Ep 113: Elvira’s Birth Story – A Story From A Birth Preparation Course Student

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I am super excited to have a birth story episode for you from a student in the BPC! Elvira joins us today to share the story of her beautiful, unmedicated birth. She loves to help other expectant/new moms and being part of that community.

Elvira has an amazing story for her birth. Even though things didn’t go exactly as planned she still had a beautiful birth and was happy about her experience. There are so many wonderful moments and lessons in her story and I know you’re going to enjoy it.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How Elvira used the questionnaire from the birth prep course to evaluate her doctor
  • How the birth prep course helped supplement her birth education when Covid made in-person classes inaccessible
  • How she discovered she was in labor
  • How quickly she dilated (5cm in less than an hour!)
  • What a huge help her labor nurse was
  • How her husband helped in the birthing process
  • Why she ended up choosing to get an episiotomy
  • What struggles she faced with breastfeeding
  • What happened when she, her husband, and her baby all got Covid

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Ep 113: Elvira’s Birth Story--A Story From A Birth Preparation Course Student

Nicole: I am excited to have a birth story from a Birth Preparation Course student.

Nicole: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN, who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Hello. Hello, welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 113. Thank you for being here and spending a bit of your time with me today. I am super excited to have a birth story episode for you from a student in my online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course. Elvira joins us today to share her story of her beautiful unmedicated birth. Elvira was born in Venezuela, but she recently became a US citizen. She's been married for five years. And in addition to their baby, she and her husband have three dogs and a cat. She went to Texas A and M where she studied zoology and ended up staying in College Station. Elvira loves to help other expectant and new moms, and also loves being a part of her community. She had an amazing story for her unmedicated birth, and she shares all the details with us, including how she dilated five centimeters in less than an hour, how her labor nurse was a huge help.

Nicole: And actually the second one was a bit better than the first one she'll share about that. She talks about how she ended up actually choosing to get an episiotomy, some of the struggles she had with breastfeeding, as well as how she, her husband and her baby got COVID after birth. And I'll say upfront spoiler alert, they all ended up being fine. Now, even though things didn't go exactly as planned, she still had a beautiful birth, was very happy about her experience. There are so many wonderful moments and lessons in her story, and I know that you're going to enjoy it now, before we get into the episode, let's do a quick listener shout out. This is from miss Shinsato. Uh, and the title of the review says incredibly informative. And I shortened it just a bit and the review says I'm pregnant for the first time and wanted an easy way to get information about pregnancy and birth.

Nicole: Dr. Rankins is so informative when she has her topic specific episodes. I love how she stays neutral and gives you all the options or things that could happen. The guests are informative and give a wealth of information, whether it is an expert in their field or a birthing person or partner giving their experience with birth. I also appreciate that Dr. Rankin stresses the importance of being prepared through prenatal education and sticking up for yourself during pregnancy and labor, especially for women of color. I always finish listening to episodes feeling empowered. Thank you. Thank you for that lovely kind review. I so, so appreciate it and appreciate you taking the time to leave that review in Apple podcast, always makes my day to hear that the podcast is helpful. Now for anyone who wants to take it a step further in getting information and being empowered then enjoy me inside the Birth Preparation Course, my signature online childbirth education class, that gets you calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth. Nearly 1000 mamas have gone through the course at this point. And I would it be delighted to have you in the course with me as well? You can check out all the details of the course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right, let's get into this birth story episode with Elvira.

Nicole: All right. Well, thank you so much Elvira for agreeing to come on to the podcast. I'm really excited to have you here.

Elvira: Of course, I'm so glad to be here as well.

Nicole: Yeah. So why don't you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?

Elvira: So, um, I live in the Bryan College Station area and I stayed after I went to Texas A and M. Um, my husband and I, we just fell in love with the community and, uh, we love being part of it. We've been married for five years next weekend.

Nicole: Well, happy early anniversary.

Elvira: Thank you. Very excited. Um, we have three dogs and a cat and our little one is almost four months.

Nicole: Oh, nice. Nice, nice, nice. Um, and so why don't we just hop right into your story? Why don't we start off though, in order to understand what the birth is like, we first have to understand what the pregnancy and prenatal care was like. So I'm curious about the care you received during your pregnancy, how you felt about that and then how that changed because of COVID.

Elvira: Yeah, so we found out we were trying, so, you know, I was super excited and we found out very early on. I was like four weeks pregnant. Um, yeah. And, uh, about a month later, I started, um, bleeding after being with my husband and it wouldn't stop bleeding. Um, and my OB told me that it might be implantation bleeding, um, and so I had to take progesterone as a precaution. And, uh, he diagnosed me with a threatened miscarriage and I had to take that for two months, um, as, so, you know, I was taking my regular vitamins and then I was taking that. Um, and I don't know if this is true, but I felt like the progesterone just made my morning sickness, like so much worse. Okay. Um, but yeah, no, that was the only thing after that everything was smooth sailing just had my normal, you know, new mom, new pregnancy questions. Um, um, I wouldn't say that it was an easy pregnancy because I don't like saying pregnancy is easy. Um, I had an uncomplicated pregnancy, you know, because, um, even the most uncomplicated pregnancies there's so much work. I feel like my body was constantly working, you know? And so, yeah.

Nicole: It definitely changed. Like, I love, I love the way that you say that even if it's, you know, uncomplicated, it's not necessarily easy, there are a lot of changes and things that happen in your body, like mentally, all of those things that makes perfect, perfect sense.

Elvira: Yeah. And then, uh, you know, due to COVID, I mean, I got pregnant like in March, so it was like right at the beginning. And then around June, my appointments changed a little bit. I mean, I was lucky the office never closed, so I got to go in and all my appointments. Um, but my husband just wasn't allowed to go with me unless it was an ultrasound appointment.

Nicole: Got it, got it, got it. Did he find that frustrating or did he have trouble connecting with your pregnancy as a result?

Elvira: No, I don't think so. I think he really just liked, honestly, just going to the ultrasound ones.

Nicole: So no shame in that at all. And were you happy with the care that you received from your doctor?

Elvira: Yes, he was great. He was recommended by a couple of friends, but on the very first visit, I took the questionnaire from your course.

Nicole: Oh Nice.

Elvira: And we sat down and I just asked him all the questions, you know? And so it was like a mini interview from both sides, you know? And, um, it seemed like we, we were compatible, so.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And you didn't feel any pushback or anything when you were asking questions?

Elvira: No. As a matter of fact, I remember I said, what about pushing position? And he said, you get in whatever position, I'll catch the baby. And I said, okay.

Nicole: Okay. Well, that's always, that's always good to hear. I know there like some problems and issues with the way that we care for pregnant folks, but there are some good doctors out there.

Elvira: Yes, for sure. I feel lucky. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. So what kinds of things did you do to prepare for your birth?

Elvira: Yeah, I was given several books by friends and then the hospitals will send me a couple of books that I just kind of read here and there, but really, uh, I read Breastfeeding Made Simple, which was recommended in this podcast and that was, Oh my gosh. So much help for sure. Um, I actually read that several times and even after the baby, I opened the book and I was like, okay. Um, but due to COVID, I couldn't do any in person class, which was kind of frustrating. Um, but luckily I found your course and that was phenomenal.

Nicole: Thank you. I'm glad. I don't know. I feel like I didn't necessarily know when you signed up that you took my car, you know what I did, because at your name, I was like, I know this name, but then you didn't say like in the thing that you took the course. So I was like, do I ask, do I not add, so thank you for clarifying that for me, I'm delighted that you found the course helpful.

Elvira: Yeah I think when I applied, I had just given birth. So I'm sure my brain was just.

Nicole: No, no, no. It's totally fine.

Elvira: Um, but yeah. So talking about your course, one of the things I'm probably, this is how you remember my name was that your Facebook live videos were, Oh my gosh. Every week I was just waiting for it. I had my questions. I know sometimes I was like, am I asking too many questions? But I'm like,

Nicole: Nope, Nope, Nope. That is one of the favorite parts about the course, like being in the Facebook group every week to kind of answer questions. I love it. So I'm glad you took advantage of that resource. Oh yes. Oh yeah.

Elvira: So, you know, it was so nice because in between my appointments, it's like I had another OB, you know, like, you know, get a second opinion from you or if I had a weird symptom, um, you know, it just helped me enjoy and not have to worry, just enjoy more of my pregnancy, you know? So I'm so grateful for that resource.

Nicole: Thank you. Thank you. And if I recall correctly, you also answer other people's questions and pop in and chime in. Well, thank you. Y'all I didn't pay her to say that. I swear I didn't. All right. So what are the things you do do other than, um, you said you read books and my course, I mean, that's plenty, but if did you do anything else?

Elvira: Oh yeah. So the podcast, I did not miss that either. It was like religiously every Tuesday. I was like, let's do it. You know?

Elvira: And then, uh, I watched videos on how to push, um, because um, I wanted an unmedicated, um, birth then. Um, so I watched videos on breathing techniques. I did prenatal yoga every day, or I went on a walk, so I try to stay, you know, active, as much as I could.

Nicole: Oh, nice. That's really important to stay active. Did you just do it with like YouTube videos and things like that?

Elvira: Yes. And actually I did the one you recommended as well.

Nicole: Sarah Beth, Sarah Beth. Yes. You know, she has a nice prenatal and I'm not affiliated with her in any way. She just has nice videos that are in a whole prenatal series. So I, and I'm a yoga junkie myself, so it was nice. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So what are some of the things that you wanted for your birth and the, let me back up and say, I'm impressed with your preparation. Like you took this very seriously. Do you feel like you were, was it like overwhelming, like the amount of time? Cause I worry sometimes that people think like it can be a whole, whole lot that you have to prepare constantly. Do you feel like you were just constantly looking at stuff because you wanted to, or you had to, or was it like, you know, you were doing things, it wasn't like overwhelming.

Elvira: Yeah. No, for sure. So like I said, the books, some of them were overwhelming. They were big and they had everything about everything. So I just kind of stood back and I said, I'm going to trust my body. And when I, you know, so yes, I read, but not, I just kind of trusted everything was going well. Um, so I don't feel, I, I didn't overwhelm myself.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And I think that's like the great way to approach it. Like you picked what you needed and what felt right for you. And then the rest you're like, okay. Yeah.

Elvira: Right. Cause I realized I'm not going to know everything.

Nicole: So what were some things you wanted for your birth? You said you wanted it to be unmedicated. Is there anything else that you wanted?

Elvira: Yeah so really just unmedicated with minimal interventions? You know, and my doctor knew that and he was very supportive of that. Um, and then, you know, I know I learned that birth is unpredictable, so I was open to whatever needed to be done if it was necessary. Um, because of the end of the day, I just wanted a healthy baby, but uh, I did want to do like the music and the lights as essential oils. I wanted to get in the tub and the birth ball, but I didn't get to do any of that.

Nicole: Yeah. I was going to say, we'll talk about it. It's a little bit different and not a bad way, but just different than what you might've expected. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So why don't we just go ahead and hop, hop into that. What was your labor and birth? Like how did labor start for you?

Elvira: Okay. So, um, I was 30 weeks and the day before my OB had checked me and he said I was one centimeter dilated and I was scared to get checked, but I pushed it until 38 weeks. And he said, no, we're checking you now. So he was very gentle though. It didn't hurt anything, any issues at all? It was, it was great. Um, and then that day I went in a 30 minute walk and I cooked for hours. I don't know why, but I did that.

Elvira: Um, and so the next day, you know, I woke up like usual around like 10 in the morning, took a shower and just got ready. Um, but I started feeling like period cramps. That's what it felt like that would just come and go, just come and go. Um, and so, but you know, I was like, whatever, this is, you know, I was told that it would feel like tightening in my abdomen. And so since I didn't feel that I was like, I don't know. I'm, I'm fine. It's fine. So I would, I was cleaning the house still because I don't know, I just wanted to clean it and I actually have a ring camera. And so I went back and looked at the day and I'm like changing couch covers. And then I would, I would stop and like breathe through the contraction and then continue it. Like if I, when I saw it, I was like, clearly I was in labor. I mean, it was so obvious, but when I was in the moment, I was just like, whatever.

Nicole: Oh, wow. So were they just not that intense or you just kept like doing your thing?

Elvira: Yeah. I just kind of ignored them and then they were getting more intense. Then I CA I called my mom and I said, mom, you know that this is kind of odd. And she's like, Oh, that's what it felt like for me when I was in labor. So then I called the OB's office and the nurse was like, um, are you sure you're not in labor? Um, and I said, well, I've never been in labor so I don't know.

Elvira: So she asked me to count for an hour. Every time I got my cramps, how long they lasted, how far apart they were. And so I said, okay, I have my little app, you know? And during that hour I actually got in the tub. Um, I call my husband and I was just like, you know, this is happening. I don't know what it means. And so he, you know, he came home and then I had had 15 contractions in that hour. And then they were happening 46 minutes and less than about 40 seconds. Okay. Yeah. So then I called back and they were like, you need to come in. Um, and while I was waiting, I started noticing that I was leaking fluid. Um, and so the nurse checked me and she's like, Hey, you're two centimeters dilated. Um, I see that you have fluid, but I can feel the bottom of your amniotic sac.

Elvira: Um, so she's like, so either broke at the top or there's like a small hole somewhere, but she could still feel it. So she was like, I'm going to go ahead and send you to the hospital for testing. She's like, you're not going to be admitted. You're just going to get tested. And then you're going to go home. And I was like, okay, that works for us. Um, so the hospital was 10 minutes from the office and then it took us like 20 to 30 minutes for the nurse to get us get admitted, you know, all that good stuff. And she's like, I'm just going to take a sample and then I'm going to check you. So then she took a sample and then, you know, during that time I was still doing my breathing. I was still, you know, they were getting more and more intense. I remember she asked me, you know, what is your pain level? And I was like, Oh, I'm like a six or seven, you know, it's getting there. And then all of a sudden after she checked me, she was like, uh, you're seven centimeters dilated. You're not going anywhere. Okay. And I couldn't believe it.

Nicole: Yeah. What did you feel in that moment?

Elvira: I remember I was hazy. Like I was like, Oh, maybe I didn't understand her. So I asked her, I said, excuse me, like, can you repeat that again? And she's like, yeah, you're seven centimeters. You're not going home. You're having a baby today. Okay

Nicole: Oh, wow. And was your husband allowed to be with you, was he with you?

Elvira: Yes, he was. Luckily he was. Yeah. So yeah, I dilated five centimeters in less than an hour. And I was like, Oh my gosh.

Nicole: Wow.

Elvira: Yeah. So they didn't let him leave though. That's the thing because of COVID and because of how fast I was going. So, but we had left all, everything, the bags and everything I think in the car. So.

Nicole: They wouldn't even let you go to the car?

Elvira: No! Because they said you might have this baby and he might be in the car by the time, you know, he get back in here then. So yeah. They, they didn't let him leave.

Nicole: Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Elvira: So, um, yeah, so then my OB happened to be there because he had another birth. And so he, um, wanted to check me, but before that, the nurse was saying something and I don't know, I didn't really ask her at the time. But she said like, when my contractions were happening, the baby's heartbeat was not increasing at the same time. I'm not really sure.

Nicole: Um, either accelerations or decelerations or, um, variable, I'm not sure. Um, w she was saying that she was concerned?

Elvira: Yeah. So she wanted to keep me sitting down. And the thing was that my contractions were so bad when I was sitting down, you know, I did not want to sit down. I just wanted to keep walking, walking, but she was like, no, no. And so I kinda was like, arguing with her as much as I could. And eventually I think I annoyed her enough because she went to the doctor and the doctor was like, you know what? Just, just let her walk. You know, I guess it was long enough that he checked everything and he was like, just, just let her be.

Nicole: Gotch. Gotcha. Sometimes during contractions, if, I mean, because essentially it's squeezing the baby, the heart rate might drop a bit, so maybe that's why she wanted to monitor things. But that's great that even in the midst of while you're having contractions, you were still able to be like, no, I need you to let me get up and walk. Was that frustrating?

Elvira: Uh, I honestly, probably I was probably like, what the heck lady? Because I was in so much pain. I was like, let me get up.

Nicole: I can totally understand that. Totally understand that. So then you were getting up and moving around.

Elvira: Yes. And so the doctor was like, okay, let's check. You, let's see what's happening. Um, and so he said he wanted to break my water. Um, and so I remember I was like, okay, like, let's talk about it. What are the pros and the cons, you know, in between my contractions and that time, he didn't really, we didn't really talk about it. He just kind of decided he was going to do it. Um, and so he just kinda told my husband, he's like, Hey, watch this. And my husband said, it looked like a big crocheting needle. And he just like, went in there. It didn't hurt. It actually felt good. It was like so much pressure and just all this water came out. Um, so I was not upset because there was, you know, trust in this relationship that we've been building. And I just trusted that he had my wellbeing at heart, you know?

Nicole: Gotcha. So, yeah, so that was fine. Okay. Okay. Did he not answer your questions at all? Or was it just like, no, we just kind of need to do this.

Elvira: I think it was that in that moment? It was that. Um, and so whenever, and I don't know if it has to do with the results of the test, I'm not sure because whenever the water came out, it was green.

Nicole: Okay. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So that's a meconium which can be a potential sign that baby's are in distress most often they're fine, but okay. Okay. Yeah.

Elvira: Okay. And I did ask him, I said, you know, like, um, what, what does that mean? How does that change the birth? And he said, everything's the same still. We're good. So,

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. So you said he broke your water and it felt better afterwards?

Elvira: Yeah. I, it just, all the, I just felt all the water coming out and that was like, I was relieved. I don't know. I don't know how to explain it. I don't know.

Nicole: No, I mean, it's, it's interesting because a lot of times people say, this is why I love, like, you know, talking to people because sometimes people say that after your water breaks, it feel, things feel more intense. Um, do you feel like it felt that way at all?

Elvira: Uh, it might've been, I mean, I was, I think 8 centimeters. Yeah. so everything was super intense by then, you know, I don't know that that's a good point. Um,

Elvira: Uh, but at the, at the moment it felt better, if that makes sense.

Nicole: Right, right. What was your husband doing during this? How was he supporting you?

Elvira: He was answering all the questions for me because I would just look at him and he just knew. He was prepared. I had prepared him. Uh, so he was, he was so good for advocating for me. Um, and I'll tell you a little bit about that towards the end. Um, so yeah, and so we got a new nurse and that, Oh my gosh, the new nurse was, I mean, she was extraordinary. She was so good. Um, the, I felt like the first nurse would kind of use scare tactics and that, that just doesn't work with me. Um, and so I was just like, she was like, I can only check your cervix, uh, at certain times. And, you know, she was just, I don't know. I just, I just clicked better with the new nurse.

Nicole: It's amazing what the difference your nurse can make in your experience.

Elvira: Absolutely. I really feel like my, my birth was so much better because of that, of that nurse. She was just amazing. Um, so I got to, 8 centimeters fast enough. Um, but then everything kind of slowed down a little, not my, the intensity of my contractions, but just you know, the dilation. Um, and so I was walking around. My husband, he kept massaging my lower back, which was so helpful, you know? Um, so like I would walk, walk, walk, walk, and then when my contractions came, I would like put my hands against the wall and he would massage my lower back. And so I kept doing that and I kept going, Oh my gosh. Like when, when do I push this? You know, this is so intense, but I wasn't dilating fast enough. So the nurse said, get on all fours and rock your hips from side to side to help with the dilation. Um, and so that helped. And I got moved to like a 8.5 and then nine, you know, and then 9.5. But then I was like, I kind of need to push now, you know, like, I feel, you know, I can't do this anymore.

Nicole: Yeah. Did it feel like an overwhelming urge to push or were you just like, I just need this to be over with.

Elvira: So it was like, when I got a contraction, it felt good to push, but I know that's bad.

Nicole: No, you know, I wouldn't say it's bad. It's just, it is what it is. I like it. That is not an uncommon thing that people feel.

Elvira: Yeah. So, but she's saying that when I was pushing, my cervix was getting swollen, uh, and they didn't want that. So they were like, don't push while you have a contraction, which was so difficult, you know? Cause that's what I wanted to do. That's what my body wanted to do.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Did they talk about the possibility of maybe like just sort of gently bearing down, like not full on pushing, sometimes we tell people that, did they mention anything like that or it's just like, don't push.

Elvira: Yeah. She just said focus on relaxing your body and don't push. Cause I think I was just pushing too much. Got it, got it. Um, yeah, so then I just focused on my breathing and I was like, okay. Um, and then I feel like I was asking her to check me every 30 minutes, this poor lady, I swear, it was just like, check me check me check me, which is funny because at my, uh, birth preferences, I outlined I don't want be checked unnecessarily. And I got there and I'm like check me check me check me, so.

Nicole: Things can change.

Elvira: Um, so yeah, so it was like 9.5 and I said, uh, I need to push, like I can't. Um, and so she went to talk to the doctor and I don't know what all the doctor told her, but she came back and she said, okay, lay down. And I'm going to have you, uh, she said, I'm going to have you push. And I think she was doing like a perinatal massage while I pushed during a contraction. So she'd be like, here comes the contraction push. And then she would like, just, I just felt like a lot of pressure, you know, but I got to push, so I was happy. Right. Um, and so I think she dilated me manually to 10. And so then the doctor came in, he had like a bunch of trays, a bunch of different tools. Like it was just, everything was happening so quickly. Um, and he was like, are you ready? And I said, yes, like I want to push, I'm ready.

Nicole: And I should say, it's not unusual. Like sometimes we do stretch cervix, like right at the end, especially for somebody who's having an unmedicated birth and they're ready to push. Like you can just kind of move the cervix back around the baby's head. So that's not like completely unusual.

Elvira: Okay. Yeah. I was just grateful for it. I was like, whatever you're doing

Elvira: Um, yeah. So then, um, he gave me instructions on how to push, which was helpful and he involved my husband in it, which was really nice. So yeah, my husband's job was to count down from 10. And so, um, when a contraction came, I had to push as hard as I could for those 10 seconds. Um, and it was just very exciting, you know, I just felt very supported and like I was being cheered on. I mean, I'm sure at the moment I was like, Oh my God, this hurts like so bad. But I just remember feeling that, you know, that support, which was so nice, you know, it's also important.

Nicole: It's really important to like help in those last moments to really support the birthing person. So that's nice that you were having that experience.

Elvira: Yes, for sure. Um, yeah. And then I kept pushing and kept pushing it and he said, he, I remember he looked down and he was like shaking his head and he said, the baby's head is too big. Um, so he said, you know, I can just cut a tiny bit, which reminded me in one podcast, how you said that that was the wording that they used, you know? And so I straight up asked him, I said, you mean an episiotomy? And then he's like, yeah, we can do one if you want. And I said, no, let's just see how it goes. You know, we'll just keep pushing. And he's like, that's perfectly fine. You know, I just wanted to you know, just give you that option. Um, yeah. So then I was pushing more and more and I was getting tired. Um, and he offered it again and he said, you know, if I just do a little tiny cut, your baby will be here now. And I said, you know what, let's just do it, go for it.

Elvira: I just remember I was tired. And I was like, that sounds really nice.

Nicole: Right, right, right, right, right. But the important thing is that it was your choice. Exactly.

Elvira: Yeah. And I really liked that. He didn't, he really didn't push it. He offered it to me, you know? Um, so that was really nice.

Nicole: Got it. Did he numb up the area first?.

Elvira: No, he did not. He just did it. And it was like, let's push and let's just do it let's just get it over with. And I was like, okay.

Nicole: Okay. Did you feel it?

Elvira: I can't really remember because I had to push immediately. And I remember I was like, I don't want to push anymore. And everybody was like, no, you need to keep pushing. Um, so it all happened very quickly.

Nicole: So after he cut it, then how quickly did the baby come?

Elvira: Like within minutes he was out like, it was quick. Got it quick. Yeah. And then the baby came up very blue. Um, and then the nurse just starts suctioning him. You know, everybody kind of was moving around, but I remember, I don't know why I was looking at the doctor and I was looking at the nurses and I was kind of seeing their facial expressions and they seemed like totally fine and calm. So it was like, everything's fine. You know, there's no need to worry. Like, got it. I don't know. I could just kind of, I was looking for them going, ah, and then stress, you know?

Nicole: Right, right, right. And he was right on your chest?

Elvira: Yeah. Like within a minute he was, they give him right to me on my chest because I wanted to do that. And then they did delay cord clamping as well. My husband got to cut the cord, which is nice. Yeah. And then during this time he took the placenta out and then he gave me the local anesthesia for the, uh, stitches. Um, and I, you know, I'm sure it was hurting me, but I was just staring at that little guy and just everything. Just kind of, you know, faded in the background.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So did they, did they, did he stay with you? Did they not, even though he came out blue, which babies sometimes come out blue, that's it takes them a little bit of time to transition. Um, did they take him to the warmer or anything to stimulate him or they just waited and kind of let him perk up?

Elvira: Yeah. They just, they suctioned them and then they just kind of looked at him. Um, and then I remember a nurse came by and she was wanting to take him and I was like, Oh, has it been an hour? Like I want my hour, you know? And then she's like, it's been two hours. So I was like, okay. So, but yeah, they did all the testing in the room and because of COVID they didn't offer to do like the, what do you call it when they take them to the

Nicole: Oh, the nursery?

Elvira: Yes. Which was fine with us. So he stayed with us.

Elvira: Good. Good, good, good. And I forgot to ask, did you, did the hospital have tubs or anything? Were you planning to do anything like that?

Elvira: Right, so because he, uh, broke my water. They, they didn't allow me to, and also they didn't want me to move to another room. Like at first they were like, don't worry, you're going to get moved to your uh, suite. Cause they have a, like a non-medicated, you know, suite. But I guess, because everything moved so quickly. I mean, I had my first contraction at 10 in the morning and by nine he was in my arms.

Nicole: Right, right, right. Right. So everything just moved pretty fast. And then, so you didn't have, what were some other things I know you said you had planned to have lights. Was it?

Elvira: Yes I brought a bunch of lights, essential oils, had music and like, but you know what, in the moment everything was so intense that I don't think I would have even wanted it.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha.

Elvira: Because my contractions were just on top of each other and it was just me focusing on my breathing the whole time.

Nicole: So what do you think worked best for you to help you manage the pain? The breathing you said?

Elvira: Uh, yeah, so I tried different breathing, but there was one and that's why I was glad that I looked at different breathing techniques. Um, there was one that was pretty much just breathing in for five to six seconds and the breathing out for six to seven. And it, that just, I just said that the whole time, just deep breathing in deep breathing out. And I feel like, you know, I would think to myself, it's only gonna last a minute, you know, at the very one I felt like I can't do this anymore. I was like, it's probably halfway done already. I'm probably almost done with this contraction, you know? And I just uh one less contraction, you know? And, um, I've, I would envision my body every time I was doing a contraction moving the baby down, you know, so the contractions were helping me, they weren't hurting me. It was helping me get to meet my baby, you know?

Nicole: Exactly. Exactly. And then how, cause, you know, sometimes I'm wonder like you haven't seen birth before, so how are you just visualize like just the process of your, or, I mean, whatever you feel like it looks like for you if your baby coming down. Right,

Elvira: Right. It was just like me essentially looking at my belly, like getting pushed down. I don't know if that's how that works.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Well that is awesome. That is awesome. So what was the postpartum period like for you? Um, I know specifically had some issues with breastfeeding.

Elvira: Yes. So before I left the hospital, they looked at my latch and they were like, Oh, your latch looks great. You know? Um, and I had read breastfeeding made simple. So I understood the theory and the biology of breastfeeding. So I wasn't worried about my milk coming in or anything like that. I remember postpartum, I was counting his bowel movements and his feedings. So I was like, I'm pretty sure he's getting everything he needs. Um, but I was told that my nipples would harden, uh, like they would get used to, to that suckling and you know, looking back, I knew that wasn't true because I read enough, but I guess in the moment of the exhaustion, you know, I just kinda was like, okay. Yeah, sure. They'll feel bad.

Nicole: And you hear somebody telling you something. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Elvira: And so a couple of weeks later I was in extreme pain. Every time was feeding him, I was dreading it. You know, my nipples have blisters all over them. Oh yeah. I would curl my toes in pain. Dr. Rankins, every time I was, I was feeding. Yeah. I, I, you know, I had read, don't give them the bottle of your exclusive breastfeeding for 40 days. So I was like, I can't do it. I can't do it. You know, I have to keep doing it. And it wasn't until it was the middle of the night and I was crying and my nipples are actually bleeding and I just completely broke down. I know thought to myself, like what, what, who am I doing this for? You know, like I need to take care of myself first before I can take care of my little one. Um, so I sent my husband to get the pump and I started pumping and just gave him the bottle until my nipples healed. And so it didn't even take a long time, you know? And so in that time we just kind of looked at videos and found something that kind of worked for us and just kept practicing. And soon enough, you know, I was in the groove with my little one and he latched better. Um, and you know, the bigger they are, the better they are holding their head and more control and their mouths are bigger too.

Elvira: So, so yeah, but until then, you know, it was a struggle.

Nicole: That is a lot. How long did it take you to get to that point where it felt you felt better about it?

Elvira: Yeah, it was probably a couple of weeks of, you know, just trying different things and finding what worked for us.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. Did you ever worry that you, I mean, did you ever consider, like I'm just not doing this anymore?

Elvira: Right. And that's why I think in my mind I did a quick math of, I can either wait the 40 days, you know, and probably not even make it or I can stop this now take care of myself and then continue breastfeeding. So, um, you know, because yeah, I was getting to being like, and it was very important to me to breastfeed him for me, at least, you know, it was something that I really wanted to do.

Nicole: Sure.

Elvira: So I'm just glad that my husband, you know, helped me and we figure things out. So yeah.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Did he, did he take the bottle when you offered breast milk in the bottle?

Elvira: Yeah, we, he didn't have any issues at all, you know?

Nicole: Well, that's good. I'm glad to deal with that.

Elvira: Yeah. I think, you know, a lot of the stuff that we read are kind of like guidelines and so, you know, our babies are individuals and so what might work for some might not work for others, you just kind of have to find, you know, what works well for both of you.

Nicole: Exactly, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And now your baby's, you said four months old and he's still breastfeeding?

Elvira: We're we're doing all right.

Nicole: All right. And then do you work outside the home at all? Or are you at home?

Elvira: Yes I started uh, work when he was like three months. And so, but he took the bottle just fine. So he does both.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And then, so do you have daycare or.

Elvira: Yes, he goes to daycare.

Nicole: Okay. How should I know, I didn't, um, say that I was going to ask about this before, but I know that this is something that I hadn't, um, that people have some concerns about. How did you find a daycare that you felt comfortable with, especially with COVID.

Elvira: Oh, you know what? That's a good question. So what happened was my husband got COVID and then I got COVID and then the baby.

Nicole: Oh, okay. I forgot to say any of that. Yeah.

Elvira: Yeah. So it was weird because my husband got a fever and then a couple of days later I got the fever and then a couple of days later, my baby got a fever and he was less than three months. So we had to take him to the ER, you know, because they freak out if the babies are little, little. Um, and so, but we all, you know, had the usual symptoms and then we kind of healed and then I was like, okay, I guess he's fine going to daycare because, he's already had COVID.

Nicole: Okay. Wow. Were you scared? Or like, I mean, yeah. Did they test them for COVID? Like as soon as you went to the ER?

Elvira: Yeah. So the, to make matters worse. I had a fever less than 72 hours, so they wouldn't let me go in the hospital with him. So I had to like be on a video call with my husband and try to talk to the doctors through the phone. Oh my goodness. Yes. And so, because they wanted to do all sorts of testing and I was like, well, he just had COVID.

Nicole: Right, right, right.

Elvira: Um, so yeah, they did test him for COVID in there and he tested positive.

Nicole: Okay. How, high did his fever get?

Elvira: 101. Okay. Okay. But you know, first time mom, I was like, Oh my gosh.

Nicole: Yeah, of course. Of course. Of course. Absolutely. Wow. Well, I'm grateful. I know you're grateful that the three of you recovered without any major incident.

Elvira: Sure. Yes, definitely. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. And do you know how, I mean, obviously you probably y'all got it because your husband got it, but does your husband know how he got it?

Elvira: Yes. So it was, uh, through a coworker, um, that he got it. So, you know, because he, he works for a news station, so he has to go to work, so he was going to work, so.

Nicole: Uh huh, uh huh. And the coworker maybe felt like they couldn't take off or something like that?

Elvira: You know, it's weird because by the time you get your symptoms, you've kind of been,

Nicole: That's very true. That's a good point. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. By the time you get the symptoms, you, you you've already been contagious, so yeah. Yeah. Well, again, I'm glad that everything turned out, turned out well. So how do you feel overall about your pregnancy, your birth, and now the postpartum period?

Elvira: Postpartum for me was rough, but I feel like that's the same for everybody. There's no way to prepare for that. I feel like, you know, you can read all day long, but to experience it is, uh, you know, so.

Nicole: Yeah. Like my children are 11 and 13. There's nothing, and you don't want to scare people, but having a baby is just such a big adjustment to your life and you can't quite picture what it'll be like until you're in it.

Elvira: Yes. So if I could, you know, do it again, I'd probably invest in that postpartum doula.

Nicole: Ah, gotcha. Gotcha.

Elvira: Um, just somebody to help me and be with me those first 40 days or so, you know.

Nicole: Gotcha. Did you have any help from family or friends or anything?

Elvira: So my in-laws stayed with us, I think a week or two, but after that, my husband thankfully got paternity leave for two weeks. Um, but after that it was just me and that little one. And so it was definitely overwhelming. Um, what really helped me was that I, on Instagram, I started talking to my friend, Jess, and she just had her baby seven weeks ahead of me. I mean, she was just as new as I was new first time mom, we would just chat. It could be about anything and everything. It was like three in the morning, you know, two in the morning. And just knowing that there was somebody out there who was going through the same thing that I was just helped me so much. I don't know how to explain it, you know?

Nicole: No. Yeah, yeah. That sorta connection and community is really important. And it's great that you were able to find that even despite like COVID

Elvira: Yes. For sure. I mean, I still talk to her. I mean we're, Oh my gosh. She has so much help. I highly recommend that. Just find somebody who's in the same struggle, you know, and who's surviving and survive together kind of thing, you know?

Nicole: Right, right.

Elvira: So, because I mean you're partner, yes, they are there, but it's, it's different, you know.

Nicole: For sure. For sure. Well, I love it. So as we wrap up, what would be like your one favorite piece of advice that you would tell other women as they get ready for their birth?

Elvira: Yeah. So I feel like this could be used for both labor and postpartum. Um, so, you know, we always talk about how every pregnancy is different and it's true. And also that means every child is different, you know? So like I mentioned before, most of the information that you read or the advice that you get, see at it as guidelines because you need to do what works best for you and your little, you know, and just be flexible and both labor and labor and then postpartum be flexible and learn with your baby.

Nicole: I love it. Love it, love it. Well, thank you so much for agreeing to come on to the podcast. I am super excited that you shared her story and grateful that I could be a part of helping you get ready for your birth.

Elvira: Yeah. I'm really thankful for you.

Nicole: Yeah. All right. Well, you take care.

Elvira: You too. Thank you.

Nicole: All right. Wasn't that a lovely episode? I'm so glad that her birth turned out to be a beautiful experience for her. And I am grateful that I was able to play a part in helping her get there. Now, after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I do my top three or four takeaways from the episode, and here are my Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Elvira number one is that you need childbirth education. I used to not be as insistent about this, but the more I practice, the longer that I've been doing this, the more I, and the more stories and feedback that I get from people about their experiences giving birth, it's just really necessary. You'll feel so much better when you're informed and you understand what's going on. That's even if you have a team that you trust.

Nicole: So childbirth education is a must. There are lots of options out there. So do your homework and find the option that works best for you. Number two, just a reminder that birth is unpredictable. As you heard from Elvira's story, a lot of it didn't go exactly how she anticipated, even though it ended up going well, she got to seven centimeters pretty quickly, faster than she thought she would. She didn't have the things like the lights and the aromatherapy she was hoping for. Cause, um, you know, little bit of difficulty getting back out to the car, things like that. Also, she initially thought in her birth wishes that she did not want to be checked. And then when she got in the moment, she was like, no, I want to be checked. I want to know what's going on. So just know that birth is an unpredictable process and it's really important that you know that.

Nicole: And when you have that information and you're informed about things, then you can make decisions that work best for you in the moment. And you can go with the flow of the birth process to have the experience that ultimately you are happy with. All right, number, where are we at three, you should be able to move during labor. So unless there's a concern about the baby's heart rate, and even then we have options where we can, you know, as long as we can keep the baby on the monitor, you should be able to move during labor. Whether it's like sitting on a birthing ball, moving inside the room, and if you have an unmedicated birth, we actually encourage you to move. So you really should be able to move during labor. If this is something that you want to have an unmedicated birth, definitely ask ahead of time, whether or not the hospital supports you being able to move because that's really, really important and can help a lot in your birth.

Nicole: You don't have to move like some people don't necessarily want to move, but if you want to be able to move, you should be able to. And then the final thing I'll say, and I go back and forth on things like this, because I don't want to, you know, it's not my role to judge someone's birth story at all. I do want to say that in general, the fact that her doctor broke her water without her explicit consent, that's not cool. So even though her doctor was great, um, doing that is not appropriate and I'm not saying like that she should be upset or anything like that or that her doctor is necessarily a bad person. Obviously I wasn't there in the circumstance, but in general, things like that just should not happen. It's something that happens too frequently within our system. And it just, it just needs to stop, period.

Nicole: All right. So there you have it, be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. And I really love it, if you leave a review on Apple Podcast, I do shout outs from those reviews from time to time, I love to hear what you say about the show and it also helps other women to find the show when you leave those reviews and Apple Podcast in particular. So I so, so appreciate it. Also check out all the details of the Birth Preparation Course. I would love to have you inside the course to help you get calm, confident, and empowered for your hospital birth, check out all the details of the course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. So that is it for this episode, do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth.

Nicole: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast, head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works, as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.