Ep 222: Rachel’s Birth Story – A Quick Unmedicated Birth After Choosing Induction

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It’s not very often we get to speak to someone who plans for an induction. But when Rachel’s husband only had TWO DAYS of parental leave and was assigned an out-of-town position, induction was the perfect solution!

What she wanted was an unmedicated birth preferably without Pitocin and incredibly that’s what she got! However, it wasn’t by accident. Rachel refers to herself as “type A” and she was very, very prepared (including taking The Birth Preparation Course!). All of her planning paid off because she was able to give birth with her husband at her side and they’ve even gone on to have a second baby since. You’re going to love this story!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What a preconception consultation is and how it helped Rachel
  • Why she thinks we should abandon the term “morning sickness”
  • How she struggled with self-blaming thoughts after an accidental fall at 7 months
  • What made the birth plan class so much more valuable to her than a generic birth wish sheet
  • Why she wanted an unmedicated birth
  • How she knew it was time to push
  • What makes her feel like postpartum parents are being underserved

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

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Dr. Nicole (00:00): You are really going to love this birth story episode with Rachel. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Callaway, 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.

(00:49): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 222. Whether this is your first time tuning in or you are a return listener, I'm grateful that you're spending some of your time with me today. In today's episode, we have Rachel. Rachel is mom to Bennett and baby Dean as well as their dog scout. The best thing that happened to Rachel was becoming a mother. She's in the field of education. She loves the work that she does, and her husband, Bobby is a physician. He is in his third year of his internal medicine residency, so they stay super busy. Now, in this episode, you are going to hear how Rachel chose to have an induction. You're going to learn why she did that in the episode and from the start of her induction to the moment she gave birth was listen to this four and a half hours total, including labor and pushing, and it was an unmedicated birth.

(01:51): You're going to hear all of the details about how that unfolded in the episode, and there are just so many other important topics and things that she touches upon in her story. I can't even mention them all. So you are going to find this episode really, really informative and enjoyable. Now, before we get into the episode, are you part of my free Facebook group? It's called All About Pregnancy and Birth, the Inner Circle community, and it's a great place to connect with other people who are trying to get pregnant, who are pregnant, who are postpartum. You can ask your questions, get feedback, learn from other people's experiences. Community is so important during your pregnancy and your postpartum journey, and an online community can really help step in and fill some of those community gaps when it can be hard to find folks around you. So check it out. It's called All About Pregnancy and Birth, inner Circle Community. Search for it on Facebook, just search for it by my name and it should pop right up. All right, let's get into the episode with Rachel. Thank you so much, Rachel, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I'm really excited to hear your story.

Rachel (03:04): Yeah, thank you so much for allowing me to come.

Dr. Nicole (03:06): Yeah, so why don't we start off by having you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?

Rachel (03:10): Yeah, I'm Rachel. I am married for the last 10 years, and I have two babies. One that we're going to talk about her birth story today. She's two years at eight months, and then I have a little two month old, so just right out the gates here. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (03:24): Yes. I did not realize, see, sometimes it's some time between me when people submit their stories and then when I go approve a bunch of them. So I didn't realize you had another baby since then, so

Rachel (03:36): Congratulations. Thank you. I actually, I'm a really kind of shy person, so I never thought I would share my birth story. And then when I was listening back to all of your podcasts again with this one, I started thinking, man, I wish I would have heard some of these things with my first. So that made me submit two years after I had her.

Dr. Nicole (03:58): I love it. I love it, I love it, and I guarantee you someone's going to find it helpful. Yeah, I

Rachel (04:03): Hope so.

Dr. Nicole (04:04): Yeah. So why don't you start off by telling us, we always have to talk about the pregnancy and prenatal care to understand what happens with the birth. And for you, I thought it was really interesting because you said that you did a preconception consult appointment, so what made you do that?

Rachel (04:19): Yeah, I'm definitely a type A person. I'm just someone who likes to prepare and I'm a teacher, so I think sometimes that comes with the personality. And so I was listening to your podcast before I got pregnant, and either you or someone that you were interviewing talked about a preconception appointment. And I thought that was really interesting because the provider that I was currently seeing, he was awesome, but I just saw him once a year and I knew I didn't want him for my pregnancy. And so I started kind of looking around and I heard of someone, and so I thought, well, I'll try out the preconception appointment. And so I went and immediately just what you talk about so much, I just had an incredible feeling of just connection. I felt heard, I felt respected, and just her sitting and looking me in the eye and talking to me instead of at the computer taking notes, just little things like that I'd never had experience. And I thought, wow, this really feels personal. And so I was so happy that I was able to go do that. And the other thing that was really incredible is that I had been on this medication called Spiro. I'm not sure if I'm saying

Dr. Nicole (05:34): It right. Yeah, spironolactone. Yeah.

Rachel (05:36): Okay. I had been on that medication because I'd get cystic acne pretty bad right here. And so I'd been on it for years. And I'm sure when I first got on it, they told me to not get pregnant, but that had been eight years ago. Sure. And so my provider told me that that medication blocks male hormone, and if I have a male, it could make the baby's genitals not form correctly. And so I just was so grateful that I went to that preconception appointment and that you talked about it on your podcast because I would have gotten pregnant and waited the weeks and weeks and weeks to go in while everything's developing. And so that was something that I was really grateful for, and I hope other women will feel that they can and should have a preconception appointment.

Dr. Nicole (06:28): Absolutely. Absolutely. Wow, that that's a big deal. It could have been a lot different.

Rachel (06:34): Yes. And the other thing is I would get cysts on my ovaries quite frequently, would have to go get them ultrasound, and anyways, they said it could interfere with getting pregnant and things like that. And so she actually told me, I think she could tell that I was Type A, and so she told me to buy these ovulation test strips and just start taking them and tracking my ovulation and see kind of where I was at. And then she said, you'll want to have intercourse the day before and the day of your ovulation. And I don't know if my education and health wasn't great, but I think probably in America, our health education,

Dr. Nicole (07:16): It just

Rachel (07:16): Sucks.

(07:17): And I didn't even know that. I didn't even know when I was supposed to, if I was trying to get pregnant, I had no idea. All I knew is that you shouldn't get pregnant when you're a teenager. I feel like that's what they focus on abstinence. Exactly. And so I just recommend for anyone that's a planner or is worried about getting pregnant or might get stressed by it, or anyone who just wants to be informed of when do you even ovulate? What does that look like? Those ovulation test strips were so easy, and it was so cool for me to be like, oh my gosh, I'm ovulating. This is really cool. I did get pregnant the very first month, and I know it's because I knew when I ovulate you were

Dr. Nicole (07:57): Pregnant. Yeah, exactly. I love it. I love it. Then you got pregnant, I assume you went back to that same person for prenatal care. What was your pregnancy and prenatal care?

Rachel (08:07): Yeah, she was amazing. I live in New Mexico now, but at the time I lived in Oregon and it was a really small town, only 20,000 people. Oh, wow. And so I've since given birth at a large hospital system, but it was so fun because I knew the front receptionist, Cheryl and I were on personal terms, and she is like, how have you been feeling? And so that care was so fun to have for your first just everyone saying hi, and you knew everyone, and it was really great. It was during c o, so that was a little bit, threw some wrenches in it, but everyone was just really, really awesome. And so I love that. I love the size of that practice. And it was really personal. And the hospital I was giving birth at was a teaching hospital, and so my provider always had a med student with her, but I thought she did just such a great job incorporating them as the team instead of, this is a med student, they're going to sit in the corner. Are you comfortable? She just did a really great job to let them learn along with me, and that was really fun. So I appreciated that.

Dr. Nicole (09:20): Nice. Now, was it just her, or did she have, was it a bigger, how many people were in, the doctors were in the practice?

Rachel (09:26): There was only about four other, four other obs. It was really, really

Dr. Nicole (09:30): Small. Gotcha. And did you see the others or did you just see your doctor?

Rachel (09:34): No, I only saw my doctor, which I think especially during Covid and everything, it was nice to just be consistent and develop that relationship. And I actually got to have her in my labor. So it ended up being great, but I can understand why it would be nice to get to know everyone just in

Dr. Nicole (09:51): Case. Sure. Got it. Got it, got it. And then did you have any issues or problems during your pregnancy at all?

Rachel (09:57): I'll say I had two things that I wanted to mention. One was I didn't realize how awful the first trimester you feel, everyone says it's morning sickness, it's like 24 7.

Dr. Nicole (10:14): We should abandon that term because it's so not true.

Rachel (10:17): I know. I'm like, who coined this a man? But the only thing I could keep down was carbs, and I just ate carbs. And so I gained 13 pounds the first trimester, and I was terrified because I know what you're not supposed to gain. And I was just worried. And my OB was amazing. She was like, you're totally fine. She's like, that's what average, everyone's different. Everyone's body different. So I would just say that too. She really calmed me down when I was worried about gaining too much and I ended up only gaining 29 the whole pregnancy. And so she just made me feel like every body's different and maybe your body needs more in the beginning and you're in survival mode with this first trimester. So anyways, just another testament to who you, a provider that helps you feel comfortable.

Dr. Nicole (11:13): 100%. 100%. And then I know you also had a fall. What happened with that?

Rachel (11:19): Yeah, we went to the Oregon coast, my husband and I, to just walk along the coastline and I was seven months pregnant and he was actually getting the stuff from the car, and I was just walking down the trail and I slipped and fell on my elbow and my hip and being pregnant. That is so terrifying. And I remember standing up and feeling really stressed, and I did something weird. Instead of going up and telling my husband, I just kind of went down to the beach and just had a moment to just kind of calm myself. And luckily everything worked out, but I kind of wish I would've been like, we need to go to the hospital. But I think I was just so terrified I couldn't even say it. So once he came down, I told him, and I just felt a lot of shame and guilt that happened. It was like, I just felt like I messed up and I'm supposed to protect this baby. So we went to the hospital, we called, they told us to come in and they checked, and then we were in there for about three hours and everything was fine. And same thing when I went to my ob, she said, it looks like everything was fine. I'm sorry that happened. And I kind of started crying. I'm like, I just feel so bad. And your reaction. She's like, you were doing a normal thing. You weren't doing something crazy.

(12:40): And that made me feel better. Yeah, I was just walking on the beach and I fell.

Dr. Nicole (12:46): Yeah, exactly.

Rachel (12:47): Yeah. But that was definitely a scary moment, but it ended up, we just had to be checked out for that day.

Dr. Nicole (12:57): Okay. Good, good, good. Anything else during your pregnancy? Other than the, I mean, the first, I shouldn't say the normal, but it is,

Rachel (13:03): It's normal.

Dr. Nicole (13:03): The first trimester is all. Yeah. It's unfortunately normal between the nausea and the fatigue is also something like it's indescribable how tired you can be. Was there anything else that happened or was it pretty

Rachel (13:15): Straightforward? It was really straightforward. I think something that I didn't expect too is that I did not love being pregnant ever. And I didn't

Dr. Nicole (13:25): Same. Okay.

Rachel (13:28): Yeah. I don't dunno if women don't talk about it. I didn't feel connected to the baby. My babies are my total world now, and I felt that love when I saw them, but I wanted to keep them safe and I wanted to eat and do what I needed to, but I never felt that love or connection while pregnant and I felt kind of bad. I'm like, am I not going to love this baby? Am I not maternal? What's going on? And so I just want everyone to hear that. And I love my babies now, so it's okay if you're not connected.

Dr. Nicole (14:01): Thank you so much for saying that. I think it's something that we don't talk enough about. I personally didn't also, I just didn't enjoy being pregnant. I liked the kicking, I like the feeling, the movements and things, but otherwise it was like a means to an end. So thank you for bringing, thank you for bringing that

Rachel (14:19): Up. Yeah, well said. It is a wonderful means to an end. Yes.

Dr. Nicole (14:25): Alrighty. So what did you do to prepare for your birth?

Rachel (14:29): Well, your podcast was truly a life-changing. I knew so little about pregnancy, about my body, and so I listened to, I started in 2019, and so I started early. You

Dr. Nicole (14:42): Went all the way back at the very beginning. Yes.

Rachel (14:44): And I just could not wait for every episode. So I listened to every episode. I did dabble with the birth hour and evidence-based birth, but I like the mix of the birth stories and also the experts coming on that just kind of flowed well with where I was at. So I love that. I read the Mayo Clinic pregnancy book. It's week by week, and I also got the What to Expect book. And that was fun to just see what your baby's doing each week.

(15:14): And then I took your birth wishes course, which I really, really enjoyed because I just didn't even know how to go about that or how to say it. And I thought that, I think I'm sure even now, I did it again with this child. But it's just really nice to go to a provider in a way that isn't confrontational or it just sets it up nicely for us to be able to have a nice conversation about it. And then the other plug I'll do for the birth worship course is that I knew I wanted to do skin to skin, and I knew I wanted to do delayed core count, those main things. But something that really stuck out is instead of asking, do you do skin to skin, do you do to ask, what does that look like? What does skin to skin look like? And that was kind of eyeopening to me because when I asked, yes, we do it, I'm like, well, what does it look like? And so I was really able to dive right in and say, this is what I want it to look like for me. And I never would have done that. I would've just done a checkbox like, oh, good. They do everything that I want.

Dr. Nicole (16:22): Rachel, you're making me feel good over here about it. You should feel, yeah, you should

Rachel (16:27): Feel good. Dr. Kins. Truly. Yeah. No, that I cannot stress enough. That was a really, really good, you can print one off the internet, but there's so much to it and language that is in the medical field, or not loopholes, but things in the medical field that you just don't know if you're not in it. So I loved that.

Dr. Nicole (16:48): Well, good, good. I'm glad. I'm glad. So what are some things that you wanted for your birth?

Rachel (16:52): Yeah, I wanted the golden hour, the skin to skin, the delayed cord clamping. I actually wanted unmedicated for a few reasons. One is I hate needles. So the thought of an epidural was terrifying to me. Okay.

Dr. Nicole (17:09): That's actually more common than people think that they just can't, the thought of it is just, yeah.

Rachel (17:15): Yeah. The thought of a needle going in your back was just really kind of scary. And then also, I didn't know if I take any pain medication, I'm not allergic, but I just immediately start vomiting any pain medication at all. I can sometimes get away with one Tylenol with lots of food, but anything strong, it makes me so

Dr. Nicole (17:35): Sick,

Rachel (17:36): So I didn't want to be in labor and throwing up the whole time.

Dr. Nicole (17:40): That makes sense.

Rachel (17:41): So I wanted that. And then I did take your birth class, and I learned how the different pain management pieces affect the baby. And so I knew I definitely did not. I just personally didn't want to have medication in my baby, and so I didn't want to have pain meds. And then I knew the epidural could cross a little bit into the placenta from your birth course. And so same thing, I learned so much from that. And so based on that course and everything you talked about it, I wanted to try unmedicated, but I wasn't completely opposed to getting an epidural if I needed

Dr. Nicole (18:18): It. Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. And then was there anything that you were scared of or worried about when thinking about birth?

Rachel (18:28): Well, yeah, I think birth can be really scary. I was scared. And so taking your course really calmed my nerves down because to me, knowledge is power. And so I think it was scary because I'd never seen birth. You don't even really learn about birth at all in life. When do you learn about that? And so many of my fears beyond the needles was completely squashed once I was actually educated on everything about it. So I did feel empowered and felt like a lot of my fears went down.

Dr. Nicole (19:07): Awesome.

Rachel (19:08): I love it. And then obviously it was covid, so

Dr. Nicole (19:10): Talked about it added a whole another level of just, I really think in looking back, I do, I certainly underestimated the impact I think Covid had on people who were pregnant during that time because it was very isolating and it was also really scary. You just didn't know what was going to happen. So I mean, I'm glad we're out of those times, but my heart goes out to everyone who was pregnant. To add that extra level of things on top of it was a lot for people. And you were going to appointments by yourself. You didn't have the same support system and things,

Rachel (19:46): And it's at the point where you didn't know how it spread, so you're wiping down all your groceries. And it's like we weren't even wearing masks. We were saving them for the medical. So it was a crazy time.

Dr. Nicole (19:57): Absolutely. Absolutely.

Rachel (19:59): And the last thing that I wanted for my birth, which is very different than what I hear on hardly any podcast, is I actually wanted an induction.

Dr. Nicole (20:09): Tell us about that.

Rachel (20:10): Yeah. It's definitely different than what I heard and what I thought. But my husband was a fourth year medical student, and so as you know, but during fourth year, you have to travel to do basically

Dr. Nicole (20:26): Sort of audition and try to figure out where you want to go.

Rachel (20:29): So we tried to plan his auditions and we tried to plan the pregnancy, but so much is out of your control. So he was gone the month before I had the baby, and he was gone the month after I had the baby. And his medical school allowed two days of paternity leave. And so, I'm

Dr. Nicole (20:49): Sorry, did you say two days?

Rachel (20:51): Two days. That's all. It's just, I know we've got to get to it.

Dr. Nicole (20:58): I'm mortified as a fourth year student by that point, you're kind of at the end. You're at the end. You're not even two days.

Rachel (21:08): Yes. Two days.

Dr. Nicole (21:09): That's so embarrassing that we as medical professionals can fix our mouths to say that to someone. You can have two days with your new baby.

Rachel (21:17): Yeah. I'm learning in the medical field, they don't follow hardly anything that they preach.

Dr. Nicole (21:23): These are facts. Yes.

Rachel (21:24): Yeah. They're working like 90 hours a week. Yes.

Dr. Nicole (21:27): All kinds

Rachel (21:28): Of things blows my mind.

Dr. Nicole (21:29): Okay. So he had two days, so you're like, we have to try and make it so he's here basically.

Rachel (21:36): Yeah. Yeah. I really wanted him here. I could only have one person with Covid to go in with me. And my parents lived out of town. My mom was flying in, but we also were trying to get people to come the month that he was gone to help me.

Dr. Nicole (21:54): Sure.

Rachel (21:55): And with Covid, we were trying not to overlap. Anyways, it was so tricky. A one, I wanted him there, and he wanted to be there.

Dr. Nicole (22:04): I mean, it's the birth of your first child. Yes.

Rachel (22:09): And then number two, I felt so out of control with him being gone and out of control with Covid and just a lot of what I would want my birth wishes to be just kind of blown out. Sure. So we decided that if my body looked ready at 38, then we would book the induction. And I wrote down at my 39 week, two day appointment, I was dilated to a four. Oh,

Dr. Nicole (22:37): Okay. Yeah. So you were starting from a great spot.

Rachel (22:40): Yeah, and I was 70% faced at a negative two, and I

Dr. Nicole (22:43): Soft. Okay. Yeah. You were in a good shape. Very favorable.

Rachel (22:47): Yeah. Yeah. So we felt like, okay, this induction is going to, and if I wasn't there, we weren't going to do it, but my body felt like it was there.

Dr. Nicole (22:58): Sure, sure, sure. Okay. Did you do anything to try to get your body ready, or were you just going with the flow?

Rachel (23:04): No, of course. I was doing everything.

Dr. Nicole (23:08): Yeah.

Rachel (23:10): I didn't do the oil thing, but yeah, my personality, I was curb walking like four miles a day.

Dr. Nicole (23:17): Yeah, yeah. Got it. Got it. Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Rachel (23:22): Tried it. All

Dr. Nicole (23:22): Right. Right. So then how did the induction go?

Rachel (23:27): So since I was so far along, I didn't have to go the night before, so we were able to go in the morning. I didn't need the fully bulb or anything like that. So we got there in the morning around six, and they checked us in and got us going in my birth plan. I had talked to my doctor that I wanted to break my water before trying Pitocin, just less medication. I don't know. I just wanted to try that first.

Speaker 3 (23:52): It's perfectly reasonable.

Rachel (23:53): Yeah. So she said since I was far enough along, she was happy to try it. When I got in there, the nurses were just about to change. So the night nurses, they started to try to do the Pitocin, and I shared with them my plan, and they were like, well, this is policy. This is what we do. So my husband and I were kind of like, is this something we want to fight and die on, or the doctor's coming in 20 minutes? Do we just let 'em put it in? And then in 20 minutes, the doctor comes in. So we just thought, that's fine. The nurses are going to change. She's coming in 20 minutes. So they got it set up and seven minutes later, the doctor came in and turned it off. So we kind of waited to see if we wanted to fight that battle. So the doctor came in and she broke my water at eight 30 and said, I'll be back at 12, and if you haven't dilated or progressed, then we'll have a conversation about Pitocin.

(24:50): And at that time, my new nurse came in and she was like, I heard you're doing unmedicated. We've got this. And she really sat down and talked to me, how do you handle to handle pain? How do you want me to ACH it? How do you want me to help you? And that was awesome. And I just wanted to put a little plug there, which you say all the time, but really if you don't hit it off with your nurse, then it's okay to switch. And I felt such a difference from the ns, which I'm sure they were just exhausted and their shift was ending and they weren't going to be with me, but I felt such a change from them to her. I was like, wow, that could change your whole birthing experience. So I know you say it and everyone does, but just feel brave to change that if you need to.

Dr. Nicole (25:32): Yeah, absolutely.

Rachel (25:34): Yeah. So she broke my water 8:30 AM around nine. I started feeling strong contractions in my back and only in my back. So the nurse said, let's lay over the ball just in case your baby's sunnyside up, you might be having back labor. So they had me lay on the ball and my birth plan was to try the nitrous oxide. So I was excited to try that. So she put the nitrous oxide on me. I had no idea if I was feeling and it was helping me or not. But what I did is that it really helped me focus on my breathing. And that was you talk about breathing in your birth class and the different breaths you should take. And so that having that on there made me focus on it more, which was really helpful. Gotcha. I later found out that it was unplugged, so I actually didn't try nitrous oxide.

Speaker 3 (26:27): You were just breathing regular air. I was just breathing regular air. It's just okay.

Rachel (26:33): I had no idea. I'm like, man, I would be in so much pain if this wasn't working.

Speaker 3 (26:38): Right.

Dr. Nicole (26:38): That is amazing to me. Yeah. There's something to the, you never know what mental things will get you in the right zone.

Rachel (26:50): And they told me when I was going to push deliver, they're like, oh my gosh, it's been unplugged the whole time. And when I was breathing it, I thought, oh my goodness, I would be dead if I didn't have this nitrous oxide. I can't imagine it worse. But I don't know. I guess if you want to do on Medicaid, you could try something to help, because it really doesn't help. So who knows?

Dr. Nicole (27:14): So contractions just kept picking up on they're

Rachel (27:17): All, yeah. So at nine is when she put me on the ball and got me the nitrous oxide, and I had no idea if it had been 20 minutes or two days, or two weeks. I mean, I was out of body. I had never had a break. I never had a moment where I was like, oh, there's another contraction coming. I was literally from nine on just in so much pain. And the nurse came in at 10 and was like, do you want to try a bath? And all I could say was no. And she said, I know you didn't want me to ask you, but I can tell you're in a lot of pain. Do you want me to check you? I was like, please. And she checked me and she's like, so this has been, it's 10:00 AM. So she broke my water eight 30 at 10:00 AM She said, you're at a nine. And so it was kind of like, oh, thank heavens, because I'm in so much pain. So I don't know why, but my body, yeah, my mom, my grandma, all of them barely made it to the hospital. So I think we can stop.

Dr. Nicole (28:20): I was going to ask. Yeah. Okay.

Rachel (28:23): Yeah. My mom kept on saying, you have to get induced. You have to get there. We have fast babies, but I'm like, mom, not on the first. Everyone's baby takes a long time.

Dr. Nicole (28:33): And then there you go, not even two hours later, and you're nine

Rachel (28:38): Moms are always right. That's the moral of the story. Listen to your mothers. So my mom was right. She was right at that point. I was relieved. I think the breath work, and like I said, that really helped, but I just didn't realize there was no break in between. Sure,

Dr. Nicole (28:56): Sure. So did that help you to say, okay, I can. Yes.

Rachel (29:00): Okay. Yes. It was totally like, I've got this. And I was able to refocus on my breathing, and so she ran out to call the doctor. The doctor was down the street and clinic. They kind of do both in a small place, but it was only a two minute drive at that time. I transitioned from a nine to a 10 and threw up. And my poor husband, I remember I barely lift my head. I mean, it's in my head. You're just like, you're so, so humbled by this experience, and you're just like, wow, could this get worse? And it does because you're pushy. But my husband was cleaning it up and he started gagging and threw up. He's like, don't tell that part of the story, Rachel. I'm like, I'm telling the part. Oh,

Dr. Nicole (29:47): We're going to tell it. We're going to tell it. Yes. So

Rachel (29:49): Yeah, so he's cleaning it up and all of a sudden he's puking. I'm just laying there like, oh my gosh. But all of a sudden, I mean that fetal ejection that you hear people talk about,

Dr. Nicole (30:00): It was like,

Rachel (30:01): It hit. And I was like, I'm pushing. And he goes out there and he's like, she needs to push. I'm like, no, I'm pushing.

Dr. Nicole (30:10): Not just need to push. I am pushing. Yeah.

Rachel (30:12): I was scared. It went so fast. I thought, is this baby coming out? I mean, I felt the fetal ejection come.

(30:22): So they all came in and my doctor was there and everyone came in. And it did not happen fast. I pushed for two hours. But I have to say my doctor was there the whole time massaging my perineum and doing everything, which was really helpful. But I definitely, I would lay down and I would have a break. So that's the first time where I wouldn't feel anything. And then the push, I'd be like, okay, I'm pushing. And they just let me push for two hours whenever I felt it and how I wanted to push. Okay, nice. And it was really nice. Everyone cheered me on in the beginning of the two hours. I thought, oh, this baby's coming. They were so excited every time I pushed. And then by the end I'm like, you guys are just lying. This baby is not ever coming out.

(31:11): Because everything was excited for two hours. And then one last thing I just wanted to say before we have the baby come is just going back to how you talk so much in the birth course, but also in your podcast about being able to trust your doctor. And I remember you saying to ask your doctor what their statistics is on, and that was really, really scary for me to ask. I don't know why. I was just so nervous to put someone on the spot like that, and I'm so glad I did her. I can't remember. But it was very low. And I remember thinking when I was pushing for two hours, had my doctor said, we need to do a C-section. It's been two hours. I would have 100% been like, you're right. I am exhausted. I have pushed you're 100% right. Of course we need a C-section. Gotcha. And even my husband, he delivered 15 babies on his third year rotation. He also was, when I told him that afterwards, he's like, yeah, I thought the same thing. When are we headed to C-section? This is, and my doctor was just so calm and so patient. We never even got to that point. It was just, we're just pushing. So I think unless you have a doula, which I couldn't have in Covid, and some people can't afford, you really, really need to ask that question of your provider.

Dr. Nicole (32:32): Yeah, I like that. I like that. And just so you know, two hours is not a long, I mean, it's pretty typical for a first baby, so it's not like I'm glad that your doctor was patient with the process because some folks wouldn't have been. But it's also hard because we can see the progress that you can't see necessarily. So that's why we get excited and we're like, ah, yes. Can see us. And it's not uncommon for moms to be like, y'all are some lion such and such as because we've been doing this. But it's slow and steady wins the race.

Rachel (33:05): Yeah, it's so true. It is. And it's funny talking about not being connected to the baby yet. I remember you taught us to think about your happy thoughts and think about visualizing that. And I remember just thinking, I just have to get home to my dog. I just have. And now it's like, oh my gosh, I was thinking about my dog, my love for my baby. But that got me through. So really do kind of think of those things that can help you get through.

Dr. Nicole (33:35): Yeah, absolutely. So then you pushed for two hours, and then what happened?

Rachel (33:39): Yeah. My husband had planned on catching the baby.

Dr. Nicole (33:42): And your OB was okay with that?

Rachel (33:44): My OB was excited and with it, and there was a third year med student there, and she's like, no, go ahead. But then when it started to come, I mean, my husband had caught 15 babies, and then when it's your baby, he got nervous and he's like, no, no, no. So she came and helped and the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck, but she just really took it off fast and they put the baby straight to my chest and just, yeah, you can't even explain that. That moment is so surreal. It just blew my mind that love could even feel that way, let alone that quickly.

Dr. Nicole (34:27): Yeah. And then did you have any tears or anything or have to get stitches?

Rachel (34:32): I only tore my labia, so I had to tore my labia, and I did need stitches. And I was a little bit surprised you're holding your baby and loving it and pushing out the placenta. I'm like, oh, that still hurts. And then the shot for the, but you're so happy. But that was something that I thought like, oh, I forgot that the placenta could

Dr. Nicole (34:52): Still be some construction. There is a lot kind of a lot happening. It's like, oh wait, I have the baby. But like you said, the placenta's coming and then the doctor's like numbing me up. And so it is a lot happening right away. Yeah.

Rachel (35:04): So it was really nice. We got the golden hour, and since it was covid, we didn't have anyone be able to come and take pictures. And one of the nurses was so sweet since it was a small hospital, there was lots of nurses in there, and one just took my phone and took pictures and was like, you can erase 'em. And it was so lovely to look back on those. Oh, that's nice. That was really nice.

Dr. Nicole (35:24): That's nice. That's nice. So then what was the postpartum period for you? Because I know that that wasn't necessarily easy.

Rachel (35:33): I had a few things that I wanted to bring up postpartum. And the biggest one I'll say for, but so my husband left two days after, and my mom,

Dr. Nicole (35:43): That is still so crazy. I mean, I'm glad your mom was able to come, but he must have felt awful to have to leave two days after his first child was born.

Rachel (35:53): And I mean, I think the connection and the time that you get with the baby, he did drive home and would be home. He was close enough, but it was too far. So he'd come home once a week and get home at 3:00 AM and then spend the one day with the baby. He does get one day off a week and then drive back. And that was a bummer for our little family. But then after that, he was done. We had stacked his auditions. Got it. So it was a hard month, and then he was done for five months. Okay. That was lovely.

Dr. Nicole (36:28): Good.

Rachel (36:29): But yeah, I remember my mom walking in and just so much relief to have your mom who knows and understands. And I mean, there's things like even if you've never taken care of a newborn, I'm like, oh my gosh, thank God my mom's here bathing and being careful with Amatory

Dr. Nicole (36:50): Right now. Was this her first grand baby

Rachel (36:53): Or no? No, she'd had some. So she

Dr. Nicole (36:56): Came in and she was like, I am ready.

Rachel (36:59): She was so ready. And I think this is discussed, and I think everyone's different, but for me to have someone to make meals and to have someone do laundry and to have someone, I know some people think, oh, I just want us. But even to have someone do that part and your husband to just connect with the baby and you just take care of yourself. I had no idea. I grew up on a farm. I'm like, I'm a farm girl. I'm tough. I can push through anything. And you really can't push through this because you do more harm to your body. You really do have to take care of yourself or else you'll cause more problems. So I just cannot say enough having some type of help no matter what it is, a meal service or a family or a friend, someone to help. Yeah.

Dr. Nicole (37:50): Other cultures seem to get that. In some cultures, women just have help. They constantly waited on for a month after birth. So yeah, I agree. You help is just so important.

Rachel (38:06): Yeah. No matter how tough you think you are.

Dr. Nicole (38:10): Yeah.

Rachel (38:10): I think this plays into, so I did have hemorrhoids after having the baby, but I mean, I remember being like, man, my bottom hurts worse than my vagina in pain there. And when I pushed, I'm like, oh my gosh, what is happening? But I think I did a little bit too much before my mom came and I got new hemorrhoids and I was in just excruciating pain.

Dr. Nicole (38:39): They can be very painful.

Rachel (38:40): I had no idea. And finally, and the other problem is if you breastfeed, you're literally sitting on the hemorrhoids before my milk came in, my baby nurse for nine hours. You're just back and forth and you're trying to get the milk in. And so my mom's like, just call your doctor and go check it out. So I went in and I always have low blood pressure. They're always like, do we put you on medication, do you not? Because my blood pressure is low, even when I was pregnant. And I went in and my blood pressure was one 40 over 76, which was much higher than what it normally is. I think it was just the pain I was in so much pain. So she checked me and she found out that one of the hemorrhoids, the one that was causing the most pain, had gone out so far attached my peroneum and where attached the peroneum for some reason was causing me so much pain. So she got me some lidocaine cream and to put it on and touch it, I was in tears. But then it gave me some relief and it gave me enough relief to be able to make it till they healed. And they do heal.

Dr. Nicole (39:53): Just take some time. They do

Rachel (39:54): Heal. But I would just say, I think we're focused on the baby afterwards that's feeding the baby, especially if you do breastfeed. It's so time consuming. And so I'm so glad I went in and I think it's okay to go in before your six weeks. You don't have to wait six weeks.

Dr. Nicole (40:13): Absolutely, yes. I mean, we should check on people sooner than six weeks, especially after your first baby. I'm glad you went in.

Rachel (40:20): Yeah. And I don't know, for me, I felt like I shouldn't need it because they have the six week thing. So that was kind of in my head. So I needed my mom to be like, no, just go in, just call.

Dr. Nicole (40:31): Right, right.

Rachel (40:32): Gotcha. So the last part I'll hit on is at five weeks, my husband came home for his one day and was playing with the baby and told me, did you notice that her left side is bigger than her right side? And I'm like, what are you talking about? I bathed her every single day. I dress her every day. I lotion her down. Her left side's not bigger than her. And he's like, okay. He's like, well, when I was on my pediatric rotation, they said to check the folds of the baby, and if the folds don't match up, then something could be off. And so he left. And that night I was looking, and it's true, her rolls were bigger on her left side. So of course, instead of calling my husband and I do a deep dive on the internet and you're just learning about all of these genetic diseases and these really scary things about what could happen. So I called him and he said, we'll send a message to the pediatrician, and we love our pediatrician. Super. She was just amazing. And so I sent it and her sent back saying, we see you in three weeks at the two month. I'm sure everything's okay. We'll see you then. Right? Well, those three weeks were excruciating waiting and just diving in Google. And I wish I would've just said, you know what? This is really causing me a lot of stress and anxiety,

Dr. Nicole (42:04): So can just come in sooner. Right.

Rachel (42:06): And once again, it's like, I don't know why I just, I'm a rule. So I'm like, okay. We went in and she went through the whole doctor appointment and was like, she looks great, and was headed out. And we said, can you look at her roles? They're not what we messaged about. And she's like, oh, yeah. So she came back in and immediately the whole mood in the room changed. And she was like, has this been here since birth? And we're like, yeah, we look back at pictures and at birth she had these marks on the left side of her body. It kind of looked like tiger stripes. And then they went away after about 30 hours. And so we told the pediatrician that was checking her out and he kind of just dismissed us as over person, new parents. And so we told her about that.

(43:02): So she said, I'm going to spend my lunchtime reading and I'll call you tomorrow. And she called that night and she was actually in tears, a little emotional and just said, I'm so sorry. I can't believe I missed this. I can't believe I didn't find this. So then I am like, well, I appreciate that. And very nervous. So she basically said, this could be lymphatic where a lymph node is something going on and it's causing it to be larger or it could be genetic. And so I'm going to send you to an ultrasound to look at the lymphatic piece of it, and I'm also going to refer you to O H SS U, which is our children's hospital in Oregon to do some genetic if it's not. So we went to the ultrasound appointment and she said, it's all clear. And so to go to the genetic appointment.

(43:54): And so we head up to O H S U at three months, which was pretty amazing. They got us into everything so quickly. I mean, it was just such a quick turnaround, which I'm so grateful for. And we went in and immediately the geneticist comes in and my husband's there and she said, so, and I had done research that if it's genetic, it would be called something called Beckwith weideman syndrome, which can be pretty severe. Sometimes they have organs on the outside of their body. Their discrepancy can be huge. It can cause it where the heart is since on left side, the heart to be enlarged, the organs to be enlarged. She can have a tongue enlargement, which she'd have to have surgery after surgery, childhood cancers. And I know I should have understood this, but I didn't. I thought we still had the chance that it wasn't genetic.

(44:50): I thought maybe it could still be something else. But obviously when the lymphatic came back that it wasn't that then that put us in that category. But I didn't get that. And this kind of goes onto the road of my last few years and I've gotten so much better to speak out. But because my husband's in the medical field, the doctors usually talk to him. And I'm in education and I know there's so many acronyms. And that's kind of in the medical field too. So a lot of times they're talking over my head and my husband's totally getting it, and I'm not in the early appointments. I didn't speak up. I just was trying to catch up. So the geneticist walks in and says, so it sounds like your daughter has Beckwith Weedman syndrome. And I'm like, my mind is what is going on? And so I'm trying to catch up with everything.

(45:44): And she said, she was talking very clinical, very over my head, very medical. She lists, we need an echo, we need blood work, we need all these things. I am just leave the appointment devastated that our daughter has a genetic disorder. And trying to grasp what her life could be like. I'm so upset by this. And my husband leaves the appointment so relieved and he knows so much more than me. And I like, this is a great genetic disease to have one if you're going to have one. He is like, she grows up. He starts saying all these things, which is great, but I was so mad. I'm like, what do you mean there's no good ones? Talking about whatcha talking about whatcha talking about? Right. And so I wanted to share specifically that part of my story because I think for me, I was so focused on the birth and so focused on advocating for myself in the birth and advocating for the birth that I wanted, which I'm so grateful I, and I wish I would have taken those skills over to the postpartum period, whether it's the hemorrhoids or whether your nipples are so blistered and bleeding from breastfeeding or this, it was in a moment where everything is so much higher than what I knew.

(47:14): I wish I would have had the courage that I did have in my birth to seek up transfer to postpartum. And I think that part, whether your child has a genetic disease or not, or whether you have, there are so many of postpartum period that we don't focus on, you did the birth, the baby's here, good job, mom. And then you're just left. And I wish I would have taken that empowerment that I felt from your course and felt from learning into the postpartum. And also with that is doctors know so much obviously, but there is something about a mother's intuition and just a mother's gut. And I felt that the first time I met my ob, I was like, this is my ob. I feel it. And there were so many times with my baby when she wasn't latching and things weren't going right or with this genetic disease or so many things since where I feel it and doctors are like, well, dah, dah, dah. And so that's the part that I hope people can move to postpartum because postpartum moms are kind of forgotten about. I feel like

Dr. Nicole (48:30): 100%. Thank you so much. This is going to save somebody for sure. I mean we just being able to carry that strength and listen to that inner her voice is just really, really important. So I'm so glad you shared that. I really appreciate it.

Rachel (48:49): Thank you. I am not someone to share. And so many times I'm like, do I cancel this? Do I dare do it? Because it's just really out of my comfort zone. But I think if I learned so much and I did put it into practice, and if I maybe had heard the story, I would have felt more courageous to every time I felt that to be like, no, it's okay. And I might not have a medical degree, but I do feel this and we can work together as a team. And I will say all of my providers have been just extraordinary. So it wasn't adversarial, it wasn't anything like

Dr. Nicole (49:22): That. Yeah, absolutely. Sure.

Rachel (49:24): They were all just incredible with me and with my baby.

Dr. Nicole (49:27): Yeah. Yeah. And how's your baby now? I guess two years old now doing

Rachel (49:31): Now? Yeah. She's two and a half and she ended up, she doesn't have Beckwith Whitman. She has sporadic isolated Hemi hypertrophy, which is all new, but she hits all of her milestones. She does incredible. She's just so sweet and just perfect.

Dr. Nicole (49:47): Perfect. And she has the perfect mom for her too. Yeah.

Rachel (49:50): Well, she's really great.

Dr. Nicole (49:54): So then as we wrap up then, what is your one favorite piece of advice that you would give to someone who's having a baby?

Rachel (50:02): Yeah. I think that goes over the postpartum period that I felt, which is to, in your pregnancy and practice it now is to just be kind to yourself and to give yourself that grace and you're going to feel it. I felt it when I fell, or you are hard on yourself, and if you think you're hard on yourself before you have kids, you're going to be so much harder on yourself when you have kids. Yes. So as much as you practice the breathing for your labor, practice that kindness to yourself because having that self-compassion is huge because being a mother, not only does society adds so much, but you will add so much pressure, hundred percent on yourself. So that's probably my biggest, when I hear someone having a baby is like, just be so kind and learn that it's a skill. It's a skill

Dr. Nicole (50:55): To learn. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Rachel. I know that I can say that not only, but everyone who is hearing this conversation, so appreciate you stepping outside of your comfort zone to share your story today. This has been really, really

Rachel (51:09): Helpful. Thank you. I really appreciate your time and just excited to have had this opportunity.

Dr. Nicole (51:22): Wasn't it a great episode? I am so grateful that Rachel came on and shared her story. I know we all learned a ton from it. And speaking of which, every time I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's notes, which are my top takeaways from the conversation. Here are my Dr. Nicole's notes from my conversation with Rachel. Number one, definitely if you're on medication, it is a great idea to check with your doctor and make sure that it is safe to continue that medication during pregnancy. If there are going to be issues with the medication in pregnancy, it's most often going to cause problems in the first trimester. That's why it's really important for you to know whether or not it's safe to take. And there are a lot of medicines that can be potentially dangerous, like the one that Rachel was taking, and I'm sure that her doctors told her at the time that the medication was not appropriate for pregnancy.

(52:15): We do a really good job. When I say we, I mean the medical community in general. I think we do a really good job with that particular medication of saying, Hey, it's really important that you don't get pregnant, but if at the time you start the medication you're not really thinking about pregnancy or it's been some time, that's the message that you may have forgotten. So just check in if you're thinking about getting pregnant and make sure it's okay to stay on whatever medication that you're on. Okay. Number two, weight gain in pregnancy. I got a little something to say about this. Okay. So really the reality is that some people, no matter what they do, they're going to gain 40 or 50 pounds in pregnancy. I don't want to discourage anyone, but your body is just going to do what your body's going to do.

(53:00): It can be really difficult to control how much weight you gain in pregnancy. What is more important is that you focus on nourishing yourself with healthy foods. Okay? That is the thing that you can control. You can absolutely control what you put into your body. You can meet with the nutritionist. Just do your best to make healthy food choices and nourish your body the best way that you can. Don't so much over the number on the scale. Now, if you see the number and you know that you haven't been eaten, great, then yeah, that's something to be mindful of. But just focus on what you can control, which is what you put into your body. Okay? Next is you may not connect with your pregnancy. That's totally normal. Rachel didn't entirely connect with her pregnancy, and I'm so glad she mentioned that. I personally did not enjoy being pregnant.

(53:48): The only thing I enjoyed was the kicks and feeling the movement and things, but being pregnant, otherwise I didn't really care for it very much. Obviously, I love my children and I love my babies, but the actual pregnancy part itself was not for me. So there's definitely a both and where you can both not enjoy physically being pregnant and be incredibly grateful that you are pregnant. So it's okay if you don't necessarily connect with or enjoy being pregnant. And then the last thing I'm going to say is it is totally okay it you choose labor induction. You can totally choose labor induction if you understand the risk, the benefits, the reasons why in her particular case, her husband had a very short leave her cervix was what's called favorable by a bishop score. So as long as you know what you're getting into, as long as you know that it can be a process, then labor induction is perfectly reasonable choice. Don't let anybody guilt trip you and say, oh, you shouldn't do that. You should wait for things to happen. If you want to do an induction, as long as you are well-informed, that is totally within your rights to do so,

(54:55): You can check out episode 183 of the podcast where I talk all about labor induction on drnicolerankins.com/episode183. All right, so there you have it. Do me a solid share. This podcast with a friend sharing is caring. It helps me to reach and serve more people, which is just my heart, soul, and passion of this work. And if you can help me do that, I so appreciate it. So share this podcast with a friend. Also, be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening to me right now, leave a review, an Apple podcast that also helps the show to grow, helps me to reach and serve more folks. Do shoot me a DM on Instagram. Let me know what you think about the show and let me know if you have ideas for the show. I'm on Instagram @drNicoleRankins. My dms are wide open. All right, so that's it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.