Jenny Murphy’s birth preparations were impacted by uncertainty, fear, and ever-changing circumstances. She shares with Adriana how focusing on her “birth vision”– and waiting to go to the hospital for as long as possible– allowed her to be the leader of her labor and have what she describes as a dream birth.
Did you have a birth vision? Let us know what called to you @birthfulpodcast on Instagram.
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- Evidence on: Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PROM) at Term handout, Evidence Based Birth®
- Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood—and Trusting Yourself and Your Body, by Erica Chidi Cohen
- Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions, by Penny Simkin
- Life With a Newborn: Why It’s So Hard to Take a Shower video:
Related Birthful episodes
- How to Have a Great Hospital Birth
- How Your Birth Plan Impacts Your Birth
- [Birth Stories] What a Hospital Community Birth Can Look Like
- Everyone Is a Badass (Midwife-Attended Hospital Birth)
[Birth Story] How Focusing On Her Birth Vision Led To Her Dream Hospital Birth
Adriana: Welcome to Birthful, Mighty Parents and Parents-to-Be. I’m Adriana Lozada and you are listening to another episode in our series on Models and Places of Birth.
For today’s episode, I’m going to be speaking with Jenny Murphy about her birth story, which she describes as a “dream hospital birth.”
Now, we all know that pregnancy and labor can ask you to stay flexible and be constantly adapting, and Jenny had to do quite a bit of that leading up to the birth of her son. Instead of getting hung up on details though, or being frustrated by her ever-changing birth plan, Jenny focused on the broad vision she had for her birth and how she wanted to feel during the experience, and that ultimately led her to be the leader of her labor.
Within the context of our Models and Places of Birth series, this story highlights an often mentioned recommendation when talking about hospital births, which is to try to stay home as long as possible so you don’t get to the hospital too early. This, of course, is as long as there aren’t any medical indications to the contrary.
Before we start, you should know that Jenny gave birth during the pandemic, so when she mentions that her doula left after they arrived at the hospital, this has to do with the restrictions that were in place for birth support at the time, and not necessarily a common doula practice.
I also want to let you know that toward the beginning of the episode there is a reference to stillbirth.
Okay! You’re listening to Birthful, here to inform your intuition. Adriana: Jenny, welcome to the show! I am so happy to have you here.
Jenny: Thank you so much, Adriana. Adriana: Why don’t you start off by sharing a little bit about yourself?
Jenny: I’m a technical recruiter by trade, so I work professionally with, like, Bay Area startups that are mission-driven and high-growth, to help them scale. And my husband’s in construction, his name’s Frank and we live with our son Phoenix.
Adriana: So it seems like you have a mindset of being organized, and “ducks in a row”— or am I assuming that?
Jenny: I don’t know! I was just thinking about this the other day… I’m not sure if I’m a Type A personality, or a Type B, “go with the flow”— I think I kind of go in-between both!
Adriana: That sounds like a good balance. So, let’s take you back over a year ago, when you were first pregnant and preparing for birth. What were your feelings? Where was your mindset at?
Jenny: So when I got pregnant, it was a little unexpected. It was two months before I got married, actually, so I was in the middle of planning a wedding, and there was a lot of unknowns and it kind of caught us off guard.
But my husband and I always wanted a family. We were engaged for two years, we’ve been together for almost a decade, and so it’s something that we were ultimately really excited about.
My birth story, kind of (to back up) starts with my experience and perspective on birth, and pregnancy, in general. So, this time last year, in May, I… my brother and sister-in-law were expecting a baby. Her name is Aurora, she’s my niece, and she was stillborn. And so my perspective starts there. It was obviously a really tough time for our family. And for me, that kind of spurred a lot of trauma, so there was a lot of, a lot of fear, to be honest, and a lot of wanting to make sure that I was educated on labor and pregnancy and that I had, like, a solid support team behind me, to feel safe, y’know? Getting ready to go on this journey. Adriana: Yeah. And I’m so sorry to hear about your niece! Yeah, that’s gotta be hard for everybody.
Jenny: Yeah. Our family, like, went through a lot. But I think we came together very closely just through clear communication. And how do we get through this together, with so many different mixed emotions?
Adriana: You mentioned you were having a lot of fear also, in terms of what would happen in your experience, in your journey. What did you do to face that fear, deal with it?
Jenny: Yeah, yeah, there’s a lot of fear for the safety of my baby and knowing that he would, like, be in good hands and be healthy. But what I did was, I made the decision, like, I want to have a really strong support team. And so my husband and I invested in a company called Golden Oak Midwives, and they’re a group of midwives and they work within the hospital, but they’re, like, a separate entity. We’d heard really great things about the way that they approach pregnancy and birth, which were aligned with what we wanted in having, like, an empowered birth experience and having it be really high touch and hands-on. And we also considered working with a doula, although we ended up not pulling the trigger until the day I was in labor— which we can get into later. And then education, like, really educating myself on labor and pregnancy. It’s a really big learning curve, I learned! I didn’t know anything about it, but I kind of became fascinated by it. And some of that fear was probably led by me, like, researching a lot, but I listened to a lot of podcasts, I listened to your podcast every day walking to work, I read books, and really just became immersed in birth for the nine months I was pregnant.
Adriana: What are some books that were really helpful to you?
Jenny: Yeah, so the book Nurture was really helpful to me. The author, I believe she’s a doula, based out of L.A., Erica Chidi Cohen. It’s a guide to pregnancy and birth and really, like, intuition-led. So I found that to be really helpful, and it also includes mindfulness practices, so like little meditations you can do, based on the month you’re pregnant, and a checklist you can kind of check off each month as well. And then my partner and I read together The Birth Partner, and that is from the birth partner’s perspective. And so that helped us prepare more, like, logistically for these are the things you can expect in labor. I also started to read a hypnobirthing book but I’ll be honest, I got like two pages in and I just… I couldn’t follow along with it. I think the format of a book for breathing exercises was hard for me to, I guess, follow. And yeah, and that’s pretty much it.
Adriana: Mhm. And I will link on the show notes to those books. I love all of them! I love the book Nurture. And it seems like you were already getting the mindfulness part of it through that book, that, y’know, hypnobirthing maybe… you were already getting what hypnobirthing would give you, to an extent, from the book Nurture. And then The Birth Partner book is from Penny Simkin.
Jenny: Okay, yeah.
Adriana: So then you were doing your research, reading the books, listening to podcasts… Did you do any childbirth education classes?
Jenny: We did. Yes, we did an in-person class that was locally-based, and that we did about three of the classes in-person and then it switched to being online via Zoom once the COVID restrictions and shelter-in-place happened.
It’s kind of funny because in pregnancy you talk a lot about your birth plan, right? And pretty much that’s all out the window for any mom (or soon-to-be mom) that’s pregnant. But what I would recommend and what I did is have a birth vision. Like, how do I want my birth? And really cling to that. Because the external circumstances will likely change by the time you give birth— and they definitely did for me. And so by creating a birth vision I was able to still have that regardless of what changed. And so I would take time to think about that. Obviously, there’s the birth preferences, which you may or may not be able to have, but that vision of how you want to be able to feel and the type of experience you want to have while in labor, you can still have. And so, to think about that, write it down if you can, talk about it with your birth partner and with your support team… it alleviated a lot of the anxiety I had, and helped a lot.
Adriana: And I love doing that with my doula clients, of setting in, first writing out three words of how they want to feel— and both birthing person and their partner each have their own words, three words of how they want to feel, because, like you said, circumstances you have no idea what’s gonna happen, but you can really… you can control, to an extent… the only thing you can control, I guess, is how you’re gonna show up! And so tuning into those feelings is huge. I love that.
Now what was the story with your doula?
Jenny: Yeah, so to be honest, like, Frank and I were kind of debating whether we wanted a doula or not throughout the entire pregnancy. It’s something that I think we definitely wanted, but it was more a cost thing. We already invested money in having a strong support system on the midwife side and they didn’t accept insurance, so that to us was a big investment. And then finally we found a doula that was within our budget, which was great.
But we had an agreement with that doula that she would reserve two weeks before and after my due date, but at any point before that she or I could back out of that agreement, and with that risk comes a better price and so after, I think maybe right after my baby shower, she let us know that she found another client that was willing to pay more.
So ultimately, like, I was at peace with it. It just didn’t work out. And to be honest, I think that during some of our conversations that there wasn’t a super strong connection, but what we wanted to optimize for was knowing when it was safe to go to the hospital while still staying in my home for as long as we could. But ultimately I’m glad it didn’t work out; we found someone that I had a much stronger connection with.
Adriana: And you said at the beginning that that person… you found them, like, the day you were going into labor? I want to know more. Why was that?
Jenny: Yeah, so we didn’t find them, but we finalized the agreement the day I was in labor. And it’s a really funny story, because I had gone to prenatal yoga and my midwife, when I told her that we had our doula back out, recommended that I reach out to someone named Lynnora and I Googled her and it happened to be my yoga instructor. So I reached out to her, I want to say, maybe one week or two weeks before I gave birth? And then I notified her when I went to the hospital… I went, I had to go up to triage to see if my water was leaking (and it was) and so we were in the midst of working out the agreement.
I went into labor two weeks before I was due, and so we… I ended up, like, signing the agreement before, just a few hours before she came over to my house. But we already had a little bit of a relationship, although I never talked to her one-on-one I felt like I knew her from the yoga classes.
Adriana: Mhm. She was already a comfort to you, I’m guessing,
Jenny: Yeah, definitely.
Adriana: So tell me, how did things start?
Jenny: Yeah. So things started, I think, about a week before I gave birth. I noticed that I was having a little bit of leaking and I thought I was having some incontinence. So I would sneeze and like a little trickle of liquid would come out or I would be walking and some would leak out. And so because I was already extra cautious, I would call my midwives every time it happened.
And we thought it was incontinence because it was only a little bit of liquid, but every time they offered me to go to triage and they said, “Look, if you’re feeling uncomfortable, go to triage. It may be just some pelvic floor, but it also could be some amniotic fluid leaking.” But each time I just really wanted to avoid going to the hospital, so I was kind of trying to put it off.
And on April 15th, I woke up and I went to the restroom and there was some blood in my urine. So I called my… when my midwife, I sent her a photo of it and she said, “Let’s get you to triage as soon as possible.” So I called my husband and we were on the way to the hospital at around 10:00 a.m., where then they did a check to see if my amniotic fluid was leaking or my membranes had ruptured and they had.
So they gave me two options: my midwife said, she said, “We really need to get things going with your labor, so we want to have you try a castor oil smoothie. If that does not work by tonight, then tomorrow morning you’ll be induced.” So I went to the CVS, got castor oil, made like an almond banana shake with castor oil in it, and I had that, I think, around 1:00 p.m. and then things started really progressing.
Adriana: Now you said the midwife wanted to get things going right away. Was there some sort of… why? What was the reasoning behind that recommendation of getting things going as soon as possible?
Jenny: I think just connecting the dots of, like, because I potentially was leaking for about a week prior. I think, just wanting to get labor going safely was a recommendation because I don’t… I’m not sure. Maybe you can tell me… it can be dangerous to not have contractions or go into labor if your fluid is leaking or if your membranes have been ruptured?
Adriana: So the concern is infection; usually it’s chorioamnionitis, but it’s “chorio,” the shorthand for it is “chorio,” is a type of bacteria and that is the risk of infection that if… it can cause harm to baby. And so after 24 hours, the thought is the rate of infection increases. So, ideally, they’re looking to have baby born by then, but as you experienced yourself, you potentially can go for a week without having any signs of infection and monitoring.
The biggest thing there is trying to keep, y’know, nothing in the vagina, keep everything clean, wipe front to back, use clean towels, monitor your temperature— like those are great recommendations that you can do yourself in terms of minimizing infection and monitoring yourself, but of course, provider’s recommendation and your conversation with them comes first in terms of informed choice.
What the research also says is within 24 hours, I want to say, I think it’s within 12 hours of waters rupturing, 80% of pregnant people go into labor on their own. And I think between 12-24 hours, it’s 90-something. I’ll link it on the show notes! I don’t remember the percentages, but pretty much everybody within 24 hours of their water rupturing prematurely (pre-labor) go into… contractions start and they go into labor like you experienced that, not always the case, but it seems like you had maybe a high leak that was more of a trickle and might’ve been closing up.
Jenny: Yeah, that’s actually what they thought, they mentioned too. So it was the castor oil or, like, being medically induced at that point, which was a little scary, ’cause I really didn’t want to be medically induced.
Adriana: And… but it seems, you were saying, the almond smoothie/castor oil smoothie worked really well and contractions started pretty quickly after that?
Jenny: Yeah, so I took the castor oil smoothie around 1:30 p.m. And then I think I, like, watched a TV show. I did a little birth meditation. I took a shower, had some avocado toast and bone broth. And then at probably between 1:30 and 3:00, like an hour after things started to become a little… not powerful or intense, but I definitely could feel that something was happening.
Adriana: Did you then reach out to midwives and a doula or not quite yet?
Jenny: So not quite yet. I… around 3:00 p.m. I did. And my midwife called and checked in with me, probably around 2:00? And I asked her, like, “Hey, when should I check in with our doula?” And she said check in with the doula when things are starting to feel like you, like, y’know, you… not that you don’t have control, but they’re starting to feel a little bit like, “Uhh, what do I do?” And that was really good advice, because at that point I started feeling contractions. I was kind of moving, starting to move around our apartment, and times started to be a little bit, like, blurry, but it wasn’t really powerful. And the contractions weren’t happening super fast; I think they were probably like 5-10 minutes apart.
So that advice was good because once things started to pick up, I did start to feel like, “Oh, what do I do?” and that’s when we called her. So we checked in with her around 3:00 p.m. when things were getting more active.
Adriana: And what did you want her to come over or…?
Jenny: Yeah. So I, at that point, I don’t think I talked to her, my husband Frank did, and he said to her, like, “Jenny’s things are getting more serious, Jenny’s in the flow.” And so I, to be honest, don’t have a lot of memory of that time, but from what I remember and what he told me, that’s when I was really starting to move a lot and starting to make noises.
But I stopped, I didn’t have her come over until about 5:45 and he was kind of monitoring that as the person to say like, “Okay, she should come over.”
Adriana: What was cueing him in to say, “Okay, now it’s time.”
Jenny: I think he was timing contractions— not super seriously, but just keeping an eye on it. And then I think him just being in tune with and communicating with me, like I… during the birth would say he’s very much an observer and observing me and my behaviors and probably the noises, like when the noises started to get more loud and, I think, grunty… I don’t know how to describe them. They’re kind of like, very primal? So when they started to get more primal, I think I started squatting more, doing more movements and breathing heavier, moving maybe faster. Those were some signals that cued him to call her and tell her to come over.
Adriana: And I love the way you’re saying that the sounds are more primal because they are, they’re just… they just come kind of guttural, yeah.
Jenny: Yeah, they definitely do.
Adriana: So what happened next?
Jenny: So around 5:45, Lynnora came over and I… the contractions were definitely getting more powerful. It was hard to, like, stay still. It was hard to lay down. I remember telling, when she came in the door, like telling her, like “I just can’t catch a break!” It’s not that it was painful, it’s that it was so powerful and I felt super tired.
Like, I just wanted to take like a minute or two nap, but then another contraction would come. So at that point they may have been like one to two minutes apart. So I would say, like, from 5:45 to around 8:00, was definitely active labor. She came in, she had a rebozo, she had some ginger tea (which was like amazing ginger turmeric tea) and she set up in our one-bedroom apartment. We have a really small apartment, but we made it work! She set up some pillows and, like, the little stool, we had the rebozo around the door.
And pretty much during that time, I was going from our living room to our bedroom to the bathroom. And like, every time I had a contraction I almost moved to a different room. And that really kind of, I don’t know why, but it helped me kind of get in a flow and be able to handle the contractions. So we had, like, little stations set up almost.
And so I’d hang on the rebozo a couple of times. I’d be on the floor with her through a contraction and she would walk me through breathing, reminding me to breathe. She would give me a massage. We put essential oils in a couple diffusers around the apartment, lit a candle, and really just, like, set this space up to be really comfy and how I wanted, like what my vision was for it.
And then kind of just did our thing and my body really… I just knew what to do. And that’s something that surprised me, but that I heard about in your podcast and through my research, like, I think you mentioned when you become pregnant, your body doesn’t think about, “Okay, I’m one month pregnant, I’m two months pregnant…”
You don’t create your baby, your body does, right? And birth was very much like that for me. Like my body just knew what to do. My mind was out of the way. So that really helped me and I didn’t have to overthink or think about anything. It was just very intuitive.
Adriana: Oh, and I love hearing that, because you were just flowing with your physiology. I know you mentioned your husband said, “Things are flowing.” Those are words that I love because it’s what you need to do. So I think your mindfulness and your meditation really helped to let you let go of the thinking and…
Love what these stations that you— your doula and you— created to get you into that rhythm of labor, where you were, yeah, going from one place to the other and moving and getting comfort. What do you think were the most helpful things that your doula was doing or your husband was doing? Like what helped you the most?
Jenny: Yeah. I think that honestly, like, them being there was really helpful just knowing they were both there, but also not… I don’t know how to say this better, but getting out of my way? Almost like I was leading my own labor and my doula said that herself, like, giving me the space that I needed to do what I needed to do, whether that was, like, make a really loud grunting noise or being in the shower or be on the toilet. And we have a really small bathroom and I— when things started to get really serious— I wanted to be alone. And so I literally closed the bathroom door and was backwards on the toilet doing contractions and just giving me the space to do that.
But having them present was so helpful and just knowing if I needed support, they would be there. So when I did need support, I would come out and Lynnora and Frank would both be there. But when I wanted to be alone, I could run away to the bedroom and they wouldn’t, you know, follow me. And so that was really helpful.
Also, what was really helpful is, like, offering me food. They, like, set up— I had tea and I had some more bone broth and making sure, like, I was nourished ’cause that’s definitely not something I was thinking about, but something that helped for sure, probably, in sustaining my energy. And then having Lynnora there.
When I did talk to her initially about the type of birth I wanted, I wanted it to be a spiritual birth and I wanted to have some spirituality in that and it to feel special. And so she really brought that element into our space and that was really special for me and really helped me through the labor.
I think in, yeah… and so she did a couple of things, like calling my ancestors. So my grandma has 15 children— or had 15 children— and gave birth to 11 of them. And I remember talking to my mom and telling her like, “If Grandma can have 11 kids, I can have one,” like, I can do this! And so she did a little ceremony and brought in, brought in my ancestors and reminded me and told me, like, “You can do this. Your ancestors are with you,” and that was really special to me. Also, eye contact was really important and knowing that somebody sees what I’m going through and giving me the confidence to move forward and knowing that I’m safe.
Adriana: So what happened? When did you feel like we should go to the hospital? Or did you feel that? Who initiated that?
Jenny: I definitely felt that I felt the urge to push. So when— I think around 8:00 p.m., I started feeling like I needed to push and I went to the little bathroom and I remember, like, being on the toilet and just, like… I don’t know why I did that. I never heard about that before, but it felt really good to be on the toilet backwards and I just had to push!
So I started, like, having really grunty kind of pushing noises and feeling like that, and then I got into the shower and my husband was there with me and I started kind of having contractions that felt really intense and like pushing, like I would have to squat when I had them. The noises got a lot louder and I asked my midwife like, “When? When is it? When do I know? Or when will I know I need to go?”
And at that point, I think she was making a call on intuition and she said like, “You’ll know,” ’cause I don’t think we were exactly timing contractions. Right? But shortly after that, I knew— I just kind of knew that I needed to go and that we should be on the way.
So with the support of my doula (and she was in communication with my midwife as well), we were going off of kind of timing and intuition.
Adriana: Mhm. So how was the car? How far away were you guys and how was the car ride? And then did things slow down when you got there? How was the triage?
Jenny: So the car ride was 12 minutes. Originally, the plan was for our midwife to not be in the car with us. And I asked her to come with us when we were getting ready to go.
Adriana: You meant your doula, not your midwife.
Jenny: Oh, sorry, yes! And it was definitely hard. I think I probably had three or four contractions in that car ride and it felt like we were going from, you know, the safe space of our home being in a rhythm to being in a completely different environment and still having those contractions.
So my doula said that she kept trying to like, keep me kind of “in it.” I think I noticed like the cars outside and that everything looked empty when we were driving on the street. And I said something to my husband and the doula, and my doula kept trying to talk to me from the back of the car and keep me within my flow and within, like, Laborland, essentially.
So it was this kind of juxtaposition of my mind coming back into play a little bit and thinking, versus being fully in labor.
So once we got to the hospital, I was, I think, fully pushing, like I definitely had to squat in the parking lot and do contractions. And I met… we met with our midwife at the front. My doula did, like, one last contraction with me and then I got on a wheelchair and I sat. It was one of those wheelchairs, like, you can actually squat on, so I was like sitting backwards on it and squatting and they wheeled me and they took both of our temperatures (so my husband and I, his temperature). I said “Bye,” to the doula and we were on our way and we went right to the labor room. And at that point I heard my midwife say, like, “She’s fully dilated,” y’know, “She’s ready to go.”
So I was actually pushing and squatting, like, on the hospital floor— like, I wasn’t on the bed. So my midwife said, “Jenny, why don’t you get on the bed? Things will be probably a lot more comfortable for you there and you can still squat and be backwards.”
So I squatted and I was backwards and my husband was looking at me and holding my hands when I was pushing. And then they put a monitor on me to monitor the baby’s heart, and that was pretty much it. I didn’t have any, like, needles in me or IVs. It was just the heart monitor and me pushing.
Adriana: So at this point you’re… did you feel you were participating in that pushing or it was just your body and baby doing it all?
Jenny: Yeah, it was! I felt like I was participating at that point. I think one I had right before the ring of fire. So my midwife started talking to me and really was just like, “You’re doing great. Keep doing what you’re doing.” And that was pretty involuntary! And then she started saying, “Okay, push! Like you’re going to do a bowel movement,” and coaching me a little bit.
And that’s when I felt the participation from me really came in and it did kind of become like this team effort. So that I was an active participant in, for sure.
Adriana: And not that you weren’t, you know, an active participant and all of it because you weren’t checked out, you were definitely in it! Yeah, but sometimes it just feels like I can’t, y’know, this muscle is doing this thing and I can’t stop it if I wanted to.
Jenny: Yeah, totally. And it definitely was, but like her guidance and coaching on how to push was actually really helpful during that time she was coaching me. She told me, like, “Jenny, you’re going to feel the ring of fire”— which I’ve heard about from your podcast and many others— and so that was helpful. And her telling me like these stages of, like, this is close and this is happening. And I remember during the last few pushes— I think I was pushing in total for about 40 minutes?— I told my husband, Frank, I need peppermint oil because I really wanted to use my essential oils. And I was feeling really tired. And so they scrambled to get my peppermint oil. I think they put some on the pillow and honestly that really helped, like, invigorated me and felt really good. And I think I pushed a couple more times and my son was born and they handed him to me through my legs because I was squatting backwards. And I remember just, like, picking him up and holding him and kind of being in shock and awe that… at what just happened. And he was born at 10:12 p.m. so in total I got to the hospital around 9:00 and he was born about an hour after.
Adriana: And all of this is not that long since you took, I guess, the castor oil smoothie, which is around 1:00 something, right? Yeah. Things really got going.
Jenny: Yeah. So fast! And I really, like, had no concept of time, so it could have been 36 hours or it could have been 12 or 10. I think you kinda, like, lose that and labor… or at least I did.
Adriana: It can be, yeah. Time can be so fluid, such a construct when you’re in labor, yeah. And how were those first few hours with your baby? Was he alert, aware? How was breastfeeding?
Jenny: Yeah. He… I think looked right at me and he was crying and then he, like, immediately stopped crying, and it was really special. I was really… I had a lot of fear also just in the birth, birthing the placenta and then having my stomach rubbed after (I forgot the name of it, but I had heard that it was uncomfortable), but having him in my arms while they were doing that made things a lot better.
And I had some tearing, so that was a little painful, but again, like just having him look at me and look at my husband and just be with our family, like, made it so much easier. So it was a really special time. We did the skin-on-skin. We did delayed cord clamping and everything was just, like, perfect.
Adriana: Mhm. It sounds lovely, so lovely. How has these four… how have these four weeks been this postpartum?
Jenny: It’s been a journey. I think that I prepared so much for pregnancy and I did not prepare for what comes after as much. So it’s definitely, in general, just, I think having a newborn is hard, so it’s been hard for sure. And a huge learning curve. And on top of that, not having family support or friends or being able to have people, like, y’know, like what you want to have, you want to be able to see your family and have them adore your child and have them meet them.
And so we haven’t had that and that’s been tough. But with that and being isolated and it being just us two, it’s also been a time to, like, learn how to be still. I think that my husband and I are used to up, go, go, go, and having a baby that— and then COVID on top of that— kind of forces you to be still.
And so silver lining is that it’s teaching me that right now and I’m trying to embrace those small moments of like holding my son and learning how to swaddle and learning how to get him on a sleep schedule or teaching us how to get a little more sleep.
Adriana: I love that phrase of postpartum being a time of learning to be still. That is so well-put! That is exactly, like, the best approach for postpartum, because you’re discovering so many new things. Like you said, it’s a steep learning curve. That’s hard, but you can do hard things. And it does get better.
It goes up and down and you’ll find your rhythm for sure. It seems like you are already.
Adriana: How are you doing? Are you breastfeeding? How’s that going?
Jenny: I am. I’m just now starting to get the hang of it, which is great. Before it was a big struggle, for sure. I think that my milk didn’t come in for about almost a week after, and being a first time mom it was hard to know if my baby was getting enough milk because I couldn’t physically, like, see it come out.
And so he lost some weight, like all newborns do, but our pediatrician recommended that he get on formula. And so that scared us a little bit. We put him on formula the first week, and then we saw— we made the decision to see and invest in a lactation consultant, which was really helpful. So we ended up going back to the hospital when he was just a week old to go see a lactation consultant who weighed him and kind of just gave us reassurance that my milk would come in, that I, like, I am able to breastfeed and it’s normal for a newborn to lose weight. So the first couple of weeks were hard and really time-consuming. I did not realize how much time it takes to feed a baby and that a feeding can take up to 45 minutes and you feed them every three hours!
But now things are… we’re getting the hang of it. Things are going more smoothly. My milk is coming a lot more. I’m able to pump and give him a bottle. So my husband’s with my son right now, feeding him a bottle, which is great. I’m able to produce, like, more milk and things are definitely a lot better.
Adriana: Yay! I love it. So, congratulations, yeah. I’m going to link on— you just reminded me of how you think you have time, but time is so minimal when you have a newborn, how long things take— I’m going to link a video that I created called “Why It’s So Hard to Take a Shower When You Have a Newborn,” and that’s a great watch for anybody who is pregnant.
Please do watch the video that’s linked on the show notes! Jenny, what parting words do you have for the listeners? What do you want to make sure everybody knows about having a birth?
Jenny: Yeah, I think I just want any pregnant person to know that you might not have the birth that you initially thought or wanted and things, and external circumstances will change and probably already have if you are pregnant and expecting. But again: just like, having a birth vision in knowing how you want to feel at your birth is still possible and your birth will still be beautiful.
And I think for me— like, if you want to do an unmedicated birth, you can still do that! You are powerful and your body knows what to do. So please trust it and trust your intuition, do your research and be prepared. And then let go. And like my doula said, she said, like, “Be a leader in your own labor,” and really trust that your body will know what to do and you know what’s best for you and your baby.
Adriana: I love it. Yes! Let go. And you flow and just follow it. So good! Congratulations again, and thank you so much for sharing your story on the show.
Jenny: Thank you so much for having me.
Adriana: That was Jenny Murphy, who lives in California, and like most of us, is in the constant process of finding balance between all her roles: at work, in parenthood, as a spouse, a friend, and a human. You can find her on Instagram @Jenny3bunny
And you can connect with Birthful at @birthfulpodcast.
In fact, if you enjoyed Jenny’s story, let us know! It would be lovely if you would take a screenshot of this episode right now –as long as you’re not driving– and post it to Instagram with your thoughts. Make sure to tag @BirthfulPodcast so we see it.
Next up in our Models and Places of Birth series, I’m gonna be talking with Dr. Neel Shah about how the hospital you choose impacts your risk of having a surgical birth. So come back and listen.
You can find the in-depth show notes and transcript of this episode at birthful.com, where you can also learn more about my small birth prep classes, and download your free postpartum preparation plan.
Birthful is created and produced by me, Adriana Lozada, with production assistance from Aysia Platte.
Thank you for listening and sharing Birthful. Be sure to follow us on Goodpods, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and everywhere you listen.
Come back for more ways to inform your intuition.
Lozada, Adriana, host. “[Birth Story] How Focusing On Her Birth Vision Led To Her Dream Hospital Birth.” Birthful, Birthful, April 27, 2022. Birthful.com.
About Jenny Murphy
Jenny lives in California, with her husband, baby boy, and another little on the way. As most of us, Jenny’s in the constant process of finding balance between all her roles: at work, in motherhood, and as a spouse, friend, and human.
You can find her on Instagram @jenny3bunny
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