#68 | Our Five Must-Hear Episodes of 2020

December 16, 2020

While we still have a few more episodes going live before the end of the year, Trisha and Cynthia spend this episode looking back at the 67 episodes published thus far in season one, since the launch of Down To Birth last New Year's. Disclaimer: One of the episodes may not be suitable for everyone, as it deals with stillbirth. But check out why we selected these as our top five, and hear snippets of the episodes through our discussion.

To listen to any of our "Top Five" click here:

Episode 38: Your Dog and Newborn: Interview with Heather Corum from Canine Company

Episode 7: Jessica's Fooling Breech Baby Coming Through

#14: Roundtable: Mothers of Stillbirth and What They Can Teach Us

Episode 9: Birth Plan 101: Evidence-Based Birth as the Safest, Smartest Approach

Episode 3: Roundtable: Postpartum Moms on Isolation, Anxiety, Sex and Marriage

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If you enjoyed this episode of the Down To Birth Show, please subscribe and share with your pregnant and postpartum friends.

Between episodes, connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). We are always happy to hear from our listeners and appreciate questions for our monthly Q&A episodes. To join our monthly newsletter, text "downtobirth" to 22828.

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.

Before we get into our top five episodes for the year, I just want to say how amazing I think it is that we have published almost 70 episodes in a year. How did you do that?

Also, before we get into discussing these five favorite episodes, just want to remind our audience that we have an awesome q&a coming out right at the end of the month, we are not skipping a beat even through the holiday week we are publishing every week, our minisodes are coming out every other Monday. And first week of January we are in season two ready to go.

We've got a great episode locked and loaded for the first Wednesday in January. I'm very excited about that one. But for now, let's get into our top five. So one of my favorite episodes of the year is the episode where we have Heather corn from Canaan company talking about how to prepare your dog for bringing a baby home. I know that's five Trisha, I remember when I suggested that episode topic to you. And you're like, Okay, you know, dogs are very sensitive to their environment and environmental changes can be a big deal for them. Now, oftentimes, our clients, dogs are their first baby and when their actual baby comes into the world, you know, everybody's so excited. But there's nervousness and anxiety and the dog is picking up on all of that energy the dog is picking up on, I don't really know why mom is so you know, different than she used to be, maybe there's new habits or new things coming into the home. And so the confusion that can result from all of that activity, and all of those emotions can become difficult for a dog to understand. So it's really important, since you have you know, almost nine months to figure this out, it's really important to get ahead of it, for the safety of all involved for the mental health of all involved, and just for, again, the harmony in the home so that the dog understands. This is a this is a great change. This isn't a new member of the family. No, I'm not being replaced, I'm still the fluffy baby. But we want to make sure that everybody's on on the same page as to what what each individual needs, from this for the safety of the baby, as well as the mental health of the parents and the dog.

And you're not going to believe this. Trisha, are you ready for this? As you know, our round table episodes, and our q&a episodes get the greatest number of plays. But of all of the interview episodes we have done in the entire past year, this introducing your baby to your dog episode is ranked number one, even among all the famous people we've interviewed. This is the number one most played interview episode of the entire year.

I mean, it's a great topic, I have to say when when you when you thought of that, that was that was a brilliant idea. It is such an important thing. And so many people go through that, that transition. And there's so many sort of like, Oh my gosh, like, Huh, what do we do about that? And how do we manage that? And so I can see why people were so curious about it. Plus, it's just like, Who doesn't love to hear about dogs and babies?

Another thing that I think it's important to understand is that confusion can happen when there's not a clear expectation of the dog's responsibilities not only to the baby, but but to the household. those responsibilities include, you know, being a well mannered, you know, we're not jumping, we're not barking at every little thing, just knowing when it's time to stop playing and settle down. And so having routine and setting up just like you would for a baby. In this case, you can make a parallel, having a routine and for the dog to understand when he can expect things to happen. As well as when he can expect things won't happen. Like No, it's baby's feeding time. We're not going for a walk right now is really helpful. So if you can set something up like that, because we all know that we are going to get disrupted. There's going to be those middle of the night feedings and cries and all that and we can actually Prepare for that. But we can try to make things as structured as possible. Introducing your dog to the things that you will be using that he's never seen before, like a stroller, for example, or the car seat. These are things that he should get familiar with before baby is even born. And it certainly if you're walking your dog on a regular basis, maybe you're going to be walking him next to an empty stroller until baby comes home and is in the stroller with you. They can't just acclimate instantly, they need a little gradual transition into that and I'm guessing that a cat people might listen to this episode.

And that that would be a lot harder episode. A cat and a baby. I think Zu I think Zu suggested that and I was like zoo. You're joking, right? Cats. cats don't care. You don't introduce cats to anybody or anything.

They just cat to like, I'm obviously still the most important soul in this house. So I don't need to fly like whatever. You're sleeping in the baby crib probably like, for a long day, too.

I love this episode. And it's funny because I just started New HypnoBirthing class a week and a half ago and month after month, I've been asking couples for a show of hands on zoom, who has a dog and I swear it's over 80% every time. I don't know if it's a select population in HypnoBirthing, or in people who are pursuing, you know, independent childbirth classes. But I think it must be more common than we realize that couples who are planning a family are somehow consciously or subconsciously thinking, well, let's get a dog first.

So I think it's I think it's total first step. Let's try a dog. See how we do that. We'll go for baby next.

And again, if you have cats, good luck to you. But there's a lot. We both had cats do nothing against cats, but their newly newly to the cat world over here.

The next morning, I got a phone call from another midwife at the practice, who was in a panic that the first midwife had let me leave at 39 weeks and four days without having gone straight across the street to the hospital for this procedure. And I don't remember the conversation well, but I do remember her saying and make sure you pack a bag because odds are you will have your baby by C section this afternoon. And that sent me into a full on panic. I just felt like I had absolutely zero control over the situation. I didn't even have a minute to think about what what to do. So right in that moment, when I got that phone call, I was feeling just totally overwhelmed and scared. And I felt like I had zero say in how this was going to go. I had literally been eating as I was on the phone with her and she was like put the food down right now because you have to be prepared in case you have to go in for surgery. And I'm 39 weeks now five days pregnant.

So Trisha, tell us why you picked Jessica's footling breech birth as one of your favorite episodes of the year because we've had some extremely cool unusual birth stories. So go ahead and tell us why you picked this one.

I picked Jessica's footling breech birth because her decision to birth her baby the way she did and how she did and the journey She went on to get there to me is the most outstanding courageous birth story I've ever heard.

And then I could tell I was trying to resist pushing because I didn't want his feet to come out before I was ready. And one of the midwife said No, it's okay. If you really feel the urge to push you can you can start. So it was only a few minutes of pushing. And he was out with the exception of his head. So you know, they were checking the cord and everything was going fine. There was probably four midwives plus Michael there. And one of the midwives says to me, we want you to get into a runner's lunge. And in my head, I just fell in the tub in the tub. He's mostly delivered at this point, they just needed his head like his chin to talk a little bit so his head could slip out. And so somehow I threw a leg forward and got into this Runner's lunge and felt him come out and one of the midwives actually gave him a little nudge and he floated through my legs and I was able to receive Him, myself and to me, just the faith and the trust that she had in her body to be willing to do that to make that journey to be on the road to be to believe that she was going to give birth vaginally naturally to a baby that, you know, normally just doesn't come out that way. Not just breech, but with the foot down. First was so he just just said just an example of having unshakable trust in yourself. To travel to Amish country of all places in labor. I'm in labor. But when you think about that moment where they said, Put your food down, and you need to come in, can you like, Can you even imagine what that was like for her in that moment where she felt all the pressure of the world on her. And so many of our birth story episodes are like that. We have one coming up with Christina in January. That is another remarkable episode that she was literally outside of the hospital and was told to come in right now, and completely changed her birth rate, in the very final moments. these really are remarkable stories. And they're not easy. They're not easy for the women who do them.

No, no, that was a very hard decision. And it's her bravery that I'm so impressed by. And that's why I love that story.

So the number three spot may come as a surprise because it is without question, the most difficult episode, we have to listen to our stillbirth round table. And I do have a preference for our round table episodes to begin with, I think there's nothing we can put out there that is so precious, and valuable as bringing together three people who've had a shared experience. And in this case, it was that they all had stillborn babies. And we just listened like a fly on the wall. And we hear their unique perspectives. And, you know, we just sometimes forget that, when women have been told their babies have died in utero, they still have to face childbirth, knowing what they know. And so to their partners,

it was so hard to know that that's where he spent his night instead of with us.

And so after we let him go, they switch just out of that room. And as they wheeled us out, and looked at the door. And their symbol in that hospital for loss was a white ribbon. And so anywhere anytime there was last month that's on the door, so that anyone who comes in knows, you know, to be respectful and to tread lightly. And I just remember being rolled out going, I was the woman behind that door that that was me. And I remember waiting for the car to come around because we're down in the city and only valet parking was the only option. And you know, we're leaving with no baby, we weren't putting anything in a car seat. And sitting next to me is a woman in a wheelchair just staring at her brand new baby as she waits for the car to come around. And it's just it's it's devastating to be pregnant and, and leave without a baby.

And then in the second half of this hour long episode, I just I was blown away by what these women had to say about their experience in processing the grief in discussing the difference between how their husbands were treated from how they were treated. learning that the grief peaks at about four months long after everyone has stopped checking on them or like long after everyone has moved on and expects her to move on. I I don't even have the words to articulate how deeply this episode touches me. Just listen, it speaks for itself.

So I found that mostly people were thinking about us, but they were completely silent. And so I actually he was right before Easter, I called my mom just like, irate I'm like, I'm not coming to Easter because the family doesn't care. And I don't want to see them. She's like, What do you mean, I'm like, I haven't heard? I really haven't heard from anyone. It's been like a month. And I haven't heard from anyone. She's like, Oh, well, everyone keeps calling me and asking me how you're doing. I'm like, that's super. I'm over here. wondering, have I been a cramp? Like, does my family not love me? Have I done something in the past to offend them that I'm not worthy of their love and support right now? My friends were silent as well. And so I started, you know, among the grief and everything else that you're doing, you're starting to question? Do I have friends? Did I make them mad? Or have I not been the friend that I thought I was? Why isn't my family here? Where is this circle that I was told was going to appear to help me through this because they're not here. And even when I was kind of extremely articulate with what I wanted and needed from people. They just they weren't sure do they mention it? Do they not mention it too? they asked how I'm doing what if I'm having a good day and they asked I'll be doing upset me and they just their their uncertainty results in just doing nothing. And it got to the point like am I insane? Am I the only one who thinks this happened right now? Did it did I not lose my son? Is this not devastating? And it's like I started to question my own sanity and it's it's very, very challenging because you expect the grief. I don't think you expect the isolation and the people you normally turn to for comfort suddenly Felt like strangers, because there was no they couldn't relate to you on this level, which is where you need it to be right now. And Easter wasn't too long after our loss. And I'm from a large family, there's probably 30 people there that day. And for four of them came up to me, hugged me and said, I'm sorry, the rest of them did not address the loss at all. And many of them avoided talking to me, or even saying hi, because they knew they didn't know what to do. And I'm like, well, do I, if I say hi, I should probably dress the last round of I should dress a lot. So I'm just going to opt out. And people get so hung up on saying the right thing or obsessing Am I going to say the wrong thing, the honest, I don't know what to say to you right now. But I'm just you're heavy on my mind. It's, it's that it's that simple. And the silence is absolutely the worst. It does stink when someone says something that they shouldn't have. But some of my fondest memories are I had a cousin who came up to me, and was very awkward, but he's, you know, trying to say I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm here for you. And you could see how uncomfortable he was. But he still did it. And I just want to like, grab him by the face and kiss him. Because it was just it was so obvious that he didn't know how to do it. But he knew that he had to and he wanted to. And I still remember, every person who came up to me that day, and they kind of all took their turn and waited till I was like off to the side and came up and hugged me. And it, it was everything. It really was.

When you when you walk to that hospital, without your baby, and you feel like this is you're the only person that has ever happened to, you know, to find that there are other people out there who who not only have been through this, but have survived it, who have found joy again. And who've come out the other side. I mean, it's it's a really powerful thing, because you you're just staring into the abyss. And you don't know how how you're going to claw your way back out from the bottom of it.

That was a beautiful, amazing episode of women. Truly just putting it all out there. And like you said, the major takeaway, and what I think everyone needs to hear is that it's, it's never the wrong thing to talk about their loss, it's never the wrong thing to bring up the child's name, they want you to ask, they want you to say their baby's name. You know, when I heard that I was like, Oh my gosh, what? What a relief. Because when you are close to somebody, or you know somebody that this has happened to yours, it's so you're so unsure of, you know, triggering their their pain, you're so unsure of what to say and how to respond. And the best thing you can do is to talk about that baby, to say their name, to ask to acknowledge it. And that was just so helpful to hear.

I agree with you. And there was also a segment in that episode where we talked about how the fathers were often considered the gatekeepers to the mothers and the fathers to lost a child. But after the first week or or two, it's like all the relatives and friends went to the Father and said, How is she? How is she? How is she doing? So a she was she was kept isolated. And be he was he was overlooked. In that sense. He was her gatekeeper. And in January, we're having a very powerful episode by a father. And he went through something extraordinarily traumatic. And he discovered the same thing and ended up writing a book about it. Fathers in a sense can be marginalized in this experience. And even though it is intense on a very different level for the mothers they've lost a child to and all three of the women in this episode acknowledge that they through all their grief, they recognize their husbands were not only their gatekeeper, but were were in a sense, overlooked as a grieving parent, for the sake of protecting her and speaking for her and supporting her.

When you think when you visualize giving birth, based on whatever you see in the media, or whatever you have witnessed you imagine a woman on her back in the bed, that is completely the opposite of upright positioning. So when you walk into a hospital room, you know where's the birthing stool? That's where you need to go.

Alright, so Trisha, you selected the woman the number two spot tell us why you picked birth plan 101 as one of your top episodes.

I picked it because I think that it's the foundation of having your best birth. And it is not to me It is one that everybody needs to hear. Because it's the things it's the practical things that you can put down on paper and say this, this and this are evidence based, and this, this and this or not, therefore, I can make my choices about how I'm going to think about my birth plan and plan my birth.

Because we don't want women to believe their labors are predestined. If we know we can alter the duration of your labor, with something like one on one support, then we know there's an emotional component to labor. We already do know that for a fact, because it's all hormonally driven with either endorphins like oxytocin or with catecholamines, like cortisol or adrenaline. But I just want everyone to really think about that. emotional support shortens labor, that's more evidence supporting what we talk about, that how you feel while you're giving birth, has a biophysical response on the birth itself, making birth more comfortable, and safer.

That's what it's all about that continuous support is the thing that makes the woman feel safer while she's giving birth and feeling safe while you're giving birth is essential to the physiologic process working the way it let's just touch on a PC Atomy Oh, no more a PC automates it is associated with increased risk of extended lacerations, third, and fourth degree, it is not ever to be used routinely, the list goes on and on of all the complications of a PC Atomy. All you need to know is there is no evidence to support this routine use.

And it increases the likelihood of a deeper tear. That episode has had a ton of place, by the way. But that's why Well, all right, which brings us to the number one episode of the year that we both selected among our top three. So that's why we have five in total instead of six. We had a shared episode number one, Trisha, let's start to play a little of this episode right now, and let our listeners figure out what it's all about.

I mean, I felt bad for him sometimes. But actually, when we talked about having a third, one of the reasons I said I was worried about it was I I said I don't want to have to find my way back to you again. And I don't mean that I fell out of love with him. I don't feel that I How did he respond to that? He he he understood. He understood because there's just a time when it's not, it's not about him, right. And he has and I was lucky because he was a partner who understood and listened and, and kept trying to be a part and bond but you know, a part of what was going on not apart from us. But I remember thinking I don't want to it was so much work to find my way back to you. And we were in a great spot where we were us again. And we were intimate again. And we were all those things and I didn't want to have to go back to the park again, though, you know, right after the baby when it's like no one touch me. No, I know, touchy enough touching. I'm making it all day. I'm not getting naked again. You know, and it's like and to get naked. You got to take 85 pieces of clothing off. And it all has stains on it. Like it was just there's no, there's what this is intimate, you know, but that's how I felt and so real. Okay, my mom, you know, we brought up like the aunts and the great aunts that were around and probably cooking in my grandparents generation. We were learning by example. Yes. And yes, people I think I look back at my first three months and I was alone for a long time. Like it's really, it's really sad to think about

Yes, isolation, like my parents generation had you had people like cooking like the old Nonni in the kitchen, probably making lasagna like in my grandma's generation. So I come home the next night, and I haven't slept now in three solid days. And the baby's hysterical and we can't soothe her I can't soothe her. There's nothing that's making this child happy. And I'm losing my mind and I'll never forget being in our guest bathroom, our second bathroom upstairs, my my baby's bathroom and I'm looking around it and all the things that I had done prior to birth, all the ridiculous things I spent time and money and energy on and there's like frickin bath toys and like, you know, the all natural organic bath gel all these things that now in hindsight, I'm like, I'm so ill prepared for this. And I just remember looking at the mirror and my husband was like, fine, like he was like in the bedroom maybe listening to her cry or holding her. But it was like not it was not affecting him the way it was affecting me because obviously we're built for her to affect us. And I was just I was beyond myself. And I remember thinking I made a huge mistake. I shouldn't have had a baby. I don't know how to do this. I'm horrible mom already. Oh my God, my life is over and I kept saying, My life is over my life is over.

Our postpartum round table has earned the spot of our family. favorite episode of the year. You know, when people envision women getting together to have an authentic open conversation among themselves, I think they imagine that they're complaining or speaking negatively about their husbands. It's just not how it goes. They're genuinely grappling with the fact that their needs aren't being met. They want to feel closer to their husbands, they longed for their husbands or their partners to understand what this experience is like, because they're exhausted. Every part of their lives has changed. I think they did an absolutely beautiful job. And I think, Trisha, we should do a postpartum roundtable every single year.

I would definitely agree with that. And I think it was so reassuring for everyone there, including the two of us to hear that everybody's experience is kind of the same. It's what we go through. Yeah, it's just what we go through. And it's not all roses and you know, lovey dovey moments. But it's part of it. That's why we started this. It was never about just teaching information and you know, spitting out data and our feelings and philosophies, it was always about bringing people together to share to relate to connect.

Well, I think we also started the podcast because we're asking ourselves in earnest, how can we possibly spend a few more 100 hours together per year? Again, reminder, this isn't our last episode of the year, we're not skipping a beat. We do have our December q&a coming out the week between Christmas and New Year's. We're proceeding as usual with another episode, next Wednesday and every other Monday. Thank you for taking part in this interview. It's been a beautiful experience for us. And despite what everyone says about 2020 This has been a wonderful year in many ways for us and I hope we can all say the same.

I think we were actually amazingly lucky to start a podcast in 2020. For us personally, through all these challenging moments of being isolated through COVID. This podcast has been the outlet for us it has been it has been the exact antithesis to ice isolation. I feel very lucky that it fell on this year that we started this it has been a saving grace for my heart - and mine, Trisha.

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Between episodes, connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.

You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). 

To join our monthly newsletter, text “downtobirth” to 22828.

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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