A former labor and delivery nurse, current childbirth educator, and self-declared birth junkie, Vanessa thought she knew what to expect from birth. Going into it, she was a bit leery of transition… but nothing could really prepare her for the exhaustion, fear and overwhelm she felt when contractions went away, just after she got to 10. How did she get past those feelings to push her baby out? Check it out.
What we talked about:
- Why did she stop being a labor and delivery nurse?
- Classes that helped preparing her mind
- Exercise, acupuncture, Spinning Babies and “Beyoncé booty shaking”
- Overdue pressure and stress
- Prodromal or active labor?
- Let contractions do their thing
- Relaxing instead of vocalizing
- Throwing up, shaking and sobbing, feeling scared, tired and overwhelmed
- Special witness: a tree frog!
- Where did the contractions go?!
- It felt like eternity but also like a split second
- Using pure, brute will
- How did having a baby transform her?
- “I can’t do it, but I do it anyway.”
- Expectful and Calm meditation apps
- Gentlebirth, app
- Birth Without Fear Blog
- Vanessa’s (written) birth story
- Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond, by Nancy Bardacke
- Birthing from Within, by Pam England
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices, by Sarah Buckley
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman
- Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family, by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Linda Smith, and Teresa Pitman
- Evidence on: Due Dates, by Rebecca Dekker from Evidence Based Birth
- Pregnancy meditation pack, from Headspace
- Why Not Home?, the documentary film
- Childbirth class in Providence, RI with Kaeli Sutton, from Open Circle RI
Related Birthful episodes:
- Better Pregnancy Sleep, with Mar Oscategui
- The Problem with Due Dates, with Gail Hart
- Your Birth Hormones, with Dr. Sarah Buckley
- The Holistic Stages of Birth, with Whapio (Part 1)
- The Holistic Stages of Birth, with Whapio (Part 2)
- Rethinking the Pushing Stage, with Whapio
- The Value of Postpartum Stories, Chaya Kasse Valier
- The Power in Writing Your Story, with Jaime Fleres
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All photos used with permission, courtesy of Vanessa Janek. Photos by Footprints Doula Services.
About Vanessa Janek
Vanessa is a science communicator, long-time birth junkie, and new mama to one amazing, strong little girl. Once upon a time, she worked as a registered nurse on a busy labor and delivery unit, but quickly became unsettled by the ways that birth was often managed, manipulated, and treated pathologically without a true need for medical intervention. She ultimately transitioned out of clinical practice, became certified as a childbirth educator, and now spends her “free” time blogging at Wise Mamas Birth in an effort to teach pregnant women and their support networks about their options in birth long before labor ever begins. She is based in southeastern Connecticut and plans to start teaching childbirth classes once her family grows a little older.
Title music: “Vibe Ace” by Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).
Sponsorship music: “Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).
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