This week on the Mommy Labor Nurse podcast, I had Brooke from @thesouthernishmama come on the show to talk all about her pregnancies and birth!
Brooke has a popular Instagram page where she does a lot of fun and relatable content surrounding pregnancy, motherhood, and other lifestyle topics with the use of her letterboard.
At the beginning of the episode, you’ll hear Brooke and I chat about the realities of being a work-at-home Instagram mom, the trials and tribulations of the algorithm, and what it’s really like to work with a letterboard, hah.
But the heart of the episode surrounds Brooke’s pregnancies and birth stories, which were each a little bit different, but certainly had a lot of similarities too!
Brooke opens up about some struggles with mental health and the way she felt panicked and disconnected from her birth team during her third birth, which isn’t something I want for any mama during her labor.
Chatting with Brooke was like connecting with an old friend, even though we’d never actually spoken outside of Instagram before. Her positive energy radiates through the conversation, and you’ll hear her ask me just as many questions I asked her!
At the time of recording this episode, Brooke was pregnant with her fourth baby but has since given birth to a beautiful baby boy! We can’t wait to have her back on the show to share that story too.
But without further ado, let’s get into Brooke’s first three birth stories!
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Brooke’s first pregnancy and birth
We start the episode right at the beginning of Brooke’s motherhood journey – when she found out that she was pregnant with her first! It happened very soon after her honeymoon, just weeks into the start of her MBA program at Georgetown.
I love how she described what it was like to be pregnant the first time vs. her subsequent pregnancies (she just had her fourth boy!).
She mentioned how it feels like everything is more amplified and hyped – and I think that probably does ring true for many, even if you don’t realize it while it’s happening.
Brooke’s first birth was what you might call a “textbook” labor. You’ll hear her talk about how her water broke around midnight and she dilated exactly 1 cm per hour, for a 10-hour labor!
While we’re talking through Brooke’s first birth, she asked me about the practice of “laboring down”. I know this is something that has come up on the podcast before but I always like to take a teaching moment when I can.
So laboring down is when you get to 10cm dilated but your baby is still kind of high in your pelvis. We most often do this with mamas that have an epidural – because if they are sitting comfortably, we’ll have you wait to push so that your contractions can help move baby down into the birth canal.
The idea is that it will decrease your push time and prevent fatigue! Brooke’s provider had her labor down – and then her push time was only 20 minutes.
She talks about her decision to get an epidural at 5cm, and why that was the right decision and perfect time for her in her birth. She’s gotten epidurals for all 3 of her births so far and I love that she chooses to focus on the positives of that decision and that having three healthy babies it’s what’s really important.
Brooke’s second birth
Brooke continues on in her birth stories and talks about her second birth which was different than the other two. She was induced at 41 weeks, and it was really interesting to hear her open up about the psychological impact of an induction.
She talks about how there are so many different schools of thought out there surrounding when to induce, how long you should stay pregnant, and everything in between. This part of the episode will resonate with many of you because there really is so much unknown and unpredictability surrounding due dates, labor, and induction!
When she went in and started on Pitocin her contractions ramped up after about 45 minutes, and the whole birth was really fast!
Tune in for all the details, and to hear Brooke open up about her mental health struggles during her second postpartum phase as well.
Her third pregnancy and birth
During Brooke’s third pregnancy she made a conscious effort to stay very active and fit and felt great! She went into labor when she was 39 weeks and 5 days. She labored at home for a few hours and again went to the hospital around midnight.
When you listen in, you’ll hear Brooke talk about how during this birth she didn’t feel like she really connected with her nurse, the doctor, or the birth team in general.
She felt like they were kind of MIA, and just didn’t feel the support she was looking for. She was crying and stressed and panicked, and it was not anything like her other experiences.
This was really interesting to hear her open up about – because she felt like she was treated this way because it was her third birth. But the fact is that every birth is special and unique! It’s such a transformative moment.
Turning the tables back to me!
It’s not every podcast episode that the guest asks ME thought-provoking questions too. But at the end of recapping her third birth story and talking about what her birth plans are for her fourth, she asked me why I chose to go without an epidural.
It was fun for me to recount this on the podcast with her! The spoiler here is that I really wanted to avoid a C-Section birth if possible because my own mom had a C-Section birth. But you’ll have to tune in for my full response.
You’ll also hear me talk a little bit more about my birth stories and my support people based on Brooke’s thoughtful questions.
Wrapping up the episode
At the time of recording, Brooke was still pregnant with her fourth baby and didn’t know what the gender way was. She did give birth to another BOY on September 7th, and we can’t wait to have her come back on the show to share the story!