On episode 58, Ch-a was born and raised in California, but currently lives in Clearwater, Florida. From eight years old all the way into her 20’s she was a competitive athlete. She ran track in college and has always been an athlete. She still feels like she benefits from the hard work she’s put her body through. She conceived at 45 naturally, but she miscarried. A year later, trying to have a baby was the last thing on her mind. She had been in California because her father was in a very bad car accident, which put him in the hospital for about a week and a half and then he passed away. She put him to rest, and then packed up her mother to live with her in Florida. She believes when you lose a life, then a new one comes in.
She was not working out but would go on walks occasionally, there was no fitness routine. She was actually pretty run down, running on fumes. She was taking a lot of supplements. Even prior to her dad, if she wasn’t sleeping and not particularly eating well, she took supplements. She was heavy on B vitamins because B1 keeps away nightmares, any negative thoughts that may creep in when she’s going through stress. It is good for the nervous system and good for metabolism. She takes zinc and vitamin D for immunity. She also takes Vitamin E because it oxygenates the blood, and vitamin C. She was really trying to keep her health up to help her father. Her workouts consisted of hauling furniture, yard sales, estate sale, and taking lots of walks to keep up her mood. She is a big proponent of long walks when she’s not happy.
A few weeks home, she noticed she was extremely fatigued. This wasn’t normal for her. When she was in California, she had an enormous amount of energy. She assumes it was an increase in progesterone. She was anticipating her cycle to start and was taking a progesterone supplement. She thinks she had an elevated progesterone plus the supplement and couldn’t stay awake. Then her cycle didn’t start. When she was a day or two late, a voice in her head told her to take a test. She finally did and it was positive. She was so excited, but also felt dread. The weight of the miscarriage a year ago told her she just needed to see and not be too excited. She didn’t want to get her hopes up.
The pregnancy… I think was better than probably what even 20-year-old’s experience.
The pregnancy went better than what a 20-year-old experienced, she said. She had some standard pregnancy symptoms, like she was tired. She didn’t get nauseous, didn’t get swollen, didn’t have high blood pressure, or get gestational diabetes. During the first trimester, she took nutritional yeast for energy. That one really helped with her first trimester fatigue and got her up off the couch and helped her nausea. She was constantly nauseous, but she never threw up. She was always on the verge but never actually vomited. Nutritional yeast handled that. She mixed it with orange juice, in a shot glass. Nutritional yeast is used by vegans as a cheese substitute. It doesn’t taste like cheese to her. She would mix it in a little glass with some orange juice and chug it down. She just didn’t enjoy it like the vegans. She would take it twice a day because it made a difference with her sleep.
When she moved to Clearwater, she asked for recommendations with a group of local women. She started with one OB office that she would just go to for her annual exams, and they helped her through her first miscarriage. She asked around and learned about natural childbirth and opted out of her OB clinic. She decided on a birthing center. She went under midwife care about halfway through. It was important to have a natural birth and have choices like a water birth. Because of her age, she still wanted respect for her birthing choices. She went with the birthing center with hopes of having a natural delivery.
Ch-a wanted to know the gender right away. It was important to her to find out the gender, so she could speak to her baby for who he/she is. It was one way to she was able to bond with her baby. She found out the gender of the baby at 12 weeks along with the chromosome abnormality test. She wanted to know all of it up front. She opted to do every test they offered. She wanted to be prepared for any and all eventualities. She was having a girl Ch-a would later name Naomi.
She would not consider herself a heavy carnivore, but she ate more hamburgers and steaks in her pregnancy more than she had her entire life! Sometimes she would crave beef and nothing else would do. She didn’t crave sweets at all. She didn’t like junk food, but she really liked a lot of fruit. Lots of citrus and lots of meat. She wonders if it’s the iron and the protein. During the second trimester, she would go to the gym at 5 a.m. The baby started to kick and wake her up and she was not able to go back to sleep. The second trimester was where she got her fitness and good nutrition. She wasn’t showing yet, so nobody knew she was pregnant. One day, this guy was hitting on her while she was working out. A friend saw what was going on and interrupted by asking about the baby. The guy left quickly afterwards and she canceled her membership.
Trying to get the nursery ready was another story. Her mom had the room the baby was supposed to be in, so the baby had to be in her bedroom. It’s been like an Ikea project trying to arrange furniture to make it everything fit. She bought the house for just her and her partner, so adding a baby and a grandma made it shrink quickly. Her partner started buying things after the 12-week ultrasound. Suddenly a bassinet, stroller and playpen showed up. Her partner didn’t want to wait until the last minute to start buying the things the baby needed. She told him she was worried about losing the baby and he was going to resent her. She says she was dramatic. Her partner was really the one to start preparing for the baby. Ch-a was the one that wanted to drag her feet and make sure because she didn’t want to have all these baby things in the house if it didn’t work out. Her partner was confident there was a baby coming, so he planned for one. 13-weeks was a relief for her. The 20-week ultrasound was where she gave a big sigh of relief because there were no abnormalities found. There was one abnormality with the baby’s heart, but it’s asymptomatic. She never felt like she was allowed to relax because there was always a threat of something. She thinks the baby can survive outside of the womb at 28 weeks if born prematurely. That was the week she believed she was having a baby. She believed she made it.
She began to get very run down in the third trimester. A friend of hers, who is a nurse, recommended she get her blood levels checked for iron. She was borderline anemic and began taking Floridex. It is a liquid iron supplement that was amazing because it didn’t cause constipation. She also took vitamin C along with it to help absorb the iron.
She didn’t sleep well the night before and couldn’t hold food down. She believes that she sabotaged her own natural delivery because she wasn’t ready. She wasn’t rested. She would be doing normal things around the house and before she know it, she was tired and worn out. She wished she sat down, and “Netflix-ed it up.”
Ch-a wanted a natural labor and was opposed to drugs of any sort. She wanted to avoid an epidural and anything that would involve having to inject unnatural substances into her body. She took birthing classes and used the Bradley method, which is about father-led coached birthing.
She carried to term, she got to 40 weeks which made her very anxious due to the conversation of stillbirth if she carried too long with the midwives. At 39 weeks she got membrane sweeps, which is where they go in with the fingers and sweep the membrane to try to break them. After one time, it got her dilated to 3 cm. Ch-a tried to induce labor on her own, too. She was taking evening primrose oil and other supplements. She was inserting primrose oil vaginally to help loosen up the mucus plug. The next week, she went in for the next visit and did the membrane sweep, again. About an hour and half later, as she got back in her car from buying castor oil at CVS, in case the membrane sweep didn’t work, her water broke. A gush of water came out. She describes the car ride to the birthing center as very rough. She felt every bump and crack in the road. An hour and half later she was in active labor. She was hungry and tired. By the time she got food in her stomach, she couldn’t hold it down. She threw it up. She’s still hungry, tired and now in heavy labor. She got to the birthing center at midnight. She tried to sleep, but the contractions prevented that. The next morning, they brought breakfast and castor oil. She threw-up again. The midwives told her she had 24 hours to deliver her baby since her water broke or she was going to be taken to the hospital. After 22 hours, she fantasized about the epidural because the pain was so bad. She was so exhausted. She didn’t think she could deliver in two hours. She wanted food and sleep. She finally threw in the towel and was transferred to the hospital. In route to the hospital, her baby Naomi pooped. She had meconium leaking. Ch-a describes labor as disgusting. There are all kinds of body fluids coming out. She was pooping, farting and vomiting. It was horrible and very demoralizing. It wasn’t as beautiful an experience as she had imagined. She got the epidural and her baby’s heart rate started dipping. Things got better, but then crashed again. The baby’s heart rate dipped so low that the nurse turned the monitor where she couldn’t see it. Then about five more nurses showed up in blue. She knew there was an emergency, and she should stop asking questions. She was looking at a C-section. She was upset at the doctor at first, but when the urgency increased with the nurse, Ch-a told them to get her out. She knew what her heart rate looked like. When it was dipping in the 60 range, she told them to get her out. They were so fast. It was only 20 minutes until they had her out. She just wanted a healthy baby, though.
Her recovery was great, but she admits a C-section recovery is not fun. She doesn’t think she was available to her baby as much as if she had a vaginal delivery. She said it was so painful. The nurses told her to walk when she got home. It gets the gut moving. Because she was walking, she was able to poop and pass gas which helped things heal a lot faster. She was proud of her pregnant belly. One day she was walking. She said she kind of looked pregnant, but maybe just a gut. She was bandaged up. Nobody could tell what her circumstances were and she walked limping and shuffling along, kind of hunched over and crying. She thought this sucks. She didn’t think she even looked pregnant, instead she just looked like she had issues. Ch-a said it was emotional. She didn’t have the baby inside her and there’s also this physical recovery. It’s not glamorous and not fun. She didn’t think she was glowing anymore. She couldn’t interact fully with her baby like she wanted to. She was walking, which helped her recover faster. Everyone told her to stay away from the stairs, but they live in a three-story townhouse. That wasn’t an option for her. She had a lot of friends come over to help, but there’s only so much they could do. By necessity, she got right really quick. She was going up and down the stairs every day. She moved very slowly, but she made her way. By six weeks, she felt healed.
It’s important to Ch-a that she makes sure she’s happy. She ate well and took her supplements. She stayed on the prenatal vitamins and stayed on her B vitamins. She continued to take lots of walks and had a good friendship circle. Her friends showed up in mass because besides her mom, most of her family is in California. Her mom has her own level of care, so she hasn’t been able to be much of assistance with the baby. Ch-a has a geriatric mom who can walk around but mentally, is not the grandma she would have been just a few years ago.
Her partner is an amazing father. When he comes home, he is hands-on with his baby. There’s been a couple of days where he would come home and Naomi would be screaming. He would hear it and he would drop his bags and come straight up and take her. He always tells Ch-a she’s doing a great job with their daughter. Ch-a’s not saying that there aren’t days where she’s overwhelmed, but those days pass.
Ch-a feels so lucky in the breastfeeding department, up until recently. Her baby latched right away. The nurses in the hospital were great with helping Ch-a learn how to get her to latch. In her first week, she stopped latching briefly. She took her to a prenatal chiropractor the very next day and he did adjustments on her. Even in her mouth. They worked on her mouth a bit and she wound up not having anything done, but she latched back on. They are going through times where her baby wants her to lay in bed to feed. She doesn’t want to sit up. She just wants to lie in bed and be fed. That’s a new thing that they are working through.
It was a fantastic pregnancy, so much that she misses being pregnant. When Ch-a sees pregnant women now, she gets jealous of their bellies and wants to do it again.