Ep 169: Meghan’s Birth Story – A Feminine Birthing Experience

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This episode is being brought to you by Ellement prenatal supplements.

I talk a lot about how all birth is natural and having a cesarean is no exception. I’ve had two myself, after all. Today’s guest, Meghan, opted for a semi-elective gentle cesarean. In this episode she gets into what that looked like for her and why she made the decisions she did.

Now, Meghan’s birth story takes place in Texas. During her pregnancy she had a scare with a potential genetic issue. Her story brings into sharp focus how Roe v. Wade can directly impact the safety of birthing people and the decisions families are able to make. If you want to help, please support reputable organizations.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What a semi-elective gentle cesarean is
  • Why Meghan chose to switch care teams early on and how it impacted her delivery
  • Why she encourages that everyone get an amnio (amniocentesis) if they want to - it’s pretty simple
  • Why she leaned towards a c-section from the outset
  • How she and her doctor made a birth plan together
  • How Meghan and her husband chose to incorporate working with a doula

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 169: Meghan’s Birth Story – A Feminine Birthing Experience

Nicole: And just a quick note, we had a little trouble with the audio on this episode. So forgive me that it's not the usual quality, but I promise that the content is still great. What is a semi elective cesarean? Well, you will learn that in today's birth story episode, that is being brought to you by Ellement prenatal supplements. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Well, hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 169. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being here with me today. In today's episode of the podcast, we have a fantastic birth story from Meghan. Meghan is an urban planning consultant. She is based in Texas and she gave birth to her first child back in November, 2021. She's gonna share that story with us today. We're gonna chat about how she decided to have a semi elective gentle C-section and you'll hear exactly what that means in the episode. And she did that because of a history of past trauma, and she also did it with an incredible all woman hospital team. That was really, really important to her to have all female providers. We're also gonna talk about how she decided to have an amniocentesis in her second trimester, what that experience was like for her, but then overall, how she had just a really positive birth and postpartum experience.

Nicole: Overall things just went really, really well. So there is so much delightful information in this episode about being empowered about using your choice. And I know that you are going to find it helpful. Now, speaking of empowered, I have a resource beyond this podcast to really help you be empowered with the information you need, both during your pregnancy and birth. It's called the Inner Circle Membership. It's a monthly membership where you get access to bonus podcast episodes. You get all 100 and now nearly 70 episodes of this podcast organized in a way so you can go through it. That's really useful for you. You get access to live classes taught once a month by me also live office hours, where you can ask me anything about pregnancy and birth, and then you get access to a private Facebook group, community supportive judgment, free community. That's just really, really great as you go through your pregnancy and birth.

Nicole: It's a great next step after the podcast. Right now, the Inner Circle is closed, but I'm gonna open it back up sooner than I thought. So if you head to my email list, drnicolerankins.com/email hop on my email list, and you'll be the first to know when the Inner Circle Membership opens up again. Now, before we get into the episode, let me just talk for a quick moment about prenatal vitamins and prenatal supplements. We always recommend prenatal vitamins. It's important that you start taking them, ideally at least three months before you get pregnant. But as we all know, there's like 50 11 different types of prenatal vitamins and supplements out there, and it can be so confusing to decide which one is right for you. And so that's why I have been really excited to talk about the podcast sponsor that we have right now, Ellement. They have created the first ever personalized prenatal supplement, takes the stress out of the process. It's a twice daily packet. It was actually designed by physicians by maternal fetal medicine specialist. And the supplement is customized not only for each person, but it changes over time, depending on where you are in your pregnancy. I think that is super duper cool. So every pregnancy is unique. Your prenatal should be too. So visit helloellement.com that's Ellement with two LS, E L L E M E N t.com and join the wait list today. All right, let's get into this great birth story episode with Meghan.

Nicole: Thanks so much, Meghan, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am excited to have you come on and share your story. It's a little bit different than what we've talked about in the past.

Meghan: Yeah, thanks for having me. Um, I'm happy to be here and, um, I'm excited to share it cuz it is a little different.

Nicole: Absolutely. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your family?

Meghan: I'm an urban planning consultant. So I work, um, on city problems kind of across the United States. Um, and my husband is in residential construction. He's mostly carpenter everything from furniture to remodels. Um, and we live in San Antonio, Texas. Um, we had lived in Austin for eight years before that, and then we're both, um, I'm from Missouri and he's from Tennessee.

Nicole: Gotcha, gotcha. Gotcha. And Austin is a great city. So I hear, I don't know as much about San Antonio. How do you like it?

Meghan: Um, adored Austin. We left to get into the housing market. Um, the classic story San Antonio's been an adjustment. Um, it's quite a bit more conservative, which has been a struggle. Um, but we're back in Austin a lot, a lot we're close and we're just kind of in flux right now trying to figure out our next move.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. All right. So let's go ahead and hop into your story. Why don't we start off by having you tell us a bit about your pregnancy and your prenatal care, who did you see for your pregnancy and what was your prenatal care like?

Meghan: Sure. Um, so I saw an OB GYN group of four women. Um, they were actually the second office that I was with. I switched early, like at eight weeks. Mm.

Nicole: What made you switch?

Meghan: Yeah, I was just fully adamant that I wanted a woman running the show for the birth. Um, got it. And there were men in the practice. So I looked specifically for, um, a woman only practice and I found four women. Um, they actually deliver at the downtown children's hospital. Um, and they were, I had, I felt very great there immediately. Um, a lot of evidence based stuff, it kind of felt like women just doing what they wanted and what they thought was best as doctors the whole time, which I just felt really secure with.

Nicole: Oh, that's really nice. That's really nice. And is there any particular reason why you wanted only, uh, women providers?

Meghan: Uh, I've seen enough? Um, uh, just like I'm good.

Nicole: Yeah. Gotcha.

Meghan: Just gut feeling. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. I hear you. I hear you. And there's, there's no, you know, that's a reason enough reason enough. Um, I know I personally prefer female providers as well, just because I don't know, just makes me feel more comfortable. So, um, did you have any problems or issues during your pregnancy at all?

Meghan: Well, I wanna talk a little bit about, um, a genetic scare that we had.

Nicole: Um, yeah, let's talk about it.

Meghan: Yeah. So, um, I will say first off I was incredibly nauseous for the first trimester. Um, really difficult to work and then probably still pretty nauseous through the entire pregnancy. So that was something that was really hard to deal with and probably my most like pressing day to day symptom. Um, but other than that, so we had the N I P T test, the maternity 21 at about 12 or 13 weeks and that was normal and fine. Um, so we kind of, you know, let that go. And, um, I live in Texas, so this is, you know, a pressing issue to think about, um, for women. And so we kind of let that piece go. And then, um, at about 18 weeks we had our anatomy scan and they found a few soft markers, um, of possible genetic issues. So they found, um, an EIF in his heart, which is a little calcium deposit.

Meghan: And then, um, his kidneys were mild, mildly dilated. And so, um, you know, we were referred to maternal fetal medicine, again, a wonderful woman provider. I'm happy to we recommend these, um, women to anyone in San Antonio if they'd like to contact me. Um, but, and then we decided to do an Amnio just being, um, we're very, we're pro-choice we wanted to put our best genes forward. Um, we're probably only having one child. Um, and so we just felt pretty strongly about that. So we went ahead with the Amnio and the Amnio was actually simple, um, easy. I had no symptoms and then we got all of our results back and, um, baby's totally fine. So it was interesting in that, you know, I, I, I did feel like somewhat like soft markers are, felt like a bit of a gray area from what they were telling me.

Meghan: They weren't like, this means anything or this doesn't mean anything. He was growing really well, hands opening, you know, things like that. Um, but also we just are kind of like, I didn't wanna wonder, I didn't wanna spend any time after birth, um, you know, looking at him weird or like trying figure out things like that. Um, and I will say, I feel like, you know, Amnio, especially when they're done in maternal fetal medicine and, you know, they, I they've, I guess been being done for a while. Um, the risk is just so low. I just feel like that's what I communicate to my girlfriends now, like, is like, I would just do an Amnio, like, it didn't feel if, if that's really important to you, it didn't feel as, um, scary and such as it was like in my mom's generation and statistically that's not the case as well.

Nicole: Yep, absolutely. Um, I agree. I, I had an Amnio for my first one because she had this intestinal affirmation and obviously neither one of us can speak for what every single person will feel, but it really is pretty simple. It's just like a needle and it's just like bloop and it's pretty quick and easy.

Meghan: Yeah, it was. And, and I, you know, first time mama was very scared. So I made my husband take off work for a few days and that was completely unnecessary. Like just relaxed. It was fine.

Nicole: Yeah. Exactly. Well, I'm glad everything turned out well, but you're right. There are some very serious implications for if, um, you know, God forbid somebody has something that's a problem with the pregnancy and the limitations on their choices of what they can do about it is a very serious concern right now.

Meghan: Absolutely. And I mean, we had, at that point, like, you know, we had identified an, a place in New Mexico, you know, and had called them just to say, Hey, we don't know, but like, we wanna know we're in good hands, right. If we have to do this. And, um, I mean, my doctors were just incredible. I don't wanna like, um, they were just really incredible people, as far as letting me know my options within the bounds of like what we could do, what, what Texas allows them to do. Right. Um, and so, you know, I felt, I did feel very cared for throughout the entire process. Even if the procedures available to my doctors in Texas are limited.

Nicole: That's that's, that's, um, that's great that you felt cared for. And you felt like you had all of the options that you knew about all of the options. And, um, it sounds like you were in a place that you, if you needed to, you had the resources where you could take advantage of some of those options, but not everyone has that, unfortunately.

Meghan: And that's why I think just donations to like abortion funds in these states are just, I think that's the best way to get money into the hands of women.

Nicole: I cosign that 1000%. Yeah. Yeah. There's no need, we're going on a little bit of a tangent, but there's no need to, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. If you wanna help, then just give money to organizations that have been doing this work for a long time.

Meghan: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. Okay. So getting back to the rest of your pregnancy was everything else otherwise okay.

Meghan: Yeah, we, um, I mean, honestly, just the nausea, my body felt fantastic. Um, I was in pretty good shape going into it. Um, I didn't really keep up much exercise besides walking just cuz of my horrific nausea, but my, my body felt really good. I say my bones and stuff felt really good, but then nausea was just really debilitating. Um, horrible. Like my husband would have to line up trays of crackers and hope I could eat 'em. Aw. Um, so that, that was just really, really, really hard. Um, but otherwise, no, we had the amnio we felt a lot of relief after that. Um, and we're just looking towards a birth.

Nicole: Nice, nice. So not vomiting, just nausea,

Meghan: Some vomiting, definitely. Okay. I do travel for work and COVID was kind of opening up back then. Um, and I had been vaccinated, so, uh, the depressurization of airplanes and stuff like that would really bother me. Um, and just sometimes I would just projectile. So, um, a little bit of both, but not enough vomiting to where I wasn't getting, you know, that I was like not getting fluids or stuff like that, but just like heavy nausea constantly.

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

Meghan: So I've been kind of a birth person for a while. Um, I actually wasn't sure if I wanted kids, I was just interested in it as like something that only women could do. So, um, I've been a volunteer doula in the past in Austin with, um, gals giving Austin labor support listened to a ton of birth hour ton about, you know, this podcast, all podcasts. Um, so I was kind of open minded, um, that said like, so I am, yeah, I was just really open-minded about it as we got closer, um, a little bit about my past, so I have a history of recurrent UTIs. Okay. Until about two and a half, three years ago when I, uh, found this is I hate to say that this is like a product that helped me, but it is right. Um, I found this product Uqora that, um, their system works for me.

Meghan: And, um, I'm happy to share more if anybody wants to talk about that. Cause it, yeah. What is it called? It's called Uqora I think is how you pronounce it. U Q O R a. Okay. Um, it's a system it's basically like some supplements. And then, um, a, I think what I think what helps most for me is this drink that you can drink, like after sex or after exercise or whatever you get dehydrated and it basically just shoves D Manos and a diuretic through your system. Ah, um, and that really has been great for me. Like that's what I needed. Um, so I've actually like tapered down from the system a little bit now with some of the supplements now that I'm feeling really recovered, but that was about two and a half, three years ago that I started to get better from that.

Meghan: And so I am just incredibly protective of my urethra, my perineum, my vagina, like I'm very attached to my sex life and I just really became scared of any damage. Okay. Um, and so I, and that said, um, and so I had, you know, I, I was kind of open to C-section and kind of interested in it just because that was the part. And so I came to my doctor's and said this, and she's like, you know, statistically, you're better off with the vaginal birth. Um, but I wanna like talk about this trauma and like, you know, understand that it that's affecting you and things like that. Um, and she's like, we know you only want one child. Um, so she had a good conversation with me about it. What we kind of agreed upon is that I would try vaginal if everything's going perfect.

Meghan: We'll just keep 'em rolling. Um, and then if there's any stalling or anything like that I ever decided I wanna C-section, we can just do that. Um, so I really, I felt really prepared and kind of for all the options. Um, we really didn't, we, we felt just that we wanted to trust our doctors, like right. They had been really, they had been really supportive with the evidence based stuff like this hospital does skin to skin automatically, C-section or otherwise, breastfeeding's really, um, encouraged, like, so I felt like all, I just felt really supported and I felt like it was a good mix of like science and, you know, more midwife doula that kind of based, um, I felt great in the hands of women. So I, we just kind of went open minded.

Nicole: I, I love that. Which is how it should be, that you should feel supported and prepared for all of the options based on yeah. Based on evidence. So you don't felt like, I, I know when some OB GYNs like push back against the thought of an elective C-section but you don't feel like you encountered that?

Meghan: Um, no. And I feel like it's because the way my OB had, and I had been talking our whole pregnancy, like she knows, I respond to like, what are the latest studies? What are you seeing in your work? Um, so she kind of responded with a mix of that and was like, statistically, you know, you're less likely to bleed out and all these things with a vaginal you're likely to recover faster, all these things she's like that said, I think you're a really good C-section candidate. Um, and if you want that, I wanna respect it. So she's like, so it was kind of like a, a bit of a plan we came up with together.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. So what are some things otherwise that you wanted for your birth?

Meghan: Um, again, I mean, I just wanted two women run. I wanted my, I wanted my partner to feel really good and included and he's like an incredible partner. So, um, he, he did or, um, that was just really important. I wanted him to feel calm. Um, um, and I just really wanted to feel like I, I was so ready to not be pregnant. Like I, I, that was my biggest, like, I just was not my best self when I was at nauseous. Like I was not my best self when I was staring down this life changing medical event for nine months, you know, like I, we were just ready to rip the bandaid off and see, you know, what birth and parenthood and all that were like. Gotcha. Um, so we're just tired of the anticipation. So really we were just like, we just wanted to not be pregnant. Um, you know, I, I just, I know I didn't wanna feel violated you, you know, um, again, like my, you know, the basics that you asked for from birth that I just kind of took advantage from, from having these great OBs, you know, asking before you do something to me or touch me, or, you know, explaining it, things like that. Um,

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. I love it. I love it. So, um, oh my brain, I was here to ask, oh, I was gonna ask, did you have a doula? Did you, because you were a volunteer doula, what were your thoughts on having a doula?

Meghan: Um, so we were kind of looking at the budget of this whole thing. Um, and we knew that since we didn't have a specific birth plan slash might be getting a C-section slash I know a lot about birth. My husband is a lot that we felt like we would be better served in our journey at getting a postpartum doula and then also financing, um, six weeks of him being off work.

Nicole: That is smart.

Meghan: So, so yeah, because we, we just were kind of like, if we're looking down a little bit of possibly a med more medical birth anyways, um, you know, and I love, I love like obviously I was a volunteer doula. Like I love supporting women in natural birth if that's what they want. Like, you know, just that's I was a little bit less like that, and I'm just, I felt really good with my doctors. Um, we toured the hospital. It's only women nurses. Like there were literally not gonna be any men there.

Meghan: And in the building or in the wing. And, um, except for fathers obviously, but, um, sorry, I lost my train of thought. No,

Nicole: You were just saying that that's why you felt like you probably didn't need a doula during.

Meghan: Yeah. But I was really worried about after, um, I felt like there was so much information to know about babies that we had that like, I couldn't focus on cause we were too sick or just like I was too sick or just like hanging on, you know? And so I felt like I wanted someone that could say like, oh, this is going right. Or this is going wrong. Who just knew, um, I was worried about my recovery, especially if I was thinking about having a C-section. Um, so yeah, we just had a postpartum doula and then finance, you know, him being off for six weeks.

Nicole: Yep. That's, that's really smart. And that you, you thought about that to, to plan that in advance. So let's get to what your labor and birth was like, what happened with your labor and birth?

Meghan: Sure. So, um, I, our plan was to induce at 39 weeks. Again, that was something that like I wanted, like, I was thrilled that the arrive study a little bit backed me up and I could use it, but like, I was just feeling so horrific and so anxious about the birth and so done. And I was like, and he was already a very large baby. Um, and I know that like, you know, that's not an induction reason. The large babies are vaginally birthed all the time. You know, like this is just a work for me. Um, and so we induced and like our kind of our, our plan was to try, um, you know, Cervidil and try, um, Pitocin over time. Um, and see if it worked and then if not do a C-section. So we did a trial of labor for 24 hours. Um, and we nothing happened. I was on the highest doses of Pitocin. Um, and he just, I was sitting there calmly. I had no contractions, nothing like that. Okay. Um, and then we did a C-section. Okay.

Nicole: Okay. So you were like 24 hours. I'll give it, if we're not seeing then you were fine with the C-section.

Meghan: Yeah, pretty much. Um, and he was, he had no heart rate variations. He was just chilling in there, which now that I know him, like, of course that's what he is doing.

Nicole: Isn't it funny? How they, the inside, like how they are when you're pregnancy is how they are. Yeah. In so many ways when they're born.

Meghan: It's so crazy. Yeah. Um, so we just did 24 hours and like, we were getting tired and I knew I wanted to like be awake and I want, I wanted to be able to feed and, um, like, you know, do things like that when he was born. So we were kind of getting to the point where we were like, okay, you know, we've got like probably six to seven, eight hours left before we like, physically are gonna need to sleep. So like, right. Let's get the show on the road. And, um, yeah. And then we, I, it was actually not my OB cuz she had been up all night with me. It was, um, you know, her partner who I'd already met and was happy to have do my surgery. And um, we, we, um, yeah, we just kind of went with, went in and did it.

Nicole: Um, now were you feeling anything after the, like if, if after the 24 hours, like things had started, do you feel like you would've kept going or her, or had like nothing started?

Meghan: Nothing had started and I felt like I would've kept going and I sort of was like, should we go home? And like, oh, you know, is this a sign that he's not ready? But I just, again, like I was so nauseated and like I was also having, like, I had a lot of trouble breathing at the end. Um, cuz I just, I guess I ran out of face. Um, and like I felt like I couldn't take a full breath and I was just really done. So I was kind of like, oh I think this is a sign. Um, and I think probably what influence is one, a good friend of mine had had a vaginal birth three months earlier and had, which I know statistically is low, but like a really bad recovery. Ah and I would, and then given my, you know, my ETI concerns and all that, I was just like, I felt like maybe it was kind of a sign to just go for it. But yeah, no, I think, I think that was the, the goal of things that start going. It definitely would've like stuck with it. I was ready to get an, you know, an epidural, um, or anything like that as needed. Gotcha.

Nicole: Gotcha. Yeah. So how was the C-section for you?

Meghan: Um, I mean I was very nervous. I'm like kind of a medical nervous person anyways. Um, but there was this nurse, um, named Shelby who was just like a freaking angel. Um, she was, she was pregnant too, but she just was like, no, we're gonna do great. This is routine. Um, like told me the things I needed to hear um, and then the anes and she like held me during my spinal block, um, which is just a crazy feeling. And then the anesthesiologist was also really good. Um, actually that was a man. Oh my gosh. I hadn't thought about that. He didn't seem like scared to ask. He didn't seem like a man. I mean he seemed like a man, but I, God, I didn't even think about that. Um, wow. Yeah, you're right. Yeah. Um, and so yeah, he, but he was just really great and explained things and I think he'd been working with that team for a really long time.

Meghan: Okay. Um, actually there was a nurse there who he'd done her anesthesia for her C-section and said the nurses like pick him. So he just, he just knew, I guess, you know, a feminine vibe that I wanted. Um, and so he was really good. And then honestly, as soon as they got, um, you know, so they, I guess you, I guess I should tell more of the story. Yeah. So I just, um, she came in and she was like, okay, we're gonna get started. And um, and soon later she, yeah, here's a baby. You hear it? Like you hear it. Yeah. She just kept, she, she was like, okay, you're gonna feel some tugging. And I was like, okay. Um, and then, um, yeah, and then she just pulled him up and held him over the sheet and he was just looking at me and I just, and I actually just started screaming.

Meghan: Did you really? Yeah. Cause I just was like, oh my God. And then, um, and then they had him on my chest, like right away. Um, and he was crying and screaming. He's huge. And he was just, how much did he weigh? Well, he only weighed seven pounds. I don't know why that was my memory that he was huge, but I think I was just shocked that that was inside of me. Right, right, right. Yeah. Seven pounds, eight ounces. And then, um, they brought him over and um, they just, yeah. I remember them sewing me up and I, I remember, I think I felt really, I felt really good immediately. Like I felt, I didn't feel nauseous right anymore. Right. I think, I guess it's when they got the placenta out. I'm not sure. Yep. I felt like I could breathe. Um, which is crazy cuz I was numb from the chest down, but I finally felt like I could breathe a little bit.

Meghan: Um, I actually was like, okay, I'll carry the baby out of the OR right. Is what I told them I was going to do. And they were like, well, no, you're not gonna do that. They're like you just had surgery. So maybe not, but thanks for offering. Yeah, no, I felt great. And my husband was there and he was, he was looking at the baby and was like, this is so cool. And um, and like my heart rate was getting really, you know, getting excitable and he was like, I really want you to try to, the anesthesiologist was like, I really want you to try to control your heart rate, heart rate with your breathing right now. Um, case he's like, I don't think I need to give you medicine, but like I think you're just excited. Gotcha. And, and so, you know, I was like looking at my husband, the baby and just breathing. Um Aw. Yeah. And so it was really good. And so, um, we went to recovery and again, like Shelby or you probably have to edit that out, but um, my nurse, no, you can say you can. Okay. So her name, so her Shelby was amazing. Um, I was in recovery and right away they put him, you know, he was put on me when I got into the recovery room and he crawled up me, did the breast crawl, um, latched right on, um, and started drinking colostrum. Yeah.

Nicole: Oh that's awesome. Awesome. Yeah. And it's hard because, uh, C-section feels weird because you know, having had two, um, the, you know, something is happening down there, but you can't feel it. It's sort of weird. So I understand that weird feeling of what, what you mean. And then also that joy of seeing your baby is, is really, um, really exciting. So it's great that they showed you the baby and you had skin to skin and all of those good, great things.

Meghan: Yeah. And I mean, I just feel like after the pregnancy of like the genetic scare and then me just being so sick, it almost felt like there had to be something wrong in some ways like, and even though we'd had an Amnio, so we knew like my scientific brain knew, but I was just so just for him to come and like be great and need nothing and know exactly what to do was just like pretty awesome.

Nicole: Right, right, right. Love it. Love it. Love it. And how, what was your recovery like from the C-section?

Meghan: Yeah, so, um, we stayed in the hospital for 24 hours. I actually requested to go home early. Um, well

Nicole: You went home after 24 hours.

Meghan: We did. Um, and we,

Nicole: After a C-section

Meghan: After a C-section and um, I was, so it was, my recovery was incredible and I don't wanna, like, I don't know what, I didn't do anything special. I don't think, I mean, I can share what worked for me, but like, right. Um, I was up, I was ordering food right away, as soon as we got into the ho into postpartum room. Right. Um, because I was just starving and I was hungry for the first time. Um, so ate a lot of food and I was badgering them to get up and walk around. Right. Because I just felt like I wanted to. Right. And they were like, come on. They were like, well, you need to wait till the catheter's out. And like, I understand what they're doing, but I was just kind of like, I feel really good. I wanna get up, I wanna take a shower, you know? Um, and so I was up and walking around, um, and then I was just like, is it possible? And they were, and then my doctor, I guess said, so we were, I guess we were home 30 hours after he was born. So yeah, not quite 20. Yeah.

Nicole: Okay. I thought I was doing something cuz I left post op day two, like two days afterwards, early in the morning, I was like, I'm outta here. I'm done with this hospital business. Yes. Let me out like, so I even had them, I had staples and I was like, give me a staple removal. And I teach my husband how to take my staples off so I understand wanting to get outta the hospital.

Meghan: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. But wow. 30 hours is pretty fast. Did you feel okay when you came home?

Meghan: I felt fantastic. And um, you know, at the hospital they gave me like a stomach binder, which I thought really helped.

Nicole: Yes. I love that.

Meghan: Yeah. Um, we pushed the baby around, like in the cart, um, in a lot in the hospital and it was great. Um, something I wanna mention, I guess, about our hospital stay is so we, we, um, were kind of knew we were gonna combo feed the whole time. Um, as you know, we just, that was our plan going forward. Um, we knew the benefits of breastfeeding. We knew the benefits of colostrum and wanted hold in our baby to have that. Right. Um, but we also just knew that we like, we wanted to make it, we wanted to like set up a really pleasant time with our baby. Um, you know, and like my husband being off work and having saved, saved money for him to be able to do that. And so we just felt like formula would help us and it really, really did.

Meghan: Okay. Um, it was, it was kind of felt like the best of both world. I couldn't find a lot of information on it. Um, but at the hospital they were actually really supportive of that too. Despite me being a little nervous about that, cuz it's a baby friendly hospital um, which can mean a little bit of intensity about breastfeeding, but here it really just meant support, um, if you wanted it. And so he had donor milk in the hospital, which my husband would feed him when I was sleeping or bathing or whatever. Um, and then the rest of the time he breast fed.

Nicole: Okay. They gave you donor milk in the hospital?

Meghan: They did. Um, well I, so I signed off on it cuz we knew we were educated about it and preferred the donor milk. Um, but they would've offered formula too. If we wanted it. We actually were looking for donor milk for when we leave the hospital to also support, but that was hard. And um, so we just combo formula

Nicole: That is so unusual that they give donor milk to full term babies. Like it's often reserved.

Meghan: Oh really? For premies yeah, no. Um, they had told us in our newborn class actually at that hospital that, uh, they would prefer to give donor milk because of their baby friendly hospital. But if we interesting needed formula, they could do that.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. So you felt like your pain was well controlled from the surgery and things like that?

Meghan: I did. Um, I asked for, they asked me, I guess after 12 or 14, if I wanted another re-up and I was starting to get pretty painful, um, on like the, if they, or the, if they wanted, if I wanted the narcotics, basically I don't even what they were. I said, yeah, I'll take one more. And then I think when we got home, I was on like the, um, Tylenol slash codeine pills, um, for, I think it took like three or four doses. So 2, 2, 2, 3 days. And then I stayed on the, um, prescription Advil for maybe two weeks.

Nicole: Okay.

Meghan: Um, maybe week and a half, something like that, but it was pretty well controlled. I mean, I remember it burning, um, and things like that, but I was more just concerned, like with being so excited to eat and like see the baby and like feel good and just also kind of feeling, um, a little bit grossed out by the bleeding like, like, so those were so I, I felt like almost like the pain was just secondary to those kind of things. Gotcha.

Nicole: Yeah. Gotcha. So when did your postpartum doula come?

Meghan: Um, so she came about 20, within 24 hours after we got home. Um, and then she came a few more times over the next few over the next week, but then we sort of said, you know, we're doing fine. My husband's at home and he's great. He did all the overnights for six weeks. Um, like he's, he's a fantastic partner. Um, I was recovering, well, I was sleeping in hours a night, so we actually banked some of her time for when he went back to work. Ah, and then had the rest of her time come after six weeks. Um, because we were honestly like, it was so crazy. I don't know. Like they say that you'll know what to do. I know that sounds insane. Like when people would say that to me, I was pregnant, I would get so mad. I'm like, like what the?

Meghan: Um, but no, you just do. And like, it was almost like, and I was, I felt like I was really concerned during pregnancy about not having enough help after. And so I actually was the opposite. I wanted everyone to leave, like, except for my husband and I like, we were fine. Right. Yeah. So like, that's just, that is a possibility, um, for that to happen, but no, my due was great. She was like, yeah, y'all are doing just fine. Like I'll come back when you're, he's like, you know, eight to 10 weeks and maybe you're wanting to run out and get a coffee or, you know, something like that. And I can sit with him. Um, and so it worked out fine.

Nicole: Awesome. And were you pumping or breastfeeding?

Meghan: No. So I never pumped and that was kind of what we didn't wanna deal with, um, with doing combo feeding. So, um, so no, we never really pumped. I would use like a haka and stuff. Okay. Um, and things like that, but I, um, I, um, was always just either I would, I settled into kind of two feeds a day at the breast. Um, and then the rest would do formula.

Nicole: Okay. All right. And then when did you go back to work?

Meghan: Um, so I am fortunate spent for America. Um, I had 13 weeks of leave. Um, I worked that's nice. Yeah. I worked for a majority woman company, a pretty progressive company. Um, again, probably while I wanted a woman only OB team is my experience working mostly with women, um, is fantastic. So, um, I had 13 weeks and then I went back, which is what I'm still doing. Um, he's about to turn 8 months, but, um, working from home and doing childcare, um, with the support of my mom. So I have my mom in town and she does, um, two weeks on usually of full-time care. Okay. And so I try to shove any of my work, travel important meetings, anything in those two weeks and then anywhere from three to four weeks off where I do work from home and childcare. Gotcha. Yes. Gotcha. So it's two very different.

Nicole: Yes. So how do you feel about it? Oh, I guess I should ask. Did you have any issues with postpartum depression or anything like that?

Meghan: I felt fantastic postpartum. Those hormones are like the best drug there is. Um, I felt great. I was so thrilled to not be pregnant. I was so thrilled that he was doing well. I was so thrilled. My husband was bonding and being such a great partner. Like it was great. Um, but I, so I actually, I went to a pelvic floor, physical therapist, um, twice postpartum and I think it was really integral with my healing. Um, so I didn't really actually have any damage in my, like I said, you know, my vagina and like perineum, anything like that. Right. But she did a lot of scar massage, um, type stuff with me and taught me how to do that, which I think has been really great. Um, and so going to her and kind of, um, doing that postpartum was great. And then also my OB just wanted to let my pelvic floor physical therapist sign off on my exercise cuz she was like, that's not my realm. Um, you know, I can sign off on you medically, but like body wise, I'd rather your PT. And so I went to her, um, and then I did the get mom strong program, which like it starts with just gentle breathing. Like that is the first set of exercises, belly breathing. It was a really gradual and really supportive, like kind of slow, um, slow kind of climb back into exercise that I felt was great and like super approachable. They're just small little things you can do, um, with the baby there or whatever.

Nicole: Nice, nice, nice, nice. So how are you, how do you feel about your birth than postpartum experience? Yeah,

Meghan: I mean, I feel I'm more tr I'm more traumatized by the pregnancy. Um, to be honest, like I feel really great about it. I feel supported. Um, I mean I think, you know, I mean I live in Texas, like, yeah, it's, it's not where you think about there being the best care, but I really feel like, you know, these, these women are down here doing good work because like they know they're the only ones that'll do it that way. And, and that's like, that's something I think about a lot as I'm like, you know, we're sitting here, we're like, why are really in Texas? You know, like, right. You know, like we're we gotta get outta here. And so I, so it's just, it was like, it was a really good lesson to me. And like, I think like really integral in my journey as a person to like work with them. Um, I feel really great. I feel, I feel a lot of anger still around, um, just the treatment of women in this country. And like, like, I mean, even going back at 13 weeks felt horrific. Like I was crying, like telling my husband, like let's just drive away and he's like, what are you talking about? You know, like, right. Um, you know, so like that was really hard. Um,

Nicole: But overall you

Meghan: Feel, yeah, I feel good. I feel good. I feel proud. Yeah. I felt good. I felt like, I feel like, especially in my, like I'm in a somewhat like, quote unquote, like I run with some crunchier type white folk, you know what I mean? You know,

Nicole: The vibe,

Meghan: Like I feel like, you know, I was, I was sort of proud of myself that I was like, you know, that I don't, I don't know. That's the best answer for me. Um, I think maybe a medical birth is for me and, um, I felt kind of proud of myself for like doing that. Absolutely. Yeah.

Nicole: Doing it in a way that felt good for you.

Meghan: Yeah. No. So it was it, I felt good about it. Um,

Nicole: I love it. Love it. Love it. And your point about your, um, doctors. That's one of the things that we talk about in our OB GYN circles and communities is is that some of us need to stay in places so that we can be a resource when folks don't have access to things. So that's just a reminder.

Meghan: Yeah, it is sure about that. And I felt very good that, you know, if like it was clear that I had the resources to travel, but like if I hadn't, I felt very good that they would've been able to connect me with them or like somehow outside of their jobs, you know, like outside of what they can legally do or like, you know, I just, that's kind of what I felt and that I, and I understand they're putting, like, in a lot of ways you can put yourself on the line by doing that 100%. Um, and that's, I don't know. It was just really inspiring.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. So what is the one piece of advice or one thing you would tell other women as they get ready for their birth?

Meghan: Yeah. Um, I mean, I think, I think there's been a lot of education education recently about how birth plans can be a little limiting in setting up for disappointment. So like that that's, that's what I would say, you know, like just be really flexible. And I mean, I just, I cringe when I hear people that say they don't trust their provider, I'm like, well, then get a new one. Right. Um, you know, even if they're 36 weeks or 37 weeks, like please, um, that's, that's really just what I would that's my advice is like, you know, like there's, there's no reason you can't jump around. I mean, I was fully prepared to jump around if I didn't like this, you know, the second one I tried, you know, so I would just say, make sure you can really, you feel good about it, whether that is, you know, a home birth with midwife or a C-section with an surgeon, you know, like the whole, the whole realm.

Nicole: Yep. I love it. I love it. So where can women connect with you? You can say nowhere. It's totally optional.

Meghan: Um, I put my Instagram on there. Okay.

Nicole: Yeah. So we'll put that in the shownotes.

Meghan: Yeah. Um, that's probably where I check messages the most. Um, so yeah. And I'm, I'm happy to share, you know, about anything. Um, I know like a lot, a lot of people struggle with UTI. So if anyone wants to talk about that, like right. And how it, how I change, like literally cured that it's kind of incredible. I didn't think that would happen for me. Um, I'm happy to talk about that.

Nicole: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for agreeing to come onto the podcast. Appreciate it was such great information that I know folks are gonna find useful.

Meghan: Yeah. Well thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.

Nicole: Okay. Wasn't that a great birth story episode? I just love how confident Meghan was in her choices and the things that she did for her birth and how everything turned out great for her in the end. Now, you know, after every episode, when I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's Notes, where I talk about my top takeaways from the episode. And before I get into Dr. Nicole's Notes, let me tell you a quick word about this week's podcast episode sponsor Ellement. I chatted with the founder before we decided that she wanted to, uh, sponsor the podcast. And let me tell you she's so really, really passionate and committed and dedicated to making a prenatal supplement. That is really, really top notch. This prenatal supplement that element provides is tailored for each person, whether you have certain dietary preferences, whether you have a high risk pregnancy, if you have nutritional deficiencies like low iron or vitamin D, your supplement can be adjusted to account for that.

Nicole: And it's adjusted every 30 days, every 30 days, they can adjust your prenatal protocol to make sure that it's still the best fit for you wherever you are in your journey. And not to mention element has exceptional ingredient quality, no fillers, no additives. The packaging is eco friendly too. So head to helloellement.com that's Ellement with two L's join their wait list today. Okay. So let's get to Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Meghan. Number one, I wanna circle back to the issue of genetic testing implications with Roe V Wade being overturned and how that is going to, or how that is re restricting abortion access in so many states. And I will, I have said this before, and I'll say this again, abortion should be available. It is not something that should be decided by the government. I don't believe. And this may surprise some folks that abortion should be available at any point in pregnancy.

Nicole: Like nobody should be able to abort a 36 week fetus, but I certainly believe that abortion should be available up until viability when the baby can survive outside of mom. And that's, you know, 24 to 20-24 weeks-ish. And then also for any lethal conditions that we know may arise during pregnancy, if it's later beyond 24 weeks, I talk more about abortion and episode 134 of the podcast. That episode came out obviously before Roe V. Wade was overturned, but I pride myself on taking what I believe is a balanced approach to abortion access and, and one that I believe most folks agree with. So if you wanna learn more about that than head to episode 134 of the podcast, okay, Dr. Nicole's Notes number two is I really love how Meghan thought carefully took a thoughtful approach to the resources that she had when she was thinking about getting a doula.

Nicole: And she ultimately decided that, you know, given the limitations on money and things like that, that postpartum doula was going to work best for her and her family. And that is so, so important. Everyone needs to take their own individual approach and think about what may work best for them. So, for example, if you know your husband, you think your husband's gonna be a rockstar in supporting you in the labor room. Maybe you do wanna postpartum doula. If you have a sister who could support you or something like that, maybe you wanna have a postpartum doula on the flip side, if you know, your husband's gonna be a hot mess express and not gonna be able to really give you the things that you need, just, you know, honest, thoughtful in inpe in introspection, I should say, then maybe you wanna decide that you do have a doula during your labor and birth.

Nicole: And that also goes for things like, you know, what things you buy. Can you borrow some things from people? Um, certainly G great to reuse some things during pregnancy. For example, breast pumps can be reused. You just need to change out all of the equipment and, and sterilize it. So just think about your resources and take a thoughtful approach to your resources and using the things that are around you. So you can be most efficient with what you have. All right. And the third thing I'm wanna talk about is labor induction, a couple things about labor induction. Um, there's a lot of like sometimes negative talk about labor induction, but I wanna be clear that if you wanna be induced 39 weeks or later, it's totally fine to be induced if that's what you wanna do. Okay. It's a personal choice. As long as you know, the risk, the benefits, the things that are involved, it is okay to be induced.

Nicole: If that's something that you wanna do, there's no shame or, or anything about being induced. So it's okay to be induced. You just need to go into it informed. Now you should not be pushed for induction. Like you shouldn't have to get an induction at 39 weeks. Some doctors are doing that, which is inappropriate, but if you wanna be induced, it's fine be induced. The other thing is that a lot of people don't realize is if the induction is not progressing, as long as your water isn't broken and your baby looks okay on the monitor looks healthy on the monitor. You can actually stop an induction. You don't have to keep going. If it's an elective induction, meaning it's an induction that's being done for not medical reasons. It's just because you're choosing to be in, to be induced. You know, if after 24 or 48 hours and nothing much is happening and again, baby looks good.

Nicole: Your water's not broken. You can stop an induction and you can come back in a few days and try again. So that's something that's always available as well. Now, if you wanna know more about labor induction, listen to episode 70 of the podcast, um, that's drnicolerankins.com/episode70, episodes spelled out and then seven zero. And I take a much deeper dive, uh, with labor induction inside the Birth Preparation Course, my online childbirth education class that gets you calm, confident, and empowered for your birth. You can check out all the details of the Birth Preparation Course and all the greatness that it offers at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right, so there you have it. Do me a solid y'all. Please share this podcast with a friend sharing is caring and it helps me reach and, and fulfill my purpose as of serving as many pregnant folks as possible.

Nicole: So share this podcast with a friend, also subscribe to the podcast, wherever you're listening to me right now, and leave a review in Apple Podcast from time to time. I do shout outs from those those reviews. And I'd just love to hear what you think about the show also to connect with me after the show. Come follow me on the gram. I'm on Instagram at Dr. Nicole Rankins slash no, sorry. Let me try that again. I'm on instagram @ instagram.com/drnicolerankins. I'm Dr. Nicole Rankins everywhere, actually Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, but come join me on Instagram, where I share more information and we can connect there outside of the podcast. So that is it for this episode, do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.