Ep 17: Birth Stories With Dr. Lulu

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again...birth story episodes are my favorite!

And this episode is packed full of amazing lessons and stories that all pregnant mamas-to-be should hear.

From an unplanned epidural free birth, gestational diabetes, honest feelings revealed over the disappointment of having three boys and no girls, to different experiences across three pregnancies and three deliveries...there’s a lil something for everyone!

My guest on this episode is Dr. Lulu, also known as Dr. Uchenna Umeh. She’s an expert pediatrician (or Momatrician as she is fondly called by her patients) whose experiences run the gamut of pregnancy and births!

Listen in to this episode as she shares her experiences and the lessons she learned that she’s using to help her patients 20 years later.

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Speaker 1: It's birth story time. You are going to enjoy this episode with Dr. Uchemma Umeh.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I'm your host Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified Ob Gyn physician, certified integrative health coach and creator of The Birth Preparation Course, an online childbirth education class that will leave you feeling knowledgeable, prepared, confident, and empowered going into your birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and it's not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.

Speaker 1: Hello everyone. Welcome to the podcast and thank you for spending some time with me today. On this episode of the podcast we have a birth story, and I have Dr. Uchemma Umeh Dr. LuLu as her patients fondly call her. She is a Nigerian born, board certified pediatrician with nearly 30 years of clinical experience. She likes to call herself a momatrician or a granddoctor to all of her patients who she has adopted along the way in her practice. She doesn't practice actually these days. Today she focuses on helping teenss navigate mental health issues with depression and anxiety and self harming behavior all to help prevent teen suicide. She especially focuses on this in the minority community. So she helps parents and their children navigate these waters of bullying and depression again so they don't end up as victims of of suicide.

Speaker 1: Dr. Lulu lives in San Antonio, Texas with her wife and life partner Linda and their three sons, two of whom are now in college, and they also have a rat terrier mix. Now, although it's been some years since Dr. Lulu gave birth, you are going to find that what she talks about is helpful and relatable. You'll see that some things about birth are really constant over time. She also has a very lovely voice and such a great energy and you are going to enjoy hearing from her.

: Now before I get into the episode, let me give a quick shout out to everyone who has joined me from hearing me on the Evidence Based Birth Podcast. I've heard from lots of folks who heard me there and have now come to check out my podcast. So thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here. Evidence Based Birth is a great resource. It's a website that has unbiased research based information for pregnancy and birth. It's something that I refer to very often as a great place for information for pregnant women and the founder was kind enough to have me on her podcast, so go check out her podcast is called evidence based birth guys, if you haven't heard of it before. But again thank you to the folks who have found me through hearing me on that show and I'm actually going to have the founder of Evidence Based Birth, Rebecca Decker, on the podcast next week.

: Okay, so let's get back to this week's episode of the podcast. It's a birth story episode. You're going to enjoy it. So without further ado, let's hear from Doctor Lulu about her three birth stories.

: Nicole: High Uchemma. Thank you so much for being here today.

: Uchemma: Thank you so much for having me. Good morning.

: Nicole: Good morning to you too. And I mentioned in the introduction that you're a pediatrician, but today you're really talking about your experience, not so much as a pediatrician, but your experience as a woman who has given birth. So how about we start with you telling us a little bit about you and your family.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: So, I was married to my ex husband for 13 years and then we got divorced and I'm remarried. I have a wife now.

: Nicole: Okay.

: Uchemma: We've been married for about five years. We're going to be six years this June, this July, June, July. And we have three boys between the two parents, both my ex husband and my wife. So the three boys, the oldest is 21, the middle guys, 18 and then the baby's 14. So we have that semi blended family. Their dad lives in Maryland. He doesn't visit too often, but he's in their lives. And then of course my wife is the excellent and the one that always lets them get away with everything. So it's working and we like that.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay. So now how many children have you personally given birth to?

: Uchemma: All three boys are mine.

: Nicole: All three boys are yours. Okay. Okay. So why don't you tell us a little bit about, give us a little summary about each one of your births.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: So my first son was obviously my first birth and he came in on time, I think he was like seven days late or something like that. But otherwise he was pretty much on time. I had no epidural for any of my children. For the first boy, I was going to get the epidural, but by the time I guess I went in labor and well, I thought I was in labor. It was my first labor, but I thought I was in labor and the ladies were like, no, you're not in labor. You've got to walk around.

Speaker 1: Nicole: And that's a pretty common thing that happens to women the first time that they're in labor. But they're, they're actually not quite yet.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: So I walked around, maybe, I don't know, a couple of hours and then we came back and said, okay, we'll check you and see if you've dilated a little bit. And if you haven't then you can go home. And then I went from, "you're not in labor" to "Oh my God, you're fully dilated". What?

: Nicole: Oh Wow.

: Uchemma: There was no time to get an epidural, which was the original plan was to get an epidural, but then there was no time. They're like, oh my God, we got to get the doctor. I'm like, what? Yeah. I told you guys I was hurting or something like that. And then he came. So because I didn't get an epidural with him, I decided not to get an epidural with the other two. So that's how come I'm a natural birther or kind of by design I guess it was meant to happen.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: And with his brother. Well, what it was, he was due September 12th. I remember that because of the September 11, but also because my sister in law was born on September 11th. So she kept making a big fuss. "Oh I know he's going to come on my birthday." But somewhere along the line, a friend of mine, another doctor, actually the first suicide in my life, took her life about six weeks before his due date. And so that threw me into labor, early labor. I didn't think it was real. I was like, no, he's too, it's too soon, there's six weeks. And then so I got ready to go to work. I was like, I'm cramping ish. But you know, it can't really be labor. I mean, not this early. I get to the parking lot and my water breaks

: And I was in private practice. I had my own practice. My ex husband was taking me to work that day because some days we would ride together, some days we wouldn't. But either way, my water breaks in the parking lot and I'm like, what the? Oh my God. Okay. It's real labor. So he ran into the office told the girls that I wasn't gonna be able to come in and we flew. Because of the experience with the other boy, we flew. We lived in Lancaster, South Carolina, which is about 30 minutes away from Charlotte, North Carolina. And we had already mapped it out that I was going to have to be in in Charlotte, which is, well, Pine View is a suburb. There was a hospital there. So we flew to the hospital. I was like, my water broke and this is what happened the last time as far as you know, the baby came within so many hours and so we need to be on standby.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Don't you know, 23 hours later, twenty three hours of labor. And then the lady was like, man, you just, you know, I said, no, I don't want the epidural. It's okay. I've already done this. She came in, she saw me, I remember I was chewing gum and watching Lifetime and she said, there's a sight, like you're chewing gum, watching Lifetime and your contractions are off the chart. I remember she said "are you in pain?" I said, I'm in pain. I'm okay. I can take this. And then she checked and she's like, okay, you still have a thick cervix but the head is there. I can feel the head and he's got a head full of hair. I said, I know, I felt the heartburn. And then I was like, can I please just push? Because they were like, if you do 24 hours of labor, we're going to have to do a c section. I said, please, I don't want to be cut.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Could I please push? She was like, no, you have a thick rim. And I was like, I really want to push because I really don't want to have a c section. And so I said, okay, ma'am, can we at least try? She said, okay, well then I'll get the doctor and let's try. She said, but I really don't advise it. And a doctor came and said, oh my God, doctors make the worst patients. I remember all the conversations, make the worst patients. I said, please, I don't want to have a c section. Okay, let's try, since he's early, his head might be small, it might be able to make it through. And so I took three solid pushes and the middle guy came out.

: Nicole: Wow.

: Uchemma: He came in at six pounds. I mean relatively speaking, his brother was six twelve. That sounds even. So he wasn't really that small, but he showed that he was a preemie cause he was like, I'm not going to drink. I was like, well what do you mean you're not gonna eat? He's acting like a preemie and he doesn't want to eat, you know, the usual stuff.

: Nicole: Right, right.

: Uchemma: But, after five days we went home with him. So he wasn't too bad. He came in early but he turned around pretty fast.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay. Yes. Okay. And I will say, just for the listeners, that is something that we used to do in obstetrics, after 24 hours of your water being broken, very often a c section is what happened. But that is not the way we practice, most people, practice these days. And then what about your third one?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: My third boy was, I mean I think when I got over the shock of having a third boy in a row, I bought this book, actually I didn't buy it. My friend sent it to me from New York, it was called, this is your body or it's your body. Do you know about that book? It's called, it's your body. And in the book it tells you what to do if you want to have a girl and what you do if you want to have a boy, like what time of the month to engage in sex and all these things. So I was like, okay, I'm going to, cause this was four years later, I was like, okay, I'm going to take a chance and see if I can have that girl. So I did everything the book said. And then I'm not one to have an ultrasound to check the sex, so I was like, you know, I'm not going to check the sex. I didn't check the sex for the first two, I'm not going to check the sex.

: Nicole: Right. Oh, so it was a surprise both times?

: Uchemma: Yes. Well, ish. Because my ex husband wanted to know.

: Nicole: Gotcha.

: Uchemma: So they told him what it was and I could tell from his reaction because he was so excited. I'm like, oh my God, I just know it's another boy. So I kind of put myself into pre postpartum depression ish because I was like, I don't want to have another boy. I mean, I love my kids of course, but I just, I wanted a girl so badly. I had quote unquote done everything I was supposed to do. And I didn't know the sex of the baby til I had him because we had picked the name, we had picked Christina.

: Nicole: Right.

: Uchemma: He went with, he just went along with it. And I see that. And then when the baby came out, he did a long pee and then the doctor said, well, I guess it's not Christina. I was like, oh my God!

Speaker 1: Nicole: Oh my goodness. That takes a lot for you to admit. You know, a lot of people may not admit that you maybe were a little bit disappointed.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: I did go into full blown postpartum depression. I really did. I did. I really wanted a girl because I didn't want to have another child. I was 36 and you know, they kept telling me, oh, advanced maternal age and I wanted just three children. I had my tubes tied because that was the plan. And I was okay after awhile. My mom came and talked some Nigerian sense into my head. She was like, look, you have a healthy child. And reminded me that one of my siblings, one of the twins didn't make it and it took a lot of my mom though. It was my mother that did the magic. She talked me into listening. It's already done. It's here.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right, well I just feel like we got a lot we can talk about about your three different births. Let's kind of back it up a little bit. How did you feel during your prenatal care? I presume, did you go see Physicians for your care?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Yes ma'am. I did physicians all through. With the first child, you know, it's exciting. It's the first baby. I just finished residency. I still lived in the DC area cause I went to Howard and then during that transition we moved to, no wait, I'm sorry. He was born in Maryland. Yeah. So I still lived in the Maryland area and I went to, I think it was Holy Cross Hospital. It was a good experience. It was just exciting. First baby. I mean I did everything that I wanted to do, but I had that excessive salivation and I had that taste, that nasty metallic taste. So I used to drink a lot of water, I carried a little container with me. And to this date, I always have water with me from that baby, just to swallow that spit.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: So I used to drink a lot of lemonade, and I'd put a little sugar just to help me swallow the spit and don't you know my blood sugar went up. I had gestational diabetes and the doctor was like, well, so you have gained 37 pounds. I just want you to know that only seven of those is your baby. And I was like, oh my God. I remember that. You just remember what they tell you said only seven of those is your baby. You know, it's not, your baby's not going to be necessarily bigger and you need to kind of watch it with the sugar. So I did have gestational diabetes with him. Otherwise, when he was, when we went for our down syndrome test, I forget the name of it, they said he had trisomy 21 that was very hard.

Speaker 3: Nicole: Yeah. How did you feel?

: Uchemma: That was really hard. My ex husband is a typical African Nigerian Alpha male. Well, you know, I'm going to have the baby. Nothing is gonna happen to my son. It's my son and well to me the doctor, the pediatrician, I was like, oh my God, what am I going to do if my first child has Downs Syndrome? They gave me the option to have the amniocentesis, so we went at I think 20 weeks or something and then they did it and we could watch the video, but anyways, I was able to watch the whole thing as they were doing it. And so when they put the needle in, I saw the needle, like, you know, come up.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: And then I saw the needle, I guess poke his little knee. And don't you know, he had this swift response and right there I said he doesn't have down syndrome. I was like, there's no way that kid has that, you know, he wouldn't have this abrupt response. I said he doesn't have it. I said it out loud. I was like, he doesn't have down syndrome. They're like, okay, well we just have to wait until when the results come in and the results came out and he was fine. He does not have that. That was, I think besides the blood sugar scare and then that little amniocentesis experience, the pregnancy was good. I craved mangoes a lot, and I eat a lot of mangoes, but other than that, I think he came in without too much drama.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay. Okay. And just for the listeners, just really quick, that condition she was talking about where you feel like you have excessive spit. The name is blanking me at the moment, but it's this unusual condition where some women feel like they just, they'll, they'll often carry around a cup.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Yes. So I had to curb that. I drank lemonade, and discovered the lemonade helped me. But yeah, I just didn't want to be that person that spits in a cup.

: Nicole: Right, right. And then so that one went. Okay. And then you come to your second pregnancy. I was going to ask, one of the questions I was going to ask was how did you prepare to give birth without an epidural? But it sounds like you just, it just kinda happened.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: It happened. Yes ma'am. It was not planned. I do have a relatively high pain threshold and at the back of my mind I was like, I don't like needles in my back. And that is the truth. I don't like needles period.

: Nicole: Right, right.

: Uchemma: But I didn't get a chance to, to process it. They told me, if we give it to you now you're just going to have the epidural and your baby's going to come out anyway and you're just going to have like the epidural for a long time and it's not going to really help with the process. I had already kind of gone through the pain.

: Nicole: Gotcha. Yeah. And a lot of women, sometimes women have that experience with the first where they couldn't get an epidural and the second time around they're like, oh no, I'm going to get that epidural. But sometimes women decide, you know, when I did it the first time, maybe I can do it the next time. What was your thinking or did you just straight away say, I'm, I'm a, just go for it without that epidural again.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Yes ma'am. That's what I did. I said to myself, no, I don't like needles. Anyway, that's a very, very strong stimulus right there. And then I was like, I already did it with the first, there's no way this one can be that bad. And indeed after 23, like I said, I just psyched myself up. The woman in the next cubicle was she was carrying on and it was, I laughed about it to myself. I'm like, wow, at least that's not me, you know, to myself, you know? I wasn't paying, I just didn't think about it. I focused on watching TV and reading and when the contractions would come, I would just breathe you. Do the stuff they tell you to do, but I remember she came in, she had left me that the night before something and she came back and was like you're still here 23 hours? Okay, that's it. You know? And I was like, what? No, I don't want to do that.

: Nicole: Right. Did you ever get discouraged during that time about it taking so long compared to your first one?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: No, because I kept always thinking the next hour is going to be the hour. We couldn't see the future and then the next time I'm like, oh my God, oh my God, it's 20 hours. It's 21, it's 23. We just kept thinking the next hour and I didn't want the same thing to happen as far as the epidural. Okay, let me get it now. But I did get in the bathtub and do a little bit of the water thing, so I remember that helped me a lot because I had wanted to have a water birth with him anyway. That was kind of a thought process for me. I did stay in the bathtub a lot with him and it helped a lot with me just not feeling, not feeling the pain as much. It just honestly just wasn't that bad anyway. Yeah, it just wasn't that bad.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay. Okay. And it's interesting that you say you really focused on the moment, like you weren't thinking about what was going to happen down the line. You kind of took it like contraction by contraction.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Yes ma'am. That's exactly what I did. And each one I would just be that way, I would just think about it. I said, no, honestly I don't want it. I really don't want it. And so I was like, okay. And also at the back of my mind as a pediatrician, I felt I just wanted to join this tribe of women someday who will say they didn't get an epidural. I think that was also kind of like another reason why I was like, oh, I'm going to try to do this so I can brag about it down the line. Well, you know what, I had natural birth three times. I just wanted to be able to say that, you know, afterwards. I now use it to brag right now.

: Nicole: Right. You know, I will say I try to encourage women that to feel like, I mean obviously you should certainly be proud of what you did, but if you do decide that you get an epidural, then you know, don't feel bad or anything like that. For those of you all who are listening.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: No, no, absolutely. Go for it. It has its perks. Yeah, for sure. If you can get it on time or whatever planted, go for it. Absolutely. Why not?

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. And then now with your third one and you're thinking that you really, really, really wanted a girl and I have a little bit of this. I have two girls and both times I thought for sure they will be boys. I thought I wouldn't know what to do with girls because I'm not very girly or that kind of thing. And now of course I can't imagine not having them. What was that like for you in that process afterwards and when you say you have full blown postpartum depression?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: I don't want to use the word rejected, but I just, I was like, I don't really want another boy and I don't even know why. I think because I had already set this thing for myself, I'm going to have three children, it's going to be two boys and a girl. You know, you just say stuff and then you just kind of want to live up to it. Not forgetting that it's not up to you, but I had said to myself, I was going to have three kids I knew I was going to have three kids. And then I wanted to have, when I had a second I was like okay, then I'm going to just wait a little bit. And there was no formula. I just said, I'm just going to wait a little bit and then I'm going to have my girl, I just knew it.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: And so I put that energy out there and I told a couple of friends and then one of them was like, Oh, you know what, this book? I'm like, hey, give me the book. But it wasn't really anything. I mean, you know, you just want to dress up with your daughter. You want to go shopping with them, you want to, you know, the things that moms want. And of course dads also want their daughters. I just wanted a daughter. I've made up for that now. I have more than eight goddaughters.

Speaker 1: Nicole: And you know, it can feel frustrating because there will be times where you feel like you did everything right. You did everything like you should and it didn't turn out the way that you want it to.

: Uchemma: And it's true. Yes. Well, my mom had to, you know, remind me that, okay, he came out, he was healthy and no problems whatsoever, just came out swinging, you know. And I think labor was maybe six hours, nothing bad. I mean, he's fine. And then of course I breastfed him. I mean, I loved him. I still love him, but I just, at the back of my mind I was like, I really wanted a girl. But we have to quickly change that mindset when he came out and had a long pee like, wait, wait, what's up? I'm here. I'm a boy. Okay, what's going on?

Speaker 1: Nicole: Now did you ever, you said you breastfed your third pne. Did you breast feed all three of your children?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Yes, ma'am. I breastfed all three boys for 21 months each. The total months, were probably 18 to 19, but I had enough milk to last until 21 to 22 months. So with the first boy when he came out at five days later, he developed a fever. So we had to go back to the hospital and he had to have a spinal tap because he had a high fever, at five days of age. And then that kind of interrupted the process a little bit. And even though I hadn't made any kind of like announcement to the nursing staff, I had just kind of said I'm breastfeeding. I had said that, but I hadn't like said absolutely no bottle kind of thing. Again, this was 21 years ago and they gave him the bottle, they gave him the bottle because my milk hadn't come in fully and all that good stuff.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: And don't you know, this little guy got nipple confused. So I had to pump, I had to pump for 18 months. It was not funny. So when his brother came, there was a big sign there saying, oh, no paci, nothing. And then I got a engorged with him also. And then he was kind of a weird eater. He's one of those babies that, I don't know why he did that, but when he's eating, if you make a sound, he will stop. And that's it. And this is my first child, what is going on with this kid? He would stop and that's it. And so I got engorged a lot with him. I think that baby came soon after residency. I can't remember, but I had to go into the nursery at Howard, actually that was at DC General.

: Uchemma: I went in to see Dr. Young, our neonatologist who trained me because I was just having so much pain I was so engorged. Because I was engorged he couldn't latch on because you know, and they of course you already, he wouldn't latch on because of the nipple confusion. Even after all my trying. So I went in to see her. She put in the industrial pump for me and we got eight ounces out of each breast. I'll never forget the relief I felt because I had a fever. I was just shaking. Oh, I remember that. She said this is liquid gold. She said give us some for our preemies. Then she was like, oh my goodness, there's so much milk. I was like, yeah, I'm so relieved. I still feel it.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So when you look back on your three, which sound like pretty different experiences giving birth, what are your biggest takeaways? What are your memories? You know, you think about, about your births?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: I think, I thank God and I think I see this all the time to my patients. I thank God for everything from pregnancy to birth. I used to work out a lot, so I think that might have also helped with just the tolerance level. I exercised, I did probably did four miles up until each son was born like the day before son was born. I loved to dress up. I would wear heels and boots and just fancy clothes and I just wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and just be that. You know, and then I think with the last boy, we went and took the pictures. And then if you do the pregnancy pictures, you get the baby pictures for free or something like that.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: I just enjoyed it. I wanted that. And so even to this day, I have the picture just framed. I needed to feel beautiful during my pregnancies. So I did that. And so for me, I think it's hard enough, it's confusing, your body's going through changes. But for me, I just said I was going to have as sexy, as beautiful a pregnancy as I can. So I can tell my patients, so now I use each pregnancy at each delivery to counsel my mom's. They'd come into me and are having gestational diabetes, I said, oh, I had that. If you have blocked ducts, oh, I had that. Nippe confusion. I had that. I'm so thankful for everything that I went through with each pregnancy, except maybe the third one because I was advanced maternal age. At one point I kind of lost it with my Ob Gyn because she kept saying, you know, at your age. I said, ma'am, you know what?

Speaker 3: I'm only 36 I'm not the oldest woman having a baby. Give me a break. If you say that one more time, I'm going to change doctors. And I told her that I'm going to change doctors. She always said at your age, at your age, at your age.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right, right, right. And you said you were pretty healthy.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: I was very active, but she just always said at your age, she always said, at your age, at your age. I was like, wait, how old am I really? I'm just 36. So I think each pregnancy, honestly, each one was put there. Even the boys today, each son has had different health challenges or not, but each one I've been able to bring back to my practice and I just thank God for that. So as a doctor, I think that's what I take away from each pregnancy was a learning curve for me to help me later on with identifying and having the empathy that I needed and you know, for my patients at that point in time.

: Nicole: I have the same experience too.

: Uchemma: Oh, fantastic. Yeah, whichever troubles that I went through with especially the preemie, that was challenging because he was early and he didn't want to eat. Like I said, he didn't want to drink. I've been there. So when I sit down and counsel that mom who comes to our pre and prenatal one visit with the doctor, I am just like pointing out everything from experience. I love that it helps me connect so much better with my moms.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. So as we wrap up, what, were there any resources that you found helpful during your pregnancy or that you tell when you see expectant moms? Any resources that you want to share that are helpful?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Well I have one that you don't want. It's called it's your body, you know, that's for sure. There was one about moms breastfeeding, the breast milk of medicine or something, medications in breast milk. That was another one. Those two books. I think it was medications and mothers milk, or something like that. But they have the older editions of those. I just know that with Facebook and all kinds of online virtual groups everywhere, this is probably one way to go find it, find a group online, find a mom's group, find the lactation group, you know, whatever you want to do and you know, be vocal and learn as much as you can, for all it's worth.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: I don't have anything special, I just just have fun with it. I did my best to have fun. I took a lot of sexy pictures. You know, I just like things like that cause I wanted to take that myth from all pregnancies are drab, you're tired all the time, your back hurts. So I wanted the opposite. I did not want that to be my narrative in my pregnancies. And so I made sure that I exercised and made sure that I tried to eat right. I tried to drink right. I don't drink alcohol anyway to begin with, but I just try my best to do everything as right as I could, but also have fun with it. And as a woman, you know, I'd put makeup and just, I tried not to feed that narrative of pregnancy is, you know, you're tired all the time kind of thing. I just didn't want that in my narrative.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right. Yeah. So if, and you may have just answered this question, but I ask all the women who are, who talk about their birth stories or what is one thing that you would tell other women as they get ready for their birth.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Just have fun with it. Yeah. Just have fun with it. You know, I mean it's going to be 40 weeks whether they like it or not. Just enjoy your 40 weeks. And I tell people, I said that it's really technically 10 months. Take pictures. I love to take pictures. I'm also an amateur photographer, so I love to take photographs. But also too, I did my best to take pictures and then I had my other, the older siblings were part of the process. You know, I got books and I read to them and I let them be part of the laboring process. And just, you know, they were always around maybe not doing the actual birth itself, but they were always in the room, in the space. They went through that for all its worth and so they can see, you know, either just go to the hospital and then come back. You have a baby. I just wanted them to be part of it. Again, that was a personal thing. We also didn't have any babysitters, it was just me and my ex husband. So we made it work but I didn't want the case of can you watch my kids I'm going to go have a baby. I wanted them to be part of the actual having the baby so I was able to pull that off.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. Well the listeners are going to learn so much from you sharing your stories today, so I really, really appreciate you coming onto the

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Thank you. Thank you so much and thank you for what you do. And as a pediatrician, I definitely appreciate this and I'm so excited. Like I told you, I'm going to tell anybody that I know who's pregnant that you have a podcast about it. You know, I was very happy when I saw that you're doing this. I definitely like that. Thank you. Yes ma'am.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I really appreciate the support. So where can women connect with you if they're interested in, you know, you said you're a pediatrician and I know you do some other things. Where can women connect with you?

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Sure. So I'mon Facebook as myself, Uchemma Umeh. Otherwise I do have a Facebook group called Teen Alive only because I'm now more like an activist I guess for, you know, against teen depression and suicide. So there's that, that's called Teen Alive, t e e n alive. And then I also have an Ask Doctor Lulu page, which, because I do a Facebook live every Sunday and we talk about just hot topics that affect teens, whether it be drugs or alcohol or dating, date rape, or you know, suicide, depression, bullying, things like that. I talk about those topics every Sunday. If they have children, if they want to learn how to raise teens, they already have teens, they have questions about them. Ideas about how, you know, how they kind of raise their teens, they're always welcome, welcoming, you know, good new information and people that want to just hang out with us.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Perfect. And I will put all of that and for the listeners I'll put all that information in the show notes with all the links and everything so you can click to things and get to her very easily. Well thank you again so much for being here. I really appreciate your time and I know the listeners, like I said, are going to learn a ton because you just provided such a wealth of varying experiences here.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. All right. Take care. Bye Bye.

Speaker 3: Uchemma: All right, bye.

Speaker 1: Nicole: All right. So wasn't that fun didn't you enjoy that? And doesn't she really truly have a great voice? It's like very soothing for some reason. All right, so after each episode I give something called Nicole's notes. It's my top three or four takeaways from the episode. So let's get into what my top three or four takeaways were for this episode. Oh, you know what, before I do that, the medical term for what we were talking about, the excessive spitting, the saliva is called Tileism. It's not harmful. We're not sure of the cause of it. It's just kind of a weird thing during pregnancy that we think may be related to the hormones.

: Nicole: Okay. So here's Nicole's notes. Number one, in her first birth, she talked about making it to being completely dilated and doing it without an epidural, even though she wasn't planing on doing that. Now that doesn't necessarily happen commonly, but it does happen enough. You know, it's something that I see with a fair frequency and it may sound like, oh, that would be great if I could just make to being completely dilated. And yes it is. But for some women it's actually a bit overwhelming because it's not what they were expecting. You know, they were planning to get an epidural and it's like, whoa, do I have time? I can say that if you happen to fall into that category of women who progressed through labor fairly quickly and manage things okay, and you get to nine centimeters or completely dilated and you did it without an epidural, even if you were planning to get an epidural, you can probably make it through the finish line and deliver without an epidural with some good support from your nurse and a partner. Getting an epidural that late, it very often doesn't set in, so you're not really going to get the benefits anyway. So if you happen to be in that category and you make it to that point and you show up at the hospital or you, you get to completely dilated quickly without an epidural, consider just going through and delivering without it. I think you can do it.

: Nicole: All right. Number two, she went through a quick labor the first time, but the second one was 23 hours of labor. That's just a testament to the fact that every pregnancy and every labor is different. So you can learn from the experiences of your own prior pregnancy or other women's pregnancies, but every pregnancy is different and you can't predict how things are going to go, so be open to whatever happens during your pregnancy. The other thing about that second baby is she took that long labor one contraction at a time. She wasn't thinking about what's going to happen an hour down the line or that it's been 10 hours or 12 hours. She was kinda like, okay, let me get through this contraction and then the next contraction and that is the way that you really need to approach it. If you're planning to give birth without medication, just take it contraction by contraction, one contraction at a time.

: Nicole: Number three, she was upset that that third baby was a boy. She really was. And that happens sometimes that you may have things during your pregnancy that you're disappointed about including the sex of your baby. But she was also able to find a way to get past it. It took some time and it may take some time. She had her mother to help her, but she got past it and still obviously very much so loves her child. So it's okay if you're disappointed, but you've got to get past it and figure out a way to deal with it so that you can focus on being a mother to that child. And it may be from a friend or a family member or even help from a mental health professional that you have to do that.

: Nicole: And then the last thing, she talked a lot about feeling beautiful during her pregnancy and I loved how she said she took control of the narrative of her pregnancy. And I hope you do the same thing. Take control of your personal narrative for your pregnancy. It's your own experience and it can go however you choose. No, you don't necessarily have control over everything, but take control over the things that you can take control of and create your own narrative and your own experience as much as you can within your power. For her, that was really feeling beautiful during her pregnancy, dressing up, taking pictures, that kind of thing. So think about what you want to do for your pregnancy and take control of your own personal narrative.

Speaker 1: Okay, so that's it for this episode. Let me know what you think in the podcast community Facebook group. If you're not a member, it's called All About Pregnancy and Birth Podcast Community. Just search for that and I would love, love, love to have you as a part of the group and hear your thoughts about the show. Then be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, and if you feel so inclined I'd really appreciate you leaving an honest review on iTunes. It helps other women find my show and I may give you a shout out on a future episode.

: Now next week on the podcast, as I mentioned, we'll have the founder of Evidence Based Birth. Her name is Rebecca Dekker. She is a nurse with a PhD and she has some great information. She does lots of awesome work to help pregnant women and families and childbirth educators and all kinds of stuff to help women with pregnancy and birth. So I'm super excited about having her on the podcast. So come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.

Speaker 2: Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan, as well as my comprehensive online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course with over eight hours of content and a private course community. The Birth Preparation Course will leave you knowledgeable, prepared, confident, and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.