Birth Story: Unplanned Pregnancy to Knowing What Her Body Needed with Savanna Davis

Show Notes:

[2:00] Our Reviewer of the Week, Neenah66, said: "I listened to this podcast through my first pregnancy (and went back to listen to every podcast ever made). I also bought their birth class, my essential birth! Labor and birth went even better than planned. I owe it all to Stephanie! It’s great to be back listening as I grow baby #2!"

[2:49] Our birth story today is from Savanna Davis! She and her fiance, CJ, welcomed their first baby girl in January of 2023. She actually came on New Year's day, which was unplanned, but exciting. They are from Cleveland, and her fiance owns a flooring company, and Savanna is in grad school right now, which is a whole challenge in itself.

[3:40] Savanna's pregnancy was not planned. She did not know right away. She was feeling awful, and she was worried because autoimmune diseases run in her family. She went to the doctor, and they actually didn't even test her for pregnancy. Everything was coming back normal, but she decided to take a test and it was positive! She had some other health things going on right before that and wasn't sure if she was going to be able to get pregnant. She was very sick and ended up losing 10 pounds, but she found a midwife after listening to the podcast.

[8:12] Savanna took a pregnancy test around 6 weeks. Her provider allowed her to come in for a blood test early since most times they won't see you until 8-9 weeks. 

[9:18] Savanna had been on birth control for 10 years and hadn't been getting her period. She was in a lot of pain and was worried that she was developing cysts. She had been testing with her OB, but they had quit before she got any answers. She was exhausted and started having early pregnancy symptoms. 

[12:54] Savanna chose to have a hospital midwife who she met through her mother who is a Nurse Practitioner. She felt like her midwife took her time and answered all their questions. She had no experience and was brand new to what to expect. She had a group of 8 midwives which she met over the course of her pregnancy so she would know all of them. Savanna shares about her experience with the group of midwives and what she liked and disliked about it.

[17:28] Savanna took all of the tests that are offered during pregnancy (ultrasounds, genetic testing, GBS, glucose testing, etc.) Everything came back normal. Savanna knew that she was starting school in the middle of January and wanted to have at least a week's buffer between when she delivered and when she started school. Her midwife gave her a lot of suggestions on how to get labor started. She didn't want to be induced or be on Pitocin. 

[21:35] From the beginning, Savanna's birth partner, CJ, was so supportive. He even made his guy friends listen to the My Essential Birth podcast on a road trip! He did extra research on his own. They did the birth course together, and he was an active listening partner. 

[24:25] What was the sost helpful thing Savanna did prior to giving birth? Savanna talks about how having an open line of communication was so important for her and CJ. 

[25:35] Savanna prepared for labor by doing the three exercises. She also packed her birth bag at 30 weeks. One of the things that brought her the most joy was one of the lessons about how to do massage for while you're in labor. He was awful at it! If they had to drive anywhere, they'd listen to a podcast episode together. Gaining knowledge was something that was special for both of them to do together.

[29:15] Her labor prep included red raspberry leaf tea around 37 weeks and curb walking. She started leaking colostrum and even hand expressed milk 2 days before labor. Before her 36 week appointment, she felt baby drop, but there was no dilation during her cervix check.

[30:56] Savanna lost her mucus plug, went back to bed, and got ready for work the next day (which was New Year's Eve.) After work, she felt like her daughter stopped moving around so she left to go to the hospital to get checked. She thought she was having Braxton Hicks. She didn't start having contractions and she was put on a clock because her water had been broken for 10 hours at this point. She was put on a low dose of Pitocin to get labor moving. 

[32:41] Once she was given a higher dose of Pitocin, the rest of her water broke. She had been walking around with the monitor and bouncing on the ball. She had contraction on contraction without a break. She remembers looking at my mom and CJ and saying, "I don't know what to do. I don't know if I want to sit. I don't know if I want to stand. I'm just going to cry." And she just stood up and cried, and said "I think I want to ask for IV pain medication." She had her birth plan written out, affirmations, and essential oils on hand. She decided she wanted to try the IV pain meds before the epidural. She got her epidural and was 6 centimeters afterwards. She fell asleep afterwards and the nurse checked her and she was 10 centimeters and needed to start pushing. It was her nurse, midwife, mom, and CJ in the room while she pushed. Savanna pushed for 3.5 hours and was falling asleep during contractions. 

[51:59] Once her daughter was born, Savanna wanted to hold her baby, but she had a short cord and wasn't crying. After a few minutes, she started crying but she had a high heart rate and fever. She demanded to be given her baby and after skin-to-skin, her heart rate and temperature evened out. She knew that's what her baby needed.

[55:59] Savanna describes her contractions: "So I remember it was still crampy, but it almost was like, when you watch it on the monitor and you can see like the up and the down. I remember feeling that like 'Okay, here's a contraction. It's getting like harder, harder, harder. And it's releasing.' I remember being able to kind of feel that with the monitor, which then I'm like, I don't even want to keep looking at it. Cause maybe I'm just watching it happen. I remember kind of feeling like that little twinge of like, okay, I'm getting a cramp. It's getting worse. It's getting worse. Kind of like that. Once I had the epidural and I was still able to feel, that's when it felt mostly just like pressure. I could just feel, you know, okay, I'm feeling a lot of pressure right now. And I was still very in tune with my body of like, I know my body's wanting to push now."

[57:31] Savanna talks about the things that helped her through the contractions. She had peppermint essential oils that she'd smell in between contractions and she felt like she was eating a thin mint cookie, which energized her! Between CJ and her mom, just having them really following her wishes, her mom going through the plan and reminding her that she could do this! Her mom said, "It doesn't make your birth any less. Because you knew your options and you're adding in what you need at this time, and you're listening to your body."

[59:59] Savanna shares her best advice for moms and dads: "I think that would be my advice for moms is just being educated on all of it, even if you don't think that you are going to want it or need it. You know, being educated on that, practicing, being in tune with your body, just even like with the mindfulness or like things like that, where you're just like, listen to what you need in the moment. Everyone's body is different so you may need something different in that moment than another mom may need at a different moment. So knowing what your options are and how to utilize them was a big game changer for me. CJ said his advice for dads would be throughout pregnancy, throughout labor, the whole thing is, it's not about you at this time, you know, just sit back and listen to what they need. Sit back and jump in when you're needed, jump in to advocate when you need to jump in, be supportive when you need to, but sit back to really realize what is needed at that time."

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