#247 | The Birth of Fierce Lizzie: From Rule Follower to Autonomy Advocate

January 10, 2024

Lizzie Bolliger, aka Fierce Lizzie on Instagram, wasn't always fierce. She went into her first birth experience knowing very little other than that she want an unmedicated vaginal birth.  After experiencing premature rupture of membranes, her first birth resulted in Pitocin augmentation and then meconium aspiration, resulting in her baby being taken away from her for the first fifteen hours of life. The second time around, she figured she knew enough to avoid an epidural and Pitocin but still passed on reading, educating or preparing for birth, for the most part. While she achieved an unmedicated vaginal birth, she saw it didn't come without challenges, and she began to deeply question the modern birth industry. In what she calls her postpartum mental breakdown, one day she arrived at her school job and literally couldn't bring herself to enter the building. This "crash" because the turning point that opened Lizzie's eyes and ultimately led to her leaving her teaching job and going full-steam ahead into birth work as a doula and educator. Today, she shares the details of her journey from "good girl" to fierce, autonomous, and unapologetic Lizzie. 

#146 | Finding Autonomy and Asserting Your Birth Plan with Fierce Lizzie

 Fierce Lizzie on Instagram

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I get a new nurse. And she said exactly what you said, Trisha, she said, If cord prolapse was going to happen is going to happen. Like you don't need to be in bed, you can get up and move around. So the reason she said I could get out of bed was because she brought the PIP machine in. I think I did wait for her permission, though. You know, good girl mentality over here, like rule follower. This is not what I had wasn't very sleazy yet.

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.

I am so happy to be here with you guys. Today's Cynthia and Trisha. My name is Lizzie aka fierce Lizzy onlines my online persona that I try to channel in real life too. And this isn't my first time on your show. So I was on the show previously, episode 146 If you want to go listen, we talked about autonomy and really like asserting and being fierce about your birth plan. But today we're going to I'm gonna share my my personal birth stories and kind of how that led me to where I am today in the birth world.

Can you also just say your last name first, Lizzie?

Oh, yeah, that was my favorite outtake we've ever had. And learning how to say your name is my favorite outtake?

So yeah, like we'll just get this on the record again, too. So Lizzie Bolliger.

I maybe that's why it's ball and not bowl because every time someone starts with bowl, they go into labor? Yeah, I don't know. All right.

Let me see. I just wanted to make sure we had that on the record. Before we begin very important things. Okay, so I'm going to try to remember details because this was my oldest is 10. So this was over 10 years ago. And birth is already fuzzy, like, you know, it's hard to remember some of the details. But with my first I went into birth, really trusting my body, and trusting that I could birth this baby, I distinctly remember my mother telling me like, all you have to do is tell yourself that you can do it. And as soon as that baby's out, the pain will be gone. And that's what she told me and I was like, Cool, I can do that I read a HypnoBirthing book, I had a big belief in my in my body. And I was so underprepared for what birth was going to be like, at this point. I didn't know anything about home birth. So of course, I was in a hospital. I was in a military hospital. And my mom, my mom was actually there. So my husband at the time was deployed. So it's just me and my mom and my little sister. And I walk into the hospital. And this is the first introduction into the military hospital, I walk in, and this will be forever in my brain, this big, large OB comes up to me and says, because my Waters had broken and so my waters broke, and I went, I ate dinner and went in right away, right? I don't know anything about birth. Other than that I want an unmedicated birth. As soon as I get there, and he knows my waters are broken, he says, We need to start you on Pitocin we need to get this baby out in 12 hours. And that was my first experience having to advocate for what I wanted. You know, I think a lot of women have never really been in the medical system, you know, knock on wood, thankfully, like, We're blessed to have, you know, these healthy lives and then we get thrown into the medical system. And we don't even know how to navigate that. But I knew enough to know that I didn't like I wanted my body to do its job. So I was like, I felt so tiny, like the biggest I've ever been. And I felt so small and I was like, I really would just like to see if my body will they'll start labor on its own. And he said okay, well then you have 24 hours and he was so quick to change that time limit on me.

And so he went from 12 to 24 like nothing. Yeah, he was just, he was just being pushy. And I said no, you know, and then he changed his tune. And lucky for me, I don't know how long he was there. But very shortly after I was admitted, there was a shift change. And I the midwife that I loved that I had like requested for all my appointments she came in, and really I attribute me getting through without the A girl to her. But I still had like every single hospital intervention along the way. So I declined. Did labor on my own for I don't even know how many hours but it got to a certain point where I was seven centimeters. So you know, all the cervical checks happening even though my waters are broken. I was at seven centimeters. They come back in a couple hours, they checked me again, you're still at seven centimeters I quote unquote stuck, right? I'm stuck at seven centimeters. It hasn't even been 24 hours yet. I don't know. I don't know what time this was. But I remember being stuck at seven. And I don't know how they word. I don't know, if they asked like you have the option to keep going you I think it was just implied that we need to start Pitocin because you're stuck. So I ended up still on Pitocin. And I always kind of explained, I always thought that my labor was so hard because of the Pitocin. But when we get into my second birth, and I'll just SPOILER ALERT this part, but it was just as hard. So I don't know, maybe it was a really conservative amount of Pitocin I have no idea. But on a Pitocin I did ask for the epidural I made my mom call the nurse I was because I knew I didn't want it. I didn't want it. But I wanted it you know, it was getting so tough. And I had my mom call the nurse and and ask for the epidural and the midwife came in. And I was trying to like rest and lay down and she was so I was like, you know, you're so close. And this we can stay on your birth plan if you just keep going a little bit longer. So it really truly was her. That got me through to the end with no epidural. But yeah, so on the Pitocin we definitely did some poached pushing at this point. I do remember them being really concerned with the monitors. They were like, Oh, the monitors like oh, you're in the shower, because I wanted to be in the shower the whole time. And the we have to fix the monitor. So I'm not sure if there was some fetal distress going on. Or if they were just being how they are you obsessed with the fetal monitor? Yeah, just really pulling like in the dark. You know, like I didn't know what was going on when you have when you have continuous fetal monitoring. That is what they become completely focused on. Everything becomes about watching that strip and looking for deviations from normal. A lot of the focus is then taken off you and it just like honing in somebody sitting in the nurse's station just eyes glued to that monitor. Yeah, I really believe if there had been fetal distress they would have been happy to tell you that and to India have some other intervention but as Trisha was saying, when there's continuous monitoring, the way I see it is that the monitor becomes the focal point the monitor becomes the patient in essence we have to manage the monitor the monitor has to be in the right position we have to get the feedback from the monitor it's no like mother is brushed aside wait you can't go to the bathroom right now. You can't go in the shower the monitor but the monitors needs because that's what they're focusing on more than the woman and I have many opposition's to electronic fetal monitoring. They're really not they're not they're not evidence based for low risk women. But one of the biggest ones is that we all pay attention to it you can have a woman in labor who's now got her focus on the monitor you can have her partner now focus on the monitor so it's highly distracting at best. So my guess is you didn't have fetal distress or you would have heard about it but what any what happened right right so then so and I also had there was meconium so from the from the start of waters breaking there it was meconium stained waters and then so with the with the pushing, you know, I said I didn't want to be on my back I we did do some like squatting and but they were boy were they rushing me right? Because they're like, Well, you know, you're not really being effective with your pushing because I wasn't doing coach pushing. I was just trying to get through the contractions honestly, right. And just breathing and so I do remember at one point like squatting on the side of the bed and then saying, you know, you're not making you're not making any progress. It's not effective. And we ended up pushing with me on my back. I don't know if I was quite in like lithotomy position, but we were doing like a tug of war. So she had the midwife had a sheet and I had the sheet and I was pulling and I just remember them like really rushing me like they wanted to get this baby out. At this point. I am like you know, just trying to push for specials on my mind. There's all these people coming in the room, right because the meconium stained fluids and all these strangers I remember a man like introducing himself to me as I'm butt naked on the bed like pushing my baby out. It's so strange. And then when she came out, they immediately you know, cut the cord and took her and this part was so like such an out of body experience, all my pain is gone. The midwife is stitching me up because I did tear. They're working on my baby over there. Nobody's telling me what's going on. I look over to my mom and my mom looks terrified like she because she had like a different point of view than me. They ended up bagging her. I think that's what it's called. So she did she aspirated on the meconium. And they took her and they didn't I don't think they had a NICU but they took her over to the nursery and they put her in antibiotics and oxygen and I didn't even see her. She was born at four in the afternoon. I don't think I saw her until the next morning.

You didn't see her until the next morning. I can't remember maybe that maybe I didn't hold her till the next morning. Maybe I went and saw her but I didn't actually physically pick her up and hold her. So till the next so

you didn't have skin skin after birth. You didn't have latching at the breast. She wasn't. She was so taken right at birth.

She aspirated she did aspirate. I mean, I don't they I don't know. She didn't cry for a while. I didn't see anything they had to like they said they had to bag her I don't know. So that's what that's one of the first steps of resuscitation.

So what is it explain what it is. It's

it's ventilation, positive pressure, it's a little bag, they put over the mouth, like CPR, but with the bag. Instead of somebody blowing into the mouth, they use a bag to help inflate her lungs because she wasn't transitioning to extra uterine breathing.

So So yeah, that and I always say it's like, okay, I got to my goal. My goal, I walked in and said, I had a big belief and burn, I don't want an epidural. And I achieved that. But look, they like, who knows, who knows if she would have aspirated, but you know, we can also point at the Pitocin that I was on, because that can increase the risk of aspiration. So really, can I say is this is this fallston thing, like, they ruined like the most important part of my birth for me. Right? So I'm having that belief really like wasn't enough, right. But it took me really learning to go back and reflect on that experience, and even know how, like wrong it was. So Oh, and the funny thing is, too, she was born exactly 21 hours after my waters broke. So they still got their their wishes have a baby being out in 24 hours. So wait in how many hours and every time the hours before you started Pitocin that I don't remember. So I got to seven, seven centimeters. And I walked in with like hardly any contractions. So I think I was I think I was only on Pitocin, maybe for four or five hours, probably.

But if you were seven centimeters, you were, obviously your body was doing its job without the Pitocin.

And I just also want listeners to know that there is no such thing as quote stuck. And when we tell women, they're stuck, it doesn't mean anything, it's important to replace that word in your mind, because it's intimidating. And we do feel like we need help when we hear it. But it isn't true at all. And there are reasons that labor stalls. It's an art, it isn't a science, it can stall for hours at a certain point. That's why we're not fans of vaginal exams to begin with, it's better off not having the information. But you know, babies can take a break. I mean, they're laboring as well, and they can take a break and they can rest and they can sleep and they can they are still fine and safe in there, no matter how long it is taking them. So that excuse for a Pitocin is something we don't want to we don't want don't want women to think is really legitimate because it is not a good and look at what happened. All of this could have been specifically because of the Pitocin.

Really? Yeah, absolutely. And, and I was I was quote unquote, stuck because they were looking at that 24 hour clock which achieved their goal, you know. So that was my first experience it you know, quick and quick and dirty version. And then five years later, I'm pregnant again. And I am so cocky like I don't know if I'm busy because I have like a kid and a full time job now and or what but I'm like, I did it. I did it once I can do it again. And I literally did nothing. I didn't read any birth books. I did nothing. I didn't take a class. The only thing I did was tour the hospital. So it was like a brand new woman's center attached to the hospital. And so I went into tour it and it was great, right new facility. The woman that did the tour was the hospital. She's a nurse, but she's also an ibclc and she's great. She runs like a bi weekly breastfeeding support group. wonderful woman. She's showing me all this awesome stuff. She's like, Oh, yeah, you want to you're gonna go natural. Cool. We've got this. We've got this. We've got Got the squat bar, we've got the peanut balls. We've got this. Look at the shower. It has a little jet right here. So you can sit on the bench and up the jet on your back and she's just hyping me up. She even like recommended a pediatrician. She's okay. I think I know which pediatrician you want to see in town. Right? So I'm like, this is going to be so good. But guess who's not there when I walk into the hospital? She's not there. Okay, so we actually walked in. Again, my waters broke, my waters broke at 11 o'clock at night, I still don't know anything, went straight into the hospital because that's what I'm told to do. Like contractions haven't even started yet. It's New Year's Eve, at 11 o'clock. So we're driving into the hospital. It's midnight, there's fireworks going off. We're so excited, raring to go have our baby. And we walk into l&d and they're literally having a party, like they have party hats on. They have like food cake. And I have this older nurse assigned to me. So they confirm that it's fluids. I go in, and she's like, well, with with rupture of membranes, you know, it's really dangerous to be up and walking around. Because you could cord prolapse, and I've seen a cord prolapse and you don't want to do that. It's so scary. I'm pretty sure she even told me she's like, I had to stick my hand in that in that mother. And then we had to go we'll into the alar. So you better just stay in this bed. I guess she doesn't understand how cord prolapse happens.

Explain. Explain? Well, I mean, yes, there is a risk when when a woman's water breaks that if the baby's not in optimal position, there's space that the cord could come out with the gush of water. So it is, you know, generally recommended that after water breaks, you check for fetal heart rate and make sure that you know that hasn't happened. That's just kind of like, standard. But after your water has been broken, it's not like being upright and walking around that the cord is just going to fall out at any moment.

Well, plus the head is there. Typically it's filling up. Yes. So that's why it doesn't happen because the baby's well positioned. But if a baby's not well positioned, if the head is not engaged, if the baby's transverse, if the baby's breech, these are all risks for, you know, the increase the risk of cord prolapse. But just to say that, because your water's broken, you can't be up and moving this this ridiculous, did she achieve her goal of scaring you? When she said that? Because that that kind of conversation is effective. Even when our head knows better. You're still looking at someone who looks honest, they look sincere, and they Oh, believe me, you don't want that to happen. And we immediately visualize it happening. And we feel like help me save me. What do I have to do? So like, did it did it have that effect of scaring you?

i. So this was what went through my mind at that point. So maybe I knew a little bit more than I'm like, when I was leaving on. But in my brain, I was like, Okay, well, my waters are broken. It's 1am. At this point, labor hasn't started. I'm an early labor, I'm just going to relax, like I'm gonna lay down and try to sleep. So I wasn't necessarily I can't remember if I was scared or not. But I remember having that thought process like, okay, that's fine. I'll just lay down and I'll try to rest. And I let my husband sleep on the crappy little couch. And then here, here comes 6am. And we have like a shift change, right? And so I get, I get a new nurse. And she said exactly what you said, Trisha, she said, If cord prolapse was going to happen is going to happen. Like you don't need to be in bed, you can get up and move around. So I think I did wait for her permission, though. You know, good girl mentality over here, like rule follower. This is not what I had wasn't fiercely the yet. Don't know anything. So at that point with that with that new nurse, I did get up out of bed and I labor still hadn't really kicked off. I remember, like, I took a selfie of myself at 6am the timestamp was like 6am and I'm in the bathroom. I have the hospital gown on and then I don't know what happened after that shortly after that. Labor starts. And the reason she said I could get out of bed is because she brought the pit machine in. So I had been laying down for six hours in early labor. And she says contractions aren't really picking up and she brought she like brought in the pit like pump. And she was like we you know, you want we might want to she did ask me she was like we might want to start some Pitocin and she must have saw the look on my face. Because that was my goal. That was my new goal. No epidural. No Pitocin that was it. That's all I was going for. And she wants to saw the look on my face because she was like, Well, you know, you don't have to and then I and then I said well, can I you know, maybe I get up and walk around. I knew that much from the previous midwife that I had at the hospital and then she That's when she said I could get out of the bed and we didn't. That's what I did. I got up and walked around, and my baby was born. So that was at 6am. And then he was born at 1pm. So like a really fast labor, if you think about it, you had no Pitocin that second time, I had no camp so and it wasn't like nice of her to offer it, she was falling, she was barely barely following the laws of informed consent by even hinting that you had a choice she had to do actually far more than that to actually follow the law. But that's that little whisper of you're having a choice spared you. And how many women if they even had the first little 10% of the provider following informed consent laws, would they decline and we would, it would help so many women, I do want our listeners to know that when your membranes release, first of all, it's not too common for women to have that experience multiple times and only about 10% of the time. So for tapping, I would have two births that's like one to 2% at a time for one woman to have it for her first two births. But um, I want to just let everyone know that when your membranes release it doesn't mean you need to go to the hospital and this is typically what happens you go there they you all believe in early labor or and or your OB believe it's kind of unproductive, and then they bring in the Pitocin. when really you need to be home resting, drinking water, etc. Even ACOG is saying don't go to the hospital when your membranes released. There's no rush. We're talking GBS negative. Are you aware of that now? Do you look back on that differently and feel like you would have stayed home now? Rather than going right to the hospital?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, and I also was GBS positive with with so that is an exception to what we're saying that now you do have higher we're facing higher risk if the baby isn't born within 18 hours of the membranes releasing. So there is that now there's a little bit of a clock. Yeah.

Yeah. And I was trying to think I was like, Why was I hooked up to the the IV pole, but that was a that was the antibiotics and the antibiotics were like, so uncomfortable. I was so shocked. I remember thinking, how am I going to birth this baby medicated this antibiotics burns so bad going in? It? Yeah, it does. They can slow it down. They can slow the drip down. So I had probably what three doses of that because they would have dosed me like right when I got there. And then a couple more times. So that birth again, I got to my goal of unmedicated. But I was told to stay in bed. I was almost given Pitocin. I coached pushing again, you know, and I've got my back and legs. Yep. Yeah, yeah, I think so. So with this baby, the coach pushing, it was so they, I mean, they were doing the whole nine, like, hold your breath, pull your legs, I burst every blood vessel in my face. So I looked like I had, I already have a face full of freckles. But I had like my full face of all the blood vessels look like I had, you know, 10 times the freckles that I naturally have. Which is like, cool. My swollen face because I had all these fluids from the antibiotics and all these broken blood vessels, like the pictures of me with holding him that time. I'm like, I don't like them. Like they just, you know, you were forced to do something that was uncomfortable unnatural. And then you had you had consequences of it from and that's, that's avoidable. Yeah. Can we just acknowledge how very cool it is that he was born on January 1?

Yes, it's such a cool birthday. He's my New Year's Day baby. And that's the one of the least populated birthdays because of all the inductions the week before. Oh, and here's the funny thing, too, is I had an OB that time, we didn't have any midwives in town. So I would have had to like one No, no what I was doing and to like, go have that that desire to search like to travel right for my birth. Again, I didn't know anything. But he he missed my birth because it was New Year's, and he was coming back New Year's Day. And he I guess was already back in town. He missed me. And there was two other moms or maybe it was three other moms all his clients that he missed all born on your stay. So we didn't even have the first baby of the year, which we thought we were going to have but we didn't they beat they beat me to it. Um, and then okay, so I have these two birth experiences where I technically reached my goal both times right? No epidural for the first no epidural, no Pitocin for the second. And still, I'm kind of left while I get pregnant again, which is what's getting kind of my mind moving and it was actually the second birth and the second postpartum experience that propelled me into doula work. So it was this I mean, this is a Long story in itself in a combo of not great experiences with trying to go back to work, which led to a mental breakdown. Reasonably, you can't just yada yada. Mental breakdown. Are you serious? Oh, smarter.

Did you action? Yeah. So about what so? So Well, I mean, all of these things, right? It was I went back to work, I think he was like four months old. And I never did that with my with my daughter. I stayed home for a whole year, you know, almost like a year and a half, I stayed home. And then I had like, started my career. And now I'm trying to go back to my career as a mom of two. Because I just it wasn't, I wasn't handling it. Well, I was trying to pump pumping wasn't going well. I was just so skinny, because I was so stressed out and I was losing all this weight. And I lasted, I lasted because I was a teacher. So I went back for like a month. And then we had break. And then I tried to go back in the fall. And I lasted six weeks. And when I did have a mental breakdown, I went to work and I couldn't go into work. I could not get out of my car and walk into my classroom. I also didn't like my job.

What happened? What do you mean, you couldn't walk? And just Just what was happening for you? Did you start crying? Did you freeze? What happened? Oh, yeah, I was crying on my way to work almost every day for probably a month. before. Before this, this instance. And this the it was on a Friday, my husband was out of town. So I had I think he was out of town. I think it had only he was supposed to be out of town for two weeks. So I'm not sure if I was the Friday at the end of two weeks of basically being like a single mom, who was already having a hard time before, you know, with with my husband there. Or if I did one week, and I mean crying every day going to work, not wanting to go not wanting to pump being overwhelmed, not wanting to even be at my job anymore. Wanting to be home, you know, and that event of that Friday where I drove to work, and then I left I didn't tell anyone where I was going. That was my mental breakdown. I mean, I had 30 kids standing outside my classroom, wondering like where their teacher was high school kids, so they're fine.

You're there for me.

What happened next? You just just finish out that story a little bit. You drove away from work? You got a call from the principal. So what happened? Did you quit that day? No, I
quit. i Yeah, basically, it was a long drawn out process of quitting, right? Because, um, so that day left, and they like, I turned my phone off because I didn't want anybody like knowing what was going on. And I mean, cry for help, right? Like somebody helped me. I know, like they call it they tried to call my phone and then they called my mom who's my emergency contact, and my mom called me. And then I didn't drive very far I drove, I drove just like, where the our school was located is like on the edge of town, and my sister just lives like, like, 20 minutes away, and I drove I ended up driving to her house and just crying on her couch. I'm gonna I don't want to cry now, because I'm gonna not be able to talk. But um what we did, like with my job is I, next week, don't show up, we got you covered for next week. This is fine, we'll figure out what to do. And I ended up like, I actually had an appointment with my OB for something else. I can't even remember. So I was like, Cool. Next week, I have this appointment, I'm gonna go talk to him, I found out through like the union that you can get leave. It's like FMLA. So leave if you have postpartum depression, to recover. And so I went to him. And I said, Look, here's what's happening. I can't do this. I'm crying in his office, he's handing me a tissue. I just need you to write a note so that I can take some leave. Like I just need a break. Like I can't be at work. And he said, Well, this is how it is being a mom. And I can write you a prescription for Zoloft on what he said. And that was on Thursday, and he just like crushed. crushed me. Like I was like, That's it. This is the end of the road like I have to go to work into it, you know, on Monday, like what am I going to do? And I called my mom and she said absolutely not. She's like, Go find someone that will write you that note. And so I ended up calling a naturopath and she just happened to have an appointment that next day. It It was like divine. And so I went and saw her. And I mean, if anyone's never had an appointment with a naturopath or like a midwife the difference night and day, her response was, wow, like, of course you're feeling this way. And what do you think is going on? And what do you think you need, as she's just writing my note, no problem, you know. So got the note went on the extended leave, I took six weeks, and then at the end of six weeks, I was like, I can't go back. And at the at that at that week that I was supposed to go back, my husband, actually, his job changed. And he was going to be commuting full time for work, where he would leave on a Monday and come back on a Thursday, and I said, Oh, heck, no, like, there's no way there's no way that I can do this. And so I went back into HR and, and ended up taking a leave of absence, until the next school year. And then I found out I was pregnant again, like a month or two after that. And then we were also moving. So then at that point, I resigned. And it was that experience, though, that that made me become a doula. And that nap now. That's what I do. I never went back to teaching like you were coping and coping and keeping your chin up and going through the motions. And finally, you have these moments where like, everything, just all the layers peel off, and it's like, Alright, maybe I need to get honest about this experience that I just drew.

Oh, absolutely. And it was such a long drawn out process. When I knew from like, day one, it was, I don't want to be here, but I had to like, take the lead. And then take a leave of absence. And then because I didn't want to disappoint my job. Like, please, you know, they had me replaced like that, and I don't even exist to them anymore. Anyways, the best thing that could have ever happened to me, because it's all of those things put me exactly where I am right now. Where I get to work with women and be a doula and I get to homeschool my kids. And those are all things I dreamed about when I had well, maybe not being a doula, because I didn't know what a doula was right when I was when I had my first child, but I always wanted to homeschool. And now that experience really was what I needed. Because I was such a people pleaser, and I and I have to do the right thing. And I have to be good at my job. I needed that like shaking to make that huge. It's so I'm thankful for that experience.

It's so interesting what it takes for so many of us to make a course correction in life, you know, you probably knew in your heart for so long that you were in the wrong place. You know, this is little whispers is crying on the day on the way to work every day. And you probably knew that long before you even started crying on the way to work every day. It's like you just have to get to such an extreme place before we feel like we can give ourselves permission to make change, I guess because we feel like we're letting people down. Or we should be able to do it all or like you're obese common that, you know, gets ingrained in our brain. Oh, this is just what mom life is, you know, deal with it. Were you was your son only like six months old when you found out you're pregnant.

It was actually the day after his first birthday.

Okay. So becoming fierce.

Right? Okay. Yes, yes, I left my job, like started doula training, um, and was able to reflect back on those birth experiences and see like, Okay, what I thought was like, wow, I had this really empowering birth, like, it felt empowering. But like, really, if we look at what the definition of Empower is, it's like to give someone the authority, and I absolutely did not have the authority in any of those births. Right. It was my waters breaking have the authority, because we need to get the baby out in 24 hours, you know, everything that happened to me, and my birth was not a decision that I made. So when I was pregnant with my third and I'm in the birth world, I said, I'm having a home birth. There's no way I'm having a home birth like this, what we're doing, called the home birth midwife, and I lived in the Bay area of California, just to preface this, it was going to cost $7,000 out of pocket for my home birth. And I was like, I can't I can't pay $7,000 for homebirth. So, okay, I guess I'm gonna have this hospital birth now. And this time, I'm gonna do it the way that I want to do it. I'm not gonna let anyone push me around. It's going to be my way and that really also like drove me to like, do a lot more research and really like research the hospital birth and like, Okay, what does the home birth look like? And what does the hospital birth look like? And how can I get as close to I want with a home birth in that hospital setting. So that's what I ended up doing. I didn't even like call an OB until I was like 20 weeks when I wanted my, my 20 week scan. So they were pretty like, okay with me declining things, there was still some things that came up like, with my, with my glucose test, I was like, You know what? And I still am not fierce yet I still said, You know what, that's gonna make me sick, I'm gonna throw up. So is there an alternative? And they said, you'll be fine. Just eat something before. So there's still these things happening, you know, and I'm just kind of skirting by them as people pleasing, as like, as I can, you know, like, in the least confrontational way. And I ended up my waters didn't break. So that was good. My waters didn't break before labor started. And I ended up having a precipitous labor. So labor started, I was putting my son to bed, and he I nursed him through the whole pregnancy. He's nursing to sleep and like, oh, my gosh, I'm getting like all these contractions got up as soon as he fell asleep and went to the bathroom, and I had my bloody show. And then the contractions just started kind of like stacking up. And I ended up going in, I did get a cervical check when I was admitted. And I was two centimeters. And she says, you know, you can go home, you can walk around a little bit. She's like, well, let's just keep let's just monitor the baby for a little bit longer before we decide. And I'm like, lady, you're crazy. I am in transition. This does not feel like early labor. There's no way. I'm having shakes like this is transition. I'm like, What do I do? And then she kind of was like, well, like, it doesn't look like the baby's tolerating contractions very well, which I'm not exactly sure. I don't know, I don't know. But she that was her deciding factor of like, well, we can go ahead and admit you because it looks like baby's not managing contractions very well. So we get in to a room and I'm like, I need to be in that shower. I'd be like, like a beeline to the shower. And then I was like, I can't do this. I cannot do this. I asked for the epidural all three times with all my birth point when a woman is between eight and 10 centimeters reaching that that point of full dilation is often when happens all the time. Yes.

And I tell my clients is to like you will get to the point. You feel like giving up. I teach my clients, you may ask for a medication, you might say I'm out of here, it can also be conviction that you simply cannot do it. That's and it can manifest in many various Yes.

So anyways, as for the epidural will actually your complete. So that was 45 minutes after I was two centimeters. Wow. Like No wonder I felt like I couldn't do it. Look at what my brain is doing. Then I like pushed a little bit and she just flew right out. But yeah, and then they were like, Okay, well, we need to do your intake forms. After the baby was born, they like hadn't done anything yet. No time all so yeah. So, you know, that was really the best experience that that's what I wanted. I wanted to walk into the hospital. And I wanted her to be born like immediately I wanted to walk in ready to push. And that's exactly what happened. I mean, it could have been better. Like if I was at home, right? I still am like maybe if we get pregnant again, which is very likely to not happen. But yeah, I mean, just that it's possible to, to have a birth, that's more supportive of what you want in the hospital, that it is possible that you can do it. But you can't just like walk in expecting it to just happen,

it's really important that moms understand that and feel confident in their ability to do that. Because home birth is really not an option for many people for various reasons. It is possible to have a totally autonomous birth in the hospital, but it takes a lot of movement. It's not

just gonna happen by chance.

I mean, some people just get lucky. You know, there are some there's, there are those those cases you get the right nurse, you get the right day, you get the right circumstances of labor, and it's very low intervention. But most of the time, that is not the case. And you really do need to know how you're going to enter that space and what you're going to do to keep your power in your hands because at every step of the way somebody is trying to take it away from you.

Yeah, so when was fierce, Lizzie born? And I don't mean the brand. I mean, the woman you know, it was like this process like did it actually happen after your third birth when it all started to click? Or was it in your third pregnancy? When do you feel like fierce Lizzie was born?

I think it's like such a gradual thing. And I think it's still it's still happening like as I become older and wiser and have more experience and do more research. It's just this gradual shift from like, this is how you're supposed to do it to like Oh, On no wait what do what do I want? What do I want to do and I mean really every day I turned a little more into my my goal of my persona.

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.

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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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