It’s Birth Story day on the podcast! Doula Rachael chats with a dear doula client, April West. April shares how she prepared for her home birth including: How she chose to have a home birth, how she chose her home birth midwife, how she prepared for giving birth prenatally, the tools she filled her tool bag with, her husband’s incredible support along the way.
April also shares about her home birth: how it started, how it progressed, and how she navigated a long pushing stage and how she overcame hard obstacles to avoid transferring to the hospital.
April is the co-host of the “Moms Off The Record” podcast. “Moms Off The Record” dares to discuss taboo and prevalent themes around pregnancy, birth, and postpartum life. If you prioritize nature over pharma, mom’s intuition over “expert” advice, and think critically with every decision you make, then this podcast is for you. Be sure to check it out!Support the show
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Editing: Godfrey Sound
Music: "Freedom” by Roa
Disclaimer: The information shared, obtained, and discussed in this podcast is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional consultation with a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your individual medical needs. By listening to this podcast you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having. This disclaimer includes all guests or contributors to the podcast.
Today it's just doula Rachel and I have a dear dear client and friend and doula family member here today April West. She is a home birth mama and she is going to share her story with us.
Hello, and welcome to the aligned birth podcast. We are so glad you're here. I'm Dr. Shannon of prenatal chiropractic.
And I'm Rachel of birth doula and childbirth educator and we are the team behind the aligned birth. Podcast.
Between us we have experienced as a Syrian birth a VBAC, hospital births and homebirth our personal experience has led us to where we are today we share a lot in common.
We are friends from high school who reconnected through our work. We both changed career paths after the birth of our own children. We light up when talking about health and birth and we are both moms to two young boys.
This podcast was created to share conversations and interviews about topics pregnancy and birth and motherhood and the importance of a healthy body and mind through it all. Our goal is to bring you fun, interesting and helpful conversations that excite you and make you want to learn more.
We believe that when you are aligned and body, mind and your intuition, you can conquer anything. We hope you enjoyed the episode.
thank you happy to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Yes. So would you mind telling us what made you want to have a homebirth
little boy floated I wouldn't say I was generally a skeptic of health care systems growing up right so I frequent their urgent care, cut my finger have weird cramps or something. But I guess it was kind of the onset of COVID that really started to make raise an eyebrow with just the system. And then when I became pregnant, gal pal of mine who is in the neighborhood actually told me about her third son, she had a waterbirth and it wasn't at home. It wasn't a birth center. And I was like, Wow, that sounds interesting. And then I watched the business of being born by Ricki Lake. I was settled it was a done decision at that point
documentary has been changing lives for decades left, right
and center and it's just crazy because you know, when you think well, I should say when I thought of the term midwife. I just had this weird blue kind of witchcraft somewhere squatting in a field, what is the stuff? But that was my first real glimpse into the reality of midwifery and from there, I was like, Okay, well, the system is not really designed to support women in physiologic birth. And I'm one who thinks nature is beautiful. I think the the female body is amazing. So it didn't take a lot of convincing from there to decide that, hey, this is something worth doing and looking into.
Yeah, that is so cool. So probably like led by one. One Stone did
it open Pandora's box? For sure. Because then it was like, I couldn't wait to talk to my husband Hunter about it. It was where can I get more of this? When I found you gal, you shared some resources, books, podcasts and that just really opened the door for me. Now, I'm incredibly passionate about physiologic birth because I feel now that I'm on the other side of it. It's such a profound and sacred thing that you get to be a part of do and so many women unfortunately don't really get to feel that or a body that realize that so it's a it's something I'm incredibly passionate about down to
something inside of you. I know it has and that is so cool. I love when that happens. The ripple effect of a positive birth experience or just the power of birth in general, but really, to have that kind of where you're cracked wide open and you see the potential and then a kind of like that fire inside of you and you're like I want to help other people. You know, tap into this and expose this more and I can and I know you're doing important things to keep that going. Yeah. Tell me also, what elements when you decided you wanted a home birth what elements of having a home birth were most important to you?
Um I think it's a great question. I think the safety the SIR Dr. Sarah Buckley describes it well. It's about feeling private, safe and unobserved. And that's what I wanted. I wanted to feel like I was empowered. But I also wasn't a spectacle to be watched. I wasn't something to intervene with it. I also just really had this beautiful vision of bringing my daughter into the world in a really safe environment, and a comfortable environment. And I knew that wouldn't take place and the hospital setting. I don't like hospitals. I think they're kind of you know, there for sick and diseased and just doesn't sound like a great place to spend your very first day of life. Right? So yeah, yeah, private,
safe and undisturbed is hard to achieve in the hospital setting and I know you agree that like we want that medical system there. When we need it. But for burly, it doesn't necessarily line up to support that normal physiological birth which is like really that minimally interfered with mentally disturbed and home is a great place for that. Can you tell me a little bit about what you looked for in your home birth? Minmei why for anything you learned about the process of looking for a home birth midwife, because I like you said like your original perception of midwifery and then sort of the what what shifted there for you?
Well, funny story. When I was after watching that documentary, I went straight to the internet of like, Where can I find this kind of care? And I Googled midwifery and northern Georgia and your gals, you North Atlanta, birth services popped up, and I had no idea what a doula was. I wasn't looking for a doula. But there was some sort of education class that was being advertised. And so I clicked you know, find out more whatever the intake form was, and you had offered finding midwife so that was actually how I came across you as like, Hey, I'm looking for midwives in the area. So I'm interested in the course but can you help find that and you guys supplied the list with I think like five midwives, and of course I called every single one I visited to the first was a hard path and then I found Amanda and Debbie at daunting life and when you sit down and their little offense is everything that you would imagine it would be it's very maternal, it's it feels like a room full of wisdom, compassion. Understanding when I when I spoke to Amanda on that first call, I told her about the business of being born she's like, Yep, let's talk about it. We ended up sitting like 15 minutes just talking about physiologic birth so that felt like a good match to me. And then when you guys were like okay also doula I listened in to figure out like what is it doula anyway and that was such a different view. I didn't even think about the emotional support I would need. I just knew I needed some sort of medical professional to oversee this thing. So when I think about ideal care, it's compassion. It's its wisdom. It's also about trust, trusting the mother trusting the baby. And that sort of intuition. And accessibility. Accessibility proved to be incredibly helpful for me because I doubted the alarm several times throughout the end of my pregnancy of like, hey, is this happening and just having somebody to lean on at all times, no matter what, even if it's like the most innocuous thing that was incredibly important to me, too, so it's, I don't want to sound too cheesy, but that sisterhood vibe is really important. And I was able to tap into you and Hannah throughout pregnancy and then lean on Debbie and Amanda as well. So you mean that team
circle of, of female power and wisdom and yeah, it's, you know, I fully believe that worthy people can do this on their own. I just witnessed it. So often were having that kind of emotional and the clinical support from both kind of aspects, is really a trifecta of support that a birthing person can really flourish. And so I'm glad you were able to find us and that you found Debbie, can you help us and for those who aren't as familiar with that process of finding the home birth midwife like and I know safety was a priority of yours if you wanted that private, undisturbed, safe home environment. So when you were deciding on your midwife, what, what elements of like your midwife what they do to help you feel like safety was something that they also prioritize so that it's not just, it's not just witchcraft. It's not right. Like we can believe in our abilities, like what's actually happening or how they convince you that that was like a safe option.
Um, I don't know that I needed a lot of convincing that it wasn't a safe option because at that point I had already dove so deep into the physiologic, the physiology of it right all the things that are happening in your body, regardless of you're participating or not. But I think what drew me to them especially is their experience. So I think Debbie had witnessed 1000 births. Right? And that to me was like, Okay, this lady knows what she's doing versus, you know, if I were to become a midwife, I've only witnessed one birth and it was mine. So I wouldn't be very helpful, right.
Debbie? Logic bursts. Yeah.
Right, that she's been a part of, and then the safety element too. So as I was a first time mom, they weren't going to allow me to do this by myself without having care with another backup provider just in case. So that felt good to there's like the safety net underneath if I ended up wanting to tap out or needing to be transferred, that they had a little network built. prebuilt that was important to
yeah, those layers. And how about your husband Hunter? Where was he on the spectrum of like, supporting and I know he's even loves you but like, Where was he at? Like, when you're first like, hey, let's have this at home. He like thumbs up, or is he like, I'm not sure.
He's always along for the ride. But we watched the business of being born together together and then one night I went to bed early, like at seven because that's what you do when you're really pregnant. And he stayed up late and he watched. I think it was a Netflix documentary about Syria and rates in Brazil. Anyway, that just shook him to his core. So he came to bed that night, and he's like, we're definitely having a home birth. Because he just saw like, how really wacky some of this. It's, you know, like you said, it's important to have that in the background, but that shouldn't feel like the only option for you. And when you see how far away it's come from completely, like natural unmedicated birth. It's like Whoa, where did we go wrong? Right. So he was definitely on board with that. And we're both like super interested in seeking information we'd love to read so when we went down the well, I mean, he read four or five books on it. I read nearly 20 So once we just kind of got ourselves exposed,
but he was doing his own learning. It wasn't just by you delivering the information for him. He was now doing his own own journey Island learning and saw it on his own, which I think is really, really important.
Yeah, it was I realized that I'm incredibly lucky. I don't think a lot of women have that support. You know, I think they're kind of like, they think it's sweet when their husbands like you. You decide like Well, yeah, I want you to be as sold on this idea as I am. Yeah, I know. I'm lucky that way.
Ya know, he's, uh, he's, that's I witnessed it myself. Yeah, he's Yeah, he really is and being that invested in the whole process. It does make you feel even more strong and powerful than you are. I think having that connection just boost oxytocin, it loose safety, it boosts comfort, all of that when you know when your partner's that invested in the process and just support you unconditionally. I love that that was beautiful to witness. So okay, so now let's get into Would you mind sharing like how your birth started and unfolded?
Yeah. So I had a false alarm start at 35 weeks and I remember sending you and Hannah a message of like, oh my god, I think my waters broke it and it turns out it was just you know, not not that but about 40 weeks. Yeah, I went to my 40 week appointment with my backup OB and they wanted to make sure that the amniotic fluid was safe, was healthy. So they wanted to do an ultrasound and I had been avoiding ultrasound throughout my care because you know, I have my reasons of why I don't think that that's the best idea but I said okay, if I'm not a baby's not here on week 40 appointment, we can we can do it. It turns out she had a perfect score. The BPP was as high as it could be. So we were all good. But my OB was said you know, what, do you want to know what's going on? Like, should we do a cervical exam? And I had also been anti cervical exam too, but whatever I was 40 weeks I was like, Sure, let's see where we are. And I was four centimeters dilated that day, I had no idea. So there she was, like, should we get the party started? Like I can do a sweep. And I was like, Well, I think even started the party because I'm four centimeters. So thanks, but no thanks, right. So I left that appointment and started feeling like super crappy. I was like, this is weird. This feels like a period cramp. And I haven't felt that God knows how long so I remember sending you girls another message of like, Hey, I've been cramping all day is this normal from a cervical exam or whatnot. And you are so cool as a cucumber. You're just like, you know, get get a good night's rest. It could be it couldn't be, but just get a good night's rest and just try to pretend like nothing's happening, get a good meal and let us know where you are in the morning. So I went to the gym. We went shopping for Halloween direction. decorations. I mean, we were out and about and I'm just over here like silently bringing these beard grips that being like I don't know if this is it or not. But anyway, the next morning, at about a quarter to five. The cramps had gotten to a place where I couldn't ignore them anymore. So I remember what you guys told me throughout all the classes, which is pretend like nothing's happening until you can't and so I would throughout the night I would get a cramp. I'd wake up I'd go back to sleep. But at a quarter to five and that morning. I was like I can't go back to sleep. I told her I'm like I think things are going and he's like, What do you want me to do? I said just go to sleep, get some rest because I'm gonna need you to kick it into high gear later. So I went I had envisioned waterbirth as you know, so I had spent a lot of time in my bathtub throughout pregnancy just trying to manifest this thing. So I spent about three hours in the tub that morning just trying to do the visualizations just like you had said like you girls had given some tips about how to trace a window with really trying to match your breath and your focus with each contraction. So I did that I just remember feeling like super Zen super in control. And like really, it was such a weird headspace because I think I was supposed to feel like scared nervous and anxious. But I felt so calm and grounded and like excited like this. My baby is talking to me like this is cool. So then when I got out of the tub things just like went to zero to 10 super fast. So that's when I started to feel the 411 Right? I started to track on the app, like holy crap, this is going fast and I remember calling you you were on call that that day. And then I was like, Hey, I think this is happening but like I'm so cool. Like don't even worry about coming like I got this. Do you remember that and then you're like, let me talk to Hunter. And then you know, Hunter, he was talking to you. I was on speaker still. And then out of nowhere, just like they really started to come so strong and you heard me groaning and you're like I think I should come over. Like if you don't need me you don't need me but I think I should come and Thank God you came because it accelerated so fast.
Yeah. But you were so calm. You really were even when it was super intense. You were still so calm and just rockin it.
Yeah, I tried to because I tried to see it really for what it was. And when you really look at physiologic birth. I think it's the most beautiful thing ever, because it's this divine orchestration between you and your baby and you're connected literally physically connected, spiritually connected. I mean, all the ways and when you see it for that kind of bi directional communication, it's like oh my god, this stuff is beautiful. So I really tried to hang out in that headspace until I couldn't.
So helpful because it is that is a really hard place to get to win. It's all about flipping that script of like seeing it in that way. So it's not a torturous event, right. It doesn't have
to be and what I like to tell women now that I'm on the other side, too, and you talked about this in your education class, too. But it's not pain in the way that we know pain before birth. It's intensity for sure. But it's so gradual. Like I thought that was such a beautiful part of this whole design is that it's you adapt to that pain that pain level and intensity level. gets stronger. But so did you. Like if it were just zero to 10 Boom. Babies coming out like oh my god, yeah, I don't know a woman who could No, no one can do that. But it's so gradual. And it's so adaptable. So anyway, I tried to say it breaks. Yeah, exactly. Because it would
be like brakes intense and like really feeling the contractions and then between, either when you were in the tub, you were just completely like releasing all the tension. Or when you were out in the tub. You were just like, as much yourself. It's like, you're just like, Okay, I'm gonna take a break. I'm gonna take a breath. I'm gonna take some water and those breaks I think helped to
definitely well that's so that's when you came around when you got there. It started to get pretty intense and so you're having me do the lunges on the stairs with the contractions in the side lunges. Oh my god. I know but God I needed it. But men, I didn't love that part. But then when I did need a break, you're like, Okay, let's get back in the tub and laboring in the tub felt comforting. And that was great. But then like, I think another really important part and if I I mean I don't mean to. You need doulas. I don't know. They're all clear to your to your listeners. But like a doula is absolutely necessary because the midwives came in when, during that time period, I don't know if you remember but they went on to lunch because I was six centimeters when they came. And so you were there the whole time. And what felt really good is even before you had your hands on me the whole time just kind of knowing that you're back there in the background for that support. It was like a tether, right? It's like being tethered to a spaceship. It's like I'm out there floating in space, but I know that anytime I pull on my cord, I can go right back in and have your support. And so when it became to that point of like a god, I can't take this anymore. You're literally hands on my hips, double hip squeeze every single I was like, afterwards I told everybody I was like, Guys, you won't believe it. But this girl was bent over my tub for hours, every minute or even less than PIP squeezing me 100 tried to do it when you went downstairs for getting me water or juice or something. He lasted like three three contractions. He's like I don't know how she did this. So like get her back here because you failed.
So to tag team right we take turns
that a tag team you carried the whole team and we know that both of us know that so that was really amazing. A point of water on the the you know getting me the cool cloth from my head. All of those things. It's just it. The reason doulas are important is because you feel completely held in that moment where you feel like you need to draw on some feminine wisdom. And so that was really great. So anyway,
I'll take out any yeah I wrote I love it.
Yeah. So we continued to labor obviously just got really intense. I wasn't being very productive at a certain point because I was ready to push. But here's the craziest part is like pushing was not intuitive for me. And this still blows my mind. I don't know why I really did couldn't put those pieces together. The only thing I can think of in retrospect is that I did the pelvic floor therapy ahead of baby coming. And all of that practice was strengthening your pelvic floor. And so was a lot of upping in and bracing and building that strength and constricting. So I don't know if that was kind of the plan in the back of my mind of pulling those elements in. So maybe I was counterproductive to myself because I'm really supposed to open and let that go. I don't know I still don't know. So dysfunction.
Yeah, I don't I mean, I just think you I wouldn't call it dysfunction, but I think it takes some time, especially a lot of first time workers to just to coordinate everything. It's for most it's not as natural as we expect. it to be and it's really all Yeah, kind of paint that picture because you got to kind of I feel like well I'm feel for that first hour or sometimes just finding out how to like, move the baby down. And if you have a very strong pelvic floor and you've been training with physical therapy and with exercise and stuff I find our fitness clients have sometimes a harder time pushing Yeah. It's there's not as much softening and stretching and releasing pelvic floor. I mean, there's nothing you could have done differently. But the combination of those things, but you found you figured it out
eventually, eventually and after some, like incredible stress to not to me, but to eat and right, so I remember we were in the tub or I was in the Deb, and you're saying to do the low lunches through the contractions. Oh, my God, that was so intense. But I felt the urge to push and I was really exhausting too much energy by like, making noise. Right? Like, remember, I was kind of like, groaning out out of my throat. And there was like, Alright, and then energy down, and I just could not connect those dots. But anyway, we tried the TA, we tried the dilation station. You know, we tried the birthing stool. All of it was incredibly intense.
Fear pushing, and all of these locations. Yeah,
I'm pushing Oh, I think I'm pushing, right. I'm like making noise. I'm really Grunty I'm really like bearing down. But now in hindsight, when my midwife Amanda said, or maybe you said, like, stay on top of your baby, April. It's like, What the hell does that mean? But now I know is like, stay on top, keep that contraction going down. Anyway, when it gets time to, to push her out. You might recall, I had the cervical lip. Right. So Debbie found that when I was on the birthing stool, and my water had broken yet, so I think I was working against myself a little bit. So when I'm on the birthing stool, Debbie has her thumb in my vagina, trying to hold the cervical lip back. And that is where things started to click for me, because she would say things like, I would go through an incredibly intense contraction, feel really proud of myself, and she would say, no progress. I was like, God, what do you mean no progress. And that started to kind of piss me off a little bit in the back of my head. And I was like, you know, what, instead of telling me when it's not working, like helped me figure out when it is working. Yes,
that was beautiful request. I really appreciate it when you shifted that like language and asked for that, because I think it's a really important thing. You're like, that's not serving me.
Yeah, it's not serving me. I'm feeling drained already. I'm starting to feel like a failure at that point, because I'm like, I've been pushing for hours and haven't been able to figure it out. And obviously, I'm not making progress, and my water has broken. So when she starts to coordinate with me, oh, that's it. That's it. Oh, my God. It was like I was running. Like, I just won the Olympics or something. Like I felt like success. I just felt so excited. Like, oh, my God, I did it. That's when I started to get reenergized. Like, let's push this baby out. But of course, that birthing school, oh my God, those those things are held, in my opinion.
person, so yeah, and you're tall. So I
was starting to feel defeated. And they Eden's heart rate was decelerating. So there's this talk about maybe I should go to the hospital and transfer and that just like got me. It just blew my, the wind out of my sails. So then I reached out to you and I'm like, Alright, can you quote some scripture to me? Do you remember that? I didn't even think to like, ask you if you felt spiritually inclined, or if that would make you uncomfortable? Not at all. And in fact, did you would have never shown that I don't know. But you read it out loud to me. And I just was like, Okay, I got God on my side. Let's do this. Yeah,
it was a beautiful request. You asked for what you need. And girlfriend, I'm telling you, I'm never gonna never I'm like, Yes, yeah. Well, I'm here for what ever, I will never blink an eye. But you just asking for it is the power there the beauty there, right. Like, yeah, you knew what you needed?
Yeah, exactly. And I think that it would have been really easy for me at that moment, especially when the, you know, authority in the room is saying, Alright, go to the hospital, I think it would have been pretty easy for me to resign to the fact like, Hey, I'm not capable of doing this. I'm gonna have to go to hospital. But I just thought for a moment like, I don't want that to be my story. Like I'm so hell bent on having this baby at home. So that kind of reenergized me and then I was like, Alright, now God's on my side. Let's do this. But they're like, alright, it's not working on the stool. So you're gonna get on the bed and I ended up in the position that I absolutely knew. Going into the thing I would not birth my baby. Right, like, throughout your class throughout podcasts and books I was reading like the reclined position is not the most effective position for gravity to help do its thing. So I was shocked that I was a on land and be in that reclined position. After about 30 minutes on the bed, that's when I finally push out a big piece that you helped me with It was, I mean, when it's pushing time, those contractions are close together, and they're so intense. And at the end of every single one, what did I do? I took a deep breath in and stuff like that idea. Right? It's like, shoot. That's not what it was. So, once you got to sort of meet you and that you're like, Alright, hang on to it, push through it, push through. I remember
I stood go towards that that was your language, like go towards it. And that clicked for me. I was like, oh, here I am retreating. I'm drowning from the pain, right? It's totally normal. It's totally biologic, but it's not the way to get a baby out. So that was helpful for that language of like steak, go towards that hang in there. Bear Down through the breath. And that's when I was like, Alright, now we're ready to get the baby out. So a couple more of those right and here she was, I mean, it wasn't that easy. She stuck in there for a little bit poor thing. But ultimately, I did experience the Ring of Fire. Yeah. And I had heard about that. I had no way of conceptualizing what that was, and you don't until you feel it. And then I remember being like, oh my god, it burns and Amanda was like, that's great. Keep going. And they get excited over this thing. Yeah, like the ring of fire people like, Oh, how did you do that? I could have never and it's like, yes, he could have because you just do it. And then on the other side of that is like this incredibly orgasmic release. It's like, relief. It's like, Thank God this baby's out of there. And then the rest is so easy. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Can I also ask because I since I was there, I know Hunter was I know you were in more of that semi reclined in the bed position. Hunter was behind you. So you had like his energy with death and I thought that was beautiful way if you're going and this one. When I talk about options for pushing, I do weave and sometimes even more so probably since your birth and I've even had a couple of senses or sometimes being in the bed or in that semi reclined position is the way sometimes just yeah, I'm always like that just needs to be your choice and it needs to be we've explored other options like it just shouldn't be the assumed position and that's really speaking to hospital birth. And then I'm like, if you're gonna be in the bed being and that supported sort of having that connection with your partner is a great way to do it did that. What do
you think about that? Oh, my God, great plant like literally could not have done this by myself. So as you mentioned, he's against the headboard of my bed. I'm laying up against him. And he's holding my hands. And I he had the GoPro on about Yeah, he was like really trying to get the view there. And I remember what rewatching the video and during a contraction when I had just gotten on the bed. I'm ready. I need something to hold on to because I've been holding on to the chair. I've been holding on to the railing. I've been holding out all these things now. On the bed, I have nothing to hold on to. And I reached out for Debbie and she wasn't there. So I could when I was watching myself back and like I just needed something to really have some leverage. And so Hunter was doing that. And I think when you talk about energy, it felt really, and this might sound woowoo to some people too, but he absorbed a lot of that for me. But then he also gave that back to me when I needed a little bit extra, like he would really grabbed my hands and like show that he was there giving me his strength. So that was incredibly important. And then just having the support and encouragement from your loved one literally behind you. Like, I can't imagine a more lovey dovey environment than him just, Hey, there she is, you're doing great, keep going. You're doing awesome. You're beautiful, like all these beautiful things. It's, it's a, it's a beautiful formula. And all of those elements are just as important as the others. You know,
that's a great point. It was beautiful to witness I just yells energy together was tremendous. And you 100% could have done that all by yourself. But when when it's all weaved together, and there's, there's everyone there kind of fill in their role and given you what you need. I see it, I saw it in him. And I saw in the both of you, and especially in this final moments where it was really important that you get your, you know, bring your baby into the world, and fought really, really hard for that moment and for her for her safety. And you dug in and you made it happen. And it was incredibly powerful and amazing
to witness. Yeah. And I think too, I recall, at the end, you know, when we're on the other side, and everybody's euphoric. I remember telling Debbie, and everybody in the room, like, Thank you for trusting me, because there were actually two times throughout the whole day where there was talk about transfer. And I did doubt myself, there was a point on the day where I was like, I can't do this. And Debbie was like, I don't want to hear you say that. You can say that in between pushes. But don't say that when you're pushing, but you can do this. So at the end of the keynote, thank you for trusting me. And she's like, you know, we never didn't trust you. We just want to make sure your baby was great. So I think that remember, when you would ask me at the top, like, what's that important thing? You're looking for? That trust? That was evidence of that trust? Because even though I think I was given everybody in the room, some gray hair? At the end of the day, they've fully supported that I could do this. And yeah, I think
that's important. Yeah, trust and patience, trust and patience. Yeah, there was no like, you know, Whiplash decision making, it's sort of like, and this is what I see in home. Because if it feels like it's maybe going that way, they do start to massage it out. They're not going to be like, Okay, it's time to go pack up. Let's go. It's usually they want to let you know that what they're seeing. And so that you're not taken by surprise, but it is equally hard to hear it when you're birthing is the potential because that's the basis of what you want. But it serves kind of two things, it helps you sort of warm up to it kind of makes maybe reality thinking as far as like, Okay, I got to figure this out, got to work with my baby. Because I also remember there, you took a break.
I was just gonna say that by
Yes. also incredibly challenging.
Oh, that was a weird physical phenomenon. So it was it was the first time I was in. It was after I was doing the low lunches in the tub. And I thought I was pushing and really wasn't productive at all. Debbie and Amanda had started to say like, April, this might be the time where you consider hospital like, you're, you're tired, you can get some rest. And everybody left the room except for her. And I was just like, we had a one on one. And I was like, I don't know if I can do this. Like, I can't do this. I don't know why I can't figure it out. But I don't want to go to the hospital. And so I don't know, he then you know, we had some more of a discussion. And then he went downstairs, I guess to talk to everybody. And then everybody came back up and it was like cheer time. Right? So that'd be sad. Okay, if you don't want to go to the hospital, I understand. But Eden's heart rate is she's stressed. She never told me during the whole pregnancy, how low Her heart rate was, because I think had she said that it would have rang the alarm said I would have been in the hospital, but the way she you know, euphemized, it was baby stressed. So you need some rest and so it is your baby. So the guidance was, don't push. Ignore that.
And I like I said involuntary urge.
I remember laying in the tub like really feeling sorry for myself during each contraction, trying not to push like holding it in like you're trying to like hold in a bowel movement or something. And then it just I don't know how much time went by minutes hours, I don't know. But there was a part where I was like, Guys, I can't not not push anymore like we that I got to do it. And so that's where things geared up and we went to the birthing stool and all that. But yeah, there was that moment where I needed to rest. And I'm really sorry, go ahead. No, as you say, I'm thankful that that was the guidance, because I think had I been in the hospital setting to your point about patients, it would have been like, alright, April, we gotta go, let's get some more Pitocin maybe we, you know, who knows what would have happened. But in this environment, there's a lot of trust there is that patience, there? Is that time to recoil and rest a little bit. I don't know, if I would have been afforded that in the hospital setting.
Yeah. And that's why I like to bring that up that when there's these variations of, of normal, that are still within the safe and healthy options that other people can hear about and hearing like he pushed for a while, and then you took a long rest. And then he kept pushing like for some people, that would be like an impossible scenario in a hospital. And or like, they just don't picture that. And so when it's happening to them, it feels scarier. So sharing about this kind of, yeah, you know, version that can happen. And I've witnessed it several times, and I can serve the birthing person. But typically, you have to very patient provider, a very willing participant like us to take the break. And, you know, that's not an easy break. It's not like, Okay, I'm gonna go, like, taking that it's like a stool. You're doing a lot
of work. Yeah. But it did help. I think, I think another important factor, going back to the question of what you're looking for in doula and midwife support, is that where there wasn't a moment throughout my entire day where I felt like, Oh, crap, I'm wasting their time. Like, they're probably so annoyed. And I don't I don't know that a lot of midwives, and doulas would, you know, bring that into the birthing room. But I imagine that that is a thought that crosses the mind. But it was never a feeling that I felt. So when I say compassion, or maybe it should be empathetic, right, like, the empathy to know that whatever you need from us, and however long it takes, you've got it regardless, no matter what. Yeah, right. That's
really one of the hallmarks setting. It's really important work midwife and anyone in the birth space that they give you that energy, regardless of how they're feeling on the inside, because that doesn't serve you. And I would say, for the most part, everyone is in a good space, because they that this is the job and this is what they know to be normal. And now to make you feel any different would not serve you and it's not a good trait.
Yeah. But I do want to just let the listeners know because I remember listening to a lot of these myself as a first time mom. Like you said it was there was it wasn't easy, it wasn't. It wasn't remarkable, in the sense that I had a lot of crazy things going on or, but it also wasn't easy. It wasn't just as plain as like oh contractions baby comes like there was a, it was a 13 hour period from the moment I woke up until even came. And then many hours after that you guys stayed but it was it. There were some complications, right with the lip and the D cells of the heart rate. And, you know, my defeat, of not being able to figure out how to push the dang baby out and kind of feeling a little bit. I don't know if what you witnessed after the look of my vulva my situation? I don't know if that's normal. But I mean, I got to imagine that was because I was pushing so strenuously for so long, but to have like this really puffed up thing. I mean, so yeah, it wasn't seamless. But it was totally possible.
Yeah, no, that's important to share that that's a healthy perspective. And it's everything I witnessed is all within a range of normal because I don't see birth is easy. I know, it's very doable. It's not easy. What we go back, to bring a human into this world is far from easy. And that really applies to any kind of birth or any kind of way you give birth, right? Bring in a human in this world is, is tremendous. So not easy, but so so doable. And it takes it takes effort, active participation, patience, good care team, good partnership, good energy, and you You did everything you could to bring all of those elements in you weren't just like along for the ride, hoping it would work out. And when you are the active participant and you do it the way you did you are able to I think get through those challenges that come up along with the birthing process with with more ease and more success because you did get Yeah. And so tell me how it felt going from a really long pushing stage. That would probably if I'm from the outside looking in the hardest part. Oh yeah, you're A birthing process is the sort of ebb and flow Yeah, long pushing stage. And then the doubt the possibility of transfer and overcoming. How did you feel once she was out and in your arms.
And this is, this is why I preach to anybody who's willing to listen, if like, please have a physiologic birth, I don't care where it is, I would prefer to be home. But please, please, please, for the love of God, let your body do this. Because on the other end of that, is completely indescribable euphoric, transcendent, I don't know, I felt like I was in another dimension for a little while. And that might sound weird or cheesy to them listeners. But once you've done this, I think you'll understand like, the moment that you've carried this creature for 10 months, and then you struggle for hours to push her here, and then the second she is here and healthy and put on your chest, it's like, all of that. Washed away immediately, immediately. So when people are like, Oh, I don't know how you did that. It's like, yes, just if you would just trust your body on the other end of this. It's a complete clean slate, all that discomfort, and weird and intense. And all that doubt all of it just evaporated instantly. And granted, I did have to get a shot at Pitocin, as you remember from my placenta, because I was bleeding a little bit more. But regardless of all that, I'm sitting there with mental center and a bowl next to me, my baby on my chest, my husband behind me, and I'm just like, this is every This is a slice of heaven. And later, I felt incredibly empowered. But even those first few days after birth, you're still reeling from this overwhelming. Oxytocin, just bliss bubble. I never felt that before. I felt love in the most tangible, energetic way I've ever I've ever felt that. And I know that's by design. I think that's divine. And I think that's the reward if you allow yourself to go through this. Like I said, it's not going to be easy, but it's so worth it. And when you get to real from all that emotion that you and your baby concocted together,
yeah, it's possible. Yeah.
I know, I like I've, you know, I've played around with a few things like I know, hi. And this is not that this is transcendent, like,
amazing, ya know, the way you describe that is spot on, and incredibly powerful and beautiful, and important. And I think sharing that potential is really, really important. And that's why you know, I wanted to have you on to give us a glimpse into that and you you share it in a way that is relatable and just like kind of like intoxicating, and I think it is you know, you're just understanding the potential that's there and trying for that and the benefit from that undisturbed the hormonal process and understanding the benefits of that hormonal process and how a supportive issue can wherever you give birth but of course how doing it at home does the best chance at having that those hormones and that concoction that orchestration uninterrupted. And then that's what creates the kind of that
feeling post birth well. Yeah, and I think to the point of doing it at home, if you can find a hospital setting that will I don't want to say allow you because you always have that choice but support for right and encourage. Even if you can find I don't the feeling of being in my bed that night with my baby. Meanwhile, the little team like you, Debbie Amanda after eating, you know, was born, we waited I don't know maybe it was 45 minutes an hour to cut her cord. It was fully done pulsing right? And we're just laying there on our and I and Eden and then you guys are like the fairy godmothers in the background just cleaning. Like as if nothing happened here. Like if I didn't just have this whole episode, you go downstairs, you make the best meal I've ever had in my whole life. And then that night, I get to go to bed with my baby and my husband in my room, like the bed that we made her on. There was such like that to me too. I'm sure I would have been fine sleeping in the hospital if I had to do that. But just being able to shut up the lights and like, close the door on the day in the comfort of my own bedroom. It was amazing. And that's meal. I will say See, if there is any reason to have a home birth. It's access
to real food, real food right after the birth. And I'm telling you, I love I love cooking. And especially that there's nothing like that. But I could have made you probably a number of things. And you might perceive it as the best meal ever. Because it's like that first meal after Yes and there and it's like, oh, you're hungry, you're you're high, you're just like on cloud nine. So being able to like help you get that meal in and be part of that. And you know, while you're nourishing your baby you're getting nourished, like, and everything you said about the benefit of being at home for what happens after the birth being in your own bed. Hunters laying next to you. There's like room for him in the bed. You know, no one's rushing anything your home is getting tended to you're getting tended to Yeah. And then the minimal interruptions. Once everyone's you know, you're good babies. Good. Dave, everything's done. The interruptions, you know, you get to everything you said, I just wanted to kind of re emphasize that like, Yeah, I think a lot of people are always taken by surprise about the postpartum in a hospital, because all they want is what you had. But if you're they're hot, they're in a hospital. And they don't really know that that. Yeah, how it's how, how rough it's going to be in the hospital. And that's not as bad as just expectations. And it's totally different, totally different. But You're 100%, right. And that is such a benefit. And then you get good, good rest, because baby goes for a big sleep typically, shortly after they're here. So baby thinks you sleep
better. I've talked to a number of girlfriends too, who have had babies and in the hospital setting, and I'm not trying to trash the setting, but to your point of patience. So when Eden was born, I've never breastfed a child before. I don't know what I'm doing. Turns out she had some tongue ties and lip ties and cheek ties. But you know, didn't realize all that. But it took a while like she was I thought nursing and then she was really just given me a hickey on the side of my bed. But I think the patients to their of trusting that in and I will figure out that first latch. I've heard so many accounts of women in the hospital who haven't really been given or afforded that time and space to figure it out. And it's like, alright, let's give them some formula. And it's like, Well, wait, wait, it will happen. And so again, just having the wisdom in the room, the trust in the room. And to your point about postpartum I think your doulas you, especially the team that I had, like, really tout the benefits of this program. It's not just what happens on your birthday, baby's birthday. It's the things leading up all the education, all that supporting material all I mean, I ate every little bit of every resource you sent me. But then it was the postpartum planning call before even came thinking through things I would have never imagined I would have to think through, like setting boundaries for whoever's going to come and support. Right, the focus is not on. Hey, let me hold the baby while you clean the house. Right, right. And so I think another incredible element of doula ship, if that's such a thing is the support from cradle to grave? That's, I don't like that phraseology. Yeah, from beginning to end and postpartum to having the forward thinking to plan for those first few weeks. Yes, I would have never thought that stuff through. Yeah. Yeah. And I remember, I think it was, Hannah was the one who did the call with us, because I think you're at another birth, but she was like, Okay, who's coming in the first one to two weeks? And then who's coming in for in six? And I'm like, what I'm trying to think through like the first couple of days. Yeah. And what are they? What are their assignments gonna be? I don't know. I didn't think of that. But then because I had all of that preparation. When it came to when Eden's here, Hunter, and I figure it out in the first couple of days, and we're like, you know, what, we don't actually need any support. So we had to have some tough conversations with my dad and his mom of like, actually, we're calling you off. Because we care about this bliss bubble so much. We want to preserve this time and space. And we know we'll never get this back. And we're writing cloud nine. So we're gonna hang out, but because we had all that preparation and thinking and planning towards that, we felt really confident making that decision,
right, recognizing this boundary does need to be set and setting it and being aware of what what it means to protect that bubble. And I do love Hannah's postpartum planning call. And it is, again, we're birth doulas childbirth educator. I'm all about the prep on the front end. But we also just tried to put a lot of emphasis on the prep for the postpartum and I do think it's a harder sell per se as far as like, you know, we're working with people during pregnancy there. You know, probably a little overwhelmed a little bit like, I'm already got to do all this stuff to get ready for baby. And we're like, but it's gonna be worth it because the birthday is like a day, a couple days at most, but right postpartum is like, you know, 12 for the at least the first the fourth trimester being 12 weeks. So I appreciate you sharing your experience with that. It takes a lot of effort, but it makes a difference. And you are just such a testament to that and hearing you say like you ate up everything like that, that gets us excited, because we can only share information. It's only effective if you read it, if you read it and try to do something with it. Yeah, hearing us describe that is really helpful. And you know, it takes being an active participant in Yes, your experience so that you can have the best chance at having the best birth available
to set yourself up for success. You're like us an active participant, we want our baby moon and I had I brought my computer along just to watch the courses that you like those those YouTube videos. So yeah, you I think that was probably when I hear accounts of girlfriends of mine with their first babies. A lot of them just showed up to the hospital when they started feeling a contraction. It's like, I don't want to judge anyone but you, you're probably robbed, you're robbed of an incredibly transformational, like sacred process, because you just didn't think to your like, that just blows my mind folks who aren't active participants, because don't you want to know the miracle that's happening in your body and like what you're capable of.
And I think people do, I do think it's an unfortunate downside to just how we're taught about birth, the the lack of the village, like Community Alliance setting where you're witnessing birth, you'd have close family and friendly and we're talking about birth and breastfeeding and all of that. And you know, how culture and movies and entertainment and stuff, the pictures that are painted as, unfortunately, it's just not being who you know, and if you have standard, if you start seeing like your gynecologist when you're 16, like, or whatever that becomes who you think you might see during pregnancy, and they're not typically offering the information. So a lot of people we always tell people, you don't know what you don't know. Don't know what you don't know. And I was always saying for literally the business of being born was my watching point to 11 years ago. And so like I that's always part of my people was like, where did it begin for you? And it started there, but I was exposed to that. And then it resonated with me. And I decided to just start I was like, Okay, well, I guess I need a doula. And I guess I should take childbirth education, and then write that without, like, opportunity. So you know, just understanding anyone who feels, you know, like, they missed out on opportunity, we just do you don't know what you don't know. But once you do, it's all about what
you do with that racket open is such a beautiful thing. And the more you know, the more you like, that was another thing I think that really set this whole experience apart for me is because in those moments, when I could get back to my thinking brain, I drew upon all the things that I've picked up from birth stories from your education class from the midwives from, I mean, a whole host of resources. And I was like, okay, Hypno birthing mantras, scanning the window, you know, visually, the different points. Oh, yeah. And I know I'm drawing on the wisdom from my providers might like my care team, too, because they would just have this, like, push towards it. I would have never thought of that on my own. But you told me I'm like, boom. So yeah, I can't I can't encourage listeners enough. Like just just try to figure out what's going on. Because once you do, I feel like I could borrow the gazillion babies at this point. Oh, gosh, yes. Women How to get addicted to the idea of it. Yeah, those women don't have this kind of crazy remarkable thing that's going to require them to be in the hospital setting. That's just not true. Like you're you're designed to carry your baby. You're designed to birth your baby. That's it with like,
yeah, stay curious. So with that, you have started a new podcast. Yeah, as well. So because you've learned so much, you will fire with dirt inside bike lane. I've been enjoying your episode so much. But what do you share with us sort of what the vision is of mom's off the record and, and why why you're doing that?
Why? Because I feel like every woman deserves I feel like every woman deserves this is beautiful thing. And like you said, pop culture and technology and industry have ruined that. They've, they've stripped us of that. And they've made it commonplace to say, Hey, you're not capable of doing this by yourself, you're gonna need us. And I'm not about that. Because like I said, all of the the horror of birth, if you want to call it that is washed away, the second year baby comes, so it's totally worth it. And I had a girlfriend. throughout pregnancy, I didn't actually know her. I went to yoga training with her mother. And when I told her mother, I was pregnant, she's like, Oh, my daughter, Katie is pregnant, too. I was like, Oh, that's cool. She's probably gonna go like the hospital do all the things. Well, turns out her and I were reading the same books, she was planning a home water birth in Florida. And I was like, You know what, I might reach out to this girl because she sounds kind of cool. And then we did, unfortunately, as it were, she had to have a emergency C section. But that does not stop her from believing in all the things that are so powerful. So we just would talk. Like God, we were just firing each other up. Like we should talk about this. I was like, You know what, I've been toying with the idea of starting a podcast on this, I probably will have five people listen to it. But if I can help one person, realize this beauty, like that's worth it for me. And so we're like, let's just do it. And we did. So the moms off the record is really all about getting back to the nature of womanhood. So our first episode was about birth control, hormonal birth control, because I feel like industry, air quotes have robbed us throughout our entire phase of womanhood, from fertility, to birth, and then postpartum. Right. So you don't know how to breastfeed, it's probably not going to work out for you. So here's all these other things that you can buy, to make it possible for you, or your baby's not sleeping, right. So here's all the things that you can buy to make your baby and it's like Ill No, we're capable, our babies are capable innately. So our podcast is all about leaning into that power, and trusting that because I think it's incredibly disgusting. That when we are at our most vulnerable, early postpartum, we are just bombarded with, you're not enough. You don't know what you're doing. You need this, you're doing it wrong. And I want to silence those voices and remind women like you're capable. You're designed to figure this out. And your baby is innately very intelligent. And that's what it's all about.