Ep 151: Brittany’s Birth Story – Whoa Mama That is One Long Labor

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Brittany had a pretty long labor. It lasted for over 36 hours before she had a cesarean. She was induced at 39 weeks and 4 days by her own choice and with the support of her doctor. However, as we all know, birth does not always go according to plan. After the first few hours she had dilated to 3-4cm, but an entire day later she had not progressed.

What sticks out to me in this story is the care team Brittany had around her. They listened to and communicated with her and did not push her in any direction. When it came time for her to undergo a c-section, the doula was allowed to be in the OR with her, something that doesn’t happen very often. Even though her son had to be taken to the NICU after birth, she and her husband were given the opportunity to hold him first. This birth story shows that it’s truly worth the effort to find the right care team for you.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • Why it’s ok to choose a healthcare provider who you feel like you can relate to
  • What made Brittany decide it was time to be induced
  • What is placental abruption and how doctors detected it in Brittany’s case
  • Why Brittany and her care team ultimately opted for a cesarean
  • What the emotional impacts of feeding difficulties can be
  • Why it’s so important to talk more about postpartum anxiety

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

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Ep 151: Brittany’s Birth Story – Whoa Mama That is One Long Labor

Nicole: This is another great birth story episode, and it is brought to you today by Lansinoh. 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 151. Thank you for being here with me today. So in today's birth story episode, we have Brittany. Britany is a first time mom who lives in Denver, Colorado, and her son was born in March of last year. Brittany was induced at 39 weeks, four days by her own choice. She ended up experiencing a longer labor. She labored for over 36 hours, ran into a little bit of a complication where she had a placenta abruption and that ended in an unplanned C-section. So we're gonna hear all of the details of that today. Now, Brittany reached out to share her story because one, as a woman of color, she wanted to share how she was able to advocate for herself, but also remain flexible throughout the process. And number two, she wanted to share that thanks to the Birth Preparation Course, she felt fully prepared.

Nicole: She felt knowledgeable. She felt informed of everything about the labor process, and she really learned how to advocate for herself, especially as a black woman. Now I have to be honest, it brings me both joy and also like makes my heart go pitter patter in a like, nervous way to talk to members of the Birth Preparation Course. Now, of course it brings me joy because I love hearing the feedback that people say that they found the information helpful. They were ready for the things that came. They went their way, all of the lovely things that folks say after they go through the course and, and have their birth. But it, it gives me like a little bit of nervous pitter patter, because I really wish that I could guarantee a specific outcome for everyone after going through the course. Like I wish I could guarantee that like, oh, you'll have that unmedicated birth or, oh, you'll have a short labor and everything will go smooth and straightforward.

Nicole: I wish I could guarantee things with the course, like a specific thing that'll happen. I can't guarantee that actually no childbirth education can guarantee that. So if you hear anybody say that they're lying, you can't guarantee anything with birth because it's unpredictable. But what I can, 100% guarantee is that you will have all of the knowledge and information that you need so that you will understand what's happening during labor. You'll understand what's happening during birth. You'll be able to advocate for the things that are important to you. You'll know what questions to ask. You will be fully prepared. You will be ready. You will be calm, confident, and empowered, okay. Going into your birth so that I can guarantee 100%. So check out all the details of the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. Now, another thing that I want you to check out is the postpartum care line from this episode sponsor.

Nicole: Lansinoh, I recently partnered with Lansinoh, on a series of educational videos that goes along with their postpartum care line and the postpartum care line is called birth prep and recovery products, and includes things like an upside down postpartum wash bottle, hot and cold therapy packs, which I really love those, postpartum sprays. And I have put my hands on all of these items and they are truly fantastic. I can say that with 100% confidence, I especially love the hot and cold therapy packs. They feel really good, whether they're cold or whether they're hot and you can reuse them. So I'm excited to share all of those products with you today, and you can learn more about them at lansinoh.com/aapb. That is Lansinoh L a N S I N O h.com/aapb. And that link will be in the show notes. All right. Let's get into the birth story conversation with Brittany. Thank you so much, Brittany, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I'm super excited to have you here and talk about your birth story.

Brittany: Oh, thank you so much. I'm I'm so excited to be here.

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

Brittany: Uh, sure. Uh, I, um, have lived in, uh, the Denver Metro area, most of my life. Um, I've worked, uh, in the education field for about 10 years now. Um, I have been married for about two and a half years. Uh, my husband Akeem, uh, we've been together for six years and we have have one son who is eight months old and his name is Issa.

Nicole: I love it. Love it, love it. And I love his name. And, um, thank you. Yeah. And this is so terrible of me, but I'm like, I feel like, I don't know any black people from Colorado. That's so bad.

Brittany: No, it's not bad, I'm originally from Dallas actually. Okay. But I moved here as a kid, so

Nicole: Got it. Got it. But it's a really beautiful area.

Brittany: It is.

Nicole: I know, like the skiing and things like that are lovely,

Brittany: But I've heard I've never skied, but okay. I've heard it's good.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. All right. So why don't we start off by talking about, um, what your pregnancy and prenatal care was like, because we have to understand, I think what that's like in order to, um, talk about your birth. So what was your pregnancy and prenatal care like?

Brittany: Um, my pregnancy, I would say was pretty uneventful. Um, had the typical nausea morning sickness until about 14 weeks. So just shy after, um, my first trimester. Um, I did have a random fainting spell at target. Oh. Um, which was embarrassing. I just didn't eat enough that day.

Nicole: Oh, did they call 9 1 1?

Brittany: Um, they, I did not. No, but they were like running to get me snacks and water and my husband caught me on my way down, so that was good.

Nicole: Oh my goodness.

Brittany: Yeah. But yeah, I would say really, just really tired. A lot of heartburn.

Nicole: Gotcha.

Brittany: Were the main, main symptoms I had.

Nicole: Okay. So nothing terribly out of the ordinary?

Brittany: No.

Nicole: And how did you feel about the care you received? Were you seeing a physician or a midwife?

Brittany: I saw a physician. Um, I went to a practice that had a team of OBS. Um, I purposely picked an OB who was a minority. I don't know. I feel like that's kind of bad to say. Uh,

Nicole: No, I think it's very common that you wanna pick people who you feel like you can relate to. And that's often one of the things that you feel like you can relate to.

Brittany: Right. There's not a lot of, um, black doctors, at least in my area. Um, I just found someone, you know, that I thought would be able to, to re relate on a certain level.

Nicole: Gotcha.

Brittany: Um, I also had a birth doula, so, um, that was something that was really important to me also that I talked to, uh, while I was pregnant up until, um, labor and delivery.

Nicole: Okay. Nice. And, um, do you feel like you had a good relationship with your OB?

Brittany: I did. Yeah. Anytime I was worried, um, you know, my son wasn't super like moving a lot that day I would call and she would have me come in and check. I feel like she was really good about easing my worries. Um, she was never, she never dismissed like any kind of type of concerns I had so

Nicole: Nice and that, that is always very, very important. And then, you know, it, and I was, I've a always been embarrassed to say, like, I didn't realize that people, when they have a doula that, you know, that's actually a relationship that starts prenatally. I don't know why I thought they just like roll up during the birth. That's not true at all. So, so, um, do you feel like having a doula available also as well during your pregnancy was helpful?

Brittany: Yes. I would say I highly recommend it if you're giving birth for the first time, even second or third time, I'd probably have one again, just to have another person to, to really advocate for you and just, you know, check up on you cuz you know, OBS are, are very busy, so it was very nice to have that extra person.

Nicole: Nice. Nice, nice. So, um, what did you do to, to prepare for your birth?

Brittany: Um, I originally, uh, my husband and I took the hospital birth course that they provide. Um, it was, I was pregnant like a few months after Covid started, so it was virtual. Um, we found it to be very sterile. Um, so I actually had heard of your course through my husband's coworker, so we ended up not going into that one and just taking yours.

Nicole: Yay. And so, and hopefully your experience in the course was good.

Brittany: Yes, it was good. It was great.

Nicole: And did you go through the course with your husband too? Yes. Okay. Okay. And did he say, I, I mean you can be honest, but hopefully he found it helpful as well.

Brittany: Um, I think he found it helpful. I feel like there's a lot that both of us might have forgotten. Um, but it was nice to know, like we knew a lot of the terminology when we were, when I was going into labor. So it was definitely good not to be clueless.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So what are some things that you wanted for your birth?

Brittany: Um, originally I wanted a natural birth. I know a lot of people say that. Um, but I was definitely open to any type of methods of pain management. Um, just trying to give myself a lot of flexibility and a lot of grace because I know, uh, that labor often goes not the way you want it to go. So really I just wanted to be open. I knew when I was pregnant, I did not wanna C-section. Um, but I ended up getting one, so okay.

Nicole: Something that happens. Yeah. And we'll, we'll get to that, get to that for sure. And what about any things like, um, you know, delayed cord, clamping or skin to skin contact or any of those things? Were those things important to you also?

Brittany: Yes, definitely wanted the delayed cord clamping, uh, the skin to skin that, you know, golden hour, uh, for some things that were really important to me.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And did you talk about any of this with your physician at all?

Brittany: Yes. I had, uh, a birth plan. I shared it with my OB with, uh, my doula with my husband, just everyone that was present knew exactly what I wanted.

Nicole: Nice, nice. And did, did, how was she receptive to that or how did she take that?

Brittany: I think she took it really well. She never pressured me about, you know, like doing a C-section like early on or I just felt really, um, I'm not sure what the exact word I'm looking for.

Nicole: Yeah. Maybe it's supported.

Brittany: Yeah. Yeah. I was never, I never felt pressured to do anything I didn't want to do. I felt like, you know, there was consent, which was great.

Nicole: Got it. Which is important and that's how it should be. So yeah. Yeah. So ultimately if I read correctly, you decided to be induced, is that correct?

Brittany: Yes, that is correct.

Nicole: Yeah. So what led to that decision?

Brittany: Uh, so it was two days before my due date. I had a couple of FA false alarms before, um, with just like lack of movement. And so we had gone into the ER a couple times the last, uh, few weeks of my pregnancy and just, you know, baby was fine, everything was fine. I got sent home, which was, I mean, which was great. Uh, but the two days before, um, I had, I'm assuming what I had was a high leak.

Nicole: Okay.

Brittany: Um, but I thought my water had broke and so I called and they said to come in, um, and check it out. Uh, but when they tested the fluid, they weren't really able to figure out what it was, but it definitely wasn't, um, amniotic fluid. So they were like, Hey, I mean, this isn't your water didn't break. Um, you could probably just go home. So at that point I was super defeated. I was very over being pregnant. Right. Um, I had scheduled to be induced, um, a few days after my due date, just because I know the risks of delivering, you know, past 41 weeks, I just was getting a little nervous. Sure. So my doctor had came in a few minutes later and was like, Hey, like, if you want to totally up to you, you can get induced today. You can talk about it with your husband and um, just let me know. And so we decided we already there, so, okay. We're gonna stay, there was a big snowstorm in Colorado, um, those few days. So we were like, that's great. We could stay, you know, through the snowstorm and, and have a baby.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. So she was just like, you're here, you know, I'm here, we can make this, make this work. Okay. Okay. So then what was your induction, labor and birth like?

Brittany: Um, so it was very slow, Um, when I would get those checks, um, before I went into labor, um, I think I was one centimeter dilated and not effaced at all. So really nothing was happening. Um, I ended up taking, um, I think it's cytotech.

Nicole: Yep.

Brittany: Um, so I took that to kind of get things started. It had been a few hours and still barely dilated. My cervix was not effaced at all. Um, so then a few hours later we started, um, Pitocin.

Nicole: Okay.

Brittany: So that kind of ramped things up a little bit in regards to like contractions, I was starting to feel contractions, um, a lot more frequently, um, and ended up getting to around like three or four centimeters

Nicole: Okay. So about how long about how long did that take to get to three to four centimeters?

Brittany: Um, I would say probably like six hours. I wanna say. Didn't take too long. It felt like a long time, but, But it wasn't too bad. Gotcha. So I was starting to feel contractions. I think Pitocin, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it makes your contractions stronger.

Nicole: Yes. I think it does. Some OBS will argue with me on this, but I legitimately think that Pitocin contractions are more intense than okay. Um, contractions that are not from Pitocin, so yes.

Brittany: Okay. So definitely was having contractions every, I think, three minutes. Um, so I went and got in the tub. Um, that's something I wanted to do that was on my birth plan. Just ease being uncomfortable. So we did that for a while. Um, I used the peanut ball also, um, just to try to get things moving. Um, it had been several hours after that. I wanna say I went in and we got induced around 1:00 PM. And by the time all that happened, it was probably, probably like nine at night

Nicole: Okay. Okay.

Brittany: Still was at four centimeters. Wasn't really doing anything. Um, one of the nurses, I think there was a, um, switch and shifts and one of the nurses was like, Hey, I just wanna let you know, like you're bleeding a little bit more, um, than you should be. Uh, we're just gonna monitor it closely and, you know, keep you updated, let us know if you feel funky, you know, anything like that. So that was a concern, um, went into the next day and was still at about three or four centimeters? No changes.

Nicole: Okay. How were you feeling mentally at that point?

Brittany: Um, pretty drained. I was nervous about the blood loss. Um, a few hours after I talked to that nurse. Um, another one came in and they hooked me up on an IV to have a blood transfusion just in case just to if I needed it and it was emergency, then it would be ready to go. Oh yes. Um, so that was a little bit alarming

Nicole: I'm sure.

Brittany: Yeah. Me and my husband were looking at each other like, oh, like the, this isn't what we expected.

Nicole: Right, right, right. And was your doula there at that point?

Brittany: She was, yes. Okay. She was really upbeat and positive the nurses too. Like they were really great at not stressing me out, which was really nice. Um, but just really just kind of stalled at four centimeters. Um, I continued, you know, the Pitocin, I wanna say for 24 hours, maybe a little bit more.

Nicole: Whoa. Okay. Yeah. Did, at any point, did they, they talk about breaking your water?

Brittany: They thought it broke and then it broke. I wanna say after they did, um, started the Pitocin, then it broke.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.

Brittany: Forgot about that part.

Nicole: Yeah.

Brittany: Yeah. So really just after that point, it was just, I was stalled at four centimeters. Nothing was really happening. Um, they were increasing the Pitocin, so I was getting more and more uncomfortable. Um, and in pain, uh, they were still, um, monitoring my blood loss. Um, so it was still an issue, but not enough of an issue to, you know, make any decision.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. And then, so you were on Pitocin for 24 hours during that time. Was your doctor like, Hey, at some point, was there any pressure or talk about C-section or was it just like, oh, we just need to keep going.

Brittany: Nope, no pressure, but something that I know I've heard birth stories where like, you know, they talk about at C-section really early. Um, so never talked about it, um, for a while actually. Um, so we're stalled. I was getting more and more uncomfortable. They were doing the Pitocin and increasing it and I was getting really uncomfortable at that point. I was like, Hey, let's just do an epidural. Right. So I could get some sleep and try to relax. Cause at that point I was feeling really defeated. They would do the checks and I was still at four centimeters and just not going anywhere. Um, so that was frustrating. Um, but once I got the epidural, like I felt a lot better. Uh, I would say shortly after that they were getting more and more concerned about blood loss.

Nicole: Okay.

Brittany: And at that point, uh, my son was, um, in distress, he wasn't getting, um, oxygen or nutrients from my placenta, like he was supposed to

Nicole: And they were, and they were noticing that on the heart rate tracing.

Brittany: Yes. So my doctor had come in and she was like, Hey, I think what's going on is you're having, um, a placenta abruption. Um, so that would make sense you for the blood loss and for, you know, my son who's now in distress.

Nicole: Yeah. And for those, for the listeners an abruption is when the placenta separates away from the wall of the uterus early. So that's a process that normally happens after the baby is born. It's a natural part. It has to separate eventually. But if it separates during labor, then depending on how much of it separates, then it can start to affect the baby being able to get blood supply and oxygen and things like that.

Brittany: Right. Yeah. So, and I think that's pretty rare too. So I would say I was surprised.

Nicole: Yeah. It doesn't, it's not something that happens, um, frequently. That is, that is true. Um, it, you know, I feel like at this point, since I've been practicing for 15 years, it doesn't necessarily feel rare, but it's not, it's certainly not something that's a routine or expected part of birth for sure.

Brittany: Okay. Yeah. So at that point, um, you know, they told me that was happening and so nurses just continued to monitor, you know, my blood loss, making sure I was okay. Making sure my son was okay. Um, they still didn't really mention anything about C-section. I think I was the one that mentioned it first was like, Hey, maybe this is a problem. You know, like maybe I should have a, C-section like I'm continuing to lose blood. And so they're like, um, you know, let's keep monitoring, monitoring you for the next, you know, hour or so. And if it's still not looking good, um, then you know, that's what we should do.

Nicole: Yeah. And I know that's interesting that you say that because it's true that if we don't necessarily have to do a C-section right away, if the baby seems to be tolerating things fine and enough of the placenta is still working. Um, but it can be a delicate balance to decide like you don't wanna wait until things look really, really bad before you go to C-section and often sometimes labor, um, oddly enough, beats up after a placenta abruption. So that may be part of the reason why they wanted to wait as well, so.

Brittany: Right, right.

Nicole: Yeah. So you, so then how did you ultimately end up coming to the decision of, of C-section?

Brittany: Well, things actually went a little bit sideways very quickly. Um, my son was just getting worse and he was trying to come through my birth canal, but yeah, it just, he was, his head was getting really swollen and it just wasn't, he was really stressed. Um, so it kind of turned into like, you know, we ha we need to do a, C-section like as soon as possible

Nicole: Okay.

Brittany: To make sure that, that, you know, I'm safe and that he's safe as well.

Nicole: Gotcha. So what point in time was that from when, um, you first brought up? Like, do we need to think about C-section?

Brittany: That was probably about an hour and a half later.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Okay. And then they came back to you and said, um, yes, we, yeah. Now it's now it's time.

Brittany: Yeah. Like we gotta do this in 20 minutes. At that point. It was the following day at midnight. So I guess yeah, the following day at midnight. Um, so I guess our second day in the hospital,

Nicole: So you had been like 36 hours into it at least maybe longer.

Brittany: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. So how did you feel when they were like, let's go ahead and do a C-section.

Brittany: Um, I felt relieved, but also a little bit scared. Um, I think I was more scared of the recovery from a C-section than the actual C-section.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha.

Brittany: Before they had woke me up to tell me like, Hey, you're getting a C-section and my poor husband was sleeping. It was the middle of the night. Right. So they kinda woke him up and handed him some scrubs and were like, it's time to go. It's like not a way to wake up. Gotcha. So 20 minutes later it was, he was, he was here. It was very fast.

Nicole: Okay. So there must have been some acute changes in the way the heart rate looked for them to suddenly say let's, let's just go ahead and do this now. Do you know how dilated you had gotten to? Not that it matters, but,

Brittany: Um, still a four. Okay. Yeah, no changes.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. So then what was the C-section itself like for you?

Brittany: I would say it was very like out of body experience. Like I felt like I was watching myself get a C-section. That makes sense. It's very weird. I mean, I felt a lot of pressure. I didn't feel any pain. Um, mostly just pressure.

Nicole: Yeah. And it's definitely, you know, as someone who had C-sections, it's like, you know, something's happening cuz you're awake and you can feel something going on down there, but like you don't have any control over your movements or anything like that. So it is sort of a weird sensation.

Brittany: Yeah. It is. Like, I remember feeling this probably will sound awful to people who haven't given birth yet, but just like being him being pulled out of me. I can't forget how that feels. Yeah.

Nicole: It's true. That, it's very interesting. And that's exactly what happens Brittany, is that we pulled. Yeah. So we pulled, we pulled him out.

Brittany: Yeah.

Nicole: And then, and then, and how was he when he came out?

Brittany: Um, he, he was, he was mostly good. He was having, um, some breathing issues. Um, so they had asked if I wanted to hold him quickly before he needed to go to the NICU. Um, and I actually chose not to just because at that point I was super shaky. Um, during the C-section I thought I was gonna vomit, so I was dry heaving. Like also as you know, their doing their procedure really just felt really awful. And I didn't want that to remember like that being the first time me holding my son. Ah, so my husband ended up being the first one to hold him with, which was great. Okay. We had our, our birth doula was also, um, kind of doing a little photography also. So we've got a great picture of him in the OR

Nicole: So the birth doula was in the OR with you? Yes. You must have given birth in a fairly progressive hospital.

Brittany: Yes. They have their own birth center. Um, they have their own doulas. They have, they have there's a lot going on. Okay. I was, I was surprised cuz I didn't think she was allowed to be in the OR, but she was there.

Nicole: Okay, nice. Nice. And even under a situation when they were worried that the baby was in distress and they were still like, no, it's fine for her to be here.

Brittany: Yep. And she was actually great. She had a C-section also that was an emergency. And so she was, she was really helpful.

Nicole: Well that, that is exactly how it should be actually. So when he came out, did they show him to you? Were you able to see him pretty quickly?

Brittany: Yes. I saw him, um, I mean he looked great. He was super cute. Um, I saw him, I just, that part was a little bit of a blur with just me. I was just feeling so sick. Right. So bad. Right. It wasn't that like euphoric moment, you know, that you see on like TV in the movies, the like a woman giving birth, like it was nothing like that at all. So after my husband held him for a few minutes, he needed to go right straight to the NICU. Okay. So my, my husband went with our son and then I, my doula stayed with me.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. And also adding to it is that it was the middle of the night as well. Wasn't it?

Brittany: Yes. He was born, I think at 1:00 AM. Okay. On March 12th.

Nicole: Okay. All right. All right. All right. Yeah. So then what was the postpartum period like for you and your son?

Brittany: Um, I would say that was probably besides, you know, the C-section I would say that was probably the most difficult part for me.

Nicole: What was difficult about it?

Brittany: Uh, early on I knew I didn't wanna breastfeed. Um, I just wasn't interested. Um, and I wanted to exclusively pump. Um, so I still wanted to provide, you know, the breast milk to my son. That was important to me. I just had no desire, um, to breastfeed, so gotcha. Just started pumping immediate and you know, once I was able to in the hospital, I started pumping just to get my supply going and I definitely underestimated how hard, um, it would be. I feel like any, you know, way that you go, whether it's breastfeeding or pumping or formula, like all of it is difficult.

Nicole: It is. And you just, you, you think you're sort of, kind of prepared for it until you're in it. And then it's like, Lord have mercy. This is a lot.

Brittany: Right. So I pumped every three hours, um, for the first two months. And I got to a point where I lost my supply, I think before I was getting, you know, good like 30 ounces a day, which was great. Um, I have, um, P C O S so I was always told, you know, like getting pregnant would be hard. Got it. Breastfeeding would be hard. All these, you know, things would be hard. Right. Um, so I was really fortunate for that. Um, but all of a sudden I just lost my supply and I was doing anything and everything to, to get it back. I was power pumping, you know, I was taking, trying to eat a lot of oatmeal, just doing anything, you know, that I could read up on the internet to do. Right. And it got to the point where I was maybe getting six or seven ounces a day. Um, and I remember at the end of every day, like however many ounces I got that day, just, I don't know, it just felt like worthless. Like it was just, it was depressing me so much that I knew I couldn't do it anymore. So I had to make the decision to just, um, use formula and move him to formula.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And I wish that we could like give ourselves some grace around those moments. Um, and I think as your baby gets, oh, and I'm sort of projecting a little bit because I went to a very similar experience. In some ways you feel like a failure and all this, you know, kind of stuff, your kids end up being fine. And they're like, you know, like they're like, I don't care. Like you fed me. Like, I really don't care. They think my daughters are like, oh, mommy, you breast fed us. Like, oh my God, That sort of age, like, they're fine. Right. But in the moment you feel like, Ugh, you just wish things could have been done a little bit, um, differently. So I hope you don't beat yourself up. I say all that to say,

Brittany: Um, you know, I definitely did in the moment, like the end of every day, I I'd feel awful. Like I'm supposed to be able to do this. It should be, shouldn't be this hard. Yeah. Um, so, um, once I stopped, you know, like making that decision was hard and I did supplement with formula in the beginning too. I wasn't, you know, it wasn't all strictly breast milk anyway. Um, cuz I just didn't wanna put that kind of pressure in myself. Sure. I ended up doing it anyway, but we switched to formula and I felt so much better.

Nicole: Good, good.

Brittany: So much better.

Nicole: Good. Good, good, good. And how long did he end up staying in the NICU?

Brittany: Uh, he was there I think for about seven or eight hours, so not, not super long.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Great. So he came out pretty quickly and then other than breastfeeding, did you have any other challenges, um, or breast, uh, other than breastfeeding? Did you have any other challenges in the postpartum period?

Brittany: Definitely. I definitely had the baby blues, um, for that, you know, two, three weeks. Um, I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety.

Nicole: Okay.

Brittany: Uh, pretty recently actually.

Nicole: And how does that show up for you?

Brittany: Um, it's just, you know, random like intrusive thoughts that, you know, something harmful is gonna happen to him or to me, or, um, I would say mostly more so centered around him though.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And what are you doing to help with that?

Brittany: Uh, I see a therapist about twice a month, so that has been incredibly helpful.

Nicole: Good, good, good, good postpartum anxiety is so underdiagnosed. Um, we talk a lot of about postpartum depression. I think we've gotten a lot better about that, but for sure postpartum anxiety can come into play as well.

Brittany: Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was definitely rough. I think it took a good, I mean I'm not I'm, you know, I still have work to do now, now that he's, you know, eight months, but I felt like I was in a fog probably until he was like five months, Especially with like COVID and like, you know, we're still, you know, a year into that at that point. And I wasn't really seeing anybody, you know, it was just like, I'm a mom and that's all that I am.

Nicole: Gotcha. Yeah. Gotcha. And then do you feel like how did you end up getting help for the postpartum anxiety? Did you just take that upon yourself or did you get help through your doctor's office?

Brittany: Um, I took it upon myself. I had been diagnosed in the past with anxiety disorder, so I was trying to keep it on my radar, just trying to be super aware of my thoughts. So, you know, once I started to see like it getting worse, then, um, I found a therapist.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. So where do you, how do you, how are you feeling now? How are you feeling today?

Brittany: I feel much better. So, you know, like some days are hard, um, you know, and some days are not. Um, but I it's, it's so much better. It's so fun to watch, you know, watch him grow. Like he's growing so fast. He just started crawling, which is exciting.

Nicole: Right, right, right.

Brittany: He's doing a lot of things. I feel like it's gone by incredibly slow, but also fast.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. And did you, where did, did you return to work somewhere in there?

Brittany: I did. So I worked remotely, um, before I had him, I returned at about eight weeks, but I was working from home.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. So that you didn't have to deal with childcare then?

Brittany: No. Nuh uh. So I've been, it was a great idea in my head when I was pregnant. I'd been doing the childcare and working.

Nicole: Oh, so you, so you just, you just out here doing two fulltime jobs.

Brittany: Yes. And I thought that was a good idea. Like, oh, that'll be It's. So I've got some hard time help for my mom and my mother-in-law, which is good.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Yeah. I was good if you don't realize how he was like, it was just a little baby, but then it's like, it's more than more than that for sure. For sure. For sure. Well, I'm glad to hear you that things are better and you're in a good, a good place. Um, so then as we wrap up, what is one thing or one piece of advice that you would like to tell other women is they get ready for their birth?

Brittany: Um, you know, I would say, you know, just be open and flexible about labor and, and birth. Um, you know, also to give yourself grace in this time, cuz it is super challenging. And then really just to advocate for yourself, you know, if you feel like something's wrong,

Nicole: 100%, 100%. Well, thank you so much, Brittany, for agreeing to come onto the podcast and thank you for allowing me to play a part in your story by taking the Birth Preparation Course and um, you know, taking advantage of some of the resources and I'm glad you find it helpful. And I'm glad you came back to share your story afterwards.

Brittany: Ah, thank you so much.

Nicole: Wasn't that a great birth story episode. I appreciate Brittany sharing about her, her journey, her entire journey, actually, including some of the challenging parts, like when she had challenges with breastfeeding. When I was a breastfeeding mom, I also had challenges with breastfeeding and products from this episode sponsor Lansinoh, were a lifesaver for me for sore nipples, their lanolin cream was fantastic. So I am really delighted to work with Lansinoh as a member of their clinical advisory board and talk about their postpartum care line, birth prep and recovery products. It has that upside down postpartum wash bottle that comes in so handy after birth, the hot and cold therapy packs, postpartum spray, and more. I have literally touched and seen all of the products and they truly are fantastic. And I'm so excited to share them with you today and that they're sponsoring the podcast.

Nicole: So you can learn more about these products at lansinoh.com/aapb. That is Lansinoh L A N S I N O h.com/aapb. And that link will be in the show notes. All right. Now, after every episode, you know, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the episode and a little slight change to Nicole's Notes. I am actually changing them to Dr. Nicole's notes. And the reason that I'm doing that is because this ain't just notes and information from anybody. Okay. It's not from Nicole, it's from the doctor part. So I am putting in my 15 years of knowledge and experience helping over a thousand babies into this world, into the things that I give you and the fact that I'm still practicing and that most of what I do is birth. It's not just Nicole's notes.

Nicole: It is Dr. Nicole's notes. So let's get into Dr. Nicole's notes after this conversation with Brittany, number one, I love how confident she was with her choices. She looked for a doctor who would make her feel comfortable, a woman of color. She was comfortable and confident about, about her choice of wanting to be induced. She was comfortable and confident about not wanting to breastfeed, but she was okay with pumping to provide breast milk for her baby. And an important part of feeling confident and comfortable with your decisions is being informed. Okay. So getting informed about things so you can make good choices and you're making it based on good information. One of the things that will help you do that is good childbirth education. So do check out the Birth Preparation Course, my childbirth education option that will get you calm, confident, and empowered to make choices that work for you during your birth.

Nicole: Okay. Number two, I wanna be clear that actually most induction is, is successful. I don't want you to shy away from induction and think like, oh my God, it was because of the induction that things happen actually most labor inductions roughly about 80% are going to be success. So do know that. And I talk about that in more detail in the Birth Preparation Course as well. Number three, there are a lot of great OBS and hospitals out there. You just have to find them. I love how Britany talked about how she felt comfortable with her doctor. She didn't feel pressure about things. I love how she said they had their own doulas in, within their system. So they supported that model and know that it helps patients to have the best outcomes. I was actually kind of blown away by the fact that they had the doula in the operating room during the C-section.

Nicole: And like she was taking pictures and doing birth photography under circumstance that was actually an urgent C-section like a lot of places would not do that because they wouldn't want to have anybody else there during sort of an emergent situation. So that was really, really different and great, actually, that, that was a part of care. So there are great OBS. There are great hospitals out there. Sometimes you just have to do a little bit of work to find them. And then the final Nicole's note is, or Dr. Nicole's Note I should say is I just wanna bring attention again to postpartum anxiety. It's something that I believe I struggled with, but I didn't know it at the time. My first baby was a preemie. You know, I've talked about this on the podcast before she was born at 32 weeks, she spent a month in the NICU.

Nicole: She had a rare intestinal malformation called Duana Latricia. She had surgery three days after birth and I was really anxious when she came home and I never felt depressed, but I certainly got overwhelmed with things that under normal circumstances weren't really overwhelming. Like I remember one time we like were driving to the doctor's appointment in the beginning of what was like about to be a snowstorm because she had thrown up a little bit. And I just thought that like the connection in her intestines that had been fixed was, was clearly like coming apart. Like there was no other reason why she would be throwing up that much. That actually was not the case, but I just wanna bring attention to postpartum anxiety and knowing that that's a possibility and then reaching out to get help and resources for it either through your doctor or therapist, community, a combination of all of those things if needed.

Nicole: Okay. So there you have it, please do me a favor, share this podcast with a friend. If you like it sharing is caring. Also be sure to subscribe to the podcast, in Apple Podcast or wherever you are listening to podcast. And I would love it. If you leave an honest review in Apple Podcast, in particular helps other women to find the show helps the show to grow. And I just love hearing what you say about the podcast. Don't forget to check out the birth prep and recovery products from the episode sponsor, Lansinoh, they are fantastic. That's Lansinoh.com/aapb. So that is it for this episode, do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.