Today is the day that I am finally going to share with you guys my birth story, I have to say, at the time of recording this episode, Ella is just two days away from being three months old. And honestly, it has taken me this long to be able to share this story with you guys to really have integrated it myself and to be ready to talk about and share what a powerful, potent experience giving birth was.
Now, I want to go ahead and be sensitive to anyone who is pregnant, who is listening, or anybody who is thinking about getting pregnant. I do want to offer a little bit of a–I don’t want to say trigger warning, but maybe that’s the appropriate term. Just a little bit of a rawness warning, one of the things that was very much true for me in pregnancy and before having Ella, I was very, very adamant about only consuming very, very positive, empowering birth stories. Only stories about orgasmic birth and hypnobirthing, and really just super, super powerful stories. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and really followed the hypnobirthing model which teaches that pain is a result of tension and fear, but isn’t necessarily intrinsic to birth itself.
What I am going to be sharing with you guys in this episode is just a very, very real account of my experience. So noting that everybody’s experience is different. But if you are only looking to consume content, which if it is your decision, I absolutely 100% cheer you on sister. I did the exact same thing in my pregnancy. I just avoided anything that talked about pain, let’s put it that way.
And I experienced some fucking pain. So I’m going to be talking about that. So if you need to protect yourself and protect your mindset, going into a birth or delivery, I completely respect that and want to offer this warning upfront, before you listen to this episode. So as not to spring something on you that you didn’t want to hear.
The Biggest Ass-Kicking Of My Life
So with that being said, I am going to move on to talking about my birth, and particularly what it taught me about personal power because we talk about mindset all day long. We can read Abraham Hicks, we can do the dancing, we can do the exercising, we can do the journaling.
But I don’t know about you – for my mama’s out there – if you guys will agree with me. But there has literally been nothing that has taught me more and kicked my ass more than going through the process of entering labor and delivering a freaking child.
I may cry during this episode. But I probably won’t because I’ve actually spent a lot of time doing some doing my emotional work processing healing. I have worked with a couple of different therapists to integrate and process my birth story.
Some of you may have seen me post about it on social as being traumatic, which it was but it it was also the most exquisitely mind blowing, cosmic otherworldly experience that I’ve ever had in my life.
So was it horrible? In some ways, yes. Was it divine and the most beautiful thing? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. To have the beautiful daughter that I have abso-freaking-lutely.
The Weeks Before Labor Day
So alright, let’s just dive in. Let’s just get into it. Let’s just go back to the end of September, my quote unquote due date, which I have come to actually resent that phrase, because I think for so many women, especially first time moms, there’s just so much focus and hype at the end of the pregnancy leading up to the birth. It’s like, Alright, when is this gonna happen? I’m three days away two days away 16 hours away from my due date.
I know for me that that created a lot of pressure. A lot of feeling like it was my job to perform and deliver something on the day and I will tell you guys that every day that went by, that went past Ella’s due date, I struggled more with my mindset than I have probably at any other stage of my life.
I do not exaggerate the feelings of all my shit that was coming to the surface. Feelings of what am I not doing right? What am I doing wrong? What am I eating wrong? Am I exercising wrong? Have I done something wrong that this baby is not yet here? I did absolute freaking literally everything under the sun.
So when you get down to the last four weeks of pregnancy, 36 weeks onward, you have a weekly appointment with your care provider. So we were driving an hour up to see my naturopathic doctor and midwife, who is the same person because we were planning a home birth. We were driving up to see her every single week and getting different naturopathic and homeopathic remedies and suggestions to try to facilitate labor.
I did everything under the sun. I got a labor-inducing massage. At 38 weeks, I started getting acupuncture. I did. I took these homeopathic remedies, black and blue cohosh, I took other homeopathic remedies. I had more sex in the last three weeks of being pregnant weeks 39 through 42. We had more sex than we did probably for the entire pregnancy because the release of hormones when you have an orgasm is supposed to facilitate going into labor. None of that worked.
Toby went out to Whole Foods and made this multi layered, elaborate eggplant dish. If any of you guys have heard that old wives tale, there’s a restaurant down in Georgia called Scully Knees with hundreds of testimonials on their website about women spontaneously going into labor after having this dish and – pre COVID people – would literally fly there from out of state. Which doesn’t make sense to me because how can you get on an airplane when you’re about to go into labor?
But anyway, people would literally drive there from all over and fly in to have this dish just to go into labor. So Toby made this elaborate dish, we had all the spicy foods, the dish didn’t work. None of these things worked, right?
My Achilles Heel
I am the kind of person if you’re listening to this, this probably isn’t going to be a surprise to you unless this is your very first episode, in which case Welcome. I’m the kind of person that,when I want stuff to happen – I’m going to make shit happen. I am a doer. I am an action taker. I am not a fence sitter. I’m not a like Well, let me just manifest by like seeing what the universe wants to do without doing my part, right, which is an amazing skill set. It’s one of my biggest strengths. I know that about myself.
And what I learned during pregnancy is that that doer, that achiever, that go getter, that performer, that part of my personality, is also an Achilles heel. For me, it’s also my greatest weakness. And there was never a time in my life that that was revealed to me with more clarity than the weeks leading up to labor.
After doing every single thing that I could do, researching everything that I could do naturally, organically. We wanted the most low intervention, natural birth possible, and I did everything that I could do to facilitate Ella’s birth into the world.
Allowing Birth To Happen
And when none of it worked, I needed to just sit back and rest and surrender and trust and allow. And actually, if you caught an episode a couple weeks back on Allowing, which is my word of the year, so much of this word began its work on me during this period, right before going into labor.
Because the most important work that I could do was not to push. Was not to try. Was not to force the extraordinary wisdom that my body was working with . The extraordinary wisdom that my body was the teacher. Not my mind and my anxiety saying all right, well, I want this to happen now so that I feel accomplished and I’ve quote unquote, done this pregnancy well, right.
Ella had her own time. My body had its own time and that timing was absolutely perfect. So okay, so let’s go back to October 10. It was around 4:45 in the morning, and I woke up if anyone has been pregnant before you know that towards the end your sleep is not great. I was waking up a couple times in the night to pee. I literally needed a crane to lift me out of bed. I was just so massive at the end and I’d gotten up I think around three o’clock to go to the bathroom and came back couldn’t fall asleep. I was just sort of lying there half in that daydreaming land when I felt my water break. I felt this warm gush,come out between my legs. I was lying in bed, and I just instantly Shot up. And I said, Babe, babe, my water just broke. And Toby was like, Whoa, that’s amazing. And so we just had this moment of like, Oh my gosh, this is happening. This is happening.
I stood up straight away. It was still dark. We were sleeping with this pink Himalayan sea salt crystal, which was right by my bed. And so I could see but I really couldn’t see a lot. And I went into the bathroom. And I was just like, elated, like, Oh, my gosh, finally, this is happening.
In my mindset going into labor was really positive. I was so here for it, any sort of pain, whatever. I’m just going to breathe through it. I’ve got my hypnobirthing toolkit, I took a hypnobirthing class, Toby and I both did. I think it was in my second trimester, so I was feeling equipped like I had everything I needed. We had a playlist prepped, we had our birth tub already blown up, we had all the tubes and stuff, we needed to fill up the birth tub at home. We had this beautiful playlist, crystals, all candles, organic, everything planned to the tee of exactly how we wanted it to be.
I was just so excited to move into that process. So I went into the bathroom to kind of clean myself up after my water broke. And when I went into the bathroom, I was like, Oh, that’s funny when I pulled down my underwear, and I saw that the color of the liquid of the water that had broken was a little like yellowish greenish. And I was like, Oh, I didn’t know it was gonna be that color. I thought it was clear. Because that’s the amniotic fluid that encases where the baby is.
So once that sac breaks, once the waters break, the baby is no longer surrounded by that fluid. Obviously, she’s still connected through the placenta, and so it’s fine. But that means like labor and contractions, and all of that is on its way. And I hadn’t felt contractions yet at that point.
So I saw that the liquid was that color. And you know, it was still coming out. And you know, I wiped myself and as I kept kind of wiping and dabbing. I save some of the toilet paper to show Toby and I was like, hey, look at this, can you look at this, like, I don’t know if this is normal. And I showed Toby. Obviously, this is our first birth. So neither of us really knew what to expect.
So we pulled out our sheet that our midwife gave us which indicated when to call her. We knew that when the waters broke, that was the time to call her. Obviously, if I had been having strong contractions, that would have also been a time to call her because she was going to drive down to our house and call her assistant and just get the whole show on the road for the home birth.
When I read that sheet, my heart started to beat faster because the sheet said, if your water is green, call me immediately. And so I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that it wasn’t good. And so I was just like, Alright, I really need to get my head in the game here and not kind of freaked out and spiral down. But I also am feeling like something isn’t 100% right.
So we put on that playlist and I changed and I got myself into a really good headspace. I was hungry, so I ate something which – pro tip for any of my moms out there – eat during early labor. You are going to need that fuel. I literally can’t imagine how I would have delivered Ella had I not had a fruit salad. I don’t I don’t even remember all the foods. Oh I had toast with peanut butter and banana like I literally don’t know what I would have done had I not eaten something early labor because I could not eat anything once real labor actually began. I mean I’m talking like I couldn’t even have a bite of a banana. I just couldn’t stomach food. So get your fuel in while you can.
Change Of Birth Plans
So anyway, we called Sarah around five 5:30. We called Toby’s parents to let them know it was happening. They’re in Australia, so on the other side of the world.
I just started to be really gentle and just kind of breath through things and nothing was really happening yet but the liquids still started to come and when I went into the bathroom the next time to kind of check the pad that I’d put on and the color had gotten more green it had moved from sort of like yellowish to green. And when Sarah finally arrived at our house, I think it was like 9:30, she took my vitals, measured my blood pressure, and listened to Ella.
The baby was fine heart rate was fine. As I recall, it was totally fine. But she was concerned. And this is a woman who I mean, bless her. She was absolutely incredible. If any of you guys are in Maine by any chance listening and need a recommendation for a fantastic midwife, I could not recommend her more highly.
She has been and had been throughout the whole process, like very positive, very upbeat, giving us the most positive framework. She just knows the importance of mindset kind of going into these things. And it was really one of the first times that I heard her express concern, which made me, as the mom to be, like imminently, really concerned as well.
She said, the green that you’re seeing that’s meconium in the water. Meconium, for those of you who don’t know what that is, that is like the baby’s first poop. So when babies are in utero, they’re literally practicing pooping. And it actually comes from eating what is called, I think you pronounce it lanugo. I am not like a baby expert. But that’s like the hair that covers the baby once they’re inside of you. And they start to shed that hair in the last weeks of pregnancy, and they actually start to like, swallow it and poop it out. And that’s what the meconium is. I know, it sounds really disgusting. It’s this dark, dark, dark poo, that babies have just the first few days that they’re born.
But if they’re actually having that meconium get into the waters while they’re still in utero, that is a sign potentially, usually that the baby is or was in some kind of distress. And that’s what Sarah shared with us. And she said, You know, I’m not concerned right now, because the heart rate is spot on. It’s totally great. But this really is kind of a disqualifier for home birth. So I recommend that we transfer it to the hospital.
When she said those words, I felt like I was entering another planet. I felt so – I don’t want to say defeated because I never felt like I went to this place in this part of the labor – I didn’t feel like I entered this place of total despair. I just felt like the universe had just slapped me in the face. I didn’t even have a hospital bag packed. Toby and I had done so much work both physically and emotionally and spiritually preparing for this beautiful home birth experience.
So when my midwife – who knew so well the importance for me mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, of having this baby at home and having a natural birth, she knew how important that was to me – when I heard her say this is what we need to do to keep you and most importantly, the baby safe. I just felt like on one hand, of course, we’re going to do absolutely everything to keep the baby safe. And on the other, I just felt this grieving, this letting go of what I thought it was going to be.
Letting Go When Things Don’t GoTo Plan
There are about a billion lessons here that are relevant to entrepreneurship, but like surprise, things don’t go according to freaking plan. And had I been really rigid and really strict and really stuck on, Well, this is the plan and this is how it’s supposed to be. I wouldn’t have the experience I wouldn’t have the birth I wouldn’t have had the baby that I have now.
So we packed a bag and that was a little bit stressful and frantic by that time my contractions really had started to kick in and I was doing some of that mindful breathing that I learned in hypnobirthing. That was all happening.
Then another stressful part – so Toby and I drove in our car and Sarah drove in her car. And by that point like I was I was definitely having contractions. They were starting to get a little bit intense. I think I was four centimeters dilated at that point. 10 is fully dilated for anyone who doesn’t know and so we’re driving to the the hospital and already things were stressful enough because like we had just thrown together all the shit for the hospital bag like did not have any of that packed beforehand, which I still if I had my time again, I would still do the same thing. If I had been energetically if I had been preparing for a transfer with having a home birth I would have been like really in my head. It just was what it was. We packed the bag, whatever, and got in the car.
Long story short, Sara took a wrong turn so she started driving us to a different place. Not to the main bed and I was freaking out anyway, we got back on track, got to the hospital, and I got admitted and was wearing a mask and just all this stuff that I wanted to avoid. We really wanted to avoid going to the hospital during COVID.
Thankfully, Maine Medical at that time had a policy whereby both I could have my husband and also, – I wasn’t allowed to doula. But Sara wasn’t a doula she was my midwife. She’s a doctor. And so she was also allowed and was present throughout the whole birth. And I got put in a room with windows, with a great beautiful big birthing tub. As far as hospitals go, it was actually an incredible stay. The nurses were absolutely amazing.
By the time I got settled in, things had really started to move along. So at that point it was probably around 11am. My water had broken five hours before. I still had 20 hours to go, you guys. Ella was born at 5:45am on October 11. We’re talking 11am on the 10th.
I’m saying those details now because Toby reminds me of them, but I was in another world. Not at that point, I was still very lucid actually and very like with it. But once labor really started to pick up, that’s when things got a little bit gnarly. So I don’t remember what time it was. I think it was probably sometime in the afternoon that they recommended that I get an IV.
On our birth plan, I requested absolutely minimal intervention, I didn’t want an IV fluid. I didn’t want an epidural I didn’t want I just I wanted absolutely minimal intervention. I didn’t want to be on any drugs. I didn’t want anything.
When they recommended the IV because Ella’s heart rate. Honestly, I can’t even remember at this point if it was up or down. But it was something that they thought it shouldn’t be. And because my water had broken, and I was still kind of early on in labor, they wanted me to make sure that I was getting enough fluids or that Ella would be able to have enough fluid as well.
I got hooked up to an IV. I go into the tub, I do some hypnobirthing breathing, that’s feeling really good. As labor started to progress though. It got really, really freaking intense. The hypnobirthing thing kind of went out the window. And it was just taking a really, really long time to become fully dilated. I think it was around 11pm.
At that point, I had already been laboring for 12 hours. It wasn’t progressing as quickly as I thought it would. I tried different positions from being in the birth tub to being on a birth ball to leaning on the birth ball up on the hospital bed, hugging the birth ball with Toby kind of in front of me. I tried all these different positions to get comfortable. It got freaking intense.
My Expectations vs. Reality
One of the things that I looking back — I shared this with the therapist that I processed and did like some trauma release around the birth with — that I felt really resentful for after the fact I wasn’t aware in the moment enough. I was only aware enough to just be like fucking ouch, this really hurts. My expectations of what birth was going to be like, of what labor was going to be like were so radically different from the experience that I had. I thought all I had to do was just breathe and like the baby was just going to come out and it was like tidal waves like a tsunami of sensation.
Once I was fully dilated and the the contractions – I don’t even want to call them contractions, they were literally like 10 blades or huge shockwaves just cascading through my body and down my legs and in my pelvic region and it was just so freaking intense. My expectation was that that wasn’t going to happen. And the reality was that it was freaking intense. It was probably some of the most like acute pain that I had ever experienced. And I wasn’t expecting that.
It was just taking so much longer than I thought and I remember thinking during labor like why is this taking so long? Everyone had said to me, Cait, you’re so athletic. You’re so fit, you’re so this, you’re so that. You’re such a champ. Labor’s gonna go really fast for you people had said to me Oh, you’re gonna have your baby early because blah blah blah.
Letting Go Of Your Story, Your Projections, Your Expectations
So all of these things that had happened and like external projections that I had taken in were like unraveling themselves before my eyes and before my being. During this whole process before the birth during labor and I just had to let go I had to let go of any story, any projection any expectation that either somebody else or I had of myself.
I had to fully surrender to and be fully present in this moment because that was the only thing that was going to deliver my baby for me. I remember in one moment as things really started to ramp up — I was like nine centimeters dilated. I was almost there. I was leaning on the birth ball and it was at night and we had this beautiful playlist playing. I’m actually going to include the link to my labor playlist in the show notes because I literally think that along with Toby — who my god I literally I’m gonna cry now was my angel. He didn’t leave my side. He was with me, didn’t sleep a wink, didn’t take a break other than to pee like twice. For 25 hours straight. He was just my absolute rock. But my music was playing and Toby was just there. He was like rubbing my shoulders and rubbing my hands and rubbing my arms. And after that we were just kind of there together and I was leaning on the ball. And all of a sudden I felt these hands on my back. And I said to Toby who’s touching my back I thought maybe it was Sarah I thought maybe it was one of the nurses. And Toby said to me, Cait, there’s nobody at your back.
I’m woo as much as the next spiritual person. But I mean, I literally felt the hands of angels. And I know there were a lot of people sending me prayers at that point, Toby’s family, my sisterhood, who’d all gotten an email. There was a text chain for my closest women friends. I just could feel them holding me up.
It was the most surreal, acute presence of angels that I’ve ever felt in my whole life. And they were with me at that point at that stage and the labor started progressing and I really wanted to try to push in the tub. I was fully dilated. I think this was around midnight, maybe one o’clock and I was in the tub and the waves were huge. I mean, the end waves contractions surges, they’re all the same thing. But they were massive. Like I’m talking about tidal wave tsunami vibes.
But they had a rule at Maine Med that I wasn’t allowed to deliver in the tub. And when Sarah came over to kind of see me because I was like, sir, the baby’s about to pop out. She’s like, No, you still have a ways to go even though I was fully dilated. And I was just like, again, what the fuck?
Sarah really wanted me to be able to go into the bathroom and push on the toilet. And that’s how a lot of babies come actually. Especially home birth babies are born that way. I did not know that. But she said, it’s such a natural place to know how to poach because your body knows how to do that. It’s like literally simulating, emulating whatever taking like the most massive shit of your life. But instead of poop, you’re pushing out a baby.
I went into the bathroom and the nurses wanted me to go back onto the hospital table. They didn’t want me to push in the bathroom. At that point, I couldn’t walk. Ella was so far down, my pelvis was just absolute freaking literally on fire. They had this hoverboard like thing where you basically step onto it and it glides you over across the room. And I had to use that to get around because I was in so much pain, and I couldn’t walk.
So I got over to the table. At that point, I hadn’t eaten in so long. We didn’t have honey, we had coconut water. That was really the thing that hydrated me and kept me going. At this point, it was probably like two, two o’clock or so. And this is when it got really freaking intense. I mean the sounds that came out of me. Dear god, I think about now like and I had no awareness in the moment and zero awareness in the moment but, I was howling. Like a wild animal. I do not know the sounds that came out of me, but I was a horse. I was screaming my head off.
I remember feeling like, why isn’t this going faster? Why isn’t this going faster? The doctors came back in to check on me. They’d been starting to express some concern. When the big surges came, I was using what I thought was a technique that I learned in hypnobirthing of like breathing through it, and breathing around it.
The Ultimate Surrender
What Sarah, what the doctors with the nurses, the ultimate surrender that I had to make, again, this was just like massively adjusting expectations in the moment. But the real shift that I had to make was not trying to use my breath to avoid the pain of the sensation. Now I was at the point. I mean, I was fully dilated, I was ready to push. I needed to use and to harness the tremendous tsunami like tidal wave of sensation, and to ride that and to use that to breathe and push Ella out.
I was using my breath almost to like Zen myself out and dissociate from my body. I needed to drop the fuck into my body and use that to push her out. Again, it was just like, oh, okay, this is what I need to do. I had so much resistance. I was angry. I was like, Fuck, this fucking hurts. I was not expecting it to hurt like this. I thought it wasn’t supposed to be like this. You know, this is taking so long. And I remember it. This was probably – just judging from like the time Ella was born and sort of working backwards – in my mind, it must have been around like 2-3pm that I really hit my rock bottom, my absolute lowest.
I was begging them to give me a C section to give me an epidural. Miss like rigid. I absolutely don’t want any intervention like begging them to give me a C section. And I remember crying at that point to Toby and just saying, babe, I can’t do it.
I had so many beautiful women friends give me their words of wisdom, words of encouragement before the birth. So many of them said just when you think you can’t do it, you’re going to break through. And I was at that point. I was at my absolute freaking lowest. I was at the hardest point in labor, I’d already been going for nearly a day. I was fully dilated for so many hours pushing for so many hours, and she wasn’t coming.
Finding That Breakthrough Line
I remember thinking, that line like that when you’re just when you think you have nothing left to give and think it’s all over? Like, keep going because your breakthrough is just around the corner. I remember thinking, yeah, that line that applies to everyone else. But that doesn’t apply to me. And I remember having so much mental baggage around that because my identity, I’d always conceived of myself as this person who’s going to push through, who is going to get it done. I’ll do the uncomfortable thing, lean into the discomfort and find a way and I was trying my absolute hardest. I had never worked for anything like I was working in this labor. And I still felt like I was falling up short and that I wasn’t able to do it and I wanted to just get the C section instead.
In my recounting of this I don’t want anyone who’s listening to this who’s either had a C section or is planning a C section or ends up having a C section to equate C section with failure. It is by no means whatsoever. In my mind, though, I would be waving the white flag. That was saying I am done. I’m done trying because this didn’t work and I failed. And that’s where I was at mentally and I am so grateful that my team, my support team in that moment just really empowered me to keep going even though I was angry and gritting my teeth and pissed off.
The Parallels Of Business & Birth
Side note: how relevant is that in business, just when things are not going the way that we want, when we’re not signing the clients, when things are just not happening we think, let’s hit the bucket. I’m done. I’m throwing in the towel and then your coach tells you to keep going and you just want to like shove shit in.
The parallels to business are just so so many but I’ll let you guys draw those as I’m sharing this. When I look back on that now and I think wow, how true is that and not just business, but in all areas of our life when we think like, Oh, I’m just about to breathe super hard, there must be a breakthrough, it can feel impossible in the moment to actually believe that the breakthrough is just around the corner because the experience is this sucks. This is hard. This is impossibly hard. I have no idea how I’m gonna get through. And I just kept going and kept breathing and kept screaming and keep howling like a wild animal.
She started to lower down, I was fully dilated, her head was getting closer. And as soon as I had this massive surge, where I released like breathing around the pain, and started to breathe into it and accept it and allow it, that’s when she started to really drop. That’s when she started to go down. And I had this massive surge that made her crown. And I was like, over the idea now of asking for an epidural, over getting a C section. She was coming out, there was no other way. And she was crowning. And I was so excited and it was finally happening.
Then for the next 45 minutes, my contractions got so weak, we’re talking the comparison from like a ginormous tidal wave to like a ripple in a lake. So even if I wanted to ride one all the freakin way home, even if I wanted to ride one of those waves all the way into shore. They were just too weak to be able to carry me. I remember after about 45 minutes Toby said to me, babe, we’ve got to find another gear here. They’re not going to let you keep laboring like this. We had, at that point, again, I did not know this because my eyes were closed and I was on another planet – but there were probably 20 people in the hospital room.
There was an entire NICU squad there because the whole reason we went to the hospital in the first place was because Ella was potentially supposedly in distress. Because of the meconium in the water and Maine Med has a NICU team, which is why we were at the hospital in the first place. So this entire NICU squad is there. There were cell phones going off.
Hey, Mary, I’m just in the room with a woman about to give birth. Can I call you back like people talking? The room was dark, thank God. But there were so many people in that room. And like I said, My eyes were closed. I was on another planet. But I was aware of a lot of commotion. And my body just almost ran out of puff.
Toby and Sarah both pulled me aside and they were like Cait, we’ve got to find another gear. It is time she is here. She’s ready to go. And the pain was so intense. And when the next big wave came, it literally took 45 minutes between those two big ones. I had a lot of others in between but they weren’t big. When the big one came. The nurse whispered in my ear she said Cait, you need to bend your knees because I was fucking an Olympic soccer player like stretching my legs out straight. And if you can imagine.
I’m lying back, giving birth, straightening my legs, my vaginal opening, bending them and pulling them towards me almost like a happy baby. It was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. But also the thing that widened the vaginal opening and made it easier for Ella to come out. And so they were like bending your legs. That is the thing that’s going to get your baby out. And long story short, I had a massive massive wave. I had four people, two on either side, pushing my legs back with their full force to actually bend them because I was straining them with the strength of an I don’t even know what like freakin CrossFit world champion. But they helped me bend my legs, this massive surge came. Because I had been laboring already for 25 hours, because we had a NICU team that was there on the clock, because I had a resident doctor who clearly had not done that many births. They were all like screaming and yelling at me to push her out in one single go. And I rode that wave all the way the fuck home and when that surge came, I pushed Ella out, Head, shoulders, body, everything in one single push.
Her head size was in the 92nd or something percentile. She was nine pounds and five ounces. And my midwife has been practicing for over 30 years she said that she has never heard of such a thing for a first time mom, vaginally, without any medication, to push out a baby in one single push. Usually, they have you push and the end with one contraction the head comes out and so their heads like there and then in the next contraction, maybe a shoulder and then the next contraction, maybe another shoulder and then the whole body and the next one, but I pushed Ella out in one single push. Since the sensation of that happening – for anybody who is like of team orgasmic birth, like fuckin coach my ass on how to do that because this felt nothing like an orgasm. It felt like being ripped in half.
It turns out that’s exactly what had happened. After Ella came out there was like this warm, gosh, and gurgly baby fluid, umbilical cord like everything coming out and I remember that are saying open your eyes, open your eyes. I could not bear to open my eyes. They brought the baby to my chest and I just held this slimy, gooey baby that was my living breathing beautiful baby in my arms. The NICU team saw that she was stabilized, thank god, throughout all of that. Ella was perfectly safe, she was perfectly okay, there was nothing wrong with her. She wasn’t in distress of any kind. And the next thing that I remember was them putting some pitocin in my IV to give me some strong contractions again to get the placenta out straight away because they thought that I was hemorrhaging.
It turns out I wasn’t hemorrhaging but I was bleeding profusely like not just blood coming from my womb area but I was bleeding because I had just had an extreme tear. And so again, this is a little graphic if you don’t want to listen to this part go ahead and skip through it. The next thing that I remember was trying to get Ella on my breast but them saying, here give Ella to Toby because with the doctor is down at my legs and she’s saying, hey I’m just here to talk with you because you have what we call a three out of four tear.
Again, I just freaking pushed a baby out. I’d been in labored 25 hours. I was pretty out of it and it hurt like hell but I couldn’t tell in the moment that part of a lot of that pain was from the tear itself. She told me my options for pain medication, to get sutured up. She described to me where the tear was and not to get too insanely graphic although this whole podcast episode is graphic so maybe I should just go there. She was basically like if we just leave this to heal by itself it will heal but it is very deep. It goes from basically the like top to bottom, like your entire perennial from up in the clitoris area all the way to my butt just split open.
I was like Well yeah, of course Let’s suture it up and and she said, In this one particular area if we don’t suture it, it’s really it’s going to be the most sensitive area to suture it’s like right by your clitoris and if we don’t do that, there’s there’s a risk that there could be some permanent nerve damage there.
So here I am in my mind: I’ve just birth this baby and I’m hearing somebody say like, you may or may not ever be able to enjoy sex again and have sensation and in your Lady bit region. And I’m like, Fuck that. Like Of course we’re gonna suture it up. Give me the strongest pain medication you have. Let’s just do it.
Rather than spending what I had envisioned was this like a Kumbaya moment in the birthing tub at home, this golden hour just basking in that golden glow of being a new mom. I was on the hospital bed at Maine Medical with Toby doing skin to skin with Ella while I had surgery for an hour and a little bit longer. Getting sutured up from again top to tail. And it was, it was surreal. It was honestly surreal. And when they finished suturing me, I really all of a sudden realized that I really really had to go to the bathroom. But I was still a little bit numb down there and I couldn’t go. So they hooked a catheter up to me.
The nurse looked at me as she emptied the bottles, and she said, I have never taken this much urine out of somebody at once. They took two and a half liters of urine out of my bladder. So part of the reason we think that it was so painful at the end, and so challenging to push Ella out was because there was literally two and a half liters of my bladder that expanded while also having a nine and a half pound baby in there.
I am really, really lucky that my bladder didn’t burst and that I didn’t go into sepsis. I was pretty close to that happening honestly. Two and a half liters is like absolute maximum capacity for a bladder to be at. And over maximum, not to mention a baby inside of you.
Again, I didn’t come to realize how traumatic and hard any of this was until after. I mean I was very aware that the tear was quite traumatizing. But we spent all day in the Maine Med. When you deliver, you have to spend one overnight in the hospital. And then they check your vitals, baby’s vitals, and help you get the baby on the boob to get the colostrum flowing. But I also needed care. I could not walk for probably the first, I would say week after pregnancy. I needed to hold someone’s hands and like shuffle to get to the bathroom. It was really, really full on and really, really painful.
The Biggest Lesson From My Birth Story
I remember when we just like got to the room and could just look at this beautiful, tiny, precious little being. I remember thinking and feeling like, wow, I thought that I was powerful before, I thought that I was this powerful woman. And I have just blown my own mind at what I have created and what nature and God and the universe has created and what has literally birthed itself through me.
What is so amazing to me about this birth is that – and the reason that I chose Allow as my word of the year – is because this birth taught me that it is not willpower, it is not my force, it is not my pushing alone, my pushing definitely did something. But it is not actually me trying to take the bull by the horns, so to speak and drive the ship and whatever the metaphor is. It’s not my taking charge that is the ultimate power in creation, the ultimate power of creation of which birth is the quintessential act, there is no more inherently creative act, then giving birth and then creating a child and birthing it into the world.
In Spanish, they say Darla, loosely giving light. Hello, that is the ultimate creative act. The thing that actually makes that happen is getting out of the way. Is removing any sort of mental construct and agenda and superimposed control, and allowing this forceful feminine power house energy to just roll through me and for me, to use my willpower, my mindset, my pushing, to follow that natural rhythm not to try to lead with my own idea of how it should be but to use my Will, my strength, my force to support a force that is already happening and that is so much greater than me.
And that is my biggest lesson from this experience, along with surrendering my idea of how it should be, surrendering what I think a perfect birth should be, surrendering my idea that I am going to do it a certain way, but just to be so present in the moment for what actually occurred like that. When I allowed myself to just be so present for what was happening, what was unfolding, to not resist the pain to not resist the fact that it looked so different from what I thought it would be, but just allow everything to be as it was, that is when my gorgeous baby girl came to me.
How Birth Changed Me
I have been a mom for nearly three months. And I’ll tell, that birth and the difficulty of the labor and the acute pain of the delivery. It’s changed me, it’s changed the way that I operate my business, it’s changed the way that my mindset is, it’s changed the way that I move through the world. And I feel like there is an almost like, branding, like in the like hot, hot iron to the body kind of a way. There’s like a branding of grace that happened to me in that experience that showed me just in this unforgettable way, the power of allowing and the power of trusting and the power of staying in it, whatever it is, even when it gets really, really hard.
That experience is probably the most salient thing that stays with me. At that point like, five minutes to midnight, so to speak. In labor, when I was literally begging for a C section. I wanted to throw in the towel. I thought I couldn’t keep going, I thought I had absolutely nothing left in me. And then I go on, to push out a baby in one single push, which again, my midwife said was absolutely unheard of for a first time mom, with a baby of that size to do after 25 hours of labor with no medication, like unheard of to do. And the reason that I was able to summon that quantum force of strength was not because I had any external thing, it was purely an internal decision and deciding to align my effort, my force, my will, with this huge surge of what already wanted to come through.
I will forever be so grateful for the experience that I had in birth for the opportunity to be so deeply connected with my partner in that way, for the opportunity in my own mindset and internal world and leadership evolution to know what it feels like to quote, unquote, disappoint myself, quote, unquote. To not have the experience that I or anyone else thought I would have, and to feel the desire actually to just crumble and throw in the towel. To feel myself rise above, when I thought it was absolutely impossible to rise to my next level.
And it’s taken me some time to really integrate this experience into my bones, into my body, I’ve had so many people asking me when this episode was going to go live. And I really needed to take the time to sit and to marinate and to allow the trauma to kind of pass-through. And I’ve done some beautiful work around that. Allow the lessons to really seep in and become anchored in my bones before sharing them with you guys.
The Powerful Woman
I feel now just so deeply, that each and every one of us, men, women, but holy hell, especially us, women – we are the most potent, powerful creators that nature has ever created. And we hold within us the possibility to birth children to birth worlds, to birth businesses to create something out of nothing.
There is a reason that labor is called labor. There is a reason that as we’re building businesses, as we’re building the things that we desperately want to create in the world that it doesn’t always feel easy. If there is anything that becoming a mom and going through labor and delivery has taught me it is that the most sacred precious, worthwhile important things in our lives come from labor. They come from working through a period where we think we absolutely freaking literally could not possibly keep going. But when you do keep going when you do believe that you’ve still got it in you even when you don’t believe that you still got it in you but you borrow your support systems, faith and belief in you and you buy just a little bit more time and you keep going just a little bit longer. I promise you, you will blow your mind. I promise you you are capable of things that you didn’t even know you were capable of.
After going through that experience I literally feel like a superhero. Everyday superhero stories where you hear like some guy sees a little old lady get run over by a car and just like this, you know, a squeaky little teenager can lift an entire cart. Like I literally feel like I could lift a car and semi-trailer or whatever.
Every woman who has given birth is a real-life superhero. And it’s not just Mama’s. All of us have this power and have this untapped quantum reservoir of potential inside of us. And when we use it to our advantage, when we use it to birth the thing that is wanting to come through us, the most extraordinary miracles get to happen. And that miracle for me is I have a living reminder of that fact. Every day when I look at my gorgeous girl who is growing who is already like four inches longer than she was at birth and is just laughing and cooing and smiling and feeding and doing all of these amazing things. She’s just doing so many beautiful things.
I’m reminded when I look at her that that miracle, that life, that creation was possible, from going through that process and meeting up against my own every resistance and my own doubt and my own struggle. Like that birthed her into being.
Thank you for listening to my story and to my realness. And I hope that it has positively impacted you. I would really love to hear from you guys, please send me a DM on Instagram. I would love to know how this podcast episode has impacted you.
If you have listened to this, I want you to truly feel – whether you plan to be a mother or are already a mother or are even able to biologically birth a child – I want you to know that you have inside of you an untapped reservoir of potential. And to remember that in the moments that you feel like you couldn’t possibly keep going in the moments that you feel like you’ve failed in the moments that you feel like everyone else can do it but you can’t.
I want you to know that I have literally been there with you in the most important experience of my life. I have been there. I have felt viscerally what it feels like to be absolutely convinced that you are incapable of continuing forward. Absolutely convinced to the point of begging the people around you to help you and enable you to give up and what I also know what it feels like to somehow, impossibly get through that. And on the other side of getting through is the miracle that you’ve been waiting for. It is the best experience of your life. It is the breakthrough that you’ve been praying for. It’s there. Keep going.