Ep 14: Birth Stories – 4 Cesarean Births With Linnea Taylor

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You probably know by now that Birth Story episodes are my absolute favorites, and this one is no exception!

My guest on this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast is Linnea Taylor. Linnea shares her  experiences with 4 cesarean births, including dealing with placenta previa, and not being awake for 2 of her babies births.  You’ll not only learn some valuable lessons, you’ll also laugh, and shed a few tears. Linnea is really able to find joy in some challenging circumstances.

Linnea’s experiences are each unique, and each is important for any mama-to-be to hear and learn from. Even if you aren’t planning on having a cesarean birth, as both Linnea and I mention in this episode, birth is unpredictable and it’s good to be prepared for the unexpected.

If you’d like to connect with Linnea, you can find the links to reach her below.

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Speaker 1: I know you may not want to think about having a cesarean birth, but it's better to be prepared just in case. Today's guest will help you really understand how you can feel fulfilled even if you have a cesarean birth. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified Ob Gyn physician and certified integrative health coach every week, I break down topics, share birth stories or interview experts to help you have your very best pregnancy and birth. Quick note, the information is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.

: Nicole: Welcome to another episode of the podcast. Thank you for spending some time with me today. I know your time is valuable, so I am grateful that you choose to spend a little bit of time with me. Now, today's episode is a full one.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I have Linnea Taylor on, and she is sharing her birth stories about her cesarean births. Linnea is a full time stay at home parent and a part time artist. She specializes in hand drawn logos and brand artwork. She lives with her husband and four children in beautiful Gillette, Wyoming. Now, Linnea and I have a great conversation about her four cesarean births. In her first pregnancy, he had to have a cesarean because of a rare pregnancy complication, and despite her wanting something different, she ended up with cesarean births for her other three babies as well. And in this episode, Linnea is really able to show you how you can acknowledge the disappointment of things not going exactly the way you want, yet still find joy in your births. This will be helpful so that you can be more prepared for that inherent unpredictability of birth.

Speaker 1: Nicole: It's also helpful if you already know you're going to have a cesarean section and you feel some disappointment about that. Now, this is a longer epsidode, so I want to jump right in, but do be sure to join us afterwards in the All About Pregnancy and Birth Podcast Community on Facebook. We can continue the conversation there. I also post inspirational quotes in the group and tips about pregnancy. I also go LIVE in the group to answer questions. I'll link to the group in the show notes if you're not already a part of it.

: Nicole: Quick warning before we get into the episode, Linnea does talk about having a miscarriage in the beginning of the show. So if that will bother you, skip ahead a few minutes. Okay. Without further ado, let's get to the episode with Linnea Taylor.

: Nicole: Hi Linnea. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing your birth stories.

: Linnea: Well, thank you for having me. I'm really excited.

: Nicole: Yeah. Good. So why don't we start off by having you tell us a little bit about you, um, your work if you want to and your family.

: Linnea: Well, I live in Wyoming. With my husband, Ben, we've been married for 12 years, for almost 12 years. We have four kids, two boys and two girls. We, I got married when I was 18.

: Nicole: Oh Wow.

: Linnea: Which it seems so wild now. I thought I was ready for it, but I mean I wouldn't change anything, but it was a wild ride. We got pregnant for the first time when I was 20. We lost that baby unfortunately when I was 12 weeks along. And that really was very traumatic for me.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I'm sure especially being so far along you may have had an ultrasound.

Speaker 2: Linnea: I did. Yeah. And I pretty much had kind of a, I mean what I imagined was like a little delivery, because there was a mix up at the doctor and they thought I had passed tissue or something. But they didn't check with the ultrasound. So it ended up happening at home at night and I didn't know what was going on.

Speaker 1: Nicole: That was incredibly scary. I mean, I know I, I knew we were having you on to talk about some of your experiences with a c section, but we might as well go there since you brought it up. That must've been pretty tough.

Speaker 2: Linnea: It was, it was really tough. I didn't know what was happening. I had started bleeding and I went to emergency room and they found out the baby must have died a couple of days before or something. And that was just so crushing, you know? And because of how much I'd already bled or I'm not really, now that I'm older and a little wiser, I'm like really questioning what happened there, but you know, why they weren't more thorough. But they sent me home with some painkillers and then a couple of days later I had still been bleeding, but when I got my cervix checked, it was completely closed. The doctors said, oh that, you know, you're done now and you'll get better. And that night I just started getting such extreme cramping and, you know. It was my first time ever having been pregnant and I didn't really know what was going on. I'm like, oh, now it's really hurting. And husband also was really clueless about what's going on, but it hurt. I mean, it was extreme pain and I imagine it was like a little version of laboring for a baby. Yeah. And it, it was just, it was so terrible. It happened, you know, and, it was just so traumatic to have that happen at home as a surprise or you think it's already done.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right. Of course, of course. Oh my gosh. That's, that is clearly a lot, um, a lot to, to go through. And obviously it's still kinda the way you describe it, in some ways it feels like it's probably still kind of fresh for you, even though it's been 12 years ago.

: Linnea: Oh. So anyway, so, so, you know, that was a very hard time for us.

: Nicole: Right. But then you went on to get pregnant again.

Speaker 2: Linnea: So when that first pregnancy happened, we weren't trying to have a baby and, when it happened, we were so excited, but we hadn't really been trying. So when we lost our first baby, it kind of awakened that desire in us to have children, even though I was still so young, I was 21 at the time. But at that point I was like having dreams about nursing a baby, which I had never done before. And it was just like, I just thought, wow I want to be a mom. I had always wanted to be a mom, but I really, really tried. So for like probably I think it was about nine months. We tried, you know, trying while I was ovulating and so in my memory at the time, it felt like I was took forever to get pregnant for the second time, you know, now looking back, I'm like, oh, it's only nine months.

Speaker 2: Linnea: It does feel like forever. I mean, it's like six months with our first and I was like, this is a, I'm going to go stir crazy here. Like it feels like forever.

: Linnea: Yeah. Like every time I started my period it was like, oh, I'm not pregnant. And it was terrible. But when we got pregnant about nine months later, I was, we were so excited and I, and afraid, you know, um, and I, I worked, I worked up until after my third baby. So all during this time from my miscarriage and my subsequent three pregnancies, I worked as a TSA officer at the airport. Which is kind of worth noting just cause it was kind of a physical job and it was really strange, like middle of the night hours at the airport. And so I was just nervous working there when I got pregnant because I had lost the first baby and I just didn't know, you know, I had that guilt, like, did I overdo it?

: Nicole: Which of course you didn't. I hope, you know, you know, going back, I hope you don't feel guilty or like you did anything because unfortunately, yes, miscarriage happens.

: Linnea: Yes. I'm thankful and thank you for that. I mean, I do now, but at the, you know, I'm 30 now, I look back and I don't feel any guilt, you know, but when I was just so upset over it, you know, it's like, you know, all those emotions like, but so when I got pregnant with my daughter who's, she's eight now or you're so excited. But anyway, I guess I don't need to go into all that. I was supposed to be talking about my family, but yeah, so I worked as a government employee at the airport for like seven years though. After that I was able to come home and be a stay at home mom, which was a big heart desire of mine.

Speaker 2: Linnea: So my last baby, my youngest, he was the only baby that I was at home from his conception to his birth, like I wasn't working outside of the home or working irregular hours. And now I'm a stay at home mom and I am a part time artist. So I do a lot of like branding work and logos and stuff.

: Nicole: Okay, awesome.

: Linnea: And about me, I guess. If you want to know?

: Nicole: Yeah.

: Linnea: I'm just a regular lady? I just love my kids. I love spending time with them and my husband and I love to read. I love hanging out with my friends. I love going to the movies. My husband says I'm like a walking, IMDB because I love the movies and writing about them. And going to see them, but that's just I guess a little run down about me.

: Nicole: Okay. Okay. So you have four children and you said the oldest is eight.

: Linnea: Yes, I have an eight year old girl, a six year old girl, a 14 year old boy and a little boy who's going to turn two next month.

: Nicole: Okay. All right. So you have a full household for sure.

: Linnea:Oh yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So I know you have four, but I want to focus most of our discussion on talking about the first and the second pregnancy. So, you talked about, or second children I should say. So you were of course very nervous, anxious with the first pregnancy, but overall, how did things go? How was your pregnancy? What was it like and what was your prenatal care like?

Speaker 2: Linnea: I just, I went to a doctor that was recommended to me, but the beginning part of the pregnancy was really chill. You know, I didn't have nausea except just like that, some food aversions. And thankfully, you know, I'd go in and I'd hear her heartbeat and everything was just very, I guess the normal and that was great, you know. 20 week appointment, I had the, my first ultrasound with her, you know, where they do the anatomy scan and everything. And that was so exciting. And to find out she was a girl and they, and they sent us up to talk to the doctor. When we got up there, the lady, I think she was like a physician's assistant, she kind of had the expression of someone who was like about to break news, you know, and she was telling us that we had a complete placenta previa.

: Nicole: Okay. And for the listeners really quickly, a placenta previa is when the placenta completely covers the opening of the cervix and it can be pretty dangerous and lead to significant bleeding that can affect your baby. So it's a pretty substantial issue for pregnancy. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Linnea: Yeah. And I'd never heard of it, you know, and she said, okay, look, you know, she was showing us on the ultrasound, she's like, this is a complete previa, you know, it's just dead center over at your cervix. I'm like, oh well is the baby okay. And she was like, oh yeah the baby's fine. So I don't know if like God was protecting me from a lot of unnecessary worry, but like I wasn't freaked out by the news because I was just so happy to learn that she was looking good. Right.

Speaker 1: Nicole: And you'd never heard of this thing before? Probably sounded like something like out of the blue kind of thing like that.

: Linnea: Yeah. So I'm like, okay. And so she said, you know, I was going to be on pelvic rest, no sex, no bending unnecessarily. She was telling me how she didn't want me, you know, ever getting an exam, like a cervical exam unless absolutely necessary. And they were telling me at that point that unless the placenta really moved up that I'd be having a c section.

Speaker 1: Nicole: And which often, and I'll say which often it does and I don't know how your story is going to end, but often it does. Most of the time it actually will move up. Yes.

Speaker 2: Linnea: And I was hopeful of that. So yeah, she told me, okay, you're going to, if it doesn't move, you know, be prepared that you'll need a c section. And I thought, okay, you know, just waiting. And so I went and I told like the people at my job that I couldn't be lifting suitcases anymore or like there's a bunch of things I couldn't do. So I was kind of on limited duty at my job and for the duration of my pregnancy. So I was just trying to take it real easy at work. So I got subsequent ultrasounds just to check on the cervix and it just never budged. It just stayed dead center. And I mean I was worried as far as like, because I lived in North Dakota at the time, so she was born in January. So the whole winter I wore those little cleats that you kind of strap onto your shoes cause I, you know, like they're like ice pick shoes or something. I was so worried about slipping that I wore those everywhere and they would go click, click, click.

: Linnea: So as I got further along in the pregnancy, more people started, like I'd go in to see, cause sometimes I'd get worried because I hadn't felt the baby move in I didn't know how long, maybe like six or seven hours. So I'd get just work myself into a tizzy at my job. So I'd have to leave and go to the hospital to get a monitor on. And the nurses would always say like, look at my chart and they'd say, Oh, you haven't had any bleeding yet? And I'd say no. And then the more people I had tell me that as I got later on in the pregnancy, like seven, eight months pregnant, I started being like, wow, like what's going to happen here?

Speaker 2: Nicole: Right.

: Linnea: But am I just going to start like bleeding a lot or is the baby going to be okay? I did. So I did get pretty worried as that pregnancy went on. I didn't end up loving my first OB doctor. And I really think I can pinpoint, well she was the one who told me not to get a cervical exam. Like ever. Like she's like, it's just so sensitive and nothing should be up there, you know? And one of the times when I had gone into the hospital, they wanted to checkout something. That a guy came in who was like a resident or something and he cause he said something about training or, or he wasn't even a resident. I think he was probably maybe an intern or something, I'm not sure. But he was like, okay, uh, you know, we're going to do a quick cervical check, you know.

Speaker 2: Linnea: And I said, well you know, they told me not to. And he's like, well, your doctor wants you to have a cervical check. And I just didn't know if she actually had said that or if he just thought that was the routine or...

: Nicole: Oh, he was wrong. He was just dead wrong.

: Linnea: Well, I was so protective and I was, and so then I had a nurse, like a head nurse, whatever you call them, but she came in and she was unkind to me and said, honey, you know, we're the professionals here and you need to have your cervix checked.

: Nicole: Oh goodness.

: Linnea: And I said, well, I have placenta previa and you know, I'm telling her all this and she's like, doctor whoever, you know, wants you to have it done. And I said, well, could she, if she's here, can she come and talk to me? Because she had told me not to, I just, I'd like to hear it from her. And they're like, well, she's busy and she can't come for like another hour. And I thought, okay, that's fine. And so she did come and she did want me to have one, I guess. And she was so upset at me for not just letting them do it.

Speaker 2: Nicole: That sucks. I mean, I know it really did. Especially, I mean you've been told and you had at that point had you been told that the placenta had moved at all?

: Linnea: No, I didn't move. I don't even remember why she wanted this cervix check, but she ended up doing it and she was just visibly really upset at me and that kind of just, that was definitely not the best day.

: Nicole: Of course.

: Linnea: As we got nearer to the end of the pregnancy around 36 weeks, the doctor said the baby seemed like she was getting big and that they worry about a big baby, you know, resting on that cause the placenta was still just dead center over my cervix. And they said that if they do an amniocentesis test and to check the, if the lung fluid was mature enough and if it was they wanted to deliver the baby cause she seemed to be getting big, they were worried that if they didn't that I'd have some kind of episode like bleeding or the baby would be in danger. So we went to the hospital and, you know, I wasn't worried about a c section because I had been kind of thinking about it since 20 weeks.

: Nicole: Right.

: Linnea: So I really had all that time to kind of accept it. So at that time I wasn't like heartbroken over having to have a cesarean section. I was just like excited about the baby.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right. Of course. When it's your first baby and after the miscarriage and everything. And you know what, I'm sorry, I just can't let go of this checking your cervix thing because did she, did she, did she look with a speculum?

: Linnea: I mean she may have used, I mean in my memory just a hand.

: Nicole: But you know, you probably wouldn't have the nurses, and they don't usually do like speculum exams. It's just, it's just so like outside of what we practice in terms of, we really don't, especially if your placenta was dead center would not have wanted to touch anything to irritate it and everything. So anyway, I'm sorry.

: Linnea: I know I was hung up on too.

: Nicole: Right, right, right. So they're thinking about doing the amniocentesis to deliver baby. And so what happens then? Yeah.

Speaker 2: Linnea: And even though I did end up switching OB's, I mean, I am thankful for the care that lady provided for me. And like when she did the amniocentesis test, which hurt a lot, and she was very kind to that day. And, you know, I could tell, I mean, she was awesome. Like just the way she made me feel good that day and so. You know, I just, maybe she was having a rough day or something, I don't know. But I went in there and I just thought that we'd end up having the baby that day, but the test came back that no, the lungs were not mature and they would wait again and do it the next week. So I went home and it was kinda like, okay. I had already gotten off of work. Like I'd already started my maternity leave like the day before because I thought we were having the baby.

Speaker 2: Linnea: So that ended up actually being a nice time for my husband and I just taking a few days and like go see a movie and relax together. Cause he was off work and I was off work. So it was on a Saturday and we were watching like TV and I was eating way too much, like pizza and just, I mean I was just eating a lot of food because we're just hanging out and it was like pretty late at night. Like I went to the bathroom and when I wiped there was blood on the toilet paper and I just freaked out. You know, like yeah, like this is not a drill, right. I am not a chill person. Like, oh my gosh.

Speaker 1: Nicole: we gotta all know where we stand.

: Linnea: But I was just started screaming out in the bathroom and you know, my husband says he knew right away what must've been going on. And we just flew out the door. Like I didn't bring anything with me. I just had my pajamas on and Ben drove me there and he didn't have time to start the car. So our teeth were chattering the whole time. And thankfully we only lived like five minutes from the hospital. So I called them ahead of time and they said, okay, come right up through the emergency room. And so I got up there. I told them what happened. They put me in a gown and I didn't know what would happen, like if they'd make me stay there while they monitored the bleeding or you know, but then I had another doctor who was on call, she came in and she said, okay, we're taking you back.

Speaker 3: Linnea: So it was kind of like a mix between like an expected c section and also an emergency c section. You know, I knew I was going to have one when the time came, but I just, it still felt like such a shock. And a shout out to that doctor because I love her. She ended up delivering all three of my kids anyway, so we went in and you know, then I'm just like freaking out. Like, oh my gosh, you know, I'm just shaking like I can't believe it. Well then Ben is just so excited. He's like calling people, she's going in, you know, and I'm like, hold on, get off the phone. Like, you know, they throw some scrubs on him. I mean, it all just happened so fast. I mean, like they're pushing me down the hall and the nurses are kind of pulling bobby pins out of my hair, you know, it just, it happened really fast.

Speaker 3: Linnea: And my husband, you know, I gave him a kiss and I kinda thought, you know, the next time I see you lord willing, there's going to be a little baby out. And so I went into the operating room and I'd never had surgery before that. So that was in and of itself like a shock, just, it's so different than it looks on TV. And you know, I was pretty much naked and then they're getting ready buzzing around me. You know, it's like they're all so kind, but they're busy doing their jobs, so it's almost like you're not even there. I was just so nervous but so excited because I felt safe. Then like on the way to the hospital I felt nervous but then I thought, okay, they have a monitor on the baby. They're about to take her out. Like we've made it to the finish line, you know? So I was so thankful and before they even like shaved me down there or put a catheter in, they put me to sleep.

Speaker 1: Linnea: Why did they not do, normally we do the spinal medication in the back. Why did they not do that?

Speaker 3: Linnea: If my memory serves me correctly, I think they said they were worried about bleeding.

: Nicole: Hmm, okay. Okay.

: Linnea: And I don't remember being surprised about being asleep that first time. So I think they had told me that ahead of time that for that c section they were just going to put me under general anesthesia. So I went to sleep and because I hadn't had a spinal block when I woke up. It's like, it felt like I had no pain killer in my system. I was so much in pain. I was in a dark recovery room and the lady there was super nice, but you know, I'm like, is the baby okay? And she'd go, Oh yeah. They were kinda telling me about her, she has a lot of hair. And I told Ben ahead of time, don't worry, just go hang out with the baby. You know, the doctors can take care of me and you just enjoy. Like, someone's got to be there for the baby's like first moments, and oh I should mention that they let him in, which was so nice. So at least one parent to tell the story of her like coming out and cry.

: Nicole: Yeah, that is nice. Cause usually, usually we actually don't let a family member in when somebody goes under general anesthesia.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yes, yes. Because when I had to go under general for my second and they pushed back a little bit, but Ben said, you know, I was allowed in the first one and so we made sure he'd talked to them ahead of time and got it kind of written down. I'm allowed in there. But anyway, so yeah, when I woke up, she did have to be in the Nicu because her lungs were immature. So I was like almost 37 weeks. And she stayed in there for 10 days, but there was not anything life threatening and they weren't too concerned. It was like little setback. So, so that is her birth story. With her being in the Nicu, it took awhile to get nursing down because I didn't even get to hold her until she was like four days old.

: Nicole: Oh Wow.

: Linnea: Yeah. So that was the hardest newborn stage of all my kids.

: Nicole: Sure, sure. And for your first one too.

: Linnea: Yeah. Yeah. And again, I didn't know kind of what I was missing, so I wasn't that torn up about it. Like I was so thankful she was fine. And people were talking to me kind of in a consolatory way, you know? I'm so sorry, you had to have a c section. I'm so sorry the baby is in the Nicu, you know, and I did appreciate the concern, but I'm like, hey, I'm so glad I got a baby.

: Nicole: So yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah.

: Linnea: I was just so excited.

: Nicole: Right, right. And it's hard to have your baby in the Nicu. My first daughter was born eight weeks early and she was in the Nicu for a month and she had to have surgery after she was born. So, you know, nobody, you can't quite explain to anybody what it's like to have your baby in the Nicu. It's something you never quite forget.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yeah. I know that I would get really freaked out if the same thing had happened to like my fourth baby. Just because once I saw what it would be for a normal or a typical baby to have their experience be like right after birth, it actually scared me in retrospect, thinking about my first daughter's experience. Cause at the time I was just kind of blissfully unaware like, okay, the doctor says she's going to be fine. But now when I look back, I'm like, oh, that would scare me so bad now. I mean, it scared me. I was worried and concerned for her at the time, but I wasn't like super freaked out, and I think that it would have freaked me out even more if it had happened after I had already had the others, just like a typical baby.

Speaker 1: Nicole: For sure. Yeah, for sure. For sure. So then you get through that pregnancy, the delivery, get your baby home and then, it sounds like a couple of years later found yourself pregnant again. Did you decide that, and I know just from talking to you a little bit via your story, you wanted to have a VBAC or try for a VBAC. What was your, what was your thought process in making that decision about VBAC versus repeats cesarean section?

Speaker 3: Linnea: I had always had that vision. You know, pushing a baby out. It's something that I just love the idea of. I wasn't ready to give up on that dream. My doctor said that I was a good candidate for a VBAC because it's not like I had had an unsuccessful labor before.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Correct. Yep. Yep. So you felt like your doctor was supportive of your decision?

Speaker 3: Linnea: Oh, she was very supportive and this was, you know, my new doctor, she had been the emergency one who had delivered my daughter and she was very supportive and I really believed that this was going to happen. So I actually went to like birthing classes for the first time.

: Nicole: Right, right, right.

: Linnea: I hadn't gone to birthing classes with my first because I thought, why because I'm not even going to be able to give birth so it doesn't matter. I was just so excited. And her pregnancy again was pretty chill, I was just relishing the ability to do whatever I wanted because I wasn't on pelvic rest. Exercising and I felt so good and it was the summer, which made a difference. Anyway, I was super excited to try the VBAC and as it got closer, you know, I was nervous because I heard about the risks. But I was just hopeful, you know? And it's funny because with my first daughter, I had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions even even early on because you know, she was born at 36 weeks, so I didn't even get to the later part of my pregnancy. But with my second daughter, I was like not having any Braxton Hicks contractions like nothing. She was just chilling in there.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yes. And so as it got closer, when they start the weekly cervical checks, I guess 36 weeks or 35 weeks.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. Around about there and that's not necessarily standard that all OBs do it just because it doesn't necessarily give us any additional information. But roughly, yeah, around 35, 36 weeks for doctors who do it, that's when they'll do it, but it's not, it's really not necessary.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Oh, okay. Yeah. So I would get really, even though I hate cervical exams, I don't know who likes them, but yes, exactly.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Like, yeah, whenever women tell me like I hate cervical exams, I'm like, well, if you liked it, that might be kind of strange.

: Linnea: Yes. Oh, it's so true. But I got kind of like excited because I kept thinking they were going to be like, oh my gosh, you're so far dilated or you never know. I had friends of mine, you know, that would always have those stories about, oh, I went in and I was five centimeters dilated, you know, so I was just so geared up and pumped. And every time I would get checked they were like, wow, you are just not even a fingertip dilated.

: Nicole: And you're like, okay, great. Thank you. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yeah. So I was doing everything that you've ever heard of.

: Nicole: Okay. You gotta tell us what you were doing. So, okay.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Like, I mean, people say that, you know, having sex can initiate labor. So we were trying that, you know, all the time. And I was squatting like, I mean, I pretty much just was like walking around squatting or lunging like all the time. I mean this was once I was like 38 or 39 weeks. And you know, I'm eating the spicy food and walking it out and I wasn't even having like one Braxton Hicks contraction. I've come to learn that I must have like the cervix of steel or something. I don't know why. But anyway, so we tried everything. I mean I went past the 40 week mark and you know, the doctor's like, oh honey, I'm so sorry but you are just not dilating. You know? She's like, uh, so we get closer and she's like, we need to schedule it for that 41 week. And actually now looking back, I realized how cool it was that my doctor was willing to let me go that far.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right. So she said if no labor by 41 weeks, then go ahead and schedule a c section?

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yes, pretty much. I'll see you then or I'll see you when you're laboring.

: Nicole: Right. And did she talk at all about inducing your labor?

Speaker 3: Linnea: She did not because this might just be like a North Dakota thing or something, but she said they do not induce women who have had a c section because it could thin the uterine lining or something.

: Nicole: Yeah, it does increase the risk of uterine rupture, the scar from the uterus opening just a little bit. So every, not all doctors are comfortable doing induction when a woman has had a c section before. So I'm not entirely surprised to hear that.

Speaker 3: Linnea: So yeah. So the day came and I was feeling bummed, you know, because I'm like, oh, come on, you know.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right. You're doing all the preparation you went to the classes and everything.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Uh huh. I know Ben and I like, you know, we had sex like couple of hours before we went for the c section.

Speaker 1: Nicole: That was just a last ditch effort, we just going to try it.

Speaker 3: Linnea: And um, it's just funny because I went in and you know, and I asked the doctor because I asked could you please check me one more time? Like, this is after I had my hair net on or whatever you call it, like for the surgery. I said, could you check me just one more time just to see if I'm dilating? And she said, wow, there's just nothing. And so I thought all right, God's will be done. We'll go into the c section. And I was so excited because I thought, you know, it's kind of a win win because it's like I'll either get to have a VBAC or I get to be awake this time. Cause I think most people want to be awake for their birth of their child.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. I would agree.

Speaker 3: Linnea: I mean, and so I went in and I was just so excited and I was nervous too cause I'm like, what's this going to be like being awake and experiencing a c section. I was so excited. I went in and I had mentioned, because I have scoliosis, a pretty pronounced curvature. I had to wear a brace for a couple of years when I was a teenager and it hadn't ever occurred to me to really talk about it before to the doctors. But that day I kind of wanted to know when the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about the spinal block. I hadn't had that conversation before because they never had planned on giving me a spinal block with the other pregnancy. So it was my first time talking to an anesthesiologist about spinal block and I was talking to him and this is just a couple minutes before we went into the operating room.

Speaker 3: Linnea: I said, you know, I have scoliosis, like is that going to mess anything up? And he said, Oh, you know, I don't think so. I've had a lot of patients with scoliosis, I'm sure it would just be fine, you know. And he's like, I've hardly ever seen that happen. And I think he said he'd never seen it happen as soon. Anyway, we went in and it was much different than my first c section cause I was awake and while they were shaving me and putting the catheter in and that was a new experience. I'm like, geez, you know, I just felt so exposed because I'm just like naked and your legs are like spread like a frog, you know? But again, I was super excited.

: Linnea: So then they had me sit up for the spinal block and that hurt a lot more than I thought it was going to. But they were so kind. They were so kind to me. They they laid me down and they said, okay, they were explaining to me what it was going to feel like. You know, I didn't feel that numb yet and I kept saying when am I supposed to feel numb, you know? They're like, well, you know, it'll come. And I laid there and I was like, should I be able to wiggle my feet? And they're like, that's kind of weird. But they're like, no, you're just fine. And so the doctor came in and she's talking and talking to the other people in the room and talking to me and she's like, okay, I'm going to start doing some tests. You know, I was like ouch, you know, cause it hurt. And she said, does that really hurt? Or did you just feel the sensation of being touched?

: Nicole: And you're like, no, it hurts.

: Linnea: Yeah. I said, that really hurts, you know? And then I started moving my legs and she said, wow. She hadn't been in there when I was moving my legs a couple of minutes before. She's like, oh honey, you know, she did a couple more tests and they waited 5 or 10 minutes maybe. And she said, the lady who put it in the spinal block, she was in there. And she said, when I put that in, I put it in perfectly. Like, she's like, I just can't see the point of trying the spinal block again, she's like, I really felt like I got the needle right in the right place. And so my doctor came up and she just was so sweet and caring. She just kind of stroked my head and she's like, you know what, honey? It looks like you have to go to sleep again. And I just was crying so hard that my teeth were chattering. I just, I wanted to be awake, you know?

Speaker 1: Nicole: Of course. Yeah. And it was like you, you were having the VBAC, you weren't going to get the VBAC, and then the thing that you thought you were going to get, being awake, you weren't going to get that either.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yeah. So I, I didn't even get to see Ben in that moment because they don't bring him in until I would be already set up. So I didn't even get to have him there saying like I, when I had parted ways with him, I thought it was going to see him when I was awake you know? He told me later, you know, that he was so sad and disappointed for me when they came out and told him that I had to be asleep again. But they did let him in again. Anyway, they put me asleep. So that's like kind of the last thing I remember there is again, you know, them counting backwards and I just drifted off. She was born in the daytime, so it was daylight and I was in the recovery area for however long that is like an hour or something. And then they sort of started wheeling me up to the next level, where the baby was, because she didn't have to be in the Nicu. She was just a big 41 week baby.

: Nicole: Right. How big was she?

: Linnea: Well, she was 8lb 6oz.

: Nicole: So she was solid.

: Linnea: But I forgot to mention this, the funniest thing, you know my baby, my first girl who was born at almost 37 weeks, 8lb 10oz.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Dang, Linnea! Oh my goodness.

Speaker 3: Linnea: She was bigger at 36 and a half weeks than her sister was at 41 weeks.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Oh man. If you would've gone the full term, she'd have been like 10 pounds.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yes. Well, I was 10 and a half pounds when I was born.

: Nicole: Oh, okay. Oh yeah.

: Linnea: So anyway, when they wheeled me up to the room after my second daughter was born, it was a whole new experience because it's so different than having your baby in the Nicu just to have a healthy baby. And as they're wheeling me into my room, I hear this baby crying and my first thought was, oh man, I have to share a room and that other lady's baby is crying.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I think that's your baby.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Then they wheeled me around and my husband's holding a baby that's crying and it just hit me. Oh, that's my baby. It was the coolest thing because I just, I didn't even look at her face before I nursed her. Like I unlatched my gown and she went right on and she like had the latch like a 10 month old. And it was just so special to me because even though I had to be asleep, it was like in that moment, just so awesome, you know, just to be able to hold your baby so soon cause I hadn't been able to hold my other baby girl. And it was just so neat. So like she nursed for 40 minutes before I could take her off the breast and really look at her for the first time, you know? So that was a positive time.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So how do you feel like you coped with the disappointment of not being able to have a VBAC and not being awake for the surgery? Do you feel like everything just kind of came together once you were able to hold her or just how did you, how did you cope with that?

Speaker 3: Linnea: I was super sad right before the surgery and I just was very like so sad cause I'm just like, I really wanted to be awake, at least hear the baby's first cry or look at her before she gets cleaned up or something. But after she was born and I got to hold her, it was so special that I like consoled. I'm like, you know what? This couldn't get stolen from me. Like no matter how you meet your baby, like it's such a special time. Like, yes, I had to be asleep, but you know, I realize wow, but look at my beautiful baby. So I felt better. But I think in the back of my mind I thought maybe I'd get a chance still sometime to get a vaginal birth. I'm very thankful, but I think if anything, I feel just now that I know that my child bearing season is over, I do feel disappointment sometimes. You know? Cause I just, that would have been cool to experience the vaginal birth, but I mean, not like devastating disappointment, just like, you know, oh, I think it would have been cool to like go to France, but I don't know.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I feel the same way. I had c sections for both of my deliveries and I do have that sort of like, you know, it would've been nice to have that experience, but it kinda is what it is.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Exactly. Yeah. I'm just so thankful because overall they were so kind at the hospital and very caring. So I, I think I coped pretty well.

Speaker 1: Nicole: It sounds, it sounds like it for sure. For sure. Now, when it came to number three, was there any discussion about VBAC? A lot of doctors are not comfortable with that, so it's quite possible there was no discussion.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yeah, I didn't have any hope. I didn't think the doctor would let me, I mean I had like these fantasies like, Ooh, what if I like one in the labor and just had the baby like really fast, you know. But I was surprised when my doctor said that, well, you know, if you go into labor before 39 weeks, she's like, I'm fine with you laboring until if it got to a dangerous point, then I would do a c section. But I think that it's fine if you're allowed to labor if you go before 39 weeks.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Oh, nice. So she was actually open to the possibility? That's actually not very common. A lot of doctors are not common with VBAC after two c sections. So that's really encouraging to hear.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yes. I've learned that too. Like since then I've realized, wow, that was really kind of her. So I did have that hope in the back of my mind that I would just kind of like magically go into labor, not that I ever had before, you know. But it didn't happen. At 39 weeks, I went in for a scheduled c section.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Please tell me you were awake for this.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Oh yes. I had talked this time, I talked to them ahead of time. I said, listen, you know, I have a history of spinal blocks not working. I don't know if it had to do with my scoliosis and I don't know if that made any difference or what. But they were going to try to be really, really, really, particular and like putting it in the right spot or something. But they said, you know, it still may not work because you have a history of it not working. And I was just very prepared for anything at that point. And I had really strategized that I was going to be thankful no matter what, you know.

Speaker 1: Nicole: That's a good attitude. That's a great attitude to have to try to find what you can be grateful for in the moment, even during challenging times.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Thanks. Yeah. I was really trying to just, you know, have a right head space, you know? And so I went in and again, they were so sweet to me. I'm always just, I don't know why I'm surprised when they're so nice, but they're just so many healthcare professionals that are just so nice and caring, you know, and when you're scared or you're naked in an operating room or whatever, it just means so much to have that tender conversation and people to genuinely care about you. It just means so much. His birth, it was just so exciting. I mean, it was just one of the best moments of my life because just to be awake. I went in and he put the spinal block in and immediately it felt different than the other one I ever had. Like, okay, good. I thought, oh, so this is what they're talking about.

: Nicole: Right, right. I know that I felt like I had a similar, my first from our first c section, the anesthesia wasn't working properly and I could feel way more than I should have. And then the second one it was like, oh, this is what you mean when you're supposed to be numb. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Oh yeah. I mean, cause it's like I couldn't even, because it hurt again going in and I kept thinking, I hope this works because this is such a waste of a painful experience. I got numb so fast that like I couldn't even put my own legs back on the table. And that got me excited.

Speaker 1: Nicole: You've never been so excited to not feel your legs.

Speaker 3: Linnea: I mean, I'm telling you, my face must have looked like a woman who was winning the lottery. I mean, I was so excited. I was not nervous at all. As soon as I knew that that was working, I'm like, oh my gosh. And so they laid me back, it started going up my chest, you know, the numbness up to my chest. And I just couldn't believe it. I mean, they were shaving me and putting my catheter in and I couldn't feel it. I literally could not believe what was happening to me. That was like the best thing that could ever happen to me in my whole life. And then my husband came in, and he was crying when he saw me awake and I was crying cause he was just so happy for me.

: Linnea: And I was happy for me, it was just a really tender moment with my husband, because he was just sad when I was sad, you know, so just for him to see me awake, he was so happy. He was crying and I was crying. The doctor came in and she's like, okay, Linnea, I'm going to do some tests, like the pinch test or whatever. And she pinched and this time I still thought, who knows if it's gonna work, like, you know, and she just goes to pinch. I said I don't feel anything. And she'd go, okay, I'm going to look at some other things. And I still wasn't feeling anything. And I said, do you think it's gonna work? And she said, oh, it's working. I already made the incision.

Speaker 3: Linnea: And again, I was so excited, like who gets excited that they're cut open? But I was like so excited. I just, I couldn't believe it. Like even now it's been like four years since that day. And I just, when I talk about it, I get so excited because it was just so magical. Like even just a c section, it felt so magical to be awake and they are tugging and it felt really weird. And then they kinda had to push him out. So they are kind of, I had multiple ladies, lady nurses, kind of leaning in on my chest and my stomach trying to wiggle them out.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So what was that moment like for you then when that, when you first heard him?

Speaker 3: Linnea: It was just, just like the breath went out of me, you know? I just cried. I was just so thankful. I mean, I felt him come out, you know, and you know, he had a good cry. And the doctor, you know, she said he had a big head. He does have a big head, you know, but as she was taking him out, she's like, man, he has a big head, but you know, before they did anything with him, they quickly brought him around the curtain. And so I could see and, and I just, when I saw him, I don't even, it was like inhuman, the sound I made. Just this joy slash shock. Like, I mean, like I had never been awake for that. Like one minute you just have a big bulbous belly. Next minute there's like a little human. It's just so weird and ah, so cool. And it was cool. And it was a blessing too because I got to see my husband's face. I had never seen the look on his face. And that was so special.

: Linnea: So they cleaned him up, or they didn't even really clean him up. They pretty much tested him, sucked out a little bit of stuff, and then they put him on my chest while the doctor stitched me up. So I got to be kind of skin to skin with him. Oh, I just loved it. I was just crying and he just was so cute and I never had to let go of him. They were going to move me from the operating table to a bed and I thought, oh, can I hold him while you do that? And they said, yeah, just don't drop him. And I'm like, oh, okay.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay.

Speaker 3: Linnea: They sat me up and he nursed right away while I was doing my whole post-op thing. And I couldn't believe it. I'm sure my husband got sick of me saying I can't believe it, you know? But I said it. Like a thousand times.

Speaker 1: Nicole: That is amazing. And then just for number four, hopefully that went similarly smoothly. And you were awake for that one too?

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yes, his c section came and again, I was braced for the spinal block not to work. I didn't want to be blind-sided, so I was kind of expecting it, you know, but then it did work and I loved my doctor here in Wyoming. I was blessed again with a great doctor to deliver my babies and I was just so excited again. I was just so glad that it actually happened again. I could be awake. So.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So you didn't have any complications from any of your c-sections?

Speaker 3: Linnea: No, thankfully no. I just feel like I had a harder time recovering. Like some of my friends, they have c sections and then they'll, you know, go out to dinner at a restaurant like four days later. I felt with all four of my c-sections I felt like I just, I couldn't overdo it or I would bleed a lot or be in pain, but I never had an infection or anything like that.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay. Okay. Well good. That is, that is awesome. So to wrap things up, what are some things that you want to share or what is one thing you would share that you wish you knew beforehand about giving birth that you would want to share with the listeners?

Speaker 3: Linnea: Oh geez. I don't know. I guess just I wish that I would've known beforehand, well first thing is that the spinal block might not work. So you could be prepared for that, you know, open to the possibility that lots of different things could happen at the hospital.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. This is, it's an unpredictable process.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yes. Yeah. And I think I would want other people to know. It's not exactly about childbirth, but that nursing to me, it always hurt really bad the first three or four weeks. And once I got past that point, it's all gravy, you know? And it was great and it was, didn't hurt anymore. But I like to tell friends of mine that are first time moms, you know, don't be freaked out if nursing hurts because it, that was normal for me. And it does go way.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I always call breastfeeding a labor of love. It's not necessarily easy or straight forward. Yeah. So then, just to end, what is one piece of advice that you would tell women as they get ready for their birth? One, one piece of advice you'd tell them?

Speaker 3: Linnea: Providing that you're doing the best you can to get all the prenatal care you should have, which is a given. I would just say to try to enjoy the season that you're in as an expectant mother, you know, rest and take that quiet time to enjoy those kind of sacred days leading up to it. And just to enjoy the time with your family as it is, whether it is just you and your partner or you have other children, but just to savor it, you know, and it just is going to happen when it's supposed to happen as far as the birth, you know? I feel like those last few days of pregnancy are just so special and just don't spend them like wishing that the birth was already happening.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I think that's a really great advice just to enjoy, enjoy the moment because it's just really not something that you experience very often in your life actually. So enjoy the moment why you have it. Yeah. So where can women connect with you if they're interested in finding out more about you and your artwork? Where can women connect with you?

Speaker 3: Linnea: Well, you can find me on Instagram at Linnea Ruth designs. And they're a little bit about my work and I do have an Etsy shop. I'm www.innearuth.etsy.com where I sell my original artwork and prints, but I am going to be having a website soon for my branding artwork and that all can be found on my Instagram account when that happens.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Awesome. And I will link to all of that in the show notes for everybody so they can reach things very easily. Well, Linnea, thank you so much for being here. This has been a really great conversation and I know that the listeners will find it useful. I mean, you've had the gamut of experiences from miscarriage to placenta previa. Pretty rare complication in pregnancy to c sections and not being awake for c sections. You've covered quite a bit today.

Speaker 3: Linnea: Yeah, and I'm just so thankful I got four wonderful little chickens.

Speaker 1: Nicole: All right, well you take care and again, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate your time. All right. Bye Bye.

: Nicole: Okay, so I know that was a lot, but it was really great and inspiring conversation and the after every episode where I have a guest on one, I do Nicole's notes where I give my top three or four takeaways about the episode and here is what I take away from the episode today.

: Nicole: Number one, I said this in the beginning, and I'm going to say it again. I say it a lot. Birth is unpredictable. None of us can really predict how birth goes, and that's even the case with cesarean sections. Linnea didn't think she was going to be asleep. You may also, even if you have a scheduled c section, you may end up going into labor before your date or your water may break before that. So get comfortable with the fact that birth is an unpredictable process. When you're able to get comfortable with that and you're better able to deal with things as they go along.

: Nicole: Number two, Linnea was upset about how things went and understandably so, but she really got past it. It is okay for you to be upset if your birth doesn't go exactly the way you want it to, but I want you to be sure that you don't stay stuck in that upset stage. You have to figure out a way to move forward and really enjoy the moment of having this new baby in front of you. Every woman is going to do that differently if it comes to that point. You may need help from your friends or family members or even mental health professionals, but I want you to be sure that you don't stay stuck in that upset feeling if your birth doesn't go the way that you intend.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Last thing. Everyone recovers differently from birth. Linnea talked about how she had a hard time recovering from cesarean sections, but she had friends who had a pretty easy time. I personally had two cesarean sections and I didn't have much of a difficult time with recovery at all. So you can learn from other women about how their experience goes. And this is the case with vaginal birth, and cesarean birth. You'll have women who have easy recoveries and difficult recoveries from both, but ultimately your experience will be uniquely yours.

: Nicole: Okay, so that's it for this week's episode. Let me know your takeaways in the podcast community Facebook group. And be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you feel so inclined, I would really appreciate you leaving an honest review on iTunes. That helps other women find my show. Now next week on the podcast I have Dr. Serena Pasricha , she's a gastroenterologist and we are talking about how the gut microbiome affects pregnancy and your newborn baby. Really interesting and informative episode. You definitely don't want to miss it. So come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.

Speaker 1: Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankin. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan, as well as my comprehensive online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course with over eight hours of content and a private course community. The Birth Preparation Course will leave you knowledgeable, prepared, confident and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.