Ep. 184 I Had a Baby! - theuncensoredempath.com

Ep. 184 I Had a Baby!

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In this episode, I discuss:

  • Sarah’s water breaking and laboring at home
  • The power of reframing birth plans with birth preferences
  • Learning to balance the trust in experience and wisdom of others with the primal strength and knowledge of the body
  • Sarah’s hospital, birth, and postpartum experience

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Episode Transcript:

Hello friends. Have you noticed that you can get caught up in consuming content or maybe you notice you are hyper, hyper-focused on the doing? Empaths, we often consume and I know because that was me too. Soaking up information from all my favorite teachers and mentors, but it wasn’t until I started focusing more on the being and embodiment work that the door to massive clarity was finally unlocked and I no longer got confused about what was my energy versus everybody else’s. I was able to become a more clear channel for creation and as a result, transform my life, business, and health. In fact, my meditation and embodiment practice is what helped me have a nearly $40,000 month this past January, see the highest downloaded month of the podcast, and finally release a lot of unnecessary stress and my clients felt it and saw it in their lives too.

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Welcome to the Uncensored Empath, a place for us to discuss highly sensitives energy, illness, healing, and transformation. My name is Sarah Small, and I’m a life and success coach for empaths who want to create a thriving body, business and life. Think of this podcast as your no-BS guide to navigating life, health, and entrepreneurship. You’ll get straight to the point, totally holistic tips from me in real-time as I navigate this healing and growth journey right beside you. This is a Soul Fire production.

Today I’m going to share my birth story with all of you. May 8th at 9:25 PM, our daughter Emersyn Jordan St. John was born. She came earthside and graced us with her presence and I got to hold her for the first time the day before Mother’s Day. The last let’s see 12 days now – she’s 12 days old – have been such a cocoon of love and just soaking in all of the baby cuddles. This really sacred window of the first 40 days postpartum. And I’ve been checking in with my team, but other than that, really stepping back from work. This is the one thing that I felt really called to record and to show up for, outside of just motherhood right now. And that’s because I want to record this while it’s still really fresh on my mind and my heart and my body, and I want to record it for all of you, with all of you. Something that I want to be able to listen back to for myself, but also something that I hope is just an example of what this process can be like. Obviously, everyone’s experience is totally different, but I know it. During pregnancy, I was so curious to hear other women’s experiences, not knowing of course what mine was going to be like. So, let’s see. Where do we begin?

Sarah’s water breaking and laboring at home

The two days prior to Emmy’s birthday, we were up at our cabin. Some of you know that my husband and I own a cabin in Grand Lake, Colorado, right by the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. We run it as an Airbnb and we were affected by the fires this past October 2020, and we ended up having to renovate our entire second home, and that process has taken a long time. I was just so freaking determined to get this place back on the rental market before this baby came and talk about just in time. We had driven up there and we spent two days and I was on my feet 12 to 15 hours both days, just getting this place cleaned and ready and designed. We put furniture together. We wiped literally every item of our house down because it was dusty from the construction and oh my gosh, it was exhausting and I was so pregnant. We drove back down from altitude, back to where we live in the front range in Lafayette, Colorado. And then I had Friday where I basically cleared my day because I was so exhausted and just put my feet up and rested all day Friday. Went to bed that night and Friday was 39 weeks for me, 39 weeks pregnant. And so really it was that night, technically it was Saturday morning, but at 2:00 AM that Saturday, May 8th, I felt something in my panties and it felt like a lot. It felt like a gush. My husband loves telling this story now because it shot me up out of bed. And I threw my arm over onto him, smacked him and I was like, babe, something’s happening! He of course shot out of bed, like what the fuck is going on? And I, after hitting him, telling him something’s happening, shot out of bed as well and ran to the bathroom to try to make it to the toilet because some women, their water will start to leak and mine was a full-on gush.

So I go to the bathroom, let my body do its thing. I realize that, oh my God, my water just broke. We’ve been working with an Ayurvedic doula this entire pregnancy. Her name is Alyssa Megeath and she is fucking phenomenal, and you’re going to hear more about her. I texted her around 2:00 AM and I said, my water just broke. It was a gush. And she’s like, I know that the anticipation is going to get you all excited, but try to go back to sleep. Just try to go back to sleep because I had no contractions, zero contractions and the week before at my 38-week check-in, I was about 70% effaced and 0% dilated. So here we go, 2:00 AM, water broke. I get back into bed. My husband is like, okay, because I had been so impatient and so over-prepared, but at this point I finally had released control and thought, well, it’s not going to happen tonight. I completely surrendered to the fact that I probably was going to go a full 40 weeks, that I might even go 41 or 42 weeks, and I just really didn’t have every single item ready to go the way that I had kind of over-organized the probably three weeks before that, because I was at the point where I was feeling like get this baby out of me.

So my husband stays awake for about an hour till about maybe like 3:00, 3:30 AM, and he just started getting things ready, clearing out the dishes so that we didn’t have to come home to dirty dishes. We had no idea how quickly things were going to progress from here, so he straightened a few things up, made sure our bags were… Our bags were packed, but we just had to add a couple of things to them like our toiletries. He gets back into bed. I cannot sleep because of the anticipation, but I try to rest as much as I can, and by about 6:30, 7:00 AM, I’m like, okay, I’m going to call my mom, tell her that my water broke. Texted a couple of my very best friends and told them my water broke and like, hey, I think we’re going to have a baby today.

Still no contractions though and so I decided that it was probably time to get out of bed and start walking around. I called; this was a Saturday and therefore my midwife’s office was not open and I had to call the on-call midwife. Her name’s Courtney. She was also incredible. Called her around 7:00 AM on the after-hours line, and she’s like, you know, let’s have you come in for an NST test, which is a non-stress test where they just hook you up to a monitor and listen to the baby’s heartbeat and also monitor your contractions, see how frequently you’re having contractions cause sometimes when they’re mild, you don’t actually know when you’re having one. Just make sure the baby wasn’t under any duress. Well, first my husband went and got us breakfast. We’re like, let’s have a big old breakfast to fill our bellies. I got gluten-free pancakes and bacon and he just brought it home from a place we go to. We ate that breakfast and then at 9:00 AM, we went to the midwives’ office to do the NST test and that showed everything was good. My midwife Courtney said, okay, go back home. Everything looks good and I wasn’t in labor yet, but I went back home and I continued and I had continued since my water broke at 2:00 a.m. to continue to leak fluid, amniotic fluid.

So, I went through probably eight pairs of underwear and pads and period panties between 2:00 a.m. and noon so I was just continuing to leak and leak and leak. I felt like I needed to just distract my brain a little bit, to not over fixate on the fact that I hadn’t started contractions because when we did talk to our midwife, she said that typically once your water breaks with a gush, they want you to go into labor between 12 and 24 hours after that mark.

And so, because I am, or was GBS group B strep negative, then she said that I could stretch it to the full 24 hours because there’s less risk for the baby. So I basically had until 2:00 AM Sunday, Saturday night/ Sunday morning to go into labor and to get this baby moving. So I went home after that NST test, I turned on Eat, Pray, Love. Don’t know why – just happened to see it on Netflix and I was like, this feels like a happy movie to just turn on in the background. Turned that on and I opened my computer. Literally went through and sent some very last emails to my podcast team, to my assistant coach team who are going to be covering all my calls or have been covering my calls for my programs while I’m out on maternity leave. I had also needed to go in and sign all my tax forms, cause my taxes had just been completed by my accountant, so I went in and finalize my taxes and spent probably an hour or two, just tying up loose ends, which I’m actually really, really glad I did. I was still plenty comfortable enough to be sitting at my computer and doing it. Contractions still hadn’t started and looking back, I just think I’m really glad that I didn’t leave those things kind of open-ended and had to then right when we got home from having a baby worry about them. So that’s how I spent my morning.

And then at about 1:30 in the afternoon, I started my birthing day affirmations. So, for probably two months leading up to my birthing day, I had been very dedicated and committed to listening to hypno babies’ recordings every night before bed and throughout most of the pregnancy, especially the third trimester. I had listened to a lot of meditation and a lot of hypnosis in general, but more specifically those last two months were when I went all-in with the hypno babies recording. That’s a specific program that you can purchase and there are different recordings for different phases of the pregnancy, and then there are very specific recordings that you listen to on your actual birthing day. And so at 1:30, I turned on the birthing day affirmations. It’s not actually hypnosis, but just affirmations. And at the same time, I started what’s called the Miles Circuit. The Miles Circuit is really simple. It’s just three different movements or postures that are similar to yoga postures, and they’re meant to help the baby get into a good position and to get labor going.

So the first position I did down on our living room on our couch and it was basically child’s pose, but I put a big old pillow underneath my chest and head and my butt was up in the air instead of back on my heels. And so my belly was just kind of hanging there and you hold that. Each of them is 30 minutes long so it’s a 90-minute circuit, three different postures. I went into that first posture, held it for 30 minutes, got all cushy, comfy, and closed my eyes and listened to my birthing day affirmations and contractions started. So, at that point I really started to feel the contractions because I had been having some mild, mild contractions, maybe one or two an hour since 2:00 AM, but clearly not anything that was in any pattern or created any consistency. So it wasn’t until I got into this posture that it really started to amplify. I got through those 30 minutes and was like, okay, I think it’s getting close to game time here and I moved then upstairs to my bedroom.

The second posture is basically just a side-lying pose, so it’s really similar to how I had been sleeping throughout this entire pregnancy with my seven pillows at night. You bring the top leg into a bent position over a stack of pillows and the bottom leg is straight and you just lay on your side and the birthing day affirmations were about an hour long. So I finished those up as I did the 30 minutes of the second posture of the Miles Circuit. You lay on your left side, so you don’t do both sides. You just lay on your left side, and by the time I got done with that 30-minute session, my contractions were really amplifying. We started to text – my husband was in charge of this at this point – texted my doula who happens to live in my neighborhood so she’s super close and we started to hydrate. I started to drink a bunch of electrolytes to just make sure this was the real thing. Back at the NST test that morning, one of the suggestions both doula and midwife made was that if labor hadn’t started and we needed to kick things up, that I could eat two tablespoons of castor oil mixed in with scrambled eggs. She suggested I do that about 12 hours after my water had originally broke, and then again, four to six hours later, so it was about 12 hours and my husband made me some actually really delicious eggs. I didn’t taste the castor oil at all and I actually don’t normally eat eggs, but I remember thinking these are delicious. It was just two eggs and two tablespoons of castor oil. P.S. Side note. Disclaimer – please ask your medical practitioner before taking any advice or doing anything I say on this episode.

I was able to eat probably … my plan was I was going to eat the eggs and then finish up the third posture of the Miles Circuit, which was you can either go outside and do curb walking, or you can go on your stairs and basically walk up and down sideways on your stairs. I ate about half the eggs and I couldn’t finish them because my contractions started to get really, really intense. And that was about 3:00 PM. They were three to four minutes apart. And again, we’re texting our doula and saying, I think it’s time for you to come over now. She got to our house probably around 3:30 PM and on her way, or before she actually came over, she told Andrew my husband to get me into the bathtub and that would be a good test to see where I was really at. I got into the tub as she was on her way over and I am normally – I’m sure I’ve talked about this plenty of times on the podcast, just in general – I am very much a salt bath woman. I take multiple salt baths a week, if not like four or five, or six times a week. They are my happy place. They are where I go when I have any anxiety, any stress, any digestive upset. Salt baths are just one of my go-to remedies that seem to always calm me down.

What happened next was really interesting because I got into the bath and my labor kicked up. I could barely stay in there. I couldn’t lay on my back or my bottom. I was so uncomfortable and the labor was just at that point just 3 minutes apart between contractions and so I flipped over onto my hands and knees in the bath. That was the point where Alyssa the doula had not quite arrived yet where I looked at my husband and I was like; I’m getting out of here and we need to go to the hospital. And if I had not hired and worked with this amazing woman as a doula, I’m positive that we would have gone to the hospital at that point because I just felt really uncomfortable and things were just moving really, really fast cause basically within an hour and a half, two hours, I went from no contractions to contractions every three to four minutes, but then Alyssa arrived.

 

I was literally in our master bathroom, on our bathroom rug on all fours, completely naked. I think I might have a bra on actually when she walked in and I just had fluid leaking out of me onto the rug, so I was so happy to see her when she walked in and she’s like, I don’t think you need to go to the hospital yet. So, she helped us to slow contractions down and that meant moving into some different positions. This is where it gets a little bit blurry for me. I remember going down to the couch and doing some side-lying similar to the position I had been in for the Miles Circuit, and I remember her rubbing on the side of my bottom and just trying to relieve pain. We were there for a while, then we were also in my bed for a while. I have cannot remember. I think I was on all fours when I was in our bed. Again, we put a towel down and I’m just continuing to leak and leak and leak and having these contractions. But we were able to slow them down to probably – this is what my husband said cause again, this is all a little blurry for me. He said that they slowed down to probably every six or seven minutes, so that was a little bit of relief.

Then we got into the shower, I got into the shower and it was too much to try and stand up. So again, for some reason, hands and knees was my go-to position the entire time I labored at home. Hands and knees. And so my husband brought in a towel to the bathtub part of the shower and I got on my hands and knees and just let the hot water pound on my back, my low back and I was having back pain. So back labor and contractions throughout my abdomen as well so that felt really good. But again, the water amped things up and the intention was to slow things down, I think. But once I got in the shower, it just kicked up once again. So at that point, we started to think, okay, it’s probably about time to move, to get into the car to go to the hospital. I remember putting on underwear because I needed to wear some clothes into the hospital and out into public. And then they’re like, what do you want to wear? I remember them asking me, what do you want to wear? And I was like, I don’t know. Just grab a robe. I had just actually ordered this really long, cozy, comfy robe on Amazon for postpartum recovery, and I was like, just grab that. So I throw undies on, had a bra on already, put my robe on. Andrew packs up the car. Actually, he had packed up the car when we went to our NST test that morning because we didn’t know when we got there if we would have to potentially stay there. So it was mostly already packed. I think he had just had to throw one more bag in there and I walk out into our garage.

At this point, I’m moaning this whole time. I’m laboring loud. I was very vocal. Very, very vocal during contractions and just found that that was what really comforted me and allowed me to get into my zone was moaning, groaning, grunting the whole time I was in labor. Every time a contraction came on, I was just making really primal noises. So we walk out into the garage and the garage doors open. I remember seeing a man across the street who I didn’t recognize, but I went into a contraction before I could get into the car. So I’m between our cars inside of the garage and having a contraction right there. I think I leaned over onto my husband as it was happening. And then Alyssa and Andrew guided me to get into the backseat of the car and I just got onto all fours. The car seat was installed because we were prepared. We got the car seat all ready to go and so there wasn’t as much space for me to be on all fours, so I had a pillow on top of the installed car seat that I was just hugging for dear life and then my knees were on the seat.

One thing that was also really comforting to me – I don’t remember at what point I started doing this, and I don’t know if Andrew brought it to me or Alyssa brought it to me – but just a face cloth, folded hot dog style with warm water, and I was just holding that on my whole vagina/vulva/perinatal area. I had been doing that actually for a while during contractions, partially to not make a mess all over my house, but also because it felt really, really comforting. So I remember I had that in the car with a towel underneath me and I’m on all fours and we start moving. Alyssa is in the car in front of us guiding the way. Obviously, we’ve been to the midwives at the hospital many times, but she just guided us there. She and Andrew were on speakerphone with each other, just in case I felt the need to push while we were in the car. I remember her saying, let’s get on speaker phone just in case this baby comes in the car, something along those lines. I heard that and I was like, oh fuck! So I got into the car and in my head, I was like, this is not happening in the car. This is not happening in the car. I had a mantra actually that I was repeating in my head over and over again, and it’s again a bit of a blur, but I was talking to my baby. I was talking to her and saying, not yet, baby. Just a little bit longer, baby. Just a little bit. Can you wait a little bit longer, baby? A little bit longer, baby. Just talking to her, talking to her in my head. And somehow, I had been having these contractions 3, 4, 6 minutes apart for several hours at this point, and the 10-ish minute drive to the hospital, I didn’t have one contraction and it’s almost like my body just kind of tensed up and knew that it wasn’t time.

Actually, one of the books I was reading during pregnancy called Mind over Labor. It’s a short read, but there’s some interesting research that they lay out inside of that book, and I’m paraphrasing and just doing this from memory so I may not be exactly to the point of what they said in the book. But essentially there’s research on mice, and when mice get picked up out of their cage and they’re in labor, they’ll stop labor when they get picked up and held. And then there was another one where they’re put into a cage or a container where there was the smell of a cat. Same thing – it halted labor. And so I think of this now and I think my body is so instinctual and is so smart and intelligent that it knew like, okay, this is not the place that you want to give birth and not the safest place to deliver a baby so labor halted for me. It wasn’t a long time, but 10 minutes felt like a really long time at that point because I had been working so hard. My body had been working so hard to dilate and to get the baby’s head start to drop down. She had been head down for months, so I was confident that I had a head-down baby that hopefully was going to result in a vaginal unmedicated delivery.

The power of reframing birth plans with birth preferences

I loved the way that one of our birthing classes put it this way. Instead of having a birth plan, we had birth preferences and that felt really accessible to me because I am a planner. But if I had created a plan and been too attached to it, I think I would have been really disappointed. Instead, we just had birth preferences knowing that going into whenever this baby, whatever the day was that she decided to make her arrival, that ultimately I was going to do whatever I needed to do to increase the chances of having a happy, healthy baby, regardless of what that meant. Or if that meant that I needed to have a C-section or for some reason needed pain medication, that I was open to that, but what I preferred and what I had been visualizing in all my hypnosis practices was a vaginal, unmedicated, natural delivery.

So here we are in the car and I was talking to baby girl, talking to baby girl, talking to baby girl, in the back of my head thinking I might not make it, we might not make it, but as we got closer and closer and I didn’t look up once, but I could kind of sense the turns we were making and Andrew kept asking, are you okay? Are you okay? And then he would say, we’re almost there or we’re on this street or on Dylan. That was helpful. I don’t think he even knows that that was helpful. I don’t think we’ve talked about that yet, but that was helpful to know we’re getting there. We’re getting closer, we’re getting closer. We’re getting closer. The closer we get, the less likely I am to have this baby in the car. So we think it was around 6:30 when we arrived at the hospital. My husband and I were both a little blurry on that as well. I mean, time was just… The experience itself wasn’t a blur because I was completely present for it, but there were times when the pain waves, pressure waves were so intense that it felt a little blurry and time as a construct definitely blurred over this entire day. So we got out of the car and Alyssa parked next to us and she had all her stuff and she was like, don’t grab your stuff. We’re just going in. She told Andrew, come back down later and grab your bags. Let’s get into the hospital now. And I remember walking in and I was still like leaking everywhere and they have their little triage desks, especially with COVID. Total side note – this could be a whole other conversation and discussion and episode, but having a baby during COVID is a whole other thing.

We walked into their little triage station and I was not wearing a mask. I don’t know if I was supposed to. I honestly have no idea, but I remember sort of thinking oh, everyone’s wearing masks. Should I be wearing a mask? But my brain and my body were in a completely different place. And I think Andrew had to get his temperature taken to be a visitor, and then we had to just walk up one flight of stairs. So down the hall, one flight of stairs. I remember I think it was Alyssa who asked, do you want to take the elevator? And for some reason, I think it felt slower. I was like, that feels slow. So immediately, I said no, I just want to take the stairs. So we walked up that one flight of stairs and arrived at the triage center for the labor and delivery section of the birthing center within the hospital. And when we got there, I started having a contraction, so I remember just putting my arms on their front desk table and just leaning over and having the contraction. And they were asking for my ID. We had done pre-registration so we had done all the paperwork – thank God – but I think they just needed my ID and so Andrew got that out. He might’ve had to show something as well. I don’t know, but it was pretty brief, and then they shuffled us into a room and I think they literally just put us in the closest room they could get us into because I was clearly getting pretty close to having a baby.

And at that point, our nurse came in and my midwife came in, and then Alyssa (doula) was there and then Andrew (husband) was there. So those four individuals, three women, and my husband were all in the room with me and the midwife did a – pretty sure it was my midwife – she came in and did a vaginal exam, cervical exam to see how far I had progressed, and I was about 8 to 9 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. I remember we were in room 252. For some reason, I remember that so clearly. I think back on it and I think about just the knowledge and the wisdom and the experience that my doula brought into this process and she’d seen so many women birth that I felt like I could trust her completely, and that really made a huge difference for me in this entire experience. I, and my husband calls me out on it all the time, do not have hardly any trust for our medical system after trauma within chronic illness and my autoimmune journey. And so when Andrew and I were thinking about what kind of birth preferences we were going to have and where we were going to have this baby, I was more inclined to have a home birth and he was more inclined to have a hospital birth, and we kind of met in the middle and found this birth center within a hospital where I could work with a midwife and I could work with a doula. I felt confident that my needs and preferences would be validated and honored and respected. And like I said before, I would have definitely gone to the hospital at 3:00, 3:30 instead of 6:30 if Alyssa hadn’t been with us and I also realized once they told me those numbers, how perfectly timed we had gotten to the hospital. I don’t know how she does it, but I literally got there at the perfect time. The baby was not going to fall out of me in the car, but I was very close to getting ready to push. And that was ultimately my goal. My goal was to labor at home, in the comfort of my home for as long as possible, and then to go to the hospital, basically just to push. And that’s really what we ended up being able to do. I’m really, really grateful for that. And again, I feel like that was possible because I just surrendered all my trust over and said you’ve done this a million times. She knows what to look out for. I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. My body was made for this, but I’ve never been through it before and so it just felt honestly this warm hug of women around me, plus the love of my life next to me. It’s really hard to put into words.

I’m feeling emotional now because I felt so held and I got up onto the hospital bed, and I thought that I would probably – and Andrew and I talked about this a little bit and he agreed – that I’d probably push and deliver on hands and knees or more maybe even like a squat position. But when I got there, I laid on the bed, I believe for the vaginal exam and I did not want to get up. At that point, I was like I’m not getting up. I didn’t want to be on my back, so I turned onto my side, but I do remember all of them suggesting like, hey, cause there’s a spa in the birth center and it was open. I mean, there’s only one tub, but they had told me beforehand because I was like, oh, I’m probably going to want that. They said that it’s normally available. It’s normally open. There’s not a high demand for it so that I’d probably be able to get into it. So it was open and they’re like, okay, do you want to move to the tub? And I was just like, Nope, I do not want to get back into the water. The water and I are not friends today for the first time ever and I’m just going to trust that. I’m going to trust my intuition. I’m going to trust the sensations I’ve had in the water so far today. and I do not want to go into the tub. They’re like, do you want to get into the shower because you have your shower within your room. And I was like, nope. Me and water. Nope. We’re not going into the shower either.

I had options to move around, to get onto all fours, to sit up and I just did not want to. I don’t know how else to explain it other than my body was like this is where we’re camping out. This is where you’re going to stay. So I turned over onto my right side. I preferred for some reason to be on that side and just instinctually, intuitively bent my top knee and kind of pulled it up towards my chest and I asked for the peanut. It’s like two balls kind of stuck together so I asked for that to be able to put in between my legs. They grabbed that and I put that in between my legs and just laid on my side, and my husband was literally forehead to forehead with me. Actually, I don’t know why we got into this position, but he had his hand on my face. So instead of putting my head down on the pillow, my head was resting in his hand and at one point – we laughed about this later -but of course everyone – not everyone, but a few of my close friends and family – knew I was going to have a baby that day and was in labor, and so they knew not to text me, but they were texting him and he wears an Apple watch and his Apple watch was buzzing and at one point he just literally ripped it off his wrist and threw it on the ground. He was like, ah, stop! It wasn’t bothering me, but it was bothering him and it was buzzing my face. So if you texted my husband, if he texted Andrew during that time, and you’re listening to this, you might’ve been part of my labor.

So he was holding my face and we would kind of lock eyes and then I would look down and then I would look at the midwife and the doula and the nurse, and my nurse’s name is Brynn and she was a fucking rock star. I feel so lucky. I feel so, so lucky to have had her by my side. So she was always on the opposite side of Andrew and she was pushing and just massaging my low back and my hip. I just remember thinking, I fucking love you. This is amazing! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you because there was a ton of back pain and contractions were hard. So Andrew’s there and then my midwife’s literally just sitting at the foot of the bed kind of giving space, and then Alyssa is by Andrew coaching me, and they’re all checking in with each other. Everyone’s communicating really, really well, but she’s just checking in with me and coaching me through some things and some suggestions. And also, when we got there – I don’t even know how she did this so fast – but when we got, I might’ve been having the vaginal exam or something. All of a sudden, the lights were dim. There were like cool projector lights on the ceiling that was – I don’t even know – colorful lights just moving around slowly in circles because she has this little projector. And then she had this – gosh, I can’t even think of the name of it – like a banner. This really beautiful kind of … it reminds me of a lot of things that I saw in India when I traveled there and she put this beautiful banner up and it had pompoms on it and it was just beautiful colors and the mood was set. I had brought stuff that was in my bags that I had not planned to set up, but a lot of comfort things that I thought I would use, like my essential oils and we didn’t have our bags so we didn’t have any of that, and that was totally fine. But she stepped up and set the mood immediately.

And then in one of our prenatal appointments, Alyssa had asked me what kind of music do you listen to, or what would you want to listen to? And at the time I was like, oh my gosh! I have no idea what I’m going to be in the mood for when it actually comes to labor and delivery. But I think what I’m going to want is to listen to mantras and I sing mantras, do Kundalini Kriya to a mantra, just listen to mantra all the time, play mantra string when I teach yoga. And I thought that’s maybe something that I’ll want to listen to because it’s very meditative. It’s very therapeutic. So I think she turned on like a birthing mantra and then I remember her asking me what mantra do you want to listen to, cause I think she just did that out of memory. I love the album. It’s called Mantras for Divine Grace, and so she turned that one on and I remember when one specific mantra song came on that translates in English to courage. It’s the courage mantra and that really inspired me. There was another one on that album that has some English lyrics that say ‘and I’m coming home and I’m coming home and I’m coming home’, and for some reason, I locked into that one as well as the courage one and the coming home one. I just thought my baby is arriving today. She’s coming home. She’s coming home. She’s going to be here so soon. And at this point, I’m pushing. So listening to the mantras, looking up at these beautiful lights in the ceiling, and starting to just mother led pushing. No one told me to start pushing. My body just was like, okay, it’s time. Let’s go.

Learning to balance the trust in experience and wisdom of others with the primal strength and knowledge of the body

Alyssa was coaching me a lot in the way that I was actually moaning, and again, it was very, very primal, but there’s a tendency because this is the most intense thing I’ve ever done in my entire life and the most pain that I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, at least on a physical level. And the tendency is to want to panic and to go really high up in your throat and your chest. I know that our parasympathetic nervous system is in the base of our lungs and I teach breathwork, but at that moment, my body wanted to go into these high notes as I pushed and she coached me down into my low tones and this low grunting push. That was also really, really helpful because when I change that tone in my throat and in my voice and in the push, the pushing was way more effective. I could feel it in my body that when I moaned into my belly, instead of into my throat, that baby was moving so much faster through the birthing canal. And so I, each time was just working on that like low tone, and I remember her telling me down and out, down and out, Sarah. Down and out, and then she kept saying, ‘bring your baby into the light. Bring your baby into the light.’.

So lights on the ceiling, bring the baby into the light when I was pushing, think of down and out, down and out. And so that continued for …. I would say the really intense pushing was about an hour, like 8:30 to, she arrived at 9:25 in the evening. Did most of my pushing during that hour and I continued to hold that warm face cloth on my labia. So at this point, my vaginal opening was exposed and her head was starting to show and she was crowning and my midwife, I remember was putting a little bit of pressure on the perinatal area, but I was holding a towel on my labia. And I remember them asking me, you don’t have to do that, or do you want us to do that? And I just remember saying this is really comforting to me. For some reason, I want my hand down between my legs and I just want to press and hold myself and that’s just what felt comforting. We ended up having to flip from side to side. The whole time, at least once I started pushing, they had the heart rate monitor. They set it on my belly and actually in the beginning they had tried to put one of those sleeves on my belly so that it would have just held there naturally or with the sleeve and I couldn’t. My contractions were too intense. They couldn’t get it on me so she just would rest it on my belly. And there were several times where I don’t know exactly what happened, but baby’s heart rate was not looking ideal, so they would have me flip over to my left side and then Andrew and Brynn, the nurse would switch positions and he’d come over so he was always with my face and I was always able to look at him and talk to him and he was talking to me throughout the entire thing too. Encouraging me and saying oh my gosh, babe. One more push. She’s almost here and just witnessing the entire process as well, and that was really beautiful to have him again, holding my face and holding my hand that whole time.

So we would flip from side to side until baby’s heart rate started to fluctuate and then I’d flip again. And at some point, I just felt like this uncontrollable urge to poop and it was a question I had in birthing class. Does this happen often? What happens when you poop? I know it’s actually quite common and quite normal, but am I going to poop? How can I not poop because I don’t really want to poop, but the castor oil definitely increased the chances of my pooping during pushing, and that did happen to me. I remember pretty clearly being on my right side and again, surrounded by this warm blanket of feminine energy, plus my husband’s divine masculine energy and just being like, oh, it’s happening. And I just sort of picked my head up. I didn’t sit up. I just picked my head up and said I’m going to have diarrhea and sure enough, some loose stool came out. I never saw it. I never had to deal with it. They literally just ripped the pad out from underneath my butt, rolled it up and replaced it right away. But I sat back and had clearly known what I had just done and felt so bad. I started crying and I was like, oh, I’m so sorry. And Brynn, the nurse, bless her fucking heart. She was just like pooping progress. Pooping is progress.

I didn’t feel judged or really… I mean, I was embarrassed for a moment, but it passed so quickly and my intention just went right back to pushing this baby out and it really wasn’t a big deal at all. So we were flipping side to side. At this point, that last hour or so of pretty intense pushing – down and out, down and out, bringing the baby into the light, having Andrew by my side – and they had me put my hand down when she did start to crown and I remember feeling her head. She came out with a head of hair so I could feel her hair, and it was just super squishy and soft when I felt this tiny sliver of her head, and so it was really hard to tell what was exactly going on. And so at that point she had started to crown, but I wasn’t making a lot of progress. And so I think it was Brynn who asked, hey, do you want me to go get you the mirror? And my brain was just foggy. And it was just like, I don’t know. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know. And she’s like, I’m going to go get you the mirror. And I was like, okay, okay. So she went and got this rolling, standing mirror and brought it in at the end of the bed so that I could see what was happening and I’m actually really grateful for that and that she suggested that. I think everyone was on board with that being something that I probably would benefit from, and that was also something in our birth preferences that I said I probably would want, because I know that my personality is such that I’m a very visual person. So if I can see it and I realized that I’m not making as much progress as I thought I was, I’m going to work harder and that’s basically what happened. They put the mirror there and I was able to see that opening where her head was, but it was so much smaller than what I had imagined I touched.

So I realized that, okay, she’s almost here yes, and I’ve got a lot of stretching and a lot of pushing still to do to get her whole head out because that looks like a sliver so it was really helpful to see that. And then as I would then push, I would look in the mirror. Sometimes I closed my eyes. Sometimes I was just with Andrew. Other times I was looking just dead on in that mirror and watching as her head … Push and her head would go under and pass my pubic bone and you could see her whole head almost come out, and then my push would come to a natural end and it would kind of suck back in. So then I would push again and at this point I was pushing pretty… I was exhausted, but every time I had the energy pushing, pushing, pushing, and was really motivated to bring baby down and out and into the light ASAP.

So I would watch my progress and this is my first delivery and I think I was just really tight and my midwife ended up grabbing some birthing oil and just helping doing some perinatal massage to help. So I would push and she would stretch and I would watch the push to be over and then we would do it again. I would push, watch. She would stretch and that was obviously very uncomfortable, but I was so grateful that she was doing that because it felt like a little step up, like a little cheat. Obviously, it wasn’t cheating, but it was like, oh my God, it just like a little bit of help, this little bit of help for my body that allowed everything to stretch a little bit faster, but still in this organic way that allowed baby’s head to actually fit. And she had been in that one kind of spot for so long that we needed to get things moving. We needed to get things going, and that’s also when we realized that she was face up.

She was head down, but face up. So that’s called OP and that’s not what you ideally want. You want them to be face down so that the hardest part of their head, the back of their head can be the part that’s pushing against the most flexible part of your pelvis and the pubic bone, and then they usually like twist and turn as they come out. But during the pushing process, the back of the head is pushing on your pubic bone. So there they’re facing more towards your butt. Our little Emerson was face up so her whole nose and face was just getting smashed up against my pubic bone. That, as far as I understand it, isn’t any sort of serious complication or anything, but it can cause more painful pushing and more painful labor and oftentimes back labor. So again, I was having back labor and was definitely feeling all of her little features that are so adorable and so cute and I just want to touch them all day now, but right up in there as I was pushing. At that point I was getting the perineal massage, watching in the mirror, listening to the mantras and I remember Andrew telling me Babe, one more. She’s coming on the next one. You’ve got this, you’ve got this. One more good push! P.S. He had it in his mind that he wanted to just be with me, and we talked about it later and he was imagining more separation between my vagina and my head, like there would be more distance or something, which is kind of funny, but it all sort of makes sense.

And so he was up by my head, but he could very easily see everything that was happening down below. Oh. And at this point, everyone realized she was about to arrive. I had been just in my bra the entire time and I pulled my bra off because we wanted to make my breasts available for when she did come out to then go straight into skin to skin, chest connection. So bra comes off. Andrew’s watching the entire thing and totally fascinated. He tells the story now, and I’m actually going to have him on the podcast and do an interview recap, more like his point of view of this entire experience, because I think it’ll be really interesting, but what he said so far is that it was the most terrifying experience that he’s ever had and at the same time, so beautiful. It’s so intense and so beautiful. It’s so terrifying cause he was just worried about me and he was worried about baby, but there’s no way he could look away. He watched everything. So anyways, last push. There she comes. And I could tell okay, this is it. This is it and she basically just shot out. Her head came out and then I had to continue to push her shoulders out.

With that last push, her head, her whole body, her shoulders, her little booty all came out at once and Courtney, the midwife caught her and just put her straight, straight up onto my chest. It happened so fast and put her belly onto my breast, and then I remember the nurses just putting blankets on top of her immediately and just wiping her off a tiny bit. We asked not to do a bath while we were at the hospital. We didn’t want her bathed. We wanted to wait until she got home, and then the research I’d done shows the benefits of leaving some of that beautiful white gooey stuff on their body, leaving that on and actually just rubbing that into their skin. And so we just had her on my chest. They did a little bit of suction in her mouth, but she started crying right away and I just got to hold her and feel her. I thought that I was going to have this really teary, almost sobbing reaction when that happened. But honestly this was the most intense thing I had ever done in my life and my body felt more in shock, and so it was beautiful in its own. But there was also a lot of shock where my whole body started just trembling and shaking and kind of involuntarily convulsing. So at that point I was on my butt, on my back, knees bent and had her on my chest and was holding her but my legs were just shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking. And I remember looking down at her and just being like “my baby.” We didn’t have a name for her yet either so I didn’t know what to call her. It was just like “my baby, my baby, my baby girl, my baby girl.” Oh my God. It was just so incredible. So, so incredible.

Andrew got emotional and was just right there with us, and we kept her on my chest because of the benefits of that mother-to-baby skin contact for about the first hour, so the poor guy had to wait a while to actually hold her, but was just staring. You couldn’t take your eyes away, just staring at her with me for that first hour. She came out very cone-headed and we both were a little, I think, shocked at first at how cone-headed she was, but within an hour or two that had really gone down almost all the way. It was fascinating and incredible and just so crazy. So had her on my chest and that’s when the placenta has to come out. So we still had her umbilical cord attached until it stopped pulsing. We decided to do delayed cord clamping. And I would say probably five minutes, maybe. Again, time’s a little bit of a blur, but I think after about five minutes, I remember the midwife saying that my cord had stopped pulsing and did Andrew want to cut it? He wasn’t planning on cutting it, but they just were like here it is. Do you want to cut it? And he was like, oh, okay so he did and I think it’s special that he did.

Ultimately it would have been fine if he didn’t, but he did. He cut the cord after it stopped pulsing, but my placenta still hadn’t come out. So they ended up having to do some fundal massage and we were going to wait to breastfeed until the placenta came out just to not overwhelm my body too much, but we ended up, I don’t know if needing is the right word, but deciding that it would be best to start breastfeeding pretty quickly after the cord was cut because my placenta had not come out and that nipple stimulation of breastfeeding can encourage contractions and can encourage the placenta to come out.

So I started breastfeeding, which little girl just latched right away. It’s just so wild to me that my body knew exactly how to nourish this baby, and she knew exactly what to do to get there and we actually watched. She was on my chest and they’re like, yeah, babies basically start to crawl. They will kind of bend their knees to crawl up to your boob instinctually so she started doing that. She was getting her knees all up in my belly, trying to find the nipple, and that was also a really good indication and sign that it was time to start breastfeeding pretty much right away and she latched right away as well. So she’s latched, breastfeeding, placenta still not out, but the cord is cut and I don’t remember this but Andrew remembers. Brynn, the fucking amazing nurse. She said, you know, it’s been 25 minutes. Just so you know, we’re at 25 minutes and typically they want that out by 30 minutes. So things were coming down to the wire as far as needing to get the placenta out, and I was also having a fair amount of bleeding so they were a little bit concerned about that, but I don’t remember ever feeling like there was any sort of panic. Everyone was really calm, but it just felt like we need to do something. And at that point, my midwife said I really think that you would benefit from just not an IV injection or hookup to Pitocin, but just like a thigh injection of Pitocin in order to get the contractions back going in order to get this placenta out in the next five minutes. So I remember like turning to Alyssa again. Trust – trust was a big thing for me and being like, do I have to, because I really just didn’t want anything in my body. I was like, is this really what I need to do? Is that what I should do? And she’s like, Courtney’s a midwife. Trust her. Yes. Yes, you need to do this. Obviously, it was still my choice. She didn’t say I had to do it so I was like, okay, okay. Let’s just do the Pitocin and they gave me the option of in the IV, which they had hooked up just in case there was any emergencies, but it was just the port. Nothing ended up getting hooked up to my IV ever. I didn’t even do a saline bag or anything like that.

So they did the Pitocin in the thigh and at that point, Courtney, my midwife instructed me to start pushing again. So I probably had, gosh, maybe two or three big pushes to get the placenta out. Once it came out, Andrew, first of all was like, holy shit! What is that? And again, my little warm blanket of women was all kind of like, that is a big ass placenta. So apparently, and I had nothing to compare it to, but apparently, I had a very large placenta. I can’t remember if they waited or not, but I think they were guessing on kind of how much it weighed, and at this point, Andrew also went over and she was like, do you want to see it? And he actually put gloves on and held it up, and you could see the little tear where the amniotic SAC had been torn and my water had broken. So it was really cool, but it was not comfortable to push again. However, that pushing was not anything like little baby girl’s head. So placenta came out just in time. And my doula Alyssa ended up taking my placenta home with her to then deliver to my placenta lady to get encapsulated with some herbs to help with some postpartum healing.

The thing that really sold me on investing in getting it encapsulated is how it can at least anecdotally benefit postpartum or prevent postpartum anxiety and depression, and that’s something – anxiety – for me I’ve been concerned about. And actually, I haven’t really felt it, but wanting to have the option for the placenta to take in capsules, should I need it. So she took the placenta or ended up taking it at that point. She’s still there, but my midwife then stitched me up. I had two tears, perineal and one in my inner labia, and both required just a couple of little stitches. They were both first-degree tears so not major. I was pretty happy about that. I think a lot of the oiling up helps, but I also had done a ton of preparation for cervical ripening and getting my body ready. That would be a whole other conversation and episode, and this one’s already been long, but I had a lot of things to prepare my body for this moment. So I think that that really had a lot to do with how little I tore, and also that I was able to labor at home until eight to nine centimeters dilated.

So at this point I have my baby on my chest and I’m still trembling and sort of in shock, but just so overcome with emotion, so overcome with emotion that it’s just so surreal. This child now on my chest that I grew inside of my body for the last 39 weeks and one day. That’s when she came – 39 weeks and one day to her due date and at maybe an hour or so after she had breastfed a little bit and we had done some good skin to skin, the delivery nurse came in and that’s when they did all of her stats. They kept her in the room the whole time we were there. They took her out of the room once, but otherwise, she was on me or with us the entire time. They weighed her and she was 6 pounds, 15 ounces, which I was super surprised. I thought I was about to have an 8-pound baby. That’s just how I felt, but it turns out I had a lot of fluid and a really large placenta, so that might’ve been kind of what I was feeling. So she was 6 pounds, 15 ounces, just under seven pounds; 20 and a quarter inches. We – and these are super personal preferences. I respect everyone’s decisions – but we got the vitamin K shot, but we opted out of the erythromycin ointment, and also out of the Hepatitis B shot. They did her footprints, and then Andrew finally got his daddy’s skin to skin time and that was actually a really, really special moment for me.

So again, my body was just like, what did we just do? And then I just got to watch him and just witness the charge nurse. He was taking pictures as she was doing the stats, and then he stripped his shirt off and went into the chair in the room and she brought baby over to him for his skin to skin and just put baby girl onto his chest for the first time and he was just overcome with emotion. I was overcome with emotion watching him get to hold her for the first time and just bond with her and be with her for his first moments of fatherhood, the way that I got my skin to skin for those first moments of motherhood. He probably had skin to skin for another hour, and I think we finally got to rest and baby went to sleep around maybe 2:00 AM that night. So again, delivery was at 9:25, placenta, stats, all the things. And everyone actually left the room. Alyssa and midwife probably left within an hour of her delivery. The nurse was coming in and out just to check on us, Brynn. But other than that, they were really cognizant of giving us family time. So we just got the room to ourselves and we just got to bond, the three of us, and it was quiet and so special and we were exhausted. So again, I think around 2:00 AM, we finally got some rest. So that was exactly 24 hours after I had been originally woken up by the gush of my water breaking.

Hello, podcast fan. Just popping in for a second because in this postpartum period now that my daughter Emerson is officially one month old today. It has flown by and yet been such a blur, and breastfeeding is hard work. I have a whole newfound respect for how much you need to supplement and hydrate and give your body the nutrients that it needs in order to be breastfeeding. So, one thing that has been supporting me so much is having my container of electrolytes next to me pretty much all day long. I, as you guys have heard me talk about before, I’m a huge fan of LMNT electrolytes. They are salty and delicious, and there are some amazing flavors. My current favorite is their new flavor watermelon, but I also love the raspberry, the citrus, the orange. They’re all really good. Electrolytes are charged minerals that conduct electricity to power our nervous system, and mine has felt a little bit fried lately because we are not sleeping through the night. We are getting max about three hours of sleep at any given time, so regulating my hydration as well as my husband’s, and balancing fluids inside and outside of my cells has been so supportive. Literally feels lifesaving. And as a Uncensored Empath podcast listener, you get to try these amazing electrolytes for free. You just pay $5 in shipping. You get a free sample pack. Simply go to drinkLMNt.com\empath to try it out. Again, that’s drinkLMNt.com\empath. I’d love for you to let me know what your favorite flavor is, and tag me over on Instagram.

We were also pretty adamant on as little hospital birth center time as possible. So when they came the next night, so this was Saturday evening and then Sunday was Mother’s Day and we got to spend it with her in our room. And I don’t even know what we did. We just kept this baby alive. We just fed and stared at this baby all day and tried to eat and tried to drink enough to stay hydrated and everything my body had just been through. Obviously, it was still healing and I was really sore and actually had my first – this is probably TMI for some people – but I had my first bowel movement at the hospital that next day and it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was definitely a little nervous and a little freaked out, but it was fine. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was fine. And so that night they did her 24-hour check. The team came in and she was down 4%. I don’t think I realized this, but babies often drop weight when they’re firstborn, and then it takes them a little bit of time to get back up to their birth weight. So she was down just 4% of body weight down to 6 pounds, 10 point something ounces and that was really good. It wasn’t too much weight loss. And she passed her hearing test and everything with flying colors. So we were like, can we leave? So obviously we weren’t going to leave at 10 o’clock at night, but I asked if then in the morning. We wanted to get some rest, and then I asked if in the morning we could leave as soon as possible so they made that happen. We had to see the pediatrician; the midwife had to come back in. They had to get a lot of paperwork ready for us, but otherwise, we were ready to go. And so by noon, the next day we were out of there, discharged. Peace. Thank you but see you later. I want to go home. It was under 48 hours, under 48 hours that we had in our room, in our birthing center, and we had our first car ride home.

And that was another thing that I heard a lot of moms say, it was so scary and they were so freaked out about that first car ride home. I sat in the backseat with her just because we didn’t have the mirror installed yet, and I just wanted to be close to her and Andrew drove us, but I didn’t feel this over-protective sense or anything. It was just a 10-minute drive home. Super simple, not stressful. Obviously, we were driving really careful, but I didn’t think it was super stressful or scary the way that I had heard a lot of people talk about. Then the next day we went to go see our pediatrician. At the hospital, we just saw the on-call peed, but then the pediatrician that we’re choosing to work with, we went to go see the next day, which was recommended because when they come out cone headed like that, I guess there was a little bit of bruising on her head and that increases the chance of jaundice. So they wanted to make sure we got seen because we left the hospital so early. They’re like, well, if you’re going to leave this early, probably should go see your pediatrician. I was like, okay, cool. We can do that.

So Tuesday, this is about 48 hours after, maybe a little bit more than 48 hours after her birth. They weighed her at that appointment and she was already back up to six pounds, 13 ounces, so just two ounces under her birth weight, and the pediatrician was like, how did you do that? And I was like, I don’t know. She eats a lot. She sleeps a lot and she loves breast milk. My breast milk also came in really quickly. I would say, well, I guess I don’t have anything to compare it to, but my colostrum came in at least a month before she came and I was having some leaking of colostrum before she even arrived. My milk came in, I would say probably day three post-delivery. So I think that’s probably why she got back up so quickly. And then we’ve actually had one more appointment now. So we went back two days ago and she had already gained 11 more ounces and was over 7 pounds now to 7 pounds, 8 ounces. And once they get over 7 pounds or past their birth weight, that’s when you can start to do some less scheduled feedings, and so we’re starting to wean away from that every two to three hours so you get 8 to 12 feedings in a day and moving towards baby-led feeding, which feels much more intuitively aligned for me. That allows us to have maybe even a 5 hour stretch in between feedings so mama and daddy can get a little bit of sleep.

So as of two days ago, we’ve been getting a little bit more rest and this past week, my mom’s been here. She’s been – she’s gone now – but so supportive and just not baby stuff, because really, it’s like me for the baby stuff, and Andrew has been so incredible. He is changing all the diapers and waking up with me every single time, and just really, really being there for me and for baby. He’s so incredible to watch him as a father. My mom has been doing the dishes and the laundry and cooking for us and it’s been really helpful, and I didn’t know if I would want that, but I’m really glad that we were able to have that support.

And then we’ve just been doing all the firsts. Her first bath when we got home, first explosive diaper, her first walk. We went for just a really short walk the first time. We’ve been on two walks now. The second time we took both the dogs and we went a little bit longer and that was a little bit more chaotic, but good. Her first time getting lotioned up and oiled up and doing baby massage, and wearing certain outfits that I was excited to put her into, and just her first time getting her nails filed. All of these firsts have been so incredible to just be so present for. And that’s another interesting thing is I wasn’t sure kind of how I would be spending this time or what we would be doing more literally, other than breastfeeding and trying to sleep. First of all, breastfeeding is hard work. Hard work! So that’s what I’m spending most of my time on is breastfeeding like 8 hours a day, and then trying to sleep when I can.

And then a lot of it is just like, I am so fucking in love with this child that I just stare at her and I don’t do anything. I just stare at her and touch her little soft skin and smell her little baby body, and that has been really special as well. There’s not been this pressure to do anything or get back into anything as I mentioned at the beginning. This is one of the only things I’m feeling called to do right now is record this because I want to capture this moment in time and I want to be able to come back to this for myself, and I want to be able to openly share this with others who are curious about my experience, but also maybe going through this experience themselves, even though we all have different journeys.

I asked you guys on Instagram the other day which I’ve been checking in on every once in a while, mostly just to make sure my team is doing okay and then also to provide some little updates, but someone asked was the hospital accommodating to all of my preferences and everything you know I desired. And my answer is yes. My answer is absolutely yes, yes, yes. They were very accommodating. I didn’t feel judged or like I was doing the wrong thing, even though some of the decisions I made were probably not what they normally saw. Actually, we saw a lactation consultant in the hospital before we left, and she was very complimentary of my husband and I, and that felt really, really good. Part of what she said was that we just seemed really confident and that we were ready to go home. A lot of couples are not ready to go home after 24 hours, but she’s like, you guys are. Go home. And so that was really good. Like again, one other thing she said is that she doesn’t see the way that we chose to birth very often and it was kind of refreshing for her. I say that not to say that that’s how you should do it, or anyone should do anything a certain way, but that was what I desired. And in her feedback, she reflected back to us that a lot of why the baby was thriving was because we were able to do it that way. If I had had to do it a different way, I would have done it a different way. You just never know how your baby wants to arrive earth side and again, birth preferences over birth plan and surrendering to however baby wanted to make her appearance.

Oh, and I would say the next day, so 9:25 PM she arrived, probably the next day by like 2-ish we had a name. So it took us a while, over 12 hours, but we picked a name by the next afternoon, and so we were able to fill out her social security paperwork and her birth certificate. We arrived on Emersyn with a Y – E M E R S Y N -Jordan. Emersyn’s just a name that we liked that was kind of in our top five. And then Jordan is after my brother, Jordan. And then she has her daddy’s last name St. John ST JOHN. Emersyn Jordan St. John. And honestly, we just both after looking at her and actually seeing her face for those 12 or so hours, we both were just like she’s an Emersyn. That’s who she is. We’re still playing with calling her Emersyn, calling her Emmy. We also like Em J, E M and then J for her middle initial, Em J. I call her Emmy J sometimes. She’s got all sorts of nicknames already and she’s 12 days old.

And then the other question I got and Instagram was just what I was most surprised by. And I actually haven’t mentioned this yet, but my plan that was again more of a preference, but I thought that I was going to want to be headphones on plugged into my hypno babies’ recordings the entire time I was laboring and then during pushing as well, and that just ended up not being the case. I loved listening to the birthing day affirmations during that Mile Circuit when my contractions first started, but then I had no desire to listen to those hypnosis recordings during contractions or labor. And instead, it almost felt like, and I’m sure some people would totally disagree and have had totally different experiences, but it felt too distracting to me. I just wanted it to be one with my body and this baby’s body that was moving through me, and I just channeled more of a primal energy that just zoned everybody and everything out, except for those little bits that I remember. Moments with my husband, things he said. Hearing that courage mantra, hearing that coming home lyrics, and one of the other mantras. Those things I kind of latched onto, but mostly I was in my little warm bubble. And so I’m surprised that I didn’t listen and it felt perfect the way that I chose to do it for me. And I know that there was still massive benefit to have listened for those two plus months, every night before bed, those prep hypnosis recordings because I used some of the cues that were in them. Like there’s an orange hypno anesthesia that you can cue, and so I was visualizing the color orange around my cervix and my vaginal opening as I was pushing. And that was part of the tools and techniques that was taught in the recordings, even though I wasn’t listening to them in that moment. And then the bubble of light was also part of it, and I felt very much in my bubble the entire time as well.

So I used skills, tools, techniques from the recordings, but I just didn’t listen to them. I wanted to be more just primal in my body. Again, we had the mantra music on the background, but mostly I was just really focused on the work, on the pushing, on the labor, on the pressure waves, on meeting my daughter for the first time. All right, y’all. That is my birth story. We are 12 days in, so obsessed with this child. I love her so much. So, so much. I just look at her and I just tear up and I’m just so in love. My husband does the same thing. We just stare at her together and give her kisses and wonder what we were even doing in our life before she got here. So obviously this is a big shift and a big change and a whole new journey I’m about to or am embarking on called motherhood and I’m excited to see what other inspiration and changes that brings into my life as a whole.

So our days now are slow yet busy with the baby, and I’m planning to take another three to four weeks off to just be with Emersyn and with Andrew, and we have some other family coming in to visit and to meet her for the first time and something I told Andrew in planning some of the postpartum stuff was just that my family has seen so much darkness in the last six years and almost seven. It’ll actually be seven years next month, since my brother Jordan died, who Emersyn’s now partially named after, and there’s just been this darkness and the sadness and stress and drama and overwhelm and massive grief of unsurmountable losses of Jordan and Joe, and it just felt so good to bring light into the world and now to be able to share that light with my family who has also experienced so much dark and not to depend on her or put pressure on her to be this light for us, but just something to be fucking happy. Just pure joy and happiness over this beautiful, divine child who chose Andrew and I as her parents, and I feel so blessed and I feel so grateful that she chose us, that she came down as our spirit baby and our rainbow baby after a loss and miscarriage last year. And she feels like just this little light in our lives that I am just so, so grateful and I cannot wait to see the person that she becomes and the things that she wants to do, wants to create, wants to experience. And one of my goals as a mother is just to let her be herself and to experience the freedom to be herself in this life. Okay.

She’s taking a nap right now and it’s about time to go wake her up for another feed, but thank you all so much for listening. I hope that you’ve gained something from this and regardless of what stage of life you’re in, if you want kids or don’t, if you’re currently a mother or not, or maybe you are a mother in a different way, I hope that there was a part of today’s conversation and my sharing with you that resonated or that you’ll take with you. Okay. I love you all so much. Thank you for listening to this really intimate experience of my birth story. I would love to hear from you all if you have your birth story, or maybe you have a blog or a recording, or you posted about it, I would love to read yours as well. I just think that we all have different experiences and it’s so helpful to and interesting, captivating to be able to hear people’s vast array of experiences. Okay. I will see you guys next time.

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July 14, 2021

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