I now have over twenty birth stories contributed. They may have all been natural births, but each story is very unique, as are the bad ass mamas featured.
I’ve got a matter of minutes before my baby awakes from her magical slumber and turns in to a salivating little monster in search of THE MILK.
I wanted to give a quick update of where things are at with the most recent masterpiece in the making – a compilation of Natural Birth Stories, meant to inspire woman to take control of their birth care.
A Woman that had two medicated births and wanted to finally have the birth experience she desired
A woman that gave birth in one of the most progressive birth countries: The Netherlands
A woman that delivered TWINS without pain meds
A woman that had her baby eight minutes after arriving at the hospital (my hand is up)
A woman whose labor lasted more than a day
A woman that had to fight the negativity she received from the hospital staff to persevere
A woman whose body was recovering from physical injury and just a year ago never would have thought her body was capable
A woman that had to face the feared “back labor”
A woman afraid of hospitals and pain.
A woman that has been ashamed to share her birth story because it’s not acceptable to share a positive birth story in light of all the negativity surrounding birth
A woman that had to cancel a work presentation to go deliver her baby
In short, a bad ass woman just like you.
So here is where I am at –
The stories are in, I have requested follow-up details from every contributor, I interviewed Staci (Doula and Owner of Labor of Love), I hired the editor this afternoon, and I am wrapping up the opening chapters this week.
The book is on track to come out this summer. Subscribe to this blog via email to be the first to know when it launches, or follow us on Facebook @Storiesbyjkcoy.
I typically give out some free copies of my books during launch to readers on my email list. So make sure you share this with friends that may be interested.
Eventually my first pregnancy got to the point that I could no longer ignore that this baby was exiting my body, whether I liked it or not. So I decided to educate myself on childbirth.
Something you should probably know about me: I get real squeamish around anything medical.
I don’t like hospitals. I don’t like feeling like a patient. I didn’t like watching ER, back in the day. I would try to watch, because, you know, Mr. Clooney. But, I’d be caught off guard, every episode, by some bodily fluid spraying out. GROSS.
Many of my family members work in hospitals. I plug my ears when they share medical stories at the dinner table.
When it comes to medication, I’ve always erred on the side of less is more. You’ve all seen the commercials where the list of possible side effects sounds far worse than the things the medicine is supposed to treat.
And, I pretty much blacked out during health class. Too much information about the inner workings of my body.
All that said, I’m not sure if that made me a more, or less, likely candidate for natural childbirth.
But eventually my first pregnancy got to the point that I could no longer ignore that this baby was exiting my body, whether I liked it or not. So I decided to educate myself on childbirth, using the six resources I mention in this post, plus lots of stories of woman with positive birth experiences. (Sign up to follow the blog and you will get an alert when the rest of the series is added).
Below are the reasons I found in favor of natural childbirth. Some are fact based, some are preference based. This list was enough to encourage me to make natural childbirth Plan A.
A 32% US Cesarean Rate, According to the CDC:
Really?! So one third of woman are now incapable of safely delivering their baby? Bull Sh*t. There are scenarios where a cesarean is most definitely life saving for mom and baby, but there were two instances I was not comfortable with: medical interventions that lead to a cesarean (more on that later), and doctors and mothers that casually consider a cesarean a modern option for any inconvenient pregnancy issue. I’ve heard stories of mothers scheduling cesareans so they could pick a special date, chose their time off based on work schedules or visitors being in town, because they are told their baby is to big on the ultrasound, because they don’t want to push, because they had a c-section before, because a woman has a small-frame she is told she will have trouble pushing out a baby, or just generally because labor is not progressing and the mom is getting too tired. The list goes on. I can’t understand why these are sufficient reasons to under go major surgery. 32% was very discouraging to me. I needed to arm myself with the best possible scenario for avoiding becoming part of this statistic.
One Medical Intervention Often Leads to Another:
Many women that are part of that 32% cesarean rate, don’t enter the hospital thinking that will be their fate. They have the best intentions to labor and deliver vaginally. But then the realities of modern medicine intervene.
1. An epidural is administered for pain management, labor slows down because your body no longer feels the natural sensations, nurses administer pitocin (almost 30% of births use pitocin or other induction methods) to speed up labor which causes contractions to intensify (mom often doesn’t notice because she’s had the epidural), baby starts to go in to distress because of the unnatural intensity and frequency of these super contractions, the babies heart rate spikes to unsafe levels, mom is taken in for an emergency c-section to save the baby.
2. A mother is at, or past, her due date so an induction is scheduled. The doctors try to artificially start and progress labor, which can lead to the same scenario described above.
Again, cesareans are a great option to have when things go wrong, but if the medical interventions used to speed labor ultimately lead to the cesarean, we are a victim of our own medical side effect commercial. Medical intervention comes with side effects, and I didn’t like the course that those interventions could put me on. So I chose to avoid step one, the epidural, in hopes of avoiding the other interventions.
I Wanted Support, Not Ulterior Motives, Driving My Birth Decisions:
Many hospitals have standards about how quickly you need to progress in labor before they offer ways to intervene – for your benefit, of coarse.
And, most doctors will only be there for the last few minutes before baby arrives, leaving you to labor alone or intermittently with a nurse.
I knew labor would be difficult, and possibly scary. As a woman you really have no idea what it will feel like. You don’t get a practice run. I knew I wanted a support system that would be there with me for the challenging parts, and keep me calm. I figured the best way to do that would be to hire a midwife. Because the majority of midwives regularly attend natural births, I felt comfortable trusting my midwife during the birth process. You would never hire a coach that hasn’t regularly achieved that outcome you want. That would be silly. Why would I leave my intentions of a natural birth to someone that doesn’t regularly do it, nor encourage it?
I initially looked for a doula to come alongside my OB-GYN, but found that most were more than I had to spend. Fortunately, I ended up finding a midwife that was approved to deliver at my hospital (I live in Orange County, CA – not some small town, and astonishingly there was still just one midwife approved to deliver at my hospital, at that time). This meant insurance would cover it. I got the best of both worlds: an experienced and encouraging coach and doctor, in a hospital setting in case any issues came up.
I Didn’t Want to Feel Like a Patient:
As I explained, I don’t like medical stuff, which includes feeling like a patient. By forgoing the epidural I was able to wear my own clothes (no paper hospital gown), walk around the room, try any position I wanted to find comfort during contractions, soak in the bathtub in my hospital room, eat and drink, push in any position I wanted (instead of flat on my back – which actually makes your pelvis more narrow), and generally deal with the pain on my own terms with a trained and encouraging support partner.
Labor and delivery was hard work, but I felt like my body was doing something powerful and natural. I was not damaged goods, waiting for a doctor to make me better.
Your body is not a lemon. Our creator is not careless. Your body was made for this.
Come back for the rest of the series – my natural birth story, and mentally preparing for my upcoming delivery of baby two. (Sign up to follow the blog and you will get an alert when the rest of the series is added).
Note: my intention is not to shame anyone that has had a different birth experience from mine. My intent is to provide a positive example of what birth can be, in spite of what most of us are exposed to about child birth in the United States. Educate yourself so you can feel comfortable with your own decisions.
Here’s a recipe for a stressful workplace: pair a Perfectionist and a Finisher up daily, and then just sit back and watch the tension build. This was my life for three years.
The Finisher is prone to try and simplify tasks to complete the essence of the project, while the Perfectionist is all about adding levels of complexity to make things the very best they can be. I’m sure that the Perfectionist thinks their way is best, and the Finisher obviously thinks their way is best. Jon Acuff’s book, Finish, will tell you that you can’t be both. I was listening to this book on Audible as I was finishing my second children’s book, My Mom is the Worst.
Turns out I am a Finisher (which I could have already told you). I am not perfect, but my strength is that I am going to pick out the most critical parts of a project (those that will have the biggest impact), focus on that, and let the other pieces go, if needed.
In the last year I started (brainstormed, wrote, edited, hired illustrators, provided creative briefs, designed layouts) and finished (published and continue to promote) two children’s books. If I were a perfectionist there is no way I could have done that. The ideas would likely still be in my notebook, on draft 342.
Or if I were a highly motivated perfectionist, I may have made it though the initial draft, but be too scared to publish the work until I had a few more sets of eyes on it.
Here’s the funny thing. Let’s say that the book (or any project) technically makes it to perfect status in the creator’s mind. Guess what? Once it’s out there for the world to see, everyone is not going to agree that it is the cutest, most perfect, little baby they ever saw. **Except mine. I make pretty cute babies (and books).**
So if perfect is what you are going for, that feeling is going to be very short lived. Once other people start getting their hands on it, the (positive and negative) feedback will begin.
Don’t let perfectionism hold you back. Produce, adapt, and continue to create.
Speaking of feedback, since I already lean toward a Finisher mindset, every strategy in Jon’s book was not something mind-blowing and new. However, there were many points that I did connect with.
Here are my Top Eight Ways to Help You Get to Finished:
Studies prove: the less you aim for perfection, the more productive you are.
Perfection or finished, those are your two choices. Not perfection or failure.
Say no to shame. Decide what you will bomb in advance. Then become confident in your decision.
Winners quit stupid stuff all the time. Don’t continue something stupid out of a need for being perfect.
What are your secret rules that hold you back? Define them so that you can work on them.
For transparency and growth purposes, here are two of mine: 1. A fear of spending money on my business goals. I have seen friends and family members spend a lot of money on their businesses and still fail. How do I know if I am throwing money at something, or spending money wisely, to advance my business goals? Especially when it comes at a cost to my family. 2. How do I know which opportunities to turn down so that I spend my time most efficiently; holding out for the opportunities that will have the biggest impact?
Borrow someone else’s diploma. Meaning borrow knowledge from others. You don’t have to know it all.
You need to track data points to understand your progress. Benchmarks are important to understand if you are moving in the right direction to eventually reach your goals.
We don’t ever age out of needing someone to believe in us.
Number eight is a favorite, and why I published my first book. I had written the book but didn’t intend to do anything significant with it (full story here). With just a bit of encouragement from my husband, I decided to take the next step in learning how to publish it. The actual action plan, and work involved, were on me. But because someone else believed in me, I believed in myself enough to start and finish.
I believe in you and your goals one hundred percent. Don’t let perfectionism kill you. Focus on the details that will get you to your goal, and let the rest go. You are going to crush it in 2018…or 2020…or 2030…whenever you are reading this. Wise advice never expires.
Single Moms Planet Exclusive Interview with Author J.K. Coy
I already know the number of daily faults and failures I make as a parent, and I don’t even have to do it all myself. I have a very supportive and involved, other half, which I am grateful for.
But I was thrilled when Single Moms Planet asked me to sit down with them for an exclusive interview, because these ladies are my heros. Their motto is Helping Single Moms, Help Themselves. Now these are some strong and powerful women.
We discussed how to do it all as a parent (or NOT), how to write your first book, and what #girlpower lessons I want my own little chica to learn.
It was like my little human had turned in to a boss I couldn’t please, always yelling, “FASTER!” or “Not good enough Mama.”
From the moment I came home from the hospital, I felt like something was missing.
I was given a perfect little human, but no extra set of hands. And my perfect little human wanted to be held ALL THE TIME.
It didn’t take long before the resentment crept in. All I wanted was to take a shower, clean-up, cook something, rest. But now I wasn’t even capable of brushing my teeth without getting screamed at. It was like my little human had turned in to a boss I couldn’t please, always yelling, “FASTER!” or “Not good enough Mama.”
Just a few weeks prior I was a highly functioning adult in the corporate world, making things happen. Now remedial tasks were crippling.
This drove my sleep deprived self in to a crazy self-loathing state. I like to say I wasn’t fully depressed because I didn’t take drugs to heal it, but that was a lie I used to try to feel better about myself. I felt bad for not getting anything done. And I felt incapable of managing things I used to do with ease.
Very slowly I did adjust to my new world and I started to enjoy Motherhood more. I still didn’t love myself, and all my new glaring inabilities, but the never-ending love I felt for my baby was there.
And one day, when my perfect human was about three months old, I got the blessing of her falling asleep in the car at the gas station. I finally had two hands free. I was instantly inspired. My brain felt so clear and focused for the first time in forever.
I began to jot down the parental tale that had been swarming around in my head since my human arrived.
She even slept long enough for me to sketch out a picture of a little monster.
That night I shared the story with my husband. He lovingly said I should publish it. It could have been an encouraging yet fleeting comment, but I decided he was right.
How many other new parents were feeling like we were? How many people were sharing social media posts of their perfect little humans and secretly feeling inadequate and confused behind the scenes? How many new parents were feeling bad because they thought they must be strange for feeling completely frustrated by their perfect little human?
Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster is an inclusive tale for new parents (or soon to be parents). No one should feel alone as they adjust to parenthood. The book is full of truth, humor, and adorable illustrations to entertain those little monsters. Get it for yourself, gift it to a friend.
We are all in this together. Figuring it out, minute by minute. Failing, and trying again.