Ep 171: Erica’s Birth Story – Living with Loss


Trigger Warning: this episode involves a full term baby dying 13 days after a home birth.

Today’s episode is obviously a difficult subject. I don’t talk much about home birth - if folks want to have a home birth I support that but it is not my lane. 

However I thought it was important to share this story for a number of reasons. Sometimes the potential complications of home birth are downplayed and although this is a rare thing that happened it’s important to share it.

Due to past medical trauma, Erica opted for a home birth. Her prenatal care was great. She got lots of attention and personal care that she may not have been able to get in a traditional setting. However, after the fact she began to realize that the potential dangers associated with home births had not been fully communicated. She was basically as prepared as an expectant parent could be but you just can’t know everything.

There are a LOT of lessons in here that apply to birth in general, as well as pregnancy loss in general. I know it can feel like even talking about these kinds of worst case scenarios will manifest them, but loss is not contagious. It’s important to have a dialogue around the scary parts of birth in order to be better prepared.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What made Erica decide to have a home birth
  • What research she did to prepare for her birth - it was a lot!
  • How she felt that the potential dangers of home birth were minimized by her home birth care team
  • What went wrong during her birth and how her care providers handled it
  • When and why she was transferred to the hospital
  • How hospital staff made her feel worse instead of better by not being trauma informed
  • What her postpartum recovery was like - don’t forget that even if she doesn’t have her baby with her she still had to go through the same postpartum
  • Why she’s choosing a scheduled cesarean for her next birth

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Transcript

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:00:00): This is a birth story episode and trigger warning. It involves the death of a full term baby after a home birth. 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.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:00:53): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 171. Thank you for being here with me today. So in today's episode of the podcast, we have Erica. Erica is a marriage and family therapist and her baby Verity died after an injury during a home birth. And she is sharing her story with us today. Now, if you've listened to the podcast for any amount of time, or you follow me on social media, you know that I don't talk much about homebirth and it's not that I have a problem with it. I don't actually, if folks wanna have a homebirth, I fully support that. Homebirth is just not my lane. I know hospital birth. And so that is what I talk about. That is what I teach, but I thought that it was important to share this story today for a couple reasons.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:01:40): One, sometimes the potential complications and risk of home birth are downplayed. And although these things are rare and what happened to Verity is rare, it is important to share it so people know that this reality exists. Also, there are a lot of lessons and things that Erica discusses really important things that apply to birth in general, and some really important lessons regarding pregnancy loss and how to support people who have a pregnancy loss. So in this conversation, we're gonna talk about what made her decide to have a home birth, the research she did, she did lots of it actually, uh, what her prenatal care was like, her birth, her postpartum experience, and then also how she's pregnant now and how she is approaching things differently. This time, you may be surprised at what she's choosing for her birth this time around. So this is a really important episode and a difficult one, but one that offers tons of important information that we all need to hear. So without further ado, let's go ahead and get into this birth story episode and conversation with Erica. All right. Thank you so much, Erica, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I know this is a difficult story and I appreciate you sharing it with us today.

Erica (00:03:08): Yeah. Thank you so much, Dr. Rankins for having me on to tell my story. It's I really appreciate it.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:03:14): So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your family?

Erica (00:03:18): Okay. So I'm a marriage and family therapist. I, um, live in Las Vegas, Nevada with my husband and our two dogs. Um, we had our first daughter Verity, uh, last March of 2021. And unfortunately we experienced a horrific tragedy. Um, she suffered an injury during labor and died after 13 days in the NICU. So, um, that's become obviously a big part of my life processing that, um, exploring around what happened and now sort of moving into somewhat of an advocacy role a little bit just around our story. And I'm currently 26 weeks pregnant with our second little daughter that I'm hoping will be healthy. And, um, that's where we're at.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:04:05): Gotcha. Gotcha. And you're also a therapist, is that right?

Erica (00:04:08): Yes. I'm a, I'm a marriage and family therapist. So I have a private practice now that, um, much like most, most of us therapists have gone virtual since the pandemic and yeah. So, um, yeah, unfortunately I have a cute little office just sitting there. Um, but, it's, I'm all virtual. It's actually been really, um, kind of a little saving grace of just going through all the trauma of losing our daughter. It's been really nice to have the option to stay home, honestly.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:04:34): Sure, sure. Yeah. I can only imagine. Yeah. Yeah. So why don't we go ahead and get, um, get right into it and talk about, and we're specifically talking about what happened with, with Verity. So first, what, what made you decide to have a homebirth?

Erica (00:04:49): Yeah, so actually, you know, in my early twenties I'd had quite a few people that I looked up to, uh, have home births. I had, you know, somebody that was sort of like a mentor. She had three home births that I knew of and it was very, it was spoken a very, in like a very empowered way. And it was just like, you know, your Bo you know, and you know, your body's designed to do this and we know that narrative, right. So it's, that sort of, you know, there was some very, a lot of seeds planted very early on for me. And I always was really interested in, um, holistic health and just different things I had, you know, wanted to go into healthcare at some level, just didn't quite know what, and so then I ended up going to massage school in between undergrad and grad school, which kind of amplified that narrative a little bit learning about anatomy of like your body's designed to do this and, you know, just learning about childbirth at just a small level.

Erica (00:05:41): Um, so there was a lot of seeds planted too, for me as like a mal you know, very impressionable person in my early twenties. Um, so I just had kind of always had it in the back of my mind, like, okay, you know, when I have children, that's probably what I'll do. And, um, you know, so I, our pregnancy was planned. My husband and I, you know, were 32 at that point when we got pregnant. And, um, that was just sort of something that I'd had. I'd had sort of like the perfect little storm enough, just enough little medical trauma to have hesitancy just enough of never finding an OB that really like I felt comfortable with.

Erica (00:06:15): That when I went to see the midwives, when I, um, first became pregnant and just felt very warm and it was like, you know, they also, the midwives I hired had like a, more of a clinical practice, I would say, um, we would go see them pretty, you know, traditional, like similar to OB experience actually. And so, um, you know, it just felt like, okay, this makes sense for my family, you know? So that's kind of the, the history. Yeah. And then where it evolved.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:06:45): Okay. So what, what type of research did you do before you decided on a home birth?

Erica (00:06:50): Yeah, so, you know, I actually did a lot, I'm gonna, and it seems, I think what's sometimes upsetting to me is I think people think it's like, oh, you just like, you're too trusting and you choose to have a home birth. You know, honestly I have to say like, and I can say this pretty confidently. I think I did more work for my pregnancy than, than most people I know and just as you know, it was so important to me. I took three birth prep classes. I probably read, you know, at least 10 books on pregnancy, nutrition, birth.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:07:25): Yes.

Erica (00:07:26): Um, the thing that I will say though, and I've had to work on this a lot in therapy and sort of just really it's taken me, you know, my daughter died now almost 15 months ago. It's taken me at least a year to really pull back the layers to realize that a lot of the information that was presented to me suggested from friends like my, even my own community, it was really kind of feeding a lot of my own confirmation bias . So that's one thing that's been really hard for me to really sit with. Um, but it's not that I didn't do research. I really, you know, my husband and I both, you know, were constantly like, well, let's look into this and we really did. And, but even unfortunately, sometimes, you know, there was like, you know, certain things, if the midwives sent me articles, now I can look back and say, well, they were all kind of, they were all kind of biased, you know? Like, and so, but as a vulnerable, you know, pregnant person, I'm thinking, well, okay, this makes sense. And you know, so it's not that we didn't do research, but maybe just my sources were somewhat in an echo chamber, if that makes sense. You know.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:08:35): It makes 1000% sense for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because I think, um, I think that happens on both sides. That, that there's like, um, an echo chamber in the quote, in the medical community of like, you know, home birth is terrible. Right. It should never happen. Um, it's an awful decision. And then there may be some, it sounds like a little bit of an echo chamber. Like nothing potentially can, can go wrong and both sides are yes. Neither side are correct.

Erica (00:09:04): Exactly. And, and it's, it's been really interesting now just to really take a look at it from, from afar and see how I was impacted by that, you know, even with me of understanding psychology and manipulation and, you know, different things that I have personal interest in, in my own field, I was like, wow, I really, I really didn't catch that. You know? And so it's not that like, people aren't intelligent or, you know what I'm saying? Like yes, that I didn't, like I said, I didn't really have an established, I never, you know, um, I didn't have good luck finding an OB that I felt really comfortable with. Like typically if I went somewhere, I felt really dismissed and it was like, this isn't for me. And so it was like, it was like, I kind of was just a perfect candidate vulnerable enough to just kind of like, okay, well, I guess I have to go to this other extreme.

Erica (00:09:52): Gotcha. You know, and I think a lot of people fall into that category. Unfortunately, um, and then it becomes almost like too far of an opposite pendulum swing a little bit. Um, and what's interesting is like, when I think back to like, even one of my birth education classes and, um, you know, they're talking about interventions and it was very like in a way of like, you have to like go in very defensive and like all, and I was like, well, I don't want that, you know? Right. I want, I wanna be heard and I wanna feel supported. And, um, you know, that it presented it, like they would say like, well, there's a lot of fear mongering on the medical side. Right. But if I'm being completely honest, it's just the exact same on the other side. So, you know, that's really, when I look at it and I think about my experiences, I'm like, that's, there was fear mongering there, you know?

Erica (00:10:42): And so, yeah, it was just, it's just been really, it's been really interesting and, and really sad, you know, like, it's, it's almost right. You know, and there's just, so it was like, I just, there was enough of like, I didn't know what, I didn't know, in regard to safety interventions, even though I had been intaking information and was just almost kind of neurotic, like I was really like on it about trying to make sure I was making the best decisions about, you know, my care.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:11:16): Sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. So what was your pregnancy and prenatal care like?

Erica (00:11:21): Yeah, actually that was a really, um, it was really nice. I, we, you know, our midwives never rushed us. It was like very one on one care. Like we would spend over an hour every visit with the midwife. And, um, also, like I said, kind of more clinical in my experience, we would go into the clinic, same, take your blood pressure, wait, like, talk about what's going on. Like all of those things, they did all the traditional testing for me personally, like for, you know, later on GBS, like, um, all of, uh, you know, gestational diabetes, like I know I've heard from a lot of lost moms. Like they weren't offered like BPPS and, um, NST's later on, and that wasn't my personal experience. Like they actually offered those and I even had a BPP and, um, NST day of labor. So it was, you know, I never felt like that was, there wasn't like anything that I felt like wasn't covered, you know? Um gotcha. And, you know, they had like this online portal, they would always answer my questions right away or call me back. So honestly, my prenatal care was wonderful. Like I was really, you know, there wasn't any kind of like red flags in that regard, um, of that. Now looking back, there's like a couple of things that's like, well, maybe there was, you know, maybe some things omitted, but not intentionally maybe like implied consent, you know, some things like that. Um,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:12:43): But nothing, nothing stood out that was crazy. And to say to, like, it sounds like having hour long appointments sounds my God, I couldn't even imagine that in the traditional medical.

Erica (00:12:54): Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, maybe some of the shorter ones where it was, you know, I didn't, I wasn't high risk. I didn't have, you know, I met all the markers to qualify for home birth. I never had any, any issues arise for me personally. So, you know, there would've been some appointments that might've been 30 minutes, but it was like, they would've, they would've taken the time if it was needed. You know what I'm saying?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:13:11): Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Erica (00:13:13): And so that's where it was just like, it was really nice. I really appreciated that we chose to pay cash versus like use the hospital with our good insurance, you know, and so that was a conscious choice, you know.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:13:25): Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. So what are some things you wanted for your birth?

Erica (00:13:29): So I really, it was really important to me to just feel very safe. I obviously wanted to do unmedicated. I felt very empowered in that decision. Um, and you know, like the actual birth space, I spent a lot of time on like my birth tub and I had flowers and oils and I had my doula and I had, I mean, honestly I had like the whole nine yards. Um, and I just wanted it to be a more intimate setting. Like hospitals kind of gave me anxiety in the past when I'd, you know, had, like I said, just some prior little bit of medical trauma from being in the hospital. And it just, it was just not a nice experience for me. And I didn't really think, well, why does my baby have to come into the world in that place? Right. And so now I sort of, you know, look back and think, okay, maybe it wasn't so much an empowered decision that kind of is actually a decision about fear. And so that's been interesting with me, you know, for me to sit with honestly, um, and think about, but those were some, some important things for me that I wanted to just like go right to the bed when my baby was born and not have to like put her in the car and expose her to germs and like all this stuff, you know?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:14:37): Right, right, right. I think that is a really interesting point that you just made that it's not like to think, you know, it's framed as, as empowerment and it, and it could be, but sometimes it's about fear. Yeah. Um, that, uh, that, that just sort of struck me for sure.

Erica (00:14:58): I really, when I think back, I think, well, you know, I actually was really scared. I really, so I wanted to be safe. I wanted, you know, for me at that time, I know people think, well, safety is the hospital, right. Like, but in regard to like emotional safety being heard, not being dismissed, like I wanted to have control of my environment. And that was really what motivated me a lot to say, well, I'm gonna stay home, you know? And, um, yeah, so that but then going back to it's like, okay, well that I was afraid to be in the hospital and be, have something go wrong cuz I'd had friends, you know, sort of like when we're talking about a little bit of like the fear mongering, not that anybody was intentionally trying to fear monger me, but I'd had enough friends have birth trauma in the hospital to be like, I don't want that. You know,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:15:47): So yeah. I mean there were, there is something to be afraid of in the hospital. I, I know about hospital birth, so I know that not, not all people have a great experience when people aren't listened to it's worse if you're a person of color, all of those things. Yeah. So, um, it wasn't like you were basing it on made up things.

Erica (00:16:05): Right, right. Yeah. So it's so it's really, um, yeah. I've had to sit with that a lot.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:16:10): Sure, sure. Sure. Now, did they talk to you at all about like transfer and if you needed to go to a hospital, backup plans, anything like that?

Erica (00:16:18): You know? Yeah. I did ha so I had a, you know, I had these decked out birth plans, which now, you know, those of us who have birth trauma, like ha ha this birth plans. Like, um, you know, but I had a, you know, emergency plan that I thought covered everything that, um, but in my mind, and I know this sounds, maybe sound a little silly, but in my mind, the worst case scenario I'd ever seen was, oh, somebody, my friend had a prolonged labor. They transferred to the hospital and had an emergency Cesarean. And to me that was the worst case scenario. Like that was the, the least desired outcome.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:16:53): Right, right.

Erica (00:16:53): It was never, it was never presented or like even a possibility in my mind that like me or the baby could die.

Erica (00:17:01): And that's one thing that I, you know, am frustrated with in that regard of like how information is presented in the natural birthing community. Um, I think it's, you know, now I know obviously reading statistics and things, it's like, well, sure there's less intervention and things like that. Um, and when something goes wrong, it can, it's it's, you know, twice as likely that it's gonna be fatal and that is not covered. And so when I, you know, made these plans that wasn't taken into consideration, like that was never presented to me, like when we did the, you know, all of my courses had different educators, but all at some level dismissed, any kinds of like, when somebody would say, well, what about when the cords wrapped around their neck and it would get dismissed. Or what about this? And, well, it's so rare, you know, and like kind of presented in that way.

Erica (00:17:54): And, um, I mean, I had, you know, my hypno birthing class and I look back and I'm like, I can't believe that she would stand up there and say she would present like an eight year old should be able to deliver your baby. And it just enrages me now to think, like, I can't believe you're giving that message. Right. And especially with like the, you know, having had what happened to us happen. Um, I see things now and I'm like, that's so negligent, you know, so although I had these transfer plans, these birth plans, and, um, there was a lot that was left out in, you know, I don't know if it's just like an overconfidence on their end because it does happen, you know, not as often.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:18:38): Right.

Erica (00:18:40): But I do experience it's, it's sort of like been a theme of what I see, like when I watch just things online or you know, it's all pretty consistent.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:18:50): Yep, yep. Yep. I hear you. I hear you. So let's, let's get into what, what happened. So what was your labor and, and birth like?

Erica (00:18:58): Yeah, so it was actually, um, pretty straightforward. So she, um, you know, I was super, super uncomfortable toward the end. Um, you know, and so I did opt to have my membranes stripped and, um, a couple hours later. So this was like on her due date, a couple hours later, my water broke. Um, so in the evening, and from there, it was just like, you're not getting off this ride it was

Erica (00:19:24): Honestly really more intense than anybody who could have ever prepared me for now. I don't know exactly if that's because something was wrong for me or, but it was honestly like, I felt completely out of control. Immediately. Like I was like, I wasn't able to access any of my comfort measures, like nothing. And I was just like, I couldn't, you know, um, do anything. I was completely beyond my, you know, self and, you know, kind of thought I was gonna die, to be honest. Really.

Erica (00:19:54): Yeah. Like it was, so when I've looked at it now, it kind of seems like, um, I don't, you know, obviously I'm not a medical professional, so, and there's having a home birth. There's no real way to tell, but like what, what I've found in talking to a couple of, um, you know, professionals is that maybe I had what's called, um, uterine tachysystole. So like my contractions were just very intense and very close together from the start now, my entire labor from time of, you know, um, not labor, but like when my water broke to when my baby was actually born was actually only just over 13 hours. So it wasn't, it wasn't prolonged. Um, it was just very intense

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:20:32): Right, right, right.

Erica (00:20:34): Um, and I had a very long pushing stage, which now, you know, that's, that's kind of another topic, but, um, I know a little bit more about that now. Those are some things that I just wasn't, you know, kind of talking about like information. I didn't go, go into my labor, knowing that there was an average push time.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:20:51): Gotcha. Gotcha.

Erica (00:20:52): That's something I wasn't able to advocate for myself for, unfortunately, which I do think contributed to what happened.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:20:59): Okay. Okay. So then how well, yeah. Walk us through the 13 hours of, of what, of how things went.

Erica (00:21:05): Yeah. I mean, to be honest, I was, so funny. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:21:08): I mean, it sounds like you were just out like,

Erica (00:21:11): Oh yeah. I mean, I did, I labored, I mean, I have memory, obviously I, I labored, um, in the tub some, a bit in the bed, like, you know, you move around when you're doing home birth. You have the that's one of the, you know, kind of perks of that. Um, and so it's, yeah, it was just, she was crowning like pretty early. And then, you know, I just was kind of like, just, it was like, it was just felt like I was pushing forever. Like, honestly, it was really miserable in that regard. And I was just like, I just wish we could get her out kind of thing. Um, and that's, what's just so, you know, looking back, I'm like, wow, I did, um, you know, acupuncture and prenatal massage and affirmations every day and walked and swam and saw the chiropractor and like all of these things. And I was like, I don't think any of that mattered. Like, you know, it was just like, it was just so fascinating to me. Like I was so obsessed with like, and I, I, I know I'm not the only one I talked to other first time moms. And they're like, you know, kind of similarly, like we're doing all this stuff to try and, you know, taking all these supplements and red raspberry leaf tea and, you know, just eating my dates every day.

Erica (00:22:16): All the things. Right. And so, you know, I, I think just, I was so caught off guard with how overwhelming it was. Right. And I felt, I remember like, just thinking back after like feeling honestly betrayed, I was like, how come nobody was honest with me. You know, and it was just like, why do you know, I have all these friends, who've had home births and everybody, and it's like, once that baby's laid on your chest, it'll be worth it. You can do this. And right. You know, just, and it's like, well, hang on. Like then when I started getting honest about my experience, then they started being honest.

Erica (00:22:52): I was like, why is this happening?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:22:54): Right. Right.

Erica (00:22:57): So, you know, that's been an, an experience, but that's, you know, that was basically my, um, labor, you know, I was in the tub and then, um, you know, my midwife had me get out and, and essentially she couldn't find heart tones for her. And then, um, and, and then she was born like within several minutes, like honestly, okay. It was like, we, there were heart tones, then there weren't, and that's kind of how it is when something happens, you know, when you can't haveing.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:23:23): So how long did you push? You said,

Erica (00:23:26): Honestly, it was probably a little, it was over five hours. And it's really hard for me to say that because now I know why that's a problem. Oh. And so, yeah, so it was, it was too long and my baby was big. She was 9.6 pounds. Um, and so now obviously it's been something kind of, it's taken me quite a while to process that information, to kind of understand that, that I should have been offered a transfer at three hours, um, or less, you know, so right. There could be some, I guess it could be controversial in the midwifery community but, um, I know there are people who push that long, but when I've told people, since I went in, you know, I remember being in the hospital after cuz obviously we were in the NICU and them masking me and I'm just naively telling them, oh, I think it was like around this amount of time. And I'm just like not knowing and their eyes like almost pop out of their head. And, and um, and so I was like, oh, but I was too in shock at that time to really catch that.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:24:31): Sure.

Erica (00:24:32): It actually took me till kind of later in the year and really talking to other people and cuz it was like I had, I couldn't accept that a choice I had made or a choice my provider had made, could contribute to this. So when she died, it was sort of the narrative of like my midwives had told me, you had this what's called like a silent placental abruption, and there's nothing we could've done. And you know, you did everything right. And it was like, and I just sort of took that. And I was like, I can't accept it. You know, I can't cope with anything else. So I guess I'll accept this and now I know. Yeah. That's not what happened. So it's just, uh,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:25:10): Yeah, I'm just, wow. So let me just, I'm just trying to paint the picture. So you pushed for five hours and then right at the end they had the heartbeat and then could not find the heartbeat and then was it like a, we need you to push, we need you to get yeah.

Erica (00:25:28): Yeah. She like, you know, yelled at me to get on all fours. Like pulled her out kinda, you know, within a, and you know, those, the things that are, you know, is traumatizing. I share like in regard to just my story, it's like, um, you know, I felt her in distress, but I didn't know that's what it was at the time. Gotcha. I remember at the end she did like a really erratic movement and I was like, whoa, um, just a couple minutes before she was born right before I got outta the tub and um, you know, looking back now, I'm like, oh, okay. I know what was happening there. You know, I didn't know that at that time, you know, so there's just some things that I really wish I would've known, you know, or even, you know, what's interesting is like, you know, my mom was present at my birth and she's had four babies. And so she's, you know, what we've talked about is just like, you know, I don't think anybody, or maybe some I can't speak for everybody goes into their labor, knowing what the average push time is. Like, we don't know like that, that direct information per se. And so it's not really, like she could have advocated for me or my husband could have advocated for me. Like, it's just, you just don't know what you don't know.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:26:32): Sure.

Erica (00:26:33): And you're then at that point, that's the one area where you're relying on your provider, you know? And so

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:26:38): Right. Right.

Erica (00:26:39): Um, that's hard. That's really, that's, that's the hardest thing for, for me to accept is that I just, with everything, I tried to know something still slipped through that. I just didn't know.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:26:49): Sure, sure.

Erica (00:26:51): And I dunno if it was expected that I knew that, you know, I'm not sure if like they thought I knew that right, too, you know, that's a possibility, I'm not gonna say that's, I don't think that anything was done maliciously or I think it was genuinely a tragedy based off of naivety and overconfidence.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:27:10): Gotcha. Gotcha.

Erica (00:27:10): And so I don't think there was ill intent. I think this traumatized my entire birth community to be completely honest.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:27:16): I'm sure. I'm sure. So when she was born, did she, did she have a heartbeat or not?

Erica (00:27:22): No. So immediately my midwife took her out. Her cord was white, she was resuscitated and we, you know, 911 was called even before she was out, she said call 9 1 1. And so, um, she was taken, you know, and, and then, um, shortly after I was taken because my placenta wouldn't deliver.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:27:41): Okay. So, um, and how long did it take the ambulance to get there?

Erica (00:27:45): A couple minutes. Okay. Yeah. I think it was a couple minutes. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:27:48): Okay. And then, so you both went to the hospital and, and then what was that like for you?

Erica (00:27:56): Yeah, it was, it was just a nightmare from the. It was just a, it was just a nightmare from, from there, honestly. Um, because, you know, so then I didn't see her for a couple of hours because, um, I had to get taken care of help with my placenta to deliver and um, and then I saw her and she was on cooling and covered in wires. And, um, at that point we didn't really know anything like it's, it's really fascinating on, what's been really hard for me. And just in kind of like the whole entire experience observing, like from my therapist's brain to my personal experience brain, I don't really think that the healthcare professionals that were with us took the time to acknowledge that we were traumatized people and I was a person who just given birth. And so, you know, immediately they're telling you things and, you know, and, and it was sort of it's general things. Like, we're not really sure this could be happening. She's really sick, you know? And so you take a first time, mom, who's just given birth a couple hours ago and tell her she's really sick. And I'm like, okay, so she could get better.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:29:07): Right.

Erica (00:29:08): You know? And so we didn't really kind of digest or even really know the severity of her brain damage until literally the day she died, if I'm being completely honest. So, um, that was sort of, you know, so just going into, like, it was just so hard being, you know, I'd never given birth before, so here I'm like walking within hours on my feet back and forth to the NICU. Um, you know, so that was pumping. I had, you know, my milk came in right away. Had, you know, so many, you know, so waking up every two hours to pump, go to the NICU, like it was really traumatic, yeah.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:29:47): I can, traumatic disorienting.

Erica (00:29:50): Oh my gosh, just everything. And I think it actually worked not in my favor to the fact that I was a therapist because I have enough like almost crisis response, survival skills to like compartmentalize and disassociate that actually people were like, oh, she's doing so well. And here I was just like, completely checked out, like so overwhelmed, but like, because I have so many coping skills, like, sure. So it was that I think was my experience this whole time actually of just sort of like people being, wow, she's doing really well and you know, so glad she's resilient and this kind of thing. And that actually really, um, actually was to my detriment to be honest.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:30:31): Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. And then how do you feel like the OB staff at the hospital treated you?

Erica (00:30:40): Well, I really immediately could feel the shame. They obviously only see tragedy when people get transferred from home birth situations. And so immediately it was like, oh, here's these home birth people, you know, uh, they didn't say that, but I could feel it, you know, I'm intuitive. And it was like known and it was like, great. Now I have to like, it's like, they don't know everything I've put into preparing for my baby. And I just look like this idiot, you know, like why would you choose a home birth kind of thing? And so that was really hard. And there was just, um, you know, that's part of the reason I've become so passionate about like, um, doing some advocacy work around trauma informed care, like as a therapist, because just some of the things that were said to me were so insensitive and, um, just really, um, inconsistent and, you know, they really tried, I don't blame, um, any of the, you know, there were also really wonderful people that really made an impact on us. I don't blame the nurses or the staff. I think it's a systemic issue that just, we're not trained in trauma per se in the healthcare field, unless we seek it out. And so I think nurses do the best with all of the varied things that they get thrown at them. Um,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:31:58): One, 100%, it, it is just not something that is taught. Um,

Erica (00:32:03): Yeah. So I don't blame, I'm not blaming them, you know, it's at the same time, it's like, oh yeah, I was harmed quite a bit by some of the things that were said to me.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:32:11): Yeah. Do you remember anything in particular that was said that you would feel comfortable sharing?

Erica (00:32:16): Sure. Like I could tell you, it's just some basic things and this is what I've got a lot of, I actually pulled feedback from all the lost moms to, um, create what's like a basic trauma informed care sheet. Right. So I'll just give you like a couple little examples. It's like, you know, one nurse would be like, stay strong and I'd be like sitting there, just staring at her little NICU bay, like just stay strong. And I would be like, okay, I don't know what that, like, I don't know why you're saying that, you know, and then, and then it'd be like, um, you know, somebody else would come by and I would be crying and they'd be like, you gotta stay strong for the baby, you know? And I'd be like, okay, like just like, right. You know, so educating nurses on like, okay, you know, first of all, you've, now I've now had two nurses tell me the same thing in a different context.

Erica (00:32:58): And I don't, you know, I know they kind of mean well, and they, but like, what does that mean? Right? Like, are you telling, you're telling me I'm not strong, cause I'm not crying now. You're telling me I'm not strong cause I am crying. You know, like just kind of, you know, it was just like, things like that. Like, I remember like one nurse, um, came to me at like the end of the first week or maybe it was toward the beginning of the second week and I, and she was like, how you doing? I was like, ah, you know, she was like, you know, you don't have to be so stoic all the time. You can. And I was just like, like you didn't see me 30 minutes ago. I'm losing my s***. You know, like I, yes, this was like, why are you saying this? Like, it's not helpful. You know? So there were just like, things like that. Like if that makes sense, like just, yeah. And just disorient, you know, kind of pulling me out of my situation. Like I didn't need advice or guidance. Like I'm horrified, I'm traumatized, I'm postpartum. Like I'm not sleeping. Like just ask me if I want some water, you know, or, you know, just like, just sit with me or just, you know, you can say, you know, I'm so sorry this is happening. And this is really hard.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:34:00): Right.

Erica (00:34:01): Like just, you know, so really I think, and I think it's a cultural thing too. We, um, we sort of underestimate how just simple things can be really helpful and we think we've gotta like really elaborate like helpful things. And really, we don't have to, you know, the,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:34:19): Sometimes it's enough for somebody to just acknowledge, like this is effing hard. Yeah. That's and that's it like that's, that's it,

Erica (00:34:27): That's it like just seriously, like this sucks.

Erica (00:34:31): I'm so sorry you're here. And, and that's it. And we just sit with that and right. That's really hard for people though.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:34:39): Yeah. Yeah. I agree. And I agree. It's a cultural thing as as well. So yeah. How ultimately did Verity pass away if you don't mind sharing?

Erica (00:34:50): Sure. Yeah. So it was, you know, we had, unlike day 12, we had finally, um, one of the NICU doctors had given, you know, given us a scan and said she has spinal fluid in her brain. You know, these are kind of, you know, so because prior it was like, well, there's not a lot of activity on the scans, but then we would have a doctor come, you know, her heart's doing great. And then another doctor, an hour later, her kidneys are wonderful. Like her lungs are awesome. And so like tell that to people who are hanging on by for dear life, hoping their child's gonna live. We're thinking, okay, there's possibility here, you know, but we didn't understand like, oh no, if her brain has no activity, like she's not waking up no matter how healthy her body is, you know? And so, so it was like day 12 finally.

Erica (00:35:39): And we said that, and then we were gonna have a meeting the next day to talk about like end of life care, like what that would look like. But then that day, for whatever reason, I just, I remember sitting there with her and I was like, all right, baby, like, you've gotta like gimme some kind of sign or I'm just desperate there. You know? And, and I remember I stepped out to make a phone call and, um, just get something to eat. And I came back and like all of her numbers, her, all her sirens were going off. Her oxygen was just like at max. And I just looked at my husband and we just both were like, I, I, we, I guess we've gotta just decide to take her off because unless we just wanna not ever hold her, you know? So it was just a very quick horrific, you know? And so like, luckily we live really close to the hospital and I called my mom and his parents were able to come and see her and we took her off the machines and said goodbye, you know? So, um, yeah, really horrific.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:36:42): Okay. Okay. Okay. Wow. So I can't even imagine what the postpartum period yeah was and is still like for you

Erica (00:36:57): Honestly, it was. Yeah. And it's like, you know, for, you know, this was my first baby, so I really had, no, I had no idea what to expect about postpartum and I'd just known and sort of, I'd kind of prepared myself of like, oh, well, like, you know, my sister had postpartum depression. Maybe there'll be some things I need to look out for, you know, some stuff like that. And, um, but other than, you know, and I'd already hired like a lactation consultant, like I had all my things lined up and, um, but this, you know, just, it was just such an, you know, completely uncontrolled experience. Like, I mean, I have kind of like a dark sense of humor, but so like the last month, you know, the months following her death, I was just like, you know, people would be like, how's, you know, checking in or I'd be like, I don't know, grief, trauma, postpartum, pick one. I don't know where I am.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:37:40): Right, right.

Erica (00:37:41): And, um, like

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:37:42): Spin, spin the wheel, whatever one you want.

Erica (00:37:43): Yeah. Since I have no idea what's postpartum and what's otherwise, and what's grief, I've never had a traumatic loss like this. I have no idea. Like, I, it was just, it's so consuming and that's one thing. And just talking to other, you know, bereaved parents, like who lost a child, you know, had to deliver a stillborn baby or had something traumatic happen. Like we did. Um, it it's really like under like represented in a, like, I don't know why, like I like, almost like people just forget that we still delivered a baby, you know, like it's like, well, the baby's dead. So I guess you're just normal again. Not taking into consideration, no, like we are still postpartum. Like I had to do pelvic floor physical therapy. I had to somehow get my milk to stop. I had all the things, you know, I had to wear a belly band. Like I was, you know, all the things that other postpartum moms have to do too.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:38:40): And then, and then you're, you're in a home that probably has a nursery already done.

Erica (00:38:45): Oh, decked out. I mean this, yeah.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:38:47): All of, all of the things

Erica (00:38:49): I had, baby, I had, you know, things in every room of our home ready for her. And so that was just, yeah. I mean, I don't, if there's a hell, it kind of was, I think I lived in it, you know. Honestly what it's like, I've described to people like here, I was about to cross this threshold to have my baby come into the world. And I had several friends who were pregnant at the same time as me. And like, they crossed the threshold and I fell into the abyss. Like, where do I belong now? Am I still a mom? Like I had a baby, but she died, you know, like, so a lot of, you know, and I wasn't able to function for quite a while properly, you know, like I couldn't go out in public because I was so overwhelmed. Like, you, you talk about like you can't escape pregnancy or children.

Erica (00:39:38): Good luck, you know? Um, so it, yeah. Being postpartum and just, um, luckily, I mean, I do feel like having the midwives, you know, was kind of a different experience than some people I've talked to who had, um, traditional OB care in the hospital because they did come and check on me in the home and they did, you know, um, do things that were comforting for me. And, um, I appreciated that a lot and I know some of my friends didn't get that, like who, you know, they just were like, after, you know, came in for their six week visit and then never spoke to them again, you know, kinda thing. And so that sucks. Like, I, I can just say like, I mean, uh, I do have some providers who I saw my entire pregnancy who chose to never reach out to me and that was extremely hurtful.

Erica (00:40:31): Um, and, and damaging, you know, like that severed the relationship honestly. Right. Because, you know, here's people who are involved in this really important time of your life as a provider. And, um, you know, when they make a choice to, I don't know why, you know, maybe it's a, you know, um, you know, liability, you know, thing, or it's just not possible with the level of their caseload and different, I don't know. I, I couldn't guess I'm sure it's different for every provider. Right. But I, I do know that, you know, say for example, there was the doctor who delivered my placenta in the hospital was just an angel and she took care of me for an hour. And somehow has found the time to stay in touch with me, you know, not like she's like constantly talking to me or anything, but like, checked in, sent a note, said if I ever wanna talk, she's available to answer questions, you know? And, um, she's gonna be a part of, you know, I'm delivering my next baby. I'm, I'm having a scheduled cesarean at the hospital that we were at and she's gonna assist. And I feel very comforted by her presence. And so at the same time, like, you know, providers can make such a difference with just such small things, you know?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:41:42): Wow. Wow. Wow. So I was gonna ask next, who are you seeing for your care? But obviously it must be physicians if you're planning to have a scheduled cesarean.

Erica (00:41:53): Yeah. It's um, yeah, I mean kind of, you know, that's another thing I've had to grieve. That's like, obviously I was really hoping to have this, you know, natural, beautiful experience at home. And I know some people do try that again. Um, that's not for me, unfortunately, it was just so insanely traumatic that, um, you know, obviously we chose to go, especially since there's not like a straightforward answer as to what happened, although it kind of seems like we have maybe some information, but, um, so I have an MFM, you know, he's high risk OB. And so I see him every couple of weeks. We can, you know, I've, I've had a little bit of like anxiety scares here and there. And he's like, come in, anytime you can text, really sensitive to our situation. And, um, and then, so we planned like our, um, scheduled cesarean. So end of August and hoping everything continues to go well with our pregnancy, with our second daughter. And we will do that. And I feel really good about, I feel in good hands. I feel, you know, I've, um, having, um, this page, I've had just like some other people in our community kind of befriend me that, you know, work at the same hospital and know our story and, you know, have been just really caring. And so I feel like we're gonna be looked out for, you know?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:43:10): Sure, sure. Sure. Yeah. And do you mind sharing why you're having a scheduled Cesarean versus trying for a vaginal birth?

Erica (00:43:16): Yeah, I, um, honestly at first I think it was just like the, having the option to have control a little bit to say, okay, I don't have to go into labor and wonder what's happening. Um, and also just like for, you know, my mom and my husband had quite a bit of trauma around the death, obviously the birth and death entirely also. And so they both were like, maybe can we just please just do a cesarean? Like, and so honestly, and I, I have I'm working through it. It's really hard for me. I would honestly prefer to just try to have another vaginal birth um, I, I was honestly scared of epidurals and I'm, I don't really like a lot of intervention to begin with. That's why I chose home birth. And so here I am now going the complete opposite.

Erica (00:43:59): It's hard, but at the same time, I'm thinking about our emotional safety and level of trauma we've experienced and like really the bar is so low for me. I'm like, I just, can we just get the baby here, healthily? Like, so it's sort of like, I think just the idea of being able to just pack my bag and show up at my scheduled time and not wonder what's going on. Also just, you know, I was unmedicated with my labor with Verity. And so the sensations of even sometimes when I get like, like a cramp or this current pregnancy stirred up a lot of my birth trauma. And so I just think being in labor would be really hard for me. Gotcha. Emotionally and tr and trigger a lot to where I'm like, well, I would probably have trouble relaxing, you know, like, and so I think is it worth it to put our family through that sitting at the very edge of their seat, traumatized sure. For duration of labor versus maybe we have a little more control with the cesarean, you know.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:45:01): Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. And, you know, definitely I can totally see where you're coming from. I, I will add that, um, even scheduled cesarean sometimes come unscheduled, like sometimes people's wa water breaks beforehand or yeah. You go into labor before the date, but, it sounds like you, you know, that those are possibilities and then, you know, you can, you're more, you know, more about the options and things and you've come to this decision very informed. It sounds like.

Erica (00:45:30): Yeah, I'm really, you know, that's the one thing I'm like, please just don't, you know, I'm like, I know this is my second baby. I hope I don't go into labor early. Like

Erica (00:45:38): For eight weeks. So, um, you know, cuz I, I think this has been pretty consistent in most, um, pregnancy after loss moms I've talked to who had a full term stillbirth. Like those, those last couple of weeks are really hard.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:45:52): Yeah.

Erica (00:45:54): Um, just because, you know, we now know so much more about stillbirth about what can happen and yeah. It's just really anxiety inducing. And so, um, I just am like, I don't even wanna put myself through this, you know, just so if we can get her out safely, if I don't go into la hopefully and, and if I do, I know, okay. We'll roll with the punches

Erica (00:46:17): But um, yeah,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:46:19): Yeah. Yeah. So, um, two last questions. How, how are you feeling?

Erica (00:46:25): With like this current pregnancy?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:46:27): With this pregnancy, I guess, with, with your evolution over the last 15 months? Yeah. How are you feeling about everything? Yeah.

Erica (00:46:36): Well, I will say it changes every day, sometimes hour by hour. Um, I, what I can say about traumatic grief in, you know, what sort of, what happens with like out of order death, what we, what, you know, what we would identify like what happened to me is it's very unpredictable. Um, I even like, it's just something like I I've had to just own, like anytime I'm feeling something, all I can say is this is what I'm feeling in this moment. And all I know is that I know nothing in an hour, I might feel differently. Um, and being with that and giving permission for that is the most helpful that I can do versus trying to move it, trying to fix it, trying to judge it or anything like that. And I think that's really the most helpful for me to just be with what's here.

Erica (00:47:27): Um, you know, I think some people are confused by the, my expression of grief, how vulnerable and honest I am. And, um, I don't care because for me it's, I think grief is not spoken about enough and it gives us this sort of misconception of what occurs for people. Um, and I'm here saying, no, this is actually really hard. And I feel kind of screwed up to be honest a lot of days. Yeah. And, um, and I'll never be the same, there's no version of me who didn't lose a child and have this horrific experience. And I was, I died with her, you know, to be honest. And so I feel, I do feel there are some things that have gotten lighter or shifted as I, you know, do my best to live in her honor. Um, and I think for me, I'm fortunate that we were able to get pregnant again.

Erica (00:48:19): We did have some fertility stuff. We were not sure if we were gonna have a hard time after. Um, and so I'm just really, there's been like some glimmer of hopefulness. Like I'm trying to lean into that. And I will say like, had we not been able to, I think I would not be doing as well of just being completely honest. Because losing your, your first and only child, you don't just lose your child, you lose a future and identity a motherhood, um, a whole entire life, you know? And so having that taken away from me as well as my daughter has been so hard, you know, especially because I was so intentional about my life,

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:48:59): Sure.

Erica (00:49:00): Um, so feeling robbed in that. So I feel, you know, I just take things one day at a time and, um, there's harder days than others and surprisingly it's sometimes not necessarily the big milestone days. It's just a random Tuesday. That's really hard. You know?

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:49:15): Yeah. Yeah.

Erica (00:49:17): Um, and pregnancy is hard, you know, I know some people do really well and are like really wonderful pregnant people and I was never one of 'em.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:49:26): Me neither.

Erica (00:49:27): Yeah. I just was like, this is, how come nobody told me, like, all these things. Like there was just, I, I just always have been like, wow, nobody ever told me this was gonna happen. And like just all this stuff that just funny things, you know, like I was like, dang, I didn't know I was gonna smell. And like, you know

Erica (00:49:44): Just really funny things about pregnancy that, you know, um, I didn't anticipate that, you know, so then, you know, I'm like, oh man, back to back, pregnancies really sucks. And then I'm grieving. And so it's, you know, it's but I am grateful. It doesn't negate. It's just all coexisting, you know? It's

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:50:02): Gotcha.

Erica (00:50:03): Yeah. So, sorry. Long winded answer to your question.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:50:06): No, no, no, no. Perfect. It's a perfect answer. Perfect answer. So then what is the one piece of advice that you would tell other women folks as they get ready for their birth?

Erica (00:50:15): Yeah. Well, I think just in general, in when you you're pregnant, it's such a vulnerable time just knowing that, you know, maybe not taking one person's advice as the word, you know, like be okay to question things like making sure you're getting information from multiple different sources and, and information from various places so that you can really make a truly informed decision on your care. Um, and don't be afraid to speak up. I think sometimes I wanted to be this like good patient. And so I would maybe dismiss or gaslight myself sometimes because I was like, well, you know, they're provider, they know best, but honestly, like as much as it sucks, we do have to really advocate for ourself and speak up. And I think it's really tricky because we don't wanna be that like annoying patient, but at the same time, like if you don't feel comfortable with anything, you know, don't be afraid to get a second opinion from a different provider or, you know, that's, there's some things I kind of wish that I would've felt comfortable to do, to be honest, um, versus being compliant.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:51:22): Gotcha.

Erica (00:51:23): Yeah. So I think, I think there's that. And then just, you know, obviously I, you know, I know I made the best decisions with the information I had. Does that mean it was an informed decision? No, you know, so I think it's just it's but we do the best with the information that we have. And um, so yeah, just be okay to question things like don't feel, you know, you're never bothering somebody to question or ask people's real experiences and so that you, and that's, I know it can be scary being, you know, I know for me, for example, I was like, well, I don't wanna hear all the horror stories. And I know that's the case for a lot of people. Um, you know, but knowing, I think if we can confront just possibilities as information versus thinking, it's like, you know, we can't manifest a, a tragedy.

Erica (00:52:09): We cannot manifest or bring on something scary by not talking about it. Hmm. You know, like, you know, so we're not doing ourselves any, any favors by avoiding hard, hard topics, even if they're a little bit anxiety inducing, you know? Sure. We can't, it's not contagious, you know, there's this saying, you know, in, and, and lost community, like child death and baby death is not contagious, like right. You know, like, just because I had this happen doesn't mean it's gonna happen to you, so you don't need to like, treat me like a leper, you know? So I think that is important too, of just like, let's just like, you know, kind of normalize some things that occur in life. And then maybe we'll be a little bit more prepared in a sense, not that anything could have prepared me for this, but, um, I do think it's important, you know, to talk to talk about things though, you know, as possibilities.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:52:59): Absolutely. Absolutely. So where can people connect with you?

Erica (00:53:04): Yeah, so I have my, um, my Instagram page traveling with grief and that's really where, you know, I'm kind of, um, ranting sharing. Dark humor, laughing about all the topics we're talking about, child loss, grief, you know, being trauma informed. Um, and then there's just the random poem here and there. And I know it's really sad, but that's my reality as I'm processing all of this. So that's where I'm kind of hanging out right now.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:53:33): Yeah. And, um, folks, I would say her, her page is beautiful. It's it's very, um, her writing is, is it's very moving, so I definitely suggest that you, that you check it out for sure. Yeah. So thank you so much, Erica, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. This has been incredibly, um, just like, I, I, I know I personally have learned so much from your story and that I'm gonna take away to help me be a better, um, doctor. And it's just fantastic that you're sharing this information cuz I know it's going to help someone for sure.

Erica (00:54:09): Oh, I, I really appreciate just you holding space and letting me share about our, you know, our story and, and caring. It means so much. So even just, just being open to hearing what you know I'm saying means means a lot. So thank you so much.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:54:23): Absolutely. And if you're open to it after your second baby girl is born, you're certainly welcome to come back and, and share that birth story too.

Erica (00:54:29): I would love to. Thank you so much.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:54:39): After every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's Notes, where I talk about my top takeaways from the conversation. Here are my Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Erica. Number one, this is what makes me nervous about home birth. This situation that happened, and that is the inability to provide immediate resuscitation for the baby. If needed moms have some reserve. And those few minutes of getting to the hospital, moms are typically fine. However, babies are brand new. They're just figuring things out when they're born. A few minutes after they are born, can make a tremendous difference in their lives. If they have a bad event that happens. And so in the hospital, you have more potential to provide all of the technology and things that we have to offer for a new baby. This is what makes me nervous about home birth.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:55:42): And that's not saying the hospital is a guarantee for resuscitating every baby. If something happens also not all hospitals have NICU's, actually some hospitals, especially in rural areas, don't have NICU. So they don't have the same level of ability to help resuscitate a baby. But at home you have very few options, very limited resuscitation equipment. And in the hospital, regardless of the hospital, it's going to be more than what is offered at home. So that's what, what makes me nervous about home birth. Not so much the issues with mom and if mom has complications, because typically mom can get to the hospital very, fairly quickly. It's the inability to provide immediate help for a baby.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:56:29): Okay. The next Dr. Nicole's Notes is the really important thing that Erica said about researching information versus confirmation bias and looking for things that confirm what you already want to hear. All right, it's very easy on either side or on any issue to get into an echo chamber where you only look for information, you only, um, you know, appreciate or read or look at information that confirms what you want to hear instead of actually researching the different sides of a particular issue. And that can be dangerous extremes on either side of home birth, hospital birth are wrong and you really need to treat hearing about possibilities as gathering information. Some people say, well, I don't even wanna talk about the possible options of something different, but that is wrong and can be detrimental. Okay. I love what she said about you can't manifest tragedy. Like some people say, I don't wanna talk about the option of transfer to the hospital, or I don't wanna talk about, for example, getting an epidural or C-section because that's going to help bring it into reality. Well, you cannot manifest tra tragedy. You can't manifest a bad event happening. It's not contagious. So just treat hearing about possibilities as gathering information, make sure you're researching both sides of an issue and not just confirming the information that you wanna hear.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:58:08): Next thing is that I want you to be mindful of how you interact with people who have experienced a pregnancy loss, and that is at any stage of pregnancy. All right? Don't say things like everything happens for a reason or stay strong or trust that God has a plan for you, or at least it was an early loss, or at least you can get pregnant. Again, all of those things are tremendously dismissive of someone's experience and doesn't allow them to sit in the grief and the difficulty and the anger and the sadness of having a loss. If those are the things that they're feeling, you really want to meet people where they are and support them and feeling whatever they're feeling in that moment. So try things like I'm really sorry that you're having to go through this, or this isn't fair, or this sucks.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:59:03): Or I know that this is really hard. Erica has a lot of information on her Instagram. It's traveling with grief and we'll link that in the show notes that helps you to better support people who have a pregnancy loss and just do it in a way that is so much more helpful and not dismissive of people's experience. And the final thing I wanna talk about is her point of you don't know what you don't know now. It's not really possible for you to know everything about pregnancy, about birth, about the potential things that could happen. That is our job as physicians and midwives, to really know those things. You, you, you can't possibly prepare for all the possibilities, but you can make sure that you have a basic understanding of labor of what could happen during the process of potential issues that can pop up.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (00:59:55): And that's gonna come with good, comprehensive, unbiased, childbirth education. I feel confident that that's what I offer in the Birth Preparation Course, my online childbirth education class. And I should say, not just that, I feel confident what birthing people, women have told me about their experience of my course and how it has helped them during their birth. Um, the Birth Preparation Course, it's all online and it really just that's my goal is to provide information in a way that's unbiased, that's straightforward, that's factual. So you can have a general sense and a good overview of the things that can happen and be informed and confident and know what questions to ask going into your birth. So you can check out all of the details of the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right, so there you have it. Please share this podcast with a friend.

Dr. Nicole Rankins (01:00:48): If you find it useful, it helps me to reach and serve more pregnant folks. Also subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening to me right now, and you can leave an honest review in Apple Podcast in particular. I love to hear what you think about this show, do be sure to continue the conversation with me on Instagram. I'm on Instagram @drnicolerankins also do check out Erica's Instagram it's traveling with grief, and you can link that or find that in the show notes. 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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