On episode 49, we have Coco O’Connor on to share pregnancy journey at 40. Coco is her real name, and not a nickname she clarifies. Her father liked Coco Chanel. Her and her husband of 25 years had a daughter in 2014. She met her husband when she was just 18 years old through their love of music. Coco is an artist at heart who has been a song writer and singer since she was ten years old. She’s always wanted to be Chrissy Hinde of The Pretenders.
At 39, Coco was living in Los Angeles working a corporate job. She moved to Los Angeles from Santa Fe because the economy had crashed in 2008. She learned a lot about marketing and how to build websites to get her music out because she couldn’t afford to hire it out. She just stumbled into corporate America with the knowledge she gained through the years. She was living in a tiny little basement apartment in a Hollywood house in the hills that was always meant to be temporary. There were eight girls in their 20’s living above her. Coco went to get the mail one time to find Parenting magazine inside her mailbox. She thought it was one of the girl’s magazines, but there was no way any of those girls would subscribe to that. She had been thinking about having kids for a while. She didn’t think they were ‘kid people.’ She was terrified at the idea because she didn’t come from good examples of good parenting or good relationships. She held that magazine and thought she really needed to get on this soon. This was the sign she needed. That day, she stopped taking her birth control. Coco’s mom had been sick, so she promised her a grandchild if she would just hold on. She passed away in January 2013.
Just eight months after she lost her mom, Coco was in a hot tub and wasn’t feeling the best. She wasn’t feeling like herself and thought it was weird. She felt a little nauseous. She had bought a pregnancy test just to have after she stopped birth control pills. She doesn’t consider herself a detailed person, so couldn’t remember when she had her last cycle. She thought she should take a pregnancy test just in case. Sure enough, it was positive, which really scared her. She thought it was fake, so she went to a pregnancy center to confirm. She was pregnant.
She says she had a great pregnancy. For the first two months she couldn’t lift her arms because she was so exhausted. She’s been running everyday since she was 16. She says it’s easier to stay in shape than get into shape. She ran every day until about six months into her pregnancy. Then she started walking. She wanted to keep up the exercise. The only time she ever took naps, was when she was pregnant. She was lactose intolerant for most of her life, but the only time she wasn’t, was when she was pregnant. She loved chocolate chip cookies and milk. Other than that, the only real craving she had was a spicy chicken and biscuit from Chick-fil-A. She never had morning sickness.
Before she found out she was pregnant, she spoke to a prophet on the street that told her she was going to do something really great on the internet. She went on to say something about from your womb will come basically a boy. Then when it came time to sonogram, Coco wanted to know the gender, but not really. She remembers her husband suggesting they find out, so she did. When she got the news that she was going to have a girl, she was a little taken aback. Was that a false prophet? She and her husband created a ritual to go eat after appointments at their favorite restaurant. She started honing in on girls’ names at the restaurant after she found out it was a girl. She enjoyed going through names and having a fun time anticipating her daughter coming into the world at her favorite restaurant. She though Quinn was a great name. Coco and her husband both go by their middle name, but she didn’t want to give her daughter that option. They decided on Quinn O’Connor over a plate of smoked trout hash. She regrets not giving her a middle name sometimes. She made that a line in one of her songs.
To prepare for baby, she read The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Carp. She explains it’s the closest thing to an instruction manual that you can get with a child. She watched the video and read the book three times. She also bought a hanging cradle from Denmark that she loved and still has. The book recommends keeping the baby’s environment as close to the womb as possible which the cradle was good for. Underneath, she put a white noise machine. She went to classes but thought it was pretty much useless. She got the Bob Stroller to keep up with running. She had a fun time shopping. Coco was worried about the aesthetic of her home when it came to getting furniture. She already had a great rocking chair and just laid a stuffed polar bear over it for additional comfort. She draped a big fluffy pillow over the arm to nurse.
At 39 weeks 3 days was a Thursday, Coco went to her last doctor’s appointment. The doctor told her she wanted to induce her if she wasn’t in labor by Monday. She and her mother-in-law got pedicures the next day and contractions started. When she thought it was time to head to the hospital, her water broke as soon as she walked in the hospital. She knew her doctor was out of town. She got to a room and was told they would have to wait for another doctor. Between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m., she was walking the halls with strong contractions. She was trying to be tough. They told her she couldn’t enjoy a bath because her water already broke. It seemed everything that could make her comfortable, she couldn’t have because her water broke. Between 4:00 and 5:00 am she wanted an epidural because she couldn’t take the pain any longer. She felt relief once the epidural kicked in. At 7:00 am, the staff was still looking for a doctor for her. An hour later her doctor was back in town to help deliver the baby. She had been laying there, feeling like she was doing nothing when she asked if she could start pushing. Coco’s blood pressure went down along with the baby’s blood pressure. She remembers seeing the light and thinking it was cool. The cord was wrapped around her baby’s neck, but she was out of it. The staff were buzzing all around her. When they were able to stabilize her blood pressure, it was time to push. The doctor says “instrument,” and pulled the baby out with forceps. Coco labored for about 12-13 hours total, and her baby was born only two days before her due day. The doctor laid her daughter on her chest, and they wanted her to get the baby latch which she did. Coco believes God gave her a beautiful baby girl.
She was exhausted and kept thinking her baby was so pretty; over and over. They put her baby in a crib beside her, but she remembers her screaming a lot. She gave Coco no rest thereafter. She stayed in the hospital an extra day because they wanted to make sure everything was okay. Her mother-in-law stayed with her at the hospital for those two days! It was so nerve-wracking. She wished for a little bit of alone time with her baby.
Recovery was extremely painful for her because the forceps were used. She went through many bottles of wound spray after she got home, and her mother-in-law suggested Epsom salt baths. There was a lot of bleeding afterwards. Between the feedings and being up all night, her recovery was painful. A few days after she got home, she almost passed out after getting out of the shower. She’s had hypoglycemia in the past, so she was thankful her mother-in-law was there. She thought there is no way she could have another baby right away. She remembers it being like a drunk phase as the book describes.
Her aunt told her she might feel an overwhelming sadness sometimes and to call if she needed her. She had PTSD in her twenties because she was car-jacked. She went into a deep, dark depression and these waves of tears would rush over her. She struggled with suicidal thoughts and years and therapy helped. She wished she cried, but depression makes her angry. Depression affects everyone differently and she saw the signs during recovery. She didn’t go to therapy after the birth of her daughter. She remembers waves of tears would come over her when she spoke with certain people about what was going on. She worked on her depression for about six months afterwards with techniques she learned back with EMDR therapy in her 20’s and prayer. There were sometimes she just didn’t know what to do.
After her mother passed away, Coco found her Bible and on the front page and she wrote, “I give this Bible to my granddaughter upon my death.” So, she likes to think she saw her granddaughter from heaven. Her mother also bought this beautiful little blue coat that only her mom would buy. She holds on to that because she believes it’s amazing. She thinks God must have told her mom she was having a girl or they met in heaven. One of the challenging parts to pregnancy and parenting is not having her around. There are so many days that she wished she could just call her mom.
Today, she regrets not trying for a second and her daughter begs for a sibling.