Personal Life

November 28, 2023

#11: Hannah’s Birth Story And My Transformative Birth Experience

My second baby and first daughter Hannah was born on November 1st and it was such an incredible day. Not only did I get to bring my sweet baby girl into the world but I also became a new version of myself I didn’t know was possible. In today’s episode, I’m sharing Hannah’s birth story as well as the events that changed my perspective about birth in the best way. I also share five things I did to prepare for birth and what helped me have such an incredible experience.

About this episode

What you'll learn

  • All the details of my second labor and delivery experience, including time stamps and retrospective insight
  • Advice for pregnant moms about things you can do to prepare for an incredible birth both during pregnancy and during labor
  • Five specific choices I made that empowered me in my medicated hospital birth


Episode #7: How I’m Preparing For Postpartum #2

Research about eating during labor HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE

Watch my "What I Ate In A Day - Labor Edition" video HERE


Today is super special because I'm going to be sharing my daughter's birth story. And I am doing this a little bit selfishly on my part because it was a very special day.

But I also wanted to share my birth experience here on the podcast because I find so much value in hearing other people's birth experiences, getting to see the decisions that they made, how they navigated certain situations, and just getting to hear their experience because every experience is so unique.

And if I'm being totally honest, a lot of the decisions that my husband and I made around our birth experience and our birth plan and how we wanted to go about certain things was because we had listened to other women's experiences and also done our own research.

So I hope today is not only just fun for you to hear something a little bit more personal, but hopefully it's a little bit educational in the sense that maybe I share something that you hadn't thought about before and it kind of opens your eyes to the possibility of what you can do for your birth.

And just give you some peace of mind knowing that even when things don't work out the way that you hope they do, it still turns out amazing and beautiful. As always, if you find this episode helpful or inspiring, please, please share it with another mama that you know so that we can continue to uplift and support each other and grow the podcast.

The more listeners and downloads I get, the better guests I'll be able to invite on, and the more opportunities we'll have in the future to have some really, really amazing discussions. So please leave a five star rating and review, share this with your friends and family who would benefit from the conversation we're having today.

And most importantly, I hope you love hearing this really special episode. So let's jump into Hannah's birth. story.

If I'm being totally honest, I honestly did not think I was going to have to be induced a second time, just because everyone kept telling me, oh, you've given birth before, your body knows what to do, most moms have shorter labor, earlier labor, all those things.

I was super, super convinced that I was going to go into labor naturally, and that never happened. I really wanted to experience what it was like to spontaneously go into labor and just know that my body was doing things on its own, and I really wanted the least amount of medical intervention possible.

I wasn't going to have an unmedicated birth by any means, but I just wanted the least amount of intervention. The first thing on my list was to try to go into labor naturally. Leading up to my due date, I was eating dates and doing the curb walking, and getting that boost of oxytocin from my partner, if you know what I mean, and just doing all the things to try and help my body do everything on its own, and it just never did.

We ended up going in for an induction on the morning of November 1st. And it's funny, I actually got to choose this day. My doctor just said, do you know a day that you want to have your induction? And I was like, yeah, let's just do it on November 1st.

It's my due date and I'm kind of done being pregnant. And I really want to enjoy Halloween with my toddler. So the night before, we had a really, really good time as a family of three. We got to take our son trick or treating for the first time and just like really soak in that special time with him.

And then bright and early Wednesday morning on November 1st, we arrived at the hospital at 7 AM. And of course, you know, nothing crazy is going on. They're just like, hi, you're here to have a baby.

And you're like, yep, OK, let's take you to your room. You know, they put the IVs in, they get me all hooked up to the machine, all these different things. And so it was kind of slow at first. But what can you do, right?

Also, in case you hear random sounds. Like right now, my daughter is currently taking a nap in the bassinet as I'm recording. Work goes on even with having a baby. So you will probably hear baby sounds during this episode because she is very loud when she sleeps.

Anyway, so about two hours later, we finally get to the point where we can break my water. And I had had this conversation with my doctor before going in for the induction. I told him that I wanted the least amount of intervention possible.

And if I was going to be induced, I really, really didn't want Potosin, mainly because I'm not a fan of synthetic hormones. I was on hormonal birth control when I first got married and it absolutely wrecked me.

And so my husband and I just didn't really want anything to do with that. So we talked to my doctor a couple weeks in advance and said, Hey, if I'm progressed enough that like I'm a couple centimeters dilated, and you know, I'm at least 50% of faced or something, like if I reach a certain milestone, is there a way for me to be induced without Potosin?

And he's like, Yeah, if you have progressed enough, then we can just manually break your water and hope that that's enough to kind of kickstart everything. So that's what we decided to do. So at 9 20 am, the nurses came in and broke my water.

And for the next two hours or so, nothing really happened. I was just leaking. It was super annoying. So I was getting kind of frustrated because I was like, like here I am, I did all this work to progress enough that I wasn't going to need Potosin.

And now my body still isn't really doing what I want it to do. So we had the nurse come in, the charge nurse, and then also one of the residents that were on the call that day. And we had a conversation.

And the nurses were like, hey, so maybe we should reevaluate using Potosin. And I was like, no, I really, really don't want Potosin, all these things. And she's like, how about you just talk to the resident?

And you can share all of your concerns and just have a really open conversation. And if you still don't want to do Potosin, that's totally fine. We respect that. We just want you to have all the information before you make a hard and fast decision.

So Tyler and I were like, OK, that sounds fine. So the resident came in, and we were sharing our concerns with Potosin. And she looks at us, and she goes, so don't take the wrong way. But it sounds like you guys are really conscious about what you put in your body, and you prefer a little bit more of the holistic, functional approach to medicine, right?

And we're both like, yes. And she goes, I'm a granola too. Okay, I'm a little crunchy myself, and it's a little silly because here I am working in conventional medicine, but I want you to know that from one granola to another, I actually really support Potosin, and here's why.

And then she shared her perspective on it and kind of broke down the science behind Potosin and actually busted some misconceptions and not myths, but incorrect information that we had about Potosin.

And after listening to the resident, it wasn't like all of a sudden we were like, oh my gosh, just like pump me full of medicine. It was more like, oh, I hadn't thought about it that way. It's not as much of a concern anymore.

We feel comfortable doing that. The other reason we ended up deciding to start Potosin, and I think this is something I really, really want to stress is when it comes to your birth plan, your birth experience, all those things, for me personally, what's really helped me now with two births is knowing what your top priorities are.

So obviously you have lots of preferences, right? Of like how you want things to go, but most importantly, having like a set list of priorities and almost a hierarchy of sorts of where everything fits in so that if you do have to make a decision that doesn't fit in with like how you want things to go, you still know how it's gonna work out.

So I'll give you this example. So we didn't want Potosin, but the nurses told us, hey, just so you know, if we don't see any progress and we hit that 24 hour mark, you're kind of gonna be out of options.

We're either gonna have to take some drastic measures with medicine or we can just send you to the operating room and you can have a C -section, but we kind of are on a time clock. And from what it sounds like, you really don't want to have any tools used or have a C -section or anything like that.

So when Tyler and I were trying to decide what we wanted to do with pitocin, obviously we still didn't really want to use it anyway. But if you compare how we felt about pitocin to how we felt about using vacuum forceps, other medications, or having a C -section, we decided that we would rather go with pitocin than have to wait and do things a little bit more slow and natural, and then only be left with the very extreme options that we for sure wanted to avoid if at all possible.

So I know that was kind of a tangent, but I wanted to bring that up because I think it's a really good, explanation of like trying to understand where your preferences fit into safety and just all the decisions that come with birth, especially like if you're doing it in a hospital.

So at about 1130 a .m. we started Potosin and we decided to do it in very, very, very small amounts. So I don't actually remember like how it's measured, but basically the nurses explained it like you can do it in increments of two.

So the lowest dose that I could do was a two and then if I still wasn't progressing then we would bump it up to a four and if I still wasn't progressing then we'd bump it up to a six. So it kind of went in increments of two at least for me.

And so we started with the smallest dose of Potosin at two and saw the tiniest bit of improvement but not too much. So after about an hour, you know, I was feeling contractions but we still weren't seeing a lot of progress.

We bumped it up to four and we kind of just played that game for a majority of the afternoon just kind of feeling out how my body was doing, how my body was responding, how baby was responding and trying to decide if we were going to need more Potosin because obviously we wanted my body to progress and if it wasn't going to do it on its own we were going to need the help of medicine.

So I labored for a few hours, I'd say probably till about 3 .30 or 4. And once I got up to a six with Potosin the contractions started getting really intense. They were about two minutes apart and they were pretty intense.

And during this time I remember thinking, okay I know I'm getting an epidural, that's part of my birth plan was getting an epidural but I wanted to wait as long as possible to get the epidural. So I had the freedom to move around my room and just help baby labor down as much as possible before I was actually stuck in bed.

So I wanted that freedom. And then I also just really wanted to challenge myself mentally to flip the script about birth. With my first birth, all I knew going into it is that it's the most painful thing any woman can experience.

And all you ever see in TV and movies is the woman screaming and it's chaos and all these things. So I went into my first birth terrified of contractions and the pain of labor and the pain of delivery.

And so that really affected my mentality of just like everything that I was going to have to endure. And so this time around, even though I was still getting it up a drill, I really wanted to give myself an opportunity to flip the script.

you on what birth was. So I researched a whole bunch of stuff about the physiology of birth, what my body is doing, what the pain is telling me, and then I listened to tons of birth stories of women that had given birth unmedicated and just listened to what their body went through and how they handled the pain and everything that came with labor and delivery.

And so what I did during this time when the contractions were progressing, my body was progressing, it was getting really intense and it was getting to my breaking point, I remember sitting there and actually feeling grateful when the contractions came and I know that sounds super silly, but I really did.

I I remember thinking, okay, here's another one. I'm welcoming this contraction. I'm one more contraction closer to holding my baby girl. This means that my body is doing the right thing. My body is helping me deliver my baby.

And just that simple mindset shift of what a contraction meant and what the pain from the contraction meant actually like dramatically affected how I experienced the pain and the contraction that gave me pain.

So I was actually able to go a lot longer this time before getting an epidural and I had also researched a bunch of breathing techniques and different positions I could get into. And it was really cool for me to just see how different this experience was from my first, even though I was still getting induced and I was still planning on getting an epidural.

And I remember feeling so proud of myself that I had even made it like that far in my delivery. I don't know. It's like I'm like at a lost for words when I think back to it. But basically just what I want you to know is that my mentality going into this delivery was so different and my experience was so much better than last time.

So even if you're planning on doing, you know, a fully medicated hospital birth, I really challenge you to listen to other people's experiences like you are today and just remind yourself that birth doesn't have to be something that you're afraid of.

Birth doesn't have to be the most painful thing you'll ever experience. There will still be pain, but you can change how you think about that pain. You can change how you react to that pain and it completely transforms the entire experience as a whole.

So after a couple hours of laboring, I did different positions. I was going back and forth between the bed and my birthing ball and the floor and walking around. And I was doing lots of breathing, all these different things.

I got to my breaking point and I had the anesthesiologist come in to give me my epidural. I think I got the epidural sometime after four. Tyler never took notes on anything I didn't tell him to and I honestly wasn't even watching the clock at this point.

But I'm pretty sure it was like after four in the afternoon. And the funny thing for me is that the epidural makes me so, so sleepy. Like the second it kicks in, I just feel my entire body relax to the point where the only thing my body can do is sleep.

So I was really excited to get this epidural because I'd been laboring for probably, you know, six or seven hours of just waiting and waiting. And then things got really intense. And now I was finally at the point where I could have a break and like mentally reset and prepare for the actual delivery.

So I told the nurses, I was like, Hey, I want to keep adjusting my positions. I want to use the peanut ball and make sure that I'm helping baby labor down as much as possible. But like once the epidural totally kicks in, I want to take a nap and I don't want anyone to come in my room until I wake up.

And I will send Tyler out to come get you when I wake up from my nap. And the nurses are like, OK. So I took, I think it was like an hour and a half nap as soon as the epidural kicked in. It was magical.

I woke up so refreshed and I was like, this is pleasant. OK, I'm ready to go for the rest of the night. And my goal was to have my baby before midnight. Like I wanted to just go for it. Right. So once I woke up.

the nurses came back in and they're like, hey, so we were watching the monitor and it seems like your body is progressing really, really well. Let's do a cervical check just to see where you're at. So at this point, I think I was at like six or seven centimeters and I got my epidural when I was five centimeters dilated.

So I had made a lot of progress while I was sleeping and let me tell you, that's a great thing to know that my body was progressing while I was sleeping. And I was like, okay, that's awesome. Sounds great.

And I was like, but I'm still tired. I'm going to take another nap. And they're like, okay. So they readjusted me with the peanut ball, got me comfy. I took another nap. It was probably like an hour or so.

And then the nurses came back in, did another cervical check, and she like gave me the biggest smile and she goes, my friend, you are complete. And I was like, wait, really? I took two naps and I had gone from five to 10 centimeters, 50 percent a face to 100 percent a face, and I was complete.

I was essentially ready to go. I was really excited. That was around, I'd say probably eight o 'clock at night. At this point, the nurses were like, okay, let's start pushing, let's call the doctor and I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on, there's one more thing, you have to check.

And I actually did research on this beforehand, and this is one of the things that I learned from labor and delivery nurses, but also in combination with moms who had gone unmedicated, is that my body has this thing called the fetal ejection reflex, where literally my body is supposed to push the baby out by itself without me having to push.

Once baby labors down enough and gets far enough into the pelvis, and if you're doing an unmedicated birth, right, you're just in labor, and then all of a sudden, every single woman that recounted her experience, she always said something to the extent of, and then all of a sudden I felt the urge to push.

I pushed for three minutes or something like that, and my baby was here. And I was like, wow, okay, well, obviously, I won't have that feeling because I have an epidural. So how can I mimic that process of literally only having to push for a couple minutes, and like minimizing my push time, my tearing, all those things?

Well, I learned that there's this thing called the stations. I don't know if it's like the station scale. I probably should have looked that up before I recorded, but essentially, doctors have this scale that they go off of that tells you where baby is in relation to your pelvis.

It goes from negative three to positive three. 3. Negative 3 means baby is just straight chillin' in your stomach, they are not engaged in the pelvis at all, you've got a really long way to go. Zero is neutral obviously, and then positive 3 basically means you're crowning the baby's head is like partially out of your body.

So when I learned about what women were experiencing with unmedicated childbirth, and then this system that doctors have to evaluate where baby is in the pelvis, I told the nurses, okay that's awesome that I'm complete, I'm super stoked that I'm 10 centimeters 100% effaced.

However, I don't want to start pushing until I'm at least a positive 1, but I would prefer a positive 2 station. And the nurses are like, okay, yeah sure, we can do that. And so I had them check me again, and I was at a zero.

station. So I still needed a little bit more time to have baby labor on her own in conjunction with the interventions that I was doing before I was actually going to start pushing.

So remember, I've had the epidural, so I can't actually move, but at this point in time what we did is we utilized the peanut ball and we were rotating me from side to side and we were changing the angle of my legs and especially my knees and my ankles to kind of help baby wiggle down into my pelvis.

And if you've seen any of my birth prep stretching videos on Instagram or TikTok or you watched my IG live where I did like a full tutorial, I talk about this where there's different ways that you can manipulate your legs to open certain parts of your pelvis for the different stages of labor and pushing.

So I was utilizing these techniques even with an epidural with the nurses help and Tyler's help and the peanut ball to do everything I could to help baby labor down on her own into my pelvis so that I could be at a positive one or a positive two station before I started pushing.

Now, the reason I was so adamant about not pushing until I've reached a certain station was because I wanted to A, minimize pushing time because it's exhausting and B, I wanted to minimize my tearing.

And if my body is fatigued, that means I can't control my muscles as well, which means I'm more likely to tear. So my theory was, OK, well, if I'm not doing an unmedicated where that's like the easiest way to not tear, the next best thing would be to try and get the station lined up with being complete and then have all of the energy in the world to push, but also to control the rate of dissent that my baby was coming out.

So after about 10 or 15 minutes of these different exercises and rolling me over and using the peanut ball and all these things, I had the nurses check me again and I was at a positive one and they're like, OK, would you feel comfortable doing some practice pushing?

And I was like, I mean, sure, like as long as I'm not like pushing, pushing and I'm not, you know, using a ton of energy yet, that's fine. Maybe a couple pushes, you know, with my contractions will kind of help go from a positive one to a positive two.

So I did some very, very light, nonintensive pushing like it. Yeah, it wasn't anything like the traditional pushing stage. And I had the nurse, you know, keep her hand inside of me. And she was measuring where baby was when I was pushing with a contraction.

And she's like, OK, every time you push, she goes from a positive one to a positive two. So maybe this practice pushing along with your contractions will kind of help her labor down, but we don't have to wait as long.

And if that's something you're comfortable with, then we can keep doing that. And I was like, sure, I'm not tired. I'm not really trying that hard. That's totally fine. So we did some more practice pushing.

I think that went on for probably another 10 minutes or so. And then I vividly remember sitting there and all of a sudden the nurse goes, oh my gosh, okay, stop. And I was like, are we okay? She goes, yeah, your baby really, really wants to come out.

So you need to hold her in your body. Don't let her come out. I'm going to call your doctor. And I was like, wait, you're telling me I have to hold my baby inside of my body. You're joking me. And at this point, I could actually feel the pressure of her crowning.

It's like all of a sudden she just shot through the birth canal and she was actively trying to leave. And so she's like, I'm going to call your doctor right now. So she calls my doctor. And my doctor is actually on crutches.

And so she's like, you need to get here, like ASAP. And he goes, okay, I'm about 10 minutes out. And she goes, Okay. No, no, you need to come faster than 10 minutes. This baby is gonna come out if you don't get here sooner.

So I think it took him like seven minutes, which is impressive on crutches, but he shows up and all the nurses and all the people were already and she's like, okay, she's at a positive three station.

She's ready to go, baby's crowning. We've been trying to keep baby in as long as possible. Here's your gloves. So they hand my doctor the gloves and he sits down on his little chair, gets his hand ready and he goes, okay, on the next contraction, you're gonna push.

And I was like, okay, awesome. So we wait for the contraction. I push for literally like three seconds and Hannah was out. It was absolutely wild. Like she descended so fast. And I remember being like, there is no way that I just pushed that baby out that fast.

So that was really cool. Hannah was born at 9 .02 PM, that same day on November 1st, after about like 30 minutes of pushing and she was super healthy, super beautiful. Tyler and I both cried, of course.

And then the nursing staff was really awesome. I was prepared to have to like ask for an hour of alone time skin to skin. And the nurses just like decided that that's how it was gonna be. So they're like, okay, mom, here's your baby, hold her close, we're gonna deliver the placenta.

You know, watch your blood loss, get you all stitched up. And then, you know, we'll come back in about an hour to weigh her, wipe her off, all those things. And I was like, wow, okay, that's really cool.

So we got some really good quality time with Hannah for about an hour. Then she weighed in at 7 pounds 13 ounces and I think she was like 19 and a half inches. I was basically asleep at this point. I was so tired.

She was 7 pounds 13 ounces. I just remember when I was holding her not only was I so excited to finally hold my daughter, but I remember just being so proud of myself because I had felt so in control my entire birth.

I just had such an amazing experience compared to my first time and I felt so empowered and so capable and confident and in control. That was really important to me. I remember just feeling so grateful that even though Everything didn't go exactly the way that I wanted.

I still had to be induced. I still needed Pitocin, all those things. It still ended up working out. And it honestly was absolutely amazing.

So now that I've gotten to share just kind of like the schedule of the day, the birth experience, the birth story and just kind of going through the different timelines, I wanna take some time to talk about some of the things that I did differently with this birth, compared with my first, but also with a lot of other birth experiences that I've had, just to give you an idea of what's possible, especially if you're planning a hospital birth.

I feel like nowadays there's just a script for how it goes, and you just kind of assume that that's the only way things can be done. And I want you to listen to the rest of this episode and know that just because there's like a standard protocol or there's a traditional way of doing things, that doesn't mean that you have to do it that way.

So I want to talk about some of the things that I did during my labor and delivery that in my opinion, really made all the difference in not only my physical state, but my mental and emotional state, and how I ended up feeling at the end of my life.

And that's what I wanted to do with my labor and delivery experience. The first thing that I want to reiterate, because I kind of talked about it a little bit, was the idea that I came into labor and delivery with personal milestones that I wanted to hit.

And I communicated that with my birth team. So some of those milestones were being complete, but not pushing yet, right? So even though I was 10 centimeters, 100% afaced, that didn't necessarily mean that I wanted to start pushing yet.

And the normal protocol from what I understand, is that as soon as you're complete, they encourage you to start pushing. And so the only way that I was able to do something different is because I asked for it and I advocated for it.

So whether you use that same milestone like I did or you have other milestones, just keeping kind of like a mental list of that and also communicating that with your partner ahead of time so they can advocate for you if you're struggling or the labor and delivery team isn't listening to you, making sure that you have a good understanding of what your personal milestones are so that you can feel in control and understand where you're at in labor.

The next thing that made a really, really big difference for me was movement. I was really adamant that I was going to be able to walk around, move, squat, lunge, whatever I wanted. up until the very last moment before I got my epidural.

And even after the epidural, I made sure that I had a plan in place of how I was going to continue to move my body so that I didn't stall in labor and I continued to encourage my baby to labor down into my pelvis.

I practiced this when contractions were coming, so I was doing different positions to alleviate pressure. I was doing different positions in between contractions to help facilitate labor. And then like I said, with the peanut ball after I got the epidural, I very, very, very strongly believe that one of the reasons my labor progressed the way that it did and things went pretty smooth, all things considered, is because I kept moving.

And some most people that come in to get induced are here for more than 24 hours. And they usually stall and we have to come up with some countermeasures to get things going, or the moms start to get nervous and all these things.

And they're like, you just like frickin killed it. And they talked about how surprised they were at how much I was moving throughout labor. And I'm a really firm believer that that was a major contributor to how well my birth went.

So if you don't want to have a super long labor, even if you're getting induced, or you want to be able to better manage the pain, or you just want to feel good while you're experiencing labor, I highly, highly recommend including movement as much as possible and learning what kind of movement to do ahead of time, so that you're not trying to like come up with it on the spot.

You've practiced it, you've coached yourself through it, all those different things. thing that I did this time that I did not do last time was I breathed a very, very specific way during contractions and during pushing.

I learned that the kind of breathing that you want to do through contractions should basically sound like a cow or like an alligator or like some big animal that has a really deep voice. The idea is that while you're breathing, you are trying to keep it at a very, very low frequency.

You want your throat to be open and you want it to be very slow and controlled. The reason being is because if you have, you know, extremely labored breathing, meaning like it's really short, kind of like hyperventilating, or you're screaming, or you're clenching your jaw or holding your breath or all those things, that's creating tension in your pelvic floor.

And it's also facilitating your ear within your body and both of those things are going to make it harder for you to endure the pain and push your baby out without like tearing super, super bad. So while I was going through contractions, oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm actually going to do this.

It sounds so silly, but while I was going through contractions and they were really painful, I was literally breathing like this. Like I was really, really opening my throat trying to get those really deep vibrations in my throat and I was pushing with my gut.

Like I was actively using diaphragmatic breathing to get that really low frequency out. And when I tell you it made such a difference in how painful my contractions were, I truly, truly mean it. Like I was able to go twice as long this time just because of how I changed my breathing and it sounded really ridiculous.

And I was a little bit embarrassed. Like every time my nurse came in or even with Tyler there, I was a little bit self -conscious because I felt so silly, but it helped with pain management and it helped regulate my nervous system so that I wasn't like exacerbating the pain and everything else that came with it.

So breathing was a huge one for me. And I do want to mention breathing during pushing. Another thing I was super adamant about and I told the nurses, I told the labor and delivery team, I told my doctor, I was like, I will not hold my breath while I push.

And you know, they obviously encourage you to do that for specific reasons. One of them being it helps you bear down and it helps women engage their muscles with an epidural because you can't feel anything.

So if you hold your breath and pretend like you're pooping, that's... you basically how you're going to be able to push baby out. But the only problem with that is that you're creating tension in the pelvic floor, and that means that there's a higher risk of tearing, as well as more severe tearing.

So I was super adamant that I was not going to hold my breath while I was pushing. I was just actively exhaling. And then for the last four seconds or so of each big push, I was doing really short breaths.

And that was also to help relax the pelvic floor and control the rate of descent. So the nurses would coach me. They'd say, OK, here comes a contraction. Take a big deep breath. And then I would think back to the muscle memory of how I'd been training my core and my pelvic floor during pregnancy.

And I would focus on that really deep exhale, really slow and controlled. And then I would get those breaths at the very end. And I actually felt like I was pushing stronger than if I was trying to bear down.

And the nurse even said, she's like, I am shocked at how relaxed your pelvic floor is while you're pushing with an epidural. And I was like, I honestly think it's because of my breathing. Like I'm not a nurse, I'm not a doctor, but I did do my research and I have talked to pelvic floor physical therapists and things like that.

And I really do think it's because of my breathing. And it was really cool to see that it worked. So that made a really big difference for me, my breathing. Another preference I had during the pushing stage was the position that my body was in to push.

Traditionally, what they'll have you do if you're in a hospital and you have an epidural is they'll have you lay on your back, they'll put your feet in the stirrups and it'll be knees out ankles in. So basically you're kind of like butterflying your legs and then you can reach up, grab the back of your thighs, right?

You'll grab your hamstrings and push. I did not want to push that way. That's from what I understand physiologically is one of the greatest ways to tear during childbirth because again, if you've watched my exercise videos during pregnancy, I talk about this all the time, but the idea that there's different parts of the pelvis, there's your pelvic inlet and your pelvic outlet.

The outlet is the very, very bottom, like the bottom of your pelvic floor. The pelvic inlet is at the top where baby starts and has to descend through. If you have your knees out and your ankles in, other words, like you're butterflying your legs, that is opening the pelvic inlet.

And if you've gotten to the point where you're ready to push, that means you're ready to push. that you're opening the wrong end of your pelvis, which in my opinion is why a lot of women tear so bad is because they're actually closing the part that baby is supposed to come out of.

So when it came to my pushing, I had the nurses elevate my bed to about a 30 degree angle. I had them roll up a towel and then put it in a U shape under my bum to kind of like offset my sacrum and shift the angle of my pelvic floor.

And then I had my legs in the stirrups, but I made sure that it was, oh, there's my baby. Sorry about that. I made sure that it was knees in, ankles out. So if you're imagining that like you're sitting on the floor, it would kind of be like your legs are in a W position, but obviously like I'm reclined and my legs are up.

So with my knees in and my ankles out. that opens the pelvic outlet, which is where I am trying to push my baby out of. So it's essentially making the most amount of space possible in my pelvis for baby to be pushed out.

The towel under my bum also changes the angle of my pelvis and my sacrum. And one of my physical therapist friends told me that it essentially gives you four times as much room in the pelvic outlet for baby to descend through just by putting a rolled up towel in a U shape under your bum, like under your sacrum.

So changing the way that I pushed, like the position that my body was in, was also a really, really big thing for me. That one wasn't as popular with the labor and delivery team, but I checked with my doctor beforehand and I said, hey, this is how I would like to push.

I know that it's safe. I just know that it's not normally how you work with your patients. And I just wanted to ask if you feel comfortable delivering my baby with me in that position. Like, is that, you know, is that going to be uncomfortable for you?

Is it going to make your job harder? And I was just really honest with him. I was like, this is how I want to push. This is how I feel comfortable pushing. And I want to make sure that you and I can be on the same page.

And my doctor's like, no, that's totally fine. Just know that if things go south in order to keep you and baby safe, I will readjust you. And I was like, that's totally fine. Let's hope things don't go south.

But I was able to double check with my doctor and then communicate that with my labor and delivery team. And I explained why. And they're like, okay, yeah, mama, that's totally fine. You know, we'll support you in whatever you want.

Let's, you know, let's make sure that you and baby are safe. So that was the fourth thing. And lastly, number five of the things that I did to have a really good birth experience. experience, and this one is going to be very controversial, is I ate during labor.

Now this is very much a personal preference. I know some women, even if they wanted to eat, they can't because they'll throw up. Other women have been bullied into not eating even though they wanted to.

So I know that this is a really, really hot topic. What I want you to know right off the bat is that it was approved by my doctor. So if you have problems with me eating during labor, I don't care because I got it approved by my doctor and he was comfortable with it.

And the other reason I chose to do this is because the whole thing about not eating during labor is a hospital policy that is extremely outdated. And because it's a hospital policy, as the patient, you have the right to refuse.

as long as you've been informed of the risks, right? So informed consent. Now, in case you're not aware, the risk with eating during labor is that if you go in for a C -section, whether it's elective or emergency, there is a very, very, very, very, very, very small chance that you could aspirate during the surgery if you are given general anesthesia.

Aspiration obviously is not good. That means that you throw up and then it goes back down the wrong tube and gets into your lungs, and then that's a whole new medical emergency. But what I do want you to know is that the standard and hospital policy for not eating during labor has been around for, I think, over 50 years.

And it was because two women died of aspiration during childbirth, and they from then on just made that blanket statement that from now on, no one is gonna eat in labor so that we don't have to have that risk at all.

Since then, there have been next to no cases of aspiration during C -section. And if I'm remembering right, I should have looked this up, but if I'm remembering right, the actual risk is like one in six million.

And if you think about how many babies are born every year, that's like a really, really, really, really low risk. And that was a risk I was willing to take. Why labor is a marathon, right? It is so intense and you don't know how long it's gonna be.

It could be two hours long. It could be 28 hours long. It's really, really intense. And it's a catabolic exercise, meaning it requires energy of your body. And if you don't replenish and fuel that energy, then you're being...

basically just like compounding all of the stress of labor and just like creating more problems for yourself. And this hasn't been proven by science, but I would like to think that maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons why women stall during labor and sometimes have to get a C -section is because their body is so exhausted from labor and not having enough fuel to get through labor that their body just kind of says, I can't do this anymore.

And that to me is so sad. And like I said, this is just my personal opinion and this is not backed by science, but in my mind, I think it's a decent theory. And if I looked at the risk and my theory and just what I know about how the human body works and how nutrition works and how exercise works and all these things, my husband and I decided that it was worth the risk.

for me to eat during labor because I wanted to be fully fueled, fully energized, and have all the resources that my body needed to get through labor. And I am so, so, so glad that I did eat during labor.

I had a full breakfast. I had a mid -morning snack. I had a big lunch. I had an afternoon snack. I had electrolytes. I had protein hot chocolate. I had a second snack that was around dinner time, but it wasn't actually a dinner.

And then I saved a meal for post -delivery. And let me tell you, getting through contractions and just like how long labor is, was so astronomically easier because I had food in my body. And like I said, not every woman can tolerate food.

I had some women comment on one of my TikTok videos where I shared what I ate in a day during labor. They commented and they're like, I wanted to eat, but I just kept throwing everything up. And that might be you.

But to me, I wanted to see if it helped my body with labor and I truly believe that it did. Not only did it help me stay energized and alert during labor, but I had energy to push. And I was not an absolute wreck after delivery.

Like the nurses came up and they're like, okay, can we go get you a sandwich? Can we go get you something? And I was like, no, I'm fine. I just am really sleepy because I've been up for 20 hours and I'd like to take a nap with my baby.

And they were like shocked that I didn't need food right away. And it's because I'd been eating all day and I was totally fine. So not only did it help me through labor and pushing and delivery, but I so strongly believe that it helped the next 72 days.

two hours of my recovery because my body wasn't like scrounging for nutrients and it wasn't like trying to recover from childbirth and going without food for almost 24 hours. It was only trying to recover from the physical trauma of childbirth, AKA losing a baby, losing a placenta, losing a lot of blood, all those things.

And so my recovery in the hospital was so much smoother than last time. And I just felt better overall. Like I didn't feel like my hormones were all out of place. I only had night sweats the first night.

I don't know if that's attributed to nutrition or not, but a lot of the things that I experienced with my first birth, I didn't experience this time around and one of the biggest things that I did differently was eat during labor.

So if that's something that you want to learn more about or you want to consider, I highly, highly, highly recommend doing your own research, talking to your doctor, talking to certified professionals and just getting lots of different opinions about what that could mean for you and seeing if that's something that you might want to try for your next birth.

Because in my opinion, if there was only one of these things that I could choose to do for my next labor, I would give up everything else, the medication, the pushing techniques, like all that. I would give all that up just so that I could eat during labor.

That's how strongly I believe that this helped me during my labor and delivery. So I wanted to bring that up because I know it's a very sore touchy subject for people. It's extremely controversial, but I want you to know that it is a possibility.

You just have to ask for it and communicate with your doctor and be willing to stand up for yourself if the hospital staff pushes back. I don't know if you follow Jen Hamilton on TikTok. She has like, I don't know, three or four million followers.

She's a Libra and delivery nurse. She actually encourages her patients to eat during labor. And if there's ever like a hospital policy that you don't super love and you're trying to figure out how to communicate that without like being rude or I know more than you do and I'm the patient kind of a vibe, Jen always just says, you can just look at the hospital staff and say, no, thank you.

And that's the end of the conversation. And that's what I was prepared to do if I got pushed back about eating during labor is I was just going to very kindly, calmly communicate with them. Actually, not eating during labor is a hospital policy.

And as a patient, I have the right to refuse any medication. any treatment, any policy, because it's my health. And I'm doing it with informed consent. I've done my research, I've talked to my doctor.

I'm gonna refuse that policy. And you have the right to do that as the patient. So that's a super long tangent. As you can tell it's something I'm very passionate about. Just know that it's personal.

It's a personal decision for each woman. It's something that you need to do your own research about. And it's definitely something you need to communicate with your doctor about before you get into labor and delivery.

So that everyone's on the same page. And you have all your ducks lined up. And you feel very, very confident with the decision you've made. Like it's not a spur of the moment. It's not, oh, I heard some influencer on a podcast talk about it.

So it must be okay. Like I really want you to talk to your doctor, consult with your doctor, do your own research and then come up with a decision that's best for you. If. You don't like the risk of eating during labor?

No shame whatsoever. That's how most women do it and they have their babies and they go on and live their life and that's totally fine. I also want you to know that there is a possibility that your birth experience could be better if you eat during labor and that's how it was for me.

It's not the case for every woman, but that's how it was for me and I'm really really glad I did. Okay, I think I should get off my soapbox now. I really really hope you enjoyed listening to Hannah's birth story.

Hannah is our our sweet little girl that joined our family. She's our second child. So we have a two -year -old boy named Hiram and now Hannah in our family. And at the time of this recording, you can probably hear her squealing in her sleep.

At the time of this recording, I am 11 days postpartum and feeling absolutely incredible. I am doing so much better this time around and not only did I have an amazing birth experience, but I've had an incredible postpartum experience so far.

So I hope this episode was helpful just to hear, you know, some of the details about someone else's experience and also maybe open your eyes to some parts about labor and delivery that maybe you hadn't considered before.

Hopefully you learned something because a lot of the things that I shared were things that I had learned through research. And overall, I just most importantly, I'm so grateful that my baby girl is safe and healthy and happy and that she is a finally part of our family.

Thank you so much for your support for me and my family for listening to this episode and for being a part of the well -nourished Mama community. I hope I continue to be a resource of education and inspiration for you in every state of motherhood and that we can continue to connect and grow together as we experience motherhood together.