Birth Story: Preparing for the Mental Game of Labor & Birth + The Difference the Right Support Can Make with Taryn Hoeksema

Show Notes:

[1:11] Our reviewer of the week, ygbsbjx, said, “Hi, Stephanie! I’m in my third trimester and was very determined to not study up too much about giving birth just to preserve the mystery and romance and natural process of it. Then I stumbled upon this podcast and now I can’t help but listen to every episode and am taking the online birth course. I can’t believe all of the information I have learned and now I have SOOOOO many questions for my next prenatal appointment. I also feel empowered that although I won’t be having a home birth (due to my husband’s concerns) I know enough now to advocate for myself in the hospital to have the best birth I can try to have! I had no idea how many options, choices and decisions there are to be made that no one even talks to you about! Thank you!

I’m thankful that you have come to the podcast and learning about birth! I love the idea of the mystery of birth and preserving the romance, but I also love that you are here and doing the hard work that comes with educating yourself about all things birth. We have another birth story this week!

Having an unmedicated birth is a huge decision and requires so much preparation physically AND mentally. Your body will do what your brain tells it to! For your body to enter "Labor Land", it's imperative that mom feels safe and supported. Taryn shares her birth story about how her support and mental preparation helped her achieve the birth she desired for her third baby girl. 💕

[2:25] Taryn Hoeksema introduces herself. She is a mama of 3 girls (4, 1, and 6 weeks old) living in South Dakota with her husband. 🥰

[3:09] Taryn shares about the births and pregnancies for her three girls. She and her husband got pregnant right away with her first. The hospital that delivers babies is an hour away, and she switched providers due to some disagreements. In 2020, she had three miscarriages before getting pregnant with her second daughter. They went to a fertility clinic, and got pregnant soon after. She found out she was pregnant with her third daughter when her second daughter was eight months old. She was induced all three times. 🏥

[5:30] Taryn decided it was time to switch providers because he was very much “this is how we do things.” Her daughter’s delivery went well but the nurses were not supportive of her going unmedicated. She felt like she didn’t have any options. Her sister encouraged her to switch providers. Taryn asked him all the questions to make sure he was on the same page. 👨🏼‍⚕️

[7:52] I ask Taryn how her husband supported her during all three pregnancies. They didn’t really know much about birthing so they didn’t prepare much for their first pregnancy. It took them a while to find their groove. 😅

[9:32] What preparation did you do for your most recent pregnancy? She took the birth course and talks about how mental preparation made such a huge difference. She also did the three exercises, relaxation techniques, and practiced with the ice. 🧊

[11:09] Birth is such a mental game! Your body will continue to move through the pain if your mind tells it to. We talk about “Labor Land” where your body is here but your mind is elsewhere. It’s so powerful and why good support is so crucial! Any negative energy takes away from that power of knowing you CAN do this. 💪🏼

[13:17] What helped prepare you the most of your birth? Taryn said the relaxation practice helped her so much. The mental game and support made the biggest difference. She asked her sister to come with her for support. 🫶🏼

[14:32] Were there specific topics that stood out to you and that you enjoyed learning about? Taryn said that she listened to three episodes on repeat: water as nature’s epidural, do these things for more pain during labor. She said that remembering not to furrow her eyebrows helped her to stay loose. 😙

[17:05] Was there anything you did towards the end of your pregnancy to help prepare? Taryn went to the chiropractor every week of her pregnancy and felt that made a huge difference. Her name is Marina Kimball at Begin With Family Chiropractic. She also ate dates around 35 weeks and started drinking the red raspberry leaf tea around 37 weeks. 🍵

[18:58] She noticed she was further along in her dilation with red raspberry leaf tea with her most recent birth. Her first daughter was barely 1 cm at over 41 weeks when she was induced. Her second daughter was 1 cm but 20% effaced at 40 weeks. Her third daughter was 4 cm and 80% effaced at 39 +6 weeks. 👏🏼

[20:17] Taryn walks us through the first contraction to her birth. They were having blizzards and highways were being shut down. She wanted to make sure that they would be seen by a hospital so they decided to go in to be induced. They didn’t give her Cytotec to get labor started so they started her on Pitocin at the lowest dose. She asked to have her water broken and thirty minutes later, contractions got more intense. 😫

[24:43] She got in the tub, listened to some music, and she started having to moan through her contractions. She felt so thankful for her sister and husband both there. She got checked again and was at a 7. She started using the peanut ball and after one intense contraction, she said she couldn’t do it. She remembered hearing that when moms say they can’t do it, that’s usually when they’re in transition. She felt so much intense pressure and the baby’s head was coming out! The nurses told her not to push until the doctor got there. Her baby just came out onto the table and she had a knot in her umbilical cord that was cutting off her circulation. She had to be on C-PAP for a minute before the baby started breathing on her own. After that, she was able to do skin to skin. 🤱🏼

[28:49] Taryn’s story had a lot of similarities to one of my births. 🥰

[29:36] What did your early contractions feel like and how did you work through them? She felt the early contractions were like period cramps. They were in her lower back with an intense ache. Counter pressure really helped her work through those. She used a ball massager as well. When she was walking, the contractions wrapped around her stomach and she felt like her ab muscles were being pulled. In the bath tub, she felt like someone was pulling her muscles down instead of feeling tight. 😮‍💨

[31:32] The peanut ball is MAGIC! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the peanut ball just make mom go from having contractions to baby’s head is out! 🥜

[32:20] What labor positions did you use? Taryn said swaying felt so good. Her hips shifting just gave her so much relief. Once things got more intense, she didn’t like the exercise ball as much. In the tub, she relaxed on her back and she poured water on her stomach during contractions. She felt like she could feel herself progressing. 🛁

[34:37] What was going on in your mind? She didn’t talk much once she got in the tub, her husband and sister were supportive. Her sister was her cheerleader and helped talk her through the contractions. Support is everything! 🙌🏼

[36:12] Did you have a spiritual experience? Taryn listened to worship music during her labor and she wished she had turned it on sooner. She felt like she was worshipping through her labor. It was a reminder that with God she could get through one more contraction. She could trust in God and knew He had it in His hands. Her sister started praying over the room when her daughter was not breathing. 🙏🏼

[38:28] What is your best advice for mom? Don’t underestimate how important practice and the mental game is. Put in the work to get yourself mentally prepared. Honeysticks are the best thing in the world for labor. They are energizing and gives you that boost of energy. 🍯 For partners, be supportive and trust that your partner knows what she needs. 

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ALL the best,


Links Mentioned:

Water: Nature’s Epidural

15 Things That Cause More Pain During Birth

Dr. Marina Kimball of Begin with Family Chiropractic


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