Ep 211: Monique’s Birth Story – Prioritizing Peace

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Monique thought she was going to have a vaginal birth with an epidural. She was scheduled to be induced just after 40 weeks, but as it goes with labor, things took a bit of a turn and you’re going to hear about all those twists and turns in today’s birth story episode.

Being a recent transplant from Suriname in South America, she was still adjusting to a strange country when she got pregnant. Going into motherhood away from home meant she had to be extra prepared. She did a ton of research, hired doulas, and asked friends for help. Because of all the work she did to make sure she was supported, she had the beautiful birth she deserved.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • Why Monique was concerned about pregnancy loss from the start
  • What made birth customs in the U.S. different from those in Suriname
  • Which resources she used to get very, VERY prepared for her birth
  • What preferences she discussed with her doctor ahead of time
  • How she made a plan to deal with her low pain tolerance
  • How she used doulas intentionally and strategically to ease stress

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Dr. Nicole (00:00): I have another great birth story episode for you. This time it is with Monique. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and 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 in 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.

(00:50): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 211. Whether this is your first time tuning in or you are a returning listener, I am so glad that you're spending some of your time with me today. In today's episode of the podcast, we have a birth story from Monique. Monique is originally from su, which is a country in South America, and in 2017, she moved to St. Martin where she lived and worked for 12 years. In 2020, she moved to tall Lassi, Alabama, where she married her husband Wayne, and their daughter was added to the family in 2022. Monique is an older first time mom. She was 41 when she had a miscarriage, and then 42 at her first baby's birth. She also had to deal with being in the US for just a short period of time when she got pregnant and getting acquainted with the US culture and customs regarding birth.

(01:58): She really wanted to have or thought she wanted to have a vaginal birth with an epidural. You're going to hear how she's very confident in knowing that she did not want to experience pain, and she was scheduled to be induced just after 40 weeks. But as things can happen with labor, as things do with labor, things took a little bit of a turn, and you're going to hear all about those twists and turns in her birth story today. The takeaway from this episode, though is just really about being prepared and how you can absolutely have a healthy pregnancy and a birth even if you are over 40. So I know you are going to love it. Now, one of the things that Monique did to prepare was take the birth preparation course. The birth preparation course is my childbirth education class that gets you calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth with an emphasis or focus on birth in the hospital. You can check out all the details of the birth preparation course@nicolerankins.com slash enroll. Well over a thousand moms have gone through the course at this point, and I would love to have you go through it too. All right, let's get into the birth story episode with Monique.

Dr. Nicole (03:16): All

Dr. Nicole (03:16): Right, thank you so much, Monique, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am so excited to chat with you today.

Monique (03:22): Yeah, thank you for having me, Dr. Nicole. I am all for the top excited.

Dr. Nicole (03:27): So why don't we start off by having you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?

Monique (03:31): Who I'm trying to keep it short. I am originally from Serena in South America, so I speak Dutch. That's my first language. But I've lived in St. Martin for 12 years where I also spoke Dutch and English. Then I moved to the States, which is a whole other story and podcast by itself, where I met my husband, who is, he's from Guana, but he's lived here since he was 11 or so.

Dr. Nicole (03:54): Okay. So in order to understand the birth, we have to understand what the pregnancy was like. So what was your pregnancy and prenatal care

Monique (04:04): In the moment? It felt heavy, but looking back, it was a breeze. What I mean with, so it has to do with me having a very low pain threshold. So I can't take headaches for hours, for instance, I can't take pain. Gotcha.

Dr. Nicole (04:16): At all. See, we all have to know where we stand. So you know where you stand with pain. Yes, yes.

Monique (04:23): But it was pretty straightforward. Well, was it straightforward? Yes and no. I had a miscarriage the year before, which ended at 10 weeks, and it was just chromosomal anomal anomalies. So for this pregnancy, I was very

Dr. Nicole (04:37): Alert. Oh, did they actually, did they actually send the tissue off to be? No.

Monique (04:43): Okay. They did not. But the OB b g Yn explained that to me. It was 10 weeks, and actually at my first ultrasound, the habit was already weak.

Dr. Nicole (04:51): Okay.

Monique (04:51): And I think he actually actually suspected it already because the way he spoke to me, he was speaking in the sense of miscarriages can happen, and I'm wondering, why didn't you talk to me about miscarriage at my first meeting?

Dr. Nicole (05:01): Got

Monique (05:01): It. And he said, come back next week. Let's see if the harbor is a bit stronger. And it was not. Okay. There was no habit the next time. Okay. So I asked him the next meeting, why did you say that? What did you see warranted? You telling me all of this? He said, well, your age is one. The heartbeat there is two. The age wasn't corresponding with what you said at your last menstrual period. So I understood those things, and that was a surprise to me. And that was the first time I heard that one in four people have a miscarriage the first time. So I decided there, and then I'm going to prepare everything I can for my next marriage, for my next pregnancy, everything I can know. But the pregnancy was a breeze. I was just, what's the word? Nauseous for a few days only. And in the end, I was just tired. I was just tired of being pregnant. I couldn't turn in bed. I couldn't get up from the chair by myself. But that's all I had no issues whatsoever. None. Nothing. Nothing. No bleeding, no spot. Then it was clear

Dr. Nicole (05:59): And good. And those were mine folks. What age are you or were you at your pregnancy

Monique (06:04): At? So the first marriage, the F I keep saying marriage. The first pregnancy I was 40. Okay. The second one, I was 41 and then 42 at delivery. Okay. Okay. So I'm currently 42.

Dr. Nicole (06:15): Okay. And did you have any trouble getting pregnant at all?

Monique (06:18): No, actually, I wasn't expecting to get pregnant because I am 42. Right. My husband is older. He's 56. Okay. So pregnancy was a blessing. Gotcha. I asked him in the beginning, would you mind if we don't get children? And he said, well, I didn't marry you for your ovaries. So,

Dr. Nicole (06:33): No. So overall then you were satisfied with your prenatal care?

Monique (06:38): I was, to be honest, I was the ob gyn and I really love him, Dr. Greeks. He gave me time to and ask all my questions. And I had a lot of questions because I did a lot of research and I wanted to know how he stood on what his opinion was on certain things I wanted to understand and know. And he gave me time every time I would call. And I am actually very satisfied with the care.

Dr. Nicole (07:00): Good. Yeah. Good. Good, good, good. So now you mentioned that you've had to get adjusted to US birth customs. What do you mean by that?

Monique (07:07): I have never given birth one and have never given birth in the us, but I know how things are in Serena, where I'm from. And in St. Martin, things are just different. One of the differences is I'm not sure if you can choose either ob, G Y N, or midwife. That's one. Secondly, in Serena, the conversation with a doctor is a one-way conversation. He says, or she said, what will happen? And that's it. Because my younger sister was pregnant at the same time or even earlier. And I would ask her certain things and she wouldn't know. And I would say, ask, but the culture isn't there to ask. So either the culture isn't there, or the time is not there to ask.

Dr. Nicole (07:45): Gotcha.

Monique (07:46): We don't have doulas. That's one. Because in the Caribbean, your family is your doula. You have a mom, they're a sister, they're a cousin. So you don't worry about after I had to worry about it because we are secluded almost. Yeah. I had to get accustom. I get accustomed to the US by itself. I don't know how things go. I'm here only for two years. So I had to adjust myself to that. And then being pregnant in a strange country.

Dr. Nicole (08:11): Gotcha. Yeah. That's a lot to get used to. It is. Yeah,

Monique (08:15): It was. But my experience was positive, I must say. Okay. Good. And listening to, I have listened to a few stories listening to persons, not everybody has that same positive experience. They have to either fight for what they want or advocate practically fight for what they want. I did not have experience at all.

Dr. Nicole (08:34): Okay. Good. Good, good, good. And do you have any family here? Or is it just you and your husband?

Monique (08:39): I have no family here. And his closest family lives five hours away.

Dr. Nicole (08:44): Right, right. Well, that was a lot. That was a lot. Yeah. What concerns did you have being an older first time mom?

Monique (08:51): One being old by itself? Because I've, I've heard so often that geriatric and all of that. So that was my concern that getting pregnant may be a blessing, but that's not all. Also because my younger sister, who I told you about, she actually got a stillborn. So I had that in the back of my head. Then I had my miscarriage. So every time I woke up, I was happy. I was still pregnant. So that was an issue by itself as one. And would I be able to carry my child to term and have a healthy child? Because being older, you are susceptible to more sicknesses and all other things. So those were my only concerns. And after that, would I be able to deal with all the postpartum issues. That was really my only concern.

Dr. Nicole (09:32): Right, right. Right. Yeah. So how far along was your sister when she had a stillbirth?

Monique (09:38): She doesn't know, but was full term? Oh my gosh. I think it was more than 37. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole (09:42): Oh my gosh. Okay.

Monique (09:44): Yeah. Yeah. That's a, I dunno. Yeah,

Dr. Nicole (09:47): That's a lot. That's a lot.

Monique (09:48): Oh, and on top of that, my mom also lost her first child, but he was one and a half. So I have that history to deal with. So I'm thinking, who, how will this go? Sure. And I was trying hard not to let that concern me too much that my pressure would go up. So you have to deal with that and yet be peaceful and calm inside. Not to affect the baby in any way. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So waking up pregnant was my concern every day.

Dr. Nicole (10:13): Okay. Okay. Yeah. So you would wake up every day and say, I'm thankful that I'm still pregnant. Yes. Okay.

Monique (10:19): Yes. All right. Let's do this.

Dr. Nicole (10:20): Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Yeah. So what are some of the things that you did to prepare for your birth?

Monique (10:25): I did a lot. I really, really did a lot. So first of all, I don't like surprises at all. I like to know everything. I know I cannot know everything, but at least I wanted to know what the possibilities were. So I listened to thousand podcasts. And when I say thousand, I mean I will mention them. I will mention a few. Sure. Yeah. I downloaded a few apps. I will mention them in a minute. And I enrolled in everything that says, let's help mom. One of the things is that my insurance has a program called Baby Yourself from Blue, blue Cross Blue Shield. I enrolled in it for a nurse to call me every month to see what's going on. I hired a doula, both a bird doula and a postpartum doula.

(11:06): I did my prenatals and I did elements. And I like their service too. That's a whole different story. So what I did was I did research on older moms, or pregnancy, older than 40 years, I read a lot. So the apps that I used were What To Expect. They have an app and they give you week by week prognosis of what you can expect. And 24 Baby, which is a Dutch app, but same concept. Sure. I did bird education, I did yours, which I, I still have it. Of course. I, there's also bird education done by a doula. Her name is Nikia Lawson. Okay. Free education. And they do it. And they have it every month, four days. Four. Four times a month. Yes. Correct. And they explain everything the same way you explain it only from a doula standpoint you had from a medical standpoint.

Dr. Nicole (11:56): Got it, got it, got

Monique (11:57): It. And all those things helped. And I had the podcast, the first one I listened to is Life After Miscarriage, because I had to deal with that. And basically that was for me to know, to validate my feelings. Cause it was really, really painful. And nobody speaks about it being painful. It was really like, what do you call those things? Contractions. It was bad. I just wanted to hear that somebody had the same experience. So when I heard a few stories that it is possible, I said, okay, then I'm okay. I'm going to listen to the bird Hour. I listened to all about pregnancy and bird. I listened to Evidence-based bird. Yeah. 24 Baby, which is a Dutch one. Okay. We have down to Bird Pels Pregnancy Podcast. And the one that I like is, is it normal? Oh,

Dr. Nicole (12:37): I haven't heard that one.

Monique (12:39): I think it's a British one. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (12:41): Okay. Yeah. Okay.

Monique (12:42): That's a real pregnant lady. Talks to both a doctor and a doula, and they ask questions, is this normal? This happens to me. Is it normal? And then she would explain it. So those are the podcasts I listen to. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (12:56): So you were very well prepared.

Monique (12:58): Yes. So after a while, when people come onto your podcast, I could almost say, okay, this is going to happen. It's going to be

Dr. Nicole (13:03): Suggested.

Monique (13:05): I was almost an online OB g y. Right,

Dr. Nicole (13:07): Right, right. I love

Monique (13:09): It. Love it. So I knew the possibilities. Yeah. Sure,

Dr. Nicole (13:11): Sure, sure. So what are some things that you wanted for your birth?

Monique (13:15): It may sound funny, but all I wanted was peace. I wanted to be at peace with everything that happened. So be it. What do you call it? No medication, because it was not available. Be it a C-section, because whatever happened, be it whatever emergency, I wanted to be at peace with any decision. I wanted to be informed every step of the way. And for me to know that I had to know what the possibilities are so that I could ask the right questions. Yes. I wanted no surprises. And I wanted no pain.

Dr. Nicole (13:46): So

Monique (13:47): I wanted a epidural from the minute I walked in. Sure. I know it's not possible, but walking with my back open.

Dr. Nicole (13:52): Yeah. Like, I'm ready. Right there. Go,

Monique (13:54): Yes, I'm ready. And I told the doctor from the beginning, I want no pain at all. Right. I cannot take pain. But for me, important was peace. And I wanted to be included in every decision. Okay. Don't tell me I'm going to do this. No, sure. We have to do this. What do you think? Right.

Dr. Nicole (14:10): So, right. I love that. I love that. That's what I wanted. I love that. So then what exactly happened with your birth?

Monique (14:16): So everything went well, but by week 37, I was tired. I wanted it over with, most doulas don't encourage induction. I was ready.

Dr. Nicole (14:27): You were like, let's, let's get it going. Let's

Monique (14:29): Get it over. Yes. But also, I knew that, and I think I asked you once also that the older you are, what was the explanation? The explanation was from evidence-based bird that the placenta loses. Its not failure, but

Dr. Nicole (14:45): Yeah, it does. It's, it doesn't work as well. Correct.

Monique (14:47): After the normal bird after 40 weeks. But that happens at 37 when you're 40 and older. So I wanted to, wanted the baby out by 37 weeks. So when I went for my, oh, and by the way, my baby was almost always breach. Okay. Almost always. I could peel her head on the side. Okay. But by I think week 36, 30 36, she's turned head down. I was so happy. Okay. But when I went to my 37th, seven week appointment, she was rich again. Okay. Let me see. No, she was, no, she was head down. Indeed. But then I mentioned induction. I said, what? How about it? He said, yes. He was going to mention it. And by the way, my due date was Christmas. Okay. Really? December 25th. So doula was saying, be careful. People push their induction dates around those days. Yeah, they

Dr. Nicole (15:34): Do.

Monique (15:34): I didn't care. I wanted the baby out. So I wasn't, but I really, so when he said it, at least I brought it up, not heated. I did it first. He said, I would like to induce you at week 38 if you're 39, if you're okay. I said, I'm okay. So when I went to my appointment for the 39th week, we were going to make an appointment. And he said, well, actually, the hospital doesn't agree with that policy. They want to, they said, be 40. So I was very, very disappointed that day. I almost cried because they said, no induction for you. Your age is not an indication. So

Dr. Nicole (16:07): Really even being over 40. Yes. I'm

Monique (16:10): Surprised. Although the doctor really wanted, but the hospital wasn't. They said, we can put you on the wait list. And I went home. Really disappointed, actually. Sad. I was really sad. I wanted to cry. Sure. But I decided, you know what? I will, it was the week before Christmas. We celebrated Christmas. I didn't go anywhere because I was really uncomfortable at that time. Nothing fits. And then the hospital called on Boxing Day. They said, we have a space available. Are you willing, I, my husband and I rush out of the house. Yes, we are ready. The back, the bag was packed from week 30. So we went out. I said, but wait, you said the waiting was to be for the Tuesday? They said, yes. If it has to be Tuesday, you have to come on Monday so we can prepare. Sure. I explained my husband induction doesn't mean the baby will be here tomorrow. Right. It means they will start. I was a doctor. I explained this will happen. Yes.

Dr. Nicole (17:02): Yes.

Monique (17:04): So I was calm. We went and the room was really roomy. It was an apartment. It was really nice. Nice, nice. And then they did a scan and notice she was breached.

Dr. Nicole (17:16): Okay.

Monique (17:17): I said, wow, at this point, you want to be breached. And the ladies, the doctor who came in, I know, I know that she's a hospitalist. Cause she was not my doctor, but she was at the hospital. She did say, I work with your ob, G Y N, your baby is, which I can try the C fee. I wasn't for doctors. I know it's painful. Okay. I know it works. 50%. At the time, I was informed you Yes,

Dr. Nicole (17:39): You, yes.

Monique (17:41): I said, no, we are not going to try that. She said, how do you think about the C-section? And I said, I am okay with it. Right. I'm not going to push out a bridge, baby. Right. I mean, let's do what we need to do. She said, we can schedule one for tomorrow if you're okay with it. I said, I'm okay with it. Right. So we schedule one for the next day, and then I was really at ease. And then all of a sudden I heard my machine beeping. So I called the nurse. I said, something is beeping over here. She said, it's beeping because your pressure is really high. It was one 60. My pressure has always been 1 25, 1 25. But one 60 was really high. He said, and your liver end enzymes are elevated. Something like that. So you are at risk for preeclampsia. I said, oh. So it's a good thing that I'm actually here. Right. Because I wasn't feeling anything. I wasn't feeling bad or so, so I was happy to be at the hospital where they could catch it one time. So I was happy to be there. And so they gave me magnesium immediately. And I knew magnesium can make you feel bad. It did not.

Dr. Nicole (18:37): Oh, good.

Monique (18:38): Yeah, it did not. But at least I was prepared for it. Everybody who talks about it, and I explained when they left, I talked to my husband, are you okay with us going ahead with a C-section? I don't want the easy. I explained to him, why not? Right. He said, man, I should have listened to your podcast and your stories more often to know that you know all of this. So you should have Yes,

Dr. Nicole (18:58): Yes, yes. You should have.

Monique (19:00): And I fight them a few times. But anyway, every time I listen, I explained him what I learned. So we decided to do that the next morning. And my OBGYN came in. He said, are you ready? I said, I'm ready as can be. Yeah. I know the epidural can hurt. The initial can. I did not. I was really at ease. The only thing I was wondering is how did they get me from one bed to the next anyway? Ah. It was really, I don't know. Cause I didn't see anybody lifting, but I was,

Dr. Nicole (19:31): Yeah, we kind of kind of slide folks. Yeah.

Monique (19:33): Said, wow, that's, that's good. Then he came in, he said, you know why you're here? I said, yes. Yeah. We asking you just that we don't remove your uterus by accident. We know you know what we're going to do. Sure. He said, and then I remember you did that to, we call it a, you said a stop to see that we have the right person. I said, I know this. And he said, and I'm going to check if your epidural works. And it does, because I pinch and you didn't scream. I say, oh, I didn't feel anything. Right. I said, I also put the liquid that's supposedly to be I icy. And I didn't feel it so good. I was good. Good. We said, I'm not going to give you a play by plate. It doesn't matter. I said, I don't need a play by play. All I need is to hear the baby cry. Right. So we started at eight. She was all by eight 14. And she screamed her lungs out, and she still does.

Dr. Nicole (20:23): Oh goodness.

Monique (20:24): Yes. They did not do skin to skin. But I think because I asked him before, he said, yes, we can do it. But I didn't discuss skin to skin with the C-section. Okay. But they gave her to me and they gave it to my husband after, when I was rolled out to the next room, I forgot what the room okay

Dr. Nicole (20:40): Is. Okay.

Monique (20:41): And I was paying free for the entire day. He came the next morning and I asked him, did everything go well? He said, yes, you did great. And I asked him if I'd made the great, if I made a good decision declining the E CCP said, actually, I am happy you did. Because first of all, we don't know why she was breached all the time. And what you have breached again, it may have been something in your uterus. So we don't know. So I'm happy you did not. Yeah. And he said, you did excellent. He said that a few times. I said, no, you did excellent. So he said, how much the pain? I said, actually, I have no pain at all. Really the next day. But the day after, he explained, we give you pain medication for 24 hours. So the pain will come in gradually. And it did okay, but not as bad. Cause I remember the next day I was in pain, but it wasn't the incision. Now I know it's prob, it has been gas. I didn't know gas could hurt so much. As in,

Dr. Nicole (21:33): Listen, that can be awful. It can really be awful. Really? Yes.

Monique (21:38): Just

Dr. Nicole (21:38): Air. Yes, yes, yes.

Monique (21:40): I

Dr. Nicole (21:40): Cried. Yes. Yes. It's like, Lord, help me, please. I have got to get this out of my body. Yes. I

Monique (21:45): Had no clue. So the nurse say, I think it's gas. I said, no, it's not gas. It's pain. Right. She was a really nice nurse, I must say. No nurse Joan. She said, what about a suppository? I said, I don't think that will help. It just painful. Then they gave me some IV pain medication. It was really, really bad. But after that, it was okay. The only thing I was surprised about is that before delivery, I couldn't get out of bed myself. And I thought it would be over. Oh, it was even worse. I couldn't get out of bed myself. I couldn't walk. But I had a peace that I wanted. I felt at ease. Right. I felt okay. Right. It was good. I mean, Sy second is not the ideal way to deliver a baby, but I was really okay with everything considering my age. She was rich and my pressure went up for no reason. Yeah. Really. For no reason. Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole (22:36): So, I mean, even though, I don't know if I would say that it's not ideal. It seems like that was the way that she was supposed to come. Correct.

Monique (22:44): Correct. Yeah. And I didn't want it to be a surprise for me. Yeah. I knew what would happen at a c-section. Every step. I wanted to know how are they going to numb me? How sure. So, yeah, that's awesome. But it was really Okay. That's

Dr. Nicole (22:56): Awesome. That's awesome. So then, are you breastfeeding? I

Monique (22:59): Am. Okay. Not exclusively though, but mostly breastfeeding. But my position was I want to breastfeed, but not at all costs. If it's going to hurt me, I am in mortal bed every day to feed her, then no. Yeah. But I also wanted to give myself time. Cause I know it's a new thing. By the way, my birth doula is also a lactation consultant. So she helped me before.

Dr. Nicole (23:21): Oh, nice. With

Monique (23:22): Nice positions. The hospital also has lactation consultants who you can get at a call immediately. So I got my support. Good.

Dr. Nicole (23:33): And was your birth doula there at the hospital with you?

Monique (23:36): Not during. Not at the birth. Because this hospital doesn't only allowed one person. Gotcha. And my husband was there, and I had a doula because I remember telling the doula, I want doula because I want my husband to be my husband not helping me. What I want him to be there for me. And then you be there for me and for him eventually. Yeah. But since she knew that the baby was breached, she said, I cannot be there at the birth, but I will come after. Okay. She did come after. I cannot remember. I told her I cannot remember the chicken. She said, I have a picture. Look, I was here. I do not remember right at all. Right. But she was, yeah. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (24:11): Okay. Yeah.

Monique (24:12): Okay. I was probably dropped up and Yeah. In Babyland. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole (24:16): Yeah. Yeah. And then you said you have a postpartum, you or hired a postpartum doula also?

Monique (24:21): Yes. Because we are on our own. Mom lives five hours away. My mom is an ocean away. And as I said, I don't want surprises. I want to see when can I do it, and if not, I want somebody available right there

Dr. Nicole (24:37): And then. Gotcha. Gotcha.

Monique (24:38): So I think we called her from the second day. My husband was home for two weeks after, and then he started working again slowly. But now he's working. Okay. So we contacted the person. She was recommended by the other doula, and I told her, all I want you hear first is for me to relax. I don't want to wash dishes. I don't. I just want to relax. Yeah. She said, that's what I'm here for. I said, I want to be lazy. I want to be, I don't want to be a supermom.

Dr. Nicole (25:03): Yes. I love it.

Monique (25:04): And she said, that's what I'm here for. Yes. So she really did that. She gave me the rest that I needed. Simple things. Wash your dishes, bring the baby for me, because I couldn't walk immediately. Bring her from me. You, you hold her out outside nurse. That was really good. Four hours a day. And it did work. It was still heavy because you are the rest of the day by yourself. And I remember one day, but I knew it was half hormonal and half tiredness, sleep deprivation. I was dreading the nights because she wasn't sleeping at night. Or lemme say a difference. She would sleep at night, but to get her to sleep at night was hell. Gotcha. So I cried. I said, I don't want her to be night. And I said, why didn't we call the doula? I said, you're right. Let's call it then. I know at least even if I didn't sleep, I can sleep in the morning when she's here. So it worked out. I am now six weeks and I'm not as tired as I was. Okay. I have a friend who came over from Saint Martin, so she cooks and she does everything. My living doula.

Dr. Nicole (26:05): That is very nice. Yeah.

Monique (26:07): Very

Dr. Nicole (26:07): Nice. Very nice.

Monique (26:09): So it really helps to have somebody around.

Dr. Nicole (26:10): Yeah, it does. It does. It does. And I love how you were very clear, this is what I need, so help me with this. Yeah. Yes, please. Yes. Yeah.

Monique (26:18): Yes. If you're going to come here and make me feel lazy, because I said the whole day, then I don't need you.

Dr. Nicole (26:23): I love it. But yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. So have you had your postpartum visit yet? Your postpartum checkup?

Monique (26:31): Yes. I went yesterday and he said, again, you did great. I said, I really enjoyed the, I said, I enjoyed, what did I tell him? I said, thank you. He said, no, I enjoyed taking care of you. I really did because, but every, with every visit I had my questions ready and not the yes or no question, but what do you think of a doula? And he would answer me. And I like the way he answered, what do you think of induction and how is it up? He really, nothing was offensive for him. It was a really conversation. Yes. And I enjoyed it. And I didn't attack him, and I wasn't there with the decline. Everything policy that people like these days, everything is declined. This. No, I wasn't for that. I just wanted to understand everything. So I went yesterday and he said, everything is going well. He said, the only thing is you cannot get pregnant for a year. I said, in the event, I don't want to. Right. But in the event I do, it's a disaster. He said, it's not, but we would not want you to be pregnant within a year. Right. So we spoke about that. I told him, I did a whole lot of research, but I did not do research on birth control after. So we spoke about that and it was a good conversation. Good.

Dr. Nicole (27:35): Good, good, good. So how do you feel overall about things?

Monique (27:38): If you had asked me three weeks ago, I would say I am dead tired. I am happy, but I'm dead tired. But today, six weeks out, I have my friend here. I feel good. Good. I will not, but I think I can do it again. Okay. But I will not. Okay. I feel good. Good. She is really adorable. She sleeps during the day. Right. She sleeps during the night, but to get her to sleep after five, she just wants to be up, I think. Sure, sure. But other than that, I feel good. Good. I can walk. I can laugh. Cause in the beginning you cannot even laugh. Yeah. I can laugh again. Okay. I lost a lot of weight.

Dr. Nicole (28:17): Yes, yes.

Monique (28:19): And I like that. I mean, that's not what you want with pregnancy, but it worked for me.

Dr. Nicole (28:23): Right, right. I love it. And when are you going back to work? Or are you going back to work?

Monique (28:27): Yes, I'm going back to work. March 15th. Yeah. I took, so 12 weeks. 12

Dr. Nicole (28:32): Weeks. Okay. I got 12

Monique (28:33): Weeks. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (28:34): Okay. Okay.

Monique (28:34): So March 15th. So I have a whole month more to go.

Dr. Nicole (28:37): Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Good.

Monique (28:39): And then my mom will be here 10 days after, so I'm good.

Dr. Nicole (28:42): Oh, that'll be nice. Yeah. That'll be nice. Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Monique (28:45): Such a good thing to look forward

Dr. Nicole (28:46): To. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So then what is your one favorite piece of advice that you would give to folks who are getting ready for their birth?

Monique (28:54): I would say prepare. And in order to prepare, you have to research a lot. You have to know what are knowledgeable resources, what are good resources, prepare, do a birth education class. It really, really helps to know all the possibilities. Not to clinging to one possibility, not to clinging to, I want a non-medication, non medicated bird, but to know everything that can happen. So then whatever it happens, you are at ease. Yes. So prepare and plan your postpartum. The way I had my doula plan, it really helped plan postpartum as well, because if the baby's here, then what? Right. I mean, the nursing hospital will not come with you, although I wanted to, but prepare and plan postpartum. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole (29:33): Yeah. I love that. I love that. Well, where can women connect with you? Are you on social media anywhere or anything like that? You can say no.

Monique (29:39): Yeah, I was on Instagram. I'm not anymore. Okay. I'm on Facebook, which is private. So the best way to reach me is email, which I find more personal actually. Okay. So people may send me an email, or

Dr. Nicole (29:49): Actually, how about if anybody wants to contact her? Yeah. You can email us and we will put her, because I don't like to give out folks emails so great. Yeah. Yeah.

Monique (29:58): That's fine. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole (29:58): Well, Monique, thank you so much for agreeing to come onto the podcast. There are so many great lessons and things that people will be able to take away from this, so I so appreciate your time.

Monique (30:09): Thank you. And thank you for what you do. I mean, I learned a lot from your podcast because of your podcast. I was at ease, so thank

Dr. Nicole (30:14): You. Oh, thank you. Thank you.

(30:24): All right. Wasn't that a great episode? Monique is wonderful. She's also super active in our Facebook group for the birth preparation course, mom. So if you ever have a question in there, she's one of the first people to respond, and I so appreciate her being a part of our community. Now, when we have a guest on the show, I do something called Dr. Nicole's notes where I talk about my top takeaways from my conversation. And here are my Dr. Nicole's notes from my conversation with Monique. Number one, she knows who she is. Okay. She knew that she does not deal well with pain. That is not something that she was interested in experiencing at all. And I want you to take that lesson and apply it to, in your own life, in the sense of do you, during your pregnancy and birth experience, there is no shortage of people who will tell you what you should or should not do with your pregnancy and birth experience.

(31:28): You need to, however, trust yourself, know yourself. You'll have people who say, oh, you should do unmedicated. Oh, you should absolutely get an epidural. Don't listen to what other people think. Tune into what you know is best for yourself. Now, that doesn't mean you don't hear other people out. You gather information. You listen to what people say from reputable sources, by the way, because they're also some not so reputable sources. So you gather your information and then you do what works best for you. Okay? So do you, during your pregnancy and birth experience, you're smart enough, you're capable enough to make those decisions for yourself with the appropriate input, with the appropriate background information, so you're making truly informed decisions. Okay? Number two, not only did Monique know who she is, she was very clear about what she wanted. She knew what she wanted for her birth experience, and she was very clear about the decisions that she made.

(32:31): And I believe she was so clear about that because she informed herself, she was armed with knowledge. She was going into it, not blind, not ignorant. She really prepared herself well so that when things come up, she felt confident about making the decisions that felt right and felt good for her. That's one of the things that the birth preparation course, my childbirth education class will do for you is help you feel confident and empowered when you make decisions. You have that background information so that you can make decisions that work best for you and feel really good about those decisions, whatever those decisions are. Again, check out all the details in the birth preparation course@drnicolerankins.com slash enroll. And then the final point is that Monique had a village. She was not playing about the support. She had a birth doula, she had a postpartum doula, she had family timing coming in, lactation counselor, you really need to assemble your village, and this really needs to start during your pregnancy.

(33:42): You really need to start preparing things in your support lining up during your pregnancy for the postpartum period. I can tell you, we as a medical system do a horrible, and I mean, horrible job preparing people for the postpartum period. We may bring up like, oh, do you want a breast pump? Kind of thing. But please do not count on your doctor doing this for you because they're not something that we're trained on. It's just not something that is part of the traditional medical system. So you need to do that for yourself. I would say in the third trimester is when you start lining up things that you need to have, maybe you line up a L, not maybe you should definitely line up a lactation counselor, put on your registry perhaps that you want support towards a postpartum doula. And people sometimes think doulas can be super expensive, but you can often have just one visit or two visits.

(34:34): They don't have to come every night. Maybe they can come a couple times a week for a little bit. So it doesn't have to be a tremendous amount, but that investment can really have a lot of returns. So put on your registry that you want to postpartum doula, maybe you need to line up a pelvic physical therapist to help get your physical body back in shape. So start assembling your village and have your village and your support in place during your pregnancy, because the medical system ain't going to do it for you. That's just the reality. Okay. So there you have it. Do me a favor, share this podcast with a friend. Share it with like three people. Okay? Three people. There's a share button inside the app where you're listening to me right now. I would appreciate it if you share. I am on a mission to reach and serve as many pregnant folks as possible.

(35:21): So if you think or someone who might benefit from this, whether they are pregnant, whether they are a childbirth educator, or a doula or a physical therapist or whatever they may be, then share it. Please. I would so appreciate it. And be sure you're subscribed. So do not miss an episode, and I'd love to hear what you think about the show. Shoot me a DM on Instagram. I'm on Instagram at Dr. Nicole Rankins. Shoot me a DM there. I would love to hear what you think about the show. Love to hear if you have other ideas for shows. I am always open. My dms are open. Okay, so that's it for this episode. Do me a favor and come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and.