Brigette, who is also one of Julie’s very own clients, shares her inspiring VBAC story of how she went from being only 1 centimeter dilated upon arrival to the hospital to 10 centimeters dilated, pushing, and a beautiful baby boy in only five hours.
In Julie’s words, Brigette’s “VBAC rocked my world. It’s one of those things where in your mind you know certain things work, line up, then the magic happens. But then, when you actually are there witnessing it and doing it, it is magical. I don’t know what other way to describe it. It’s super cool, super empowering. I left that birth all smiles, really, really excited for Brigette.”
Also, joining us today as Julie’s co-host is Tara Van Dyke, one of our VBAC Link Certified Doulas. Together, Julie and Tara discuss how to best prepare the cervix for labor, as well as some information about the cervix that most people overlook.
This episode is sponsored by our signature course, How to VBAC: The Ultimate Preparation Course for Parents. It is the most comprehensive VBAC preparation course in the world, perfectly packaged in an online, self-paced, video course. Together, Meagan and Julie have helped over 800 parents get the birth that they wanted, and we are ready to help you too. Head over to thevbaclink.com to find out more and sign up today.
Note: All transcripts are edited to eliminate false starts and filler words.
Julie: Welcome to The VBAC Link Podcast. This is Julie today. I am missing Meagan with all my heart, but don’t worry, because I have two wonderful people with me here today-- one of our VBAC doulas to co-host and one of my own clients sharing her VBAC story that I’m so excited to hear. I’m going to introduce both of them in just a second, but Meagan-- this is going to be really funny, the way it plays out in the schedule because this episode is coming out in the middle of our three recordings. This is technically the second one that you’re hearing with Meagan absent, but it’s three weeks after the first one that posted, and then there’s another one in two weeks that’s not going to have Meagan on it either.
So, just bear with me. I’m missing my security blanket, Meagan. But luckily I have one of our VBAC doulas and one of my clients here to fill in that warm and snuggly that Meagan always helps me with when we’re recording.
First, I’m going to introduce our co-host, Tara Van Dyke. She is in Chicago, Illinois. The only thing I know about Chicago is that the airport is really big. I had to run from one end of the terminals clear to the other ones and wait for the little tram thing to come. This was when I was in the military. It was between Basic Training and AIT I think. I had this rucksack, or not rucksack, duffel bag on my back and combat boots just hoofing it. I was in way better shape. No way I would have made it now. But like, back then. It was quite the sprint.
But Tara, her business is With U Parenting. A really fun fact about her is that she goes skydiving on all of her milestone birthdays and she takes her kid's skydiving on their 18th birthday. I think that’s the cool mom. You’re definitely the cool mom, Tara.
Tara: Thank you. I do it because I love it.
Julie: I went skydiving once when I lived in Hawaii. It was 10 years ago and it was super fun. But I’m really excited. What a fun thing to do. So, milestone birthday. What is that, like every five years?
Tara: Well, it started on my 30th. There have been a few since then, just to give you a hint.
Julie: A few?
Tara: A few, yeah.
Julie: 31 and 32.
Tara: My kids were little then and I didn’t know the side effect of them all watching me do it was that they would all be crazy about doing it, too. So, it’s been a big family tradition that I take them on their 18th birthday. All four of them have reached that milestone now, so I need to find another reason to keep going.
Julie: I’ll pretend like I’m turning 18 again, and then I’ll come to Chicago and we can go together. And Meagan, too. And maybe Brigette, later on down the road.
Tara: Totally. Yeah.
Julie: It will be fun. Okay, skydiving. Oh my gosh. This story is just about as exciting as the time I went skydiving. Maybe even a little bit more so. My very, very own client, Brigette. I say my favorite client, but I call all my clients my favorite client. Sooner or later they’re going to start calling me out and be like, “I’m pretty sure you called her your favorite client.”
But I really do love my clients so much. They really do get to be like my family and friends. Tara, I’m sure you can relate. It really just makes my heart happy whenever one of my clients wants to share their story.
Review of the Week
Julie: Before we get into Brigette’s story, I’m going to have Tara, the master skydiving, best mom ever, read a Review of the Week for us.
Tara: Okay, I’ve got it. There is a review from koalababy21 on Apple Podcasts and she says, “Amazing. I am so happy I found this podcast! I had a scheduled C-section with my first daughter because she was measuring large. I wish I had found this podcast before I agreed to it! Next baby, I’m definitely trying for a VBAC. This podcast has made me feel so empowered and informed. Thank you, ladies!”
I love when people are planning their VBAC before they’re pregnant.
Julie: I know. Me too. We’ve had— in fact, I think it was our very first or our very second course when we were doing in-person courses before the coronavirus. She wasn’t even pregnant yet. Her C-section baby was four months old and she came to our in-person course because she wanted to be that prepared ahead of time. And I’m like, “You rock. You rock.”
That’s definitely awesome. Yes, thank you so much for the review. We love reviews, as you know. We love hearing how we are helping you. It really keeps us going and keeps this podcast rocking and rolling for you.
Julie: Do you want a VBAC but don’t know where to start? It’s easy to feel like we need to figure it all out on our own. That’s what we used to do, and it was the loneliest and most ineffective thing we have ever done. That’s why Meagan and I created our signature course, How to VBAC: The Ultimate Preparation Course for Parents, that you can find at thevbaclink.com. It is the most comprehensive VBAC preparation course in the world, perfectly packaged in an online, self-paced, video course.
Together, Meagan and I have helped over 800 parents get the birth that they wanted, and we are ready to help you too. Head on over to thevbaclink.com to find out more and sign up today. That’s thevbaclink.com. See you there.
Julie: Brigette, I had no idea. How did I not know that you met your husband in Belgium?
Brigette: Yes, technically the Netherlands, but it was on our mission. We both served a mission up there and that’s how it happened.
Julie: Oh, okay.
Brigette: Yeah. I like to get that little hook out there, you know?
Julie: Yeah, the Netherlands, and Belgium. That’s really cool. You love to travel. I love to travel too, but you know what puts a damper on that? Children.
Brigette: COVID? COVID and children.
Julie: One day. Maybe that’s what will make me the cool mom, is on their 18th birthday, I’ll take them to whatever country they want. That would be so cool, right? Actually, that would be really expensive.
Tara: It does get more expensive.
Julie: Maybe I’d better find something else. I’ve got 11 years to figure it out, so I think I’m good. But she is the wife of a former Marine and she loves cooking, baking, and taking care of her babies. She loves being outside. She has two boys-- two years old and three weeks old.
And, you guys. Her VBAC rocked my world. It’s one of those things where in your mind you know certain things work, line up, then the magic happens, but then, when you actually are there witnessing it and doing it, it is magical. I don’t know what other way to describe it. It’s just super cool, super empowering. I left that birth all smiles, really, really excited for Brigette. But before I start telling her story for her, I will turn the time over to her.
Brigette: Thank you. It’s so crazy to hear you say what you said about it. I was just excited to have you as my doula. It’s cool to be here on the podcast, and then have you talking about it like that. It’s fun being on this other side having already had the birth and I can just reflect on it now.
I have to just say, I was totally that person that before I got pregnant, I was researching all the things. After I had my first C-section, I didn’t really know what a VBAC was actually, to be honest. I didn’t know that it was a thing. I just thought I was going to have to have a C-section with all the rest of my kids and just super bummed about it, but I actually searched VBAC something, I can’t remember, on-- I think it was on Instagram, and you guys popped up. I was like, “Oh, wow. This has a lot of information.” So I just delved into it and read everything on your guys’ blog posts, and listened to all of your podcasts to and from all of my appointments, at home, on walks, and everything. So, really cool.
But anyways, to start off. I had my first C-section in 2018. It was with my first son that was born in August 2018. I had a really healthy pregnancy. I want to say that I did plan for my birth, but in all reality, I didn’t really seriously plan for it. I just kind of looked up videos and Googled things and stuff, and thought I was prepared for it.
And thought I was prepared for the hospital experience I guess I should say because no one really prepares you for that. No one tells you what it’s going to be like with doctors and nurses, and just finding a doctor that’s going to be the type of doctor that you want to help you get the birth that you want.
I totally just was-- I just went to a clinic that was in my small little town that we lived in Arizona that was close by because we were kind of far away from the big city. So I was like,” Oh sure. I’ll just go there.” They were great. They were really good. But, I think I kind of just settled with that location-wise and it turned out to be just a little bit of a bummer.
Fast forward to actually having the baby. I was 40 weeks and 1 day. I thought that I was having contractions one night. I just thought that they were building up to contractions, I should say. They were Braxton Hicks. They weren’t painful or anything, but they were kind of tight and getting a little bit intense. I laid down and they went away. I was able to sleep through the night and then the next morning my husband was like, “Let’s go on a walk. Let’s see if we can get anything going.”
So we went on a walk and walked the curb. I thought that I felt a little bit of water-- fluid coming out. I didn’t feel a gush or anything, but I was like, “Oh, I wonder if that was my water. I’ve heard that it can trickle out.” So we were like, “Okay. Let’s go home and see if more comes out.”
A little bit later, nothing happened. But I had tested positive for GBS in this pregnancy, so they were like, “As soon as you think your water broke, make sure you come to the hospital so that we can get you started on the antibiotics.” So I called the hospital and they were like, “Yeah, might as well just come in and get checked.” And so that’s what we did. We kind of took our time to get there. They checked me. I was also 2 centimeters dilated before, at my last appointment.
When I got there, they checked me. While we were waiting for the results-- we were just in triage-- all of a sudden, a ton of beeping happened and the baby’s heart rate went down. It decelerated to like 60 bpm. Everyone comes rushing in and puts oxygen on me, flipping me over, like, five times to try to get his heart rate found, or just trying to get it back to see if it went back to normal and it did after a minute or so. it went back to normal.
They permitted me and they told me that I was going to be induced that night. I was like, “Okay, sure. I am all for it. I want this baby out of me.” I didn’t really know much about the cascade of interventions.
So that was like around 3:00 p.m., and around 11:00 is when I actually got Cervidil inserted into my cervix by the doctor that was on-call. I hadn’t even met her once, to be honest. That was kind of-- yeah. She was great, but yeah. I didn’t really know her, because my other doctor wasn’t there. So as soon as she-- I just remember, as soon as she inserted the Cervidil, I swelled up down there in my lady bits. It was like golf-ball-sized swelling.
Julie: Miserable. Miserable.
Brigette: It was so painful. Yes. I couldn’t sit upright because I couldn’t sit on that, and so the birth ball was out of the picture. I couldn’t really walk around much because it hurt to walk around. So I was really just stuck on the bed, which is not ideal at all when it comes to this. You know, you want to be walking around and able to be bouncing or doing a side-lying position and I wasn’t really able to do anything to help baby come down.
Then, they put me on Pitocin, and contractions started happening. They were like, “Well, if the contractions are very intense right at the front, then we will take the Cervidil out,” and they were. It was insane. All night I was up contracting, so they eventually took the Cervidil out and I-- every single time they checked me, it was super painful and I didn’t realize why. It was just because he was super high up. Nobody really told me that.
Anyways, I just wish I would have known that. But I got checked again by a new nurse that came in and she was super gentle. It didn’t hurt when she checked me, which was strange, but I was only 3 centimeters at this point. I opted for the epidural because I think that the contractions were a minute apart and they were insane still, even though they took out the Cervidil. I was trying to breathe through them, like low and controlled breaths, but I wasn’t able to do it any longer. I was only 3 centimeters and I got an epidural.
I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t have anyone else there to help me now. I rested the rest of the day and I took a small little nap. That night they upped my Pitocin a little bit more. Eventually, the epidural wore off and I was up the next night again, all night.
Oh, I forgot to say. Before I got the epidural, I had eaten the breakfast that they brought in. Before I got the epidural, my nurse was like, “Did you eat breakfast? Okay good, because this is the last thing you’re going to eat until after you have this baby.” I was like, “Oh my gosh.” “Yeah, also, you can’t really drink any water.” And I was like, “Okay.” I took her word for it and she was great. I really liked this nurse, but I just thought that’s how it was.
I got the Pitocin later that night, or, they upped it. I can’t remember to how much. I labored all night again and then the next morning I finally got dilated to a 10, but he was still very high up. I don’t remember what station he was at or anything. But the doctor-- they had switched shifts so there was a new doctor on shift and before she had to even come in, she heard what was happening. She hadn’t even come in to talk to me or anything and the nurses came back and they were like, “Dr. So-and-so wants you to have a C-section. She heard what was happening and she wants you to just have a C-section. She thinks it would be best.” And I was like, “Are you serious? I got this far…”
Julie: Without even coming to talk to you or see you. That’s what really bugs me. Sorry, I’m going to interrupt you for a minute. That’s one thing that really bugs me about our modern obstetric care is, we rely more on what we can see on a monitor than what a person’s body is telling us or by getting a feel for the situation by actually being present. You know? Anyways, rant over. Go on.
Brigette: No, totally. It really made me frustrated because-- just the fact that she didn’t even take the time to come in and talk to me and see how I was feeling. She was just like, “You need to have a C-section.” I told the nurses, I was like, “No. I’m going to try to have this baby vaginally. I’m going to try as long as I can. I want to push to see if I can get him to come down.” They were like, “Good. Yeah, I think that’s what you should do.”
I pushed for like an hour, and he did come down a little bit. He budged just a little bit. They could see his hair. They could see his head and stuff. My husband was able to see his head and see how much hair he had. But then the doctor came in and she was-- this part’s really annoying and frustrating too. She was standing over in the corner just kind of watching, and just looking. Not supportive whatsoever. Not even there helping me push or anything. She was just standing over there watching and she’s like, “Yeah, it looks like he’s like having some head trauma. His head looks a little red and stuff. I don’t know if you want to put him through this much longer.” And I was of course like, “I don’t want to hurt my baby.”
Of course, I don’t know if that would have been bad for him, but babies’ heads can shift I’ve learned. The plates can move around for them to come out vaginally. I just didn’t want to put him in any danger, or pain, or trauma. I prayed about it and I opted for the C-section.
The C-section was fine. I was shaking a ton, which sounds like it is pretty normal. I healed really well-- good, I guess. I don’t know. I had a good recovery with my C-section, but I still-- just the emotional aspect of it was hard for me. Every time I had a friend who had a vaginal birth-- this is probably selfish of me. But I was just like, “Why couldn’t I have had that? Why couldn’t my body have done what it was supposed to do to have this baby come out of me this way?” It was just hard. I would cry every time I thought about it for at least five months after.
Eventually, I kind of got over it and I was just like, “Okay, I’m going to have a VBAC with my next baby.” Which is what I did. But anyways...
Julie: Boom. That’s what you did. That’s right.
Brigette: So, I just kind of took notes on my phone. Everything I learned about VBACs, and prep for it and everything before I was even pregnant like I said. We moved from Arizona to Utah. We thought we were going to live here just for a little bit before we go to California for military things, but that got changed because of COVID. I was in the process of trying to find a doula and a midwife over in this area in California where we were going to move, and I wasn’t able to find anyone that was VBAC experienced or anything. That scared me, so I was really happy that we stayed here in Utah because then I got Julie. Was so great.
Julie: You had a really good doula.
Brigette: It’s funny because I had actually— what’s that?
Julie: I said, “You had a really good doula.”
Brigette: I had a really good doula, yes. I’m so glad.
Julie: Just kidding. No, but really though. I think we were a great fit.
Brigette: Yes, for sure. That’s the thing. You want to find someone who’s a great fit for you, and you were.
Actually, I messaged you guys about finding a midwife because I was-- I just didn’t even know where to start and I wanted to find a midwife. I wanted to go with a midwife this time because I had heard really good things about midwives. You guys had referred me to a midwife in Salt Lake. Am I allowed to say her name?
Julie: Yeah, you totally can. We just don’t like to bad-mouth providers, but since we really love her and I know you’re not going to say anything negative about her, then definitely. Definitely.
Brigette: Well, we love her, yes. Her name is Kira Waters. It sounds like Julie has had actually a few births with her before mine. She actually didn’t even end up being at my birth, but she was still great to be able to ask all my questions to you and then I was able to hire Julie as my doula, which I was so excited for. I keep saying that.
I really was, just because it was cool to be listening to your podcast and every time I’d listen, I’d be like, “She’s going to my birth!” Not everyone will get to have you. People are all around the world, or around the country, and I’m sure that they have great doulas too, but I was lucky to have you.
Anyway, so, fast forward to this birth, I had a good pregnancy and I had actually tested positive for GPS as well with this one, which I was really worried about, but ended up being just fine. It wasn’t that big of a deal besides that I had to be on antibiotics because my plan was just to labor as long as I could at home.
I was 38 weeks and 3 days. I had just put my son down for a nap and was taking a nap myself. I woke up to a really strong contraction right at 4:00 p.m. I was like, “Oh, I wonder if that’s just my bladder telling me I need to go to the bathroom,” because sometimes that would happen with Braxton Hicks. So, I went to the bathroom and I actually had a little bit of bloody show— may be TMI.
But, the day before, I also thought that I had lost my mucus plug and so, once I saw the bloody show, I literally looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, “My body knows what it’s doing. This is happening. I’m going to go into labor on my own,” which is what I wanted the whole time. I’m sure everyone wants that, or most people, you know?
Tara: That’s the best moment. Isn’t it? That’s awesome. It did it on its own.
Brigette: Yes. Yes, for sure. Because then you’re not-- yeah. It’s just good. So I was like, “Okay. Well, let’s just see if I have any more contractions.” I was already laying down, so I-- I don’t remember what I did after this. But anyways, I had another contraction 15 minutes later, and then it was 6 minutes later, then it was 10 minutes, and then it eventually just got more normal, like 5 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart. Then it was 4, and then 3.
Then it was 2 minutes apart and they were starting to get to where I couldn’t really talk through them. I had to stop and breathe through them. My husband had just gotten home from work and my son had woken up from his nap. We were kind of just chaos-- didn’t really know what we were doing. I was cleaning the kitchen. I had chicken on the table that was dripping off to the floor that was raw chicken because I was going to make freezer meals. I wasn’t planning on going into labor, and so I had to clean that up through all of these contractions.
So, I texted my midwife and she was like, “It sounds like it’s labor. You can go in. I would go in once you feel like you need support and help with labor.” I texted Julie and was just keeping her filled in. She was like, “Okay, I’m going to take a nap so that I am charged up to go at your birth.” I was like, “Okay, I’m not going to bug her. I’m just going to labor.” That’s what I did. Then, she texted me and she was like, “How’s it going?” I was like, “We are on our way to the hospital. I didn’t want to call you and wake you up because I knew that you were sleeping.”
She was like, “How are your contractions? Do you feel like you are having to vocalize through them?” I was like, “No, not really, but I’m definitely breathing through them really hard. Or, I don’t know. Just trying to have the controlled breathing.” You were like, “Okay. Well, I guess just let me know what you want me to do,” because-- I think you said that you could stay at your in-laws’ up there or something.
Brigette: I just said, “Okay. I’ll let you know how it goes after the drive there,” because we had a 40-minute drive to the hospital. I was laboring in the back seat. It’s funny because right after I hung up the phone with you, all of a sudden I was like, “Okay, I can’t be quiet anymore. This is what she means. This is what vocalizing is.” My husband was like, “Okay.”
I remember at one point he was driving through that crappy Lehi traffic or whatever it’s called--
Julie: It’s awful.
Brigette: Yes. It’s so bad. It was 60, I think, that you had to go, and I was like, “I need you to go at least 70.” I looked at him in the rearview mirror and he was like, “Okay.” I was like, “You need to go faster,” just because it was going to be a long drive there.
I finally got there, and I told Julie to come to the hospital because I was like, “This is getting really, really hard. I want you to be there.” They checked me in, and I was 1, maybe 1.5 centimeters, and I was crushed. I was like, “Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? It feels like I should be at least like a 4 or a 5 right now because these contractions are on top of each other.: They were only lasting 30 seconds, but they were very strong contractions that were about 1.5 to 2 minutes apart I think.
Julie got there, and she was-- as soon as I saw her, I was relieved because it wasn’t just me and my husband in that room with the nurses knowing that I was only dilated to a 1 or whatever.
She was like, “This is what we can do. We can do abdominal lifts or we can do Walcher’s.” She explained to me what they were and abdominal lifts— I don’t know if you want to explain what they are, Julie, because you are the expert here.
Julie: Yeah. I remember I just pulled in the parking lot to the hospital when you texted me, or your husband, that you were at 1 and I was like, “She’s a 1? Like, how?” You had been working so hard and so soon as I got in, I’m like, “Alright. It’s time to get to work because something is preventing this baby from engaging,” just knowing how hard you were working.
Abdominal lifts are a Spinning Babies® technique and so, before you attempt to do them, definitely lookup on their website, spinningbabies.com, so that you can learn the proper techniques. Your pelvis has to be tucked a certain way. You have to pull a certain way. If you do it wrong, it could-- I mean I guess it could just not do anything, but it also could cause some issues if baby’s head is wonky or something like that.
But basically, you get behind the laboring person and you lift right at the very bottom of their belly. You lift upwards and then slightly backwards toward their spine. The pregnant person has their pelvis tilted in a posterior pelvic tilt, so their back is flat. That helps the baby engage, and get into the pelvis, and the cervix open, and all of those good things.
But they really suck. They’re hard.
Brigette: They were hard, but after we-- because we did 10 of them in a row, during 10 contractions I should say, but after-- I was like, “These contractions are painful anyways. I want to do something to help get him in a better position.” It was totally worth it because I got checked again, like 30 minutes later and I was 3 or 4 centimeters. We were all just like, “Yeah! This is going. Okay. Let’s do it!”
Julie: That was a great moment. Boo-yah. High-fives all around.
Brigette: Yes, for sure. Yeah. At this point, I was not able to relax at all between these contractions because they were so close together still. They were like, “Well, this is what you can do. You can get a dose of Fentanyl” or, I think that was my only option really. I was like, “Okay. I just kind of want anything at this point.” They were like, “Oh, it’s going to make you feel a little bit high, but won’t really drown out your pain at all, or very much.” Which is exactly what happened. I felt super loopy and on the bed, but I could still feel the exact pain from every contraction, so I don’t know if I would suggest that. It was a little bit of a distraction for me, so maybe that helped. I don’t know.
I was on the bed and she had me doing a side-lying position-- like where you’re laying on your side with one knee up to try to get baby in a better position, which sounds maybe comfortable, but it wasn’t at all because-- it just wasn’t my choice position for contractions. But that helped too, because then-- I can’t remember how much later it was. Not much later, probably 45 minutes I think, maybe? I was 6 or 7 centimeters dilated.
Then I was like, “Okay. I would like to get the epidural so that I can rest, so that baby doesn’t get super high heart rates or whatever.” I just needed the rest. That was my thought going into my VBAC was, I wasn’t against getting an epidural, but I wasn’t against going unmedicated. I just wanted to get my VBAC, however, that really needed to happen. If I felt like I needed to get my body rest so that it could progress more quickly, then I would opt for the epidural. That’s what I did.
I should say, my midwife wasn’t there. She was actually out of town. None of us expected me to go into labor this early, at 38 weeks and 3 days. So another midwife was there, and she was awesome. Her name was Marnae. She was just as supportive as Kira was, and wanted me to have my VBAC, and didn’t rush me to anything. She came in and brought my waters. That really helped baby come down because I could feel the pressure of his head coming down, which was cool to be able to feel that, even with the epidural.
Eventually, I got to complete. I pushed for 30 minutes and out came this beautiful baby boy. I did tear a little bit. I got a second-degree tear, but recovery has been fine. A little bit painful, but manageable for sure. I did a ton of daily birth prep from 34 to 35 weeks. Every single day, I went through my list and I think that really helped me. I don’t know if it really helped me or if I was just lucky to go into labor this soon, but yeah. That’s my story.
Tara: Yay, that’s amazing.
Brigette: I don’t know if I missed anything.
Julie: Do you know what I think is just so funny? Reflecting back on that day, it was a little bit of a crazy day for me, but I didn’t want to tell you that. I never tell clients. Even if I am really struggling with something huge, which I wasn’t that day. It was just a difficult day. But I’ll turn on heavy metal music and scream on my way to the hospital. Then, I’ll ground myself, breathe it out, and leave everything in the car, so that I can come into the birth space with a clear mind and no negative energy.
But when you were in the parking lot, I had just finished my clearing routine and I was like, “I’m okay. I’m ready to go in,” and then I got the text that you were 1 cm, I was like, “Dang it. I need to do a little more clearing.”
Brigette: More hard rock music.
Tara: What was the timeline then, from the time you got admitted until the time the baby was born?
Julie: Yeah, do you have the notes?
Brigette: It was 9:00 when I got there. It was 9, like straight up 9. He was born at 2:45-ish in the morning.
Julie: Yeah, not long at all. Girl, you dilated 10 centimeters in less than five hours.
Tara: That’s incredible.
Brigette: My first contraction was at 4:00 p.m. that day.
Tara: Yeah, but that’s when a 1 is not really a 1. You were doing good work. Your body was doing a lot more than you thought.
Julie: Yeah. Absolutely. I’m just looking back at our text messages that day because I told my husband-- huh? What was that?
Brigette: Oh, I was just saying that you had told me to do the Miles Circuit. I think that helped too during labor.
Julie: Yeah. It’s so fun. You said you had lost your mucus plug and I’m like, “Woohoo! Your body is getting ready. In my mind, I had another client and her due date was four days before you had your baby. She didn’t give birth until eight days later. It was so weird. In my mind, I am like, “There is an order to things. She’s losing her mucus plug. That’s great.” I lost my mucus plug for three weeks with my third baby.
Brigette: Your body’s getting ready. You told me that a couple of times and I was like, “Okay.”
Julie: I’m like, “Your body is getting ready. That’s really good.” Because in my mind, I’m like, “This poor mama who’s four days past her due date is definitely going to go because you’re a VBAC and your first baby didn’t come until after 40 weeks.” I was so sure, but then you said you were starting to have bloody show and contractions. I’m like, “Hey, cervical changes.”
Then you’re like, “Are you moving today?” Because that was when I moved and we had just gotten done. It was right before we moved. Yeah. So anyways, it was just so fun going through all of that. But she did. She had her baby two weeks early. It’s just so funny because you just never know when these babies are going to come. Tara, am I right?
I think my first back to back birth was with clients that were due 13 days apart and I went straight from one birth to another. It’s nuts. Tara, I just called you Tara again.
Tara: That’s okay. Yeah, that’s okay. Definitely. I’ve had clients due more than a month apart who have given birth close to the same day and vice versa. You never know. But that’s so nice when it goes earlier than you expect. That’s amazing.
Preparing your cervix for birth
Julie: Yeah. I love it. We are running out of time, but we want to talk about cervixes a little bit. Your cervix did some really cool things— or some really, I don’t know. It probably was not cool when it swelled up like a balloon in your first pregnancy.
But, cervixes are pretty cool. They are pretty amazing organs. I think we don’t give them enough credit for what they do. Why don’t you tell everyone-- I just want, straight from your mouth, what did you do? Because I know you had done some certain things to get your cervix ready so that you could have your best chances of having a vaginal birth.
Brigette: Yeah. One thing that I did-- well, I did a lot of things, but something that I definitely suggest doing is going to see a chiropractor to make sure everything‘s aligned and stuff. I really think that that helped. I was seeing a chiropractor once a week starting at 36 weeks. I know some people go more often than that. That’s what I chose to do and then I also started drinking red raspberry leaf tea. I was eating 6 to 10 dates a day. I was drinking as much water as I could. I actually was eating pineapple and the center of it. I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s like the hard part, you know? I guess it has bromelain in it or something that is supposed to help your uterus. I don’t really know. I did it.
Julie: Bromelain. I didn’t know that it helped your uterus. I think it improves digestion. I’m not quite sure actually. Never mind.
Brigette: I don’t know what it does. Yeah. I don’t know, but I was like, “Okay. Well, I’m going to try it. It’s not going to hurt me. It’s just pineapple.” And then I did the Miles Circuit every day starting at 36 weeks. Almost every day. It wasn’t every single day. I did most of these every single day.
I would do the Forward-leaning Inversion on the couch. I’d have my husband help me. Julie came over and showed me how to do it and showed him how to come up out of it. We would do that before we would go on walks at night. I would do the Forward-leaning Inversion and then make sure baby was in a good position so that when I was walking, it was helping him come down better. So we would go on walks, at least a mile, almost every day.
Then also, on my birth ball, I would sit on my birth ball for everything. Folding laundry, watching a show. Just playing with my son, my toddler, I was doing hip circles on it, and the pelvic tilts, like forward and back, and figure eights. I would do that a lot. That’s pretty much what I did. We didn’t-- this is maybe also TMI. I was not down for having sex very often, so I don’t think that was a big player of it.
Tara: I don’t think there’s any TMI on this show.
Julie: Yeah, seriously. There’s not TMI.
Brigette: True. That’s true. This is all about birth. But, yeah. Some people like, “I think I had good success with that,” but I, no. That wasn’t really on my list.
Tara: Pineapple core all the way.
Julie: Yeah. Do you know what? Sometimes, I’ve seen with my clients and Tara, maybe you can relate too, and then I’m going to have you share a little bit in just a second. Sometimes you can’t say whether it’s that certain thing that made the difference, or whether the act of just having something to do put your mind at ease or put your mind towards like, “Hey, I’m doing something that will help,” that actually gets your mind psychologically ready.
Maybe it’s both. I mean, I’m sure it’s both. There have been lots of benefits shown with the dates and the sex— obviously, semen is a prostaglandin— and the pineapple core, and all of those things. Yeah, bromelain, I think that’s the pineapple. I think that’s an ingredient in pineapple, right Tara?
Tara: Yeah, an enzyme. Yeah.
Julie: So anyways. Tara, go ahead. Your last two cents. Anything about the cervix. You can say anything about the cervix and then for anyone who is in Chicago, let them know how they can contact you because you are an awesome VBAC doula.
Tara: Well, I have a lot to say about the cervix. But I thought it was very interesting, Brigette, in your first birth, that you said those cervical checks were so painful and that partly was because the baby was high, but also it can be when your cervix is posterior. A lot of people don’t realize that the cervix starts out pointing towards our back and then it moves forward as labor progresses. It moves back and forward during our menstrual cycle too. So if they have to reach up and behind baby’s head essentially to find your cervix, way in the back, that’s super painful.
Brigette: Okay, that makes sense. I remember them telling me that too.
Tara: Yeah. So, one of the reasons that it might have been less painful that third time or whatever was because maybe it had moved forward and it was easier for the nurse to find, although sometimes there are nurses that are just really good at that— being gentle. Yeah. I think that’s really interesting about the cervix.
I love that Julie is talking about the psychology. You know, it’s doing the things, but it’s also what’s in our head about doing the things. I think that is a fascinating mix of the psychology of not trying too hard because I think when we-- when we are trying too hard, we also can work against our body‘s natural rhythms, but it sounds like what you did worked for you.
Also, being all in. You were all in.
Brigette: Yeah, for sure. I was. I was making sure that I wasn’t stressing myself out about it. I enjoy doing these things and so, just the release of oxytocin too probably helped calm my nerves. Yeah. So, anyways. I agree.
Julie: Absolutely. Well, it was so lovely to chat with you ladies today. Tara, throw down your website right now. What is the best way for people to get a hold of you?
Tara: Yes. My website is withuparenting.com and that’s U, just the letter U because it’s all about being together, being with each other. We can’t promise what’s going to happen or promise outcomes, but we can promise you won’t be alone and that you’ll have somebody with you. So, that’s the idea behind my business. My email is email@example.com.
Julie: I love that. That is a great sentiment. I would talk about it for longer, but since we are out of time, Tara, thank you so much for helping me co-host today and Brigette-- I just love your little family. I am so glad you are hanging around in Utah and not in California. I just appreciate both of you so much.
Tara: Thank you. Congratulations, Brigette.
Brigette: Thank you so much.