[1:11] Our review of the week, sls610, said: “First podcast I listened to while pregnant! I LOVE this podcast! I’ve been listening to it for about 2 months since finding out I was pregnant, and it’s been so helpful in teaching me all the different things to think about for labor and delivery. I started from the beginning and hope to listen to all the episodes before I’m due in June! Stephanie’s ethos for birth is so similar to how I’m thinking about it (holistic combined with western medicine practices) so I feel right at home with this podcast. I even signed up for the My Essential Birth course, and my husband and I are starting tonight! So excited!! Thank you for all the helpful info!”
Thank you for this review and jumping into the course! I love hearing when you guys tell me you started listening to the very beginning episodes! We’re almost 200 episodes in! You’re doing the work and having incredible birth experiences! 💜
An unmedicated birth experience doesn't just happen. It requires so much preparation physically and mentally. It also requires you knowing what you want and letting your provider know "this is the plan, get on board." This week's birth story is the perfect example of how knowledge is power and the more you know, the more options you have.
[2:13] My guest, Jo Gibson, is a My Essential Birth student and she is here to share her birth experience! 💕 She and her husband were married for six and a half years before starting their family. Her baby was born almost a year ago!
[3:17] One of the reasons why I was excited to have Jo on the podcast is because she is an Army wife. Her closest family is about 8-9 hours away, which was a challenge. They receive TriCare insurance with the Army, and it is very stringent on the type of birth experience you can have, which is why she started looking into the My Essential Birth Course. (They only cover delivering in a hospital, but she still wanted to delivery naturally.) 🏥
[6:23] One of my main motivations for starting the My Essential Birth Course was to be a resource specifically for military wives! You could listen anywhere, any time. The resources are right there online! 💻
[7:03] Jo shares about her pregnancy, which she felt was textbook. She had an easy pregnancy other than having low iron at one point. I asked her if she had any issues with bowel movements because of it. 💩 She couldn’t remember, but she tried supplementing with spinach, steak, etc.
[9:40] When it comes to providers, for military families, it can be a little more difficult to just change providers when there are a limited amount of providers. Jo had a team of midwives in her hospital that she saw, but she was hesitant to tell them she wanted an unmedicated birth. 😕
[11:37] She actually used a few of the questions we give our mamas to ask their midwife or provider. “What’s the rate of moms who come in and deliver unmedicated?” The response she received was that most moms don’t do that because birth is very painful. (Wow, no way? 😒) She was more determined than ever to deliver naturally.
[13:22] The biggest take away from their experience was having the knowledge to feel confident about what they wanted when they came up against a midwife who didn’t align with their goals. It also helped the midwives feel more comfortable because she was so knowledgeable and prepared about wanting to give birth unmedicated. 🤓
[14:36] The way you ask your providers questions can really change the outcome of and the reception to wanting an unmedicated birth. Jo shares how her organization and preparation helped her feel more confident in her decisions. 🙋🏼♀️
[16:26] ⚠️ Just a side note: LISTEN to this part right here! If you take away nothing else from this birth story, this right here is pure gold! 🤩 She had her birth plan ready to go, but the questions she asked her provider were along the lines of “What do you feel about this activity during X point of pregnancy?” “I’ve been doing these three exercises to prepare, and I feel like they are going to support my birth to help me manage the pain.” They weren’t questions of permission. They were more “this is what I’m doing so get on board with it.” 😏
[17:48] When you question a provider, you’re putting them in position of being the authority in the matter. Even though questioning them is helping an educated mother spot any red flags or testing them to see where they’re at with what they want. I love the idea of “Do you have any questions for me?” YOU are the boss of your birth. 💪🏼
[18:17] Jo talks about her husband’s support during her appointments. She told her husband that she was nervous that she would get backed into a corner about what she wanted for her birth experience. When she first started the course, she had a little trouble with getting her husband involved in the beginning of the course. She previewed the course and would take notes on what she felt like he HAD to know. She told him it was a priority and had him watch that part of the course. 👨🏻💻
[19:53] Her husband took the counter pressure to heart! She emphasized how she could not have done it without him doing that for her during labor. It’s so amazing to me to be able to educate not only Mom, but also Dad to actually HELP during labor. Her husband’s arms were sore because of all the counter pressure he did. 😵💫
[21:19] What was the most challenging thing for you and your husband? She felt like she and her husband were on the same page throughout pregnancy. Counter pressure was everything for her. 🙌🏼
[22:29] What did you do to prepare for your birth? She did the 3 exercises in addition to her own exercise routine, watched the birth course, made her own birth affirmation cards (laminated and put on a ring), and spent time visualizing her birth. The energy you bring into your birth space makes a huge difference. 🥰
[25:00] She didn’t have to believe that she had to be capable for 20 hours. She just had to be capable for one minute at a time. ⏰
[25:34] Jo walks us through her birth story starting from the first contraction. At her 39 week appointment, she was 1 cm. She was feeling good, went back to work, and didn’t think much about the mild cramping she had. When she went to bed that evening, she couldn’t get comfortable and felt oddly anxious. She later realized her cramps were getting more regular, and she got into the tub. She labored by herself for a few hours. 🛁
[29:08] Around 2 AM, she woke up her husband. The intensity of the contractions signaled to her it was time to go. She wasn’t 3-1-1 yet, but she wanted to head in. When they checked her, she was 8 cm with a bulging bag of waters. She labored for the rest of the evening, and she was able to be hooked up to the cordless monitor. She was in labor land, had her lavender essential oils, her birth affirmation cards, was swaying, sitting on the ball, all the things we teach in the birth course! 😍
[31:25] During shift change, a new midwife came in and the birth plan was not communicated to her. She told Jo she needed to start to push since it had already been 12 hours. Jo felt so exhausted that she couldn’t tell her midwife that she wasn’t ready to push. 😴 (Looking back, she knew she was just in transition.)
[33:09] She wishes she had changed up positions more often. Her baby was sunny side up. She hemorrhaged and was given Pitocin. Her son was born and he was perfect. All natural! She had some severe tearing (interior and exterior), which made recovery a little difficult. 🪡
[35:02] How did you work through your contractions early on? Jo tells us about how she tried to take it one contraction at a time. She said that the low moaning helped her. During every contraction, when she would breathe in, she had either lavender or clary sage. Inhaling lavender, exhaling with a loud moan. She couldn’t sit still and swayed the whole time. 😮💨
[37:18] For moms who are listening, it’s so important to have movement! Even if you have an epidural, you can still move. Waiting for 3-1-1 is when your contractions are 3 minutes apart, lasting for one minute, for one hour. That’s a good gauge for when to head into the hospital. ⏱️
[38:39] Counter pressure is HUGE! Dads need to practice counter pressure. It won’t feel natural right away. Rehearsing and communicating beforehand was key. 🔑
[39:35] Lavender is adaptive to your energy. Clary sage is not recommend before 36 weeks because it will bring on labor. 🌿
[40:14] Jo mentions bringing in her birth plan, and she talks about what it had on it. She got it all on one page to ensure it was understood. 📝 She took things off like “I will wear my own robe” because she could just do that. She didn’t need permission. Between contractions early on, she was able to talk to her midwife about her goals. Looking back, she wishes she had a doula to help communicate her goals when she was unable to talk to the midwife during shift change.
[41:50] What is your best advice for mom? Advocate for yourself and if you think something isn’t quite right, tell your provider! She shares about how she should have gone to her provider about her stitches healing improperly. 🥴
[43:06] What is your best advice for dads? Learn about counter pressure! Hand her the birth affirmation cards. Also prepare frozen meals ahead of time! It’ll help you both. 🍽️
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ALL the best,