Ep 192: Tes’s Birth Story – An Empowered First Time Birth For a 40+ Year Old Mom

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This is the first birth story of 2023 and it’s such a wonderful, happy, joyful one. Tes's pregnancy journey included an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and an almost IVF cycle that was halted by Covid shutdowns.

At 43 years old she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. I really like how she maintains a positive attitude but is still honest about the hard parts. She’s real about loss, frustration, and pain - she even admits that yes, she did cuss but she never cussed at anyone :).

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What age Tes and her partner were when they decided to try and get pregnant
  • Whether she conceived with or without IVF
  • How the onset of the pandemic affected her pregnancy plans
  • How she managed pregnancy loss
  • Why Tes looked at being a patient of “advanced maternal age” as a good thing
  • What made her care team so special
  • How her pain management affected her birth
  • Why she was rushed to an emergency procedure after her daughter was born

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Dr. Nicole (00:00:00): It's the first birth story episode of 2023. And let me tell you, it is a great one. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OBGYN, 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.

(00:00:51): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 192, and whether you are new to the podcast or a loyal listener, I am so glad that you are spending some time with me today. In today's episode of the podcast, we have Tes. Tes is a runner, a work from home mom and an entrepreneur. She produces and directs road races such as 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. And she consults on all things road racing and running based wellness. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Mallek and their daughter Isla Rose, and that's such a pretty name. Well, Tes's pregnancy journey included an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, and an almost I V F cycle, which you will hear about, that was halted by Covid and she is also what I call a more mature mom. Isla Rose was born to test at age 43.

(00:01:51): Now, Tes has a really positive outlook on things from having an ectopic to having a geriatric pregnancy, to how the visits were, the doctor visits were during the pandemic. She's just finds a positive spin on everything, and I just love her energy. She's such a wonderful, joyful person to talk to. Really happy birth story and I know that you are going to love it. And she also happens to be a member of my online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course, and she's going to talk about how that played a role in her having a great birth experience as well. Now, if you are listening to this on the day the episode drops Tuesday, January 17th, there is still time to register for my class, my live class, Make A Birth Plan The Right Way. Making a birth plan is so much more than filling out a template or form that you find online.

(00:02:48): When you fill out those forms, it doesn't actually tell you whether or not the doctor or hospital actually support what is in that piece of paper. And in my class, Make A Birth Plan The Right Way, I teach a step-by-step process where you will know that you actually have the support for what's in your birth plan and get people to pay attention to it as well. You can sign up for the class, drnicolerankins.com/register. I'm only going to be doing this class live about four times a year. So if you're due in January, February, March or April, now is the time to sign up and I will see you in class. All right, let's get into the episode with Tes. Thank you so much Tes, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am so excited to chat with you about your story. As I said before we got started, I know folks are going to find it relatable and useful, so thank you.

Tes (00:03:41): Oh, no problem. Looking forward to it.

Dr. Nicole (00:03:42): Yes. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your family?

Tes (00:03:46): Well, again, my name is Tes Sobomehin Marshall, I live in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband Mak and our amazing almost 20 month old daughter, Isla. I've been here for about 12 years and everyone in Atlanta's probably from somewhere else. So

(00:04:04): Originally from the Midwest and been here for about 12 years. And my profession is, I'm a race director. I put on and produce road races like five Ks, 10 Ks, run walks work with some charitable organizations to help them put on their event. So it's a good life here in Atlanta.

Dr. Nicole (00:04:22): Yeah, I love it. That's really, really cool. And I love that name, Isla. That's really pretty. Thank you. Yeah. So in order to understand what happened with your birth, we have to talk a bit about what your pregnancy was like, what your prenatal care was like. So what was your pregnancy and prenatal care?

Tes (00:04:36): Well, the best way I described describe it was very uncomplicated as far as the pregnancy, but the journey to get pregnant was definitely one that I think a lot of people can relate to or not.

Dr. Nicole (00:04:48): Let's talk about that if you want to get into it. Yeah.

Tes (00:04:51): The journey to get there I would say is one that some women can relate to. I am I'm currently 45, but at the time when we started, me and my husband both married kind of later in life, both. I was in my late thirties, he was in his early forties. We took a couple of years to enjoy married life and started thinking about kids. And we did not prevent at any point really after we got married, but at some point we kind of realized, hey, it's not just naturally happening. And then in 2000 I got to make sure I get my years 2018, I actually had an ectopic pregnancy and it was literally I, there was no signs symptoms and ended up having to go to the emergency room and literally found out in a matter of moments that I was pregnant. And then it was, I had lost the baby as in ectopic pregnancy. And really my first time even knowing what that was. So that was really just

Dr. Nicole (00:05:55): What that sounds like. It was just, you got hit with a lot all at once.

Tes (00:05:58): It was crazy. I was coaching a middle school cross country team at the time and I literally came to practice one day and just something didn't feel right. I went into the bathroom, and those of you who have experienced ectopic pregnancies, you probably know what happened in that bathroom. And I ended up having to call the school nurse. And I'm still super grateful to that school nurse because she came, this was after school, so there were kids everywhere, right? I mean this random campus restroom. And the school nurse came and she helped get me to I think, I can't remember, I think my husband came to pick me up and we got to the hospital and again, kind of learned all that information all and it was definitely a trying time. I was about a week out from one of my biggest events. Oh my gosh. Having to deal with that as well as trying to continue to be a leader as a business leader. Absolutely. That was challenging, but had great family and friend support along the way.

Dr. Nicole (00:07:05): And the thing that, did you have surgery?

Tes (00:07:06): Yes, I had, did have to have a minor surgery called, they like to call it procedure, they didn't want me to call it surgery. And I did have to eventually go back, I think it was about a month later to do the D N C to make sure that everything was cleared. So all that and the kind of takeaway that me and my husband chose to take from that was, Hey, we can get pregnant. That was something, the positive that we took away from that. Obviously those months afterwards were very sensitive in terms of just being more aware. Cause like I said, I had no idea. Sure. There were no symptoms that told me I was pregnant. So for probably the next year, all of 2019 and early 2020, again, we weren't preventing. And it was kind of that thing where,

Dr. Nicole (00:07:55): Oh, I'm sorry. I was going to ask, do you mind me asking first, do you feel, how were you treated during the course of the ectopic is one thing. Yeah. And then I'm curious, did your doctor at any point in this time talk to you about your fertility? Yes. So maybe first, let's start with how you felt you were treated during the process.

Tes (00:08:13): So my husband actually works for one of the healthcare systems here in, Atlanta's not a medical person, but he works for I don't know if you want me to say what hospital it is. And so we went to that particular hospital and it was just because it was top of mind to me. And I mean, I was happy with it. Again, all the information was new to me, so whatever they told me was just going to be what I learned because I didn't know anything. I didn't even know what an ectopic. I literally had to Google it to find out. Right. And it's actually ironic, the doctor that helped me two doctors that helped me during that time, I ended up seeing them regularly during my pregnancy. So I mean, again, I had positive experience as far as just being informed and being told.

(00:08:57): And one of my volunteers that helps me with one of my races, a medical doctor, and she came up there and she was making sure I was asking all the right questions. Oh, good. And they absolutely did tell me all the different things that were possibilities in, in terms of my fertility. But like I said, all of 2019, we pretty much just didn't do anything to prevent. And I think it was the end of 2019, I was finally what we need to see, what's going, what's really going on? Cause again, we're both in our forties and, and I'm fairly healthy. But at the same time, so we went and saw for tele specialist at, at the end of 2019, got all the consultations. I think it was determined, I think it was early 2020. I got, what was that procedure where they shoot the gel? The dye

Dr. Nicole (00:09:51): Deer? Yeah maybe an H S G sg.

Tes (00:09:55): Yeah. Boy, let me tell you,

Dr. Nicole (00:10:01): Not fun.

Tes (00:10:02): So I was like, okay, now I know what that feels like. So I got that test and from that test it was determined that my tubes were, I think they said my Celia was kind of weak and slow and it was going to be difficult. If not, it would be very difficult for me to get pregnant. So we started looking at IVF and we did all the research. We actually had the full consultation. I think this was late February, had the whole consultation. We started looking at insurance, all that good stuff and everything. We were scheduled on March 21st to go in for the first, first round. We all know what happened March of 2020. So I mean, it was crazy because all the clinic shut down and we were like, okay, oh, put on hold. And then Dr. Nicole, even to even more crazy was I actually got pregnant at the end of March and miscarried within the first two weeks of April.

(00:11:03): So this was all during the hardcore shutdown time of the pandemic. So I went through all that and that one was really tough. Cause again, I didn't realize that I was actually pregnant until I just started bleeding. And it was this couple of days of excitement. And then I have a really good friend who's a midwife, and I was texting her and calling her, and she just assured me, make sure I go in. And I went in to see at the same hospital I went in to see a doctor actually ended up seeing a midwife there. And I'll never forget this woman. She was a Jamaican woman. And she told me, she's like, listen, I want you to just stay positive. You'll have children if that is your heart's desire. And she said, you know, just get through this. Take care of yourself. And, what she said was, you'll have 50 babies. If you want 50 babies. I dunno about that.

(00:11:55): And I just always remember those kind positive words. So we went through the pandemic. So summer, fall, summer was our spring summer 2020. And again, just wasn't doing anything to prevent this was. And we were like, okay November, we'll pick back up with the whole IVF discussion. I wanted to get past my busy fall. My birthday is in August. So at the end of August I had this big old birthday party. I'm also a brewery and beer connoisseur. I had this big party where I had everybody come over and bring beers and we all drink beers and had a good old time. And the month of September was just a big lead up to my big event that I host in October. And right after that event in October, I mean, just wasn't paying attention to anything. And at the end of the middle of October, I was like, you know what? I have not had a period this month. What's going on? So went, and at this point you're not getting excited. Right. You've been through so many things. And I went to the local drugstore, got a couple of pregnancy tests, went, took the first one. I mean, it was immediate

(00:13:10): And then I did the little half smile. So I waited a day and I took another one and I didn't tell my husband because I just, yeah. I went. And the second one quickly came back positive. So at that point I messaged my friend, I told you that was midwife. And I told her and I was like, listen, I don't want to get my hopes up. She's like, well schedule an appointment, go get an official test at the doctor. I did that and I think it was maybe three days later that I got the official test at the doctor. And I came back and she told me that, I think at that point I was like eight weeks. And I remember sitting in that little waiting room and just sitting there praying like, listen, Lord, if you make this, I remember specifically saying, if you make this one is a viable pregnancy, I'll eat salads every single day for the whole pregnancy. That was my,

Dr. Nicole (00:14:06): I'm bargaining. I'm just

Tes (00:14:08): Salads every day. So that's how I found out. And of course that was positive news. Sure.

Dr. Nicole (00:14:17): Did you have a ultrasound that day or was it later?

Tes (00:14:21): So I think they gave me the ultrasound and I was able to see the little blip

Dr. Nicole (00:14:29): Probably. So since you have a history of ectopic, we tend to try to get folks to have a ultrasound early. Okay.

Tes (00:14:34): Yeah. So I think it was a nurse practitioner that I met with and I went there. So again, at the same hospital that I had dealt with the ectopic pregnancy. And so to finally get to your original question I started my care there and it's a hospital system, so it was different doctors every time I went in every once in a while midwife. But I was able to schedule and see the doctors that the four or five doctors that I was really comfortable with, there was one that I saw probably more than the others and we'll get to this, but I was able to, I did, didn't know all the doctors that were on call during my actual delivery I was familiar with. So that was positive. Got it. Got it. And you have the ability to see any of the doctors throughout your time as far as their schedule goes. Gotcha,

Dr. Nicole (00:15:23): Gotcha. Yeah. So at what point did you feel, or did you ever feel a sense of relief this pregnancy is actually going to happen?

Tes (00:15:34): Yeah. Well, I think all women who've gone through miscarriage can relate that you're never a hundred percent comfortable.

Dr. Nicole (00:15:41): Sure.

Tes (00:15:42): Yeah. But I think that moment and when the nurse practitioner came in and she said that I was indeed pregnant, cause the early March miscarriage was her confirming that it was miscarriage. Got it. So, got it. I think that was one step. And then again, this was during the kind of peak of the covid shutdowns and all that. My husband wasn't able to come with me to the hospital for any of the appointments. Oh, that's right. He actually did one of those. Isn't it funny how we forget that that was the case back the day. We went to one of those kind of ultrasound boutiques in town and he got a chance to see the baby on the ultrasound. So that was a huge step in our just getting really excited,

Dr. Nicole (00:16:26): Connecting

Tes (00:16:27): And yeah. And then of course as a geriatric what they consider geriatric pregnancy.

Dr. Nicole (00:16:34): It's rude. It's rude, it's rude.

Tes (00:16:37): OK with it. I say this all the time, I actually enjoyed this special attention. Oh,

Dr. Nicole (00:16:42): Look at that. See I how you put a positive spin on it.

Tes (00:16:45): And I was there every week. I had my little parking spot downtown that I would always go to. So I enjoyed it. But we also obviously had to get the blood test. I think it was mandatory, or at least strongly recommended. And so we did find out the gender early. So all those phases and steps and hitting the different natural milestones gave us more and more excitement and confidence that this is where we were heading. Good,

Dr. Nicole (00:17:11): Good, good. So you felt like you were happy with the care you received even during the course of the pandemic? I know that sucked because your husband couldn't come, but Yeah.

Tes (00:17:20): Well, I really enjoyed the time. I felt like that was a bonding time with me and my daughter. Even our little trip, our drive to the hospital. So when I would park, there'd be nobody downtown. Right, right. It was a special time. And we didn't know any different. I didn't know any

Dr. Nicole (00:17:38): Different. Sure, sure, sure.

Tes (00:17:39): I mean, I just know when I go to my normal appointments, my husband wasn't with me, so it just felt like normal appointments.

Dr. Nicole (00:17:46): That makes sense, that makes sense. And it also is, it's something that I think we don't appreciate. That's the closest you're ever going to be to your child, having them inside of you and that connection. So I love that spin that you put on that.

Tes (00:17:57): And it was actually kind of cool because we'd be in the waiting room and saw the pregnant mothers. Mm-hmm. In the waiting room. No, you weren't even allowed to have anyone in the waiting room waiting for you. And I remember this one time a woman had her husband come and the lady stopped him at the door. She's like, no, you got to stay out there. So I was like, we had our own little club. And he was always in and out. I don't remember ever waiting long in five minutes to see, okay, my doctor. Okay. Well those are some of the positives of

Dr. Nicole (00:18:25): Of the time. Yeah. So what did you do to get ready for your birth?

Tes (00:18:29): Oh goodness. So the first, I'm a person that really likes a lot. I just like to have a lot of different information from different sources. Not necessarily to take on how I'm going to feel, but just to be well aware. So I was huge on just YouTube. I found a bunch of people that I really liked to follow that were informative, v bloggers, and then of course podcasts. And I actually found your podcast, I think the first episode I think was a birth story. And then usually if I find a podcast episode that I like, then I'll just click on the podcast and see if Okay, they have other topics. And boy, let me tell you, I just didn't even know some of the topics that you covered. And this was back when, I don't think you had hit a hundred episodes yet. We were still under a hundred.

(00:19:17): So you can literally access everything on the Apple Podcast app. And I literally, I started, I would go to sleep, listen to podcasts, wake up, listen to my husband was like, you were going to turn into a podcast. So I listened to your podcast. I listened to the Birth Hour podcast. I love listening to birth stories. Definitely love listening to whatever stage I was in. Sure. I wanted to hear more accounts of that. And then even towards the end, my friend told me, she's like, don't watch live births on YouTube. And of course, oh, why not? I started watching those live births on youtube.

(00:19:57): So yeah, I was very well informed. And the doctors will always ask, when we came in, are you more of a listener, watcher, or reader? And I realized quick, I love to listen and watch. I'll read a book. But I really enjoyed listening. And like I said, I felt like I knew you. We were talking, and then my husband and I did go through your birth and pregnancy course. Yes. And extremely helpful. It was awesome for us to do it together and just learn. I just felt so prepared for any scenario that possibly could have happened from all that information that

Dr. Nicole (00:20:36): Was right. Awesome. Love it. Love it, love it. So then what are some things that you wanted for your birth?

Tes (00:20:42): It's funny because listening to a lot of women talk about their wants and desires. I'm not the type of person that needed a doctor that was going to be it didn't bother me that we had multiple doctors. And as long as the person was professional and I had good bedside manner, so to speak, I was going fine with that. But I definitely wanted to be informed of everything that was going to happen. Definitely didn't want to have any of those experiences. So I felt like something was done to me, or Absolutely. Or I was forced down a road because of my age or my right. I remember taking my questions in to my appointments the last few weeks, and the doctors were all really great about answering the questions and making me aware. So one of the things that was recommended to me, and I never felt like I had to do it, but I took, since I was advanced maternal age, sorry, that's what I meant say earlier, but the advanced maternal age.

(00:21:44): So they said that if I didn't go into labor naturally, they would recommend I schedule my induction in the 39th week. And I was fine with that. And my daughter started weighing lower on the scale towards the end, the re 36, 37. So they really recommended, we want to make sure there's no issues with the placenta. So I was due May 24th, but I scheduled the induction on May 17th. So that was the very beginning of week 39. Got it, got it, got it. So that was something that if I didn't feel like I needed to push back or anything, cause I felt like they made me aware of why they recommended that. And absolutely. I feel like if I would've said no, I'd rather just kind of wait, waited out, they would've given me that option and not

Dr. Nicole (00:22:37): Push that. Sure. Yeah. So the key was that it was something that you felt like you were able to come to yourself with good information and understanding and why?

Tes (00:22:45): Yes. And I have nothing against epidural. I said to myself, I just wanted it to be available. I mean, I didn't have any I wasn't trying to win any medals, the pain tolerance or anything. So when we get into the actual birth story, it was an experience. I feel like I got the best of both worlds during my. Gotcha.

Dr. Nicole (00:23:05): Well let's get into it then. What happened with your labor and your birth?

Tes (00:23:09): Yeah, so like I mentioned, I had my induction scheduled literally up to the day. There was nothing, no Braxton Hicks, no feeling like no water break all the things. And again, I was watching different YouTube videos of women trying to tough it out at home for a little while. So I was like, oh, guess I won't get that experience. So the day before was a Sunday and I had some of my friends come over and we were just hanging out. And then Monday morning we were scheduled to go in, I think at four or five. So it was so crazy because me and my husband were, we have a two level house. He was upstairs, I was downstairs. And we were just both just getting our minds right. We weren't talking, we were just quiet in the house. It was almost like we both kind of knew this is,

Dr. Nicole (00:23:55): It's about to happen.

Tes (00:23:57): Something new is about to happen in our world. And then right around the time was the time to leave, I went upstairs, we had our bags packed and got in the car and we were just looking at each other. It was almost like first date, like, oh yes.

(00:24:09): Since I was in good shape, we basically just went parked got to the reception area. And one of the funniest things I thought from our reception, I carried small pretty much the whole pregnancy and to the point where it was, I was glad those last two weeks when I stopped going out and maybe because every time I would tell someone how far along was they'd look at me, really? You look like two months pregnant. And it didn't help that I wore baggier clothes or I started Sure. I wearing my husband's clothes. Cause they were more comfortable. So when we walked up to the reception,

Dr. Nicole (00:24:42): Just side note, I wish people so don't comment on people's pregnant bi. Nobody wants to hear it. It doesn't, and

Tes (00:24:47): Again, I didn't think anyone said it out of,

Dr. Nicole (00:24:50): I know. And people, they don't mean anything by it. But I had the opposite where people would say, you look huge. Yeah.

Tes (00:24:59): Normally say, normally say I. And to truth the way people would say, they didn't mean it. But I was, again, I just was so happy the last couple of weeks when I was at home and I carry it every single day. So anyway, so we walk up to the reception area and the woman actually asked, who's the patient? So apparently that's how small I must have been carrying. And I looked at my husband and I looked at her and I said, I don't know, but something inside of me needs to come out.

Dr. Nicole (00:25:30): It's me.

Tes (00:25:32): She just started laughing out. So I guess I must have looked like real spunky.

Dr. Nicole (00:25:36): Right.

Tes (00:25:37): And I don't remember. No, I do remember I had kind of a baggier sweatshirt on, but

Dr. Nicole (00:25:40): Still, okay. Are you tall? Because sometimes when people are tall,

Tes (00:25:44): I guess, I mean, I'm five eight, so

Dr. Nicole (00:25:46): Okay. Maybe. Yeah. Okay.

Tes (00:25:48): So once we cleared up who the patient was, I think we waited in the lobby for about five minutes. And it was funny cause it was another woman there and she was there by herself with a bag. It was, she have, this must have been her third or fourth time when she was just ready. She had one little bag we're coming in, first time parents with suitcases and all the things. And so one thing that I wanted to mention that I don't think I had ever heard anyone talk about this and that it was surprising to me, they actually took me back to the room first. And it was about 20 minutes before they brought my husband back. And I remember they were asking me a lot of questions about was I comfortable with the person that I was that was there for my care? And I almost like a screening a domestic,

Dr. Nicole (00:26:38): It's exactly what it is.

Tes (00:26:39): Yeah. And I actually appreciated that. I just didn't know that that was something that they do. And like I said, I had never heard anyone talk about that. So fortunately that wasn't my situation. But I remember thinking to myself, man, that that's awesome that they do that because that's like your one chance if you are in a tough situation and maybe put up a red flag and then get some help. And

Dr. Nicole (00:27:00): Sadly, unfortunately, we do have to do that because we do sometimes have folks screen positive for being in difficult situations. So I'm glad you mentioned that.

Tes (00:27:09): Yeah. So my husband actually ended up coming back. And again, this was May of 2021. So we were required to wear our mask. We were in lobby areas. But once we got into the room, I wasn't required to wear a mask as the birthing birthing person. But he was required to keep his mask on. And of course all the doctors, nurses, everyone who came in and out of our room were masked. But I was very grateful for it because there was a lot of back and forth in different hospitals in the Atlanta area about some hospitals required you to literally be in labor with a mask on.

Dr. Nicole (00:27:44): I was like, yeah, it's just nearly impossible. Yeah.

Tes (00:27:47): Well, we would've had some words there, but it was never required. And actually May of 2021 was right around the time when they started lifting some of the mm-hmm. Restrictions. But we stuck to our plan. All the family was via text and sucked our plan. My husband was my one support person. I chose not to get a doula just because I felt like my husband would do a great job of Sure. Advocating for me, supplying all my needs that I needed. And he indeed was perfect. Awesome. I never felt the need to have anyone else intercede for me. Good, good, good. So we get settled into the room. I just remember having this feeling of excitement. And also just after watching and hearing so many birth stories, this is my story. They're like, I'm about to live my actual story. And so they started the induction process with the Foley bulb. And I can't remember which of the C medicines,

Dr. Nicole (00:28:51): Cytotek, maybe?

Tes (00:28:51): One of it's cytotek, something else, but I can't remember which one I got. But that was right around eight 20 that evening. And I will say that Foley bulb pain was that at that time I was thinking to myself, this is what they're talking about. This is pain. It was very painful. I remember whenever I had to go to the bathroom, my husband would help me get unhooked from all the machines going go to the bathroom. I started off at, I think it was 1.5 centimeters and 30%effaced. So they explained to me everything about the Foley bulb and the goal to get to four centimeters. And they would come in and test it every hour or so. So I can't remember exactly how long it was in, but I do remember it was in the middle of the night. Cause again, it started at 8:20 PM So middle of the night they finally come in and I would actually fell asleep.

(00:29:48): I don't know how. Cause I was in so much pain. And I remember they came in and they finally did the final tug and it came out. And I just remember this sense of relief, coming over. And once they pulled it out I think there was a small lag time. And then they started the Pitocin. And again, they asked me if I understood what thing too that they did. They asked me several times if I knew why I was being induced. So I thought that was interesting. And after listening to you, you talk so many times. Yep. I thought that was something, obviously a protocol in place almost to make sure that I was saying that was my idea. More so than their idea. So interesting. Okay. So yeah, we started the Pitocin and I think they started it at a level two. And I just remember going through that.

(00:30:41): And that was about four in the morning. So from about four in the morning I think I was managed to fall asleep, get a nap in. They kept kind of upping it. Two every single, every time they would come in and check my centimeters kept increasing slowly. I think I got stuck at maybe five or six for a longer period of time where they would come in. Over that course of time, several nurses coming and going, and these are all things I knew were going to happen. I had some awesome nurses and I had some nurses that were, you could tell they were just there to get their shift done. There was one point where I think I had more switches because they usually only switch everywhere 12 hours usually. But there was one that had to switch in the middle of the shift. So I had more nurses than normal.

(00:31:31): But right around, I'd say about one 30, they upped it to level 16. I have this written down in my notebook, level 16. I was like, okay, here we go, level 16. And up to this point I'm like, if this is what labor is, I'm good. Right? I think I can do this. After that Foley Ball weeks, me, I was like, if that was the worst pain, it was awful, but I could deal with that. So they upped the 16 and somehow I managed to fall asleep. And Ill never forget, I woke up with a jolt of pain that I had never felt before, right around two o'clock. And I said, oh my gosh. And I told my husband and I was like, can you check the monitor if, did I just have a contraction? Cause if that was a contraction, this is not what I thought it was going to be.

(00:32:14): And I thought asking nurses on and off throughout the day, how will I know if it's, cause they kept asking me, do you think you might want the epidurals? We do have to order it. And, and I was like, oh gosh. So that joke pain woke me up and I was like, oh my God, I think this is what they've been talking about. And I think I hit the nurse button and I was like, okay. I, I'm not sure, but I think I just had the real contraction. What do I need to do if I do want that? Because I know they needed to do a iv, make sure I had a full iv. And it was going to be about an hour before they could come around because there were so many people on my floor having babies. So I was like, okay, let's just get the IV just in case. And in that hour that it would take for me to order the epidural, it just got increasingly more and more. Well that's why I tell you I had the best of both worlds. I got to experience the whole unmedicated, I was good, I could live to tell the tale. I can look right, but send the epidural team in because

Dr. Nicole (00:33:16): I'm ready.

Tes (00:33:19): So I experienced about two hours of the volcano eruption. Okay. Yeah. Do something. Okay. But my pride is I didn't cuss anybody out. I didn't tell my husband that, why did you do this to me? I didn't do anything. I did cuss, but I didn't cuss anybody. Right. And again, was yeah, I feel like I got it. Good to know I can call other women and yeah. Gotcha. Gotcha. And then when the epidural came in, team came in and here's my advice to women who are considering, just don't look forward. I don't even know what the people look like. Just I never saw the needle. If there was, I just followed whatever instructions they told me, I did it. I remember them telling me listen, if you have a contraction and you start moving around, we're going to have to stop until your contraction's done. And I remember having a contraction while they were doing, I was like, I stood so still. I was like, I do not want to delay.

(00:34:19): So after they finished everything, they did an awesome job of everything they did. They explained to me what they were about to do and how I would possibly feel. And so that was really, really helpful. So for any women who are petrified of the whole epidural experience, don't look just, and just make sure that they are giving you step by step before, even if they just are touching you on the shoulder, I'm going to touch you on the shoulder and hopefully you have lucky enough to have on doctors that will give you that level of alertness. Yeah, absolutely. And then once they were all done, they were like, what's going to take about 20 minutes for you to fill it? And I remember looking at the clock and saying, okay, that's about five more contractions.

(00:34:59): And just like they said, after each one it got a little bit less intense, less intense, until finally it felt like it had kicked in. And I think what I have would be called a good epidural because I could still move my legs and fill my legs, but I didn't feel anything in my torso. Oh, nice. Vaginal area. So that was great. Nice. And then I also remember them telling me they were that I would feel this itching sensation for a while and as long as I didn't scratch it would go away quicker. And I just remember I was like whatever you guys tell me, that's what I'm going to do. So I just took it and eventually it did subside. Okay. So that was what about four or five? So from that point it was just monitoring. And do you know how dilated you were when you got the epidural? I think I was at, like said I was stuck at six four month, so it got right around the sixth.

(00:35:59): So I don't have the exact timestamps, but I know every time they would come in it would go up one. Sure, sure. One. And we were just in the room watching tv. I remember we had her bt and we were just watching Martin and Fresh Prince episodes. We saw every single Martin Fresh Prince episode ever made in that time. I remember must have been Tuesday night. So yeah, this is into Tuesday night. We actually saw that this is US pent ultimate episodes. So these things vividly in my mind. Yeah. Hospital. Yeah. So after that went off I was like, okay, I'm go ahead and go to sleep and see. And I had this little text thread going with a group of friends and also some family, and everyone was putting in their predictions about when the baby was going to be right when the baby actually come.

(00:36:48): So of course, this is March 18th sorry, May 18th, and everyone is thinking sometime tonight. So I had family members anywhere from 10 o'clock all the way till midnight. So finally we get around the 10 30 hour the doctor comes in, she checks, and I think I was at a nine. Okay. We were thinking, okay, we'll be close. She came back again, I can't remember, a little bit quicker and did another check. And so what, you're out of 10, we can start practice pushing. And I was like, practice what? Practice pushing. Yeah. Cause I'm thinking we're going into the next day at this point. Right. So somehow I managed to text my family. I was like, you guys better upgrade your guesses because this thing's going into the next day. So I had all these family members guessing this that somebody put the 21st. I was like, no, I'm not.

(00:37:43): No, that's not going to go into the two a labor. But I remember my aunt one, my favorite aunts had predicted 1159 on the 18th. So I was like, okay, I want her to be right. So we are going to push for this. So I started the practice pushing at about 11 o'clock. And during all this time I had one. I just, awesome. I just remember having really awesome nurses and coaches on either side of me. My husband was on my right side. The nurse on duty at the time was on my left side. Eventually they brought in the pediatrician. And the hospital I give birth is also a teaching hospital. So there are a lot of people in the room. And at one point I look around the room and I realize I have literally, except for my husband, all black female delivery team, the resident, everyone, the pediatrician I believe may have been East Asian, but we told her she was honorary for that moment.

(00:38:46): So I had Beyonce homecoming playing in the delivery room. And so by the end of the practice pushing phase, I had everybody's favorite Beyonce song. I knew where everybody was from. One of the nurse doctors was from Houston. We were having a good time in there. Yes. Meanwhile, every two or three minutes I'm pushing through these contractions. So we get to 1130 and she's like, okay, we are ready to, for real, real push. So they did a bunch of stuff in the room. My husband actually, had to excuse himself for a moment. And I didn't find this out until afterwards because he said he got somehow got kind of dizzy. Oh Lord. Went into the bathroom and we all heard this. We were like, oh Lord. I was like, please don't tell me this man is passed out in the bathroom.

(00:39:34): But he emerges back out of the bathroom looking a little flushed. I was like, babe, I need you to be my rock here. So he comes back over and gets his spot back. And then, oh, I mean, I guess it's kind of blurry, but we're pushing playing. Nurses are everywhere. People are. I'm of course looking up lights bright. And I pushed for about 30 minutes and I just never forget that second to last push, I looked up at the clock and it was 1158. I was like, auntie Debbie is going to be the winner cause this is coming. And for some reason, the contraction took a little bit longer to come. And I started pushing at about 1159 in some seconds. And it was about 30 seconds of pushing. And Ila came at 12 o'clock midnight as the clock turned over. Oh

Dr. Nicole (00:40:28): My goodness.

Tes (00:40:29): He was born on May 19th, right? 2021. I mean, it was just crazy after seeing and hearing so many different birth stories. My birth story was, was in the books. So when she came out I think IAD Diva was on, that's the song she came out too. All right. She came out screaming with a full head of hair, and I just knew that she was going to be baldheaded because all the heartburn and all that, I didn't have any of that stuff all throughout my pregnancy. But she was just beautiful and her eyes were open. And she looked at me and I looked at her and I just remember giving her a big kiss and saying, I love you. Aww. And it was beautiful.

Dr. Nicole (00:41:11): That was so beautiful.

Tes (00:41:12): When they say that whole thing about how you forget everything, as soon as, I mean, it's so true. Yeah. Oh, it's so true. And meanwhile, they're doing all the stuff they got to do down there and you're just holding your baby. Right?

Dr. Nicole (00:41:25): Right. So they did do skin to skin, it sounds like. Yes. And that, yep. Did they do delayed cord clamping? Do

Tes (00:41:32): Remember they delayed core kind of mean. My husband was not interested in cutting the cord. Okay. But he wasn't responsible for making sure that they did cut it and do the delayed. So while they were,

Dr. Nicole (00:41:45): Did you have to get any stitches or anything?

Tes (00:41:46): No. So kind of interesting. I didn't tear. I had some inner vaginal tears, I believe what they called it. So I didn't tear a perineum or anything. And just back up too, one of the things, I think I got this from you was to request some oils and things like Yeah. So they actually were doing that for me during the pushing. So that I think that was helpful. But no, I didn't care. But part of my placenta actually broke off and stayed inside and they were having trouble getting out. So I actually had to, after my hour with the baby, and he took some breastfeeding they actually had to give the baby to my husband and take me into the, or I had to go to the OR and have an emergency procedure to remove the piece of, yeah. Cause there was risk of hemorrhage.

(00:42:42): And I just remember not even really being worried about it because I just felt like I had such good care. I mean, to the point where I was in the OR making jokes about, okay, when am I going to be able to eat? Right. Because it's middle of the night. So none of the restaurants were open. And somehow Beyonce was playing in the, or I don't know if one of the doctors figured that out. And at one point I was like, is this Cause I'm looking straight up, I can't see anything. I was like, is this an all female or team too? So I was just in there cracking everybody up. And I mean, it felt like at one point there were a hundred doctors in the room. I was like, wow, I must really be going. So I think it was way more serious than what I realized. And again, my husband was left for about an hour and a half with the baby. Yeah, take your wife to, or here's your baby. Right. Good luck to see you. And I kept asking, is anybody letting my husband know what's going on? So finally they took good care of me. And at the time I didn't realize it, but I was stuffed full of gauze and all kinds of stuff and Oh wow. Had to go to the, I guess the recovery room and then finally transported to our mother baby unit. Okay. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (00:43:53): Did you lose a lot of blood in the process?

Tes (00:43:55): I did lose a lot of blood but they were able to contain the hemorrhage and I did not hemorrhage is what I was told, but it could have been sure much worse than what it was. Sure. And then luckily, I had already had the epidural so they didn't have to worry about an anesthesia. Right. Situation. So we got there and finally got to get reunited with Ila and my husband. And we stayed at the hospital another full day. And as long as everything was checking out and the vitals were all improving, which they did they were going to release us. So we went in on a Monday labored all day Tuesday. Technically she came on Wednesday. So Wednesday, Thursday, I think we didn't check out until Friday morning. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (00:44:48): That's pretty typical.

Tes (00:44:49): We could have checked out on Thursday night. But my husband was like, let's just make sure. And of course all of her she hit all of her little benchmarks and it was whirlwind. And one thing that I still can't wrap my head around is how many different doctors and nurses and the people that you build a relationship with. And then all of a sudden, it's like a whole new group. And the doctor that actually delivered me, and I want to make sure I'm in, she was the one that released me when I had my ectopic no, when I had to go back and get the D N C right after the topic pregnancy.

Dr. Nicole (00:45:28): So it

Tes (00:45:29): Was circle was full circle. It was full circle. And I made sure I scheduled my two week or six week appointment with her. And I made sure that I told her, cause I mean I'm sure she sees so many people, I just wanted her to know that I really appreciated the care that she gave. And maybe she didn't know she was being kind. Yeah. But it was really great to see her as the one that was on call during the time when I finally had my first

Dr. Nicole (00:45:56): Child. That's nice. Really. And if you want to mention the hospital or any names you can have when it's negative, then I have to be careful. But if it's positive, if you want to mention you feel free. Oh

Tes (00:46:07): Yeah. So yeah, Emory, Emory Healthcare, Emory, Emory University Hospital, midtowns, where I, okay. And it's crazy because since then I have met at least three women that were there at the same time, same day I've met two women who have made 18 babies. So that basically means we were there. Isn't that crazy suck. That's crazy. A lot of babies born in that.

Dr. Nicole (00:46:27): Yes. On that day.

Tes (00:46:28): Some

Dr. Nicole (00:46:29): Reason. Yes. Oh, a couple things. Do you remember when your water broke? Did they break your water or did it break on its own at some point?

Tes (00:46:36): I believe it broke on because it was after the epidural. And I just remember feeling a sensation, I think. Yeah. I was like, I think my water just broke. Gotcha, gotcha. They did. I don't think they broke it. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (00:46:47): It broke at some point during the labor.

Tes (00:46:48): Yeah. Good. Did it? Cause I didn't even remember that. I don't think I wrote that down in my little mouth

Dr. Nicole (00:46:54): Notebook. Yeah. Gotcha. Gotcha. And then how was the postpartum period for you with breastfeeding, if you breastfed and getting adjusted and all of that stuff?

Tes (00:47:02): Yeah. So again, I do a lot of research on things, but I also kind of research things as needed. So I felt like I did a good amount of research on breastfeeding. I didn't grow up with, I'm the youngest, so I didn't grow up with babies. And so I never really understood. And even being around my cousins and friends that have had babies, I never really paid attention to the breastfeeding side of things. So I was like, Hey, if that's something. And I remember people started asking me towards the end of my pregnancy, are you going to breastfeed? And I was like, I guess if that's what people do. So definitely started off and tried it, but it just never really caught on fully. Gotcha. With my daughter in the hospital I can't remember, it was a combination of my milk supply wasn't in and she just wasn't latching.

(00:47:54): So she started off with some bottles right away and she was always comfortable with the bottles. So we breastfed successfully for about three months I was pumping. But at the end of the day, my number one goal is that she was eating and happy and she was fine with bottles. I mean, she would always give the breastfeeding a try, but at the end of the day, she would suck up the bottle. And she was happy. I was happy. So I never wanted to put myself in a stressful situation or put her in a stressful situation. And even with the pumping, I mean it got to the point where I was pumping for two hours and getting one ounce of milk and I'm like, yeah,

Dr. Nicole (00:48:34): This is just

Tes (00:48:35): Taken away from me. Yeah. Spending time with my daughter,

Dr. Nicole (00:48:39): I always called breastfeeding a labor of love because your whole life revolves around your breast. Suddenly when is the next time you can do something because you got to pump or you had a feed. So I think we all just have to do the best we can.

Tes (00:48:52): And I work from home and it was a struggle. I can only imagine those moms that have to get back to work.

Dr. Nicole (00:48:57): Yeah.

Tes (00:48:57): So I enjoy, again, I felt like we had the best of both worlds. We had that journey together and I definitely see and understand the bonding but she also is super healthy and a great eater now. So you're doing

Dr. Nicole (00:49:11): Great.

Tes (00:49:11): Yeah. If bottle feeding is what you need to do to make sure your baby is happy and healthy, then I don't know

Dr. Nicole (00:49:18): Do it. Right. And then did you have any issues with postpartum anxiety or depression or anything?

Tes (00:49:23): No, not really. Okay. Again, I just try to surround myself with good people, good information. I really a attribute a lot. Me and my husband, again, we're older, mature, not that younger women aren't mature. I

Dr. Nicole (00:49:38): Know what you mean. Yeah. There's something that comes with life experience.

Tes (00:49:40): Exactly. And so yeah, I was always super conscious of it. But another thing that's awesome is that we have, both of our moms are here. So they were always eager and excited to, if I needed 20 minutes just to go take a bath, shower I could do that. If anything, I remember the first three weeks or so always would be somebody here other than my husband and I. And it'd be like, okay, who wants to turn with the baby? She just got passed around.

Dr. Nicole (00:50:11): Sure. Loved one, all of it.

Tes (00:50:13): It's just Yes. And it shows today. Yeah. Cause now she loves all of her village.

Dr. Nicole (00:50:18): That is amazing.

Tes (00:50:19): So I feel like I was very well supported. And again, even my physical recovery was pretty good. I made it a point. And I think I mentioned in the beginning, I'm a runner also, and obviously I didn't do any physical activity for the first two or three weeks and just kind of ease my way back into society. Of course, her being a spring baby, it was nice because weather was, wasn't terrible. So when we wanted to go out for a little walk, we could do that or go sit on the porch. Yeah. I think that really helps to be able to combat some of those potentials.

Dr. Nicole (00:50:53): Absolutely. Absolutely. So then as we wrap up, what would be your favorite piece of advice that you would give to folks who are expecting a baby?

Tes (00:51:01): Oh wow. I would say just, I mentioned the doctors asking, how do you best take in information? If you're a type of person that needs a lot of information in order to make decisions, then seek out the information. But some aspects I just wanted to experience and have my own interpretation of it. But I would say the number one piece of advice and is to listen to your podcast. Oh, you're so sweet. It was so helpful just to hear different topics. And anyone who I find I was pregnant, I recommend the podcast. And then if you need that, I mean, I'm not sure how in person birthing classes are now. We didn't have the option. So an online platform was perfect for us at the time. But I think it was great to be able to take that course and be informed from literally every aspect and just be informed. So take the information in the way that you need to take it in and then be excited about your experience. Yeah. Because everyone's, everyone's experience is unique. No one can tell you what your birth in pregnancy is going to

Dr. Nicole (00:52:12): Be like. 100%. 100%. Well thank you so much for agreeing to come on. So enjoy talking to you. You have lovely energy. And although you know were geriatric, you don't look it, your black does not crack. So

Tes (00:52:25): Thank

Dr. Nicole (00:52:26): You.

Tes (00:52:27): Thank you so much. And I just want to thank you again for just being a resource for women all over it. I mean, it must be pretty awesome to be thousands of women's doctor without having a Yeah, because I literally thought I brought you into the delivery room was like, what was Nicole say about

Dr. Nicole (00:52:44): It is one of the greatest Thank you. It is one of the greatest privileges, joys, and honors of my life to be able to be of service to so many people. It is the heart. So everyone tells me, I appreciate folks and you telling me that you found it helpful. But I can't overstate how much it brings me joy and fills me up. It makes me feel good. So thank you.

Tes (00:53:08): Yes. And even just listening to your personal birth stories, like, gosh, if there was one a person that can testify that you can't predict anything, I mean Oh yeah. And off the record, if you want to include this, feel free. If you ever need any help with just getting the word out about your platforms, please utilize my platform. Cause I have a pretty decent social media reach and I'll definitely pump this episode up when it comes out. So awesome. Thank you. Anything I help?

Dr. Nicole (00:53:42): Well, let's talk, where are you on social media? Would people want to connect with you? I don't know if you talk about running and things like that.

Tes (00:53:47): Well, my social media account is running nerds. And if you go back, you'll see all these photos of me running and running adventures and then promptly around May, 2021, it changes into a baby page. Oh,

(00:54:02): I tried to revamp the running again early last year, but it just morphed back into a baby page. Got you. And I get way more like, oh, when I post pictures of Isla than I do when I post my running events stuff. Sure. But feel free to follow me at Running Nerds. And if you are in the Atlanta area and you're looking for some running events you can follow Run Social Atlanta and our big event, the Race. The Race underscore uc. So, okay. I'd love to see some folks there. And it definitely has taken on a new, my Business Mind has taken on a new frame since becoming a mom. So shout out to all the entrepreneur moms. Shout out to all working moms, working home moms, all of you. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole (00:54:44): Yeah. Well, absolutely. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on.

Tes (00:54:47): Yes. Have a great rest of the day and keep doing the good work.

Dr. Nicole (00:54:57): All right. Wasn't that a great episode? I really enjoyed chatting with Tes. As I said, she has lovely energy, so joyful. I love how she put a positive spin on the things that happened during her journey to give birth to Isla Rose. Now, after every episode when I have a guest on, or maybe you don't know because you're new to the podcast, but, whether or not after every episode when I have a guest on, I do something called Doctor Nicole's Notes where I talk about my top takeaways from the conversation. And here are my top takeaways from the conversation with Tes. So number one, I think it's fantastic that Tes got pregnant over the age of 40 without any assistance, but I want you to know that that is not very common that that happens. Our fertility starts to decline as we get older. We are all born with all of the eggs that we are going to have, and they age as we age.

(00:55:51): And fertility really starts to steeply decline. Well, it definitely starts to decline over age 35 and then steeply decline over age 40. So if you're not pregnant after six months, over 35, you should see a specialist and really over 40, you should see a specialist pretty quickly. And sometimes people think that seeing a specialist means that you're automatically going to do ivf, and that's not the case. What seeing a specialist does is just gives you information. It helps you understand what your options are, what your unique circumstances are in terms of fertility. I know we see a lot of older people and celebrities and things getting pregnant. I can almost certainly tell you they likely have some sort of fertility assistance or they have donor eggs or a combination of those. So don't get caught out there and not have your options or know your options.

(00:56:46): At least if you're over 35 and having issues with getting pregnant, definitely seek out a specialist sooner rather than later. Okay. Number two, it's really important to have some sort of constant support with you during your pregnancy. As Tes mentioned, the nurses will change, like shift change will happen, different things will change. You'll have a different nurse. And so really having some sort of constant support is really important. For Tes, it was her partner and she said he was great at supporting her, but maybe it's a doula. Doula's also a great option to have that sort of constant support because the people around you, the nurses, the doctors will change. And having that sort of constant support will help you feel grounded and more at peace and settled during your labor and your birth process. Okay, a couple more quick things. Epidurals will take time.

(00:57:33): Tess mentioned how she had to wait a little bit for her epidural to come. Epidurals are considered an elective procedure and the anesthesiologist may be doing other things in the hospital. It may take some time, even if the anesthesiologist can come right away. You have to get IV fluids beforehand. It just takes some time to set up. So everyone needs to know some techniques for managing pain other than an epidural. Check out episode 129 of my podcast where you can learn about all of your options for pain management. You can grab that at drnicolerankins.com/episode129. So do check that out because everybody needs to know some techniques for managing pain because epidurals can take time. And then the last thing I will say is Tes mentioned how it was important or how it felt good when she looked up in the room and she saw that there was a all black team there supporting her.

(00:58:23): That really can make a difference. I think sometimes, especially in this day and age, people get antsy or uncomfortable or think we overemphasize or talk about race too much. But the reality is that black women are three to four times as likely to die in childbirth as white women. And education doesn't protect us. Highly educated black woman like myself, who has a gazillion degrees, has about the same risk as a white woman with less than a high school education. And we found that that is because people are treated differently in our healthcare system based on race. So it's not like from being overweight or having other healthcare problems, people are treated differently based on race. And we also know that those differences in treatment are not as significant even go away when you are treated by someone who looks like you by another black physician.

(00:59:20): So when we talk about those things, it's not because we're trying to obsess or make up problems where they don't exist. I would love to live in a world where people were not treated differently based on their race, but that's not the reality of where we are. So those things are important and those things matter, and you should do your part in your own community to help people who are from marginalized groups to have a better birth experience. Whether that's something as simple as just speaking up about the issues and the truth that exist. All right, so there you have it. Do me a solid share the podcast with a friend. Sharing is, sharing is caring, helps me to reach and serve more pregnant folks, and helps me to do more of the heart, soul, and passion of my work, which is again, serving pregnant people and helping them have that beautiful birth experience that they deserve.

(01:00:12): Also, subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening to me right now, and leave a review in iTunes or Apple Podcast or shoot me a DM on Instagram. I'm on Instagram at Dr. Nicole Rankins. I love it when people send me messages about how they listen to the podcast or how the podcast has helped them. As I said in the episode, the yes, I know that I help a lot of people, but it just brings me so much joy and fills me up to hear those comments and to know that what I'm doing makes a difference. So shoot me a message on Instagram at Dr. Nicole Rankins if you find this podcast helpful. And remember, it's not too late. If you're listening to this on Tuesday, January 17th, go ahead and sign up for my class. Make a birth plan the right way. You can check it out at drnicolerankins.com/register only during this class four times a year. So hop on it now if you are interested. So that's it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.