*Trigger Warning* – It’s a story about labor and birth!
Here we dive in with Cohost Caitlin Johnson, RDN to hear about the birth of her sweet little girl! Caitlin answers all my questions about her birth prep, the birth itself, and the postpartum period.
Caitlin’s prep: She and her husband did a Bradly birth class before her first baby was born so BJ (Caitlin’s man) could get all the juicy deets on what to expect and what to do when his baby was being born. This time around they were already prepared from the last baby!
Red raspberry leaf tea and a nutrient dense diet were Caitlin’s nutrition prep for this birth. Dietitians have a hard go when it comes to early pregnancy nausea. Caitlin was no exception. It’s hard to talk about food all day for work when you feel like you could gag at any second.
Caitlin also upped the protein and sodium to combat low blood pressure and a family history of preeclampsia. She also altered her supplement and herb routine since she had SUCH a struggle nursing her first baby Fiona. Turns out there is a link between PCOS and nursing struggles!
Home birth was the option of choice for Caitlin and her husband. However, we DO want you to know that even though Caitlin chose that, we DO NOT think EVERY woman needs to birth that way! We don’t think you need to quantify your choice, so you choose whatever is right for you. What it comes down to is doing whatever makes you and your family feel safest. For Caitlin, that meant having her baby at home.
Early in the week before Fiona was born, Caitlin had a visit with her midwife. The midwife offered some cervical work to get the baby moving, but Caitlin decided that wasn’t right for her. Instead, later in the week she decided to see her acupuncturist! The acupuncturist also suggested that perhaps Caitlin get the cervical treatment done with her midwife later in the week. As the week rolled on, Caitlin decided that she was ready to bring the baby along, so she decided to tell the midwife she was ready to have her cervix swept.
The midwife spent a lot of time explaining the process of a cervical sweep to Caitlin, and it was great. Caitlin and Sophia are both BIG fans of informed consent, and they believe women should be informed of the risks, benefits, and procedures involved with any medical intervention. Lo and behold, the sweep opened Caitlin’s cervix a bit more! She then went on a walk with her neighbor, had dinner, and around 8:45 she began having real contractions.
Soon thereafter, labor was in full swing! Caitlin’s family set up her birthing tub, and soon thereafter the labor got really intense! This phase was called “transition”, meaning the baby is now low in the cervix, approaching the birth canal, and it’s almost time to push! Fun fact, this is usually when mamas start feeling the “I can’t do this” or “give me the drugs!” feeling. It feels bad, but this is actually good!
The midwife came back, and saw that this baby was coming quick! Caitlin was really feeling intense labor feelings, so the midwife suggested that she break her water and then try some new laboring positions. Up out of the tub she came, and tried a few positions before deciding sitting reverse cowgirl on the toilet was the way to go.
A few pushes later, Caitlin decided that birthing a baby in the toilet was not the deal, so she waddled back to the bedroom with the baby’s head about to crown. The next push, the baby FLEW out, head to toe, and the midwife caught her! By the way, it was 2:40am and Caitlin went into labor at 8:45p, so it was less than 6 hours from start to finish (this is Sophia’s dream, by the way!)
Baby is born, and for a second there they thought it was a boy! Side note, babys have pretty swollen genitals when they’re born. After a second look, the midwives announced with joy that Fiona, a beautiful baby girl, had arrived! Caitlin decided to do a delayed cord clamping, in case you’re interested, because that can help baby have more time to start breathing in case that’s a concern.
Then that was that! They cut the cord, Caitlin delivered the placenta (eventually), began to nurse her baby girl, and life continued! The placenta was huge (common with PCOS pregnancies) but caitlin’s was extra huge since she had a big blood clot attached to it.