Ep 127: Lauren’s Birth Stories – Same Mom, Different Births

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Lauren is a wife, mom of two, and writer living in Nashville, TN. After her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, Lauren was determined to learn everything she could about the female body and how it creates and births babies. She has since had two healthy pregnancies and two (very different) pain medication free births where she used nitrous oxide to manage pain in different ways. Lauren hopes that by sharing her stories she can help other women feel empowered to walk into birth with every ounce of confidence in the choices they will make along the way.

Lauren and I have a great conversation about both of her unmedicated births so this episode is a little longer; I wanted to discuss both so you can see how birth can unfold differently even for the same person. She had a lot of challenges to overcome during pregnancy and birth (including a tornado!) and it’s important to see what can happen when you’re really intentional about preparing for your birth.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How Lauren’s two births differed greatly despite both being unmedicated and both being so close in proximity
  • How Lauren’s grief for her miscarriage intersected with the joy of a new pregnancy
  • How she overcame myriad crises by focusing on celebrating her pregnancy
  • Why even an unmedicated birth requires thorough planning
  • How nitrous oxide helped Lauren in different ways during both births
  • How Lauren worked with her healthcare team to be home for as much of her labor as possible
  • How a tub helped her feel more comfortable during both births
  • What an “asynclitic” birth is and how it may have caused prodromal labor in her second birth
  • What made both births fulfilling even though they were so different

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Ep 127: Lauren's Birth Stories - Same Mom, Different Births

Nicole: This birth story episode is about not just one, but two unmedicated hospital births. 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. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 127. I'm so glad you're here with me today. On today's episode of the podcast, we have Lauren. Lauren is a wife, a mom of two, and a writer who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. After her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, Lauren was determined to learn everything she could about the female body and how it creates and births babies. She has since had two healthy pregnancies in two very different medication-free births, where she used nitrous oxide to manage pain. Lauren hopes that by sharing her stories, she can help other women feel empowered to walk into birth with every ounce of competence and the choices they will make along the way. Yes, to that. Lauren and I have a great conversation about both of her unmedicated births. So this episode is a little longer, but I wanted to discuss both.

Nicole: So you can see how birth can unfold differently, even for the same person. You're also going to see what can happen when you are really intentional about preparing for your birth. In addition to her birth, you're also going to learn a lot about managing challenges during pregnancy and birth between her two pregnancies, which are pretty close together. Um, I mentioned that she had to navigate pregnancy after miscarriage. She also had to deal with their home being hit by a tornado while she was pregnant. Her entire family had COVID, her doula got COVID. Her husband had a concussion close to the time of her second birth. So lots and lots of nuggets in this episode. All right. So without further ado, let's get into this birth story episode with Lauren. Thank you so much, Lauren, for agreeing to come on to the podcast. I'm so excited to have you share your story of two unmedicated births.

Lauren: Well, thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Nicole: Why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your family?

Lauren: Well, I'm Lauren, I'm 26 and I live in Nashville with my husband and my two kiddos. Um, I am a freelance writer and editor, and then I have a podcast that I do with my husband. Um, that's really just kind of a passion project. Um, yeah, my kids are 23 months and then one month old.

Nicole: Oh, so you have your hands full?

Lauren: Yes.

Nicole: Are they both boys, both girls, or one of each?

Lauren: Yeah. One of each, my daughter is the older one and then my son is the younger one.

Nicole: All right, all right. And normally I talk about, or on the podcast, we talk about one birth story, but I thought it would be interesting to get into both of yours because when you wrote in, you said both of your births were unmedicated, but they were each different. Is that fair to say?

Lauren: Yes. Very.

Nicole: Right. Well then we will get into both of them and I know folks are going to find it useful. So why don't we start off a bit by telling us what your pregnancy and prenatal care was like, you know, who you saw during your pregnancy, any problems, and then how were things different with your second when you had to navigate COVID?

Lauren: Yeah, so my very first pregnancy, um, actually my very first pregnancy, I found out I was pregnant in July, 2018. And about a week after finding out I was pregnant, we actually miscarried that baby. So that was kind of the beginning too, it really led into my next pregnancy. So, um, because it was such an early miscarriage, I was seeing midwives and they were okay with us continuing to try. So we didn't really, um, prevent anything and we actually ended up getting pregnant again the next month. Oh, yeah. Was, you know, we were so excited about, um, but I hadn't really completely processed everything that was happening yet. Um, so that first trimester with the pregnancy, with my daughter, um, it was tough. I was pretty sick throughout that trimester. Um, and then I was grieving and there was all of this kind of guilt that was piled in, you know, I would, I would feel, feel guilt for grieving the baby that we lost, because if we hadn't lost that baby, then I wouldn't have this baby. And then I would feel guilt for celebrating this baby because I felt like I was, um, I wasn't doing the other child justice, if that makes sense. It was just, it was really hard. Yeah.

Nicole: Interesting. Because I think a lot of times, from our perspective, we feel like folks, you know, want to get started right away as soon as possible, but there probably needs to be some space to at least individualize it or say like, maybe you need to take some time to grieve the loss of this pregnancy.

Lauren: Absolutely. And I really wish that I had maybe gone to see someone, um, just to kind of talk through things. Um, I think that that probably been really helpful, but it, again, just kind of processing everything so quickly of, of losing one pregnancy and then being pregnant again. It was it, yeah, it was a lot. And so that was it. That was kind of the defining factor of the beginning of that pregnancy and then how the things go along. Yeah, they, they went on pretty well. I would say at the beginning, just kind of like all of the hormones, I maybe was dealing with some depression in there. Um, and I was pretty sick up to about 17 weeks. And then once the sickness lifted it, it was better. I could kind of, um, I think I can process things a little bit easier because I wasn't feeling that on top of everything there had been a little bit more space.

Lauren: And so, um, that's whenever I really started to really get excited, I had been excited, but I started to allow myself to stay in that excitement and to really feel it. Um, and so, yeah, from that point forward, I had a really great pregnancy as far as how I felt. Um, it was the, even like into my third trimester, I felt really good the whole time. I didn't thankfully deal with a lot of, um, a lot of swelling or anything like that. I even, I never got up to pee in the middle of the night, even like toward the end of pregnancy. So, um, so after a really hard beginning of that pregnancy, I felt pretty good toward the end of it, which that was, that was really nice. Yeah.

Nicole: Did you talk about some of the issues in the beginning with your husband or your midwives or friends or anybody?

Lauren: Not as much again, I think there was like, there was that feeling of guilt. And so I was, yeah, I was a little bit afraid to talk about, to talk about it. And with my husband, you know, we had both experienced this loss, but it, it wasn't the same for him because it wasn't so physical. Um, and so, you know, after he was able those first couple of days to kind of process emotionally, um, he didn't move on, but he was able to, I think move forward in a way that I wasn't, because I was still experiencing the, the physical loss I was different. Yeah. It was. And so, um, so yeah, it took, it took a little while to really open up to him about that. And I think, again, I, I wish that maybe I had, I think I love my midwives and I love the midwife group that I'm with, but I, I think I wish that I had been maybe referred of like, Hey, if you need to talk to anybody, then, then this might be a resource. And there are some resources in my area. Um, but yeah, I would just encourage anybody. Who's, who's maybe experiencing that, um, pregnancy after, after a loss of any sort to, to get in, to talk someone, even if you don't necessarily feel like you need to at the time,

Nicole: I can totally see that. Totally see that. So then how was your second pregnancy?

Lauren: Yeah, my second pregnancy, of course, I got pregnant the second time, um, in July, again, a July one after, after COVID started or not started, but after COVID started to shut things down in March. And so that was a whole different experience, but we were so excited to be pregnant again. Um, actually before COVID hit in March, about 10 days before our house was actually hit by a tornado, thankfully we were not in it. And it was seriously kind of a miracle that we weren't in it because it was our bedroom walls that got torn off. And it was just again, a lot to process, but that being said, this was a very different experience just because I think after so much a different type of loss, but after kind of going through so much, we were just really excited to, to get that news.

Lauren: And so, um, this time I was not quite as sick, uh, at the beginning I would, I was definitely nauseous, but it wasn't debilitating by any means. Um, I felt like I could live my normal life and, um, it was at night after it was every night after I put my daughter down to bed, that's whenever I would get like really, really, really nauseous. Um, I don't know if it was because I was less distracted after she would go to bed or what it was, but, um, but yeah, again, I was, I was pretty sick up to about 20 weeks this time. Um, and I actually, my whole family got COVID around around 20 weeks. And so I did, yeah. I tested positive.

: Oh wow. Did it get your daughter too?

Lauren: She did. Um, we have been so careful, um, and we went to a wedding and, you know, let our guard down for, while we were eating dinner at that wedding and it just happened to be the perfect storm. Um, and so we, we all came down with it. Thankfully I never had any symptoms that were worse than like my typical sinus infection that I would get at that time of year. Um, my daughter, I don't even know that I would have gotten her tested. Had I not known that we had all been exposed because her symptoms were either symptoms of COVID or teething. She had like a running nose and a fever for 24 hours. Um, and then my husband, he was, he was pretty sick, but thankfully we all recovered and, um, and yeah, but that was, that was a little bit crazy at the time. Sure.

Nicole: I'm sure. So then after that, how were things with your pregnancy?

Lauren: Again, really good at this time? Which I guess last time too. Um, I really valued being pretty active in my pregnancy. It was just something that I felt like made me feel so much better, especially after, after I kind of got through all of the sickness. Um, so I would exercise a lot. I made sure during this pregnancy, obviously I have a toddler at home and did not feel comfortable going to a gym. Um, and so I did like workout videos at home with my daughter and we kind of did that together and she was just, you know, 18 months old or so, um, and so that, that was really sweet. Um, but yeah, I think that, that kept me feeling good and actually exercised all the way up to 41 weeks and six days this time around. Um, it was, uh, I mean obviously like made lots of modifications. Um, but yeah, that kept me feeling really good.

Nicole: Well, how did, how did you, I guess, just to back up, so did you have to get your, your house, like, did you have to move out of your house or were you getting like it repaired while you were in it? And I could just see a lot of people feeling different about like, I have to deal with this house repair and now we all, and then now we all got COVID and it sounded like your husband was sick for a little bit. Like that's the kind of a lot to work through.

Lauren: Yeah, yeah, it definitely has been. And I think there is part of me that, and I've kind of, I'm kind of now that I'm, you know, just a month out of this pregnancy, I'm kind of processing at all, um, kind of in real time, but I think a lot of me kind of tried to separate those two things out. So yes, we, as far as our house goes, um, we actually were, we stayed, um, in some friend's house about a month after the tornado hit and, um, then our insurance company, our additional living expenses kicked in. And so we ended up being able to go to an apartment a little bit outside of Nashville and we are actually still it's it's April right now, and we're almost done repairing our house. So it it's been a process. Um, and dealing with insurance has been a big, a big stressor and it really was throughout, throughout my whole pregnancy.

Lauren: I would say that that was, yeah, that was a really stressful point. And, and mentally and emotionally, I just, it was like whenever I was dealing with that kind of stuff, I was dealing with that. And whenever I was thinking about my pregnancy, then I was thinking about that and I really, I really tried to separate them. And I don't know that that was the healthiest thing to do again, still kind of processing it as, as it's happened, but it is, I think the way that I've thought about it is in the midst of such a big, hard, um, emotional roller coaster of a year, um, thinking about this pregnancy and this child has very much been, um, the bright spot and all of it. And that's kinda how I've thought about it is in the midst of all of the stresses. This has been a thing that we've been able to really celebrate. Um, so yeah, I'm really, I'm really thankful actually that this timing worked out the way that it, that it did, even though it sounds like a little bit great.

Nicole: All right. All right. So what did you do to prepare for your births?

Lauren: So, I got connected to, I guess like the, the first big thing that I did in my first pregnancy, I went to dinner with some friends and they were about our age, but they already had two kiddos. And I expressed to my friend that I might be interested in doing an unmedicated birth. Um, and we were sitting across the table and talking, and she had had two unmedicated births herself and she kind of, she was like, okay, so what's your plan? How are you preparing? And I was like, well, I think I'm just gonna see how it goes and just hope, you know, hope for the best. And she was like, girl, we need to have a talk.

Lauren: I mean, almost exactly what she said. She said, can I tell you something? I was like, sure. And she was like, if you are serious about this, then you don't need to do that. I was like, oh, okay. Um, so she kind of talked to me about, you know, getting educated on, on what birth was like on creating playlists of doing mantras, just different things that she had done. And that kind of started my, my journey to learning as much as I could about this process. So I got connected with, um, a local doula who goes to my church, and then she's also the Kona co-owner of Nashville doula services here in Nashville. And, um, she's awesome. She came to our house a couple of times while I was pregnant and talked us through things. And I also did a class through Nashville doula services here, and that was awesome.

Lauren: It was just a one day like six or eight hour class where we went through everything and it was really helpful. And honestly, this is going to sound like, you know, unplugging your podcast, which I'm happy to do. But the most important thing for me, really in both pregnancies was every single time I had, I had some free time. I was listening to birth stories. I was listening to educational podcasts and just like really kind of filling my mind with all of the possibilities, every type of birth, everything that, that might happen in that I know that that might not work for some people, but for me it was really helpful because I felt like I could understand that one, um, things don't necessarily always go to plan. Um, but there are definitely that we can do to, to help things go the way that we would like them to.

Lauren: Um, you'll hear in both of my birth stories that I wouldn't have planned a lot of things in those, but knowing that like, Hey, we've done everything that we can, we've prepared the best that we can. And we don't feel like we're completely out of control in this situation. We know that, you know, we're surrounded by the best people that we can be surrounded by that our care providers are a hundred percent supportive of us knowing all of those things was super helpful too. Um, yeah, just to feel, to feel like we had a little bit of control of this thing, that's really out of our control. Um, and so that was really awesome. Um, like I said, yeah, I listened to a ton of, um, I listened to the Birth Hour a lot, um, in my first pregnancy. And whenever I say a lot, I mean a lot, like I think I listened to like 300 episodes. She has a ton of episodes to listen to, and then I listened to your podcast a lot during this pregnancy as well.

Nicole: Nice, nice, nice. Love it. Love it. So what are some things that you wanted for your births other than to be, um, to do them without medication?

Lauren: I wanted just really low intervention as possible. Um, I wanted to feel supported by the people around me. I wanted to, I wanted to feel safe. Um, I wanted to know that if I got into a place I heard about this term labor land, a lot, and women talking about how they would go into this place and, and really they, they sometimes were in, sometimes they weren't the ones advocating for themselves because they were focusing so much on what was going on in their bodies. And so I knew that if I want it, if I got to that place, which I kind of hoped to, that I would have other people advocating for me, um, including my care providers. Right. Including the people who were, who are doing that. And so, yeah, I wanted, I wanted that. Um, and I wanted to labor at home as long as possible.

Lauren: That was part of that. Like I wanted to feel safe kind of kind of mentality. Um, another thing that I did was I created birth playlist specific ones for both of, of my experiences. So I created one for my daughter Eden. Um, and then whenever I got pregnant this time around, I created another one for my son. And, um, I wanted, I kind of used those as, this is the, the vibe that I want in my birth experience. And so, um, I like really like calm music, worshipful music. Um, so I used those and that was kind of, I guess like the, yeah, the vibe that I wanted in those rooms and yeah, that was, that was really what I wanted.

Nicole: Nice, nice, nice. So let's get into, what were your labors when your births, what were they like?

Lauren: Yeah, so with my daughter, well, I guess first, my mom was two weeks late with both me and my sister. So I knew going into this, but it was not a strong possibility that I was going to go early and that, um, go pretty late and sure enough, I did. Um, my daughter Eden was due on May 4th and I was, we went ahead and scheduled an induction for May 16th. So May 15th rolls around and I'm just trying to do every single thing that I can to get labor going. And I had been for a while at that point. And so I did, um, what a lot of people say not to do. And I tried the castor oil thing.

Nicole: I think it's fine to try castor oil. It's disgusting, but

Lauren: It is. I put it in some orange juice and just shot it back. Um, and I think I did that around 2:00 PM or so, and nothing happened, nothing happened, nothing happened. We went to bed that night and I was like, all right, I have done everything. I have peace with whatever happens. Uh, so around 11 o'clock, my stomach started getting upset. Um, and I went to the bathroom and probably 15 minutes go by and I realized that my stomach is getting upset in a rhythm. Um, I was like, oh, oh, this can be, yeah. And all of the advice of don't wake up, your husband go back, go to sleep. Do. And so I tried really hard and around one o'clock I was just, well, one, I was feeling contractions and they were, they were pretty intense. Uh, I was having to like kind of focus throughout them.

Lauren: Definitely not as intense as it gets, but I did not know the difference of anything at that point. And so I went ahead and woke up my husband and I was like, Hey, I think things are happening. And, uh, and so he gets all excited and we go out into our living room and he starts timing them and they are happening about every four minutes and they're happening for about 45 seconds or a minute apart. And so we're getting really excited because of the whole 4, 1, 1 rule where like, oh man, is this happening? And so, um, I, yeah, I called my doula or he called my doula and she talked to me for a little while, listened to me through a few contractions. And she's like, yeah, I think, I think you guys just need to hang out there for a little while, try to get some rest, um, and call me as things.

Lauren: If they keep timing, call me as things get more intense. So we did, we, I laid down on the couch and he laid down on the floor, right beside me, which, you know, hindsight 2020, we probably should've gone back to the bed, um, to get comfortable, but we ended up waking up around 5:00 AM. Um, and that was about an hour and a half after the last that we, that we realized. And so we had fallen asleep and my contractions had, had pretty much stopped for about an hour and a half. We were actually supposed to go in for our induction at seven. Um, so we called the hospital and they were really, really busy. And so they were like, Hey, since you've been having some contractions, um, how about you wait and see if things keep going, because we're really busy here, um, and call the clinic, call your midwives clinic and, um, get in for a non-stress test.

Lauren: So at that point, my contractions were still happening, but they were super mild and just happening every 10 to 15 minutes apart. So we went in for a non-stress test. My parents had arrived in town, um, because they, my mom was going to be with me for that birth. And she was planning on coming for my induction. So we went for a non-stress test and it was kind of the same story. My contractions were every 10 to 15 minutes apart. I had actually dilated to four centimeters, which the day before I had been in there and I was only one centimeter. So my body was definitely doing something. Sure, sure. Um, but again, they were like, Hey, since your contractions are kind of mild, they're so far apart, um, we're going to hold off for a little bit, if you're comfortable with it, um, come back and we'll schedule you for another non-stress test tomorrow.

Lauren: Um, and then I think that the plan was like, maybe if that didn't, if I hadn't really gone in by whenever I was 42 weeks. Exactly. Which was a few, a couple of days later, then, um, we're going to go into the hospital to get induced. Um, so that day, uh, again, kind of the same story. I bounced on a ball, pumped, walked a ton. Um, my parents and sister and me and my husband and we watched friends that might try to like get me laughing. And, um, and then I went to bed and I contracted all night long. They were a little bit closer together, probably six to seven minutes apart. And I didn't get a ton of sleep. The thing is, is they didn't really seem like they were like ramping up a lot in intensity. And that was the hard thing was I just didn't know.

Lauren: Um, I was on the phone with my doula a lot in all of this. And, um, and I think I, I said this in what I wanted for my birth experiences. I, I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. And so I was really trying to do that. So we went in the next day again for another non-stress test. And I had not dilated at all after a full 24 hours of having contractions 10 to 15 minutes and then six to seven minutes apart. Um, there was nothing and that was kind of discouraging. So yeah, my midwife, uh, she was like, Hey, um, go ahead, do some curb walking. She gave me some, some other things to do. And, uh, again, she was like, Hey, if you don't, if nothing really picks up by tomorrow morning, we're going to go ahead and have you come into the hospital.

Lauren: So, uh, we went to this park in Nashville and I'd spent a ton of my pregnancy there. It's called Centennial park and there's a big replica of the Parthenon there. Um, it's like the only one in the world and it's a really beautiful place. And so we went there and, um, I started doing curb walking, so, you know, one foot on the curve, one foot on the ground, um, probably looked hilarious to everyone walking around, but that was like, I'm doing everything I can to get this baby out. Uh, and sure enough, contractions started to pick up. They, uh, went to four minutes apart again. Um, and they were a lot more intense. Uh, I was no longer able to talk through them. And I say that with a kind of hesitancy, because again, now I know what the end of labor is like. Right.

Lauren: Um, in that moment I was like, I have to focus on this. I can't talk through these things. And so we went and picked up some food and went back home and called my doula. And she was like, all right, I'm coming because we're going to have this baby in the next little while, either way. So she came on over to our house and, um, just kind of helped us work through contractions. And I think she showed up, she got there around three or four in the afternoon and around seven, I had a contraction that was four minutes long and intense. Um, and so I looked up after that contraction and I said, all right, time to go to the hospital.

Lauren: What was the tipping point? Like it's time. I think probably another important part of the story is my mom is a nurse. She's, she's never been a labor and delivery nurse, but, um, so she was the whole time, a little bit like, all right, it's time to go. We need to go. Um, and so, um, she was all excited. She had everything ready to go. And, um, and so we go to the hospital, uh, again, and it had been, I think I was in the midwives clinic that morning and I was still at a four and we get to the hospital and I get in and I get checked and I'm like a four and a half. So again, extremely discouraging. We lived about say anywhere eight to 10 minutes from the hospital at the time. So we lived pretty close and, uh, the midwife who is on call, she kind of came over to me and she was like, all right.

Lauren: So you've got in your birth plan that you want to be a six whenever you get in here. And, and you're not quite there yet. So here are the options you can stay here. Oh, I also forgot to mention the baby was very high up in my pelvis. Well, she wasn't really descending. Um, so she was like, you can stay here. You can walk around, um, for a little while and then we can check you again, if we can go ahead and get you checked in, or if you want, um, you can go back home, do some medicated rest, which I believe was morphine and thinner again, like a shot of that. And, um, you've, you know, you've got your doula with you. You've got a whole group of people, my parents and my sister and my husband were all with me. She was like, if you feel safe doing that, then you can do that.

Lauren: And just come in as soon as things start to pick up. And so that is actually what I decided to do. Um, I don't know that I would've done that if we had been far away from the hospital at all, but since we were so close, um, and my bed was so comfortable, I decided to, to go ahead and do that. And, um, and so again, contracted all night, my doula stayed with us and she did this magical doula rub thing on my back, um, which was, felt really good. And she was an angel basically doing that kind of stuff with me all night long. Um, and again, we didn't get a ton of sleep, but that medicated rested helped me to sleep a little bit in between the contractions, which was probably like one to two minute stretches at the time. Um, it was, they were coming so close together, but again, nothing was really ramping up.

Lauren: It wasn't getting more intense as it was happening. Gotcha. Um, the next morning we got up and it was around 7:00 AM and, uh, I kind of said to everyone, which everybody was ready for and, and comfortable with, I was like, we're going to go to the hospital and have the baby, whatever happens. We need to go ahead and go. Um, and again, it wasn't because things were necessarily ramping up, but it was because I was so tired, I was just exhausted and ready for whatever was going to happen. Um, so we got back to the hospital around seven or eight o'clock somewhere in there. And, um, I was finally six centimeters dilated. So over that night, I dilated about a centimeter centimeter and a half. Um, we got a tub room, which there only a couple of those in the hospital. So that was really great.

Lauren: Um, and whenever we got in our room, I got right in the tub and it allowed me to, to rest a little bit again in between contractions, it just kind of took the edge off and made me relax. And so I was, I was able to, to rest a little bit in between the contractions, which was really helpful. Um, I was GBS positive, so I was hooked up to antibiotics while I was in the tub. Right. So there were people around me, like making sure that my arm didn't get in the water, which was really sweet of everyone. Um, so yeah, in the room, it was me and my mom and my husband and our nurse and my doula, um, which is a ton of people now for COVID land, but it was, uh, it was exactly what I wanted and who all I wanted in there at the time.

Lauren: And I got out of the tub about an hour after being in there and went to the restroom. And while I was in there, um, I heard a little knock at the door and one of my favorite voices ever now, especially, um, a midwife who I have really connected with throughout my pregnancy, uh, came in my midwife, my midwives. It was a group of people. And so there were probably, there are probably 20 midwives or so there. So, I mean, it's a, it's a big group and it was, I, you know, kind of the whole time, I was like, you know, I might not have someone that I know. And I had really kind of, you know, understood that and accepted that. And that was fine. It was what we chose. And so whenever I heard, um, this midwife come in, she had been, she had been my midwife kind of randomly at my appointments for like the last month and we just really connected.

Lauren: Um, she was so sweet and she actually came in just to help that day and saw my name on the board and decided to stay, um, for, for me specifically, it was so, um, so she was like in the room with us for the rest of the day. So I got back in the tub for a little while. Um, and whenever I was really starting to struggle, my doula suggested that I do nitrous oxide. And, uh, that was something that was kind of in my plan. I was like, if it gets to a point where I want to have it, then I'll do it. Um, and so the reason that she suggested it is because again, after three nights of not a lot of rest, I was, I was really, really exhausted. And I was just kind of needing anything to help me to help me be a better rest and have energy in between these contractions.

Lauren: And so I got out of the tub, got in the bed and, um, the midwife checked me and I was at an eight and so progressing, which was awesome. And I started that nitrous and it was exactly what I needed to help me to help me sleep a little bit. I know I've probably said that so many times, but that was just so important. It was so important to you, right? Yeah. To sleep for those like 30 to 45 seconds stretches in between the contractions. And so, so that's what we did for a couple of hours. I remember bits and pieces of that. Um, I remember my midwife, her name is Amanda. I remember her, she was like getting in the bed with me and helping me, help talking me through things and just so sweet and kind, and, um, just really intuitive to what I was needing at the time.

Lauren: Um, I remember my husband, he was like up and down the biggest cheerleader during that time. And then I have this one moment, my mom, again, um, she, she was a nurse and she had never experienced or seen or had any, any idea of what, um, an unmedicated or a pain med free labor was. And so, um, I caught her eye at one point and she was crying and I have a really close relationship with my mom. And whenever she cries, I cried kind of a thing. But, um, it was like this release of emotions happened. Um, I thought she was crying because she was scared. And later she told me that it was just emotional. She was just watching her child, oh, now I'm going to get emotional. She was watching her child get ready to be a mom. Um, and so, but I thought she was scared. Okay. And so now I know like, oh, very reminiscent of transition kind of thing happening. Um, and so eventually, um, my daughter's heart rate started to decel a little bit. And so we got off of the nitrous and onto some oxygen and my midwife checked me again and I had a cervical lip, so she actually kind of corrected that. And, um, and then I was complete and ready to go.

Nicole: Okay. And then how long did you push for?

Lauren: I pushed for about an hour and a half? Um, and there was a little bit of a, of a dramatic thing that happened. Um, my husband had been running back and forth so much and had been so intent on me that he forgot to eat and drink all day. Did he pass out? He did. He did right at the beginning of me. And, um, and I, you know, we can laugh about it now. Um, but I was, I was on my back and my nurse who was in the room, she, I learned later, I was not aware of this at all, but I learned later that she was, um, extremely anxious, um, the whole time and kind of creating an anxious environment in the room. And so, um, it was, I was on my back and I was being coached through the pushing the, you know, hold your breath, count to 10, that kind of stuff. Um, and so which I don't, I've, I didn't put in my birth plan that I didn't want that. I, I don't think that I ever like, even thought about that really whenever I was thinking about this. But, um, I don't think that it was, it was the best for me.

Lauren: Um, and so anyways, I was, I was just so exhausted and sad because my husband wasn't there with me while I was doing this terribly hard thing. I know that pushing can be really, um, the best part of labor for some people, but it was definitely for that experience for me, it was the hardest part. And, um, and so there was just, it was just a little bit sad that my husband wasn't there, um, with me during, during that experience, I'm so thankful that my mom was there. Yeah. He was, he was kind of passed out on a couch beside me, but he couldn't,

Nicole: He couldn't, he couldn't be at the bedside. He just needed to sit down.

Lauren: Yeah, got it. Yeah. He told me later, he was pretty much blacked out that whole time, that whole time. Um, so it got to, we, we got to, you know, they were seeing the baby's head. Um, and so it was about 10 minutes before she was born. And my mom was like, all right, buddy, you got to get up to see this baby. And so they got a chair, like a wheelie chair for him. Um, and they will them over to see it. And he had planned on, he was like, I don't want to see anything. Um, but he didn't have a choice at that point cause they wheeled him to that, to the end of the bed. And, um, has now said that, that he was so thankful that that happened because he got to see our daughter come into the world and, um, and she was born, she was born.

Lauren: Um asynclitic so her head was turned, um, and that's, that's what the, at least my midwife thinks, um, caused all of that prodromal labor. Um, and it was just her positioning. It was bad, it was bad positioning and probably caused me to, you know, the length of pushing and all of that stuff. But she was there. Um, we got to do skin to skin immediately. We did delayed cord clamping. Um, I had some, uh, pretty bad second degree tear. So eventually, um, I gave her to my husband to do skin to skin and I took a nap while they were stitching me, um,

Nicole: Nothing wrong with that at all. Nothing at all. Well, I'm glad that that ended up being, that was a long labor, long, long labor. So then how, how was the second one different?

Lauren: Yeah. So the second one again, I kind of knew that I, you know, my body had gone pretty late one time. It might do it again and sure enough, uh, we had an induction scheduled for 41 weeks and six days. Um, so I knew that the same midwife who delivered my daughter was going to be there, um, that week, um, or that day, the 41 plus six day. Um, so that was good. I was, I was excited that, you know, there was a possibility that, that I would have the same midwife and we had been texting throughout the end of my pregnancy. And she was really, she was amazing again, um, just felt like another support person, at least that I had there kind of emotionally with me. Um, so I was thankful for that, but the Monday before, um, I had him, I had him on Friday, the Monday before I had him, my husband, uh, he hit his head on a dresser and got a concussion.

Lauren: Yeah, poor guy. So I don't know exactly how it happened actually. Um, it was, I, we were like, right, getting ready to go on a walk and he came inside to grab something and he just banged his head really hard. And, um, at first there were really no symptoms, but a couple of days later, he actually he's a teacher and he had to come home from work in the middle of the day because his headache was so bad and he was so dizzy. Oh my God. Um, so that Wednesday, he came home and I was just, I was really kind of having some, some flashbacks to the pushing stage of my last labor of being there, but not there. And, um, and I was just, I was really scared and I felt like this thing that I wanted, because I, you know, I'd said I want to feel safe in my birthing environment.

Lauren: Um, I felt like that was slipping away. And so while he was napping and my daughter was napping, I got a call from my doula who I had the same doulas the second time. Um, and I got a call from her that, uh, her husband had tested positive for COVID. And so then she was not going to be able to be there for my birth. Um, thankfully I did have a backup doula. Um, and so I would have a doula there, but I had, I'd never met her in person before we had met over a video call, but it was just like these two things, like, I don't know what state my husband's going to be in and I'm not going to have my doula and my mom can't be there because of COVID. Um, it just kind of seemed like it was all imploding.

Lauren: And then just to like add insult to injury, uh, they were calling for really bad storms the next day, um, and potentially tornadoes, which we had had a pretty bad experience with the tornado the year before. And so there's, you know, a little bit of PTSD going on there. So yeah, so that was, that was a really, really hard day. Um, and I just felt really alone. Um, and I felt like I was, there was part of me and this doesn't sound logical and it sounds mean almost, but I was, it was like, I was mad at my husband for getting hurt. Um, but just the timing of it. And then I, you know, I felt bad for being mad at him about that. And like, you know, he was, if he wasn't able to completely be there, the way that he wanted to that was, you know, that would be something that he lost as well.

Lauren: Um, but I was just, I was just really upset at him and I, and I, I felt like I couldn't figure out why I couldn't or I couldn't move past it. Um, and so it was just trying to work through all of those emotions. Um, thankfully my mom came in that night. Um, so that was a Wednesday night. She came in that night because she was going to stay with my daughter. Who's now 22 months old, um, as we went to the hospital to be induced the next night. And, um, so once she got there, I felt like I had someone else to, just to kind of talk to, and, and that was really helpful. Um, and just kind of helped me get into a better head space going into the next day, um, which would be the last day before, before we got induced.

Lauren: So the next day I was supposed to go into the midwife clinic to have a foley bowl placed. Um, I was gonna do that in the clinic and then have that in throughout the day to hopefully get things going before we went in that night for, um, to be induced further. So we, um, that morning I was just like, you know, I just think I want to, I just think that I want to get our cars packed just in case. I don't think, I think that I'll be back home, you know, before we go in later tonight, but I, I want to go and go ahead and get everything together before we go into the clinic this afternoon. So we did that, um, around noon. I put my daughter down for her nap and I just had a little bit of an emotional moment just with her.

Lauren: Um, I put her down by myself and, and cried a little bit, um, and just kind of saying, it was like I was saying goodbye to this little season of time that we had together, um, where it was just the two of us. And, um, and again, I wasn't really expecting that to be goodbye, but I think that I knew that it was, um, so I put her down for her nap and my husband and I got everything together and went to the clinic to get the Foley bulb placed. I was dilated to about a two, um, at that point. So they went to do the Foley bulb and they accidentally broke my water. Okay. So I was like, all right, things are happening. Um, and there was, there was meconium in the water, so that meant you couldn't go home. Exactly. Um, and you know, pretty typical for as late as I was. Um, and it was just light meconium, so they weren't extremely nervous, but they wanted me to go ahead and get to the hospital. And I wanted to go ahead and get to the hospital, um, as well. Yeah,

Nicole: meconium, I'm sorry. We should say meconium is when the baby poops inside and it's, it's in the amniotic fluid, so you can see it, the color of the fluid changes. Right. So then it was a different, it was then like, okay. Time to go to the hospital. And have a baby/

Lauren: Exactly, we went through a drive-through before we went to just kind of have a little bit of a last meal because we knew that wouldn't be eating a lot, um, while I was at the hospital. So we did that. Um, and we called the doula, uh, the backup doula that we had, her name was Sarah and we called her and, um, she lives about 45 minutes to an hour away from the hospital. So, um, so she went ahead and started heading, heading in this way. Um, and yeah, we got into the hospital around 5 45. Um, my membranes were ruptured or my water broke at three. Um, so, oh, no, no, no, no. So we got to the hospital around, sorry, we got to the hospital around four 30. Um, and then I got in a room at 5 45.

Lauren: So they, that it took a little while and triage, um, actually, because they were, they were getting me a room with a tub again, which I really appreciated. Um, and so yeah, they let me wait a little while, so that wasn't really having any contractions. Um, and so we got in that room, um, my husband was bless him. He was wearing sunglasses, um, hurting so much. And I was, again, I was, um, just very concerned that everyone would think that he was high. Um, and so, because he was wearing sunglasses and my mom had mentioned it the night before. And so anyways, we, he, I, I was like, Austin, what is this going to be? And I should have been concerned about him. Right. Um, but there's just so much going on. And, um, in my mind, and anyways, I think that that's kind of where I took out some of those emotions.

Lauren: Um, and so we kind of laughed about it at that point. And everyone that came in were like, he has a concussion. Um, oh. They were like, listen, we see all kinds of things in here. It's fine. This is fine. This is good. Yeah. So, yeah, so he had his, uh, he had his sunglasses on, uh, the whole time that I was, uh, that I was in labor at the hospital and we got into the room, talk to the midwife who was on call and she kind of talked to us about our options. Um, she was like, you know, your water broke at 3:00 PM. And so we've got about till 3:00 AM. Um, when we want to really kind of get things going. So we talked about, um, doing cytotech potentially, um, and then pitocin, you know, all those kinds of things. And the thing is, is they didn't want to check me any more than they, than they needed to because my water broken and I was also GBS positive.

Lauren: And so they didn't want to introduce infection if they didn't have to. So they went ahead, um, or we went ahead and decided to just kind of wait on everything. I was, had my doula with me and she was helping me, uh, do all kinds of things. We did the birth ball, we did standing side lunges. Um, we did this thing called sideline release, which is, um, spinning babies move, I think. Um, yeah, so that was really helpful. Um, let's see. I did pumping, um, while I was bouncing on the ball, we really did all kinds of things to try to get things going.

Nicole: So I know you ultimately decided to use Pitocin. Is that right? What led you to finally do something

Lauren: do that? Yeah. So, um, I ended up taking some Benadryl at one point and going to sleep, um, to help just to help again, kind of rest before things got going. Um, and at that point, my husband actually went downstairs to the ER to get a brain scan just to make sure everything was okay. Yeah. So yeah, everything was okay. So that was good. And by the time he came back up, they went ahead and checked me and I had dilated to a four on my own. Um, so I did not need the cytotek, which is good. Um, and so we started Pitocin and, um, it was really at that point, it was because, you know, it had been 12 hours since my water broke and it was just kind of time to get things going. So, um, again, we did some more like squatting, uh, standing side lunges, those kinds of things.

Lauren: But I, and I was having contractions that I could feel at this point. Um, but I was feeling the need, like, okay, I need to rest, I need to try to do everything that I can before this ramps up too much, especially now that we've got medication in the mix, it's going to make things ramp up. Right. Um, so, um, yeah, we started the Pitocin, I think, around, around three 30 or four. And then at four, they upped it to, they started me at a one, um, at four 30, they upped it to a two and I was resting. Um, and I rested in bed until about, about six 30. Um, and I think they had upped it to a three at that point. So they were doing it really slowly, which I really appreciated, um, because things were getting more intense. It was slow, but they were definitely building and they could, you know, they can see it on the monitor.

Lauren: I can feel it. Um, but around 6, 6 30, I decided to get up and start kind of doing some more things, um, doing some more positions to help. And, um, Austin, my husband, he took to, he started videoing at that point. So he got a lot of video of, of everything, which was really precious to have. Um, and then at seven, my, my midwife who delivered my daughter came on call. And, um, I was really thankful because I knew that he was, he was gonna be born that day. Um, so she would be the person who was there. Um, so yeah, so that was awesome. And she actually came in around eight o'clock and said hi, after she had done her rounds with everyone else. Um, and at eight, 10 things really picked up. And I think that was because I felt safe. I think that was because, you know, she, the person who I wanted to be there showed up and then literally within 10 minutes, I was, you know, having big, like really having to vocalize through my contractions, um, and getting nauseous in between having thoughts of, I don't think that I can do this anymore.

Lauren: All of these things, very reminiscent of transition. Um, and so, uh, eventually I, I got back in the bed and I was, I did for a while on, um, kind of on my knees leaning over the top of the bed. Um, and that was really a comfortable position for me. Um, so, so yeah, uh, I started having some contractions where I was really kind of grunting through them and my doula was like, Hey, we need the midwife to come in and see what's going on. Um, which I was thinking like, I should probably say something and then she said it for me. And I was like, great. I don't have to say anything. Um, and so I just did my thing. And, uh, Amanda, the midwife came in and she checked me at 10:04 AM and I was eight centimeters dilated and a hundred percent. And he was minus two station. And, uh, do want to explain what minus two station means. I don't even really know what it means.

Nicole: So it means that the baby is, that's a good, good point. Um, so it's the position of the baby in, in my mom's pelvis and minus two is still fairly high in the pelvis. Um, so baby's not like super duper engaged in the pelvis yet. Like what for, we go from like, minus to plus as the baby gets closer to come out and like, plus three is like right as the baby is starting to come out. So minus two is still high.

Lauren: Yeah. So keep in mind, this is at 10:04 AM, eight centimeters, a hundred percent minus two. Right. So they, uh, my husband at that point was like, Hey, can we get some nitrous oxide in here? I think she might need it. Um, and so again, somebody, somebody on my birth team was the person who suggested nitrous oxide, which is what I wanted. I wanted somebody else to advocate for me whenever I was not really able to do that. And so they brought that in around 10:15, um, and I was really having a lot of pushy contractions and, um, I was checked again and had another cervical lip. And so, um, my midwife corrected that again. Um, I was on my hands and knees at this point and, um, his heart rate started to decel quite a bit. And so, um, they wanted to change up my position to see if that would help his heart rate.

Lauren: Um, and so I did end up being on my back again and, um, things were just, I could tell they were moving really, really fast. And the great thing about the nitrous this time was that I was definitely not sleeping in between these contractions, but what it did help me do was, um, hyper-focused on some specific things. And so I was like, I was out of my body a little bit. And, um, I was hyper-focused on, on my husband who is cheering me on at one point, my doula came over and prayed with me. At one point, there was this song that had been kind of my mantra throughout the whole year, um, of, you know, March, 2020 when the tornado and the pandemic happened to 2021, whenever I was getting ready to have this baby and the song was on at this point. And so I was able to listen to the lyrics and focus on the lyrics while I was having these insane contractions. Um, the only thing about it was that I think it took me out of myself enough that I wasn't really working with my body very well to get the baby out. Um, so at one point my midwife was like, Lauren, I need you to focus. I need us to get this baby out. Um, and so at that point I pushed really hard and by ten thirty one, he was born. So he had gone from, you know, 8 and minus two at 10:04 to out at 10:30.

Nicole: This is why I tell people all the time. We don't know nothing like babies come when they are, they will just come. Like when people say, oh, you can't possibly have dilated that fast. Like it happens. We need to be aware of the possibilities that things sometimes go super duper fast. Like we just have to be prepared for it for anything. So, wow. That was quick. Yeah. I mean, you must've pushed like a couple of just like a couple of times.

Lauren: Yeah. And it wasn't really that time. I was, again, I was really thankful this time. I, I didn't really get coached through pushing, which was, which was good for me again. Um, the first time, I, I don't know if it was because of ineffective pushing or it was because of her positioning, but I'd actually blown out the blood vessels in my eyes. And I had these like bloody looking eyes for weeks after she was born. Um, and so it was, it did feel better to just kind of let my body do its thing this time. Um, but also there was like, it was like a train moving through my body. Like that's how it felt. Um, you know, coming down that quickly.

Nicole: Wow. Wow. And what did you feel like I forgot to ask? Did you feel like the Pitocin contractions were stronger than natural contractions?

Lauren: Yes, I think so. Um, I think that the biggest thing is they just felt like they came on more intensely. So it was like, I had a moment to take a breath and then it would peak instead of, you know, ramping up and peaking and then coming back down, it was like, it peaked. And then it was peaked for like a minute and then it would come back. That's kind of what it felt like to me.

Nicole: Okay. And then this time, was your husband able to like stand up and actually

Lauren: I think going and getting the head CT was really a great decision because it, I think it made him feel better. It made me feel better and he was the most amazing supportive. And I was, so I was like really emotional while was pushing because he was everything that I, I thought that he would be, he's like the most animated, amazing kind person ever. And, um, and so he just, he was perfect. And in that moment and you know, just what I think, what every, every woman, maybe not, it wasn't what I imagined. It would be like whenever I was, um, whenever I was giving birth and, and it was just so sweet because that was what I kind of miss. I felt like I missed out on the first time. Um, and what he missed out on the first time of being able to do as well. And so we just felt like we, we connected so much in that, in those, you know, insanely intense moments, but I was really grateful.

Nicole: And when he came out, I presume he came to your chest and all of those good great things.

Lauren: Yeah, he did, but he was a little puny whenever he came out. So they brought him to my chest for a couple of minutes, or maybe not even, maybe like 20 or 30 seconds. And then he did go over to the NICU team for a little while, um, just about five minutes, but then they brought him right back to me. Um, and we got to have our golden hour after that.

Nicole: Sometimes I say that baby sometimes, especially when they come fast and furious, like they, they take, they take a little bit of time to their souls, take a little bit to inhabit their bodies.

Nicole: Come on over baby, come to the side where everybody's here waiting for you, takes them a little time to know that they need their souls need to get in the right place yeah. Uh, all right. Well, very different birth experiences, but it sounds like both were fulfilling even, even though they were both very different.

Lauren: Yeah, I think so. I think one of the biggest things, again, that I touched on earlier, but, um, just having heard so many different women's stories and hearing how, you know, at the end of everything they had this baby that they were so in love with and the story of how the baby came to them. Um, and so I think that that was really helpful because I had these ideas of things that I wanted, but I didn't have an either experience a, you know, this is exactly how it will go rigid kind of plan. And so I was just really excited for, you know, however these babies wanted to come, um, and whatever was in the plan for them to come. And so, um, I think that was really helpful. Again, there were certain things like I didn't have having Pitocin in my birth plan. I didn't have having my water broken artificially in my birth plan like that, that wasn't there. But, um, but I'm just, I'm so grateful for both experiences and, um, and yeah, well, if I, if, if God blesses us with another baby, then, um, then those things probably won't be in my, in my next birth planning there. But, um, but I do know that, you know, there has been beauty in things that I wouldn't have necessarily chosen. And so I'm grateful for that

Nicole: Hundred percent, 100%. So as we wrap up, then what would you say is like your favorite or one piece of advice that you would love to tell other women as they get ready for their birth?

Lauren: I would say do whatever you can to feel supported and feel safe. Um, you know, whether that's having, having people there. I, I really think, I really think doulas are worth every single penny that they cost plus a lot more. Like, I think it's so amazing and I didn't realize, I didn't even know how worth it, it would be until experiencing my first birth. Um, and then just having, like my second doula, Sarah was amazing. Um, I told my, my two doulas, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to be able to afford to have both of them there next time around. Um, they're just, they're amazing. So I would a hundred percent recommend a doula to anybody who's considering that. Um, and then just like educating and learning as much as possible. Um, I would definitely say try the nitrous. Um, I know that it's like, feels like maybe something that some people think like, oh, what does that even do? Um, but it was really, it was really helpful to me in both birth experiences. And so, you know, worst case scenario, you, you try it and you don't like it and you move on to something else.

Nicole: Yeah. It definitely works for some people that's for sure. That is for sure. So then why don't, where can people connect with you? I know you have a website and a podcast and those kinds of things. So tell us about that.

Lauren: Yeah. Um, so I have a blog that I kept up really well for a little while. Um, and now I just kind of post on it every now and then again, every now and then, but it's Lauren groves.me and I, I wrote my daughter's birth story on there, um, and have just like written some things about motherhood. So you can find me there, you can find me on Instagram @Lauren__groves. And then my husband and I actually have a podcast together and it's called Grace and Race. Um, and we actually started it this year kind of in light of everything that's gone on, um, with race and racism in our country. Um, and it's really geared toward, toward, and talking to other Christians, um, about how we can look at racism through, um, kind of a biblical worldview and, um, and look at the actual disparities that are happening. Um, and yeah, and, and have a way to talk about those from, from this world view. So you can find us there. Um, and then we actually posted a little video yesterday, um, about this latest birth, um, where we kind of included some of the footage and then that's on YouTube, which you can find on my Instagram as well.

Nicole: Nice, nice. And we will link all of that in the show notes, of course. Well, thank you so much, Lauren, for agreeing to come on and share both of your stories. Um, I just love how you were able to find the best, um, and manage through some challenging situations for sure.

Lauren: Well, thank you for having me. I think that this podcast is an awesome resource and obviously everyone who's listening to it right now knows that already, but, um, I'm just really thankful for people like you who are putting stuff out there, um, for us to be able to have the best experience we can.

Nicole: Well, thank you. I appreciate it.

Nicole: Wasn't that a great episode. I really appreciated her sharing both of her stories as well as her honesty and candor about some of the challenges and things that happened during her pregnancies and births. Now, you know, after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I give my top three or four takeaways from the episode, here are my Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Lauren. Number one, miscarriage is really common. And from an OB GYN side, we know this like roughly one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage. And I think because of that, we don't always recognize that it can be difficult for that individual person to deal with a miscarriage. Um, it's common like on a population basis, but on an individual basis, you know, it feels like it's just happening to you. So you may need to take time to grieve.

Nicole: You may need to take time to process a miscarriage that may include taking time off from work. You may need to talk about it with friends or even a therapist. Number two, you need to prepare for birth period, whether you're having an unmedicated birth or not, you can't control birth, but you can control how prepared you are going into your birth. And of course this podcast and listening to it is a part of that, and thank you for being a loyal listener, but you really need to take it to the next level with some dedicated childbirth education. Now, of course, I have a fantastic option called the Birth Preparation Course. It gets you calm, confident, and empowered to have that beautiful birth. You'll learn how to prepare your mind. So you're calm and peaceful during your birth. You'll understand what happens in your body during labor birth, as well as the postpartum period.

Nicole: And you learn how to advocate for yourself. You can check out all the details of the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. But even if you don't choose the Birth Preparation Course, which of course I hope you will. And if you don't, I want you to choose something for childbirth education, because it is that important that you prepare yourself for your birth again, period, full stop. All right. And point number three is that life is gonna throw you curve balls. And it's how you deal with those curve balls that make the diff that makes the difference. I wish life didn't throw us curve balls, but it does. Lauren dealt with a tornado, COVID, concussion, all of these things, and you can see how she was able to work through that and manage it in a way that was healthier and helped her get to a better place.

Nicole: On the other side of things, if you can look on the bright side of things, if you can have gratitude for the things that are going well, if you can focus on moving forward, then you will feel better when those curve balls happen. Now that doesn't mean you don't get angry about things. Cause sometimes stuff happens and I was going to say a different word, like my children say adult language, but maybe kids might be listening, but stuff happens. It's how you deal with it that makes the difference. Of course, you're going to get angry. You're going to get upset, but you have to focus on moving forward when you have those curve balls that come. Okay. So there you have it. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening to me right now, I'd love it. If you leave a review on Apple Podcast, I do shout outs from those reviews and those reviews can help the show to grow.

Nicole: Do check out the Birth Preparation Course, drnicolerankins.com/enroll. The course is incredibly packed with value. I don't think you'll find to childbirth education class with this much value at this price, any place else. So again, check it out, drnicolerankins.com/enroll. So that's it for this episode, come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth. 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.