Ep 55: Educating Yourself and Preparing for Childbirth with Mom-to-Be Amber Manning

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We have an exciting episode today: this is the first time I've ever had a guest on the podcast who is currently pregnant! I thought it would be wonderful to have someone on who is on the same journey as a lot of my listeners, so today we have the honor of hosting Amber Manning.

Amber is an Occupational Therapist based in Dallas, Texas. She and her husband recently got married and are expecting their first baby in April, so they've jumped wholeheartedly into educating themselves about pregnancy and birth.

Amber shares some of the resources she's found really helpful during her pregnancy and talks about how she's applied what she's learned so far. We chat about switching doctors, being flexible with your birth plan, and advocating for yourself throughout your pregnancy and birth.

We also discuss some of the mental health aspects of pregnancy and why it's okay if you don't feel perfectly happy and excited every second of your pregnancy.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How Amber and her husband found out they were pregnant not long before their wedding
  • What resources they have used to educate themselves before their baby arrives
  • Why Amber wanted to switch doctors right away
  • How she has advocated for herself throughout her pregnancy, and how her husband is making sure he will be able to advocate for her during childbirth
  • Why it's important to have a birth plan and birth wishes, but stay flexible and open to change
  • Some of the struggles, both mental and physical, that Amber has been dealing with throughout her pregnancy
  • Why it's so important to be aligned with what you want for your pregnancy - not what other people think

Come Join Me On Instagram

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: This is a really fun episode where you are going to learn about getting ready for birth from the perspective of a pregnant woman. I think you're gonna love it.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Nicole Calloway 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. You can see the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.

Speaker 1: Hello, welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 55. I so appreciate you taking a little time and spending it with me today. All right, so today's episode of the podcast is a fun one. Also a first, it is the first time I'm having a pregnant woman on the show and my guest today is Amber Manning. Amber is a 26 year old first time mom. She's also an occupational therapist. She's from a tiny town in East Texas called Henderson and she recently relocated to Dallas. Her husband is a civil engineer and they enjoy spending time with family, going to the lake, and crafting. They recently got married and they are so excited about becoming parents now. I found Amber from one of her YouTube videos where she was talking about what she was doing in order to get ready for her birth and in part of the video she talked about using this podcast and also she's part of my online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course, and she was so very thoughtful and insightful in her approach to getting ready for her birth that I asked her to come on and talk about it.

Speaker 1: Now I know that of course I give you my knowledge and expertise as an OB GYN in this podcast, but I think there's something to hearing from someone who's similar to you, who is pregnant, who is having her first baby. So I think that you're going to find what she has to say as a first time mom getting ready for her birth. You'll find it really useful and also pretty relatable. So I'm super excited about this episode. Now before we get into the episode, let me give a listener shot out. This is to, I'm just going to spell it or say the numbers and letters. How about that? MACH76589 and the title of the review is wish I knew about this podcast sooner. And the review says "At 24 weeks pregnant, this has been such a helpful and easy to understand podcast. Wish I listened sooner."

: Well thank you. Thank you for that kind review. You gotta love a review. You know I love, love, love reviews from folks. I love hearing what you think about the podcast and I also love giving shout outs on the show. So if you have a minute then head on over to Apple podcast and leave me a review so I can check it out, hear what you think, so, so, so love to hear from you all and appreciate you taking the time when you leave reviews.

: Also quick reminder, don't forget to check out my free online class on how to make a birth plan that works to help you have the birth that you want. Women really love this class. It's a one hour class, it's online, it's on demand, so you can schedule it for a time that works best for you. In this class, you learn two of the most influential factors in your birth. You got to understand these two and how they impact your birth. You'll get questions to ask before you write a single word of your birth plan, tips on how to get your doctors and nurses to pay attention, and so much more in this free class. So go ahead and check it out. It's www.ncrcoaching.com/register and we'll link to that in the show notes.

: All right, so let's get into the episode with Amber Manning.

: Nicole: All right, well, thank you so much, Amber, for agreeing to be on the podcast. I am super excited to have you here. You are the very first pregnant woman who was on the podcast, which is crazy because this is a podcast about pregnancy.

Speaker 3: Amber: Yes, I didn't realize that until you sent me the email and I was thinking, Oh my gosh, I guess I've listened to all of your episodes. And I didn't realize that literally no one's been pregnant. I mean, everyone's probably had kids, but it's not in the middle of it. So awesome.

Speaker 1: Nicole: This is exciting. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself.

Speaker 3: Amber: Absolutely. So my name is Amber. I am 26 years old. I'm from a small town in East Texas and since I graduated I kind of moved around. I did my undergrad in Tyler, Texas and then I moved across to San Antonio, Texas for grad school. My husband and I met there and his job took us to Corpus Christi and we lived there for a little while and about two weeks ago we relocated to Dallas. So now we're in, in Dallas, Texas. And so we've kinda been all over the place. My husband is a civil engineer, so that's how we were able to transfer over here for his job. And then I'm an occupational therapist. I currently work home health, so I go into people's homes and help them get back to doing their daily tasks more independently. A lot of people have heard of physical therapy, but they've never really heard of occupational therapy before.

Speaker 3: Amber: So we get confused a little bit, which is understandable. But we do work closely together. And so our main job as occupational therapists is to help, at least with the geriatric population, what I work with, is to work with getting individuals back to doing things after a stroke or a heart attack or a hip replacement or whatever. Any diagnosis, we can see those patients. So it's a really rewarding career. And so now we get to bring a baby into the mix. And that's actually why we moved to Dallas was to get a little bit closer to family because in Corpus we were about six hours from everyone that we knew. And so I thought, no, I need to be close to my mom. And here we are.

: Nicole: All righty. Yeah, a lot of people do get occupational and physical therapy mixed up, but yeah, you guys help more, a lot more with like activities of daily living, right.

Speaker 3: Amber: Being able to brush your teeth and dress yourself and take a shower and wipe your bottom after you go to the restaurant.

: Nicole: All the important stuff.

: Amber: Yes, exactly.

: Nicole: So, and you have been all over Texas, it sounds like all over the place. So, when are you due? How far along are you?

: Amber: So I'm 25 weeks today actually. And so I'm due April 2nd, so just a few more months to go.

: Nicole: Alrighty. Do you know if you're having a boy or girl?

: Amber: Yes, it's a boy. So yay for that. We didn't really know what we wanted and we, it was very unexpected period. So, but we actually waited to find out, we did a gender reveal at our wedding. We got married about a month ago, so we did the blood test at 10 weeks, but we kept it a secret from ourselves and everyone else until we were about 20 weeks. So it was hard not to look in that little envelope for 10 weeks.

: Nicole: So you did, you have a lot going on a baby, you got married and you did the gender reveal at the wedding. Like at the reception.

: Amber: Yeah. Why not? We had our photographer, all of our family and friends were going to be there. Why not take advantage of this? So it was, it was kind of fun. My husband's family is from Kentucky, so we don't get to see them very often and we knew they wouldn't really be super involved if we had a baby shower or whatever. So I said, well, you know, let's just wait and involve everyone that we can.

: Amber: And so that's how we kind of decided to do it then. And of course, like I said, we had a photographer that was already gonna be there. And so we did the confetti cannon popper things like, as soon as we got married, we were trying to rush because it's a fall wedding. So the sun sets at like two o'clock in the afternoon it seems like. And so we got married, ran down the aisle and then came back out and pop the poppers and it was blue. So there we go.

: Nicole: That's pretty cool. That's cool. So were you trying to get pregnant or did I hear you say that this was a bit of a surprise?

: Amber: Yeah, definitely not trying. People will say, "oh did you plan this?" And I'm thinking, okay, so we were getting married. Obviously I did not want to be 5 months pregnant at my wedding. So no, it was not planned. It was a huge surprise. And we actually, I'm a planner, type a personality. So it was, um, it was a big shock to both of us. We found out on July 28th, it was a Sunday morning and, we were getting ready for church ironically. And, my husband, I said, I think you need to go to CVS and get some pregnancy tests. And he's like, why? And I said, well, I took a test, but it's the one with the lines on it. And I threw the box away and I don't know what, I don't know which lines mean what. And he's like, Amber, you could've gotten the one that said yes or no. And I was like, well, I didn't so fix it. So I took seven pregnancy tests.

Speaker 4: Nicole: Oh, Amber!

: Amber: Well, you never know. I wanted to be sure. It was a big deal. And so we took a couple that morning and they were both positive of course. And then he goes, well, what do you want to do? And I said, well, let's go to church. He's like, all right. So we did. And, and we did that. And then actually, my aunt, my cousin and one of my other cousins were coming to visit on Monday. And so we knew we were pregnant. We hadn't told a soul. And so we were hosting family the next day and trying to keep that a secret.

: Amber: And so it was crazy. But we found out pretty early. We were actually only about five weeks pregnant when we found out. And, um, so we waited to tell most people until we were about 12 weeks. After the first trimester was kinda in the clear, it was the same day as our stock the bar shower for our wedding. So there was obviously gonna be drinking and things like that. And so I figured everyone would be wondering if I didn't have a glass of wine in my hand. So we went ahead and announced it, that day of the shower. So it was, yeah, a lot, a lot going on, but it was definitely a huge surprise.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And as honestly, you know, studies show that at least half of pregnancies are unplanned. So, it's not uncommon. And it's funny about the pregnancy test. For our second daughter, I told my husband, I was like, my period is late and he was like, genius, go take a pregnancy test. Like you're an OB GYN, right? I was like, Oh yes. Yeah, good idea. And I was indeed pregnant, so, Oh my gosh. Alrighty. So once it kind of sunk in that, okay, I'm having a baby, what did you do to start educating it yourself? Because I know I saw one of your videos on YouTube and you have, you clearly like you went all in

Speaker 3: Amber: Crazy. Yeah, a little bit crazy. Yeah. So that is what I do. I'm like I said, I'm a planner and so for me it planning every single detail of everything that goes on in my life is just how I survive and it's how I function. So, but whenever you just said, when, you know, whenever it sunk in that you're pregnant, it actually didn't sink in until, I mean, we had a sonogram, we got to see it on the monitor and we did all of that and it still wasn't like, Oh, I'm pregnant. Even we heard the heartbeat for the first time and that was a little bit of like, okay, you know, there, there's something in there. But I mean, it didn't sink in for a while, I would say. But I knew, I mean obviously I knew I was pregnant, so I was like, okay my mind not know what's going on, but I know that what I need to do is start planning. So I thought, that's my comfort zone. That's what I'm good at. So let me just go ahead and start.

: Amber: So the next day, actually no, maybe the day that we found out, I told my husband, I said, okay, go on Amazon and order me What to Expect When You're Expecting. I just know that I've heard it from a billion people, there's a movie about it, just get that book, we will start there. So that's what I did and that's kind of what helped me, I guess I would say cope with the news. It took me a little while for it to sink in. And so, I just got that book and started reading and then I told a couple of people that were close to me and one of my friends was actually pregnant at the time and so she started sending me a ton of information and she said, you know, one of the things you can do is start listening to podcasts cause I drive a lot for work.

Speaker 3: Amber: And I said, oh, that's a good idea. So I just, you know, got on Spotify actually is what I use. And so I got on Spotify and just put in pregnancy podcast and I think yours was the first one that popped up. So I was like, all right, sounds good. So started listening to you just episode one and kept on going. And so that's kinda what started it. And then since then from listening to your podcast and you having guests on and of course social media is a huge platform for you know, stuff. It's just, it's a little overwhelming when you first find out and you weren't planning it and you're like, okay, I have T minus nine months to get this together and to learn as much as I can. It's funny cause all my friends that know me, watch my Instagram stories and my YouTube videos and things like that, they're like, Amber, it's so crazy because you know, to be an occupational therapist we had to study for years and years, go to school and then take a board exam that you have to study for months. And they said, I think you're studying more for this, then you studied for your entire career. And I said, well, yeah, I think so. I think that's a good thing. So yeah, so that's what started it. And we've been going ever since.

: Nicole: Yeah. So what resources have you, and we'll talk about how you also joined my courses. Well, but what resources have you used? What books and things have you found helpful?

Speaker 3: Amber: Of course. So, um, some books that I read, of course. So what to expect when you're expecting, this is kind of the pregnancy Bible. I've heard people call it and I agree with that. It has everything you need to know, but a little tidbit of information about that book. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming because it has everything you could possibly go through, but you have to skip over some stuff because there's just a lot of information. I mean, you get that book in the mail and it's like, holy moly, this is huge. So it was, it was a little overwhelming for me. So I just took it one month at a time. The thing I liked about that book is that it has parts in there for dads only. And so it's kind of cool because it'll have a whole section about hormones and how to, you know, help support your wife or your partner whenever you're going through that.

Speaker 3: Amber: And so I would tab little sections in blue and whenever he'd get home from work and say, Hey, I want you to read these sections. It's about A, B or C. and so I liked that book because it had that part in it. And then the other book that I focused on is in Ina May's, guide to childbirth. That one was very inspiring for me. It got me in the right mindset, especially because I decided I wanted to do an intervention free birth. And she's known for that of course. So it was really cool to just hear birth story after birth story about positive, positive, positive things. So those are the two books that I mainly focused on. I had these great intentions of reading like five or six books, but just with everything that's going on, it just hasn't been feasible. So I have probably four other books I was going to read but just haven't got there yet.

Speaker 3: Amber: So we'll see if I get to them, I get to them. If I don't, I don't. For podcast of course yours, I've listened to every single episode. A few of them I've listened to two or three times because I'm like, let me go back and listen to that again. Or I'll be listening to one and then I'll think, Oh my husband definitely needs to listen to this. So then I'll save it and he can listen to it with me later. Also, another one that I started listening to is evidence based birth, and I learned about that also from your podcast.

: Nicole: And I've been on her podcast and she's been on my podcast.

: Amber: Yes. And I listened to the episode that you were on hers and vice versa. So that one is a really good one. It was just a little bit overwhelming. I'm a very big research person. If you say according to research, I'm like, yes, what is it? Please tell me. So that was really cool for me because it is all about numbers and it's not someone's opinion, it's just flat out here's the truth and you can take what you want to do with that. Right. So, um, those two and then there's a hypnobirthing podcast that has a few episodes on it. So I heard about that. It only, it's weird, it only has like four episodes I think, but it's just kind of an introduction to hypnobirthing and sort of what to expect. And so, which got me wanting to know more, I think that's the point of it. So like I said, just a small one that I listened to. There are some Instagram pages that I follow, I think it's really cool because a lot of these pages they have, they're based off of specific information.

Speaker 3: Amber: So the spinning babies has one. There's a lady that does one, it's called be my breast friend and it's all about breastfeeding. So of course I'll send all these to you and I'm quoting you now, but we'll put the link in the show notes.

: Nicole: You got it.

: Amber: You can tell I'm a big fan. So anyways, so there's that one. There's actually a pelvic floor physical therapist that I've found, she's based out of New Orleans and her Instagram is called the vagina whisperer. And I love it. It's so just raw and real and it talks about, you know, crazy just things that happen when you're pregnant and postpartum and things. Then she's a physical therapist so it's just really, really great. Her information is great. You know, there's tons and tons of these, but there's another one called bump to baby Academy and I won a free eight hour hypnobirthing course from that one.

Speaker 3: Amber: I just, you know, tag this and follow this and whatever. And so that was really cool. So, you know, Instagram can be a really good platform because you can win free stuff and you can get, you know, free diapers and things like that. So I will send you all of these. And you can just, you know, link those. I don't want to bore people with that. Those have been really, really helpful cause I do videos and posts and pictures and things like that. And then there are some classes that I wanna take. We haven't actually taken any classes yet because with the move I told my husband, I said, well I don't really want to get too attached to a hospital or to a class or to anything in Corpus because we're going to be, you know, moving in a little while.

Speaker 3: Amber: So we're going to take a baby basics class, you know, just how to change diapers, how to swaddle for first time parents. I think this is just a good thing, especially, I mean I have nieces and nephews so I don't think it will be, you know, super, super helpful for me, but I think everyone can learn something from anything, but I think it will be more helpful for my husband. And then I want to take a breastfeeding class. I plan on breastfeeding and so I think that will be good to kind of just have an introduction before we get started. And then if there's a hypnobirthing class after I finish the eight hour course online, if I still feel like I want to do something in person with my husband or something, then we may do that. But those are the two main classes.

Speaker 3: Nicole: Okay.

: Amber: So, and then of course your birth preparation course has just been kind of my like overall go to kind of everything that you need to know in one big place.

: Nicole: Gotcha. And how did you come to choose the course?

: Amber: Well, I didn't even, it's so funny because I talk about it to people and they're like, wait a second, you're taking a course online on how to give birth because, you know, I feel like the last few years, this is starting to become more popular, but I think your statistics on one of your podcast one time were like, only 50% of people or even less than that, actually take a birth preparation course. And it just blows my mind that people can do this and not, you know. But again, that's just my personality. And so, I heard about it on your podcast of course.

Speaker 3: Amber: And, you know, just heard you talking about it and thought, well you know, I don't know if I need that. And so I kinda, you know, didn't think about it for a couple of weeks and then the more and more I thought about it, I was like, you know, actually I definitely think that I need this because it's, you know, you don't, you don't wanna invest a lot of money in something and then you open it up and it's not useful information and you're like, well dang it, I just spent however much money and it's not worth it or whatever. And so I think the more that I listened to your podcasts, the more I got a feeling for, you know, it's non-biased, it's straight forward, it's A, B and C, then I was able to say, you know what, that's definitely what I want to do. So that's how we chose it.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Thank you. Thank you. I am super excited that you did. Of course. And have you gone through it? Yeah, I know you have actually, cause I've seen some slides on Instagram. I don't know why I even said that.

Speaker 3: Amber: I'll usually like get in a hot bath and you know, put a candle on and then put the, people are like it's so unsafe, but I put my laptop like just sitting next to me or whatever and I'll just listen to it that way. So yes, I actually just finished last week, my husband and I were going through it together because that's one of the things that you suggest. And I think that was really, really helpful for both of us because when we were planning the wedding, we had trips to and from, because we actually got married in East Texas, which is six hours from Corpus. So we were making those drives back and forth, back and forth for appointments and you know, all this stuff. So every time we'd get on the road, he would go, okay, you want to do some modules? Like he was really excited about it and so I was like, yeah, let's do it.

Speaker 3: Amber: So we would listen to a couple until I could tell his brain was going to explode and then we would stop. So it was really cool because we just started at the very beginning. We went through, we sat down. I think module one is really, really important because, you know, it touches on talking about your fears and your anxieties and what do you think and what does he think and getting on the same page, which is really helpful to talk about out loud because it's so funny. I tell this story all the time. We were sitting down and I think one of the first modules is like, what are you most scared about? Or what are you most nervous about? And that's important to talk about. So I wrote down my answer and he wrote down his, and then we were sharing our answers.

Speaker 3: Amber: I said, let me hear your answer. And so he goes, okay, so my fear is that you're going to die and I'm going to be stuck with a baby and I'm not going to know what to do. And I'm like, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. That is detailed.

: Nicole: Dang bro. He like went there.

: Amber: And I was like, okay, cause my list was like something going wrong during birth, you know, very basic. And he's like, Oh no, I mean we're supposed to be honest and I'm trying to be honest with you. And I was like, okay, no, I appreciate it. So it was really, I mean, of course it was kind of funny for us, but then we were able to talk about, you know, what, what if that happens or what if, you know, there's a decision that needs to be made and, and what are my wishes and what are your wishes?

Speaker 3: Amber: And so we got on the same page about a lot of things because of that conversation. And I don't think we would've had that conversation if it wasn't for this class. So it was, it's been very helpful from the very beginning. And of course just going through it, it's just so easy to understand. It's not too much. And since I have a little bit of a medical background, I can of pause things and explain it to him, or I've listened to the information on a different podcast or whatever. So I can kind of break it down for him. And so a lot of times we'll listen to a module and then we'll get finished and I'll say, okay, did you understand everything or is there anything that you don't get or let's just go over this. You know, just so he gets it. Cause I want him to really understand what's going on in case anything happens in the delivery room so that he knows and he can help advocate for me.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Well, gosh, well I really appreciate you saying all those lovely things. That's exactly what I hope for when I made the course. And one of the things that I was intentional about is that people can listen to it. They don't always, you don't have to sit and stare and watch the videos. You can either watch it or listen and still get the majority or still get all the information really. So I'm really glad that you found it helpful. Definitely. As much as I appreciate, you know, you talking about the course, I also want to hear a little bit more about your pregnancy and your prenatal care and you recently said that you share that you're having some issues going on. So why don't we talk a little bit about that? So what has your prenatal care been like? And actually I'm curious because you've been doing all this moving. How has that been working?

Speaker 3: Amber: It has been crazy to say the least. So we started out in Corpus and we of course went straight to the doctor and got an appointment there with a physician. As a first time mom, I didn't realize midwives were an option. And so, you know, I started doing this research and stuff, but I just knew our insurance was going to be switching over. I mean, I'm on my current insurance with my job and then in a couple of months we'll be quitting and I'll be moving and I'll be on my husband's insurance and blah, blah, blah. So, it's funny because the very first doctor that I saw whenever I went in Corpus, I was like, nope, that's not going to work for me because I had listened to your podcast about things that are necessary for your doctor to be for you, you know? And so I told my husband, I said, I think I think I'm going to have to find a new doctor.

Speaker 3: Amber: And he said, are you sure you want to go through all of that? And I said, yeah, this is kind of important, you know? So actually switched doctors after I saw her and went to a different doctor within the same practice and just like a little bit of information about what happened that made me want to switch to doctors. She just from the moment that I walked in, so like I said, we found out on a Sunday, had to wait a couple of weeks to get into the doctor. And then when I finally did get in, it was one day when my husband was gonna be out of town. And so we hadn't told anyone, we were going through this by ourselves. So my first appointment ever was by myself. So it was very stressful and overwhelming as is. And so she walks in the room and she's talking a hundred miles an hour and she's just, okay, avoid this and don't do this and make sure you're doing this and are you taking these and are you doing this?

Speaker 3: Amber: And I'm going to see you this many times up until this. And I was like, Whoa, what is happening? And the same time this is going on, she's doing the exam. So like she's down there doing her thing and I'm trying to listen and pay attention and take notes. But that's kind of hard to do whenever you've got someone in your business. So it was just bad. So I left automatically and was like, Nope, not for me. So yeah, so we switched doctors. We've got a new doctor and I really liked her, but then of course we moved to Arlington, so no. So my prenatal care there in Corpus was good. Once I got that next doctor, she was very supportive and things like that. I didn't go over any of my birth plan or my birth wishes with her because I knew we'd be moving and there was no point in doing that with her.

Speaker 3: Amber: So, I didn't do any of that. So when we moved to Dallas, okay, so back up when we were still in Corpus, we went in for our 20 week anatomy scan and that's when she said that, you know, okay, we have, I have some news for you. She knows what kind of work I do as far as therapy. So I lift patients. You know, I do have a pretty heavy job load. And so she said, you know, most people, I wouldn't even tell this because it's not a huge, huge deal, but with your line of work, I do need to tell you that you have low lying placenta. And I was like, Whoa, I've done all this research and I'd never heard of that. So I'm amazed what is this? And so she explained it to me and she said, you know, most of the time it will fix itself.

Speaker 3: Amber: It's not a big deal. It's very common and 90% of women it will correct and no problem. But the way she explained it to me was she wanted, I guess she wanted me to know that it can be a serious condition then if I don't follow her instructions that it could be, you know, more of a serious thing. So she said if you were due tomorrow you would be having a C-section. And I was like, wait, yeah. Well, you know, that's just not a good way to say that. And I know her intentions were good, but it was just the wording in that. And so it just automatically just freaked me out. So, that being said, she put me on pelvic rest and so I was, you know, no lifting over X amount of weight and you know, no intercourse, no nothing like that.

Speaker 3: Amber: And she said also, you know, I know you're getting married soon, but you also can't have intercourse with your partner until the next time we check your placenta. And I was like, Oh my gosh, you know, just perfect timing for everything. That kind of was just, and my husband was like, you know, Amber, you and the baby are the most important thing. Just take care of yourself. It's fine. Like, you know, it's going to be great. He's just been the most amazing through this. But it was just kind of like, you know what, this, it was just very frustrating and very disheartening to hear that. I thought automatically, Oh my gosh, did I do something wrong? Have I been, you know, have I been doing something that I shouldn't have been doing or whatever.

: Nicole: Which of course you haven't.

: Amber: Yeah. And but as a mom, you think that, there's just no way around it. And so she said, no, you know, these are the risk factors. A, B, and C. and I'm like, but I'm none of those. And she's like, exactly. So you didn't do anything wrong. And so I said, okay, that's, you know, that's fine I guess. So I've been on pelvic rest since then and that was, I think like back before the wedding. So for the past like six to eight weeks I've been on pelvic rest. So no, any of the things I just mentioned. Okay. So flash forward and now we do have a doctor in Arlington and we actually just saw her today for the first time. So I was really excited because I was thinking, I want to see this lady before I go on the podcast so I can share my experience. So yes, we had an appointment this morning and when we went in it was really great.

Speaker 3: Amber: The vibe was really good and my husband was like, you know, he was there with me this time. So it was, it was great. Had all the support and I'm much more informed now about things, so I know what to expect and all of that. So we went in and she said, everything looks good. You know, we're going to check your placenta at your next visit. I couldn't do it today. I'm booked, blah, blah, blah. So I said, okay, no problem. And I said, so are you going to be the doctor that I have because she's in a practice where there's like six or so doctors, I'm not sure. And so I said, you know, I'm aware that you may or may not be the person that delivers, it'll be whoever's on call, but will you be the one that I'm seeing for most of my visits?

Speaker 3: Amber: Then she said yes. And I said, okay. So that being said, you know, I just wanted to be very straight forward with you and just let you know that I do have birth wishes that I would like to share with you. And she's like, yeah, absolutely. You know, we can go over those next visit, bring those in, we can talk about it. And I said, okay, how do you feel about intervention free birth or non-medicated? And she said, you know, yeah, that's completely up to you. It's your decision. And I kind of felt the vibe changed just a tad bit, but I dunno if that's just because I was expecting it to, you know, and so I was like, okay, well you know, so let me just ask you a few things and make sure that we're kind of seeing eye to eye.

Speaker 3: Amber: Because in my head I was thinking if I already don't think it's going to go well this is still early and I can switch to one of the other doctors in the practice because they all have amazing reviews. That's why we chose this place to come to. So I know that they have good supportive doctors, but I just wanted to make sure that she, you know, was on the same page. And so I said, do you practice delayed cord clamping? And she said, yes, we typically do as long as everything is good with the baby. And I said, okay, that's very important to me. It's a necessity. And then I said, do y'all require me to be hooked up to an IV because that's not what I want as long as something isn't wrong with me or the baby.

Speaker 3: Amber: And so she said, well, you know, it's hospital policy and I just kinda rolled my eyes and my husband was like probably thinking, Oh Lord, here we go. And so I said, okay, well I know that if I'm hydrating myself and blah, blah, blah, that I can be just hooked to a hep lock. And she said, well, yes, and that's negotiable. It's typically something that we usually do, but if that's a complete no for you, then we can talk about it. And I was like, okay, that's perfect. I mean, it's not a set in stone thing today.

: Nicole: Right. Right, right.

: Amber: But she may or may not even be the person that delivers. So I just, you know, there was a couple of things I just wanted to really check in on and make sure that she and I saw eye to eye and she, I think, like I said at the beginning, she had a weird like, Oh, here we go, we've got another woman with a birth plan and she wants them to go perfect. And, and I expected that. But then at the end she kind of started saying, well, you know, it's just important that you remain open minded. And, and I said, Oh, I'm so sorry I forgot to say this. I'm completely okay if something needs to change. I'm flexible is what I'm saying. I just, I'm going in with a mindset of this is what I want and if it doesn't go that way, it's fine. I'm not going to be disappointed. I'm not going to be upset. I just, you know, I just want to do it as closely to what I have pictured in my head as possible. And then she immediately was like, Oh, absolutely no, as long as you know that things can change in an instant, we're going to be good. So I was like, okay, I think we're going to be okay.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah, this is great to hear like your experience with it in the moment and how things go and how to like, you know, you're paying attention to the cues and the things that you get. Those, those nonverbal cues and, and you're just really advocating for yourself and the things that you want for your birth. So I just think it's really great to hear and share for you to share your story. And it's also helpful for me to hear on the other side of what it's like for a woman as a patient. Like the first part about like telling you all this stuff while she's doing a pap smear and like, we shouldn't, we shouldn't do that.

: Amber: Yes, one thing at a time, please.

: Nicole: Yes. And I think that part of that is just the rush of, you know, maybe she means well but, but on our side I can say that sometimes, you know, you have like not enough time, 10 minutes, 15 minutes and you're trying to struggle and get through, and documentation and all those things, but something has to give and we have to do something different because really it is about the person in front of us. So well I'm glad that you felt better and like were able to establish that connection and I think you hit the nail on the head, that flexibility piece and saying that helps a lot.

Speaker 3: Amber: Yeah. Immediately. I mean it was just crazy. And my husband asked, whenever we left, he goes, okay, did she pass? Because I think he was scared that I was going to be like, Nope, not her, you know, and he's like, Lord, help us. And so I said, no I think we're good. But I honestly, I'm glad that I had to wait this long to find my doctor. I mean, I believe in, everything happens for a reason. And so I'm far enough along now to where I'm more educated. I finished your birth course, I've listened to as many podcasts as I think I could possibly listen to. So I think now I'm just much more educated about it. And in my career, I deal with patients as well. And so like you said, it's nice seeing it from the other side because I always try to advocate for my patients and if they need therapy and you have the insurances and all that stuff, that's just like a headache.

Speaker 3: Amber: And so I was really trying to focus, you know, on okay advocate for yourself, Amber, like you do for your patients. You deserve the same care that they get. And so that was my main thing. But you know, that being said, I tried to be a little bit more lax and not so controlling about every single detail because like you and everyone else have said that doctor may not be the delivery doctor. And so you could have all these conversations and in depth heart to hearts with this lady and then come down to it. It's actually not her that walks in the room and you're like, well, crap, we talked about all this stuff and you're someone that I've never seen before. You don't know anything about what I want. And so I think it's just important to, you know, set yourself up for success, of course, but then also know that, you know, that's why I want my husband to be involved in everything.

Speaker 3: Amber: And he's very supportive and he wants to know what every little medical term that I use, he wants to know what it means because he'll be the advocate for me whenever I'm going in, you know, I'm in contractions and I can't speak and I can't advocate for myself, you know, he'll be that spokesperson for me. So he knows. And he's like, we're going to have to go over this a couple more times, Amber. Like, it's fine, but he, you know, he's very about, okay, what is Pitocin again and why don't we want it again and explain it to me. So that way whenever someone walks in, he'll have my back. And it's not just me having to say all of these things.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Right, right. And it obviously, it doesn't sound like, you know that you can't, you can't go through a whole OB GYN residency or become a midwife in the course of your pregnancy. So it's not like you're trying to replace the knowledge or expertise of the care providers or the nurses or anything like that. You're just saying that you are trying to educate yourself about these basic sort of things.

Speaker 3: Amber: That's exactly it. And I told her at the end, I said, you know, I understand that you're the professional and I'm going to need help. This is my first child. I'm aware that people want certain things and then they get in there and their body just won't dilate and they have to have an epidural. And that's what solves a problem. So I understand that things are gonna happen like that. And so once I said that piece of information, I could just tell. So in my head, I really should've started with that piece. But it was just so like I didn't even know if I was going to have that conversation with her today. And so it just kinda happened and I thought, well, might as well get it over with real quick. And so, but she said, you know, bring in your birth plan next time you come and we'll talk about it and you know, we'll go over it and check off everything.

Speaker 3: Amber: And she said, you know, if there's anything that you specifically want, we can make sure that you get that as long as everything goes well. So I think it was, it was a good conversation to have with her, but I think it is a very important conversation to have, even if that person does not deliver because then at least you have gone through the process of advocating for yourself once. Cause it can be a little overwhelming whenever you have a doctor in front of you. And I mean, even though I'm in healthcare and I work with patients every single day, it's just different when you have someone that's sort of in charge of your care. And so when someone says, Oh, well you can't do that, it's like, well, it's my body and I have the right, you know, and, and we're not even in delivery yet.

Speaker 3: Amber: So the fact that you're already telling me that I can't do this, well, how do you know that? Because I watch videos all the time on women giving birth in their homes where they're eating and drinking and in a tub full of water and they're happy go lucky. And so I know that it's different with a hospital birth versus, you know, versus this and that's probably why I would go with a midwife maybe at a birthing center for my next child. But as a first time mom, you're just scared that anything is going to go wrong. You're just nervous about every single detail. And so it just, for me and my husband both, it was just peace of mind being in a hospital so that if anything did go wrong, we have a NICU right here. We have all these machines that we can, you know, we've got blood transfusions and things like that. I mean, just all of those things are very, very important to us, at least the first time around.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I just love how you, you know, you're diving right in, you're getting all the information, educating yourself. I think this process works best when women educate themselves and then we as providers are open to having these discussions about things and it's really a team effort with you at the center of the team or the experience and we're supporting you, but you're also supporting yourself, which is very important. So like you said, how a lot of women sort of just, I'm just going to show up at the hospital. That always kind of makes me like, Ugh, I don't think you want to do that. Like good luck. Things go better if you invest some time and energy into it.

Speaker 3: Amber: Right. Exactly. Even if you've only heard of it one time, you know, there are certain things that I'm like, Oh, that was a, I don't want to really think that something wrong that something could go wrong, but if it does, at least I've heard its name before and then it's not like a foreign thing that's happening.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. So how have you managed to reconcile the fact that you are definitely a planner, but dealing with the fact that birth can be unpredictable? How have you managed to reconcile that?

Speaker 3: Amber: You know, I'll let you know when I figure it out. No, I'm just kidding. So it's just been a roller coaster of emotions and things like that. And actually this is one that I hadn't mentioned to you before. For my first trimester, I actually went through antepartum depression and I didn't even know that was a thing. I didn't know that it even a part of postpartum depression, obviously. So I experienced that and I didn't know what it was. It was just like these feelings of like, Oh my gosh, what's happening? And I think I may have mentioned it in a YouTube video or something, but I think what brought that on was the fact that I'm a planner. I have everything going great. I have all these appointments set up for our wedding. So in my head it's wedding, wedding, wedding, and then all of a sudden, boom, this huge rocket comes in and blows up our life.

Speaker 3: Amber: And to be honest, I was not excited at all. You know, and as a pregnant woman, you're supposed to feel, that's what I love saying, you're supposed to feel A, B, and C, you're supposed to feel like, Oh, I have this miracle inside of me and it's just, you know, I'm birthing life and blah, blah, blah. But really, and truly it's a taboo topic, but people should be able to feel the way they want to feel. And if that's not great, that's okay. So I think for me the hardest, I think that's actually what sent me into that antepartum depression. And thank God it only lasted my first trimester. Second trimester came and it's like, Oh, I'm back to normal again. I'm good to go. But I did have that. And I think it's because another reason I didn't share that I was pregnant with a whole lot of people, like a couple of really close friends and my mom, that's all that knew.

Speaker 3: Amber: And so for me, I talk about things, I talk about taboo topics. I mean I have a YouTube channel, I talk about things on Instagram and that's how I cope with things. There's just talking it out, even if it's on social media to no one, it's just, it's beneficial for me and therapeutic for me to just talk things out and get it out in the open. And so, you know, with me not being able to do that for 12 weeks, it was really, really, really tough. And so I just kind of thought, you know what, the best thing I can do is just plan for it. And so we started doing that and that made me feel a little bit better, but it was just all the feelings of like, okay, I didn't ask for this baby. It's not that I'm not going to love it once it's here.

Speaker 3: Amber: And now looking back on it, it's crazy cause I'm like, how did I ever feel that way? I'm so in love with this little thing that's inside of me, but in the moment you don't feel that way and that's okay. And I don't think that enough people talk about that because really and truly you have every right to feel however you want. I mean I had all these hormones surging and I would just cry for no reason and my husband was like, what are you, you know, what do you need me to do? And he would find me in the shower just crying and I'm like, I don't know. I can't explain it. And the fact that I didn't, I couldn't control my emotions and I couldn't control the situation and I couldn't control the future. All of that just beat me down.

Speaker 3: Amber: And it was just, I mean it was life changing and I can't say enough that you should be able to feel how you want to feel. And if you are not excited about being pregnant, that is okay because it will come with time. And it did once. As soon as I announced my pregnancy, it was like, Oh, okay, everyone's excited for me. I'm getting to share in this joy with people. And everyone starts to say like, Oh, I can't wait to see what it looks like and we can't wait to see if it's a boy or a girl. And then you start having those really positive feelings. But for the first 12 weeks, maybe 14 I did not feel that way. And so I think that for people that are control freaks and type A personality, it can be really difficult if specially if you're not planning the pregnancy. If it's just random and it just pops up and it happens and you're like, Whoa, I did not ask for this. My body's going to change. I mean, I'm getting ready to fit into a wedding dress. Are you kidding me? You know, I had to cancel my bridal portraits. I had to get my dress altered a week before my wedding, which was stressful. I had to change some things around. And so for me that was just like, I can't, I don't, you know, sometimes you just can't. And so, you also realize though that you are strong and you get through it and you do it.

Speaker 3: Amber: You learn things about yourself that you didn't know that you had or that you didn't know that you could do. And, I'm a typically a very positive like glass half full kind of person. You know, I always try to bring light and laughter wherever I go. And so for me, that first 12 weeks to be going through depression, it was like, wait a second, this isn't how I'm supposed to be feeling. And so then you feel guilty for not feeling great about it and then you're like, wait. So that's just this horrible cycle that you keep putting yourself in. And then you don't want to tell people that you feel that you're not excited because then people look at you like, Oh my gosh, you have a baby inside of you. You know, there are people that are trying to get pregnant or have had miscarriages.

Speaker 3: Amber: And I have friends that have gone through all of these things. And so it's hard to talk about because from my end, it's a different sort of disappointment. But for other people it may be that they cannot conceive or that they had a miscarriage or that they had a stillbirth or whatever. But I think that we should all be able to voice our opinions and talk about how we feel no matter how that is. And no matter how it may sound to other people. Because until you're in that situation, you're not going to know how you're going to feel. I mean, even, you know, two years ago thinking, okay, whenever I'm 30 you know, I'm 26 now when I'm 30 and start having kids, I'm going to do it like this. And then you get in the middle of it and you're like, no, that's not how it's going to go. And not because I don't want it to, but just because my body or my mind or my heart is not telling me that. And so I'm just trying to listen to myself and be in tune with my body. And just, you know, make sure that it doesn't affect it. Just try not to let it affect hardly anything, but really and truly it changes everything and that's okay.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Well I love that. I think that is a great way for us to wrap things up. You have just been, this has been such a great conversation. I love the everything that we talked about and think women are going to find this so incredibly helpful and just real and relatable about all of the things that you're going through. And of course, you know that you're going to have to come back after you have your baby.

Speaker 3: Amber: Oh, I would love to, I can't wait to see how different it is from now being like, Hey, you remember four months ago. That's not how it went.

Speaker 1: Nicole: You will absolutely have to come back. And, I like to ask everyone if you had to choose, and maybe you've already said it, but if you had to choose the one most important piece of advice to give other women as they get ready for their birth and during their pregnancy, what would that advice be?

Speaker 3: Amber: If I could say it in two words, it would be, do you, and don't explain yourself to people unless they want to. Yes. You know, I mean, when you're pregnant, you should get all the passes. You are literally building a life on a daily basis. I mean, someone starts to talk to you and say, Hey look, I built 10 fingers today, please hush. And so that's okay. You have every right to feel however you want to feel. Whether that's happy, sad, unsure, just be patient with yourself. For me, I just had to take it one day at a time, one feeling at a time, sometimes five minutes at a time. That's all that I could manage. And things are going to change overnight. So just take a breath in and out and sometimes doing, I think someone said on your podcast doing nothing is sometimes doing something. Was that Keisha?

: Nicole: That was Keisha, yep. Yep.

Speaker 3: And I was like, that is perfect. So I think all of that in a lump sum is just do you and don't feel bad about it.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Love it, love it, love it. And then of course I'll ask if someone is thinking about enrolling in The Birth Preparation Course, what would you tell them?

Speaker 3: Amber: Easily 120% get it. It's worth it. It will give you all the information you need without you having to use a hundred different resources that you may or may not be able to trust. And so I think coming from a standpoint of, you know, you being an OB GYN and obviously having personal experience as well as professional experience, it's just, it's a necessity. I don't, I wouldn't let any of my friends get pregnant and have a baby without going through this course.

Speaker 1: Nicole: You are so kind. I swear y'all, I didn't pay her to say that.

: Amber: No, I promise.

: Nicole: Alright, Amber, where can women connect with you? I think you maybe mentioned it before and of course we'll link it all up in the show notes, but where can women connect with you?

Speaker 3: Amber: Yeah, absolutely. So I have a YouTube channel, it's called Amber, Actually. Amber comma actually. And that's just basically where I talk about lately, it's been pregnancy, but it's been other things like, you know, switching from being a student and at a university to the real world. And that's a big change. And so it's just about what actually happens in life and what people don't want to talk about. And so I talk about that there. And then my Instagram is really my platform. It's been my, it's where I talk about all my crazy pregnancy experiences and things that people are like, did you just say that? I'm like, yep, I sure did. And so, my Instagram is Amber_Manning_. So my last name is M. A. N. N. I. N. G, which still sounds so weird to say because I've only been married for like a few days, so, but I love it.

Speaker 1: Nicole: Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you so much again for coming onto the podcast and like I said, you will be back for sure.

Speaker 3: Amber: Absolutely. I would love that. Thank you so much for letting me be here today. I enjoyed it.

Speaker 1: Nicole: All right, have a good one.

: Wasn't that fun? I hope you enjoyed that episode as much as I did and you also need to check out ambers Instagram. She has lots of beautiful photos there. Lots of fun posts. I think you'll enjoy following her. Of course. We'll link to that in the show notes. All right. Now after every episode of the podcast when I have a guest come on, I do something called Nicole's notes where I just go through my top two or three takeaways from the episode. So here are my takeaways from this episode today.

: Number one, sometimes pregnancy is a surprise. Maybe a lot of times it's a surprise and it may take you some time to come around and connect to this pregnancy and this baby that is perfectly okay. There's nothing abnormal about that. It does not mean you're a bad mother. It doesn't mean that you don't want this baby. It doesn't mean that you should feel guilty or anything like that. Sometimes when things happen in life that you aren't quite prepared for, it just takes you some time to adjust to it and that's it. That's all that it means and nothing more than that. So don't feel bad if you didn't initially connect to your pregnancy. That is not abnormal.

: Number two, and I've said this before, but it bears repeating, you have to be flexible about your birth plan, birth wishes. Birth is an unpredictable process and none of us can plan birth. The only person who knows what's going to happen is the baby and they do not share that information with us. So of course I want you to have wishes for what you want for your birth, but as Amber mentioned, it's really important to be flexible. And of course I've said that many, many, many times before, so have a plan, but be flexible because birth is unpredictable.

Speaker 1: Again, that free class that I offer helps you with that as well. And that's www.ncrcoaching.com/register.

: And then the last point that I want to make is Amber's comment about how she decided to choose a hospital for her birth. She felt that for her and for her first baby, that it felt safer for her to have things like the operating room around the NICU around if need be, and that is perfectly reasonable. I think there's a lot of sometimes backlash about giving birth in the hospital and understandably so sometimes because not always a great place to be, but some people are, you know, leaning towards home birth and birth center birth and not that there's anything wrong with giving birth in a birth center or at home under the appropriate circumstances, but it's also okay to give birth at a hospital if you want. And it's okay if you feel like it makes you feel safer, it makes you feel more at ease or gives you peace of mind to be in the hospital for your birth. There's nothing wrong with that, so no one's should make you feel guilty or anything because that's what you want to do and that is what makes you feel right for your birth.

: All right, so that is it for this episode of the podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple podcasts formerly known as iTunes, or Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. And again, I would love it if you leave an honest review for me there. It helps other women find the show. I love to hear what you have to say and I give shout outs on the podcast. And if you're not a member of my free Facebook group, All About Pregnancy and Birth, definitely join that, you can search for it on Facebook. It's a great group to connect to other pregnant women and get your questions answered. I'm in the group, the community manager Keisha is a doula, but really the women in the group provide so much fun and helpful advice and tips and content. I think we're going to talk about after this episode, how did you find out you were pregnant? That's a question that I always like to have folks answers. So hop on over to the group. You can find it on Facebook. It's called All About Pregnancy and Birth and of course, we'll link to it in the show notes as well.

: And next week on the podcast, I am going to talk about gestational diabetes. I have gotten tons of requests to talk about this topic, so I'm finally going to tackle it. We'll discuss how it is diagnosed and how it affects pregnancy. So come on back 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 ankings. 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, confident and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.