In this episode of the Mommy Labor Nurse Podcast, I had fellow mom Kyriaki come on the show to talk about her challenging postpartum experience after the birth of her first son.
The story is emotional from the start but ends with a beautiful, redemptive, second birth that completely heals Kyriaki physically and emotionally.
If you know me, you know I LOVE a good redemptive birth story. Birth can be a positive, transformative experience for everyone, even those that faced obstacles in previous deliveries.
Tune in to hear her talk about the rare conditions she faced in the months after her first was born, and the strategies she used to help herself have a more positive second birth!
Kyriaki’s first pregnancy, birth, and immediate postpartum
We start Kyriaki’s story where it literally all began, with her first pregnancy. She describes a difficult pregnancy where she was sick in bed for the entire journey. She had to quit her job and by the time she got to the actual birth, she was so physically and mentally spent.
You’ll hear her first birth story, which was a long, unmedicated labor with a VERY quick pushing stage that resulted in some tears.
Once she brought baby home, she faced a LOT of struggles with breastfeeding and milk supply. It completely consumed her for the first 6 weeks. She was barely sleeping, and when her 6-week postpartum appointment came around, it turned out that she wasn’t healing from birth at all!
Listen in to hear the details of this part of her journey.
Still no healing, and a very challenging diagnosis
After her 6 week postpartum check-up, she went for another follow-up a few weeks later, and they found that she still wasn’t healing. What’s more, she was in such excruciating pain down there that they finally realized something much bigger was going on.
Kyriaki’s OB diagnosed her with two rare conditions, Vaginismus and Levator Myalgia. You’ll hear her talk about the realities of these muscle and nerve damage conditions, and that in many cases women really never recover. She goes on to explain a bit about the recommended course of action, including medications and internal physical therapy.
When you tune in, you’ll hear Kyriaki get emotional as she remembers this difficult diagnosis. She talks more about the exposing, emotional, and stressful nature of the recommended treatment, especially as someone who’s very private.
Two years later, a second pregnancy
At this point in the episode, we kind of fast forward in Kyriaki’s story to her finding out she was pregnant again two years later. She explains that she was actually very excited about the pregnancy and assumed a vaginal birth was out of the question.
But, her amazing OB, Dr. Allison Canava, played a crucial role in the redemptive and transformative experience. She had complete confidence that Kyriaki could have a second vaginal birth under the right conditions and control!
Dr. Canavan suggested an induction so that Kyriaki would have a complete sense of control for her second birth. She’d know the day, and she’d know her doctor would be there with her to carry out their plan.
Kyriaki’s redemptive birth
Finally, we get to hear about Kyriaki’s beautiful second birth! She talks about how she prepared the night before her induction with prayers for strength, and the way the entire birth experience was simply perfect.
Kyriaki sings praises to her OB and labor and delivery nurse. They played an important role in helping her to have this experience!
I think it’s a wonderful reminder that your provider can and should be on your team! Advocating for you as much as possible.
Truthfully, I can’t do the story justice in these show notes, but when you tune in and hear the beauty and positivity of the experience – it will blow you away!
Reversing the PTSD from her traumatic first birth
The most amazing part of this whole story is that not only was Kyriaki’s second birth redemptive emotionally, but it literally healed her physically! Her diagnoses had been completely reversed. This was confirmed at her 6-week postpartum check-up and again with her internal physical therapist.
Kyriaki talks about a research study that she came across after her second birth. It looks at the way traumatic birth results in a unique form of PTSD.
She goes on to talk about how researchers found that the experience of a controlled, redepemptive subsequent birth can be the most effective way to heal from this kind of PTSD, and this was 100% the case for Kyriaki.
You can find the article referenced in the episode here:
Whenever I’m able to have women come on and share their unique birth stories, it feels like such an honor. I know that storytelling is a powerful way for individuals to process their experiences, and it’s also a way to reach and resonate with others!
My hope is that stories like these will:
- Help other women recognize when something’s not right in themselves
- Help them advocate for a friend or loved one
- Inspire them to seek support and treatment for their own pregnancy, birth, or postpartum trauma
- Remind them that we are ALL worthy of happiness and joy
Because mama it CAN be better, and you too deserve to heal – whether that’s physically, emotionally, or something in between.
More redemptive birth stories:
Kyriaki (pronounced: kitty-a-key) is a wife, and mom of two boys ages five and two. She and her family live in Utah where she works as an actor. Kyriaki’s journey into motherhood was a difficult one, emotionally and physically.
She walked through multiple rare conditions that developed after the birth of her first son, but after years of physical therapy, medication, and pain it was a “redemptive birth” with her second son that ultimately brought her healing and allowed her to begin loving her life as a mom.
Connect with her: