Ep 162: Molly’s Birth Story – Why She Wishes She Prepared Differently


This is a difficult birth story episode. Molly experienced an induction before her due date, was denied an epidural at the hospital, and was denied the ability to get up and move around during labor despite having an uncomplicated pregnancy.

One of Molly’s regrets is that she took her doctor’s advice to skip birth education and birth planning. Molly felt blindsided by the twists and turns her birth took and wishes that she could have been more informed and confident so she could advocate for herself. She came away from the experience traumatized and disappointed in most of the interactions she had with hospital staff. In the end, though, Molly brought home her healthy baby daughter and gave her possibly the cutest name ever: Juniper.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • Why was Molly scheduled for an induction at 40 weeks
  • What Molly wished she had known before having her induction
  • What it’s like to have a negative reaction to pain medication
  • How the attitude of staff can affect the overall birthing process
  • How Molly handled latching issues with her baby
  • What it was like coping with postpartum OCD

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Transcript

Ep 162: Molly’s Birth Story - Why She Wishes She Prepared Differently

Nicole: This is another great birth story episode 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 disclaimer at drniicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Well, hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 161. Thank you for being here with me today. So in today's episode, we have a birth story from Molly. Molly is a higher education administrator in the New York area. She's wife to Jason and mom to Juniper. I love that name, Juniper. Molly hopes that by sharing her birth story, she will empower other women to advocate for themselves and make informed choices with their providers. And also talk about the importance of having a partner who can advocate for you as well. Now, although Molly is highly educated, she has a PhD, she did a lot of research, including listening to my podcast, other podcasts, reading books, she really wasn't prepared for how things went with her birth. And she felt a little bit blindsided. Her doctor was very nice and she felt like she had a good relationship with her.

Nicole: She assured Molly that she would look out for her best interest, but unfortunately that is not what ultimately happened. Molly ended up having an induction. Uh, she was denied an epidural. She was denied the ability to get up and move around despite having an uncomplicated pregnancy. And the whole experience was traumatic for her. And in fact, left her feeling like the folks in the hospital were not treating her like a human being and she does not want that to happen to anyone else. Hence why she is sharing her birth story today. So you're definitely going to want to listen in. Now, before we get into the episode, I wanna say a quick word about the episode sponsor Lansinoh. When I was a breastfeeding mom, I actually used Lansinoh breastfeeding products myself. I loved their milk storage bags, and it is so delightful to work with them now, especially to talk about their postpartum birth prep and recovery line.

Nicole: This line is absolutely fantastic. It includes products like an upside down postpartum wash bottle. It's much nicer than the one you get in the hospital. There are postpartum herbal sprays, postpartum pain relief sprays, there're bath products. My favorite are the hot and cold therapy packs that you can either put in the microwave or in the freezer. And they turn different colors, whether or not they're hot, or they are cold. All of the products are great. I have put my hands on every single one of them and they are truly fantastic. I highly encourage you to check them out. You can learn more about the products at lansinoh.com slash a a P B that's LAN O L a N S I N O h.com/a a P B. All right, let's get into the birth story episode with Molly. Molly, thank you so much for agreeing to come onto the podcast. Um, I really appreciate you coming on to share your birth story.

Molly: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I listened to you all throughout my pregnancy and really, uh, you know, trusted the information I got from you and counted on it. So I'm really honored to be here.

Nicole: Ah, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So why don't we start off by having you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?

Molly: Sure. So, um, my name's Molly, um, I live in New York with my husband and my daughter Juniper. Um, she's, uh, four and a half months old now. Um, and I, uh, I'm a higher education administrator.

Nicole: Nice. And the name Juniper Juniper is so adorable. I absolutely love it. Oh, thank you. So why don't we get straight into it, um, in order to understand your birth story, we first have to understand a bit about your pregnancy and prenatal care. So what was your pregnancy and prenatal care like?

Molly: So I felt really lucky with my pregnancy. I had a very uncomplicated pregnancy except for some really, um, you know, some pretty bad morning sickness at the beginning, which thankfully resolved after 12 weeks. Um, you know, it was, it was a really easy pregnancy and, you know, I'm, I'm grateful for that.

Nicole: Good. Good, good, good. And what about your prenatal care? What was your prenatal care like?

Molly: So overall I think my prenatal care was great. Um, I had, um, the doctor that I found, she and I had a really, you know, I really enjoyed working with her. I felt like she was taking, you know, good care of us. Um, the one, um, thing that, you know, now in retrospect, I, I feel like maybe I should have looked at more carefully was that when I asked about, you know, uh, birth plan or like doing some kind of child birth preparation, um, her advice was that, you know, that doing like a childbirth course would make me overthink the process. She was like, you really just, she's like, I don't recommend a birth plan. You really should just go with the flow. You know, your doctors are here to take care of you. And so just kind of like trust us and go with it.

Molly: And at the time, you know, I'm, I'm somebody who's really like type a, I like to be organized. You know, I have, you know, I, I have a PhD, so I do a lot of research about everything um, and, you know, I ki at the time I kind of appreciated that because I, you know, I did wanna trust my providers. Sure. You know, I, I didn't wanna micro, you know, micromanage the process right. Or feel like I had to be in control of every moment. Um, I, I felt, actually found it comforting that she was like, you know, I, I got this, you, you can just kind of relax into it. Um, but I have to say now, in retrospect, I wish that I had asked more questions around that. Um, and you know, because I, you know, once I got into my labor and childbirth, I didn't feel like I was prepared for things not to go the way that I gotcha. Wanted

Nicole: Them to. Yeah. We'll get into, get into all of that. So I definitely appreciate you, you, you bringing that up. Um, other than that, did you have any, um, concerns or issues during your prenatal care, especially around COVID how was that?

Molly: Well, so it, it was difficult because my husband couldn't come to my prenatal appointments with me. Uh, we, we did FaceTime when they were doing like the ultrasounds. Um, so he could see, but, you know, I, I just went kind of by myself and yeah. I realized if, if not for COVID, um, he would've been able to come with me and he would've been much more informed and prepared, you know, when we did get to the hospital together. Yeah. Um, even though I shared everything with him and, you know, he was reading and, you know, trying to be as educated as he could be. Yeah. Um, so that, that part wasn't great. Um, but you know, we understand in COVID, you know, you have to kind of just, just deal that part of it.

Nicole: Yeah. That's one of the things that I certainly didn't realize it first, how big of an impact that has been for folks not to be able to have people with them during their prenatal visits, it really does make a difference. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So what did you do to prepare for your birth? You sound like a woman after my own heart type a,

Molly: Well, I listened to your podcast a lot. Um, yeah. And I, you know, um, I went through your website and you have some great resources there as well. Um, I read a lot of books, um, you know, listened to some other podcasts, really just did everything I could to educate myself. Um, you know, as I said, I, I asked my doctor about a childbirth course, um, and she didn't recommend it, so I didn't pursue that. Sure. Um, but I, I really tried to learn everything I could on my own.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. And then what are some things that you wanted for your birth?

Molly: So I was, you know, and that was part of why I found it comforting that she was like, you know, just kind of like go with the flow and trust me on this, because I wasn't really sure what I wanted. I, you know, I only had a few friends who've gone through, you know, labor and childbirth, um, who could share their experiences with me. Um, you know, I don't have any sisters, so I couldn't, you know, talk to people in my family really. Um, and I, you know, I feel like during my pregnancy, I ran the gamut from wanting like a home birth to like, I wanna be in the hospital with drugs, like, and, and, you know, I wanna make sure that doctors are there, if anything goes wrong. Right. So I, you know, it was really kind of a, a searching process for me.

Molly: And, um, at, at the end, I definitely, especially with COVID, I, you know, I was like, I, I would feel more comfortable being in a hospital and being with, you know, making sure my doctor is there and that there's a, you know, um, a neonatal care, that's God forbid, anything should go wrong in that way. Um, so, and I, I kind of, you know, I talked to my doctor about things like doing skin to skin, um, you know, delayed cord clamping, um, uh, and, uh, and things like that. And I didn't think too much to ask about, uh, like I, I was focused on the baby and like making sure the baby is taken care of in the way that I wanted. Right. Once she was born, I didn't think to ask too much about my own experience. Um, and you know, something like, will I be able to get up and move around? Right. I kind of took that for granted and didn't, didn't really ask about that going into it.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. And, um, so let's, let's talk about them. What was your labor and birth? Like? Let's go through, go through the details.

Molly: Okay. Sure. So I had a scheduled induction, which was my doctor's recommendation. I was 40 weeks and one day when I went in for an induction. And now I, now that I've kind of talked to people about this and I've, you know, I've read about it. I realize that that's not typical, um, that usually they will, you know, induce after you've, you know, at like 42 weeks, 41 weeks or 42 weeks, not right at 40 weeks. Um,

Nicole: And what was, what was her reasoning for wanting to recommend the induction?

Molly: Oh, Nicole, you're gonna laugh at this, but she was going away the next weekend.

Nicole: And you know what, it's, it's, it's unfortunate, but like it, if it's, if it's a situation where it's like, Hey, this is where I, where I am and I, you know, I really wanna be there for the birth and, you know, if, yeah. If you want me to be there and that's totally, but sometimes, and as we'll get into, maybe they might not always be there the whole time, but sometimes that comes from, and I don't know her particular situation. It actually comes from the way that we get a lack of a way for saying it credit or, or reimbursed really paid for, for the, for the work you have to try to deliver your own patients. It can be really complicated. So I'm not, you know, talking about her own situation, but I can see how that may have been like, uh, okay. You're going outta town. Like, um, how did, how did you think when she said that?

Molly: I mean, I, I, I was thinking along the same lines. I mean, I understand like if you're, you know, if you're an OB and you're, you know, you have all these patients that you wanna see through to their births, you know, you can't just be on call all the time. Um, so, uh, you know, it made sense and, and she said that, you know, it's, it was because she wanted to be there at the birth with me, and I would've felt much more comfortable having her there as well. Um, and it ended up that she wasn't, she ended up not being there because my labor went so long that, you know, it was like it in the middle of the night and she wasn't there anyway. Um, but I, you know, and I, I kind of, again, going along with, you know, she asked me to trust her and I did up until that point.

Molly: I had no reason not to sure. Um, sure. But I, you know, I, we didn't discuss, um, kind of all of the other things that go along with an induction. I knew from partly from listening to your podcast and partly from kind of reading about it that, um, uh, I think it's, the Pitocin can cause, um, more intense contractions than maybe otherwise. So I was prepared for that part. Um, she mentioned that an induction can also take a long time. Um, she mentioned it could be like 24 hours. Um, but I thought like, you know, when I pictured that, like taking a long time, I thought it would be like, you know, taking a long time for things to get started. I didn't realize it would be like, like 48 hours of actually having contractions. So, uh, I, I just, I wish that I had had more of a conversation with her about what really it means to have an induction.

Nicole: Right, right, right. And then what did she, were you dilated at all when you went in or

Molly: No, nothing. Um, yeah, so, uh, it was scheduled for four o'clock on a Sunday, um, you know, we checked in, got, you know, in our room, um, and the drugs, um, started kicking in around nine o'clock that night. So it was like five hours of kind of waiting around and that's when I started feeling contractions. Um, and part of the, the real challenge was that I got, I started feeling like contractions right away, and they were super, super intense. Um, I should mention also, cuz this, I think contributed to my mindset, but when we were, we were checking into the hospital, I, there was like a woman screaming down the hallway that you could hear. Right. And I was, and that was just like, I was like, oh my gosh, what am I

Nicole: What, what is going on? Yes. Like what, what have I signed up for? Yeah. Yes.

Molly: Yeah. Um, so yeah, but so around nine o'clock I, you know, I started to feel really, really intense contractions and I had, um, Juniper was, um, what they've told me is called the sunny side up baby. I was in back labor. Um, so I really, I feel like before I went into labor, I people told me, you know, 50 different things of what a contraction feels like. Like I, some people told me, it feels like your stomach tightening. Some people told me it feels like menstrual cramps. For me, it was like really, really intense back pain.

Nicole: And it's one of those things like you, you, you can't, you know, you can be prepared. Um, but you, you really don't know what it's like until you get into it. Yeah. I mean, I'm an obstetrician. And even when I had children, I was like, I don't know what a contraction feels like. But then when you feel it, it's like, okay, this is something that's happening. Yeah. And it, I feel it. Yes.

Molly: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And for me, um, you know, I don't know what other folks experiences were like, but for me, once it really started in earnest, I, it was bad enough that I couldn't speak like the, it was that intense. Um, but I wasn't, I wasn't dilated at all. Um, so, um, and I, my plan was, and I, I, I had mentioned this to my doctor beforehand. Like I wanted to have an epidural. I wasn't, you know, wasn't trying to do a, um, medication free labor. Sure. Um, but she did not wanna gimme that epidural until I was more dilated. Um, so I was like at, I was like at three centimeters for a long, long, long time,

Nicole: Without an epidural,

Molly: Without an epidural. Um, and

Nicole: What, what, what were they, I'm sorry, what were, I'm trying not to get like, upset, but we, we really, that sh that shouldn't happen. You know, it, it should happen whenever, you know, folks want it to happen. What were they giving you for pain medicine in the meantime?

Molly: So, yeah, so I, I mean, so before I even started to, to ask for the pain medicine, like I, um, I just had this, I mean, I was in back labor. Right. So the most painful place for me to be was lying on my back. Right.

Molly: And I don't know why nobody explained this to me, but, um, even though I asked about it, but I was hooked up to like all of these monitors, like all of the wires. Right. Um, even though I had had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Right. Um, and the nurse, every time I tried to like, not even try to get up, like even try to turn over onto my side, where it was a little bit more comfortable, a nurse would come in and say, oh, you know, you disconnected the monitor. You have to stay on your back. Um, so I, I was like desperate to just get up and walk around, you know, and I, I thought that would help the dilation too, if I was able to move around. Sure. Um, even just, just, just to get off my back, because I was in so much pain on my back.

Molly: Right. And, um, a N at one point a nurse came in and, and offered me an enema to, um, to help with the dilation. And I was like, no, no, no, like, I'm, I'm uncomfortable enough already. I don't. Right. That doesn't feel like something that's gonna be helpful to me right now. Um, and the contractions also were like, I expected contractions to have, um, like a break in between where I could catch my breath. And they, I feel like almost right away were like, just back to back contractions. Right. I didn't have much of any pause in between, um, but still wasn't making any progress with dilation. Um, so I,

Nicole: I'm sorry. How, how are you feeling during that time? Because I, I feel like I can hear it in your voice that it was, it, it, it was maybe traumatic.

Molly: It definitely was traumatic. And I have to say, I, uh, I'll talk about this in, you know, towards the end, but there was one nurse, exactly. One nurse who I felt treated me like a human being. And I actually wrote to the hospital after, uh, we came home to like, thank, just mention her by name and say that she, how wonderful she was. Right. And how much of an exception she was, because, you know, just to be, to be in pain and to have the nurses, you know, seemed to not really care about that. And just, you know, only care about whether the monitors were hooked up correctly. Right. Um, it, it, and it felt like such a sharp difference from, um, prenatal care where I feel like there's much more, you know, um, more concerned about the mother, like, you know, how are you feeling? Are you eating? You know, how's your nutrition, how are you comfortable? And then to be in, in labor and just, you know, it was just like, uh, you know, there were monitoring the baby's heartbeat, which don't get me wrong. I'm glad. Um, but there was very little concern for my experience and what I was feeling and whether I was in pain or not.

Nicole: Right, right. Right. So you were at three centimeters, you said for a while. Were they giving you IV pain medication or anything?

Molly: So I finally, I mean, I was, I started being that woman screaming in the hallway. I wasn't screaming in the hallway. Right. But I was screaming and I'm sure people heard it. I mean, the pain was so, so, so intense. And so finally I said, you know, if you're not gonna give me an epidural, can you please give me something? Um, and I think my husband, at that point, I really started to kind of lose, you know, I couldn't speak, I was, I was kind of in and out, um, cuz I was in so much pain and my husband, you know, helped advocate for me and asked for, um, some kind of pain medication for me. So I got IV pain medication. I don't know what it was, but I have to tell you, it made me hallucinate so badly, oh, I mean, I, I really like, I, I never done like serious drugs.

Molly: Right. But that's what I imagine. It's like, I, I actually hallucinated two nurses, like coming into the room and talking about stealing all the babies and the, I like I could do not, it was like serious, serious hallucinations. Um, and my husband and my husband told me, like I was saying all these crazy things, um, cuz I was really, really, really out of it. Um, and I also started sweating. I mean I was drenched and sweat and um, he was trying to ask the nurses like, is she okay? What's going on? Cuz I was just drenched in sweat and he couldn't get any of the nurses to like come help. He actually, my husband took his, took his t-shirt off, went to the ice machine and filled his t-shirt with ice chips to like cool me down.

Nicole: Right. Oh my God.

Molly: Yeah. Um, so that part and, and you know, that helped with the pain a little bit. I, I, I was still feeling the contractions. They were less intense, but I just feel, I had already felt, um, kind of disconnected from my body because the pain was so intense and I didn't have control over how I was moving or what my experience was. But then having those intense hallucination, I felt it, it started to feel like a complete, like out of body experience. It got really weird.

Nicole: Right. Right. So how long was it then before you could get like at what point? Like how long did you have to go through this before you could get an epidural?

Molly: Yeah, so I, I'm not sure. Like I wasn't really aware of the time at that point, but it was about, it was about 24 hours later that um,

Nicole: Oh, I'm sorry. 24.

Molly: Yeah. So we'd a bit, we'd been 24 hours since I had gotten the Pitocin to start the induction. Um, I, you know, that had all been going on for 24 hours and then sh then after, um, that pain medication, whatever it was, it made me hallucinate like crazy started to wear off. Then, um, my doctor said she would give me that epidural. And by that point I was like, I mean, I I'd gone through it. Like I was drenched in sweat and I was shaking uncontrollably and my husband said that cuz he was holding me while I was getting the epidural. He said that was the scariest moment for him because you know, they're putting a needle in my spine and I couldn't stop shaking. You know, they were trying to tell me to hold still. Um, and I just, I was, you know, I was really worried. I was just gonna like just my whole body was gonna jerk and like right. The needle would slip, you know?

Nicole: And you were probably exhausted by that. Yeah.

Molly: Yeah, totally exhausted. Um, we both were cuz he wasn't getting any sleep either. Um, so I got the epidural and once I got the epidural, it was such a huge relief. Um, you know, the, I, the pain went away. Um, it was a good epidural. I know a lot of, uh, you know, a lot of people, you know, the epidural doesn't work the first time. Um, uh, you know, I I've, I heard your story about an, ineffective epidural and I'm really sorry that you went through that. Um, but fortunately, you know, the, the epidural, it worked fine. Um, but it did make me, um, it did make me vomit and I couldn't, I, again, I was on my back. Right. I wasn't allowed to be anywhere but on my back. Right. And I was really scared because I was throwing up and I couldn't turn myself over that.

Molly: Like I was just completely numb from the waist down. So my husband, again, through our second night there in the hospital, stayed awake by my bedside and, you know, held the barf bag. So I could, you know, I wouldn't choke, you know, cuz the nurses were like not coming in and not just not, not that helpful. Um, so that's like, that's my new, um, definition of love now. Like, you know, seriously somebody and you know yeah. Get married, but it's not until somebody has to like keep you from choking on your own barf that yes. You know, feel loved.

Nicole: Oh God. And then by this point, was your doctor gone? Like had she left or was she still,

Molly: She, she came in a couple of times, um, to do a cervical check, which I didn't, I also wasn't prepared for how painful that is when you are having contractions um, and it, once I got the epidural, uh, I started dilating really fast and she was like, oh, it's probably cuz you're relaxed now that you're not in pain.

Nicole: And you're like, well maybe if you would've given me the blank, blank epidural, however many hours ago.

Molly: Exactly. You told me I couldn't have the epidural cuz I wasn't dilated. So I don't, it doesn't make sense. Um, but yeah, but once I got the epidural, things progressed really fast. Um, and then that was when this nurse nurse Jackie, oh my gosh. I will love her for the rest of my life. She came in, she came in and helped me like turn on my side every, I think it was like every half hour, maybe every hour. Um, and she was amazing. Like, you know, she got me a peanut ball to, you know, help my hips open up and just, she just made sure I was comfortable. And thankfully she was the nurse on duty when I actually started to, um, be ready to push. So she coached me through pushing, um, as well. And I just I'm so grateful for her because she's the, she was like the one person who kept it from being a completely horrible experience. She was the first person who made me feel like I was a human being and being cared for. Um, and I, to me it, yeah. Sorry.

Nicole: I'm just, so you had been there for well over a day at this point. Yeah. And it just, it wasn't until, at the very end that you had somebody who finally came in and like, like you said, treated you like a human being that just breaks my heart.

Molly: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. And it, it really, I mean, having her be there showed me how different that the experience can be when you have somebody who, you know, is kind of in your corner and taking care of you. Um, and uh, you know, I'm, I'm so glad she was there while I was pushing, because that, that was the best part of the whole experience. I know most, most women probably can't say that, but like, you know, the pushing was really easy. She coached me through it. Um, you know, um, everybody who was there at that actual delivery was just really kind and amazing and you know, that, that was the best part of, of my whole birthing experience.

Nicole: Awesome. So how long did you push for

Molly: 10 minutes?

Nicole: Oh, snap

Molly: I mean, once I, once I got that epidural things happened fast. Like I dilated and like that baby was ready to come out.

Nicole: Nice. Nice. And then at what point, so you said your doctor came in a couple times to, to check you. So when did she leave and when did someone else take over?

Molly: I'm not sure cuz actually the, the last person to check me, um, and be like, okay, your 10 centimeters was nurse Jackie. She did the, that final check. Okay. Um, and my, my doctor must have been gone by that point because the, um, the person who did the delivery was the hospitalist.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. And you felt like the hospitalist hopefully treated you yeah. Well,

Molly: Yeah, everybody there, um, you know, the nurses, the, uh, just like that was a great team. That that was the best part.

Nicole: So, um, you know what I, I don't, and I please don't I, if, you know, if you don't wanna answer anything, I don't want to, to make this any more traumatic than it was, but she, your doctor scheduled you for this induction and then like, didn't say, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm sorry I can't stay or I have to leave or you're in good hands or, or, or anything like that before?

Molly: No, I, I mean, honestly that, especially after like I got those drugs and you know, I, I feel like it's possible that she came in at some point and I was just like in my own little world of pain and wasn't

Nicole: Fair, fair. Fair enough.

Molly: Okay. Yeah, I don't, I don't remember that.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Okay. So then after Juniper was, was born, did you get skin to skin contact? And we did all of those things. Okay.

Molly: Okay. And actually, again, nurse Jackie, like she, she, she coached me through everything. She through pushing and delivery to like the skin to skin and latching. Um, you know, she was, she got me a sandwich, which was like, I hadn't eaten until a day. You know, she was the best, uh, you know, she helped me get cleaned up. Um, you know, and then, uh, you know, we had some time to be skin to skin and, um, before, you know, um, Juniper went to the nursery and I, uh, my husband and I went to, um, the room where we were gonna stay for for the next couple of days.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. So wait, she actually went to the nursery.

Molly: Yeah. They, they took her to like, you know, weigh her and check her out and, and all that stuff.

Nicole: So interesting. Okay. Yeah. Um, a lot of times during, especially during COVID, um, that stuff is done in the room now, so really? Yeah. We try to, to keep, keep moms and babies in, in the room and, and, you know, not out out of the nursery. So just, um, um, interested that they took her to the nurse. I mean, I guess, you know, every hospital is a little bit different obviously as you now know, but, um, okay. So then what was the postpartum period like for you

Molly: Hard? Um, really hard. So, um, I was thankfully, uh, prepared for breastfeeding to be difficult. Um, because I, you know, I had enough, you know, friends and family members tell me like that they had some struggles with it at the beginning. And I, you know, I, I, you know, um, I heard through your podcast that, that, you know, some women having difficulty with that, so I, I was prepared for it to be challenging. Um, but I, uh, you know, it was really tough, you know, she wasn't, um, she didn't latch, I think now, um, now that I know a little bit more about things, I feel like she may have an, like a lip tie that didn't go, uh, that wasn't diagnosed and, and that might have been why she didn't latch on very well, cuz like her top lip doesn't really flange out. Um, that was a challenge. Um, and she also, we didn't find this out in the hospital. Um, it was only afterwards with her pediatrician, but um, she had a, a milk, uh, milk and soy protein allergy. Mm. Um, so I, and I didn't know that I was, you know, having milk in my co you know, like I, I was just going hard on the milk and stuff.

Nicole: Sure, sure. I mean, how could you know?

Molly: Yeah, yeah. Um, and so that was part of the challenge too, is that she, even what she was getting, she wasn't able to metabolize. So she was dropping weight and, you know, very, very, you know, crying a lot inconsolable. Um, there was some blood in her diapers in the hospital that, you know, they were like, oh, that's normal. Um uh, and I, you know, again, it, it was just, uh, I felt like there was a lot of care that, um, or interventions that could have happened that would've made that experience better. Um, that just didn't just didn't happen. Um, right.

Nicole: Yeah. And then when, even after you got home, how were things, did they, how soon did they get better or how long were they difficult?

Molly: Well, fortunately we had a, a really good pediatrician who diagnosed her allergy right away. So I changed my diet and that went a lot better. Um, we still had issues with latching. Um, but I, uh, I saw a lactation consultant who, um, told me about that. You know, it, it was an option to just pump exclusively. I started pumping, um, because she was having difficulty latching and I knew enough that I needed to like, uh, stimulate my milk supply to make sure that it came in. Um, but you know, once, um, we had to give her a little bit of formula, cuz she had dropped so much weight, um, because of her allergy. And then I think she just got more comfortable with the bottle, um, than the breast, although she never really latched very well. Um, and so, you know, I was like, I, I don't know, I'm, I'm pumping and I'm giving her breast milk and a bottle and this seems to be working, but is this is there something wrong about this? Like, should I be trying harder to get her to latch? Um, and I'm really grateful for that lactation consultant who said, you know, your, you know, your baby, your baby is fed, that's the most important thing. Um, she's getting breast milk, which is great. And if that's how it works for you, that's how it works. Yep. And so that gave me the kind of freedom to just kind of pursue that and, um, that's what we've been doing ever since then. It's been great.

Nicole: Okay. Good. Great, great. Great. And then did you have any trouble with depression or anxiety or anything like that?

Molly: Yeah, definitely. So, um, I I've had some, some difficulties, um, healing, postpartum. Um, so I had a, a second degree tear um, and had some, you know, and I, when I went to my six week appointment, first of all, that the tear hadn't healed yet. Um, and you know, I, I had been having a lot of anxiety just about, you know, you know, like, do I know what I'm doing? You know, all of these things that, you know, I, I wasn't prepared for, you know, it's a huge learning curve to have a newborn and it's also really, really difficult to recover from a very significant physical experience, which is childbirth, especially after you know, a labor that was like two days long. Yeah. Um, you know, and not getting enough sleep. So, um, I had a lot of anxiety that I think in retrospect was related to sleep deprivation.

Molly: Um, I also, um, I started talking to somebody about, um, uh, what I, what I didn't even realize was a thing, but, uh, postpartum OCD, which is related to postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression, where like, I, I would just worry so much about, you know, our, because we were feeding her with bottles, like, are the bottles clean enough? You know, I I'm anxious about something happening to her, you know, um, it was a lot of anxiety. Um, and coupled that with the physical recovery, um, it was really, really hard. So when I went to my six week appointment, um, my doctor asked one question about, um, my mood and she said, you don't you're, you don't have postpartum depression, do you? Um, and I just, like, that's not a question that really invites an answer. You know, I got the sense that she had, this was like a screening she had to do and she wasn't really willing to engage.

Molly: Right. Um, and I was like, no, no, of course I don't. Right. Um, but I actually, through my, I had joined, um, a virtual lactation support group because of our issues, um, uh, kind of, uh, figuring out latching and all that. And, um, somebody came as a guest to that group who was, um, a therapist who specialized in postpartum issues and she kind of gave this talk about postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum OCD. And when she was talking about postpartum OCD, my husband was in the room and heard her. And he was like, that sounds exactly like you, that sounds exactly like what you've been going through. Um, so things like just, you know, because we were a bottle of feeding her, I would be so worried about getting the bottle sterilized, you know, um, and just, I would be really, uh, afraid of like, you know, hurting her accidentally or just like, like to the point where it was debilitating, but to the point where I was like, I, you know, was, I felt more comfortable with my husband holding her than me because I was, I was so afraid I was gonna do something wrong.

Molly: Um, and so, yeah, so I, I reached out to that therapist and started working with her and, um, that's been really great. It's it's, I, I think, you know, things got, kind of got better on their own. Um, once I hit the three month mark, for some reason, like things just got easier. I think it's because she, you know, she was starting to hold her head up more and she felt like a little more kind of sturdy. And I didn't feel like I was gonna, you know, accidentally hurt her so much if I held her the wrong way. Right. Um, but also I'm sure there's, there's a hormonal part to it. Um, I just, you know, started feeling more comfortable, a little bit more confident, um, and, and kind of like I was, you know, uh, it, it really felt like coming out of a fog once I hit that three month mark.

Nicole: Sure. And then was this well, a couple questions? Yes. Do you think you would've recognized it if your husband hadn't noticed?

Molly: Probably not. Um, because I'm, I'm more the type of person to just like, you know, kind of white knuckle it, you know, just like deal with what's in front of me, get through the day and keep going. And, uh, you know, there, I also was a little bit, um, afraid to acknowledge that I was, I was struggling cuz I thought that made me a bad mom. Sure. You know, which was like my biggest fear to begin with. Sure. Uh, I also think COVID had to do with it because I, um, uh, our, the, the hospital and our pediatrician, um, uh, told us not to have any visitors for the first eight weeks, um, to kind of protect her from COVID, which meant that we didn't have any support, really. It was just me and my husband trying to figure this out. Right. And neither one, you know, we'd both gone through this experience in the hospital, you know, we, we started out already sleep deprived and um, you know, we were, we were really just figuring it out on our own and that, that felt very isolating. Sure. So that kind of compounded things too. Yeah.

Nicole: And plus you're accomplished person you're probably maybe, or maybe I'm projecting this to some degree. It's like, I can, I can, I can do this. Like I can.

Molly: No, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. And in fact, um, the, in, in that lactation group that I'm in the, the lactation counselor who leads, it was like, you know, it's, it's really hard for women who like, you know, you've gotten to a point in your career where you feel capable and then, you know, you have this tiny person who is just like throws you for a loop and, you know, it's the most important thing in the world to you. And it's also the most difficult, um, yeah, for sure. It's tough.

Nicole: Yeah. And was this a free group or is this something,

Molly: Yeah, yeah. It, I, I'm really grateful for this. It's through the, the hospital network, um, in my area it's, it's called the baby cafe. Um, and it's just a free group that you can join virtually, um, once a week. And, um, I, you know, it, it was the best thing by far that I did during that period, because not only did I learn a lot just about, you know, um, pumping, which I didn't, you know, I'd, I'd done my homework before, um, giving birth about breastfeeding and stuff. And I, I feel like I read about, you know, you can breastfeed or you can give formula. And I didn't know, you know, I didn't know that there were any other options that, you know, you could pump, you can supplement with formula and still breastfeed. Like there are all these other things that you can do to make it work for you and your baby. Um, so I learned a lot of information, but also got to meet other new moms who are going through the same thing that I was sure. So that was by far the, the highlight of my postpartum.

Nicole: Gotcha. And was it like a Facebook group or

Molly: It's? Um, well, they, they do have a Facebook group, but, um, they meet through teams. Ah,

Nicole: Gotcha. Um, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Okay. And then, um, did you go back to work at some point during this time?

Molly: I did. Yeah. I went back to work at, um, two and a half months, which was, uh, I felt like was too early but, uh, you know, I, um, leave in this country is, is not the best. It's awful. It had

Nicole: S terrible. Yeah.

Molly: Yeah. Um, I I'm really grateful, um, with my job, they, um, have allowed me to work remotely a lot. Um, you know, I, I only have to go in a few few times. Um, so I've been able to be home, um, and working. Um, so, you know, and, and that, that was, uh, that was a difficult transition. Although I have to say in, in some ways I kind of appreciated that, especially, um, you know, especially cuz I, I think it would've been harder if I had to commute, but, um, I'd been stuck in the house for two and a half months. Yeah. And you know, it, it was really nice to start to, you know, talk to people again and, and think about things that had had nothing to do with having a baby. Um, so that was, that was really good.

Nicole: Nice, nice, nice. And then you mentioned that you wrote back to the hospital, um, was that to share about your entire experience or did you just want to point out how great Jackie was or what, what prompted you to do that?

Molly: Yeah, I, I really just wanted to kind of give a shout out to nurse Jackie um, I just, like I said, she was a highlight of the care she gave was the highlight of my, um, experience at the hospital. Um, you know, I didn't, I didn't write about all of the other stuff that went on. Um, but I really just wanted to say that she was really awesome. You know, I gave some examples of, um, how wonderful the care she gave was. Right. And, um, you know, I hope, I hope, I hope they shared that with her and I hope she knows that she's appreciated.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Usually we do get the one, if that makes it in through the, through the, um, hospital, they typically will, um, give that feedback to folks. So she probably probably did get it. So how are you feeling about your experience?

Molly: Uh, so I mean, frustrated honestly, um, I, uh, I feel like I went into my labor and delivery and postpartum kind of, um, not knowing a lot and, and despite the fact that I had really tried to educate myself a lot and I, I think the reason that, um, you know, all of these things that I ended up dealing with, like postpartum mood, um, even the like, um, that you can, you can have difficulties healing from, from labor, you know, um, I, I, I've never heard anybody talk about that before. And so when that started happening for me, it just felt like I, it just, I was like, how, how is this even possible? Um, and, and, you know, all of the other stuff that happened, I feel like the, the reason that I wasn't more informed or wasn't more prepared is that it's just people don't talk about these things a lot.

Molly: You know, they, you have a baby shower and, you know, everybody talks about the, the great parts of having a ki kid and, and there are wonderful, you know, it's so wonderful to have a baby and they're so cute and, you know, all of that is wonderful, but I, I wish that there was more conversation about, um, you know, the, the mother's experience. Um, and, uh, and, and that's hard. I mean, I, um, you know, I have have friends who are pregnant now and I, I'm not sure. Um, like I, I don't wanna like dump on them and, and like get some, get in their head and, and tell them it's like really scary, you know, and terrible, um, because that's not helpful either. Um, but I, I, I do hope that people can start to have some more Frank and real conversations about, um, the challenges of, um, labor and postpartum and how to really support mothers.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. 100%. It's so, so, so important that we talk about all of the realities that can, can happen. So the full spectrum of experience is, is normalized and people don't feel alone and they know where they can get help if they, they need it. Yeah,

Molly: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, have you thought about talking to your doctor about your experience at all?

Molly: You know, I, I have thought about that. I've also thought about, um, just changing providers at this point, but like, that's a little bit scary too, because it, uh, you know, it's just, it's, it's kind of overwhelming to like start over with, with somebody once you've built a real, a relationship with, with, um, someone, um, on one. Um, I I've, I, so I, I, I'm still working with her cuz I, as I mentioned, I, you know, I'm, I'm probably gonna have to have this surgical procedure to, um, to deal with the, the tear. Um, and I I've started to realize that when I ask, like, when I really kind of push a little bit harder and ask more questions, then she will kind of take a moment and explain things to me, but, um, I need to, I need to know to ask the questions, um, you know, otherwise she just kind of, you know, because it's what she does every day. Like this is her job. And so she, she has this level of knowledge and maybe kind of assumes that other people do as well. Um, so she doesn't kind of let me in, into her, um, you know, her thinking and her judgment on things and just kind of wants me to go along with it. Um, but she's open to my asking questions if I know what the right questions are. Um, I think that is problematic though, because if you don't know what questions to ask, then you don't get the answers that you need. Um,

Nicole: A hundred percent. Yeah,

Molly: Yeah. You know, and, and if I, I mean, you know, like I said, I'm somebody who really, you know, I research the heck out of everything and I, I really try to, to educate myself. So I do know what those questions are. And I feel like if, if I don't feel prepared to know what to ask, um, than, you know, which, which, I mean, I didn't go to medical school, so it makes sense that I wouldn't know that. Right. Um, and so I think a lot of people are in that situation where, you know, um, I do think that, that, you know, uh, people should have trust in their medical providers because, you know, there's, it's an intensive training and a level of knowledge that most people don't have, but, um, they're also, uh, you know, you do need to advocate for yourself to some degree and, and, um, be able to, um, be able to say when things are not, not going well for you and, and hope that that there'll be some responsiveness to that.

Nicole: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So then what is, what is the one piece of advice that you definitely wanna share with other women as they get ready for their birth?

Molly: Yeah, I would say just, um, to be patient with your, with yourself, um, and with the process, um, well, well also of course, a, you know, advocating for yourself and all of that. Um, but you know, as I was saying before, about the difficulties of postpartum, like the messaging we get is that, you know, if you have your nursery all set up and you do all of this, you know, nesting, you you'll be able to kind of control your experience. But I, I mean, I found that for me, there was so much that was out of my control, um, with both my labor and postpartum. And that, that was the hardest part for me is like, not even just going through it physically, but feeling like I was not in control of things. And, and definitely if I had had a better relationship with my care providers, and if, if the nursing staff had been more responsive, like all of those things should have happened, and those are I think, structural issues.

Molly: Um, and I'm not saying that any of that was okay, um, or, or that anybody should kind of put up with that. Um, but you know, I think it would've helped me a lot to just give myself the space to be like this sucks, you know, I'm, I feel completely out of control. I, I have no control over what's happening with my body. I'm, you know, I'm trying to learn how to take care of this tiny human being. And, and I, you know, I, it, it's a big learning curve and this is hard and, and, um, uh, you know, it's okay not to be okay all of the time and be on top of things all of the time. Um, so I think one, once that happened for me, once I acknowledge that, you know, this has been really difficult and I'm struggling and I need, I need some more help that kind of opens you up to get the support that you need. And that really goes a long way in, in helping ease that transition into being a mom.

Nicole: Definitely, definitely. Excellent advice. So where can people connect with you? You can say nowhere if you want to .

Molly: No, I, I would love to connect to, um, you know, especially new moms, anybody who, uh, wants to talk more about any of the things I mentioned today, um, the best place to reach me is Instagram. Um, I'm at Molly dot lotz, L OTZ.

Nicole: Okay, perfect. And we will link that in the show notes. Well, thank you so much, Molly, for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing all of the things, the good, the bad, the ugly with your, your story. And, um, it's going to help some people for sure. 100%. I know it

Molly: All right. Well, thank you so much for having me. This is great.

Nicole: So that was a bit of a difficult birth story episode, and I really appreciate Molly coming on and sharing her story to help others learn and not have the same experience. Now, you know, 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 episode. So here are my Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Molly, but real quick, before we do that, I gotta talk about the episode sponsor again, it's Lansinoh and I definitely want you to check out the products in their birth prep and recovery line. These products really, really, really are amazing. And I'm not saying that just because they're a sponsor of the episode, I'm saying that because I have actually touched and held the products and they are fantastic. They include a upside down postpartum wash bottle, postpartum spray for herbal relief, postpartum sprays for pain relief, my favorite, the hot and cold therapy packs, and more, you definitely need to check out all these products.

Nicole: I'm so excited to te to tell you about them, and you can learn about them at lansinoh.com forward slash A A P B. Again, that is Lansinoh L a N S I N O h.com/a a P B. All right. So let's get into Dr. Nicole's Notes. So my first one is that, listen, y'all, I know this podcast is great, but it is not enough. As Molly mentioned, you need childbirth education. You need a structured program to help walk you through what to expect in the hospital, especially with labor, with birth questions, to ask all of those things. And you're not gonna get that in week to week podcast episodes that vary by topic. The difference between the podcast and a childbirth education pro uh, program is that it's a structured, um, content. It's a structured, organized way to take you through and really get you fully, fully, fully prepared for birth.

Nicole: I invite you if you like the podcast, I invite you to check out the Birth Preparation Course cuz if you like the podcast. You'll like the course, it's much more of me on video, um, visual elements as well, guides, and things to download. So you can check out the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. But even if you don't like the Birth Preparation Course, I encourage you to find something you're gonna be in so much better shape when you go through a structured childbirth education program. Okay. Dr. Nicole's Notes, number two, nice and supportive ain't the same thing. Okay. So Molly said her doctor was nice. She thought they got along and she thought that she was being supportive when she said, oh, you don't have to worry about something like childbirth education. But that obviously was not the case. Nice and supportive are not the same thing.

Nicole: So do not think that just because you have a nice person in front of you, that is your doctor, that is your midwife, that they are always going to look out for your best interests. The reality is that you need to take it upon yourself to educate yourself, ask questions. So you know that your doctor and the hospital are on this side with the things that are important for you and your birth is just not enough to know that somebody's nice. It just doesn't cut it. I wish it did, but it doesn't. So you really need to take that structured approach. So you find people who are truly supportive of the things that are important to you. And again, that's what child birth education can do for you. And point number three is that you may not know what questions to ask. I wanna reiterate that that's something that Molly said is that she just really didn't even know what questions to ask.

Nicole: And you may not know what you don't know yet. Another reason why childbirth education is so important, it's gonna help, you know, the important questions to ask so that you are the most informed participant in your care. And you can advocate for the things that are important to you and your partner can advocate for the things that are important to you too. You really should go through childbirth education ideally together. And the last thing I'll say is that a great labor and delivery nurse can make all the difference. Nurse Jackie made a huge difference for Molly. And I wanna say that if you have a nurse who is not supporting you in a way that you think you should be supportive, supported, then you can always ask for another nurse, don't be afraid to pull the charge nurse aside. The charge nurse is the nurse on the shift who's responsible for everyone and is literally in charge. They don't have a patient. Um, they don't have patients that they're taken care of. So ask to speak to the charge nurse, discuss your concerns, and you can ask for a different nurse if you need to. Okay, so there you have it. Couple quick things, share this with a friend, if you like it, sharing is caring. It helps the show to grow. It helps me to do what I love to do, which is reach as many pregnant folks as possible. So do share this episode with a friend or the podcast in general with a friend, also subscribe to the podcast, in Apple Podcast or wherever you're listening to this podcast right now. And I love it. If you leave a review and Apple Podcast in particular helps the show to grow. And I love hearing what you have to say about the show.

Nicole: One more thing you can do. If you want to get additional information beyond what we do here in the podcast is join my email list. You can go to drnicolerankins.com/email. You'll get my weekly email that contains a helpful tip of information. It contains, um, uh, like a quote to, uh, sort of inspire you. And I send like things like discounts and sales through email. I typically don't mention those on the podcast. So being on the email list is the best way to learn about those things. So definitely check that out. drnicolerankins.com/email. I never spam folks. I never sell your information. So you definitely don't have to worry about that. All right. So that's it for this episode do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.

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