas with, with Daniel, my most recent one, the key was transplant transfer. Yes, transverse for a really long time. And the midwife had me doing all kinds of things. She said, we will get the baby's right position. Don't worry, there will be you know, we will work on this and she also had tested my iron and with my second daughter, the one that I had IE gr, we just let my iron get to a dangerously low level. I had no idea why I was craving ice like I was. And I do. I do agree that by the time you get to a home birth, usually you and your midwife have decided with a lot of with a lot of research with a lot of advocacy, you know, they make sure you're ready for it or they wouldn't do it and 99% of the time you can be --

That's a that's absolutely true. It's so much is about the holistic picture of things, the prevention, the steps you take. I wanted to ask you about that. If you ever have that fundal height issue again with any of the other all of them pregnancy, they all met at small

Yep, and all my my three boys after johannah were 878 10 811. Now Daniel, my most recent birth he was, he was smaller at 711. But none of them were small. None of them and I measured way behind.

You're just one of those women who measures small,I have a really long torso, which I guess has something to do with it. But yeah, it's I just tell the midwife now, don't even worry about the fundal height.

The important thing with fundal height is that it's continuing to move in the right direction. It's not so much about where you're measuring, I always measured also, I always measured at least three centimeters below where I supposed to be, but it was consistent. It's just The way your body is, right? Yeah. You know what I love that you said, Lisa, you said, Now I just tell them in life, don't even worry about the fundal height, you're in a position of telling the provider what to worry about what not to worry... Oh, and I am too because with my with my midwife that I had before the one one I have now or one with Danielle here, she was definitely more on the holistic side. Whereas the one before the one before that I had the other three babies with she was very from a very medical standpoint, even though she's a home birth midwife, but she prescribed me antibiotics in the first trimester with all three of them. And I was telling her, I'm not going to do that. And here's why. Like, that's fine. I don't support your decision. But you know, but then my other my other midwife, she was totally on the same page as me. But yeah, I got to the point where I had done enough research that I just knew what would work. What I needed, you know? Yeah, yeah, not only have you done enough research, but you also Birth your own baby on your own. Right. Yeah. And while that's not recommended, no, I think once once you do that though, once that has happened, your your trust and your confidence in your body and your knowing yourself and how your body works and how you birth is just so it's unshakable.

Yeah, that's true. By time Daniel came I was, I wasn't at all worried about it. Now he actually was different. So you think with the six, you know, it would just go so smooth, but he actually was in a difficult position until about five minutes before he was born. And she had me do the mile circuit. And he we completely repositioned him so that he could come out really easily, but if he was he did kind of throw me a little bit because all the other ones came out. So what position was he in?

Um, I believe he was facing my left my left hip, but he Okay, yeah, but he He came out fine, but we had to do what's called the mile circuit. Because I wasn't progressing. And that's another thing. That's why I love midwives and home birth, I'm positive, he would have been a C section because I was in labor with him for over 24 hours. And as soon as we started doing some of these positioning techniques, he came out within minutes. So, yeah, position is everything.

It really isn't. I never really had to face that, because all the other kids just did it on their own. But my sixth one taught me that so now I know that.

So what we would love to know is you not only have so much birth experience that has changed you with each with each subsequent birth. But that means you've had six unique postpartum experiences as well. What have you learned? What would you love to share about what you have? What would you love to say about postpartum,

I've learned I learned probably around the third, it had to be very intentional with a midwife led birth. Because I wasn't going to be in the hospital for two or three days or whatever, to get a lot of help. And to make sure that for two weeks, I like to stay in bed for two weeks now, I feel like sometimes it's one solid week and then a week of low low activity. But with my first I thought it was just a given to bleed for six weeks. But with Daniel, and with the others, I took more seriously. I bled for maybe just probably a week. And so low activity, resting laying their skin to skin with the baby. Very helpful for me, I just want to reiterate how important that is. And I'm so glad that you took that so seriously, it makes an incredible difference. I always told the woman whose birthday I attended that a minimum of 10 to 14 days in bed and we would actually Put a sign on the door for any visitors who came over that stated that, you know, mom and baby are staying in bed. And that investment in that period of time makes all the difference with your postpartum recovery and healing. One of the things that I found was so different about having a baby at home was the very early postpartum time, just being there with your family, in your own bed, in your own bedroom, eating a home cooked meal.

Yeah, with all the homeworks I obviously had three kids already, so to not have to completely disrupt everything. When I was in labor with Daniel, my most recent baby, all the kids were downstairs, everyone was here, we didn't really have to rush around and figure out who was going where because you never know when you're gonna go into labor. And just like usual I didn't and so I didn't have anybody here. I, my husband was here. But my mom wasn't here. But I have to wait for anybody. We were able to have the kids meet him right away. And then afterwards, the kids went back downstairs with my husband and we just took a nap. And you don't have to worry about constant interruptions. It's just that that relationship is developed. And you can just sit there and relax. Yeah, I absolutely love home birth for that reason, even even the birthing center. You have to whenever you're recovering, and you're, you know, recalling the birth, it's in your mind. Okay, we need to leave soon. We have a couple hours here. You're thinking about leaving, whereas you're just settling in when you have the baby at home?

Yeah, it really makes for a very peaceful transition for everybody. Yeah. And I also think it's a really wonderful way to introduce siblings to their new sibling. Yes, yes, everything feels so familiar. And it's just --

There's no barriers. No Yeah, it's home. So it's just so comfortable.

Yeah, I was even that way when I was in labor I was. I was in the mile circuit trying to get the baby right position. Probably about 10 minutes from having my baby and my my son who's six walked upstairs. Hey, Mom, have you seen mine? I'm like, buddy, I'm a little busy right now. But everything was just you know, nothing felt disrupted. It just was very familiar. I was just having a baby, no big deal. Which I like, because I don't like the all of that anticipation and craziness kind of almost even makes me more labor more painful because I'm anxious about I'm just in my normal environment.

And the experience is so normalized for your kids now that Oh, it is it have a baby home. It's just like, yeah, this is just this is just what birth is. It's just we have a baby and then we go back, back about our day in our home chores and things go on.

Pretty much yeah.

How long was your longest labor? How much did your biggest baby weigh? And what was the latest that you ever went into labor as far as Weeks Pregnant? So my longest labor was actually probably my six. I was in labor for about, I guess I was in regular labor with contractions 10 minutes apart or less for about 48 hours. It was a position issue. Now of course, all of that wasn't intense. Only probably the last half hour was intense. But it did keep me from sleeping and I wish I'd call my midwife sooner because as soon as she came over and had to do the miles circuit, everything changed. But that was my that was my longest but it still was a good experience. It didn't leave me traumatized or anything. It was all very, very manageable. my heaviest baby was 811. But I always tell people, it's not the size. It is the position Because my first two kids were both face up, they're both posterior. And I needed stitches. And it was all kinds of not comfortable. Whereas all four boys, I didn't need a single stitch and they were much, much larger. So people, you know, they become really scared. I'm going to have a nine pounder, like, I don't care about the weight, I can burn the 11 pounder if their head down and faced. Honestly, I know you're 100% right about that. That's exactly correct. There isn't any correlation between the weight of a baby and the ease or the outcome of the birth? No, yeah, it's Yeah, I just heard a story today of a woman who had a six pound 14 ounce baby delivered by forceps because the baby wasn't coming out easily. And then went on to have an almost nine pound baby without any tearing or the use of any type of intervention. So that would be my story. Exactly. Because My first was 615. And I had an episiotomy and forceps and then my boys were, I believe my heaviest was 811. It might have been 813 I can't remember. It was at least 811. And he was a breeze. I mean, not a breeze, none were a breeze, but I didn't need stitches. So, and I also think the head circumference matters, too. And I had to 14 or Yeah, 14 inches. But again, they were in the right position, so it was fine. And what was the latest who ever went into labor? Um, the latest I went into labor was already one and two. Oh, yeah. No, no. And actually, and actually, my last baby Daniel was only two days past his due date. And my fifth was only two days past his due date. So my intended actually come on time. Pretty much.

So what do you really want to tell women? What do you think is the best advice you can give a woman who's Pregnant for the first time, what would you have to say to her?

I would say to research, don't take anything for granted. Don't think that you're going to have this amazing birthing experience if you weren't going to put any work into it. And it does matter. Like I said before, I'm not a super emotional person, but having an empowering birth experience is still important to me because it just it go, it's such a fond memory. And I prepared for all of them not not for Daniel because I just felt really busy. But I still, I still actually did, I listened to a lot of birth stories. I became familiar with birth and what was going to happen and I think that is more important than anything else. And then in the postpartum phase in the fourth trimester, as they call it. Don't worry about the rules because with my first daughter, I made her first three months not very fun, because I was so worried about getting on a schedule and all Have the rules. And then I threw all of those away with the other five. And I actually love having a newborn. It's not exhausting. It's just enjoyable. And I just attribute that to just spoiling them like crazy because you can't spoil a newborn just put them in the wrap all day cuddle them.

Can you can you give us a little bit more detail on some of the things that you did or what your lifestyle was like? With your newborn that it you really felt like it wasn't an exhausting experience for you. Just Just walk us through? Yeah, some of the things that helped.

What helps me more than anything is using nursing to comfort so not worrying about them falling asleep at the breast, I actually utilize that as a tool. Using babywearing using co sleeping, just keeping them on you is what they want. And so it comforts them and it makes you life easier because if they want to be held at all times, it's just the stressful thing trying to get them Don't worry about a schedule. Just, they will be a newborn for seriously three months and it's over with. So just soak up every moment and just keep them with you. And I think just keeping them close is what makes it so easy.

I would definitely agree with you on that.

Lisa, we just published an episode where Trisha and I are talking about some of the most important questions to ask your provider when you first become pregnant and start visiting with them. Whether that is an obstetrician or a midwife, in your own experience, because when women are really informed and have this degree of responsibility, the questions do deviate from the really generic, standard questions most women think of, in your mind, what do you think are some of the most important questions to ask a provider when you're first interviewing them to determine if they're there right for you?

I probably would ask them how long we let me go customers Due Date. If it's if it's 41 weeks and out, I would definitely not continue. Because with that, I guess two of mine would have been induced for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I would I mean, I don't know, it's probably cliche to say that after c section right, but I would, I would was our first one.

Okay, first one.

It's, it's cliche because it's extremely important.

Yeah, she just named my own top two that I tell my own clients. Okay, exactly. hit the nail on the head that are that are top of mind for me.

Okay, so any others? I'm not No, I can't think of what else I would ask. I mean, that would probably end up weeding out most of them to be honest with you, because everyone around me I know, ends up getting induced at 41 weeks and I'm like, but but most of them come at 41. And what my midwife told me that the average pregnancy is actually 41 and one, so they're just almost ready to come and then that happens. So Those are exactly the the top two questions, I think that really determine how a birth goes and for all the things that women worry about when they take a good childbirth class and spend all this time reading and preparing themselves. So many of them don't realize that these common practices and protocols tend to be what really get in the way of the birth that they're planning more than the unusual circumstances that they're afraid of.

Right. I, I agree. I feel like most new moms I talked to are soon to be moms. They're always convinced they're going to go early, my ob gyn said that I'm dilated, I'm going to go early, and like don't get your hopes up. And please be prepared to go past it because that is the first thing to sabotage it as soon as you start throwing interventions at it at that 41 week mark. That's when and I've had so many moms Tell me Well, I don't go into labor and I'm like, when did you get into like 41 am I see you don't know. You really will go into labor. Oh, that's a hot topic. For me, because it's just so mind blowing.

There's really something to the trust that we develop in ourselves in birthing our babies and how that influences the trust we have in ourselves as mothers and the decisions that we make as a mother. Yes.

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I would just leave mothers with to do research become informed because I actually received whenever Daniel after he was born, I received a onesy. That said, babies are not pizzas, they're not born. They're, they're born not delivered. And the message behind that is just to inform yourself advocate for yourself so that even if you don't want a birth at home or even without an epidural, just that you feel informed in the process. It is something that for me, after I had my first natural birth, my my daughter, the second one in the hospital, I think felt confident to throw away the rules and just mother more instinctually and I wore her and I co slept with her and just everything about the experience was more, I felt more confident as a mother.

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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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