We have two birth stories from Ashley Lingerfelt. Ashley is a former doula, an infant and perinatal mental health counselor, and cherished friend and client to Doula Rachael. These stories shed light on the unpredictable path to giving birth and the ways you can feel empowered, confident, and supported through it all.
In her first birth, she navigates an induction at 42 weeks and a long labor and birth that she describes as “very hard and very beautiful”. In her 2nd pregnancy, Ashley was determined to build her birth support team in a way that helped her feel fully supported no matter what arose. She aimed for individualized and autonomous care where she stayed present and in the driver's seat at every moment. Ashley’s 2nd birth also went to 42 weeks but this time labor started on its own. How the 2nd birth unfolded is very different than she ever expected. Listen in to hear how Ashley navigated the ups and downs of pregnancy and birth and her advice for anyone preparing to give birth.
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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.
Speaker 1 0:03
Hello Hello, doula Rachel here today I'm flying solo because I have a very special guest that I'm interviewing her name is Ashley underfilled. She is a very dear friend, a former client, current client, always forever client I guess once you are with us it's like your doula family forever. She's also a cherished birth worker in our local community. And we're having a whole separate episode with her with Dr. Shaman sharing all the things she does as a infant and child and Perinatal mental health counselor and
Speaker 1 0:47
So, welcome to the show. Ashley. Today we're focusing on your birth stories. Yay. Hi.
Unknown Speaker 0:53
Thank you for having me again.
Speaker 1 0:57
Yeah, so I wanted to spend some time speaking specifically about your birth stories, because they are beautiful and they are profound and they are worth listening to. And I think when I was pregnant, going through having children listening to other people's birth stories helped me along tremendously. And so our goal here is to just share your story, highlight, you know, the good, the bad, all the things and hopefully, you know, someone else can can glean some wisdom from your experiences. So, do you want to begin by telling us about your first birth?
Speaker 2 1:36
Sure, yeah. So again, thank you for having me too. And just offering the space to share the story is powerful to hear other people's perspectives and experiences. And I've had two very different births, you know, and so yeah, I'm very happy to share so I have a five year old little girl, and whenever I got pregnant with her, I knew I wanted to have a more, you know, it was like, just really, in my head. I had natural birds, right, you know, a water burger that sounded very romantic and very, very peaceful and truly, you know, it did sounds like a very solid option, and I did. So I looked at him navigate my my path. And I ended up actually, I was with a very popular practice in our our area that delivered at Northside Cherokee. And for some reason, I was like, cool with that up until about 31 and Schweetz. And then I was like, you know, they really are not aligning with all of the stuff I know I want in my head and my heart. And so I did at the time, it was considered a late transfer, when really, you know, women can transfer much, much later than 31 to 33 weeks, I transferred to Providence Midwifery, which most of your audience comes from, but maybe they'll be familiar but it's a it's a popular midwifery practice. And you're Fulton and so I made the switch to provident and I, I'm sorry, can you hear my child in the background?
Speaker 1 3:22
I cannot hear you're doing good. Okay. And even if we cannot find if my kids are stomping around upstairs, so it's all good.
Speaker 2 3:30
Well, let me know if I need to, like Turn on Sound Machine or something. Anyway. So anyway, um, so I made the switch and I took the waterbirth class, you know, because it makes you take class in order to you know, be a candidate for waterbirth. Now, all this good stuff. Well, so, um, basically, I, my due date was October 24. And October 31. A week later Halloween, I'm still pregnant. And then there were 30 rolls around. I'm still pregnant. So I made it to 42 weeks, and I was showing no signs of labor. But I knew my dates were correct and everything like I mean, just 42 weeks pregnant. And so I remember the the midwife I saw it was a Tuesday morning she was like, you know, we cannot medically advise you to be pregnant any longer. I'm not gonna force you to do anything but I cannot medically advise you to be pregnant any longer because your risk of stillbirth and things you know increases now. She said we would like you to be induced. And so I that was that morning and I went home and my husband he went to work and I were sitting on my couch and just like crying all day because I knew what I needed. I was like, I know that it seems safest right to go in and have an induction I understand. But I did not want that because I knew what the outcome statistically like saying. And so I decided though, so I went to Chick fil A. And then we went over and went to North Bolton and that midwife had told me she said I'll be on I'll be there tonight. So if you do decide that you want to come in like at least show her friendly face, you want to have someone who knows, you know, are you going to hire super openings next, okay. So anyway, so, long story short started the induction process and I'm so sorry. Can I just pause for one second? Absolutely. Let me try my sound machine once again. Okay, so yes, so I decided to go in and we started the induction process. Well, you know, I had done a lot of research and I had I had hired a doula she was so like, so loving and so wonderful. I still have a good relationship with her today. But I was instructed kind of like that to not really receive any type of additional doula support until you're in what they call like active labor era you know what you know what that is six centimeters right or whatnot. Well, it it was really hard for me to even get to like the six centimeters I was already in like in when I described a significant amount of discomfort. And it left me in this position where like, I was basically laboring with a Cytotec and Pitocin. And I was like doing everything I could to not have an epidural yet. But I was requesting payment, like management in some forms. I was getting like morphine shots. I was getting oh my gosh, my mind is going blank. The IV
Speaker 1 6:41
narcotics like new vein or fentanyl,
Speaker 2 6:46
sorry I started getting that and but it got to the point where then my water broke on its own but I have a conium that recently out of a water burger. So I felt like just like little by little my resources and my ability to make decisions like it was just like slowly being taken away from me just like little by little and it was just was really hard. And so long story short, like I did I had my baby you know, I was I went in on a Tuesday. I had her on Thursday morning, I believe that like entire time and had a third degree tear She had some she had like aspirated meconium it's a shoe that being in the NICU for five days and the whole experience was just it was very beautiful. and she was an adorable like precious little baby. but it was very hard experience for me, I shouldn't say but I should say and it was beautiful. and it was hard because I don't think one negates the other but it was just really hard. And so. we go through, you know, and I told my husband as he's wheeling me into the postpartum room, I said, I can never do that again. And he said, I understand. And I was like, no, no, no, like, I can never have I can never go through this again. And he sort of, like patted me on the shoulder kind of like, it was like, I had, I just felt so strongly that like, I had such a strong perception of lack of control. And I really I felt like I was suffering like it was hard. And it was so painful and just, it was just scary, too, you know? And so I it took me a long time to decide that I wanted to have another child and so my children are four years and 10 months apart, which is not incredibly spaced out. But it's definitely in terms of like my peers, like it's not the norm was the way you know, two or three years, right. I'm almost five years because I just knew, I don't know, I had to really mentally prepare myself because I knew how it could go. And I was okay if it goes that way. Again, I just know I am able to handle this. Right. And so that's where you come in, right? So I decided to have another baby and I got pregnant and the little boy and I think I reached out to you and Hannah like really early on like what
Speaker 1 9:05
it was early, like eight or eight weeks I felt like it was like before like the the first trimester was I don't even think I had my first like ultrasound yet or anything. And so we were very, like clear on like, your intention for this pregnancy. Yeah, it was. Yeah, it
Speaker 2 9:20
was really, really clear. I think, you know, and I was open minded, but I just I did not want to have the perception of suffering. And I really wanted because I knew that like early labor could, I mean, I'm not concerned like it's painful for some like I bet but like, I'm very sensitive to pain. I don't think like, I don't see that as a weakness is back to pain and me getting a six centimeters is a very painful process. I wanted to be able to have support from like, literally like the first contraction if I needed it, right like I was. So that's why I was very proactive on reaching out and I started asking, you know, different doulas like okay, what is your model of care? What does this look like? Because I get it, you're only going to come during active labor but like I'm gonna need something. So can you hear so you're pregnant start interviewing obviously. hired you, Hannah, because why not? Honestly, like we didn't have a great opportunity to get to know each other through the years to Yeah, we have like a somewhat like working relationship but I trusted you like so. And then I was even more awesome whenever you paired up with Hannah because like Oh, yeah. So um, and I really like stood out to me was your model of like continuous support or like you guys would have switched out if the other for some reason is still laboring, but she needs help right and so that not having a time limit on labor like really like opened my mind up like it automatically alleviated my anxiety and my stress because I'm not going to be alone. I know. I'm not going to be alone. Like, even if you're staring at me, like I know, I'm going to have someone there. Right. Right. Right, which my husband was very helpful. I think that is very helpful for some but you're just limited like, it's just not saying the doula as a professional and your husband isn't a professional and like, we only knew what we knew at the time, right? Or intentions were good he tried to help but it's just not the same as having that professional support. So right you all of that is being hired you guys and very sick throughout pregnancy. It was like not very fun, but you have like multiple,
Unknown Speaker 11:32
multiple things. Kind of curveballs thrown your way.
Speaker 2 11:36
Just yeah, just a couple of different things. You know, and like my daughter, I wasn't very sick and then when my son like I threw out a lot and I was I was pretty good consistently sick for almost halfway like 18 weeks or so like it was rough. And that was also very emotionally draining because I was like, don't I depressed or I feel this way because I will do I feel so like overwhelmed and fatigued because of the physical symptoms of pregnancy because like, I was, I don't know if stanching older and five years older, but like, I'm not four years old when I was essentially older or anything like I don't know why it's so so different, but that really taught me to just the beauty of each different pregnancies are all different. There's no
Speaker 1 12:12
no one is the same as the one before and and you have a toddler essentially. Right, like I mean, yeah, and then on top of being sick and trying to continue on with life. I mean, it's a lot it's just a lot.
Speaker 2 12:29
Yeah, that I made it through. And I started feeling better. Physically for the most part, right. But oh, and let me say so in addition to obviously hiring my Doula team really wanted my provider experience to be different. While I loved my experience with Providence, I did realize that it could be better, right, which is not like them like I mean, all all systems have their pros and their cons and they're really solid choice for many families. And you know, I would have chosen them again, had I not had the opportunity to work with Carson. So, Carson Regan, she's hopefully many people are aware of her she's amazing. She's like concierge midwife, program because it will be to me, and something that was really important for me was also to have so and you know, this is still this is 2022. But there were still going policies in place for the majority of the year actually. And so my daughter cannot come to any of my visits at the time. And so one of the really cool things that Carson does is show to home visits and so like all of my visits, except for when I needed an ultrasound essentially like we're at my house and so my daughter got to like use the little Doppler and find the baby's heartbeat and you know, as she got to five she learned how to measure my like blood pressure and things like that. But anyway, so Carson, so I hired and she's just I mean honestly I I cannot say enough good things about Carson. She's just amazing.
Speaker 1 14:02
And her she's like a solo practitioner versus like having multiple practitioners like when you hit her like a you know who you're gonna get? Yeah. So a lot of people I think who are going through the birthing process, are used to and assume that the only model with this like lots of providers and you rotate through. So this is unique, and I think a beautiful model for people to know that it's out there.
Speaker 2 14:29
Yeah, and it's so it's so unique and so beautiful and just like amazing. I mean, so I really need even personal like relationship with Carson because she was there from the very beginning. It's like every appointment like I have Carson you know like, and I don't know she's just so reassuring and kind and like that just really amazing. So anyway, I was very intentional. About my team, this time, like really, really intentional. And so the progressivity of pregnancy and due date was supposed to be August 17. And the due date comes and goes yet again, right, which Yeah, I know formal but then you know, we're approaching like, August 28, I guess. It's like, Oh, okay. So I'm watching 42 weeks and I did not want to be induced. That was one of my big things. As you remember. I was like, I don't want to be do I don't want to be because I was so worried about my ability to handle the like, basically the just the augmented labor. So I had Oh, and I still I'm still gonna deliver it. northvolt and I do trust and you know, I believe that North Fulton is more mother baby minded, right like especially in terms of autonomy over like natural physiological birth. Right. And so that was still an antigen and Carson does. What is the like, what's the word?
Unknown Speaker 15:56
Speaker 2 15:58
Yeah, she's birthing privileges there. So, um, that was still my plan. I had my waterbirth like certificate had expired, because it's only good for three years. I agree. I really took that class and got that and I was like, Okay, I'm gonna use the water this time. It's gonna be good. Well, anyway, the 42 weeks comes up and or it's approaching and Carson's like, you know, like, she's like, we don't really need to go past 42 Just like nothing good happens after 42 And I was like, I know, I know. I know. And I had been working with you and Hannah and and also Carson, you know, on just different the executive because Carson was also like, I don't think I don't want you to be understood. Like let's let's do what we can right. So I ended up and i This time, though, I went a little softer. My last check she had done, like, which I think was like a Friday or something. I was 41 weeks and a few days as a Friday and she checked me out with soft right but I wasn't really like I wasn't dilating because I didn't have
Speaker 1 16:58
a fingertip or something but something was happening. We get excited. A softening. Yeah, it
Speaker 2 17:03
was like more than I had a 42 weeks in the first time so I was obviously your progress. Yeah, so we went we went on a walk at Red Top Mountain State Park and we accidentally got lost because we did not read the maps on the trail and I ended up walking way more than I needed to and it was hot. And I don't know if it had anything to do with it, but like there was like elevation changes. It was hot. I did start I was I was already contracted and contracting for weeks to be honest. I have a lot of Yeah, like and we suspect Oh, and I knew all along. We knew that baby was in okie position. just stuck we could tell from where his heart rate or his heartbeat was. It also like the way my belly would feel like squishy in the front. And you know, I knew I had you you had educated me that like sometimes this prodromal labor like you're having that because your eyes are tending to turn the baby and so I was doing the mile circuit, like multiple times a day every day. I was like doing the curb blocking or whatever. I was going to stare sideways at stretching. I was doing like so many different entities being babies. And like I was like sometimes he would shift but like, essentially he was always like he was he was happy in his spot. Right like to stay in a new position. Right? So um, anyway, jumping back so I went on a hike and accidentally got lost. I was getting so frustrated too because I was so hot. I was literally almost 42 weeks pregnant people would be on the trail and be like, What are you doing? Like, two Wednesdays ago? They're like, what
Speaker 1 18:30
are you doing here? Like I'm hoping to fall out right here. Right, right. We're going for a very natural burn.
Speaker 2 18:37
Yeah, it was like I was you wouldn't have been upset about it. No, no. Anyway, in person that suggested that I do like eat propose oil and like trying to do this like, like is repository I don't know what you call it like assertion basically. Exactly. Yes. Yeah. Well, lo and behold, and I had made my screw like I'm gonna I had like purchase all of the ingredients like last resort. I'm gonna try it because I would rather do that overlooks every dollar cited taken. I looked at the research and I know you know, I was in a poor position for everyone I know people. I didn't want to do it. Let me just say that I don't want you to have to keep me in your tool bag in case you needed it. I had it. I had it in case I needed it and I stared at it for a long time but I didn't have to take it. Evening primrose oil, oil. Sorry, I think really worked. I really do. Because I had so much softening that like literally the next night or the morning after I took it like really, really early. I was like 6am I started having a lot of bloody show. And I was like
Unknown Speaker 19:34
Yeah, yeah, here we go.
Speaker 2 19:38
It progressed throughout the day like in the middle of the night going into Monday and like I would just kept losing more and more and so I knew that a lot of softening is taking place at least right some remedy taking place. And so anyway, Carson basically said, you know, at 42 and I'm sorry 41 and five so it would have been a Tuesday 41 weeks and five days because I own you know, I've been taking on stress tests and everything like I take several notes person will come to my house, which is also an amazing thing, right? Like I didn't go to an office to come in to do it on stress test and like make sure maybe was fine and healthy. So we're monitoring very closely. Like me, it's really frequent. And my blood pressure, everything is fine. It's just wasn't happening, which is fine tune I'm very thankful for providing that Providence to you know, with my first birth I'm thankful for providers that do allow for a longer gestational
Unknown Speaker 20:36
age, because that's still within the range of normal.
Speaker 2 20:39
Yeah, and it's not the norm for people just to go into labor 38 weeks or 37 weeks, you know, like, like, anyway, I She's like, you know, we gotta we got let's just go ahead do it. Right. I was like, I understand, you know, like, Yeah, let's do it. I have been contracting at home pretty intensely, actually, on Monday, Sunday and Monday and even Tuesday, and because I think I caught you in the middle of night when this might sound like I'm in pain. And they were really happy. They'd be really sharp but they kind of like every two minutes and then maybe every four minutes and every 30 seconds and you kept saying it's pretty baby's position like he's, your body's trying to pump like it's like a funky pattern to try to move him and everything I could but it was not. It was rough. So anyway, we go in on Tuesday, and I didn't have to start with Pitocin or anything she just said let's try because I needed I was pretty soft but to help us like dilation and then just to further it. We did a dose of Servando and that got some contractions going I put it in around 10pm and I accidentally removed it. I accidentally put string which I guess maybe I've never had like if any of you have ever been in a like position, you understand how easy it is just to remove it. Anyway, it just came out. So it was like around three in my head and maybe like five or six hours and they called Carson like do what do you want us to do? And she was like, if she's contracting, let's just leave it let's just we'll be out. So I only have like a half a dose and cursing him in the morning and my water has broken at 8am on its own which is like in my interest. So I was so good to use this.
Unknown Speaker 22:27
She did. Yeah.
Speaker 2 22:29
Did I take signtech I want to say I did I think I did because I think I took it and then like an hour later I asked you to come
Speaker 1 22:39
yeah yeah because I sanitec is faster acting and shorter life and I feel like yeah, because you didn't make that folder to the server though. Yeah.
Speaker 2 22:50
And I had to take that. Yeah, actually now that I know I did because there's some I remember the nurse who gave it to me. So took a little bit of photos.
Unknown Speaker 23:02
That definitely, to me, I was already increasing support so that's why I asked you to come like an hour. I think of it like 11 Something like
Unknown Speaker 23:18
that well known go. Yeah. And you were so helpful. I remember
Speaker 2 23:23
like laboring in the shower was very, very, very helpful for me like I love that was my favorite part. And, you know, labor was really, it was one of my goals. For this pregnancy and labor and delivery with experience. Like I want to experience I wanted to feel it because I feel like with my daughter, I did feel it but I didn't actually get to feel like the throes of labor. I was so uncomfortable whenever I started with all the medicine and stuff that I joked earlier that I should say all these inventions that already received the deduction that I was I wasn't making progress at the rate. They wanted me to make progress and then they introduced Pitocin when they said that we're getting close and I said just go ahead and get an epidural. Because if I'm already struggling right now. Yeah, the medically
Speaker 1 24:13
induced labor is really, really impossible. Like sometimes impossible. It's not normal. Yeah, yeah. So anyway, so
Speaker 2 24:22
one of the goals I have is like I want to experience labor and if I ended up getting an epidural, I get a stroke, but I want to know what labor feels like. Like what is it like to actually work in labor with or I should say, work with the labor right? Victim the first time I was like, I was on the bed, and you're just like it hurts us. He rolled over to your side or whatever, because like, No one told me in the shower, no one really wanted freedom to live
Speaker 1 24:52
like a Christian, so it was very beautiful because I got to do all of that. I got
Speaker 2 24:59
the ball rolling. I was gonna shower. I think the significant in my mind at least it was like yeah, like in the water for a significant part of it. I mean, yeah, labor was hard, but it was really amazing too, because like, it hurt but then like when a contraction is over, you're like, you don't feel pain, like there's no pain or discomfort. It was amazing. You are coping so well when I got
Speaker 1 25:22
to like you really were like it was intense. So you had your 10s machine hooked up to Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Yeah, you were integrated with your 10s you were in a group with the ball like and you were you were a lot yourself between contractions like being able to kind of ask them what you need or change. positions or you know, while the end intense, you know, left at that point in the labor. Yeah. And like I remember crossing coming in
Speaker 2 25:49
at some point because it was hurting like I remember feeling a lot of pressure and just like, oh, my gosh, and being in the shower. I was like, I remember you being a good rocketships. Yeah, to help him. Move down. I was hurt during this contractions. I had to but it was like so hard. But I remember her checking at some point. I think that's like a five or I don't know, but I was progressing and I was very happy. Oh my god, this is really cool. And at some point, I remember saying to you
Speaker 1 26:19
I think I'm okay. Medicine. No, like I didn't have the experiencing has wanted for hours. Yeah. It's done in Iraq. And now I'm done with that part of it. Yeah, I'm okay with it. Yeah, yeah. 100% good. with it. Yeah, you're like, Are you sure and I feel like I'm proud of myself. And I
Speaker 2 26:39
feel like I have the labor like I've experienced this. I've checked all the boxes that I wanted for my life. But I remember saying I'm afraid of pushing. I was afraid of how it would hurt from going to the next level from where you were at like the
Unknown Speaker 26:53
idea that was it was just so painful. So So
Unknown Speaker 26:57
you didn't get the water
Unknown Speaker 26:59
leaving on the epidural.
Speaker 2 27:03
Epidural and I think it's like a five or five and a half ish whenever I actually
Unknown Speaker 27:08
you know, like, was
Speaker 2 27:09
prepared the still saying like, Oh, she was getting she was preparing the tub for me regardless, which I just like that might seem insignificant, but I feel like that is just like it just speaks to the type of provider she is because so many providers I know would just be like, well, you're getting an epidural. Like why are we gonna go through all this to prepare this so whenever you're not going great, like never gonna be laboring in a very long but I think she knew how important it was to me whether she was aware of that or not, I don't know like she was, you know, it was very important to your experience. And so I remember she paired it I got in and it really did. It slows contractions down quite a bit. They still hurt when they came, but they were much more manageable. It was it was crazy, you know, and I feel like people love waterbirth like, I you know if I have another like I was well, I don't I think I understand that but we'll see gaming. I see why people will pursue that right. Yeah, you kind of took you to a different place in your labor. You're a little bit more quiet,
Unknown Speaker 28:08
you're a little bit more like even though
Speaker 1 0:02
It's always, of course, the caveat. It was intense. It's like you found a different route for that. And then it's done. I think knowing when your relief was coming. Yeah, you know, you're working for you. We're moving in that direction. Yes. Being fully submerged in the water because the shower was helping you so much that it made sense but then being fully submerged in the water would bring you some relief. And it felt like from the outside looking in that that was a good moment to be in the water. Like, I thought that was pretty awesome.
Speaker 2 0:30
Yeah, it was cool. That's cool. And I wasn't very long, but I will say but I got out and the epidural was placed in a wonderful team. You know, I had you I had Carson. I think that's another amazing thing, you know, and persons literally, she doesn't replace it. Because like obviously you are invaluable, right? The question is very hands on. Like, they present just like you are like and I just that was amazing to experience because I didn't know like that. Like
Speaker 1 0:59
that's not standard. You don't see that type of she'll sit with you and observe or just sit with you and talk about upcoming auctions. It'll make sure you're fed. I guess she does a lot me she does a lot of things that doulas do, of course that she's not there, like the whole time so but it is it is great. It's exactly what
Speaker 2 1:23
so anyway, I remember her being very present during the epidural and holding my hand and he were there too and super, really, really he was really kind to and funny and I think it's popped up for Paul's anyway, but as soon as I got the epidural and she checked me I was at an eight and I was like, oh I had me get like really far forehead and I was really proud of myself because between the time of me requesting it to receiving it I had progressed even further and I was like I don't even need to like you know, but have it right or happen well that's already kind of a wonky though because like epidural, I know what the risks are, you know, I know there's art but and I didn't have an issue with my daughter like it was placed it was fine like I didn't like feeling them and not having any water I hated that. I hated that social media labor for days like that have water you know, the ice chips just going to go so far, but anywho I figured at the same time I got the temperature I thought I'd be pushing through. Cuz I'm like, well, well, I had the epidural in the afternoon about five or six ish was my blood pressure I don't think it was like only working on one side. One side was like dead. The other side, you know, I could feel what my right side could do. And they had started Pitocin because with my permission like you know, because after it was after a little while I was home living. I was jumping around Sorry, I'm
Unknown Speaker 2:43
trying Okay, no, you're good.
Speaker 2 2:46
I had my blood pressure started saying I think that was one of the first things that happened almost like me that the person had checked me after I got the epidural. And I thought it doesn't pass out and I was feeling sick. I might turn up twice. I remember meeting the bag because it was very nauseous. Yeah, very definitely wear them down your blood pressure down pertaining to like, and they make you feel really bad. And they be flat side. Awful. That I usually write down wishes like concepts off the over the uni somewhat of writing to help put pressure on my pelvis, maybe there's some positioning things. But then, you know, after a few hours of that, so I wasn't really I'm still wasn't, wasn't progressing like and so my contractions were consistent but they weren't very strong. So then they gave me some Pitocin and I agreed to if I understood, I understood the need right, like, open the door for an epidural that I wasn't feeling guilty about it or anything I understood. But it was very hard because then I was having Tosun contractions that I could feel.
Unknown Speaker 3:55
Still feel your contractions.
Unknown Speaker 3:59
I couldn't do you're still in
Speaker 1 4:00
discomfort you got like a little tiny break between like the nausea and lightheaded and the weak feeling to the still feeling your pain it's like it didn't feel like you've got the reward there Oh, yeah.
Speaker 2 4:15
So like, that was rough and like my left side being so dead that was really weird because like I couldn't move my like I couldn't move my body but then the right or the left. I was just like, so heavy but on the right, being able to like, do everything I'm like, helping. So anyway. So they started with autosen I started Pitocin I'm trying to think of what happened next. I kept laboring, I made it plain and after this she was like nine and a half. But then he was so high in like, there was no I could feel no pressure and like with my daughter even despite having an epidural, I felt a lot of pressure. And I knew that whenever you're nine or nine and a half centimeters like you're supposed to feel pressure. Yeah. Something was off like I just like Oh, like this is it just doesn't something's not right. You know, and they, his heart rate started to he started have a little bit of a hard time and some details because of the strength of the contractions because of Pitocin. So we took Pitocin off and we did an internal monitor and then Carson had come back and she was going over options. I mean, she said she was like you know, we can try to have some back on heavy labor. And she offered my hands and my knees which was so hard because I could not feel my body and like it was so rough. I don't like they're a little testy to my husband. He was I was I wanted to like keep, like, like support. And I felt like I was sliding. I could feel my body signing. He's like no, you're not like that. I feel it. You know you
Unknown Speaker 6:00
felt Yeah, it was. Yeah, yeah. Like,
Speaker 2 6:06
and I think I asked I was like, I think I denied Pitocin again, because I had to really think long and hard about like okay, they're gonna turn in a month. It's gonna hurt so bad because I was feeling like the sharp of the pinch of contract binding. I was feeling it. But I'm not able. And Carson put me in cities until the real labor there for an hour. And I remember her saying to me, before we got that position, she said, you know, we're doing everything we can she's like, but at some point, we're gonna have options. It's just I'm not saying the point is right now but like at some point we're gonna run out of options everywhere. I started crying and I said person please I don't want to see section please. I don't want to see section. She was like, I'm not saying that's what's gonna happen, you know, but like,
Unknown Speaker 6:53
we're gonna do this on a blind time. Do you
Speaker 2 6:55
know and I knew that I already knew. Alright. And so like I said, we've gotten hands and knees and I think I had made it like 20 minutes and that was just so uncomfortable. And I started thinking like, even if I make it to the end, like if I make it and he moves down for some act of God, because we attract somebody if he moves out because we're it's like midnight now. You know, I got a girl like seven hours or it was like five or 6pm Right? So eight and how would I wait? Six o'clock Yeah. And I was thinking I have no energy right now. I've been up for like a few days like this. This has sticks now. Thursday morning. I started the induction process on Tuesday evening, but I was laboring at home starting on Sunday night going into Monday. And I remember asked you to start with that was really hard. Like, I knew what I was. I knew what I was doing. And I didn't want it. But I felt like I needed to have it you know, but at the same time, it's like, I was like, do I need to have it but it was just not looking favorable. And I would rather I remember thinking like if it's going to come to this anyway, this is gonna be presented to me. I want to be the one making the decision before being told I have to happen, right, which is I wanted to exercise control over it. And I remember you talk telling me it's like you'd like it's hard and it's a different experience. I don't remember even exactly what you say to somebody your voice being very soothing and you're petting my back and I was just crying. And I said okay, I think that's all I need to do or something and you're like, do I need to get Carson and I said yes. And so called Carson and I remember her also being like, Are you sure we haven't tried everything? They said? Yeah, it's okay. You know, but from then it was it was okay. You know, like I was I had gotten it out I cry. And anesthesiologist call Dr. Johnson Allen because the attending OB er she was called within like 30 minutes. It was like very fast, but it wasn't rushed because it wasn't an emergency because we assigned permanent design. So it's like it wasn't an emergency. thinking in my head, like why are you looking for something that's non emergent? Yeah. I knew something wasn't right. You know, like, you just
Speaker 1 9:33
your intuition was telling you and you were so connected to the whole process and you did want to stay in that driver's seat. And so you are evaluating a lot of information. If you look at just one piece of it. It's easy to say well, why choose it, but you're looking you're in it and you're making decisions about everything that's happening around you. So it's only you can know that that's the right thing to do in that moment.
Speaker 2 9:56
Yeah. So it was like not rushed everything quickly, but it was clear to me from my perspective, at least, a peaceful like anesthesia. anesthesiology, they came in or anesthesia came in and they explained everything to me what they were doing what they were giving me and like I remember when they finally were preparing me for that C section and I was still on the labor which I thought was very interesting. I because I obviously have never experienced before. I like how they compare you not in the ER but in the labor and delivery room because it felt so much more. And it felt very warm. And, you know, I don't know if there's
Speaker 1 10:32
a failure environment. I try and keep the same energy going. Yeah, at least at that hospital thinking that same energy going to try and keep you in a good space and keep you feeling the same way.
Speaker 2 10:45
That was very respectful and gentle and uplifting, kind anyway. Whenever they finally like a puppy bowl of that, any case like I was like morphine and other things, and they increase the epidural dosage. That's why I finally got ready for the first time. Like that was when I was like, oh, okay, like I could. It was so much better like Yeah, but anyway, and I remember Carson was really me to the to the Oh, are and I said do you think I'm making the right decision? And she said, I'm thinking I think you're making the decision that feels division for you. Right? Which I thought was a very light medical you know, she's like,
Unknown Speaker 11:35
she can't say, right?
Speaker 2 11:37
Yeah, I wish I did. But then we get in there. And, you know, I don't feel any discomfort. Like whenever they do the initial incision or anything like that I really don't like I remember feeling nauseous again. From the medication and but the anesthesiology assistant to get the anesthetist. Yeah. He was so, so loving and she was holding my hand that she was putting my hair on my face like this and she was whispering into my ear and she was you know, she was so kind and she held her back for me and I did throw up I did, which was not fun, but overall though I did I did keep saying I feel drugged. I feel trapped because I didn't know they give me more.
Speaker 1 12:22
I thought it again kind of makes you a little a little bit out of it. Yeah, I was like
Speaker 2 12:26
And because my I feel sleepy. Like I could just fall asleep and I I was still aware that I was calm. Like so calm and she was like it's probably the morphine so okay, I didn't like just a nice and gentle and reassuring say whenever they went though, to remove the baby, or that's where things Ella funky. I didn't feel panic. But I remember thinking something's not right, just based off of the chatter in the room and then also the movements that were taking place. My body didn't feel like they, but like, felt like an insane amount of like, mental body. Going back to the doctor dumbed down. I was like, I needed a school. So unleveraged she was freaking them out nothing happening. He's not coming out. I mean, you probably saw more than I did. Obviously I could see through the curtains I mean, we can also go into the knowledge or the gas right but like he wasn't and then I remember the same. There's some like, basically conversation about like, one of the nurses came around your hand and
Unknown Speaker 13:57
nothing was happening and then
Unknown Speaker 13:59
just let me do something to it. It's a car Carson came around
Speaker 2 14:10
and I read my body and then they were able to get out but he was like Bruce and he was stuck. He was truly in this I think this is also I have some like cognitive dissonance because it's like people say Oh, I hadn't heard I have heard C section because I'm able to stuck backwards like how often is the right versus a failure to progress for other reasons. Right. And like I feel like my experience sometimes I'm recounting is like kind of dismissed because like you're stuck all the time. But it's like no truly like really Thracians or like, if I continue to labor like the outcome, they had not had access to medical care like this. One or both of us could have passed away. Yeah, that's how you know in hindsight, like, because he truly like I progressed, how it was supposed to. Right. And more like they couldn't even just pull
Unknown Speaker 15:09
them out. Right
Speaker 2 15:12
thing to experience that. But anyway, they brought him over and I remember saying, I'm so sorry. I know. That was hard. I know. That was hard. But he was Yeah, I don't know. It was very peaceful. And then you say me? Yeah, well,
Speaker 1 15:23
which is super special, because yeah, we don't get to attend many variants. I used my husband been a partner go and so Carson advocated for that, which was amazing. So yeah, and I did I mean, I witness them both around and I know from all my experience that that wasn't typical at all. Brighter so he was definitely had found a way to get himself good and wedged in there and no fault of anybody. It was and you knew that and that. That it was you know, I think there is some make sometimes people end up unnecessary or they don't get some closure or some some answers. And I think that was solidifying information about what was going on inside which we couldn't see any of that. So it's hard to know beforehand. Is this right or is this not and then I think after that right decision?
Speaker 2 16:27
Yeah. Yeah. And like whenever every year sat down, and Carson was really made back out to the recovery room. I said, Do you think I made the right decision? I asked the same question. And she said she was that was medically necessary. He was not going to go
Unknown Speaker 16:45
Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Speaker 2 16:48
This was very interesting. I don't know it's just very interesting story because it was It started off not being medically like it was non emergency with anything medically necessary at the point for it. And then it turns out to be medically necessary, which I think is very interesting. But it's very validating to me, I'm glad to hear you say that. Because like Yeah, I mean, I'm not discounting the C sections for any part of the people at all. You know, I'm also I'm a I'm a helping professional right I work with them and experience help people process. I'm not trying to be dismissive, I'm just saying, on personal level. When I'm recounting my own experience, it's just like
Speaker 1 17:27
well, there was a big shift I mean, from choosing your parents before the midwife come in, and, and that's what we can I see a lot is it's the team coming in and saying, Okay, we explore options now are
Unknown Speaker 17:41
Speaker 1 17:44
The person not having had a chance to get there yet. And so this was you sort of getting there before them, and then it turning out meeting it anyway, so it's just not what you normally see. And then I think when it's the other way around, which provider comes in and it's kind of more saying what we're gonna do it leaves the person giving birth saying was right was not right, and then transparency and from the I mean, the fact that Carson gets to stay and watch me part and assess on the on the Secretary,
Speaker 2 18:16
which I didn't even like think about right whenever I said, okay, like I feel like this is why do I didn't even really realize she'll be in the room. I might, she might have told me or like I might have even asked but I don't remember any of that. But then stuff like knowing that she was with me the whole time. And she actually like delivered the baby like that's still really full circle and it's like, oh, yeah, I wasn't I was never handed over to strangers never handed over to someone who didn't know me or anything like that, like everyone knew me. And you know, I'm saying like they were all familiar,
Speaker 1 18:44
right. And I think we were able to get information are able to extract information from her afterwards, where some people end up with a certain restaurant, they don't know. And then they don't get that full circle, relationship and conversation to come back around and be like, No, I'm always like, you know, ask them about the theory and if you've had one, because last time I'm not there, it's like you can ask like, what position was the baby and was that what, you know, kind of get some information about that might be helpful in your processing. But it was not accessible. But so the in the situation it was, it was really helpful. Yeah, it's really Yeah, it's very helpful just for processing and also,
Speaker 2 19:20
just also just for the purpose of having information right we were right to them where you shouldn't struggle medical record, but so many women don't have access to it or no. Exam, right? But um, anyway, I was gonna say, Yeah, I do remember asking Rachel comp and Rachel. Issues like I think such Afghanization but like, you're just coming right?
Speaker 1 19:43
Very, yeah, good. I think it depends on the anesthesiologist and it ended up being one who is supportive of having doulas in there. So you put Carson and dead supportive anesthesiologist together and I guess, doula we get to come but I felt very fortunate and very thankful to be able to be there for you. In that moment, you have your husband there, again, the Anestis This was great. Carson was there. I think you were surrounded by a lot of really wonderful, supportive people. But it was nice, and I do think it's necessary. I wish more people I wish that was an option for everybody because like, you know your husband went to being a while then. And I've stayed with you like you had like someone kind of walking you through what was going on and how safe doing what's next. And so you weren't ever really left just you had that first bit. I think you got in there because you get them you go in the O R and then we came in after that but otherwise you weren't left alone. And I think that's really important that you kind of have someone and then as soon as you're in recovery, we're there with you helping, you know, with painting and bonding and that was another thing I know that was different for you too. Was that just besides the delay in this, like surgery, like ending you got to be with Walden pretty
Speaker 2 20:54
soon after that. Yeah. Which is different, you know, so the first time I had a NICU baby so like, I didn't have a baby in the room. It was very, it was a very weird experience to give birth and go through that really heartbeat and then not have the baby with you. I could visit her but like that was a weird thing. And so this time like having in the room and having a baby from beginning was just way different. Just good, you know, but it was just so different that I had never taken care of like a brand new newborn before I just so that was still a learning experience. And that was really cool. And recovery from the C section was it it didn't feel great, you know, it's way different. There's like cuffs on your legs like make sure you don't get caught so can medication was seen, like the pain medication that you're on and like, I mean, I mean, but you need it. And then like having the incision and all of that it's just seen as different. It's different. It was hard. It was a hard recovery. But I will say though, despite the outcome, everything this is such a peaceful experience and like it was very healing in many ways. Like I don't fear childbirth now even though my outcome right like is not what we would say is ideal, right? Right. Because of the whole experience. Experience. Oh my god yeah, like a like I would have another child like did a mock tomorrow literally tomorrow like because that's how supportive you know, like it even research shows my breakfast and birth trauma like the woman the birthing person's perception of support is one of the biggest like preventative factors, right? And like yeah, I don't know. I just think it's amazing. It's so peaceful.
Speaker 1 22:42
Exactly, to kind of set up for your first birth that there was a lot of healing. There was a lot a lot more time before you're ready to make a child and this one, I'll be hit. Not easy in any shape, form or fashion where you're at mentally is
Speaker 2 22:59
so much better. Yeah. And just when I think back on the experience, I don't think on it with like, like because my daughter's birth is it was very beautiful because I felt you know, I don't want to say that it was like a quote shadowed by all the difficulty because it was it was still very useful and I had a vaginal birth and I got to experience that right. It's all scary at times. Like I it was hard. It was very scary. And I felt under supportive, in many ways, like really underscored it and so this family going through it and like having an overwhelming amount of support. So it's just a game changer.
Speaker 1 23:33
I mean, honestly, is really nice. So that's one of the things like if you could extract a, you know, it's always like, what's our lesson? What's the takeaway because you've not to birth experiences. Would you say it's the
Speaker 2 23:47
support? Yeah. You mean like during the labor process
Speaker 1 23:52
and all that yeah, we'll just grab pregnancy to birth. Going through both of those. You know, I'm hearing you say support but is there anything else that you feel like is like playing a big role and you are navigating the process and doing it?
Speaker 2 24:07
Support? Me is like the honestly the biggest? That's, uh, that was the biggest. I think that's the most important thing. Yeah. Yeah. Just support. Is that what you're asking?
Speaker 1 24:17
Yeah, yeah. What's your takeaway? Like, what's the thing? What's the one that stands out to you?
Speaker 2 24:23
Yeah. That just the level of support and also also access to support right. So like knowing that even if I didn't need you until I was about four centimeters or 16 years, that would have if I needed you, you know, I'm saying like, you would be like, Yes, I will come now. Right. And then also knowing that your support didn't have a time limit, like you weren't going to tap out on me, right? Yeah. That was just like, really, really impactful for me. And so, like, knowing that, because I think you're there, but I don't know, do you know how many hours 1517 It was a long week?
Speaker 1 24:54
It was yeah, it was like 17 I think 1517 I have looked back at my notes, but it was off the higher end but it was worth every second and I couldn't trade it out. And I was Yeah, Hannah and I do trade out around the 15 hour mark. But we were I knew kind of where things were going at that point. And so I was like, I'm definitely staying until this 30 or so. And I did trade out so that we don't have time limits and so that we don't completely drain ourselves and so that you have a fresh so that the second version has a fresh doula who's not worn out you know, so but that's right around our cut off like 15 As far as cut off, meaning we trade out not where you and right now the doula like that's why that's why we do what we did.
Speaker 2 25:37
Right? And that was very impactful for me just knowing to like okay, because I knew just based on a second birth gonna be different, but I knew based off my first I could leave her for days. Right. I wanted to make sure I had support for days and that sort of required, you know, like, so that was just really that just even though I had I had access difference, so
Speaker 1 25:59
that's awesome. Well, I'm just you I think what I'm hearing too is like how you advocated for your entire verse support team like you how you chose your provider, even if you had a good provider before you you still chose differently this time because you had that previous experience to say, Okay, now I'm going to really try and be more alignment, seek more, you know, individualized care and you sought that out so you continue to like fine tune the things you knew and make a difference and I think that also played a big role being with with Carson led to me versus you know, a bigger practice. You know, it was all about how you felt and you knew you needed that kind of direct support. And so I mean, that's something else we talked about a lot with our clients, as they're preparing is like, have those hard conversations. Think about how you feel when you're in their presence. Think about how you feel you know, those appointments and a short or longer being on new appointments at home is like it was a game changer because it's at home birth style, feeling like you get that like, who knows. I mean, there's so much stress that comes from actually going into a physician's office to get care. So, you know, I think you made a lot of intentional choices along the way and also waited as long as you know, until you were in a good place to have your second so I think you did so many things that helped you be in a positive place. When no matter how it went, right. And I think that speaks to like that. There's just it takes a lot of effort. And that's what you know, we talk a lot about on the podcast here and I talked about it with our clients, but you can't just be a passive participant in this because you can see even with advocacy and even with intentionality, like things come up that you wouldn't have predicted and that are out of your control. And so it's all about how kind of you feel as you're going through those decision points. And I think your stories are testament to that because it's not always roses and rainbows and butterflies and all the things that's how you feel through the process. And that's where I also like the the parallels, or the comparisons in your birth as far as like how you fell through the process, and how it can be beautiful and brutal. It can be two really hard things at one time. That's another thing that like becoming a parent is like the biggest lesson I like and that's birth man. And that's first. Okay, so just a couple questions before we wrap up. We've sort of touched on is there anything else you'd like to share as far as like helpful tips for preparing for birth?
Speaker 2 28:46
I'd say obvious I mean, we all know the obvious one right? Like hire a doula. Pre hire Yeah. I would say avoid institutions that don't welcome doulas. Yeah, name any name. So looking at you big hospital area. Yeah. Just don't even question it. Avoid it. But, like, childbirth education, you know, like, obviously I know you provide childbirth education. I did. I was receiving like, kind of like, you know, obviously education from you and Hannah. I never took one of your formal courses. I did a like an a synchronous, like, Mama natural. Natural. Yeah. You know, she had like a Mother's Day special while I was pregnant. So I got it at a reduced price. And that was honestly like I would listen to I was driving like I played it almost like a podcast, because it's like video shorts or something. So anyway, I would play it while I was driving. And I actually learned a lot from that too. You know, I just kind of pretended like I didn't know anything. And so that was helpful. But anyway, childbirth education, a doula. But honestly, like, the biggest piece of advice I have is just ask questions because I feel like so many parents, they don't ask questions because they do not want to question the authority of their provider. You know, the thing is like if your provider in my opinion either prepares putting you in a position of feeling uncomfortable to question authority, like maybe they're not the right provider for you, because your job is to question their authority, like, not in a rude way,
Speaker 1 0:00
test an intervention. Here's why it's needed. Here are the risks and benefits. What are your questions? How does this make you feel? And how would you like to move forward? Yeah, there's my recommendation.
Speaker 2 0:13
And that's really how Carson does her care too, right? Like, I've seen a lot with her and like, also, like one of the beautiful things like it's so simple, but like, every time Carson was going to touch my body anyway, she would sit at the side of the bed and she's okay. Just let me know when you're ready. Right, but it's like me and I was always fine. I'd be like, Okay, I'm doing good. But it's like, She's not saying like okay, mm hmm do this now shoot the shoot literally just sit there to like, that's just notation operation like it's just you know, yeah, I'm with you on that Sure. decision making but anyway, that's my I think my biggest thing like if you don't do anything else, just ask question, just ask questions, irritated by you asking questions, like, here's your sign that yeah, that's a sign you know, and I know that it also you know, I probably say that from place of privilege, right? Like it's not just like, but they like they're not going to treat you poorly grasping questions. They might be irritated. Yeah. So like, they're gonna know you're on your game. On life, and I can know the answers to these things because this conversation is gonna come into and ask questions and I think,
Speaker 1 1:24
yeah, and something I tell my people to in that in that vein is that what we see mostly is that most providers will soften and open up when you initiate dialogue because they're in this profession for a reason, like and then they're a bit numbed out sometimes or routined out by by the structure that has to come from meetings and systems and meetings and routine and even some procedures to get the number of people through. But when you ask questions, typically when you're obviously initiating it in a respectful and open minded way, typically we see them soften and open up and that's encouraging. They, they care about birthing people, they care about helping you have I think, for the most part, it's like seeing the good it's not villainizing I do think there's a lot of potential there. It's just kind of working to crack them open, right?
Speaker 2 2:14
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, because I see something similar in my personal and well, my professional work. Do I see something similar, like providers don't get vindictive? Or anything they, they, normally they will soften a little bit and they will, they will make the time you'd have to get them to the point of like, seeing you as a priority frame, right,
Speaker 1 2:33
is that either that's a lot of work or it's easier and hopefully, easier and a lot of work. Then yours, yours. Well, thank you so much. And I also want to highlight one more time before we go that you are a child and Perinatal mental health counselor, and that you work with young children from infancy to 12. Yeah, so my practicum it Yeah, yeah. So I already had a whole episode about it, but I would like to wrap up with that. So that's it. Yeah.
Speaker 2 3:05
So yes, so I'm a licensed professional counselor here in Georgia and I specialize in infant early childhood and Perinatal mental health, which basically means like, my practice specializes in like pregnancy for the first six years of life. I do work with children like generally like under 12. But my specialty is in those early parenting years. I work a lot with like, postpartum anxiety and depression and birth trauma and then also relational care between parents and their children and then just like childhood symptomology hopefully, you know, a lot of parents are worried if their child like exists anxiety, do they have ADHD, you know, so I work on this into allergy as well. But um, anyway, yeah, I do. I do all that and I support I support families in many ways. Just through my like, core work and all stuff which you guys will be you will hear about, on the other hand,
Speaker 1 3:51
too, and to the episode where Ashley talks with Dr. Shannon all about her professional work, and you create so many beautiful spaces for babies and mamas to come together in our community in person and online, safe places, shared spaces, building relationships. Building community, you just are such a light in this world. And I'm so thankful to know you and so thankful for you sharing your stories with us as well as your professional work. I mean, it's just so much that we had to put it into to them they could probably be more than that, but
Speaker 2 4:29
no, no. Thank you for having me and I just want to say you know thank you for everything you've done for me personally, and also professionally but personally like having you there was just so impactful like it I
Unknown Speaker 4:39
want I just think it was my next slide is my copy paste. You don't want anything to be different. I told the story of because whenever I think back about the love that you read it for me, it's just so impactful. So
Speaker 1 4:56
thank you for saying that and that's been it is why we do what we do. And you know, I feel like in the heart in the burst that come up with aren't as straightforward. That's really where we're able to shine and and come through and be there and that's why we do it. And I get chills when I talk about your story. I get chills when I talk to you. There's a reason there's like a you know, it's a it's a bigger thing right that that impacts that relationship and that's why we we aim for that it's not just like, Oh, we're trying to like hammer this out over and over again. We're trying to build these meaningful relationships because we know that that's gonna transcend motherhood and then kind of it just develops other relationships to get us get me in all the fields.
Speaker 2 5:44
Well, thank you for having me, though, and opening up this space to talk about this. It's been my pleasure and have a beautiful day. Thank you