Ep 154: Karrah’s Birth Story – Easy Pregnancy, Difficult Birth

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Just because an outcome is unlikely doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. Birth stories are entertaining and heart-warming, but don’t forget that they are also educational. Learning about other people’s births will expose you to different possibilities. And that’s exactly what today’s guest, Karrah, did.

A self proclaimed “podcast junkie,” Karrah filled the time during her pregnancy with long walks while listening to birth stories - stories she heard on this podcast, actually! Even though her pregnancy went smoothly, she knew she couldn’t only plan for the birth that she wanted - she needed to think about all kinds of labor experiences. And it’s a good thing she did because her simple pregnancy ended in a very difficult labor.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • Why Karrah decided to go the OB route for her prenatal care
  • How The Birth Preparation Course helped Karrah get ready for her birth
  • Why you should consider all complications a possibility for you
  • What methods Karrah tried in order to induce labor at home
  • How hospital staff made her feel empowered
  • How she used movement to ease labor pain
  • What chorioamnionitis is and what it felt like for Karrah
  • How difficult the process of healing from a third degree tear is
  • How isolated Karrah felt in her experience with a physically and emotionally traumatic birth

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 154: Karrah’s Birth Story - Easy Pregnancy, Difficult Birth

Nicole: This week, we have a birth story episode and it is brought to you 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 at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Well, hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 154. Thank you for being here with me today. In today's episode we have Karrah. Karrah is originally from the Midwest. She and her husband moved to Austin, Texas, right before the pandemic hit. She is a licensed social worker and she works in a hospital system around Austin. She and her husband welcomed their sweet baby girl, Ellis Abigail, into their family this past September. Now, Karrah had a pretty easy and active pregnancy with very few side effects, no complications. And after trying everything she could to bring on labor naturally, she was medically induced at 41 weeks. Karrah had a difficult induction. It was a long process, lasted for 34 hours, and then her baby girl was born via a vacuum delivery. She needed a bit of attention after she was born from the NICU team.

Nicole: She also had a third degree tear, as well as chorioamnionitis, which is an infection around the membranes in the placenta. Karrah's difficult experience actually made her question whether or not a C-section would have been a better option for her, for her birth. Now, the reason Karrah wanted to share her story is that she felt like she wasn't really prepared for the amount of healing and rest that her delivery required. She had heard about third degree tears, but really all she heard was that they were unlikely, which is true. They aren't very likely to happen. And she just felt like there was a lot of information about vaginal birth versus cesarean, but not enough information or not a lot of information about there out there about healing from a traumatic vaginal birth. So we will get into her story today. Now, one of the things that can help you heal physically from a difficult vaginal birth are the products from this week's podcast sponsor, Lansinoh, and actually these can help you heal from any sort of vaginal birth or birth period.

Nicole: When I was a breastfeeding mom, I used Lansinoh breastfeeding products. So it's really a lovely full circle moment to come back and work with Lansinoh now as a member of their clinical advisory board and talk about their birth prep and recovery postpartum care line. The products in the line include things like this great upside down postpartum wash bottle. There are postpartum sprays. My favorite item is the hot and cold therapy pack. It's this pack that you can put it in the freezer, or you can put it in the microwave. So it can be both cold and hot, it's reusable, and it's different colors based on whether or not it's hot or cold. It's really, really cool. Really, really nice. I put my hands on all of these products and they really truly are fantastic. So I'm excited to share them with you and you can go check out all of the products in the line. Cause there are a couple more too at lansinoh.com/AAPB again, that is Lansinoh L A N S I N O H.com/a a P B. All right, let's get into this birth story episode with Karrah. Thank you so much, Karrah for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I'm super excited to have you come on and share your story.

Karrah: Thank you so much. I'm I'm was a huge, huge fan of the podcast throughout my pregnancy. So this is really, really fun to do.

Nicole: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your family?

Karrah: Yeah. Uh, my name is Karrah. I am, uh, married to my husband, Paul we've been together, uh, together for eight years, married for five. And, uh, we just had our little girl Ellis Abigail this past September. Um, we live in Austin, Texas. We moved to Austin from Wisconsin. We're both from the Wisconsin area, um, right before COVID. So we, we say we, we kind of like Austin, but mostly we just like really like our house most

Nicole: That's where you've been.

Karrah: That's where we've been. Um, I am a social worker and I work, uh, at the start of my pregnancy. Actually I was working, I have a background in nonprofits. I was working in a shelter. Um, and then I transitioned to medical social work in the middle of my pregnancy, which was obviously very interesting in the time of COVID.

Nicole: Oh my gosh. Wow. So, um, well, first of all, I love your baby's name. That is so beautiful.

Karrah: Oh, thank you.

Nicole: Yeah. And, um, did that, and I love that you're a social worker. Like you guys have a heart, you can't do that work without having a heart for it. So cause it is challenging for sure.

Karrah: It is. It is every day is different for sure.

Nicole: Yes. Yes. And then doing it in the middle of COVID adds a whole nother layer are on top of that. So God bless you for that.

Karrah: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It's a unique time to be in healthcare. That's for sure.

Nicole: That is for sure. And I hope like, and you know, Austin is like the hot spot in Texas these days, so

Karrah: Yes.

Nicole: Hopefully soon you'll be able to like get out and enjoy it

Karrah: That's what we hear

Nicole: All righty. So let's hop into your story. So in order to understand what happens with birth, um, we need to understand a little bit about what happened with your pregnancy and your prenatal care. So what was your pregnancy and your prenatal care like?

Karrah: Yeah. I had a very textbook, I would say it was like better than a textbook pregnancy. Um, I was very lucky. I, uh, I, we were sort of surprised I will say, um, when I found out I was pregnant and so, um, I was kind of like, am I really pregnant? Like right. I feel totally normal. I don't like, it was just it's. So, but, and then of course, um, you know, I called to schedule an appointment. We had, you know, moved to Austin fairly recently. And so I didn't have an OB here. Um, I had a general doctor, but, um, she had recommended an OB. She was like, I'll give you, she was new to Austin as well. She's like, I can give you mine, but that's like the only person that I know to recommend. So I was like, okay, great. So I called and scheduled and of course, you know, they're like, great, we'll see you in like five or six weeks. Right. And I was like, really?

Nicole: Like, huh?

Karrah: Like, are you sure? So I did the classic thing and like, you know, took a test like every day. Like I'm like really like, I'm really pregnant. Like, you know,

Nicole: And it was lightin up like a Christmas tree every day.

Karrah: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, I like to joke cause people are like, oh my gosh, how long did you have to wait? And I'm like, I literally couldn't even pull my pants up. Like it was positive immediately.

Karrah: And so, which was really funny when I told my husband, because like I said, we were sort of surprised. I didn't even tell him I was taking a test. Right. Um, I just was kind of like, I need to just take a test for my own mental clarity, like I was late and whatever. And um, so I took it and we were actually at our brother and sister-in-law's like our best friend's house. And so I just like literally called my husband into the basement and was like, Hey, I'm pregnant. He was like, um, sorry, what?

Nicole: Like what,

Karrah: So, um, so yeah, so, you know, that kind of continued where I was just like, I feel I never really had morning sickness. I never, like, I just was really lucky. Um, and so it was great. I had some little like low blood pressure spells early on where I was pretty dizzy, but other than that, um, really nothing of note, which was great. That is great. Um, throughout the whole thing, I kind of kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like I wish that I had known it was never gonna hit cuz like I was just anxious the whole time, like, oh, when am I gonna feel terrible? Ah, um, and I didn't, so I feel really, really lucky about that. Um, I, I ended up going the OB route. Okay. Um, I had considered a midwife considered like a birth center type, uh, type area, but um, I knew my husband was more comfortable with like a hospital practice and I really liked the OB that I met with. And um, I was also working in the hospital or looking to work in the hospital at that time. I can't remember exactly. But um, so it just, you know, it just kinda, yeah.

Nicole: All the things just kinda felt right to, to go that route. Okay. Yep. Okay. So what was it like being pregnant during COVID?

Karrah: It was interesting because I was working, you know, I was considered, um, like an essential worker and so, um, so that was, that was unique because right around the time I found out I was pregnant was the time that they were starting to roll out vaccines for essential workers. Um, and I was working in a shelter at the time, so I qualified and um, I didn't really have any hesitations at first, but you know, in initially there was some of this like, should you shouldn't you sure. Um, and I was just like, I think I'm just gonna do it. Um, and I think more than anything felt pressure from, you know, just other people and, and that's kind of the theme of, I guess, pregnancy and now I'm finding life with an infant is like having to kind of trust your gut and tune out all of the opinions. Yeah. Um, and so it was just kind of like, I'm just gonna do it. I'm gonna go for it. So I got vaccinated, um, pretty early, I got both shots. I got my first one and my first trimester and I think the second one was right at the start of the second trimester. Um, and re you know, never looked back really glad I did that. Uh, I did have a couple like exposures, which now it's like, we're exposed all the time, but, um, but

Nicole: Preach, like we're trying not to laugh, but like working in the medical, like legitimately we're exposed, like constantly.

Karrah: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so, you know, looking back, it is funny to think. I remember the first exposure I had at a shelter where they like sent us home for 14 days and like, you know, shut down everything and I was home and just like waiting and waiting and, um, and that's of course not the case now. Um, so that was scary, you know, at first, cause it was just, we didn't know enough, but, um, but other than that, you know, we, we didn't get out a ton. We didn't, you know, we didn't feel comfortable doing anything like a baby moon or like a ton of travel or some of those things. But for the most part, it really was pretty, pretty normal, I think.

Nicole: Um, did your husband get to go to appointments with you?

Karrah: He did not. Uh, that was one thing that was a little bit stressful. Um, and I think kind of hard for him to initially to like wrap his mind around, uh, like, you know, I would just kind of come home and report back what had happened at these appointments. And so, um, and especially because I was feeling so well, like I think he also felt that way sometimes like, are you really pregnant? Like, is this like nothing has changed? And so, um, he was able to come to our anatomy scan, so the 20 week appointment, which was great. Okay. Um, but other than that, he wasn't, which in hindsight we're kind of like, that's fine. That initial one, maybe would've been nice, but, um, but it wasn't. Yeah, it was okay.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Okay. So what did you do to prepare for your birth?

Karrah: I was a crazy podcast junkie, I will say. Um, listening to podcasts and birth stories, your podcast specifically. Um, again, I mean during COVID right. I would just walk all the time, um, because it was something I could do safely. And so I would pop in my headphones and I would just go like walk for an hour, sometimes two hours just around our neighborhood, um, and listen to podcasts. So that was huge. Birth stories were really, um, really helpful for me to kind of wrap my head around just like what was gonna happen. Um, really early on, I listened to one birth story of yours where I just remember her saying, listen to the ones, even the ones that you don't think are gonna happen to you. Um, and I was like, oh, okay. Cuz I was totally picking and choosing right. I was like, vaginal unmedicated, no complications. Like those are the ones I'm gonna listen to. Um, and then I was like, oh, that's probably a good idea. Like I should learn about a C-section or, you know, and I started to dip my toe into that water and so glad that I did. Um, and then I took, uh, we did your Birth Prep Course. Oh,

Nicole: I didn't know that. Yeah,

Karrah: We did. It was wonderful. We loved it.

Nicole: I'm so glad you loved it. I swear I keep saying this, that I should include this as a question when people and I still keep not including it, but thank you. I'm so, so it generally is a surprise. I maybe I like the surprise element, like people saying that they absolutely I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Karrah: Yeah, it was, it was really wonderful. Um, so we did that one and you know, nice too, because COVID, we could do it at home. Um, being able to like start and stop it and kind of like debrief things. My, so my husband, he works in it. He's like not, he doesn't love medical stuff. Um, doesn't really like it when I watch Grey's Anatomy, like it's was, I was like, this is gonna be a thing. So that was great. Cause we could like pause it and be like, all right, let's talk about that.

Nicole: Right, right.

Karrah: How do we think that's gonna go? Um, and then I did a bunch of reading, so I read, um, expecting better in crib sheet, Emily Oscars books that I loved. Um, I did read, Ina Mae's guide to childbirth. Um, and then I did some reading about breastfeeding, so womanly art of breastfeeding and a couple of those books as well. Um, just tried to kind of read all across the spectrum.

Nicole: Yep, yep. Yep. Love it. Love it, love it. So what are some things that you wanted for your birth?

Karrah: Um, I had like pretty, um, minimal expectations I will say. And that's something that I, I really learned from the podcast and the birth stories was like, you can have this kind of great plan, but, um, you might just be disappointed if you have a really detailed plan and that's kind of how Paul and I tend to like live our lives. Anyway. I think we we're pretty go with the flow. And so I was like, you know, we don't, we don't have a ton of expectations. I actually told my OB that at one point I was like, we have very low expectations for this. And she was like, whoa,

Nicole: Do you mean,

Karrah: Do you mean like, like limited expectations? I was like, yes. Yes. Um, so we, um, you know, I, I definitely, I was not opposed to an epidural, but I kind of was like, I don't know, like I've never been in labor before. Let's see, like, let's just see how I feel. Um, I was going to go unmedicated as long as possible. Um, a hospital birth. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible. That was one thing. Um, just that I really took away from your course was like, stay at home as long as you can. You're comfortable at home if, you know, as comfortable as you can be. Um, and then just limited intervention. So, you know, very cookie cutter was, was kind of, kind of my thoughts. I didn't have any really big hopes and dreams. I like a waterbirth wasn't an option at our hospital. And um, I really one thing this sounds so silly now, but I really didn't want, um, an IV. So I was open to like the, the heplock. Um, but I just didn't wanna be hooked up to things. I wanted to be able to move.

Nicole: You know what, I don't think that, you know, that's not silly at all. I think it's, it's, there's some, it like you, there's something about like your freedom and being able to like have some, some movement so I can totally totally get that for sure. A hundred percent

Karrah: The idea of just, yeah, like being attached to, to something. Um, and yeah, that, that really, that idea really stressed me out. So I brought that up pretty early and of course, you know, they're like as long as everything's fine, that's fine. Yeah. Um, which was not, not the case. So it didn't even matter. It was a moot point.

Nicole: Well, let's, let's get into the details then. So what happened with your labor and birth?

Karrah: Yeah, so I, you know, very, I think classic first time, mom, uh, looking back, listening to these podcast episodes, I was like, I'm gonna go early. Like, I'm definitely gonna be like 39 and I'm just gonna spontaneously going labor. It's gonna be great. And that is not at all what happened. Like I, I was due September 9th and I really wanted to work through labor day because we have to work a couple holidays in, um, the position I'm in. And so I was like, oh, if I can work through labor day, I won't have to worry about Thanksgiving and Christmas and, and all of that. So I, and that was on the fourth, um, of September. And so I worked through that shift and everyone was like, you did it, you made it. Um, I was so pumped and then like my due date came and went and nothing. And I was like, oh, okay. And I went to the doctor that day and she was like, yeah, like you're, um, she said very high and tight. And I was like, oh, that doesn't sound good.

Nicole: Doesn't sound like labor.

Karrah: No. Right. That sounds like the opposite of what I want. She was like, yeah, like, you know, go walk, do what you can do. Um, and I should say really. Um, so when I was choosing a provider, my first meeting with her, which I really loved, she was like, you know, you and I have to decide if we're a good fit together. And so she kind of told me her none negotiables. And one of those was that she really didn't like women to go past 41, um, 41 weeks. And she was like, at that point, I just think that, uh, risk outweighs the benefit. And I, I talk, I talk induction at 41 and at the time I was like, we're not even gonna need to worry about that. So that's fine. So, you know, fast forward we're, I'm now 40 weeks and she's like, let's, you know, just keep in mind next week.

Karrah: I think we need to start talking about induction. And I was like, okay. So I went home and it is, you know, it's September in Texas. It was like 98 degrees every day. And so I would get up at like six in the morning and go walk for like two miles and then I would come home and take a nap and then I would walk after lunch and then we would walk when the sun set, cause it was just so hot. Right. And, um, yeah, was just walking and walking and walking, eating all the spicy food. Um, I ate like three pineapples in three days. Like, you know, just all, all the things they say and nothing was happening at all. Um, so I saw her again and she did, she was like, you're maybe a centimeter. I could do a membrane sweep. She did a membrane sweep.

Karrah: And that was right before, um, 41. And so that was probably like 40 and five. Okay. And, um, she was like, go home, maybe that did it. And just, just nothing. Um, and maybe like a day or two later, I felt like I was starting to have just like some bloody show. And I was like, maybe like, here we go. Um, bouncing on a ball all the time and just walking, bouncing, moving couldn't I did the miles circuit. Um, and it just, it just wasn't happening. So, uh, she's like she, you know, asked that we schedule an induction and at that point I'd kind of accepted it. Um, I was like, yeah, you know, at the end of the day, it's fine. I don't, I don't think anything is working. And I, if I had seen even like a little bit of progress, I think I would've been like, can I just gimme a minute?

Karrah: Right, right. But I, I didn't see it heading in that direction anytime soon. So, um, I went in, we had an induction scheduled for, so we could show up that night. I think it was like they said between like six and 7:00 PM. Um, and it was just the most bizarre feeling like we're like loading up the car. I feel totally fine. Just like such a different experience than what I had envisioned of like staying home and laboring as long as possible. Right. Instead I'm like throwing my suitcase in the back and we, I, I literally, oh, I made like an Eggo waffle as we were walking out the door. So I'm like eating an Eggo waffle as we're like driving to the hospital and we're talking about names and like, it just was a very kind of calm experience. We felt like we were checking into a hotel. Um, so we, uh, yeah, we got there, we checked in, they got us to our room and I had had a friend that had been induced, um, a year before. And she very jokingly had said to me, if they, if they even mention a Foley balloon just run. Oh.

Karrah: And I was like, okay, great. But again, I was like, that's not gonna happen. So it's fine. Um, so we get there and of course they're like, so we're gonna get you started on the Foley. And I was like, oh, this is the thing, like, this is the thing that they warned me about. Right. And, um, so we, we joke now, but so they, they placed my IV and the IV failed right away. And, you know, I laughed about it cause I was like, I didn't even want this like right. Um, and it, it failed and I'm like bleeding and, and so they ended, they had to replace it, which was fine. Like, you know, not a big deal at all, but it ended up becoming kind of the theme of the labor was everything they did, they ended up having to do twice. Oh.

Karrah: So they, they replaced the IV and it was like, okay, whatever. So then they placed the Foley and it, it came out. So it was like, I mean, it's not cut, it's not super painful, but it's not comfortable. Sure. Um, it's not like a pleasant experience I would say. And we were very, um, the hospital we were at is a teaching hospital, there's there were a lot of residents, med students, different people in and out of the room, which I did not have any sort of problem with. Um, but they kind of like filled it and then it like fell out right away. And they were like, oh, sorry. Then they brought somebody else in to do it. Um, so that, you know, wasn't super pleasant either, but again, not that big of a deal. We were super excited and we were just kind of like, whatever, it's fine. Um, but they place it and it's just crampy and uncomfortable. And then they were like, okay, you know, like try to get some sleep for like, how, like, how do you, I just, you know, I know that I know they do that. They bring you in at night on purpose and hope that you can get some rest. But, um, but we just found that hospital

Nicole: Some place and there's this thing in my vagina, so.

Karrah: Yep, exactly. Exactly. I'm just getting like more uncomfortable by the minute, but that's fine. Um, so we kind of like, we're like, okay, I guess we'll just settle in. And so we settled in and we talked to like a couple different people and, you know, like med students and different people coming in and out of the room. And, um, we put on a TV show and we were like, all right, I guess we'll try to like rest a little bit. And um, all of a sudden, uh, the woman in the birthing suite next to me was like screaming so loud. We could hear it was like echoing through our room and I can see like my husband getting pale and he's looking at me and finally he's like, is that gonna be you? Like, are you gonna do that? And I was like, I dunno, like, I dunno. And so

Nicole: I'm trying not to laugh, but like totally those of us that are, or like work in the profession that doesn't even like, we don't even hear it really, because we're just so used to it. But I know it terrifies people. Oh my gosh, we have had people say like, is she OK? Like, yes, what is going

Karrah: On? Well, and so we, we start and then we start to have people that come in the room and apologize to us. They're like, we're so sorry. Like, you can hear that don't be scared. Right. It's totally fine. And we're like, oh my goodness. So my husband gives me like noise canceling headphones. And we're both just trying so hard to like tune it out. And it was, it was very comical, but, um, but so we tried really hard to watch TV, but I think both of us were just listening to her, um, pretty much that whole time. So, so we try, had to get a little rest and then like 1:00 AM came and I just, like, all of a sudden felt a lot of pressure and I paged the nurse and she came in and she was like, no, like, sorry. Like I don't, it's still in there.

Karrah: I don't know what you're feeling, but whatever. And I, I was like, oh, okay, that's fine. And then, um, right, like probably 10 minutes later, it just so happened that the resident was coming through and she was like, how are you doing? And I was like, I was feeling a ton of pressure, but, and then I got a bunch of relief, but they said nothing's wrong. And she was like, that sounds to me, like the Foley's done, like, let me check. And so she checked and she's like, yeah, you're four centimeters. Okay. I was like, oh, okay. So they did have to kind of like pull it out a little bit. Um, but once they did, you know, she's like, okay, now we're just gonna kind of let you labor. And they did wanna start Pitocin at this point. And I was like, can we just start it at the lowest possible dose?

Karrah: Like, I was very nervous about like the cascade of interventions and getting super are caught on that, that hamster wheel. And she's like, yep. We're just gonna give you a tiny little bit. We can always stop it. And, um, I really appreciated very early on, actually this resident had said to me, like, I want you to feel very empowered with the decisions that you're making. And so I wanna make decisions with you. And I so appreciated that and having her say that to me so early on was so key because anytime she did suggest something, then I felt like, okay, I really trust you. Um, and I really like, kind of believed her. Right. Um, so that was fantastic. And, um, you know, so at this point it's 1:00 AM and I'm at four centimeters and the foley thing, you know, worked exactly as they said it was going to, and we were kind of like, oh, this is easy.

Karrah: Like, here we go. Like, we're, we're well on our way. And we were only a few hours in and feeling great. Right. And, um, so then they're like, just get some rest if you can. Which of course we couldn't really, but we just kind of laid there and tried to walk around as best I could or, you know, but bec again, because of COVID, we couldn't go in the hallway. So, you know, you're just kind of walking around your room. Um, and so tried to stay moving as much as possible. Um, and I started to get a little bit uncomfortable at this point and, um, I was like, okay, I bet I'm, I bet I'm progressing. Like I, you know, I was already four and it's probably, it was like 6:00 AM at this point and I'm starting to get pretty uncomfortable. And, um, they have a resident, their resident come in and he was like, do you mind if I check first? And I was like, Nope, that's fine. And he, um, kind of comic and you know, it's, it's not a pleasant experience. Of course, when they, when they're checking you. And he's like, I I'm so sorry. I don't know if it's just because I'm coming off of night shift, but I can't find your cervix

Nicole: And you're like what?

Karrah: I was like, I, I it's in there. Like, I dunno what to tell ya

Karrah: I dunno. So then like someone else has to come in and check and she's like, no, you're still at a four. And I was like, oh, okay. So we laughed about this guy for a while. And he was so embarrassed. I felt bad for him, but he comes back to our story a little bit later. So, so, you know, we, we were like, we were joking with him. We were like, go home and get some rest. Like you clearly had a long shift.

Karrah: So we get a new set of nurses and they came in and they just had like the best energy I had one nurse and then she was training someone as well. And they like came in and they're like, we know it was a long night. They wrote like happy birthday Ellis on the board. They're like, we're having a baby today. Like, here we go. And it was great. It was just kind of like the push I needed, cuz I was, I was feeling pretty deflated at that point. Like, oh, I didn't make any progress. Um, and so then just all day, so this is not Thursday. So all day I'm just like moving as much as I can. Um, they're increasing the pit little by little, all day long. And um, and then we're trying new monitors. They tried the, um, the wireless monitors for a while, which didn't end up really working.

Karrah: And then her heart rate started to kind of like do some decells. So then they would have me get back in the bed and um, she ended up only being happy when I was in this one position, which was standing and swaying while leaning over the bed. Okay. So it was just like, okay, I guess like, this is the only, that was just the only spot I could stay in. Right. And, um, so it was just, you know, getting to be a long day and then all it, I think it 1:00 PM at this point and they had a midwife come in. Um, and she did, she was like, I'm, you know, I'd like to do another check and see if you've progressed at all. And, um, I was still at a four. Oh. And I was like, are you kidding me? So I'm feeling like so deflated.

Karrah: And she, this was, I will say, like the one we, we really expected like, oh, this midwives is gonna come in and she's gonna, I don't know, just like all these stereotypes in her head, like she's gonna be so like nice and gentle. And she was like, actually really rough. And she was very, um, she kind of came in with a little bit of an attitude and she was like, just so you know, you don't have to just sit here. You can move around. Oh. And I was like I am moving, like I, you know, and, and so it was just a, I was already feeling really down. And I just, that was like probably one of the worst like provider ex interactions that I had. Um, and so I was like, oh, okay, I'll move. Like, I'm gonna move now. And so we, you know, I tried a ton of different positions and just tried to stay moving as much as I could.

Karrah: Right. I was like binge eating jello at this point, cuz that was all that they would let me have. Um, and then my IV started to get really, really painful. And I came in and they realized that they had blown it. And so my whole arm was swollen. So they like replaced that, which, you know, again, not a huge deal, but it was just like after almost 24 hours, I was like just over it at this point. Um, so the evening shift came on and they're like, okay, let's check you now. I bet. I bet. You're like, I bet you're further along. Sure. You're having like really regular contractions, like the like we're, we're like nearly maxed out on Pitocin. And I was like, okay. And they check me and I'm still at a four. Oh. And I, it just like, like instant tears are just like welling up in my eyes.

Karrah: And we were just like, how did this, like how, like we got to a four so quickly and then we just like were stuck. And um, so they ended up, I, I maxed out on the amount of Pitocin that they would give me and they had to get like a physician to come in and approve that we would go over that amount. And so they came in and they did that and almost immediately Ellis's heart rate dropped. So then they had to stop the Pitocin. Right. And then basically start us over again at the lowest dose. Okay. So it was just kind of maddening at this point and morale was super low and now we haven't slept in like 24 hours. And, um, I, I just was like, I don't know that I'm ever gonna get past a four. And it was just kind of like all the, all the things that start creeping in, you know, just like all this wasn't gonna happen to me.

Karrah: How are we doing this? Like, should I have waited? Why did I get induced? You know, like I'm trying so hard to like block all those things out. Um, but all of that just kind of starts flooding. So, um, I looked at my husband and I looked at the resident who had been there the night before came back, cuz now the night shift was starting to take over and she's like, I really, I really would like to break your water. Like I think we could try, try to move things along a little bit. And so I was like, you know what? We've been here for 24 hours. Let's do it. Let's see if that helps speed things up a little bit. I waited as long as I could. And um, I looked at my husband and I said, I, I think I'm ready for an epidural.

Karrah: Like I need to sleep. I'm gonna need to rest at some point. Like I still have to push a baby out. Right. It's 24 hours. We haven't slept, I don't see this ending anytime soon. And she was like, I really think you should get the epidural. Like I just, maybe your body just needs to relax a little bit. And so I was like, all right, I'm gonna need an epidural. And some chicken broth, like at this point I was like, I need more calories. So they brought me chicken broth and they came, the, um, anesthesiologist came in to place the epidural and he was lovely. And um, he was very talkative and uh, I was like, just let, like, once you decide you're, you know, gonna have an epidural, you're just kinda like, okay, okay. Like let's, let's just go. Um, and he starts to talk about how they got new kits.

Karrah: They got new catheter kits and these catheters, uh, for the epidural are just so much flimsier than the ones they've had before. And they're just not that great. And I'm like, please don't tell me this as you're. Oh, like, I don't wanna hear that. Right. Putting a needle in my back. Um, so he places it and it doesn't work. And I only, I only feel numb on like, in like my right thigh, a little. Right. And he's like, I really just think it's these new kits. I just, I just don't think they work. And I was like, okay, okay. What can we do about that? Like, could we get another kit? Right. And he is like, I'm gonna let you sit for 15 minutes and I'm gonna go see if I can get an one of the older kits and come back and see if you want me to redo the epidural so like, okay.

Karrah: So he leaves, he comes back. He's like, I found an old kit, like did it kick in yet? And I was like, Nope, still just my left thigh. So he is like, okay, do you want me to redo it? I was like, yeah, yeah, I think let's, let's go for it. Right. So he, he replaces it and again, he was so sweet, but he was like, let me show you the difference. He's like pulling it out and showing me the difference in like the kits. And I was like, I don't care. I don't, I do not care at all. Just please put it in my back. But because they had to do it twice. And because it did kind of take in like that one part of my body that my left side was like super numb. And then my right side was just kind of normal.

Karrah: So I had like a double dose on one side. Um, but not on the other side. So, um, so we laughed about that cause we were like, oh my gosh, they had to place the foley twice. They had to do the IV three times. They had to do the epidural twice. Like this is crazy. And, um, you know, at this point it was just comical, but I was very happy for the epidural at that point, able to get like an hour of sleep. Okay. Which was vital was, was very important. Um, so then yeah, then that evening they were like, okay, just like rest and do what you gotta do. And, you know, see if you can just kind of get your body, get your body to relax a little bit. And so, you know, we had to come down in the Pitocin quite a bit bit because of her heart rate. I was still having some regular contractions. And so then they, they started to increase it again. And then, um, it was just a long night, a long night of that laboring. And um,

Nicole: No, by this time had she, did they break your water already?

Karrah: They did. So they broke my water right before the epidural. Yep. Okay.

Nicole: Got it. Got it.

Karrah: Yep. And, um, yeah. And you know, that was so interesting too, cuz I, the crochet hook, you talk in the course about how it really just like a crochet hook and that is absolutely exactly what it looks like. And I, I didn't feel like a gush. I didn't feel, I don't. So it just, I think her head kind of came down right away. Um, and so it was just kind of like a slow, a slow trickle for a while after that. Um, but it didn't, it, it, I don't know at that point I got the epidural then, so I didn't feel a ton of difference a anyway. Um, so yeah, so the night just kind of progressed and, and it was the same thing where it was like her heart rate would drop, they would move me to a different position. I would have to stay there.

Karrah: It just wouldn't be super comfortable. I we'd try. They'd be like, okay, let's try something else. Her heart rate would drop again. So I'd have to get back into this other position. So we could just tell things were like a little bit volatile. And then at this point it had been now over 24 hours and the clock was ticking because they had broke my water. Right. And so, um, 1:00 AM comes around and I'm exhausted. We're both exhausted. I mean, we're, you know, everybody's exhausted. The night shift nurses had come out at this point and we have a wonderful night shift nurse and she was like, you are getting this baby out. Like, okay. She like every 30 minutes, she's like, we're she was moving me, putting me on the peanut ball, having me sit up, like just do all these different things. And you know, every time she would suggest new a position, I was like, no, but then she'd move me and it would help. And, um, she was fantastic. And um, so they come in around 1:00 AM and it's the same guy who couldn't find my cervix before. Right. And he's like, can I check you again? And I was like, yes, absolutely. And he looks, and I look at my husband and I said, if I'm still a four, we're going home, like I'm done.

Nicole: You were like, I just I'm, I'm just not doing this

Karrah: Oh, it's not happening. Right. She's not coming out today. Right. And I can't do this anymore. Right. Like I just I'm done. And he checks me and he like his face falls and I'm just like, no. And he's like, I'm, I'm so sorry. Like you're still a four,

Nicole: Please stop.

Karrah: And I like, tears are just streaming down my face at this point. I was just like, oh, because, and because now I'm starting to think like, okay, like this is gonna be a C-section they're not gonna let me go much longer. Like I, how in the world did this happen? Oh. And so there's another resident in the room who came. She was the one that really early on was like, I want you to feel empowered and right. She's like, do you mind if I check again? And I was like, Nope, go for it. Like, if, if anyone else wants to learn what four centimeters looks like, like come on in, go

Nicole: For it.

Karrah: And she checks and she, she goes, actually you're at an eight.

Nicole: OK. And

Karrah: I felt, so we felt so bad for this guy because,

Nicole: Because he's like, dude, you need to go back to remedial, cervical

Karrah: Checks. Clearly. OB is not your thing. Right. And I think like, he definitely, he had that written on his face, like his whole face fell, he was like, oh, oh wow. Like he was trying really hard to be excited for us, but I could tell, he was like, oh, that was bad. Yeah. That was, that was a bad call.

Nicole: Yes. Yes. Um,

Karrah: But we, at that point, you know, I'm so glad it was that way versus the other way around. Sure. We didn't even care. We were great.

Nicole: We'll take it.

Karrah: Like, that's fantastic. She's like, oh yeah. Like hour or two. I bet you're gonna be ready to push, like let you're, you're doing great. Just keep doing what you're doing. Let's try a couple new positions. And it like the relief that I felt at this point was like just immeasurable. Cause it was, it felt validating like the epidural, I think was a good call. I think it helped me relax. I think, you know, it, let me rest a little bit. Um, you know, I was a little nervous about them breaking my water. So just things like, you know, it just felt like, okay, we did the right thing, like, right, right. Um, I was very nervous about interventions and you know, getting, getting caught on that, like I said, and so, uh, feeling like, should I have shouldn't I have. And, and really just, just being and nervous about that.

Karrah: So this felt really validating at that point. So 3:00 AM comes around and they come in and they're like, you're, I'm, I'm sha at this point, I'm shaking uncontrollably. And um, they're like, that's a good sign. Like you might be getting close. And um, so they're like, do you want somebody to come in and check? And I said, yes, please. And they come and they're like, you're 10, you're ready to push. Like, um, we're gonna go get our team, you know, kind of ready. And you start pushing and you know, we're around this process can take a while. So just, you know, whatever. And so we're super excited at this point. And um, they, my, my OB who I, I loved my whole prenatal, you know, time. She had said if, um, if I delivered after five 15, she would come in and deliver. And so it was like 3:00 AM. So I was like, oh shoot, she's not gonna make it. Um, but that was fine. I, at that point I was like, I don't care. Who's here. I don't care who wants to deliver the baby

Nicole: Just someone catch this baby

Karrah: Right, exactly. So, um, I start pushing and like right away, I'm, they're like, you're making great progress. Like everyone's being just super like lovely. And they're like, oh yeah, she's moving down. She was still pretty high up, um, when I had started. And so, um, they just really early on seemed to be very pleased with like how quickly we were making progress. And so, you know, in the back of my mind, I'm like, sweet. I'm gonna be one of these like 30 minutes and she's out kind of, you know, thing, and that's definitely not what's happening. And then 30 minutes goes by and then an hour goes by and I'm still pushing and it's exhausting

Nicole: And you hadn't slept. And

Karrah: Right. And now it's Friday morning. So we went in Wednesday night. Yeah. We slept like maybe an hour or two that night and then maybe an hour or two Thursday night. So it's, you know, 3:30 4 in the morning. And, um, it's at four 30. Somebody comes in and she's and um, she's like the attending, I think that was on the floor at that point. And she comes and introduces herself and she's like, oh, you're gonna have a baby within the hour. Like, we're gonna have a baby by 5:00 AM. And I'm feeling like elated at this point. And, um, and you know, here we go keep pushing. And they they're having me pushing a bunch of different positions, which I really appreciated. It made the time go by a lot faster. Um, so I'm pushing on my back, I'm pushing on my side and, um, and then five o'clock comes and goes and like, everyone's not, they stop talking about like the great progress that I'm making.

Karrah: And no one's like coming in anymore saying great things and we're definitely not getting ready to have a baby within the hour. And I'm kind of like what's going on. Right. And all of a sudden I get like a, a really blinding headache. Um, and they take my temperature and I've got a, a high fever and I'm shaking a ton. I feel like I'm pushing, but I'm like, I like can't push anymore. And I got, I just get really, really sick. And they, at this point are realizing like I have chorio and, um, baby's heart rate is starting to drop pretty significantly. Okay. And, um,

Nicole: Oh, and for the listeners chorio, it's chorioamnionitis, it's an infection that happens around the membranes and the placenta. So

Karrah: Yes. Yep. And, and so, you know, I, I had known that there was that risk with them breaking my water. Um, but of course, you know, I was like, it's not gonna happen the, the, you know, whatever. And, um, but I couldn't believe just how much it took over my body, how I was just like, I can't, I like, I can't push anymore. I don't like what, what is gonna happen here? And so then it's like, we've got more people coming in the room at this point. And, um, an attending comes in the room and he is like, you know, we're, we're wor we're a little worried about heart rate and things like that. And, um, we're gonna, I think we need to start to talk to you about what it looks like for you to have an assisted delivery. And, um, I, you know, we're starting to get worried about delivering a floppy baby is what he says.

Karrah: And I'm like, I'd like to not do that. Right. What are you suggesting? And he says, I think we need to do a vacuum delivery. And I think we need to do it now. And as he's saying, this, his phone is going like crazy. His phone is just ding, ding, and dinging. And he said, this is actually your doctor. She's on her way in, and she's watching the baby's heart rate and she doesn't want us to wait. She wants us to deliver right now. And I'm like, okay, but like, go let's just do this. At this point. Like, I think we just need to go. I feel like I, I feel myself like fading so quickly. Mm. Um, and I'm getting very scared and I'm feeling like I have no more energy left in my body. And there's so many people in the room and this is starting to feel very scary.

Karrah: Right. Um, so they come in and they start to explain a little bit about what they're gonna do, how they're gonna attach the vacuum. I need to push with contractions. And all of a sudden, you know, there's like 20 people in the room and it feels like the scariest thing in the world. And they bring in the NICU team. And, um, my husband and I are both just like, what, like, whoa, what is happening? And, you know, we're also a little delirious I think, and, you know, haven't slept and this headache and I'm still having to push. And, um, it just happens so quickly. Um, so they get the vacuum attached and they, what, what they explained to me was, you know, we're gonna attach the vacuum and then once you have a contraction, we're gonna have you push through the contraction and we're just gonna assist you through the, they get the vacuum attached.

Karrah: And my contractions stop. Like they were like, we like the, the, um, resident was like talking to our nurse and was just like, okay, is there is, and she's like, I don't know what to tell you. Like, they're, they're not happening. So I find I only have one and I like, you know, I'm like pushing with all my might. And they're like, okay, one more contraction. Like, we have got to get this baby out. Like, there's gonna be one more. And it's like, it was like two or three minutes in between contractions at this point. And, um, and again, it was just like, I felt like I, everybody in the room was holding their breath and this poor nurse, like she's staring at the monitor. And she's like, I don't, I don't know. Like they just kind of stopped. And so I have one more contraction and I push and they, they, they get her head out and I hear like everybody in the room yell, nuchal cord, nuchal cord, nuchal cord.

Karrah: Like they must have some sort of like policy or something where they, um, if you see it, you, you, you say nuchal cord. So I just hear that echoing in my head, which I know means the cord is wrapped around her neck. Right. And, um, I feel them, I feel a ton of, of pressure. Um, and she's out and she's completely purple and, um, you know, they are, they hand her to me and she's not crying and she's not breathing. And I'm saying, is she okay? And they're, they're, they're putting her on my chest at this point. Um, but they're rubbing her back and they're like, come on baby, come on, baby, come on baby. And she's just not breathing. And they're like, I'm so sorry we have to take her. So they take her off my chest and, you know, it's, it's a complete rush of emotions and just whirlwind.

Karrah: And I tell my husband like, go with her, like, and they, they kept her in the room, which I, you know, very much appreciated, but, um, on the other side of the room and, and then finally heard her cry, um, which was great. Uh, and they worked on her bit and then they brought her back to me. Um, and she was on my chest, but she just wasn't crying and she just couldn't get oh. And she had also swallowed meconium. Okay. And so then they took her away again, um, which like almost felt worse. Cause it was like she was there and then they took her and then they brought her back and then they were like, yeah, no, not quite. And then they, they took her again. Um, and then they did eventually bring her back to me. I don't even remember how long it was. Um, maybe 10 minutes, 15. I'm not sure. Um, but at that point I felt, so I was so dizzy and I was so out of it. Um, I, I just had my husband take her. I just couldn't hold her at that point. Um, I felt like very nervous about it. And I was, I felt like I, I don't think I was actually going in and out of consciousness, but I felt like I was just not there anymore. Right, right. Um, and then my doctor walked in the door and she, um, which

Karrah: Was just so funny because she immediately walked right up to my head and held my hand and I'm crying and she's like, you're okay. You're okay. And I was just like, this is not where I thought you were gonna be like, right. I did not think you were gonna be up here by my head, like consoling me. Um, and so they eventually say, oh, my she's eight, six. Um, which was crazy because cuz I, I didn't mention this. But um, the only thing that came up during my pregnancy is I was measuring very small. So they did request that we do a growth ultrasound. Um, and the growth ultrasound was fine. She was like, she might just be, she's pretty small, maybe average, whatever. So when she was eight, six, everybody's like what? Yeah. I, I literally looked at my doctor and I said, you told me she was small.

Karrah: And um, she was like, I know, I'm sorry. And so, um, you know, the, the next few minutes were just such a rush and sure. Um, they, uh, the, the resident had started to had delivered the placenta, which I really don't remember much of and had started to do like a repair. And, um, I remember my doctor once, once I was okay. She went down and was talking with the resident about kind of what had happened. And, um, basically what happened is they had gotten her head through, but realized the cord was wrapped around her neck and just kind of yanked her out at that point. So I had a pretty significant third degree tear. And then, um, I had not heard of this before, so I would be curious, I guess, to hear your perspective, but they said a third degree tear and then a complete internal tear through my cervix and yeah. And so she had started to do the repair and then I, I heard my doc, this was probably about 30 minutes in my doctor had said, you know, why don't you, why don't you wrap up? I'm gonna have to redo a lot of this. And she like walked up by my head and like hit the epidural button and then like, went and got like suited up and came. And I think it was probably like an hour and a half that they, they had to do some pretty extensive sewing. Oh

Nicole: Yeah. Like cervical lacerations are not very common at all, but they can be very tricky to fix because there's bleeding and visualization. Yeah. So I'm not surprised between that and a third degree. Yeah. Um, that it can take a while to repair.

Karrah: Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was not great. And I, I joke now at the time it didn't feel super funny, but if like all anybody kept saying to me was, is it pressure or is it pain? And I was like, it's all of that. Like, like the pressure is so painful. And, um, but that was kind of like the theme of my hospital say it was like, oh, is it pain? Or is it pressure? And I was like, that's one more person says that to

Nicole: I'm gonna kill.

Karrah: I absolutely. Um, so that was that it was, it was so slow and arduous and the longest thing I've ever experienced and all of a sudden it was so fast and so scary. Right. Um, she had a pretty big, it looked like a softball was coming out of the back of her head from the vacuum, um, which totally freaked me out, you know, and they were like, this is normal. It's gonna go down, you know, it's gonna be okay. Um, but it, it was not, it scared me for sure. Sure. Like it just was, was very disorienting to see.

Nicole: Absolutely, absolutely. Now, did she actually have to go to the NICU or could she stay with you?

Karrah: She didn't, she was able to stay with us. So they had a NICU team with us for a while. Um, and she, because of the chorioamnionitis, she had to, um, get a bath right away and be under like a warm, like her temp dropped. And there were a couple other things, but they were able to kind of do everything in the room. Okay. Where I was good, which was lovely. Yes. Good, good, good,

Nicole: Good. And then how was your healing from the third degree tear?

Karrah: It was pretty rough. Um, it, it was, it was rough. And I think one of the things that, one of the reasons I was, I was so excited to do this podcast actually is like, that was something I didn't hear a lot about was third degree tears. And I know that's because they're not super common. Um, but I felt so I felt so lost because I felt like there was all this information on like mildly or uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. Right. And then all this information on C-sections and I was like, what a, like, what about me? Yeah. Like, I don't know. I don't know, is this the same type of pain? Is this different? Like, it felt different than somebody who had like a first or second degree tear. Right. Um, but it obviously was a completely different type of healing than a C-section. And so I just felt so confused and like, I just couldn't find anything.

Karrah: And I, and I wasn't sure what to do with that. And I should say too, like my time in the hospital was also really rough. Um, I had like, I, I could not pee afterwards. Um, and part of that I think was the swelling. Yeah. And the epidural, you know, there, there were so many factors. Um, so they had to, they actually, they did an in and out catheter twice, um, before they ended up having to place a catheter and keeping on trend with the rest of the birth. They, because I was so swollen, they actually had to try to place the catheter twice each time,

Nicole: Oh my, God, like when the,

Karrah: Like, I know, I know when the first time they like, like placed it, I just heard her go, oh shoot. I missed. And I was like, of course you did. Of course you, of course you missed

Nicole: This is how its gonna go. This is just what

Karrah: Gonna do. And so the second time when they came in to do another in and out cath, I said, listen, if this happens again, I need you to just place a catheter. Like I, like, we need to stop with the in and out thing. Right. Like just place it it's fine. Like, I, I can't do this anymore. Um, so that was awful. And then it, it was just, yeah, I think it was just the swelling. And then, um, they, but also because, you know, there's so many concerns with not being able to avoid afterwards because of, I think because of how your uterus contracts is that right.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, I'm guessing you just had some awful swelling. Yes. And it just, yeah. It, you just, it, and it just made it, um, for like the anatomy, like right. Things were just

Karrah: Right.

Nicole: Different. And then plus sometimes with the epidural, like it can, I don't, did you have a catheter while you're in labor? I did. Okay. Actually, usually that helps prevent that, but sometimes the bladder just takes a little bit to remember how to do what it has to do. So,

Karrah: Yeah. Well, so then they, they were concerned that I had developed a hematoma, um, which I hadn't, but they came in at like, I don't know, 12 hours after I had given birth and said, we need to do an internal exam. And I was like, you've gotta be kidding. Right. Like, what do you mean? I mean, that felt like the scariest thing that they could have ever suggested at that point. I was just like, absolutely not. Cause you're like,

Nicole: You know what happened to me down there? Totally. And you wanna touch it? I don't think so no. Yeah,

Karrah: Absolutely. So that was rough. And then that night, um, I woke up in the middle of the night and I had hives all over my body and nobody can explain to me, they think it was maybe a delayed reaction to the antibiotics from the chorio.

Karrah: Um, and I was just like head to toe itching, like crazy. And I was just like, so over it, I was so over everything I was so done, I wanted to go home, but I like also didn't wanna go home. I was so tired. I couldn't imagine, like not having the support anymore. Right. Um, so, so yeah, and, and then once I did get home, it was this kind of fear or, and just like frustration about like, I don't know how to heal. Like I don't think I'm ever gonna feel good again, like, oh, and just felt so defeated. Um, and I had somebody say to me, she was a friend of like a college friend from my husband, um, who I adore. And she had heard that I had a third degree tear. I must have shared that with her. And, um, she texted me and said something that like, I just will never forget. I just, all of a sudden was crying cuz she had one too. And she had said a nurse came in and looked at me and said like, I, you, I bet you feel like you will never heal again and you will, and you might even have more babies. And that just stuck with me because that was exactly how I felt. I was like, I will never do this again. I'm never gonna heal. I like I can imagine ever not being in pain.

Nicole: Right, right. Right. And then eventually over time, did it just,

Karrah: It did

Nicole: Get better.

Karrah: Like it did. I, you know, I, I don't, I don't even know how, or when it happened, it was just like, I look back and I'm like, oh yeah, one day it didn't hurt that bad. Right. Like it, it started to feel better and it was a long journey. Like it, I was, I was sitting on a cushion for a very long time. Right. Um, and that, that was rough. Um, I did also like, uh, about three weeks postpartum. I ended up getting salmonella food poison.

Nicole: Oh my God.

Karrah: And I was very sick, uh, from that. And then four weeks in, I got mastitis. And so just other things that I think delayed the healing as well. Sure. Okay. Um, and so there, you know, I think I probably felt better physically, but like the pain wise, but I was also feeling terrible because of this, this or this. Right. And so it, it was probably like two months in before I was like, oh, I'm starting to feel like myself. Gotcha. Like I'm starting to feel better.

Nicole: And then did doctor ever suggest a pelvic physical therapist at all?

Karrah: She did. Um, so I ended up, I, you know, I know it's, it's common to see them at like your six week follow up appointment. I ended up seeing her like four or five times. Okay. Um, which was, was great. I, I really appreciated that. And she had, I talked to her a little bit. I was like, I'm not sure if I have like prolapse and she was like, I'm certain that you do like, I'm OK. I'm so certain that you do,

Nicole: She was keeping it all the way real from totally.

Karrah: Yes. Like, and you're gonna need to heal a little bit, but you're gonna need some PT. Right. And, um, I actually, I probably should have started that at the some point. Um, I have not started that yet. That is something that I definitely plan to do. Sure. Um, I, I ended up having a lot of, uh, like granulation tissue. Okay. Um, that we were doing some silver nitrate treatments for and things like that. And then, um, realized about probably eight or, or nine weeks postpartum that there was also some pretty significant nerve damage. Um, and so I was still having a lot of pain and it felt like where that kind of, um, uh, where the laceration was, but it was just a different kind of pain and, and it, so it took us a while for like once that, that had to heal for me to be like, no, it's still there. This is, and that's when she was like, oh yeah, there's some nerve damage here. Okay. And so that took another few weeks to really resolve.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. Wow. Now I know one of the things you said when you wrote in, is it made you question whether or not you would've should have just had a C-section to begin with, do you still have some of those thoughts?

Karrah: A little bit? So one thing, one thing that, um, really helped me was at my six week follow up, um, my doctor actually pulled up my chart and we went through it like basically line by line. I was like, I have so many questions and I felt so guilty. Like I said, I feel like I chose wrong because when the doctor came in and said, you know, we need to talk about an assisted delivery. I think we wanna, we wanna talk to you about a vacuum. I said, great, just do it. Um, and I held so much guilt for like the six week af six weeks afterwards. Like, should I have not done that? Sh you know, she had such a, like kind of traumatic entry into life. Like, I, I kept what If-ing, like, gosh, we got so lucky. What if something else had happened?

Karrah: Should we have done a C-section would that have been less complicated, less traumatic for her Le like all, did I wait too long? Just all the things, you know, cause I, I did wanna labor as long as possible. Um, and she, you looked at me and she said, you didn't have a choice. Like you didn't have a choice. That was what they absolutely had to do. It was the most expeditious route and you didn't have a choice. And, and, and that helped me so much to hear like, no, like they, that was the fastest way at that point to get her out. And that's what we had. Right. Um, she also explained like she was so far down at that point in the birth canal, that, that it was safer for them to do that.

Nicole: Yeah. It, those C-sections like that are just very, very difficult, so,

Karrah: Right. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Um, yeah, so, so that, that brought me a lot of closure. Um, but I did, I did have a lot of like guilt over that for a while.

Nicole: Sure, sure. Sure. So, as we wrap up, how are you feeling now about the experience and then what is the one piece of advice that you would give to everyone who's listening?

Karrah: I, you know, I feel a lot better. I mean, everything is in hindsight, right? Like she's here and she's healthy and everything is better and I can walk without pain again, like, you know, everything feels better and she's the light of our lives. Um, but I, you know, it, it definitely gives me pause. Like if we were to have another child, like I would be, I think I would be very fearful about what that experience looks like. Okay. Um, it was very, yeah, it was very traumatic. It was, and it was very anxiety inducing for me. Right. Right. You know, I spent the next few weeks just feeling like the next shoe was gonna drop, like everything went wrong for her birth. So like obviously the next thing that's gonna happen is like, she's gonna die. Something's gonna happen. Like something awful is gonna happen.

Karrah: Right. Because that's just the trajectory we're on. Um, and so it took me a while to, to, you know, and I'm only four months postpartum. Right. So, so I'm still, I think kind of reliving a lot of that and dealing with a lot of those emotions and, and dealing with some of that. But, you know, I do feel like now I'm at the point, it where I can look back on that day and be like, it was, it was not the best day of my life because it was, you know, a very hard day. Um, but it was the best day of my life because of her and it was her birthday and, you know, all of those things. Gotcha. I, I am able to look back fondly. Um, but I also look back with like, yeah, a, a little of trauma, right. A little bit of, a little bit of anxiety about the whole thing.

Nicole: Right. And then have you ever considered getting any like professional help or therapy or anything for it?

Karrah: I absolutely have. Yes. Yes. So, um, I, I mean, as a social worker, I was very,

Nicole: I was thinking, but

Karrah: Yes. Um, yes. And, you know, luckily have like a, a partner who's very supportive and encourages that for me. And he helped me process it a ton. I mean, it was very, you know, traumatic for him too, right. To see all of that and go through that and kind of be on the sidelines. And so we've processed it together a lot. Um, definitely process it in therapy. Um, and I, I would encourage everybody and anyone to do that, if there are any kind of feelings of, you know, unresolved at the, about what that day looks like, there's a lot that goes into it. Sure,

Nicole: Sure, sure. Well, thank you so much, Karrah, for sharing your story. That was a lot.

Karrah: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I I'm was elated to do it. It was wonderful.

Nicole: Yeah. I just, I'm still like the two, the two of everything, that part, uh, you can definitely leave that behind.

Karrah: Yes. Yes. I know. I know. We, we told our, our friends a little bit about it and they were like, so next time would you pick a different hospital? And I was like, no, no, I really don't think, I think it was just chance. It was just, it happens.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. All right. Well again, thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

Karrah: Absolutely. Thank you.

Nicole: Wasn't that a great conversation with Karrah. I appreciate her being so honest about all of the difficulties of her birth and just raw and real about her. Now, after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's Notes, where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the conversation. Here are my Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Karrah. Number one, things are unlikely to happen to you until they happen to you. So third degree is not likely to happen, but then when it happens to you, it doesn't feel quite as unlikely. So I say all that to say that you need to remember that unlikely doesn't mean that it won't happen. It is still possible that something could happen. So you need to be prepared for those possibilities. You need to know about some of the resources that are out there and available for you.

Nicole: You can learn more specifically about perineal tears in episode 90 of the podcast. That's drnicolerankins.com/episode90. Episode is spelled out and then 90. And we'll link that in the show notes and speaking of resources, some other resources you definitely need to keep on your radar are the birth prep and recovery postpartum care line, from our sponsor, Lansinoh, I used Lansinoh products when I was breastfeeding. Their nipple cream was a lifesaver for me, and I used the milk storage bags as well for breast milk. And so I just love working with them now as a member of their clinical advisory board and chatting about their lovely postpartum care line, the birth prep and recovery postpartum care line, the products in the line really are fantastic. I have looked at them, held them, uh, all myself, and it includes this really nice upside down postpartum wash bottle.

Nicole: It's nicer than the ones that you can get the hospital, uh, postpartum sprays, both numbing sprays, and just soothing sprays, and then hot and cold therapy packs that are reusable that you can put in the microwave that you can put in the freezer. They have a, um, a lining that you can put over it as well. So really, really great products. And so I always wanna share things that I think you will find useful. So I'm sharing those with you today. You can learn more about them at lansinoh.com/aapb. That is Lansinoh, L a N S I N O h.com/a a P B.

Nicole: Now getting back to Dr. Nicole's Notes, the next thing is number 2, 1 6 week checkup doesn't cut it. When you have a difficult birth, you will likely need more visits postpartum. Karrah said she had four to five visits before her six week checkup. So don't be afraid to ask to be seen earlier, you know, like a week or two afterwards, a call and make an appointment just to check in. Um, doctors won't always do it. Her doctor was proactive about it, but definitely, um, don't be afraid to see folks sooner if need be including a pelvic physical therapist, that's something and that we don't, um, know much about. It's not something that OBGYNs are trained on, um, a lot, really any quite frankly. So you may also need a postpartum physical therapist if you have a significant tear and they can definitely help you with some healing.

Nicole: And then the last thing I wanna talk about is being a place with learners and medical students and resident physicians. I have a great guide that can help you with questions to ask when you are in that situation. So you know how they will be involved in your care. You can find it at drnicolerankins.com/resources, just scroll down and it's on that page there. And also inside the Birth Preparation Course, I talk about working with medical students and resident physicians in more detail and a bonus lesson. I actually have a bunch of fun bonus lessons inside the Birth Preparation Course, like umbilical cord blood banking, placenta encapsulation questions to ask if you plan to do that. So you can check out the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. And of course, we'll put all these links in the show notes. All right.

Nicole: So there you have it. Do me a favor, share this podcast with a friend if you like it, and also subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcast or wherever you're listening to me right now and leave a review in Apple Podcast in particular. So I can hear what you think about the show, and don't forget to check out the products from Lansinoh the birth prep and recovery postpartum care line. Those products are fantastic. You can check them out at lansinoh.com/aapb. So that is it for this episode to come on back next week. And remember you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.