Birth Story: Preparing & Practicing for an Unmedicated Birth with Autumn and James Cosgrove

Show Notes:

[2:14] Our Reviewer of the Week, N.Schmidt4, said: "LOVE LOVE LOVE this podcast. I found this podcast later on in my pregnancy but so glad I did. We moved to a new state where we didn’t know a single person half way through my pregnancy. I was terrified know that I was going to be laboring without my momma there to support me and encourage me like she did with my other babies and had to count on my husband who while amazing in other areas was not so amazing in the lab our and delivery room. I was about 34 weeks pregnant with baby number 4 when I stumbled across this podcast while desperately looking for encouragement and tips to get me through the labor and delivery process on my upcoming birth."

[4:36] Our birth story today comes from Autumn and James Cosgrove, who are My Essential Birth graduates. Autumn describes herself as an avid podcast listener. They had their daughter, Reagan, in November 2022. 

[5:22] Autumn's overall experience was pretty textbook. She found out she was pregnant around five weeks. She was excited for the 2nd trimester because she would be on summer break as a teacher. She felt like her pregnancy was very smooth and didn't have any issues.

[6:40] Autumn's outlook was "Why wouldn't you want an epidural?" before she became pregnant. After she got pregnancy and found the podcast, she became obsessed with learning everything she could about birth. She gained all her knowledge from the podcast.

[9:10] Her husband, James, is a firefighter/paramedic who has delivered babies in the field. He looked at birth as a more traumatic event. For him, it was an entirely different perspective, even being in the delivery room, because he's used to being on the other side of it and knows the complications and the things that can happen. When it's your baby, it's a complete game changer because you're in a different mindset.

[10:13] Autumn went to an OB provider, but her OBGYN started his own practice when she got pregnant. She went the midwife route because she felt like her values aligned better with the midwife approach to birth. James just cared about the fact that Autumn was happy with her provider and the care she got. Autumn felt like all her questions were answered and that they were on board with their birth goals.

[12:25] James's experience working with midwives vs OB's was just knowing Autumn was happy with her care since she was doing 99.99% of the work. He was comfortable with how happy she was with the care she received, and the midwives put her at ease.

[13:32] Any complications leading up to birth? The induction talk was only a conversation with one midwife. She had an uncomplicated pregnancy, she did not have GBS, and she was not high risk. She asked if they would be comfortable letting her go util 42 weeks. She said that she knew if the midwives tried to force her into an induction, she would schedule the appointment but not show up. She went to 39 weeks and 5 days. 

[15:42] At 37 weeks, she was offered a cervical check, but she declined. 

[16:25] She started listening to the podcast around five weeks and knew a week in that she wanted to purchase the birth course. She started in at 30 weeks so it would be fresh in their minds. She was adamant about the 3 Free Exercises and sitting on her birth ball. They did the labor rehearsals. She would make her shower warm and relaxing. She'd use some steam scents to calm her. She'd also pray. Being on the same page as her husband was a huge help for labor, how to support her, and even expectations after birth. 

[21:05] What Autumn and James did together to prepare? Autumn would talk about different scenarios and what James could do to help her. He had an idea of what she wanted/needed when it came time. They practiced counter pressure and practiced different positions. 

[23:26] For preparations leading up to labor, Autumn walked a lot. They'd walk their dog every evening. They also did curb walking. She didn't enjoy dates or the red raspberry leaf tea. 

[25:0] Autumn starts from her first contraction, which started on Black Friday. She felt uncomfortable and exhausted. She slept all day. She had some belated Thanksgiving celebrations with her family on Saturday, and she started feeling period cramps. Her Nana was watching her and started timing her contractions. She then realized that she was probably in labor. They got in the car, and she became very uncomfortable. She was convinced it was prodromal labor. She relaxed and went to bed. She got up and got in the shower around 3 AM, braided her hair, got ready, and she slept as often as she could. She went for a walk and her contractions went from 7 minutes apart to 2.5 minutes apart. 

[39:05] Once she got home, her contractions slowed down. She was afraid to go to the hospital because she didn't want to get sent home. Her mom came over and insisted she go to the hospital. She was 5 centimeters. She was breathing through her contractions and she just didn't believe she was actually in labor. The nurses were hands-off until they were needed. Autumn was able to get in the zone. 

[40:46] Autumn was able to use the shower as her comfort measure. She felt like she couldn't get the shower hot enough. She wanted the steam and hot water. She didn't have an IV or monitors. While in the shower, she told James that she needed to poop. The midwife checked her and she was 9 cm dilated. Her water broke while she was being checked. She knew she was in transition because she wanted the epidural. 

[36:32] She started pushing in different positions, but she ended up finding that pushing on her back was the most comfortable. During pushing, after 45 minutes, the baby's heart rate started to drop. The midwife told her to get the baby out in one more push or she'd have to do an episiotomy. One push later, she came out. She did have some hemorrhaging and got some Pitocin because she didn't stop bleeding. She did get the Golden Hour and delayed all of the baby's vitals and tests until afterwards. 

[39:35] Autumn describes her contractions has really mild period cramps when they started out. The feeling radiated from her lower abdomen out towards her sides. A lot of her contraction pain was in her hips. She would sway by using the kitchen counter and let her hips sway. She'd also lay down in a fetal position with a heat pad on her lower abdomen and hips. 

[42:32] Autumn kept telling herself "You can do anything for 10 seconds." She kept referencing back to things she learned in the course, remembering birth stories, and she'd pray as well. At her baby shower, her loved ones had written down inspirational things down on note cards for her to refer back to during labor.

[45:42] Other ways James supported Autumn through labor: making sure she stayed hydrated, brought her snacks, and he did counter pressure.

[48:00] Best advice for moms and dads:

Autumn to Moms - "Invest the time into learning everything that there is to learn about the birth that you want. Learn all your options, be well-educated in that. We invest so much time and so much effort into so many things in our life, right? The planning that goes into a wedding or the schooling that it takes to get your degree, right? Why would we not put the time towards getting educated about this amazing thing that our bodies are capable of doing? Also be flexible! I think flexibility is a really big thing as well because I knew what I wanted, but I knew that there were so many ways to get there. My providers always appreciated that I had a birth map, not a birth plan."

Autumn to Dads - "Make sure that you are very open to everything that mom wants in the birth. I would not necessarily placate, but definitely make sure that she feels heard and that her worries or anxieties or wishes of any kind are listened to. I would also say get educated, learn as much as you can because if you are ignorant going into it, that's not the place to learn, right? The delivery room is not the place to learn. Lastly, I would say, please don't get offended if we tell you we don't like something because that was something we had a conversation about very early on. I was like, Hey, if I don't like the counter pressure when we're doing it, I don't care how much we practiced it beforehand. You're going to stop.

James to Dads - "I mentioned earlier, like, you know, women do 99.9% of the work during pregnancy. So anything that I can do to make me take a percentage, making it a percentage easier for her, that was my goal. I'm not really like a huge emotional person. So, you know, when she's going through her ups and downs throughout pregnancy, that was a challenge for me."

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