Ep 32: Lessons from Seven Healthy Pregnancies and Births

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Pregnancy is difficult and challenging. There are risks but it can also be smooth and straightforward without problems. How you approach it is vital to achieving the kind of birth that you want. 

You’ll be delighted with today’s birth story episode with Kristin, a super mama who had seven healthy and uncomplicated pregnancies and births! 

In this conversation, you will learn how Kristin managed to maintain her health through her pregnancies. She shares how each of the seven pregnancies and births was different for her, including the 25-hour labor with her 6th baby. She also talks about how movement and being in tune with her body helped her get what she wanted and needed during birth. 

Kristin has a wealth of experience when it comes to having healthy pregnancies and births! You’re going to learn a lot from our conversation!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • The difference in care that Kristin received between physicians and midwives
  • The importance of educating yourself to help you have the birth that you want
  • Being healthy and active before pregnancies and maintaining it in between pregnancies
  • Problems and concerns Kristin experienced during pregnancies
  • How each pregnancy and birth is different (including a 25 hour labor with #6)
  • How Kristin managed pain during labor
  • Techniques to cope with contractions
  • Using birth balls and hydrotherapy
  • Why Kristin choose not to have a doula 
  • Kristin’s thoughts on how the hospital staff supported her
  • The hospital’s philosophy around diet where Kristin delivered
  • Things Kristin learned after 7 pregnancies and births

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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Speaker 1: On today's episode, we're going to learn from a mama who has had seven, yes, seven normal uncomplicated pregnancies and births.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Callaway Rankins, a board certified ob gyn physician, certified integrative health coach and creator of The Birth Preparation Course, an online childbirth education class that will leave you feeling knowledgeable, prepared, confident, and empowered going into your birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and it's not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.

Speaker 1: Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast, episode number 32. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Today is a birth story episode and we have a fantastic one today. I have Kristin Shockley on and she is the mom to seven kiddos, who range in age from 8 months up to 16 years. Kristin says, some days feel crazy but most days just feel normal, whatever that normal is for her. Kristin says she's not extra patient. She doesn't also think she's extra capable. She feels like it is all by God's grace. I hear you Kristin. Now Kristin shares her knowledge and experience from having, as I said, seven healthy pregnancies and births. Kristin talks about how every pregnancy and birth for her was different, including how she was in labor for 25 hours with baby number six, she got an epidural for the first two, had an unmedicated delivery for the next five and she gives some great advice on how to do unmedicated birth. In general, Kristin was very in tune with her body with what she wanted and what she needed to give birth, so you are going to learn a ton from our conversation.

: Now, before we get into the episode, let me give a quick listener shout out. This is to Marley310, and she left me this lovely review in iTunes. The title is "love it" and it says as a future mom about to start my pregnancy journey, I was thrilled to find the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. She covers so many important topics all in a positive and open way. I especially appreciate the diversity of her guests, not only in life experience but in demographics and identity. Thank you for creating this podcast and offering so many free tools and handouts. Thank you so much for that lovely review, Marley. Having a diversity of guests and their experience and demographics and identity is really important to me, so I appreciate you letting me know that that means something to you too. That will always be an important part of the podcast.

: Nicole: Okay. Without further ado, let's get into the episode with Kristin. Well, hey Kristin, thank you so much for agreeing to be on the podcast today. I really appreciate you coming on.

: Kristin: It's my pleasure. I'm looking forward to it.

: Nicole: Awesome. Well, why don't we start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

: Kristin: Okay. My name is Kristin and I've been married to my husband Brian for 18 years now. We have seven children.

: Nicole: Wow!

: Kristin: Yes, we have a 16 year old, 14 year old, 12 year old, 10 year old, 8 year old, and then we had a little break and we have a 3 year old and almost 1 year old.

: Nicole: That is a very full house.

: Kristin: Yes it is.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Well, I thought that what we could do today, normally on the show, I talk about the specifics of a single birth experience, but you've had a wealth of experience. So I thought that we could talk about a little bit of an overview and anything that you've noticed that was different between pregnancies or notable experiences, because obviously you have tons of experience that you can share. So how's that sound?

: Kristin: That sounds wonderful.

: Nicole: Okay, awesome. So why don't we start off with prenatal care. So for your prenatal care, did you see physicians or did you see midwives or both or what did you do?

: Kristin: For my first two children, I saw an ob gyn.

: Nicole: Okay. Okay.

: Kristin: I really didn't know what I wanted. That was what I went with. She was local and I did like her after those two births. So I did switch to a midwife practice who also had ob gyn there, that I would see on occasion. Primarily I saw the midwives for my next five births.

: Nicole: Okay. All right. And what difference did you notice between the care that you received from physicians and midwives? And you can be honest. I know I'm an ob gyn physician myself and be honest. What differences did you see?

: Kristin: You know, I really, really liked my ob gyn and she was very good about taking the time to listen to all of my issues and I know that was what a lot of people say is special about midwives, that they take more time and I really didn't notice a lot of difference. My main thing was that the hospital where the midwives practice, it was a little more to my liking than the hospital where the ob gyn practiced, that was my biggest thing, not the care so much as where I ended up being able to deliver.

: Nicole: Okay. Well that's reassuring that you didn't find that much of a difference. That your ob gyn was capable of listening and doing that kind of thing like we're supposed to do. Yeah. And then was there anything in thinking about your prenatal care, either with the physician or the midwife, is there anything that stood out that you particularly enjoyed or didn't like about your prenatal care?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I don't know. I'm a pretty independent person and I did a lot of research and things on my own so that when I would go, I mean I would obviously listen to what they recommended, but I had already kind of had an idea about a lot of things. So really I felt like it was a good relationship where my care providers could tell me things and I could tell them things and that we had a really good working relationship. So I don't have a lot of negative to share really. Everything was just how I wanted it.

: Nicole: Oh well that's good. But it sounds like the key though is that you took some time to educate yourself. Is that fair to say?

: Kristin: Yes. And what was nice too is when I would do my own research, then I could take it back to my midwife or to my ob gyn and ask questions, but already know where I was coming from so that when they would give an answer I already had an idea of, or I just had a basis of knowledge that I could draw from, which was very helpful. So yes.

: Nicole: Gotcha. You did your own research and then took it back to your experienced providers to say, "Hey, here's what I found. Here's what I'm thinking. What are your thoughts?"

: Kristin: Yes, yes, that's exactly right.

: Nicole: And I think that's the way it should go, actually. Did you ever feel like you met any push back? Like why are you researching this? Or why are you asking me that? Or any of that kind of stuff?

: Kristin: No, I don't really feel that way. You know, there were some things that I would talk about that they would say, well, I prefer not to do it that way or maybe think of, do this instead. But I was always respected for what I was bringing up.

: Nicole: Okay, good. Which is key, important, must happen for sure.

: Kristin: Yes.

: Nicole: And what kind of places did you do research? Were there any particular books that you read or websites or do you remember any of that?

: Kristin: I really liked, especially from my more recent pregnancies, I enjoyed the mama natural website. Some of her things were a little crunchier than really what I was looking for, but I just liked that style and I really liked her. She had done weekly videos of her own pregnancies that were fun to watch, just to kind of keep up with. So I really enjoyed that. I also am a big reader, so I did do some reading. I know the Dr. Sears series, there was a pregnancy one that I read and also a birth book that I read that I enjoyed.

: Nicole: Talking about your pregnancies. Did you have any problems during any of your pregnancies, like diabetes or high blood pressure or anything like that?

Speaker 3: Kristin: No, I didn't. With two, no I think it was just one. I did fail the one hour diabetes test, but it was not a problem at all when I went back for the three hour one. And then with the subsequent pregnancys, I think that was my sixth pregnancy, with the seventh one, everything was fine. I didn't have any trouble with my sugars. I think that was just a fluke kind of thing. But really I had very easy in comparison to what some people go through, very easy pregnancies, no notable issues. I didn't have high blood pressure. I did not have really, I never even had much. I mean it was just really, really ideal for what I hear some people go through.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So you're just a textbook example of how pregnancy can go.

: Kristin: I guess so.

: Nicole: Now, are you normally, I guess pretty healthy? Are you active, do you exercise?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I am. I am very active. When I had my seventh one, which was my most recent pregnancy, I was not as active because I also had a toddler in the house. When I was pregnant with my sixth child, I was a runner and I ran all the way up until the day that my water broke with her. So I was very active, which I think helps. I'm also very conscious of what I eat and drink. And so I know that helps.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Absolutely. It absolutely does help for sure. And you felt like you were able to run during your pregnancy. This is one of the things that people, you know, wonder about exercising. You felt like you were able to keep it up?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Yes, I did. Now obviously I slowed down a lot near the end, probably not running much faster than a walk, but I was able to do it. My midwife also was an older woman, but she had been a runner and so I felt like I had her support also, that she was okay with me doing that as long as I was following how I felt and was very conscious of that.

Speaker 1: Nicoel: And that's one thing that I tell women. You should definitely continue to exercise and if you were active beforehand, please keep up your activity during your pregnancy. It helps but use common sense and listen to your body. Don't push yourself beyond what feels right, you know, you don't want to stress yourself out.

Speaker 3: Kristin: Yes. Now my seventh pregnancy, I started out at the very beginning, still trying to run and within a couple of weeks it just did not feel good. I was having a lot of soreness in my legs and also in my pelvic area and so I went to just walking and even that sometimes was not very comfortable, but I was able to maintain walking for exercise instead of running.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Awesome. Do you work outside of your home at all? Like were you juggling a job also?

Speaker 3: Kristin: With my first pregnancy I was still working, but after that I've been a stay at home mom.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay, okay.

Speaker 3: Kristin: No, I do homeschool my children, so I was still doing a lot of work in the home, but I was not actually leaving for a job.

Speaker 1: Nicole: And that's what I was getting ready to say. Oh, you're still working, you're just working inside of your home. Now, one thing I tell women is that every pregnancy can be different. What is your experience or your take on that?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Oh, for sure. They had so many similarities, but also a lot of differences. My biggest difference in my first couple of labors really, they were long, which is normal at the beginning, and then I expected them to get maybe a little shorter as things went on and they didn't. In fact, my sixth labor was my longest and then my seventh was very quick, so that was very different in what I was expecting, where I was expecting it to trend one way and it did not. As far as pregnancy itself, they were all very similar, but little things would come up that were different where like for my seventh for awhile he was breach and I had never had that happen before. Like I was saying before with exercise where I would feel one way with one pregnancy and the different way with another as far as how much I was able to do, I don't know.

Speaker 1: Nicole: No, that's okay. But it sounds like still you're saying that there were similar things and there were different things, that don't be surprised if you feel different things between pregnancies. A lot of times I see women, especially with the second one that are like, oh well my first one was nothing like this. And it's like you get what you get each time.

: Kristin: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Nicole: It can be different every time. Yeah. So let's shift and talk about what happened with your births. I presume were all of your baby's vaginal births?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Yes, they were.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay, awesome. And did you ever have to be induced at all?

: Kristin: No. With my first pregnancy I passed the due date and as we were creeping along toward the 41 week mark, they were noticing that he looked like he was going to be a big baby. And my ob gyn was a little concerned even though big babies do run in my family because I had never given birth, they just weren't sure how big of a baby I would be able to have. And so as we were getting closer, we were discussing induction and I was scheduled to be induced at eight days past his due date. But he ended up coming at seven days passed, so I did not have to be induced. And then with my second baby, it was a very similar kind of thing where they thought that she was big and they did an ultrasound to check and I know that's not always reliable, but she was showing that she was going to be close to nine pounds and so we also scheduled an induction as she was born before I actually had to go in and then with my others they came early and it was never even discussed.

Speaker 3: Nicole: Okay. So never early, not like super early or just like after 37 weeks, still full term?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I was always full term, but I had a couple that were born right after 37 weeks and so early as far as, not on my due date but not dangerous early.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Got It. And with the first two, when they were suspecting that they may be big, how much did they actually weigh?

Speaker 3: Kristin: They ended up both being nine pounds and four ounces. They were exactly the same weight.

: Nicole: Okay. So they were on the bigger side. Obviously you were able to handle it.

: Kristin: Yes I was. I really did not have any problems at all. Even my pushing stages with both of them were, I think 20 minutes was the longest I ever pushed. So I really did not have any trouble delivering big babies.

: Nicole: So you were just made to give birth?

: Kristin: Apparently.

: Nicole: So now what did you do for pain management during your labors?

: Kristin: With my first two, that was where I still had the ob gyn, although it had nothing to do with her, it was really the hospital. I had gone into it planning to have a totally natural labor and not do anything for pain medication. Well I was not allowed to get out of the hospital bed and so I really didn't feel like I could cope well. They had me hooked to monitors and they said, okay, after awhile it's okay to get off of the monitores for a short time while you walk. But yet that never really did happen. So I ended up getting the epidural with the first two. And then when I switched to a different midwife and hospital, the policies were different and I still was monitored, but it was more intermittent monitoring and so I was able to move more and with those five labors, I was able to go totally natural without an epidural, which I actually preferred because the recovery felt easier to make even though there was more pain during the labor.

: Nicole: Interesting. I've heard a lot of women say that when they compare, there's obviously nothing wrong with an epidural if that's what you want, but I definitely hear women say comparing birth with an epidural and without an epidural, that's one of the things that they comment on that they like without the epidural. It's that not that long afterwards you're getting up and you're moving around and you're feeling pretty mobile.

Speaker 3: Kristin: Yes. That's how I felt with the epidural. There was nothing wrong that I chose that I didn't feel guilty for choosing it. It just afterwards I felt like I could not move as well. I felt sluggish and just like my legs didn't want to cooperate. When I had totally natural labors, I was able to just get up when I wanted to and I didn't feel confined.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right. What type of techniques did you use to cope with the contractions? Did you do hypnobirthing or any of those kinds of things? Like how did you cope?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I really concentrated on relaxing my entire body. It wasn't any real technique, but it was just as I would feel a contraction, if I could make myself relax and relax all my muscles, even including my mouth and just relax my body. If I could catch that at the very beginning, then the pain was lessened. If I didn't or I tense up or felt scared or was in a situation where I was tense, then the pain was worse, but if I could catch it and relaxed, that really was helpful to me.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I mean, you just said so much in that one statement about relaxing into it is key. It sounds counterintuitive because it's pain and most of the time for pain, it makes you tense up and pain means something is wrong in your body. But for labor it's different. And if you can relax into it, the moment you have like fear about it or you fight against it, it makes it so much worse.

: Kristin: Yes. So a lot of it was really mental too. I mean it was physical, but it was knowing in my mind that I really was okay and that if I could relax into that, it would feel differently. That was kind of the key for me.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. And do you feel like you took it contraction by contraction or what? Cause you said one of your labors was 20 something hours long.

Speaker 3: Kristin: 25 hours long. Now with that one, my contractions were very far apart. I was progressing but very slowly. And so with that one, even though it was long, I was able to cope because it was so slow. I mean definitely taking it contraction by contraction. If I would think too far ahead it would be overwhelming. But I would just take it one at a time.

Speaker 1: Nicole:P Right. Yeah. And then you said movement also was important for you.

Speaker 3: Kristin: Just keep my body moving and get into a position that was comfortable. And then during the contraction I would have to be still, but then as soon as it was over I could move, sway, get into whatever was comfortable and that was helpful.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Did you use birthing balls or anything like that?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Yes, I did. I had a birthing ball for most of my pregnancies and I would use it at home and then also when I would go to the hospital, usually they would have one if I asked for it that I could use with at least two of my labors. They had a birthing tub. I was not allowed to actually give birth in the tub, but during the labor I was allowed to use the water, which was also helpful for relaxing. I could sit in the water during the labor.

Speaker 1: Nicole: That was the next question I was going to ask if you'd ever used hydrotherapy or water to help and it sounds like, yeah, you were able to utilize that a couple of times. How helpful did you find that?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I found that very helpful. It was good for me to be able to relax. Even though I was able to remember most of the time to consciously relax my body, the water just made it so that felt more natural because I was surrounded by water. It was more of a cushion to my body and that was good with the labor that went on for 25 hours, every time I got in the water, it slowed down my labor. I guess I was too relaxed and it was too slow, so I had to keep getting out of the water, which was no fun because it did feel good. Near the very end of the labor, I was able to get back in and it didn't affect, but I did notice with that one that sometimes the water was almost too good. It made me too relaxed. It slowed down the progress.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Gotcha. Now, who was with you to support you during your labor?

Speaker 3: Kristin: My husband was the only person that I really wanted with me. I'm a very, very social person, but when I was in labor, I needed to concentrate and I didn't want anyone else around. I would talk to friends during labor at the beginning, but I did not want anyone actually there with me. In fact, when I was having my seventh, of course, I have teenagers too who are a big help and they were in the house at the beginning and I just felt like I could not concentrate enough to actually progress with my labor. And so my mom was able to come over and she took all of my kids to her house and as soon as they were out of the house I could feel my labor just start more seriously. And so to me just having people around was not good. Even though I'm a social person in a normal situation.

Speaker 1: Nicole: It sounds like you were really in tune with your body and what you needed and being able to communicate that.

Speaker 3: Kristin: Yes, I feel that way. And my husband is also a really quiet person. So even though he was there and was also very into what I needed and would ask, he was not overwhelming to me, where when I'm with my friends and we're all chatting and talking, that would have been too much. So it was a good balance.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Did you ever consider having a Doula at all?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I didn't. When I had my first children, it really wasn't something I'd ever hurdle. And then once it became more popular thing, I had done it without a Doula. And so I'd never really, I felt like I needed one or that I felt like I could do it without it. So

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. So how did you feel like the hospital staff supported you during your labor?

Speaker 3: Kristin: You know, really well. Because I went into it being very sure of what I wanted. It was easy for either me or for my husband to communicate that to them. And I really didn't feel like I had a lot of push back. I know at least with one of my labors, there was a nurse that I didn't really like her personality or our personalities just didn't. But I didn't feel strongly enough about that, that I didn't want her there. It just, you know, I was glad when the shift changed and I got someone new that just maybe fit with my personality better. But really I felt as though the hospital staff was very good at listening to what I needed and what I wanted. In some cases, or I guess in my most recent pregnancy, the hospital staff didn't necessarily know what I wanted, that pregnancy or that labor went very quickly, but the midwife knew and so she would communicate to them what I needed. So I've never felt as though I was having to push against something that I didn't want or that if there was something I didn't want, I felt pretty free to tell them that.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Gotcha. Now, did you have written birth plans at all?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I did with some of my children. I wrote a birth plan and showed it to my midwife ahead of time and then took it to the hospital. However, it just seemed like that was more for me to just kind of wrap my mind around what I wanted and that when it came down to it really what was going to happen was going to happen. It's, you know, we would go a certain direction. I would prefer not to have an epidural or I would prefer not to have my water broken until it broke on its own. Really it was just we're going to go with what is best and what is happening at the moment. So even though I had a written birth plan, it was more for me and for my midwife just to know what our plan was going into it more than, something we had to be rigid and hold to.

Speaker 1: Nicole: So you were very flexible about things?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I was, I don't know in my mind if there was certain things, yeah, I probably would have been disappointed if they had not gone the way I wanted, but I tried to be flexible and it all seemed to work out the way I wanted on their major issues.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right, right. Well, what kind of things were you looking for or that you wanted that were important to you?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Once I had had my two epidural birds and I had switched over to trying to go all natural, I really wanted to do that if I could. I knew that there were times when, you know, I may decide that I just couldn't handle this any more and it'd be better for me to go that route, but I really wanted, if possible, to go without epidural. I also felt pretty strongly about letting my water break on its own. I had had it broken with my third and my fourth, I think it was, and once that happened, the pain of labor, it was almost more than I can handle. I did get through it obviously, but it was much more intense and when my water would break on its own, it was more comfortable. So that was something that I preferred. I preferred to be able to move during labor and for my monitoring to be intermittent. I guess those were the main things that I, yes.

Speaker 1: Nicole: What about eating and drinking during labor? What was your hospital's philosophy towards that?

Speaker 3: Kristin: The first hospital where I had my first two children, the policy was you could not eat or drink anything besides ice chips and because I had an epidural, I did not go to the hospital until fairly far into my labors. It was never even an issue. I didn't want to eat or drink anything. It wasn't anything that I had to fight against or consider. It wasn't even an issue. Even though I knew that was the policy. When I had my other children, the policy was within, as long as I was not on any medication or in any situation where it would have been dangerous, they did not mind eating and drinking. And so I was able to, if I wanted it. Normally when I was in labor, it wasn't something I was wanting. Drinking, yes, but eating, I was not really interested in, by the time I got to the hospital, I was in a state where that wasn't something I wanted.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. It's interesting when you're in active labor, you're not hungry.

Speaker 3: Kristin: No, no.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. You're not hungry at all actually. And you may want like a little snack or something and sometimes you need to eat because you need energy. I've always questioned and I'm like, God, you know, we know the uterus is a muscle and muscles need energy. So sometimes we got to give women some energy, you know, so the uterus can work. But in general, yeah. You're not hungry when you're in full blown active labor.

Speaker 3: Kristin: No. Then as soon as the baby was born I was very hungry. But during the actual process, no.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. Now, speaking of your births, were there any issues or problems during the birth process?

Speaker 3: Kristin: With my seventh we were thinking that he was breech and he was breech until about 33 weeks. Which all my other babies had turned head down much sooner. So that was a concern when I actually came to, so he was born at 39 weeks, and by then he had been head down for long enough that that wasn't an issue going into the labor. That wasn't something we were thinking about. So really the labor itself, I did not have any real issues come up.

Speaker 1: Nicole: And no problems with like bleeding after delivery or difficulty getting the baby out or pushing for a long time. Any of those things happen?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Nope. I've always had a really short pushing phase, very intense pushing, but not long. And I am a redhead so bleeding has been something that's always been talked about. But I've never actually had an issue with it. Always, nurses and midwife been aware of that and watching very closely in case something were to happen, but I've never actually had it happen.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Awesome. Now when you pushed were you on your back or did you ever do hands and knees or you know, how did you push especially you know, without the epidural?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Well, I always thought that I would want to try a different position. They say, you know, laying down is actually counterintuitive that sometimes it is better to just go with what you want. But I always wanted to be more in a, not flat on my back, but more of a reclined position. That was always actually more comfortable maybe because my babies came so fast that it was intense and that would slow it down slightly. Now with my seventh, my midwife suggested at one point, the way I was sitting, it was making it look on the monitor as though my baby's heart rate was going down, even though it wasn't. It was just because of the position I was in. She said, I know that the baby is fine, but let's go to a different position just so that we can get this monitor to look a little, so it doesn't look like the baby is in distress because we know that he's not. So she helped me move to my hands and knees and so I did deliver him on my hands and knees and that position was also comfortable. But on my own, I always actually went for more of a reclined position.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Okay. And that's one thing we should support women is when you have an epidural, you're pretty much going to be in your back because it's harder to move around. But when you don't, then being able to move around and change and get in whatever feels comfortable is going to make the pushing go fastest. So that's great that you were able to have that support.

Speaker 3: Kristin: I always thought that I would want to do more anyway and I just didn't. So it was nice when she suggested it because then I at least got to experience something different and something I thought I would want to experience, but yet never really did. So I was glad for that.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Now just to wrap up, were there any of your experiences either during pregnancy or your births, is there anything that stood out as being bad that you wish hadn't happened or you know, was a bad experience for you?

Speaker 3: Kristin: Oh, well not bad. It was very stressful when my baby was breech only because I was really sure that number seven was going to be it and I didn't want to end with a c-section. Not that there was anything wrong with the c-section. My mom had c-sections and good experiences and I've had friends that have, but yet I didn't want to end on that. So it felt stressful to me and I finally had to just tell myself that whatever happens, happens, and it was going to be okay. And once I got into that mindset, I felt like, okay, if I have a c-section or if I have to be induced for a different reason, all of that is going to be okay. So I think really it was just the stress that I put myself under. That was what was bad more than the actual situation. It was just having to wrap my mind around that and as it turned out, it was not long after I relaxed into that that he turned on his own.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Isn't that amazing how that happens?

: Kristin: Yes.

: Nicole: Although you would have been a perfect candidate if he was in the right place for a vaginal breech delivery, having had so many vaginal deliveries.

Speaker 3: Kristin: Yeah, probably so, yeah.

: Nicole: Did your doc or midwife even bring that up as an option?

Speaker 3: Kristin: No, they didn't really bring that up. Although we did say that if he hadn't turned by a certain point that they would try to manually turn him and they said that I was a good candidate for that, but we never got to the point where we really had to discuss it seriously. It was brought up at multiple appointments, but we didn't have to make a decision of whether we were wanting to do that because he switched on his own.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Now, were there any experiences that stood out as being particularly good that are memorable for you know, during your pregnancies or births?

Speaker 3: Kristin: My last birth really does stand out as a good one because I had all of these ideas in my mind of how I wanted things to go when I was having my sixth. And it did go mostly the way I wanted, except for the fact that it was 25 hours long. And when we got to the end of it, I thought, well that was a really good birth, but I wish it had been a little shorter because that was such a long birth. So then we had our seventh I thought, well at birth with my sixth had gone so well, surely I'm not going to be able to have that experience again because really everything went as perfectly as I could want it except for the length. And so I thought, well, I can't really hope for it. I'll just take, you know what I'm going to get.

Speaker 3: Kristin: And of course he was breech. So for awhile we thought, you know, would we end up having the birth that we had planned, or would we have to look into different alternatives. So he turned and then when I actually went into labor again, everything went so well, but yet his birth was only five, yes, five hours long. So I had all of them, the things that I wanted where my water broke on its own and I was able to walk around and keep active and I didn't go to the hospital until much later, which I had wanted to do. And all of the things that I had kind of hoped would happen, happened. I got the short labor that I wanted. That experience does stand out as a very happy. By the time I got to the hospital, in fact, when I got to the hospital with him, I was very calm and they said, well actually right now our labor rooms, a lot of them are full, but if we check you and you are, or you know, five or six, we'll be able to move you along more quickly.

Speaker 3: Kristin: And when they checked me, I was already at eight centimeters and everyone was shocked. Everything went quickly and we got a room and I walked into my room and he was actually born a half an hour later, so I have all these, it was just really happy. It wasn't scary. It was quick, but it was happy and just really good memories associated with that, so

Speaker 1: Nicole: That's really nice.

Speaker 3: Kristin: That birth was just a nice ending to all of my births.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Awesome. Awesome. I'm getting back to this 25 hours on number six. How you mentally like keep yourself going because you have five before and none of them were that long. I mean, were you getting frustrated or...

Speaker 3: Kristin: Looking back, I don't really know how I did it because I feel like I'm kind of an impatient person. I'm energetic and yeah, to have to just sit and be quiet and calm through all of that. But really I lost track of the time. I mean, some of it obviously, what's 25 hours? I went through a full day and so a lot of it was nighttime and it was quiet and I lost track of time. It did not feel like 25 hours to me. My husband, he has worse memories of it than I do. He said that felt like the longest day of his life. The time, it just kind of went out the window. I didn't think about the time and it was a slow labor. There was lots of time between the contractions. Even though I was progressing, there was time between so that I didn't feel like the labor wasn't just on top of me all of the time. It was very slow and moving forwards, so I didn't get overwhelmed by it.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Well, that's good. That's good to know. I was just thinking about that. It's like, oh my God, 25 hours now. Where are you at home? I'm like, how much were you at home and how much were you in the hospital for part of that?

: Kristin: Well, my water broke near the very beginning, so they did not want me to stay at home for a long time. But they just were concerned that with my water breaking, if I was home for too long, they just wanted me to be there. So I did go in early. I didn't really want to, I would have preferred to stay home longer, but my midwife asked that I come in and so I was okay with that and I did it. So I was in the hospital for, oh, let's say probably 18 or 19 hours I was in the hospital. The way it went, I'd never felt I was overwhelmed by it and the time went by and I just didn't watch the clock and so even though it was 25 hours, really, it did not feel that long to me.

Speaker 1: Nicole: I do like how you're saying you tried to stay at home as long as possible. That's something that I tell women for sure. If you don't want interventions then stay home as long as you can because when you come to the hospital, we don't know what to do except intervene. Stay at home as long as you can.

Speaker 3: Kristin: With my last one, because of the 25 hours, I was determined. I was not wanting to go to the hospital right away since my water hadn't broken, I didn't have any reason that I needed to, and so my husband actually went to work at the beginning because I said, oh, I'm going to be fine. You know, you go, I'll call you when I need you in a midway through the day he came home and he got home and saying, I, I think it's probably time for us to go to the hospital. I'm saying, no, no, no. I'm good at home. Looking back, I really probably, I was ready to go. He wanted to hurry me along because he knew I needed to and I was just thinking of that 25 hour labor. So right when I got to the hospital, it was already eight centimeters and close to giving birth.

Speaker 3: Kristin: Probably a lot of that was because I had waited at home so long. I'm glad I did. I was fine, but it is funny. Looking back then probably he knew a little more than I did about I was acting that it was time ago.

: Nicole: Right, right. Now looking back on your seven pregnancies and births, is there anything that you wish you would have known beforehand or you know, any advice that you'd like to share?

: Kristin: Definitely not to stress out about the little things or even about the big things. There's not much that you can do about things that are happening in your pregnancy. Whether it's something like you can take care of yourself health wise, but some things that come up just really are out of your control and I wish that I wouldn't stress about it when those things would come up because in the end there was nothing I could've done about it anyway.

Speaker 3: Kristin: So if I had just give them myself permission to relax into some of that, I think it would've just made some of the experience better. None of my worry changed anything.

: Nicole: Key point, worrying very rarely changes anything. Why is this so hard for us to like sink that into our brains? That worrying about it does not change a thing.

: Kristin: No, I know, but yet it was so hard to tell myself that, that I wanted to think about it and plan through it even though there was nothing I could do. So I wish that I had just been more relaxed, you know, as it turned out in almost all of my birds, the end went the way I wanted them to go anyway. So the worrying did nothing. It just maybe worry.

: Nicole: So then would you say that is, if you had to pick like your one favorite or best piece of advice that you would tell women either about during pregnancy or birth or after having babies, what would be that one favorite piece of advice?

Speaker 3: Kristin: It would probably be to do your research, but in the end it's going to happen the way it's going to happen. So the worry is not going to change it.

: Nicole: Excellent. Excellent advice. And I need to tell myself that sometimes.

: Kristin: It's not just for pregnancy, just for life really.

: Nicole: Yes, for sure. For sure. Well, where can women connect with you if they're interested in, I mean, if you don't have social media or anything, that's totally fine, but where can women connect with you if they want to find you or anything?

: Kristin: I do have an Instagram right now. My account is private, but anyone who wanted to send me a message, I would add anyone that just keep it private in general. But my Instagram handle is two.pogs. It's two pogs.

: Nicole: Does that mean anything for you?

Speaker 3: Kristin: I have a sister who's quite a bit younger than I am, and when she was little, she was out in the backyard and saw two frogs and she came in excited and was yelling that she saw these two pogs in the backyard. And so we laughed about that. And so I ended up using it as my email address and as my Instagram.

: Nicole: Oh, that is funny. My older sister is 10 years older than me.

: Kristin: So my youngest sister is actually 20 years younger than I am.

: Nicole: Oh my gosh. Are you serious?

: Kristin: Yes, she is much younger than I am.

: Nicole: How did your parents...

: Kristin: My mom was only 20 when I was born and then she was almost 41 when my sister was born. So we do have two siblings in between. I'm the oldest and she is the youngest, so it's just a bit widespread, I mean my mom had health problems when she was in her thirties and was not able to have more children. She had wanted one after my sister but was not able and then she had a surprise.

: Nicole: Alrighty. Well there you go. Well thank you so much for coming on today. I think you're such a great example of, you know, we hear a lot about how pregnancy can be difficult and challenging and there are risks, don't get me wrong, but pregnancy can also be pretty straight forward without problems. It's a normal natural process and that's how we should approach it. So I'm really glad you were able to come on and share your experience.

: Kristin: Thank you for having me.

: Nicole: Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1: Wasn't that a great episode? I love hearing in Kristin's voice how really confident she sounded about her pregnancies and her births. Now, after every episode where I have a guest on, I always do something called Nicole's notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways and thoughts from the episode. So here we go with Nicole's notes from this episode.

: Number one, Kristin talked about how the care wasn't terribly different that she received between her doctor for the first couple of pregnancies and her midwives for the rest. And I bring that up to say that although in general, midwives may tend to have more time, they're definitely better trained at being patient and listening, ultimately your care comes down to the individual provider. You can have good experiences and bad experiences with both doctors and midwives. So instead of focusing on saying, I want a doctor, or I want a midwife for your care, I want you to focus on looking for those characteristics that are important to you. So looking for someone who respects you, looking for someone who listens to you, someone who makes you feel like you're heard, someone who answers your questions. So I see sometimes women get really caught up on thinking that one type of provider is better than the other and that's not it. It's the type of care that's provided and you can find that with both types of providers. So just look for those specific things that I talked about.

: Number two, Kristin educated herself. I have said this time and time again how important education is in order to help you have the birth that you want. Obviously listening to this podcast is part of that. So thank you for tuning in and I hope you do feel educated as a result of listening to this podcast. And Kristen did a lot of her own research, but she brought those questions to her providers when she had questions. Now I say that to say that there's a ton of information available out there because of the Internet, information is plentiful. But interpreting that information with context, that takes skill, that takes experience and that takes training. So that's where your midwife or your physician comes into play, being able to interpret the information that you have. So do your own research and then bring the questions you have and keep an open mind to learning from the experience, the skills, the knowledge, the expertise that your midwife or physician bring to the table.

: And then number three, Kristin had seven healthy pregnancies and births and a big part of that was probably how healthy she was to begin with and how healthy she remained between pregnancies. A lot of your pregnancy has to do with how healthy you are going into it. Obviously you can make changes. Pregnancy is a great time to try to incorporate new healthy habits into your life, but the healthier you can start going into your pregnancy, the better chances that you're going to have of having a smooth pregnancy without problems. Obviously is not a guarantee, but it certainly increases your chances. So do your best to optimize your health before your pregnancy and maintain your health as much as you can in between pregnancies.

: All right, so that is it for this episode. Come join me in the Facebook group All About Pregnancy and Birth community where we have great discussions there. We talk about more than just a podcast and it's open to all is open to pregnant women, Doulas, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, anybody who's interested in pregnancy and birth. Come on and join us inside the group. The link to the group is in the show notes or you can search for it, All About Pregnancy and Birth on Facebook and it will pop up for you. Also be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts and I would love it if you leave an honest review in iTunes. I love giving shout outs to folks on episodes and it also helps other women find this show. Now next week on the podcast I have an infant sleep consultant, she's actually based in Canada and she gives some great advice about how to help your baby get into a great sleep routine quickly. So come on back and listen to that episode next week. And until then I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.

Speaker 2: Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan, as well as my comprehensive online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course, with over eight hours of content and a private course community. The Birth Preparation Course will leave you knowledgeable, prepared, competent, and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.