Amanda Pahls is a mother of four daughters, a blogger, and a home school educator with a passion for honoring women's birth experiences. She joins us on the show today to walk us thorough her first hospital birth followed by three home-births and the dramatic difference in care she received between the two. Her fifth pregnancy and most recent birth was a miscarriage, at home, which brought her a depth of grief, sadness, and even guilt that she never expected. She opens up about the hard questions we have to face after a miscarriage, like "what do I do with the remains of my baby?" and explains the importance of bringing more awareness, compassion, and empathy to mothers who've miscarried. * * * * * * * * * * 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! Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/cynthiaovergard)
Amanda Pahls is a mother of four daughters, a blogger, and a home school educator with a passion for honoring women's birth experiences. She joins us on the show today to walk us thorough her first hospital birth followed by three home-births and the dramatic difference in care she received between the two. Her fifth pregnancy and most recent birth was a miscarriage, at home, which brought her a depth of grief, sadness, and even guilt that she never expected. She opens up about the hard questions we have to face after a miscarriage, like "what do I do with the remains of my baby?" and explains the importance of bringing more awareness, compassion, and empathy to mothers who've miscarried.
* * * * * * * * * *
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!
Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/cynthiaovergard)
I've never had the fear of miscarriage in any of my births. I think I'm a little naive. I've had lots of friends lose babies, but just really had no frame of reference for what that what that was like at all.
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 Amanda Paul's mother to four little ladies and I just love talking about birth, I get so excited and super grateful to have the opportunity to do so when I think back to our first birth or our first pregnancy, we're so excited. And I've always had an inclination. There we go inclination to have a natural birth, didn't know anyone who is really into it. I didn't have any friends at the time who'd had a home birth. And that seemed really scary. So which Bradley method classes and I watched every documentary I could and I just read every book I could find about natural birth. And it turns out our hospital birth experience was a lot more typical than a new. So in my mind, I was going to the hospital and I was going to give them my birth plan and I was going to have this beautiful natural birth. It it didn't go like that at all. I was actually kind of mocked and teased at the thought of wanting to feel my birth. my water broke at home. So we waited we waited a few hours, I shaved my legs to go out already I had the whole thing planned out, you know. And we we got to the hospital and got checked in and the first thing I remembers the IV hurts so bad like the IV was it still was the most painful part of the whole experience. I'd ask him if they'd move it and they say no, we have to keep it here. And I remember starting off just like really emotional because it's just that hurt. labor was going great. It was going awesome. And I felt like I needed to stand up. I said, I feel like I need to stand and walk around. And the nurses and the doctor really didn't want me to they had a cordless monitor but I was broken. And so they wanted me to be monitored in the bed. And there were no issues. We had no issues that our pregnancy at all. And so I was like would it just be okay if I, if I do it every now and then. So I'd get up unmonitored, start walking around by labor would pick up, my contractions would get heavy and it will come we want to monitor. As soon as I'd sit in the bed, my labor would stop, like, completely stop. And so we did this for 30 hours.
And I'm just feeling so emotional from the ups and downs I was allergic to the gel they were using for the monitor. So I had this nasty rash on my stomach and the IV was really painful. And after about 30 hours, well I guess it was about 28 hours, a anesthesiologist came in and said you have the option to get an epidural or the option for a C section. And that felt really unexpected because there weren't any issues. I was handling the pain. Well, my husband I were really clear we didn't want any medical intervention unless it was necessary. So we were really confused, like why do we need an epidural? And they said well, we want we want to slow your contractions down because you're going to be too tired to push and so we were very confused by it I cried and cried and after a lot of debate it was it was get an epidural or we're gonna see section new so with not much choice, I got an epidural. I ended up falling asleep and waking up and pushing for six minutes. The epidural and the IV were were so painful, it only numbed one side of my body. And it was just that part was really much more traumatic for me than I even realized till after I'd had time to process that birth that I hit a nerve in my back so I had to shooting back pain for a solid year. Anyways, had her it was awesome. I remember holding her the most. And I said I cannot do this again, not birth. I love birth. I love this baby, but I can't do it in the setting and he was very much so onboard. Six months later, we found out we were pregnant with baby number two, huge surprise but I was in that time I'd already started reading and just preparing myself a new natural home birth or something I wanted to I wanted to know more about so we found out we were pregnant and I said please, please can we find a midwife? Can we find a home birth midwife and do this and my husband was really reluctant he the thought of home birth was terrifying to him he The first question that he says and the first question that everyone I know says is what if some nothing goes wrong. And what we were so fortunate to learn is, well, they'll do, they'll do what they need to do. And they're trained to do so. And so I was really, really fortunate to find a midwife who became like part of our family. She just loved me and supported me. And our visits were so different. They, she wanted to know how my week was, she wanted to know how my daughter was, she wanted to know my husband, wasn't she really, it was so different, just the care and the responsibility of how am I eating, you know, taking better supplements, like there was just so much really positive responsibility placed on my husband and I, it was just very empowering for us, as people, and especially as parents, but when that birth came closer, I remember being so excited. And it was it was magical. It was a it was a to push to push waterbirth Nope, no complications, no pain. I remember. My first words were what that was so easy I was waiting for. I was waiting for so much more to go wrong. I was waiting for all the things that so many people in our lives were so afraid of. And I remember just like sobbing and my midwife holding me and telling me how proud she was of me. And just like speaking this new life into me was really magical. So after that we were sold, my husband was like, he just became this huge natural birth and home birth advocate when it was appropriate for people and just was like, it was a coolest experience. I remember him crying a little bit. Not a lot. Can't say that too. But he was like, thank you so much like thank you for convincing me to do that because it was just awesome. Our third birth was same in my midwife. That birth was so funny. I was actually dilated at 10 for two days. And my midwife was just teasing me she she got me coffee and I was playing tag with our daughters around the house dilated to attend and we were just I mean, in hysterics you were at 10 centimeters for two for two days and two days in it. Were you feeling like the urge to push over, hadn't crossed.
My Water hadn't broken. I felt amazing. Um, there was definitely a heaviness and towards the end she was like just check. You can you can you can feel a bag of waters. And were you were you in labor having contractions or you were just so I was having some contractions, but they weren't normal. And so my her first fear was like I had an incompetent cervix and then showed Nope, that's not it at all. So she ended up giving me a tincture. And I can't remember if it was it was a root. But that really got my contractions going. And then we were like, we're gonna try and break my water because after two days, it was like, Oh, we gotta try something. She tried to break my water. When I say it broke. I mean, it splashed everyone around us. It was so funny. And with within, within minutes she was here. I said, I have to get in the pool now. It was awesome. Actually. The thing about this birth that really, really showed me just the importance of care of what's going on in birth is when I went to push, I couldn't. I mean, she was right there I was I'd been in the tent I was there was nothing blocking her. And I said I can't, I can't push like I I physically cannot push her out. And my midwife that I have, I have an idea. And so she went up and she checked and it turned out that she did she had a new nuchal hand her her hand is tucked behind her head. And so her elbow was stuck. And so she very gently moved her arm and she came right out no damage to my lady parts, which was like amazing, because I know friends who have been born with a baby with that, and it's, it's done a lot of damage. And after that, she told me she said, you know, most the time that's not something that gets checked. And it does it can it can cause fourth degree tearing. I had no chairing whatsoever in any of my home birth. But because they cared for me so much like my midwife, she soaks cloth in oils and in a crock pot and it sounds so silly but like legit cares for for my body in such a tremendous way where I haven't had physical trauma in any of my home births. But yeah, that was so cool that she would take the time not telling me push, push, push, she would take the time and say I think I think I can help you I think I know what's going on. And just what a difference I probably made in my other labor's and my pelvic floor and my recovery. Yeah, I mean, let's let's just take a minute here and appreciate that this is what it means to be a skilled provider. Because she yes unique that many obstetricians would never even learn in obstetric school. If they ever did, then they no longer are, but a skilled provider to say oh, you have a breech baby. Alright, now we're not doing a C section yet. We're gonna flip you over on your hand on your knees and four Or, oh, there's a hand presentation. Wait, I know an adjustment technique now just relax and let me reach in there and help the baby to move the hand. This is all the value in the world, isn't it? It's exactly what you're describing.
It's Yeah, I have friends that have so many pelvic floor issues. And I go I'm so grateful that I was treated in such a way where it wasn't a rush. It wasn't get the baby out. It was how do I how do I help you in this moment?
Not Yeah, not to mention the patient's that your midwife had to have? You be at 10 centimeters for two days? It would have been Yeah, you would have had a C section but you would have been covering section by them.
Yeah. Yeah. back on your feet.
Stayed. Yeah. And she stayed with me. We ordered pizza. We had a sleep over. Wow. It was I I know. She said I'm not gonna leave you. You know, there's no reason to be afraid. But she has a loving children. And she said that a few of her she had dilated to 10 for a few days, too. So she it was special. She was like, I remember this.
And I just want to make a comment about the crock pot thing you said earlier. I don't know exactly what she did. But there is something to be said. It was like when Trisha made my postpartum soup pads. When I was in labor, there's something to be said for that touch of nurturing maternal care. It's just it's so precious. And we forget, yes, instinctually what we want, we want that woman's arm around us that nurturing care. And you know, it's represented by these gestures. And by these activities.
Yeah. And I, I we, Kris and I would laugh, but he was like, it sounds so wild to say she cared about my vagina so much. But But How awesome is it that she took that care because I'm, I'm experiencing so many benefits of that now even later, where I don't have you know, I don't I don't have this damage set. I could have had that care not been taken. So that was, yeah, that was a fun birth. That was a really fun birth. So our our fourth daughter, Francis, she, we were so excited, because at this point, we kind of felt like, Oh, homebirth is our jam. We know our thing. Our midwife is literally like a second mom to me. And I remember calling her and I said, I think I'm dilated to like an eight or nine. And she she teased me and she said, Do you think and she I wasn't doing like another two weeks? And she said, Do you really think that I got there? And she said, Yeah, I can stretch you to a nine i think i think you're gonna have a baby, baby today or tomorrow. And how did you know that? How did you know that? I felt it. Okay, so this is wild. And this will tie into my next birth. I've always felt my cervix dilate. And with ADA, I felt the same thing. I told her I went to her checkup I wasn't due for another week, I went to her checkup and I said, Would you check me? I feel like I'm really dilated. And this one, I left this out. But she started laughing and she grabbed her assistant and she said get the bags packed. She could stretch me to attend. And so that's we that's the one that I was dilated at attend for two days. But she Anyway, she followed me to my house because we were like we're having a baby. This isn't just the checkout unit. How did you know? How can you tell? There is this like, it is the most bizarre thing. It is like this stinging internal feeling that I feel like I just know, it was so weird. I could. I knew as soon as my dial or my cervix was dilating, even with no show or anything, I could just feel this feeling. And it always know Oh, it's like time it's getting close. And it's such a specific and bizarre feeling. And I'm going to touch more on this because it really helped me in my very last birth. So frankies was our my my easiest birth no one even knew I was delivering her. I got in a tub. It was peaceful. I feel like I wasn't even a part of it. I was just listening to the music. I was breathing. And I had one big contraction. And I thought yeah, I'm gonna push by didn't say anything to anyone because it was just this really peaceful moment. My best friend was there. And I reached down and I said, Oh, her head is born. And we filmed it underwater at the GoPro in 4k. And it was so cool watching her little eyes open and look around the pool. It was wild. And my midwife just started laughing and she said what what is going on? And I said, Yeah, one more just very gentle push and she was born. But this was the only birth where I had something that when when people say What if something goes wrong, so delivered her was beautiful. And the water started to turn real dark real fast. And that was different. I'd never had that happen and my midwife kind of got this look in her eyes, but she doesn't normally do. And she said do you feel alright and I feel great. And she said I think you I think you might be hemorrhaging a little and so she very quickly without I mean skipping a beat massaged my uterus. I mean, she kind of punched me really did a deep deep massage of my uterus and said, You know, I'm not gonna freak you out. I just want you to get out of the tub. There was no chaos. I don't even think anyone else knew what was going on. It was so peaceful. She gently got me out of the tub. We handed Frances to my dad or to her dad. My husband got on the couch, she said, I'm gonna give you a quick exam. And she said, I'm getting a massage her uterus a little more, you're not gonna like it, but did so and completely stopped it with just that massage. And I remember laying on the couch and I was like, was that bad? And she was like, Well, yeah, that can be really dangerous physically at times, though, you'll just get a shot of pitocin.
She's like, but there's, you know, there's no reason to be concerned if we were able to get that uterus to contract and stop it. And she's like, that's what, that's what that massage did. I remember laying there on the couch and thinking like, oh, that could have been like a scary thing. But it wasn't at all it was. It sounds so weird to say out loud. But even in after birth, hemorrhage, it was so peaceful, I really had no idea at all. And then she checked my iron levels, my blood levels, and we were good. But even in that scary moment, having someone who just cared about my well being She didn't even I mean, she was just so smooth. Even even in my labor, she'd hug me and hold me and say, What are you thinking of? What do you do you have any fears, let's talk about him. She was able to help me process previous trauma and even things before I was a mom. I just don't feel like I would have ever had without her. But yes, I'm gonna I'm gonna move into this last, this last my last birth because this this one is really rocked my world changed a lot of my perspective. So we found out we were pregnant. this past November was a huge surprise. But we were very excited and very surprised to find out he was a boy, our first son and so it was like, one crazy that we're pregnant again, but to I can't believe we're having a son. And so I remember texting my midwife right then and said, Hey, you know, are you accepting clients and, and she laughed, and she said, I'm just like, so excited. And we told all of our family and friends and Christmas is a big week, we waited to surprise our daughters. And it was like wild it was it was the most fun morning of my life. It was it was magical. And I've never had the fear of miscarriage in any of my births. I think I'm a little naive. I've had lots of friends lose babies, but just really had no frame of reference for what that what that was like at all.
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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.