Ep 93: Brooke’s Birth Story & An Unmedicated Hospital Birth During COVID-19

I'm excited to share another lovely birth story episode with you this week! This time we're joined by Brooke, a clinical social worker and doula who lives in Hawai'i with her husband and two sons. She had such a good experience during her first pregnancy and birth that she decided to become a doula and a perinatal mental health counselor so she can help other women have wonderful experiences as well.

We talked about how her pregnancy felt, why she asked her OB for a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist and why that was such a good decision for her care. Brooke also shares how she prepared herself mentally, physically and spiritually for her birth, especially during such a strange and stressful time to be pregnant.

Brooke and I also discuss her birth wishes and how she shared these with her medical provider, including her flexible mindset about the pregnancy and how she responded to changes in what she needed from moment to moment.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • Why Brooke decided to become a doula after her first pregnancy experience
  • How a pelvic floor physical therapist helped her handle abdominal separation and improved her pushing during labor
  • How Brooke prepared herself mentally for her birth, including with visualization and meditation
  • What it was like giving birth with only her husband and doula present with the rest of her family on the phone
  • How Brooke has felt postpartum and during her modified laying in period
  • Why holistically prepping for your pregnancy will help you have the best experience possible while being prepared for the unpredictability of pregnancy and birth

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Ep 93: Brooke's Birth Story & An Unmedicated Hospital Birth During COVID-19

Nicole: In this episode, we have another amazing birth story. This time, it's a completely unmedicated hospital birth. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth Podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Well, hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 93. Thank you for being here with me today. So in today's episode, we have Brooke who is sharing her beautiful birth story. Brooke loved birth long before she was pregnant, and once she was able to have babies of her own, she took steps to prepare for the hospital birth of her dreams. She was so inspired in fact, by her own smooth flowing labor and delivery, that she wants other mamas to have a chance of this empowering experience as well. Brooke actually became a doula after her first baby, and she is a therapist and social worker who serves women and families in Hawaii. She lives on a farm with her husband, her two boys, and she's surrounded by lots of extended family. Now, Brooke had what she calls a pretty uneventful birth.

Nicole: In fact, she thought it may be too boring to be on the podcast, which it's not, of course, but through her pregnancy and birth, she really listened to her body and she advocated for herself. She did things to really prepare for her birth. She does not consider herself to just be lucky. She really feels like she worked hard to get to that day. And even though the baby was a little bit early, her son was born at 36 weeks. She had nothing packed, nothing ready at home, emotionally and spiritually, she was ready and she would love to encourage other women to do what they can to prepare even if that means just preparing to be flexible. So we have a really great conversation. In addition to talking about how she prepared for her birth and her labor and birth experience. She talks about things like how she saw a pelvic physical therapist during her pregnancy, how she briefly considered a home birth, how she had lots of folks in her labor room with technology because they couldn't be there because of COVID.

Nicole: She talks about her experience with a doula, her experience including a modified laying in period and the postpartum period. So just tons of useful information in this episode, I really know that you're going to enjoy it now. So many of the things that Brooke talks about are things that I teach and that you will learn in my online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course, that includes things like mindset, preparation, creating a supportive physical environment in your labor room, being flexible, trying different things like different techniques for coping with pain, different pushing positions. You can check out everything in The Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. There you'll learn about my beautiful birth prep process, which is my unique system that I use to ensure that you are calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth. So do check that out, drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right, let's get into this birth story episode with Brooke.

Nicole: Thank you so much Brooke for agreeing to come onto the podcast and share your birth story. I'm so excited to have you.

Brooke: Yeah, I'm so excited to be here. Thank you so much.

Nicole: Yeah. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself, your work and your family?

Brooke: Sure. Um, so I live in Hawaii on the Island of Oahu. Um, I'm a social worker, I'm a clinical social worker. I'm currently in medical social work and I'm also a therapist. And I also did a training to be a birth doula, so I'm a total birth nerd and lover of all things birth.

Nicole: Love it. Love it.

Brooke: My husband is Collin and we have two kids, a three-year-old boy and a three month old boy.

Nicole: Oh, wow. So I didn't realize, so this is, and I know we're talking about your second birth. I didn't realize it was so recent, I guess.

Brooke: Yeah. Yes. I think that I signed up to come on the show. He was just a month old.

Nicole: Oh wow. Wow. Wow. Well thank you for coming on. Cause I know this time can be tricky. Is he sleeping through the night and things like that or is he settled?

Brooke: He's actually doing pretty well. He still gets up once or twice to nurse, but, um, but yeah, we're hanging in there.

Nicole: Okay. All right. All right. Why don't we have you start off by telling us a bit, because in order to understand what the birth is like, I think we always needed to hear a bit about what the pregnancy was like. So what was your pregnancy and prenatal care? What was that like for you?

Brooke: Um, yeah, the, I hadn't really uncomplicated pregnancy. It was good. Um, lots of cravings for sugary things, but nothing too crazy. Um, I, I went to the same OB that I had with my son, so I was comfortable with their practice. I liked them a lot. And at one point I noticed kind of midway through my pregnancy that I had, um, some urinary leakage and a lot of people say, oh, that's so common. That happens when you're pregnant. Right. All the pressure and all that, but it just seemed a little bit like, oh, something else might be going on. So I asked for a referral to, um, a pelvic floor physical therapist. Yeah. And then, so I was diagnosed there with, um, and I always butcher this word, but, um, diastisis just that domino separation. And so it was, it wasn't, um, it was functional, so it wasn't too bad, but it was good that I went to her through my whole pregnancy, um, to work on that. And then some pelvic floor stuff, which ended up being super helpful in labor.

Nicole: That is such a great idea. And something that we do not utilize enough is pelvic floor physical therapist.

Brooke: Absolutely. I am telling everyone I can about it. Cause it was, it was so helpful. Like my pushing and everything was a whole different story than the first time. And I think it was really due to going to see her. So, yeah. So that was pretty much it. And then I would say the only other kind of big thing with my pregnancy was that it was in the thick of COVID. Right.

Nicole: So how did that change things for you?

Brooke: You mentioned the weird times, like a lot of uncertainties. I went from working out in the field, going to clients' homes to being home, having a three-year-old home, being tired, um, and not knowing like, what are the hospitals going to be like when I go to give birth. In New York at that time, you know, people were birthing alone at a sh you know, for a period of time. And so that was scary. Um, so I did reach out to a midwife and I thought about doing a home birth and yeah. And I almost did. We kind of went back and forth for a while. I had some prenatal visits with her and she was amazing and actually gave me some great pregnancy tips along the way, but then ultimately we ended up going the hospital route.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. You just felt like at the end that was going to work better for you or was it cost or I'm just curious what tipped you to stay in the hospital?

Brooke: Yeah, well, we were, we're trying to move still to our, we have a farm and we weren't sure when we were going to move. And so I didn't know where we would be and I didn't know which house we would be having the baby in and there was a lot going on. And I felt like the hospital would just be a little more convenient. Um, and my husband's a first responder, so he felt more comfortable with the hospital setting and I wanted both of us to be on board.

Nicole: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. So, um, let's talk about what you did to prepare for your birth. And I want to, um, also talk about like you, when you, um, submitted your story, you talked about how you felt like you were ready, um, emotionally and spiritually. So I would love to hear about all of the things that you did to prepare for your birth.

Brooke: Yeah. Um, gosh, what are some things I did emotionally? I did a lot of visualization from like the day I found out that I was pregnant. Yeah. I was excited. I had a great first birth. So I think that I had that advantage going into the second one with a positive outlook and being excited to be pregnant. So I would put music on while I was driving or working. Now that made me just feel really good. And then I would just visualize from, start to finish what I wanted for my birth. And I did that a lot through my pregnancy and then spiritually, um, just a lot of prayer and I would try to meditate before I went to bed. Sometimes I would just kind of fall asleep, but just having that connection with my higher power, with God, throughout my pregnancy, um, helps get through the COVID uncertainties and just preparing for whatever's going to happen is going to happen. And just practicing surrendering, I think, was something that I did.

Nicole: I love that. I think one of the things that we underemphasize is how that mental and emotional and if it's important to you, spiritual preparation is just as important as learning some of the other things about birth is a matter of fact, it's like the very first lesson in my course is about getting your mindset in the right space because it's really, really important and it doesn't have to be something that's overwhelming, you know, or like that is a lot of time or commitment. You just kind of incorporated it into your regular daily routine.

Brooke: Absolutely. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah, for sure. For sure. And then was there anything, or were there things that you wanted for your birth?

Brooke: Yeah, so I kind of did like a dream birth story. I wrote out like, what, what probably can't happen, but in like a perfect world, what would I have? And then from there I kind of took pieces and made a list of preferences. So some of the preferences I had was to have an unmedicated birth. Um, I definitely wanted my partner to be my husband to be there. And another woman, I just wanted that female comforting presence. That was really important to me. I wish that I could have had my mom and all my sisters that, I have three sisters, but due to COVID, that wasn't possible. So I had a doula and she was amazing. So those were, yeah, that was pretty much it. I just wanted unmedicated, you know, as close to as natural as, as I could get safely and then my support people.

Nicole: Right, right. Right. And when you were visualizing, when you were writing this down, when you were really like setting that intention and putting that energy out there, was it that, I guess, did you have flexibility around it? Like, were you thinking it has to be this way or it can't go any other way? Or did you have the mindset that I know that it can be, um, birth can be unpredictable? Like where was your, your headspace, I guess in that room?

Brooke: I think I definitely, um, was flexible with it. Yeah. I, I totally understand that it can be unpredictable. I was prepared that I could possibly give birth at home and then possibly be in the hospital for two days. So yeah, I think I was open to all the options.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And did you, did you ever discuss any of your wishes for your birth with your OB?

Brooke: I did. I started talking to her pretty early on this time about, um, things I wanted things that would pertain to her. I think. So I was kind of clear, like I, she knew I wanted an unmedicated birth. Um, and I also told her, I, I didn't want coached pushing this time. I really wanted to stay in my labor land zone and do it myself. And so she was like, okay, we can do that. She was really open to, to the things that I wanted.

Nicole: So she was receptive to the things that you were saying?

Brooke: She was. I think, you know, by the time I had my second baby, we had a pretty good trusting relationship that I felt like went both ways. Like I trusted that she was gonna listen to me. And then I felt that she trusted that I could do it, which is so empowering, you know?

Nicole: Absolutely. Absolutely. And did you know for sure that she was going to be there for your birth or was it a possibility that it could have been one of the other physicians in the practice?

Brooke: Um, I think it could have been a possibility that it could have been someone else there's a few other people, but she kept saying, I'm going to be there. I'm going to catch this baby. Cause she wasn't there for the first one. Okay. And she was there. So.

Nicole: Good. Good, good. So let's talk about what was your labor and birth like? All the details?

Brooke: Um, yeah, so I went into labor, uh, kind of a week before I gave birth and I just was starting to feel like things were opening up and things were changing and moving. Um, but I was only at that time 36 weeks pregnant. So I was like, huh, kinda early. But, um, I told my doula like come over this week, if you can and meet with my husband. Cause we had never met altogether yet. Think things are moving, you know, kind of more quickly. So we did that on a Friday and then on a Sunday I had my baby shower. Um, and it was really small due to COVID, but it was just a nice gathering. Um, and I ate tons of donuts, but while I was there, I was feeling like kind of those cramping, like period, like cramps. And I hadn't had that throughout my pregnancy.

Brooke: So I didn't tell anyone. I just was sort of noticing it. And then around 4:00 PM, we'd been there for a while. I was getting really kind of tired and my back was getting really sore. So my friend was massaging it and she replied you you're going to have a baby like really soon. And I was like, yeah, I know. So I went home and I tried to rest and I called my sister and she was out with friends. It was kind of early evening. And I told her if you're drinking, like, can you stop like drinking? Because I might even get a driver to come over and watch, like we might be going to the hospital tonight. I don't really know yet.

Nicole: Right. Like so sis, I need you to put the drinks down.

Brooke: Be prepared and ready to help. She was excited. I was like, okay. So, um, so I tried to rest and I couldn't and I got in the tub and I couldn't really rest in there. It was definitely like the cramping contractions were probably every, maybe 10 minutes or so. So I told my husband, you know, I'm going to pack a bag and get yourself ready in case we need to go. Um, so I packed a bag and then by then it was maybe seven o'clock and I told my sister like, okay, come over. Cause I think we're definitely going to have to go. And I was texting my doula also kind of giving her a heads up and I got back in the tub and that was something I really had wanted was um, why would have loved to have a water birth, but they don't have birth tubs at the hospital, wanted to labor in there as much as I could.

Brooke: And I had my playlist on and that was helpful. And then my sister came and I got out of the tub and she was awesome. She's, my younger sister hasn't had any kids, but it's like her maternal instincts just switched on and like where to massage me. She made sure I drank a lot of water, took me to the bathroom a lot and um, finally around maybe eight or nine, 9:30, she was like, I think you need to really go, like you need to go to the hospital now. And I was like, okay, I kind of was avoiding it. I as like you're right. By then my mucus plug and a side note. Um, can we have a new word for that? It's my least favorite birth word, but anyways, um, so you know that it came out, I was kind of starting to bleed. And so we were in labor. I'm like, okay, I'm really happy. I was like 36 and four days. I think I was kind of in denial, but he was ready. We were going.

Nicole: So how far away did you live, do you live from the hospital?

Brooke: Like 15 minutes.

Nicole: Okay. So not, it didn't, it wasn't like you had to drive a terribly long time. So you knew you could get there pretty quickly if you needed to.

Brooke: Yes. So I came downstairs and my son was so sweet. He was like, oh, you're going to go to the hospital. And he was excited. And then my niece was here and my, a couple of my husband's really close friends. They were all like having a party downstairs. Nice. Cause then my like quote unquote dream birth story. That's what I wanted. But just like everyone I love to just be like having a really good time around me. So it was really kind of, kind of cool. And then, so we left and my sister came and my husband drove and she kept giving me that counter pressure on my back. That felt really good. Um, through my contractions and I had a kind of sense of humor. I was sort of getting maybe deliriously tired. I don't know, but I was just laughing at everything, it was kind of weird, but I was just sort of in this dreamy happy space and I was making and stuff. And so anyways, it got to the hospital, she dropped us off and um, I went in to triage by myself. Cause that was that COVID um, new rules I went in, my husband waited in the outside. They did the COVID test, which was pretty uncomfortable.

Nicole: Yeah. It's like, it's like a brain swab almost.

Brooke: I was like, oh my gosh. Yeah. I don't want to have to do that again. But, um, we had that and then the nurse would kinda, you know, sort of like the only thing about my birth that I didn't, that was kind of could have gone better was she was just insensitive. Like I felt I was going in for some kind of routine surgical procedure. I didn't feel warm or special at all. And maybe she was just having a bad day or something, you know, I don't know. But just was like, hey, lay down, fill this out. I'm going to give you this COVID test. And then she's like, hey, I need to check you. And I said, well, do you really need to? And she was like how am I going to know you're in labor? I'm like, I know am. But she checked me, and she's like okay, you're at a seven. I was like, oh, okay, well good. Um, so they admitted me and then my doula and my husband came in. And

Nicole: Did you have to keep the same nurse or did you have a different nurse?

Brooke: Um, she was the triage nurse. Yeah. So she was still present for the birth, but not as involved. Um, I had another nurse and she was really sweet. She was really good. Um, yeah, so they got me kind of comfortable. Um, and I, I was having a hard time getting comfortable. The contractions are pretty intense at this point and um, even counter pressure didn't feel good. I didn't really want to be touched anymore. And I remember, I just kept saying like, every time a contraction I'd be like, okay, okay. Like I was like, all right, if we just can get through this one. Um, and I was trying to just be connected to the baby and move him down, um, the birth canal and just stay open and relaxed. And my doula helped with that. Like making sure my jaw was relaxed and my body was relaxed and I was on my hands and knees for awhile. Um, and then finally around maybe 10:30 after being in there maybe half an hour or so my water broke and it was crazy volcano explosion. I've watched a lot of birth movies and I've never seen that.

Nicole: Like a, like a tidal wave of fluid. You're like, did that all just come out of my body?

Brooke: Yeah. Everyone was like whoa that was crazy. And then after my water broke a few more contractions and then I could feel him right there. And I told the OB, meanwhile was sitting in the corner just doing some notes. And she said, you just let me know when you're ready, when you're ready for me to check you. Um, so then I said, okay, think the baby's coming. So she checked me and she said, oh yeah, you're right there. You just push whenever you're ready. So she was really just supportive in the sense of just being there and trusting that I could do it.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. That's re that's really, really important.

Brooke: Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely a little different than my first birth where I felt like a ton of people rushed in the room. Like there was an emergency about to happen, you know, and this time it was just very quiet. The lights were low and I pushed a few times and on my back that felt good. I thought I'd like to push on my hands and knees or in like more of a creative position, you know, but really just being on my back felt really fine. I kind of was tilted to the side a little bit. And um, and I pushed a few times and then his shoulder was stuck for a second. So I just thought to myself, oh, heck no, we're not we're getting him out. I'm getting him out, pushing on my own. So I did and I pushed him out. And then I reached down, I kind of had my hands down there most of the time. And I reached down and the doctors said, um, what did you get? Cause I didn't know what, we didn't know what we were having. Yeah. It was like a gift. What did you get? I was like, oh, it's a boy. Which I was shocked. I thought I was having a girl, but yeah, it was a boy. And he was like seven pounds.

Nicole: At 36, not quite 37 weeks? Oh yeah. He was going to be nine pounds if you would have gone further.

Brooke: Yeah. My body was like no, thank you. He's ready to go.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. Sometimes babies come a little bit early. They're just done a little bit early. So from start to finish from when you got to the hospital from, to when you had the baby, like how long was that?

Brooke: Um, maybe an hour. Two hours.

Nicole: Nice. Nice. But you already got to the hospital, you were seven centimeters. So you were like, well over halfway across the finish line at that point. And then what did you say? Like, I don't know what's going on with my brain, but did you say you did a childbirth education class or read any books or anything like that to prepare?

Brooke: Yes, I, well, so with my first, so three years ago I did the Bradley Method Class, did that with my husband. Um, and that was good. So I didn't do it again cause I felt like refreshed on that. And then, um, I read a lot of books and I listened to a lot of podcasts.

Nicole: Gotcha, gotcha. Gotcha. And, um, so they did actually let your doula in, because some hospitals were not doing that. They were only letting your partner in, so they let both of them in? Okay. That's nice. That's really nice. And then I just, I it's interesting. Did you deliver at the same? It was the same hospital and like three years apart. Is that right?

Brooke: That's correct.

Nicole: Okay. But you said the first time, the energy in the room was just a lot different.

Brooke: It was at the end, like while I was laboring, it was similar, just the nurse and my support people. But once I was trying to push the midwife came in, um, and then there were like three or four other people in there. I don't know. I don't know why I don't remember.

Nicole: Right, right, right. Interesting. And it wasn't like, and you said then this time though, it was more like the lights were down. The atmosphere of the room was just a little bit different. And I think that, that makes a difference. Like I, I always, you know, want to go with whatever the birthing person wants, but I think dim lights and like that energy that's created in the room is, um, important and helpful for like when you're giving birth, it just kind of helps set the tone for the situation.

Brooke: Absolutely. I think if you don't feel safe and relaxed, you're not your body's not going to open up and do what it needs to do. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. 100%. And did you do anything like, um, listen to music or anything while you were in labor?

Brooke: Yeah. I had my playlist kind of towards the end. I was like my music, my music. Oh yeah. She made a playlist, so they found it and they put it on and I had, um, a mixture of like some Christian, like spiritual music. And then I kind of, for some reason with this pregnancy really into like RMB, like old hip hop, I wanted kind of really like sexy music. I don't know what it was, the mood that I kinda was feeling

Nicole: Okay you have to tell me some of the songs that you, that you had.

Brooke: Oh my gosh. I am the worst with thinking of songs. I don't know. I would have to look.

Nicole: No, it's fine. I'm just curious. I just think that's hilarious that you might have like, you know, a gospel music mixed in with like the R&B, hip hop

Brooke: Bump and grind music? Yeah that was so my vibe.

Nicole: Oh, now one of the things, um, you mentioned in your story is that you had some folks there through technology, like who did you have there on video?

Brooke: Oh yeah. My husband had, um, my sister that was at home with my son. So, um, they were watching and he got to watch with her. So that was kind of cool. And then my two sisters live in San Diego, so they were watching and my mom and her partner and my husband's mom who lives on another island and he had set up a zoom meeting for them.

Nicole: Wow. Okay. And did that bother you? Did you even notice that they were there? You probably may not have?

Brooke: Um, I only at the very and, and they might've only been connected at the very end. Um, the only person I heard was the one of my sisters and she was like, you can do it. Good job Brookie. And then I hear my other sister like shut your mouth she's in labor. It's kind of funny because my little sisters are bickering kind of like comforting. And then, um, and then at one point I heard my mom and that was really nice because I had wanted her to be there, you know?

Nicole: Yeah. That is nice. That is nice. And it sounds like your doula was very helpful.

Brooke: Yeah. Yeah. She was great. She was, um, reassuring and help get me into some good positions and like supported my head, just all the wonderful things that doulas do.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And do you think she worked well, like you said, she hadn't met your husband up until that last point. Do you think that she was there, like worked well to support him as well? Or like kind of support you both?

Brooke: Yes, absolutely. She was a really good fit, um, for him cause he was, he liked to do the tech support, like he's my cheerleader, but he was more hands-on. Um, and didn't push him to get in there and do it. Like she understood kind of our flow of what worked for us.

Nicole: Gotcha. And how many times did you meet with her during your pregnancy?

Brooke: Um, I met with her twice on the phone and then one in person. Um, and I, I knew her through friends, so we kind of are from the same circle of people, so I felt really comfortable with her.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Um, so what was the postpartum period like for you? Both in the hospital and then once you got home?

Brooke: Yeah. And, um, immediately baby was born. His sugars were low, I think, cause he was early. So that was a little scary only because they were saying, if we can't get his sugars up, then we're going to have to take him to the nursery and do an IV. Um, and I was like, I really don't want that to happen. And I wouldn't have been able to go with him to the nursery cause of COVID. So, um, I was just working on nursing him and he was kind of a lazy latcher at first he was just tired. Um, so they were encouraging me to pump and syringe feed him and I didn't really want to do that. I just kinda really wanted to work on getting latch, but I did, um, hand express into his mouth just to get him kind of like get the sugars going.

Brooke: And the poor baby, they did a lot of heal sticks throughout that night and the next day. And then finally his sugars stabilized and my husband stayed with me that first night and then the next day he had to go back home and get our son and kind of get things going. So I stayed by myself, I stayed two nights. So I stayed by myself the second night and just rested and the nurses are really awesome. And met with the lactation consultant two times really just because I wanted her to reassure everyone that we were good and we could go because they were worried about, um, the sugars and his weight was dropping a little and things like that. Um, but she reassured the me and the other nurses that the latch looked good and it would be okay. So we, um, we went home and yeah, just sort of jumped right into life.

Brooke: I really love the idea of laying in like for those 30 or 40 days after baby's born. Um, but with a three-year-old it's a little tough, but my husband was pretty helpful. You know, he took over a lot of his caretaking for the first week or so, so that was really good. And I got to just bond with baby. I mean, I didn't bond with him in pregnancy as well as with my first, just because I was so much busier this time and maybe cause I didn't know the facts. I don't know if that played a part. Um, the first time I did. Okay. Yeah. I don't know if that's been a part or not, but um, so I really wanted to just kind of get to know him and, and also get his weight up, like get that nursing going. So we had a lot of doctor's appointments for the first few weeks and now these three months and he is in like the 90th percentile for chubby babies. Yeah. And my meeting went really well. I forgot to mention in my first, um, story part terror, and that was something I really, really wanted this time because I had torn with my first, um, when I, when I pushed that, that pelvic floor therapy super helpful, absolutely didn't tear. So my, um, healing was, was really, really quick. Um, I also did some pelvic steaming, I don't know if you're familiar with that or had anyone come on and talk about that, but it's like that steaming with herbs and stuff.

Nicole: I've heard about it, but never have, um, you know, don't know much about it. So tell me what that entails.

Brooke: Um, so you just boil herbs. Then I got herbs from, um, a midwife who kind of puts together a specific postpartum blend. You just boil them and you sit on a chair with an opening and steam. Um, I started like a week postpartum and steam every day for like 20 days or so for like just 10 minutes. And it just helps with sort of, you know, safely and gently clearing everything out and really repairing those, those tissues and stuff. So it's just nice practice.

Nicole: You make sure like the w I feel like I've heard horror stories of like burns and things like that. Do you just obviously just make sure the water's not too hot?

Brooke: Yeah, yeah, sure. Gentle steam. And if it's too hot for your hands, then don't sit and just kind of, um, make sure it's just warm but not hot.

Nicole: Gotcha. And you did that every day for 20 days, you said?

Brooke: Yeah. And some days I would miss it cause I just like busy, but, um, but I tried to as much as I could. Yeah,

Nicole: Sure, sure. Okay. Interesting. Interesting. And did you do your first birth unmedicated as well?

Brooke: Yes.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Okay. At this point we had some technical difficulties in the recording on my side. So the last few minutes of the conversation went like this. Here's how Brooke felt about her birth.

Brooke: I feel really good about everything. I don't think there's anything that I would have changed other than, you know, if I was going to be super nitpicky, the way that my triage experience went, it would have been nice, you know, to have someone in there with me to continue supporting me because I was in there for about a half an hour by myself. And then when I got my IV just as like a precautionary, you know, how they place an IV, um, it, my hand was like falling asleep and tinglies through the rest of my labor and I wanted it to be taken out, but they were like, oh, we probably shouldn't, you know, it's safe to keep it in. And I understand that. So I just let it stay. But that was just, it was just irritating, but it wasn't a huge deal.

Nicole: And here is Brooke's favorite piece of advice that she would give to other pregnant women

Brooke: To keep it broad. I would say just to make a big deal out of it, like birth is a big deal. Um, and bringing a baby into this world is like one of the most important things we can do. Um, so it's okay to, you know, talk about it a lot and educate yourself and prepare physically and spiritually and emotionally, you know, within your means, whatever you're able to do. Um, because I think women are not a lot of, you know, friends and family that I see. We're just so busy and it's like having a, baby's just this thing you're kind of doing on the side and then you get through postpartum and you go back to work and it's no big deal. And I think it just needs to be celebrated more in, but excited about it. So, yeah.

Nicole: And finally here is where you can find Brooke online.

Brooke: I'm on Facebook and that's not a, like a professional, which is my personal Facebook. Um, Brooke Kay Jacobson. And then I'm Instagram. Um, I have my kind of private practice up and coming site is called In Grace Services. I still have a little baby, but soon I'm hoping to offer doula services. And then I also, um, an a perinatal mental health counselors. So I would love to work with new parents and mothers in that first year after baby and before during pregnancy.

Nicole: Wasn't that just an absolutely delightful episode. She has a really like calming energy and lovely voice as well. So I know you enjoyed it just as much as I did now. After every episode, when I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes, which are my top three or four takeaways from the episode, and I actually had a hard time narrowing it down to three or four for this episode with Brooke, but here we go. All right. Number one, Brooke approached preparing for her pregnancy in a really holistic fashion. So she did visualizations. She did meditation, she did prayer. She also saw a pelvic physical therapist for some physical preparation. She of course knew the things like how to push and the stages of labor and sort of what to expect as well. It's really important that you have that holistic preparation. That is how you had the best chances of having a really beautiful and fulfilling birth experience.

Nicole: Now, this does not have to be overwhelming. You don't have to be studying books or reading or doing things every single day. You just do a little bit here, a little bit there to get yourself ready and prepare that holistic approach is really, really important. We know that that mindset is important. That's one of the things it's actually the very first lesson of my course, The Birth Preparation Course. We know that there's that mind body connection. So that's important, that physical preparation is important. You may not necessarily go to a pelvic physical therapist, but even just moving your body, whether it's walking, whether it's yoga, some sort of exercise is helpful as well. So that holistic preparation is key. Number two, Brooke discussed her wishes for her birth with her care provider. This is something that I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend. It's something that I teach in my free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works.

Nicole: You can check out that class at drnicolerankins.com/register, but really your birth plan, birth wishes, although they are about putting down what you want for your birth, making your birth wishes should really be a process of discussing what you want for your birth with your care provider, so that everyone is on the same page, so that when you go into your birth, you know, that you have a team of people who are there to support you in the things that you want for your birth. So it's really important to discuss those birth wishes with your care provider. If you show up with that birth plan at the hospital, that can often be too late, really in order to, to really make sure you get the birth that you want. I'm not saying that it's always going to be bad if you show up like that, but you have a better chance of having the birth that you want.

Nicole: If you discuss those wishes during your pregnancy. And I teach you how to do that inside that free online class, How To Make A Birth Plan That Works. That's drnicolerankins.com/register. And then the final thing I want to say is I really appreciate it how Brooke was open and flexible to trying different things, to find things that work, she talked about how counter pressure initially worked, and then later it didn't work. She talked about how it actually worked for her to push on her back, even though she thought it wasn't going to work pushing on her back, really that flexibility is key. There is no cookie cutter approach to how you can have labor and birth. You really need to be flexible and open to all of the possibilities. So I suggest you don't say things like I don't want to push on my back, or I only want to push on my side, or I only want this, or I don't want that.

Nicole: You really need to be open to all of the possibilities, because honestly you will not know what you want in the process until you get there. I actually just recorded an episode yesterday, a birth story, and she talked about how she really thought she was going to want massage. But in the moment she didn't want anybody to touch her during the labor and birth. So really being flexible and open is key, but also knowing what your options and possible things are that you can try is just as important. So flexibility, being prepared, knowing your options really, really, really super important. It goes back to that holistic preparation. All right. So that is it for this episode of the podcast, be sure to subscribe to the podcast, wherever you're listening to me right now, Apple podcast, Google play Spotify. If you feel so inclined, of course, I would love it if you leave an honest review in Apple podcasts, it really helps the show to grow. The show is growing leaps and bounds in the last few months in particular. I know that it's all thanks to you and you spreading the word and you leaving reviews. I so, so, so appreciate it. I've just recently crossed 350,000 total downloads. And that is just so amazing. And I'm appreciative and grateful of all of you who give me a little bit of your time to listen. So if you leave that review in Apple podcasts, we can help even more women find the show as well. Now don't forget to check out the resources that I talked about, the free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works. You can get that at drnicolerankins.com/register, or if you're ready to dive all the way in check out The Birth Preparation Course, that's drnicolerankings.com/enroll. Um, you get lifetime access to the course. So you enroll now and you can have it for all your future pregnancies. There's also a 30 day money back guarantee. So if you're not happy with it, you can get your money back within the first 30 days. Now, next week on the podcast, we're talking about one of my favorite things and that is prenatal yoga. So do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. Head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class, on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.

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