Ep 233: 10 Things I’m Thankful For

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It's Thanksgiving this week so I’m sharing 10 things I’m thankful for. I have so much gratitude and a big part of that is YOU. I know your time is valuable and I appreciate that you choose to spend it with me.

It’s such a privilege to serve people during one of the most meaningful events of their lives. Whether it’s at the bedside or sharing information on this podcast, I don't take it lightly that what I get to do is really special and I am incredibly, incredibly grateful to do this work.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How my openness has helped me grow over the course of my career
  • What makes me excellent at my job
  • How many different skills I’ve had the opportunity to learn and practice
  • Why I say that education is in my blood
  • Who has helped and taught me during the course of my career
  • Why on earth social media made the list of things I’m grateful for
  • Who works on the show behind the scenes
  • How my family inspires and energizes me

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): It's Thanksgiving this week, so I am sharing 10 things I am thankful for. 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.

(00:50): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 233. Whether you are a new listener or a returning listener, I'm so glad you are spending some time with me today. It is Thanksgiving this week, and I thought that I would share 10 things that I am thankful for. Now, before we get into the episode, I want to share something that I think you'll be thankful for, and that is that the birth preparation course is on sale, yes, for Black Friday, cyber Monday. That whole holiday thing, you can get the birth preparation course for 50% off the birth preparation course is my signature online childbirth education class that will get you calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth. Everything is completely online. You get access to everything right away, so you can go through the course on your own time at your own pace.

(01:57): You can go through it with your partner, which people really, really love. It contains everything from how to get into the right mindset for your birth. In fact, that's the first lesson of the course to all of the details of labor and birth and what's happening in your body. It covers specifically what happens with labor and birth in the hospital and what you can expect in that environment, how to advocate for yourself within that environment. You learn about potential curve balls that can come your way and how to manage them. Of course, you learn how to make a birth plan that actually works to help you have the birth that you want, and then you get information to help you get off to a great start postpartum. Folks love this course. Thousands of people have been thankful for it, and I would love for you to take this opportunity and get it for 50% off.

(02:48): So head to dr nicole rankins.com/enroll and grab the birth preparation course for 50% off today. All right, let's get into the things that I am thankful for. Now, I'm going to tell you upfront, I usually write out episodes in a little more detail, but this one, I'm flowing with it just a little bit, so give me some grace if things sound a little bit jumbled, I'm talking off the top of my head or I should say talking off of my heart. All right, so let's go ahead and hop into those 10 things I'm thankful for. Number one is the opportunity and privilege to serve. I do not take it lightly that what I get to do, whether it is being at the bedside with someone for their birth, whether it is sharing information here, the opportunity and privilege to serve people during one of the most meaningful events of their lives is just such a privilege and I'm so, so grateful for it.

(03:59): I know that everyone doesn't get to do this. Everybody doesn't necessarily get to go to college or get into medical school or get into the residency program that they want to get into. So I don't take it lightly that what I get to do is really special, and I'm incredibly, incredibly grateful to do this work. Number two, I'm grateful that I have been open to learn and open to change over the course of my career. I will be honest and say that the obstetrician that I am now is not the same one as when I first started as an ob GYN. I wasn't always like this. I'm a bit embarrassed in terms of some of the things that I did before. For example, I used to roll my eyes at birth plans. We would say that birth plans are an express ticket to the or.

(04:55): It's just not something that I treated with the appropriate amount of respect. It was part of the culture that I was in. I also, again, am embarrassed to say that it didn't occur to me for years that I should ask permission before doing a vaginal exam. Not that I was ever mean or forceful or anything like that, but I would kind of go in the room, Hey, I'm Dr. Rankins. I'm here to check your cervix, and then I would put my gloves on. I'd say, Hey, okay, just put your ankles together. Let your legs p flop out to the side. You're going to feel my two fingers. Lots of pressure. So I was nice, but never in that course of the conversation did I ever ask and stop and say, is it okay before I do this? Or Do you need to use the bathroom before I do this?

(05:43): Is this a good time before I do this? Those things didn't occur to me because I was taught that, okay, when I go in the room, this is what I do. This is what I'm supposed to be doing, and not to center the needs of the person who is in the room. So thankfully, I have since learned and changed my approach to that. Another area where I changed was elective primary C-sections. When people decide that they just want to have a C-section without any attempted labor, it doesn't happen very often, but when it did happen, I was very like, why would you do something like that? Why wouldn't you try for a vaginal birth? We know that vaginal birth is safer, those kinds of things, but in actuality, for some women, having a C-section without labor is the right choice for them. So these are all things that I have been open to and learned and changed about over the course of my career, and I'm grateful that I have done so because it has made me a much better obstetrician in the way that I approach caring for pregnant women.

(06:42): And I'll also say that my openness has led me to learn about and actively support people who are also in the birth space, who are important for making sure or helping folks have a great birth experience. For example, supporting doulas, pelvic physical therapists, things like spinning babies, a chiropractor. All of those things are really, really important. So I'm grateful that I have been open to learn and change as that has made me a better doctor and helped me to better serve the people I'm privileged to serve. Alright, number three. I'm grateful for my skills as an obstetrician.

(07:27): I'm tuning my own horn here a little bit, but my skills at the bedside are excellent. Okay. I am grateful that I have excellent skills at the bedside. As an obstetrician, I do things that not all OB-GYNs aren't necessarily confident in doing. In certain circumstances, I will support a vaginal reach birth. I'm confident in doing vacuum assisted births. I will support a vaginal birth after having two cesarean sections. I work with home birth midwives in my community to be a welcoming place where they can transfer people if needed from home birth into the hospital. I am comfortable with handling emergencies like shoulder dystocia, hemorrhage, blood pressure issues. So I'm really grateful for my skills as an obstetrician. I firmly believe that we as obstetricians should be able to do more than just catch a falling baby, a baby that's falling out of the vagina or cut a baby out in cesarean.

(08:27): We need to be able to support vaginal birth as best we can. We need to be able to support emergencies because it's really not listening to people in emergencies that causes these awful, horrific outcomes and issues with maternal morbidity and mortality. So I am really, really grateful for my skills as an obstetrician. I am very good at what I do. Okay, number four, I'm grateful for the gift of being to teach and communicate. I have a gift of being able to explain things, of being able to talk to all different types of people from all different types of backgrounds and connect with people sometimes very quickly and communicate things and help them feel at ease and help them understand things. And in this podcast and in my childbirth education class, in my social media, I'm able to teach and communicate information in a way that people seem to understand and that seems to resonate with people, and I'm really, really grateful for that.

(09:30): Gift education is really truly in my blood. My mother taught math for 50 years at both middle school level, also college level. My dear departed sister who passed away, she was a principal before that, she was a teacher. That's my older sister. My younger sister is a principal. Before that, she was a teacher. I have an aunt who was a principal, a cousin who's an assistant principal. So education runs in my family and in our DNA. And I'm grateful that I was able to use or I am able to use that education DNA, and teach and communicate and serve through the various ways, whether it's at the bedside or whether it's through this podcast or whether it's online in the content that I share. Number five, I'm grateful for the trajectory of my work and my career. What you may not realize or what you may not know about me is that when I started out in medicine, I actually initially thought I was going to be AGYN oncologist.

(10:41): AGYN oncologist is a doctor who takes care of women that have GYN cancers. I really like to do things with my hands and I like to operate, and those are the types of OBGYNs who operate a lot. So that's what I thought I wanted to do. Turns out that was not the right thing for me. I ended up going into general OB gyn n and I thought for sure I was going to be in academics. I did a research fellowship after I finished my residency, I did my residency at Duke wanting to go to the biggest possible place I could. So I did a residency at Duke. Then I did a research fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill, got a master of public health with a concentration in epidemiology. I thought for sure I was going down the academic pathway of being in academics, doing research and patient care.

(11:34): And I actually tried that for seven years and it was just not the right place for me. I'm not going to call it a catastrophic failure, but it just was not the right place for me. And it just took me a long time to realize that. And I actually got pushed out of academics when I had a meeting with my department chair, and he's kind of going over my performance, and I knew things were not going as anticipated, both on my side and their side. And he kind of casually mentioned it was actually recommended that you should get fired and oh my God, let me tell you, I boo butt tears in the office. It was a blow to my type a highly achieving self. So I was in this situation where it was like someone's actually recommending that I get fired, and it was just so hurtful and just caused a lot of turmoil and stress.

(12:33): Well, I turned that turmoil and stress into, well, you ain't going to fire me because I'm going to quit. I got angry after that, but I didn't know what I was going to do next. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I never felt like private practice was necessarily the right thing for me. I still kind of wanted to stay. I thought in the academic space, because I liked being around the cutting edge of things. I liked teaching, teaching residents, those kinds of things. And what happened is in the way God or the universe or whatever you believe I believe in, God puts things in your pathway. It's just nothing short of just beautiful. I happen to be at my own OB, GYN appointment and for my own annual checkup, and I just casually mentioned I need maybe looking for something else. Things aren't going well with work.

(13:32): And she mentioned that a position for a hospitalist was opening up at her hospital. And I should mention my husband, who's amazingly supportive, but was like, I really don't want to move. We got the girls in school. They're settled. Really don't want to move. So I was trying to stay in the area. She mentioned this hospitalist OB hospitalist position opening up where you just work in the hospital. Again, I had no idea if I was going to like it. It was completely different than what I had done before, and it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I will retire as a hospitalist. I love being an OB hospitalist, and it led me to do all of these things that I do now with the podcast, with social media. It was just the perfect place for me, and it allows me the space and time to do these things.

(14:22): So grateful that something that started out as not being ideal, something that was just like, I don't know how this is going to go. Something that really literally fell into my lap without me asking for it has just been so amazing and absolutely perfect. And then not only that, with the trajectory of my working career, I have been fortunate enough, so grateful to work in some great hospitals with some great nurses, many of whom I still keep in contact with, who I've worked with 15, 20 years ago. So just really great nurses, good hospitals. I also have had the opportunity to work around some other great OBGYNs and physicians. I know that sometimes people think or people are concerned, and rightfully so based on the reality of things that OBGYNs have a bad rap because of the way that they treat folks. But I have worked around a lot of really good OBGYNs.

(15:27): So I am grateful, grateful, grateful for the trajectory of my work trajectory of my career. Those I have been able to work around and learn from and grow from. Really, really grateful for that. Okay, number six. This one may come as a surprise, but I'm actually grateful for social media. Social media is of course a blessing and a curse, and I have had to restructure my relationship with social media in order to keep it healthy. Right now, my most current restructuring, which I think I like this is going to work. I only check it three times a week, so I only check it three days out of the week. And then I also limit the amount of time that I'm on it. And I can't look at it like first thing in the morning. I have the limits set on my phone, so I can't open the apps until after 10 o'clock and then I shut them off and there's time limits on 'em.

(16:25): So I have all of these limits so I can control how I show up with social media and do it in a way that works for me. But it does work for me in the sense that it allows me, one, to share information in a different way. So with visuals or with video, share little snippets of information that whether that's through Instagram or TikTok that help people come to the podcast really, because let's be honest, you are not going to learn all the information that you need to know about pregnancy and birth or really any topic by just looking at little snippets and posts on Instagram and TikTok. You really have to go more in depth, whether that's long form like this podcast or long form videos on YouTube. But Instagram, TikTok allow me to introduce people to concepts, to topics to help them get to know me, to help them get to learn some little tidbits of information.

(17:22): LinkedIn is a place where I connect with professionals, so where I speak to doctors here on the podcast, also on Instagram, TikTok, my audience who I'm talking to is primarily folks who are having a baby. When LinkedIn, I gear my information or tailor or structure my information towards doctors and talk about things that we need to do better in order to serve pregnant folks. So that's a great platform in order for me to do that on LinkedIn and make that change in the system because as important as it is for me to share information here, we also have to do better in our system. My greatest joy would be if I had to close up shop and close down this podcast and close down Instagram and TikTok that I didn't need to share information because our system would make it so that I wouldn't have to.

(18:14): We're not there anytime soon. It won't be anytime soon. So in the meantime, I continue to share information here. I continue to advocate for change through platforms like LinkedIn and then also social media allows me to connect with folks outside of the podcast, whether that is dms on Instagram. I love it when folks send me pictures or messages of them and their baby. I like to see moms and babies. I like to see both. So dms or messages that say the podcast help or social media help or the course help, I love, love, love to see that. Or emails, you can send it through my website. Also, the private Facebook group I have, they're all about pregnancy and birth. Inner circle community is a great way to connect with people outside of the show and just be a resource there as well. So I am grateful for social media, the blessing and the curse of it all.

(19:13): Number seven, I'm grateful for this podcast. I love this podcast. This podcast is my baby, my heart and soul of the work that I do of advocating and educating folks about pregnancy and birth. I started this podcast in 2018. I recorded it and still recorded it in my home office at my desk. Not a fancy setup or anything like that. And I started it because I felt like there was a lack of information in places where pregnant people were actually looking for the information. So pamphlets, those kinds of things, they get thrown out. Nobody really reads those things, but podcasts we're starting to grow. I myself am a podcast junkie. I love listening to podcast. I really, really got into podcast, which a lot of us was after serial season one, which is one of the best podcasting shows, if not the best podcasting series ever made.

(20:25): And I kind of got into, well, maybe I can do a podcast and share information through this podcast. I really had no goals when I did it other than to be consistent with it. That was my only goal was that I was going to show up every week, and I shouldn't say. The other goal was that I was going to provide evidence-based information, and I knew from the very, I had the format from the very beginning. It's always been birth stories because I believe those are important to learn from other people's experiences giving birth. So from the very beginning, it's been birth stories, it's been interviewing experts about topics. And again, going back to that, being grateful for having an open mind, keeping an open mind about talking about people or talking to, not talking about people, talking to people about different topics and exploring different things, not only for my audience's benefit, but for my benefit too.

(21:20): And then the third type of episode was that, or is that I come on and I do solo episodes where I talk about topics. It's been like that from the very beginning, and it turns out it has gone pretty well. This podcast has allowed me to reach and serve so many more people than I could have ever imagined that I could ever do at the bedside. At this point, it has been downloaded well over 2 million times. It gets downloaded about 65,000 times a month. It's been listened to in countries all over the world. I've had people in Australia, people in Belgium, people in Europe just message me or it has just been remarkable how this has allowed me to reach and serve so many folks. So I have been so grateful for this platform and being able to provide such quality free information for folks.

(22:19): So number seven, that I am grateful, grateful, grateful for this all about pregnancy, end of birth podcast. Okay, number eight, I'm incredibly grateful for the people who helped me do this work. I cannot possibly do all of this work alone. I started that in the beginning, in the very beginning of this podcast, in the social media online space. I did used to do everything. I did the social media, I edited the podcast, I posted, I did all those things, and it was going to drive me crazy because it's entirely too much work for one person to do. So I'm grateful that I have three folks who helped me part-time with bringing all of these things to you. I have an amazing executive assistant / manager, Monica, who helps to control the chaos that is my life between working in the hospital and caring, foraging parents and getting interviews done and all of those things.

(23:24): Monica is amazing. I have a fabulous social media manager, Nicole, all of those beautiful graphics that you see on Instagram, she is the one who comes up with those and does those. She is absolutely amazing. And then of course, Mackenzie, my podcast editor who helps podcast sounds so amazing and perfect and lovely and helps write the show notes and gets it all together, and all of those good great things, all of them work with me. And they don't just do it for a job. They all do it because they are invested in the mission of this work to reach and serve pregnant people and invested in my success. And I'm so grateful to have an amazing team of women working with me to help me do this work that I do. All right, number nine. I am not going to get out of here without talking about how grateful I am for my family.

(24:30): Oh my goodness. I cannot do this work that I do without my husband Falcon. We have been married for almost 18 years. I think it'll be 18 this year in December. And he has just been such an incredible support, whether it is an ear to lean on, whether it is helping with keeping our household together. He's always taken the girls to school. He would do hair, he cooks, he does the shopping, he keeps the cars all running the house all intact, just gives me space and time to really do the things that I want to do and pursue my passions. He's just incredibly supportive, even when sometimes he's like, I don't know. What are you thinking of this time around? He has never said, don't do what you want to do or don't do what you love. He has always been incredibly supportive and I'm so, so grateful for that.

(25:33): And then of course, our two girls who are absolutely fantastic from day one, my oldest has helped me learn and be a better obstetrician from having a preterm birth. If you don't know, she came into this world eight weeks early. She had a rare intestinal malformation called Du Iana Latricia. She spent a month in the nicu. And that experience just helped informed who I am as an obstetrician also helped me give up some control and understand that I cannot control everything and just control the things that I can control. That was quite a lesson indeed. And even today, they are just such my biggest cheerleaders and supporters and the work that I do, and being able to be a role model for them in terms of serving pregnant people, in terms of starting a business and doing things online and kind of speaking out, just been wonderful.

(26:28): When we go out in public, they sometimes they'll see somebody who's pregnant and they'll say, mommy, mommy, you need to go tell her about your podcast or Mommy. You need to tell her about your course. And then they send me or leave me little messages at times on my desk. Or I have two whiteboards in my office that I write notes on when I'm thinking through things. And so when I look up at them, like right now, I can see messages from them that say, you got this, and a message that says you can do it. Or they draw a little hearts on 'em, those kinds of things. So incredibly grateful to have just a wonderful, loving, supportive family I could not ask for better. And then number 10, the last thing that I'm grateful for is you. Yes, grateful for you. I know that your time is valuable.

(27:21): We all have only so much time in a day and your time is quite valuable. So I am so grateful that you give me some of your time. Put me in your ears week after week after week that me that you trust me to give you evidence-based, holistic information about pregnancy and birth that really serves you. So for that, I am truly grateful. All right. So there you have it. Do me a solid, if you like this podcast, can you do two things for me? Number one is share with a friend. Sharing is caring and helps me to propel my mission of reaching and serving as many pregnant folks as possible. So if you like this podcast and share it with a friend and then also leave me a five star review and Apple podcast, I would so, so appreciated. It helps me to know what you think about the show.

(28:19): It helps the show to grow. And I said two things, but actually, can you do three things? Make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you're listening to me right now, whether that's Apple Podcast or Spotify. Go ahead and subscribe so you never miss an episode. And then again, that five star review and Apple Podcast would be so helpful. Or shoot me a DM on Instagram at @DrNicoleRankins to let me know what you think about the show. And don't forget that the birth preparation course for this Thanksgiving, black Friday, cyber Monday holiday is on sale for 50% off. You can go check it out. Go grab her. This is the lowest price it'll be. So it's drnicolerankins.com/enroll. So that is it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.