#67: Leah's Birth Story: From Trauma to Triumph in Two Dramatically Different Births

December 9, 2020

Leah’s first-birth trauma began the moment she arrived at the hospital and continued during an unusually difficult, even dangerous  postpartum recovery period. She was the last person to believe her second baby would arrive quickly, vaginally and naturally among a joyful staff of midwives and nurses. In this episode, Leah discusses the details around her first birth: What happened, how she was treated, how she regained control over her provider relationship and healed herself mentally and emotionally before conceiving her second baby and facing her fears all over again. Leah's story is one of moving through her trauma and thriving in the aftermath.

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View Episode Transcript

I remember at that point, speaking up and saying, you know, this is something's not right. And you have to believe me and they said, Well, what are we doing right now? And I said, you're scratching my left pinky toe. And I think I'll never forget that for the rest of my life. And with that, on came my mask and I was knocked out and I had general anesthesia.

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 first met Leah brown when she started attending a monthly Syrian support group I hosted at my center where she spent two years coming about every month processing her traumatic c section, a trauma that began the moment she arrived at the hospital and continued during an unusually difficult, even dangerous recovery period. Leah would have been the last person to believe that her second baby would arrive quickly, vaginally and completely naturally among a joyful cheering staff of midwives and nurses. We do want our listeners to know that in this episode, we asked Leah to discuss the details around her first birth. What happened, how she was treated and disregarded and how she regained control over her provider relationship and healed herself mentally and emotionally before finally feeling ready and willing to conceive her second baby and face her immense fear of giving birth all over again. Leah's story is one of moving through the trauma and thriving in the aftermath.

My name is Leah Brown. And I have a four year old named Nathan and a one and a half year old named William. I've been married to my husband Dan for seven years. We actually did not plan to have our first he was a happy accident. We had gone down to Mexico, and we came back and we were pregnant.

Why is it always Mexico?

Tequila, there was a lot of tequila. Yeah, it was a fun trip, you know. And I remember coming back from Mexico, and there was a, we had a cinco demayo party. And then like three days later, I was supposed to go for a trip with my girlfriends and actually found out I was pregnant right before we kind of got on the plane that kind of set me off into a little bit of a whirlwind. We weren't planning on getting pregnant. So I was I was very happy. But I was young, none of my friends had kids. So I kind of felt like I was thrown for a loop and was was entering into my pregnancy a little bit behind the game like behind the eight ball. So what I did was I just I think I followed what most women do. We just went to my ob gyn said I'm pregnant and started following kind of the course of a medicalized birth from the beginning. I went to my appointments, I went to a traditional ob gyn, you know, tried to eat right, I was exercising the whole time, which is something that I'm I'm very active anyway, so I just continued that. And my my pregnancy was really unremarkable. I mean, like I gained the right amount of weight, I was happy. It was actually a pretty fun time, because I also found out at the same time that one of my friends who had gotten married right around that time, actually got pregnant right away surprise, too. So we kind of went into pregnancy, like while we were both really surprised, and we had each other thankfully, I ended up being overdue. I was eight days overdue, and I actually had him and which is really just right on time. I was right on time, especially for first baby. I was also thankful because I had had another friend who was being kind of pushed forward in her pregnancy to induce she was induced. So I remember going into my ob at the time and saying, I really don't want an induction i'm not i'm not up for this. And they said no, no, we're gonna let you go as long as possible. You know, we want this to be as natural as possible. And we don't we don't really think that that's going to give you the best outcome. So I I remember being pretty much in like a positive headspace about the practice I was in and I felt supported, had thought and also had gotten a doula to work with. I was trying everything to go into labor. I eventually went into labor. It was February 19. And my son was born on the 20th it was in the middle of the night, I was exhausted. The doula came over. And we called my ob and said, You know, I'm progressing nicely, when would you like us to come in, and he said, just stay home, you know, stay home as long as you possibly can, you're gonna be okay. Everything's gonna be okay just stay home as long as I possibly can probably like eight o'clock in the morning. So at that point, I probably been in labor for like, 10 hours, I went into the hospital, and I remember getting to the hospital. And the first thing that happened was a nurse met me at the nurse's stand, or station. And she yelled at me for waiting, quote, unquote, so long to come in. And she told me I was irresponsible. And for a person like me, that was all I needed to hear to be convinced that this was gonna go completely sideways. And I I was, I messed it up already. I actually think I had like, one of my first panic attacks in that moment. Because you know, you want so desperately for everything to go the right way. And then for somebody to tell you immediately that you're doing it the wrong way is just, it's a, it's a blow. And so I got into the room, and the doctor checked me, he said, You know, you're, you're a few centimeters. So you're progressing nicely. I'll come back in and a little bit, comes back in a little while later. And I had gotten to, I think I was at four when I came in, I was at maybe six then. And he said, Oh, you're already at six centimeters. This is amazing. You're gonna have this baby by lunchtime, I'm going to be back home with my kids. And I said, Okay, like, which is what really matters.

So I'm looking at the clock, right? And, and I'm thinking to myself very, very much like lunchtime, right? At lunchtime, I will have a baby, this will be over, I can get to lunchtime. And then lunchtime came and went. And I did not have a baby. And it was becoming extremely hard to tolerate what was going on and my contractions and I was having insane. What I now know is back labor at that point, I just thought like, it was labor. And I remember the doctor coming in and telling me, you know, you don't need to be a hero, you can just get an epidural. And I had at that point kept denying, I didn't want an epidural. epidural, I didn't want an epidural. And he said, You don't have to be a hero. Like I said, just just take the epidural, no one gets a gold star for birth. I remember saying to myself, fine at this point. Sure. So the anesthesiologist comes in, does my epidural and it works immediately. And so I say to myself, okay, you know, they were right, go with it. So I tried to sleep. My doula kept talking to me. The whole time, she was incessantly talking to me. I couldn't sleep. And then all of a sudden, the nurse comes running in the same nurse that had yelled at me. And she's now yelling at the doula. And she's saying to the doula, why aren't you paying attention? Why aren't you doing your job? The baby's having D cells. And the doula is like, that's not my job. Like I'm here for the mom. That's not my job. And so now there's this power struggle going on between this nurse and my doula, right. And she forcibly flips me over onto all fours. At that point, I promise you, I felt like the epidural line slipped out.

She just took you and moved you without -

Oh, yeah, just it's like, we have to do this. I'm pushed me pushed me onto all fours. So I'm on all fours and the baby's fine. And so she said, Okay, we're going to try and move you back. And when I moved back, almost instantly, I could feel the contractions coming back on one side of my body, I kept saying, you know, something is wrong with the epidural line, and something is wrong with the baby just feels like something is not right. And the nurse said, you know, late, this is labor, the doctor ended up coming back in, and he repeated that element. And I should say that sentiment of no one gets a gold star for birth a few times, you know, don't be a hero, don't don't try and make this any more difficult than it has to be. I really felt that I was being compelled to, to make decisions. That would be easier for the people around me not not what was best for me. And as a people pleaser, to be honest, I just started following along with what they were kind of pushing me to do. So I ended up going in for asteria. And I was given a local anesthesia. But because like I had said earlier, when the nurse had flipped me over the epidural line had fallen out, they use the same line for a local anesthesia, the local failed. So when they went to start the necessary and I could feel it. I remember at that point, speaking up and saying, you know, this is something's not right. And you have to believe me and they said, Well, what are we doing right now? And I said, you're scratching my left pinky toe. And I think I'll never forget that for the rest of my life. And with that, on came my mask and I was knocked out and I had general anesthesia. I woke up a few hours later, I had no baby around me. And I was alone in a recovery room with a nurse. And I said, I need to see my baby, where's my husband, Where's my baby? What happened and she said, You're fine, the baby's fine. You just need to stay calm, it's gonna be a little while before the baby can come in. And I remember I started like crying hysterically, as I think any mother really would, you know, you wait nine months to see this baby. And you work so hard. And you go through this traumatic incident of, of being unconscious during the birth, which I couldn't even conceptualize at that time. And I just wanted to see my baby. And I didn't even know the gender at that point. I didn't know what we were having. And she said, Your son is fine. And so I found out that my baby was a boy by this nurse trying to kind of just calm me down in a very unsupportive way to be honest. So, by the grace of God, my husband, Mike walked around that second with my son, and he said, Here's your son, or here's our son, here's our son, and I just remember holding him and saying, like, okay, I it was all worth it. Right? I'm alright, I'm okay. And we went into my kind of, what is it called, like a suite afterwards, like your birth suite. So I go into my room, I was in a ton of pain. But again, I just kept thinking like, he's healthy, on fine. It's over with, I can move past this it's over with. So I'm in the, I'm in the hospital on maybe day two, because they made you stay for four days at that point. And I didn't feel well, I started getting very achy. And my stomach where my incision was, was getting very hot to the touch. And the nurses were telling me that they thought something was wrong, they want to call the doctor. And then I remember falling asleep. And I guess I slept for like eight hours. So I missed a few of my like Motrin and pain medicine rounds. And so I slept for a really long time. And when I woke up, I had a fever of like 104. And they thought I was septic. And so all of a sudden, I have the whole ob team come in, that's not my doctor. And I have the whole sub ICU team come in because they wanted to move me to ICU. And they said that I couldn't be around my baby because I had a fever. And so thankfully, my mother was there, because she had been holding my son the whole time I was sleeping, she takes the baby goes out into the waiting room at this point, because I I was also so dehydrated from the birth and then the C section and then just not being able to really eat or drink much afterwards, because of the pain medicine. I was so dehydrated that it couldn't get a line in to take bloodwork. And so then I had to sit there and wait. Well, all these doctors argued around me about what the best course of treatment was for a pediatric ICU nurse to come down to take my blood because I couldn't like literally could not get my blood. And they couldn't get me on the prophylactic antibiotics that they would otherwise give me either because they couldn't get a line in. And finally, this one nurse came in. She's actually it was a friend of the family. And she just sat with me. And she talked with me for a really long time. I think that having her come in and having someone like it was like literally the first person. In a matter of three days, I had seen me as a human and said like, okay, she's now separated from her baby. And she is now going through this experience she never thought she was going to be in. And I'm just going to sit here and talk to her. And that memory stands out very clearly because like I said, she was like the first person that treated me like a human. So fast forward to me actually getting my medicine. My fever started to come down with Motrin and the I had a triple antibiotic IV antibiotics and I was on them for 24 hours. Now I was going to be in the hospital for another extra day couldn't just leave after four because I had these antibiotics. On the fourth day when I was supposed to otherwise have left. My antibiotics had been out for 12 hours and my fever started coming back. And my ache started coming back. And I said something's not right. I really just think something's not right. The nurses kind of started to believe me too, at that point, right. Like I wasn't just crying wolf. And next thing you know, I get a call from my doctor in my in my hospital room. He says, you know, Leah, what I'm going to do is I'm going to call you in a prescription for Zoloft. I think that you are you know, we've always known that your your trend on the anxious side. And I would like it if you could start taking this. And we're going to discharge you tomorrow as planned. And I'll see you the following day in my office and I said I don't think With that plan, and he said, Well, you know what the, the good news is that I'm in charge. And we're gonna, we're gonna, we're gonna have your husband go down to the pharmacy and pick this up. And you start this and and we'll be, you know, you'll be better, you'll be in better shape by the next time I see you kept saying that we'll be you'll be in better shape by the next time I see you.

Can we point out the irony that he's not a psychotherapist? And you are one? Oh, I know. Yeah, that was I actually, I am a trained therapist, right. And I have a light, I'm licensed. And I worked in a psychiatric hospital for almost all of my training, and then there afterwards. And I actually said that to him. I said, you know, Doctor, I, I know that what this is, is not going to be solved by Zoloft, let alone the fact that's all off is going to take some time to kick in. So by the time I see you on Friday, I will have only had potentially two doses, and you're not going to see me in any different state given the medicine or otherwise. And and he said, Well, you know what? There's a lot of different things that we're accounting for now. And this is the best course of treatment, and he totally poo pooed me. Yeah, I've never seen Zoloft fix a fever. Thank you. Yeah. But motortrend does. And that's what he was saying he was relying on motion.

So it's strange how this ties to the whole me to movement though, like just I know, and you know what, but I'll save women believe patient, believe the patient,

right? brave people. I'm sitting there, I'm in my body, I am, I am living it. And you are sitting across the phone line telling me what's happening to me. It was just like, over and over and over again, losing faith in the medical industry period, right, I had one nurse outside of an entire hospital staff that I had met in importance of three days, up until that point, and I had one nurse that treated me like a human being right. So to feel like, I just just distressed right, just straight distressed. I did go home the next day, and the doctor had told me that I should take a hot bath that would relax me and he kept saying hot baths. And I just kept feeling like he was telling me like little lady, you know, you go calm down and rest yourself. Right? Like, that's what I just kept feeling. And my husband saying no, only I really think he's just you know, he's trying as hard as he's trying his best. Like, let's just go home, you'll feel better when you're home. And so the nurses were like, you may not take a hot bath after.

I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to put your C section in the hot you're not. And so I get the discharge paperwork. And it's highlighted with this guy highlighted. And so I'm talking to this nurse, and I say, I don't know what to do. You're telling me the paperwork telling me take don't take a hot bath. The doctor is telling me take a hot bath. And she goes, she's like, Don't listen to him just do not take a bath. That is you do not want an infection. Like all the stuff. I did not take a bath for all listening. So whatever. It was just another piece of misinformation that I felt like I was getting from him. I get home and I couldn't walk. I couldn't move. And it was not from pain from my incision. It was from a radiating through my muscle ache, right? Like if you get sick, if you have the flu, you can't move because your body It hurts so bad. And so I kept saying I think I have the flu. I think you have to keep the baby. I think I have the flu. And my mom was there and she was holding my baby all the time. And I couldn't feed him. I couldn't I couldn't do anything. And so then what starts creeping into your mind is I can't be a mom, right? Like, I can't do this. And I remember being home for only one day, and then going back to his office. And he asked me, I said, I cannot get in your office barely. Like I can barely walk in here. And he said, Well, did you start the Zoloft. And I said, From now on in my life, I will not see you as a doctor. And I left and I drove home. I said okay, I got to figure this out. But then I'm so exhausted. And I can't use any of like the necessary tools that I have. And so I just slept, I'm sleeping and I'm trying to feed my son and my mom's holding my son and I'm just getting worse. And then about two days later, I am still feeling so sick. And so I go back to the doctor and I made an appointment with a different doctor at the practice specifically for this reason. And I all of a sudden, he walks in to my my exam room, like you're his patient, like I'm his patient. I'm his his property. I my mind. I'm like absolutely not like you're just going to tell me to take so long to get you to tell me to take a hot bath. And what did he do? He walks in Did you take a hot bath? Have you relaxed? I'm like, I'm telling you that the nurses and the discharge paperwork told me not to take a bath. I'm getting totally mixed messages here. And he says to me, who's the doctor here? I'm telling you to take a bath. So I go home that day and I'm distraught like I am distraught. I had no ability to figure out how to handle this. And I felt like I had no one to turn to in the medical industry that could help me just couldn't figure it out. And then I slept again that night. The next day, I wake up in a pool of blood, and I am home alone with my, my son, my husband had left to go to work, because now you know, America, paternity leave is not very good. So Jesus did, yeah. So at this point, he got in the hospital with me for a long time. And then he went home with me, and now it's back to like, Monday or Tuesday, and he's back at work. And I wake up in a pool of blood. And I called, I called my girlfriend and I who lived right kind of across the street for me. And I was said, you're gonna have to come get me or him or your to stay here like someone's, someone has to help me. And they're like, you have to call the doctor. And I said, I can't call the doctor isn't I don't know what I don't know who to call. And so I ended up calling the nurses line, and who picked up was a female doctor that I had seen before. And she said, Leah, I was on call the night that you went into that you spiked your fever and had the septic team come down, and you actually started your medicine I was on call that night. And they called me and they said, you know, what should we do? And I said, I think she has blood clots that haven't been reabsorbed, or maybe our eye maybe now I've gotten infected. And she goes in. And now I really think that's what's happened. And you need to come into the hospital. And I said, I will not be coming into the hospital, I will not do that. And she said, Well, if you're I'm at the hospital, now I'm on call, I will be here and I said, I cannot walk back into the hospital, I just can't do that. And now because you are trauma, I was so traumatized that so I was just gonna say like, think about the state of mind that you have to be in to have blood and feel the way you feel and feel like you can't go to the hospital, right? And you can't go to the doctors. So she said, I'm going to leave. And she was so kind. She's no longer with that practice, by the way, because she couldn't put up with this anymore. That's a side note. But she said, I will meet you at the office. It's just gonna be me in a nurse there. And I said, Okay, so I went to the office, and she takes one look at me, and she says, Leah, you have to be reopened. And I said, How, how can I be reopened? I'm not, I can't. And she said, There's blood clots in between, like, basically like your uterine wall, and you're in the first layer of your skin that have not been reabsorbed. That's where the blood is coming from, it's getting infected, your body is fighting it. If this goes on any longer, you could, it could be a huge problem. And so she said, what we're gonna do is we're going to open you up on both sides of your scar in the office, and we're going to drain it, and we're going to see if that can solve it. And I said, Okay, and then I said, I can't believe that I'm here. I was just in the doctor's yesterday. And she said, What do you mean, you're in a doctor's yesterday? And I said, I saw your colleague yesterday. And she said, You saw him like this yesterday. And she just looked at the nurse and she said, I'm so done with this shit. And she goes, I'm really sorry that you had to be put through this. And then she proceeded to in the middle of an office that you normally would just get a check guard ultrasound in, open me up. It sounds crazy, but it just kind of like pulled out of me. And this is the office. She did this in the office. Is that safe? Well, it was. It was done. It was done. She said you're gonna have to have a visiting nurse and you're going to have to be wycked I think is the term and she knew you weren't going to go back to the house was not going back to the hospital. No, I was not going.

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I went home with a ton of medicine, I was already failing miserably at breastfeeding because I couldn't take care of myself. And so then that put a complete stop to the breastfeeding because of the crazy antibiotics I was now on. And then I had a visiting nurse come every day for weeks and WIC my wife And what that means is it basically like allows your skin to heal with aid, right. So it like draws out the healing process to the surface of your skin. That was how I lived for the first five weeks of my postpartum experience with my first son. I think that I stopped the visiting nurse around five weeks, and she taught me how to kind of do my wound care from that point forward by myself. But my C section did not heal properly. Because of that. I remember going in for my six week postpartum visit, I had just stopped the visiting nurse or she was only coming maybe once a week at that point. And the doctor looked at my C section scar, and I said, there's something here, we don't like, we will fix this with your next c section. And I looked at them, and there will not be another c section. And they said, Well, you know, that's actually the route that most women hair take. And that's what we feel most comfortable with. And that's where we can guarantee the best outcomes for you and your baby. And I said, Absolutely not, that's not something that I'm going to be doing. And I and I left, I actually left the practice right after that. And I did not go back to an OB GYN for a long time, I didn't have an internal or an annual, I didn't have any care whatsoever, because there was no way that I was going to put myself back in that position. In my mind, they were all the same. You know, I had never, I had never had a more

abusive, abusive,

that's a great word experience in my life.

And you did you not realize you could have gone to midwives for your annual care?

No, I didn't, until actually I met you. And thankfully, I'm lucky. And I didn't have anything come up that I needed to really attend to. So I was able to live in my avoidance bliss. And do that, do that for myself. At that same time, I also went through EMDR, because I needed to deal with the trauma of my birth. And that actually helped relieve a lot of the emotions that I had associated with some of the most traumatic instances of the seryan.

Can you just tell everyone in a sentence or two, what EMDR is.

So EMDR is a bilateral stimulation of your brain and it works kind of like a REM sleep. So when you're in your REM cycle, you process your memories, they're kind of trying to replicate that natural process to target traumatic instances in your life, and help you reprocess them faster.

I have seen it work such wonders. Yeah, with women who've had traumatic birth

meto. It's It's remarkable. In conjunction with EMDR, I was also going through weekly therapy with a therapist. And that was also really helpful too, and in processing my birth, but also trying to get myself in a headspace where I could have more children because ultimately, that's what me and my husband wanted. So there was three years between my oldest and my youngest. And in those three years, the first two, the first two, but right before I conceive, I didn't know when I would ever be ready, honestly. So I went to a monthly support group. And I really connected with a lot of women that had had Syrians and then had vbacs. And I knew that ultimately, that was exactly what I needed to do. I just didn't really know the road to get there through actually, you Cynthia, I learned about midwifery care, but then I also learned about home birth at that same time. And I thought that maybe that would be the road that I wanted to take all throughout this as I was looking at all of my options. My husband was wanting to have another child. And he was really patient and funny. He would be pretty funny about it. And I think I said this story to you, Cynthia, that he would text me randomly and say I'm ready when you are, like, you know, hinting at, like let's get this train going. But I I ultimately had to wait a while and I even ended up going into one of my best friends had her second. And she had a beautiful second birth instead of beautiful first birth to and so I remember going into her hospital room right after she had had her second child maybe two hours postpartum and holding her baby and saying to myself, there's absolutely no way I'm ready to do this yet. then fast forward only three months, how much can change I was pregnant again. And I was ready and I don't know what really flipped that switch from holding her child and saying there's no chance I can do this yet to ultimately being pregnant. I think it was just maybe a combination of events and and a lot of people really supporting me along the way. But I did get pregnant and I did go for a home birth. Actually the week before I was 37 weeks. My When I was 37 weeks I came back GBS positive, and that I decided that I was going to die and go back to the midwives and birth at their birth center just because that just jived with, with my anxiety and it kind of put me in a better place. That VBAC was very, very, very, very fast, I went into labor at like 10. And I had him at two and in my arms, and I can't explain to you the difference between the two births other than to say one was the most empowering moment of my whole life. And one was the most disempowering moment of my whole life, and having the ability to kind of look at the two instances, and know that I was able to get back to a place where I took control of birth and my own birth really meant a great deal to me. I remember going through the the contractions and going through the experience. And it just felt so different, like I felt like I was on on top of birth rather than behind it. And like I said, from my first experience, go even going into pregnancy, I felt like I was behind the eight ball for the first time. And in my experience with pregnancy and birth, I felt like I was on top of my game, like I knew what I was supposed to do. I was paying attention to my body. I was listening to it. And I was letting it do the work for me, rather than paying attention to what maybe some doctor or nurse was trying to get me to do. The staff, I think I made a joke. Afterwards, I said, if you any of you ever needed a kidney, I will give it to you because they were so kind. And every single person that walked in my birthing room, every single person knew that I was having a VBAC. And every single one of them like yelped for joy for me, like I could be in the middle of the craziest contraction, and somebody would come in. And and my doula or the midwife or a nurse that was in the room would say, Oh, she's doing a VBAC. And they'd say, you go, girl, you've got this, you're gonna do this, it's happening. And to just have that level of belief and encouragement. I really think it was just what pushed me to have this phenomenal birth.

You have to believe your provider longs for the same birth outcome you do. So when you hear your provider say, well, you can give that a try, or we'll see how that goes. Yep, that is a major red flag. It sounds semi supportive on the outside, that is a major red flag, in my opinion. Absolutely. They have to cry those tears of joy with you, they have to care about what you care about. And one way that I demonstrate this example is when I gave birth, the first time around in the birthing center with my son, I got the midwife I prayed I wouldn't get. She was very cold. She never made eye contact during the appointment. She never said anything positive to me. And it was one of those experiences where I was like, Oh, God, I hope I don't get you. And I always tell my clients, if you feel that way, then Ron, you deserve to not feel that way. But I really felt that was in the right place. And I don't think it's an accident by the universe that I got her. And she was even a little snippy at the beginning of the birth, like nothing about her was ever right for me, except the most important thing. She wanted the same birth outcome. Yeah. And I could feel her intention was the same as mine. And that's that worked. Yep. Because the doctor that I had fired and laughed, was more charming had a better personality, but I always picture like she would peel off a face mask, and there would be like an ugly monster underneath it. Totally. So I love to hear you say they were cheering you they were happy. And you could feel they wanted the same outcome you wanted? Yes, I was so different from like, oh, we'll see how it goes. We'll go see how it goes. And I

promise you, it was even from the moment I walked into the ER where they told me to go to get up to the birthing center. I walked in, and there was this man standing at the door and he had a wheelchair. And I said, I am not sitting in that wheelchair. And he said, you do you and walk forward, right? And then I go into the room and there's this, this woman standing there that checking me up. And she says to me, so you're in labor, and I said I am and then I proceeded to have a contraction, she goes, You are in good labor. Women need to hear


I was said I am a good labor, it is all about the support of your provider because your body as a woman is totally capable of backing, you don't have to worry about that. Right? You just

have to trust that it's

all in the hands of the support of your provider, whether it happens successfully or not. Right, almost I mean, you know, with some exception, obviously and but basically

Yes. When you when I had support that I knew that they were looking at me like their face was smiling and their face was was content. I was content and I was smiling, right but I trusted them and and That trust made me trust myself. And it

allowed you to feel safe so that your body could do what it knows how to do. And it needs to feel safe in order to do how to do so. Exactly.

And I felt so safe. That baby I mean, he my four year old said this, and I'm just stolen it from him, but he jumped out. My son jumped right out and do that. Yeah. And I just, there's this picture. So do when you were asking me to send you pictures, I went back through like the pictures that happened during birth and right afterwards. And I am just elated like, my my whole face. I don't think I've ever seen myself like that happy and proud at the same exact moment, right. And I'm holding my son on my chest, my husband's looking at me was just like this, all this experience right there also kind of like what just happened. And I look at that picture all the time. And I just derive such impairment. I just I mean, I really just the the word impairment comes through all the time, and the feeling of support by other women. I can't overstate that enough, this support by these women around me just the look on their faces, as I'm birthing my son, and they're all talking to me. And they're all saying I can do this. And it wasn't just Bs, right? Like they were really believing it. And then at the end, they said something to me, which I'm sure they say to everyone, but I will hold it true to me. They said, We haven't seen someone birth like you in a long time you did this exceptionally. And I just said, I hope you say that to every woman because every woman should hear that right? Like you did this the way that you needed to. And now you have this beautiful baby. And I didn't have to do EMDR after that I didn't have any postpartum depression or anxiety or I believed in my ability to parent. I believed in my ability to make decisions again, it really was a wonderful experience.

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Did you ever watch the friends episode where Rachel is in labor?

And yes, when Ross goes, I'm dilated three.

But she has all

that skirt thing people coming or these other birthing women coming in and out of her her. She's still birthing, right? Yes. And so after I she's

still in labor and these other women are coming and going really easy. Yes, yes.

And so I have this birth, which was not easy, but it was amazing. And I'm walking down the hallway and the woman that's pushing me is going Have you ever seen that episode of friends that she recounts the scene that we're just talking about? And I said yes, and she goes that's why all these women hate you right now. It was just a very funny way to end a really joyous experience.

If you enjoy our podcast please take a moment to leave us a review on Apple podcasts and share a favorite episode or two. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter @downtobirthshow or contact us and review show notes at downtobirthshow.com. 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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