#24 Kate's Natural Birth Story
The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast
"You need to trust that your body is capable of and fully equipped for natural birth; we've been doing it for millennia. That's why we exist today. Focus on the fact that your body can do it rather than focusing on the pain."
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In Episode 24 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss natural childbirth techniques and preparing for natural birth.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:02
Hello and welcome to the holistic nutritionist podcast. My name is Natalie Burke, holistic dietitian and nutritionist from health by Whole Foods calm today you and with me as always, I have Kate Callahan, the holistic nutritionist from the holistic nutritionist calm, Kate, how are you? Long time no speak.
Kate Callaghan 0:21
All right, I’m doing really well. Thanks, Matt. How are you? I’m fabulous.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:25
Thank you. We both have quite significant life events to share with everyone.
Kate Callaghan 0:30
Oh, yes, I’m going to show you.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:33
So I’ve got engaged everybody. And it was very good evening.
I know. I know. It’s in Tasmania. In Australia. For those of you who aren’t listening from Australia. It was
Cradle Mountain. And it was snowing.
That’s really exciting. I was like half really excited about
the snow. And then he proposed and I’ll just like, overwhelmed with excitement. I just didn’t even know what was happening.
Kate Callaghan 1:00
Oh, that’s beautiful. Congratulations. Thank you. I’ve never been to Tasmania. Oh, really?
Natalie K. Douglas 1:06
It’s really nice. Yes, it is. Yeah, I hadn’t made it out. And it was really nice. We do little Hocking we did a fair bit of driving just because we wanted to say a lot of the stuff and it was freezing, like freezing my kids off, like up the top of Mount Wellington. And I just, oh my gosh, it was like minus something significant degrees. And yeah, I to do like Star jumps. And I consider doing burpee, but I couldn’t feel I think is I didn’t think it would be say
what’s your exciting news that everyone already knows about what we’re going to tell them again? Anyway.
Kate Callaghan 1:46
I have another human that I’m looking after. I’m doing it, but I’m doing it. I had a baby. He’s no. He’s He’s now six and a half weeks, which is flown by and he’s he’s right next to me. And so I’m hoping he doesn’t wake up during this cold. But apologies if you he crying baby, I will then take him on the boob and see how it go.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:12
That’s right, we like to keep it real. So that’s okay, we have interruptions. We have fun with that. And we are actually talking about your birth story today. Because we’ve had a lot of people, you’ve had a lot of people, you know, curious about that. And I think it is something that’s worthwhile discussing. So I think I guess we’ll just jump in, because I just want you to give us a bit of a
on your birth story and even just leading up to it, what you kind of did to prepare for what you wanted to happen on the day.
Kate Callaghan 2:50
Sure. And I do just want to start by saying that this is my birth story. And, and it’s, it kind of all unfolded as it did could very well go on a different way. And I just want to say that there is no right or wrong way to give birth. And for those of you who haven’t had the birth experience that you wanted, or that you think you should have had or you know you didn’t have or you had medication or you had a C section or things like that. That’s really not something to feel bad about. or to beat yourself up about in more to focus on the fact that you grew it a human inside of you, and you now have a human outside of you that you willing after that small blip in time that was a bird doesn’t isn’t something to dwell on so much.
Natalie K. Douglas 3:36
Kate Callaghan 3:38
Okay. Okay, so, my, my best or so? Was it well, six weeks ago. So you and I were actually on the podcast recording on the 18th of July. And we got off that call at about two o’clock. And I’d had Braxton Hicks, which is kind of a body getting used to contractions kind of building up to it toning the uterus, but they’re not actual proper contraction. So I’d had quite strong Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks and weeks and weeks. And so I had a couple of those during the podcast, which I kind of just ignore the small Braxton Hicks because I wasn’t due to give birth for another week. So I was ignoring it. going, Yeah, whatever. And so we got off the call at 2pm. And then about quarter past two, I thought all these these contractions are kind of coming will regularly I should probably start timing them.
I timed them. And they were coming every 10 minutes. And I was still in denial. And so I messaged my midwife, and I said Is it is it normal to have Braxton Hicks contractions every 10 minutes, knowing full well being? And she called she called me and she goes, No, she’s getting stronger.
Yeah, I guess so. But probably not. She is okay. Well just keep an eye on them and let me know how to go. I was driving into pick up Olivia from daycare and I had a playdate planned with my friend Gwynn just after And so we’d organize to the park. And by the time I got into to daycare, these contractions were more five to seven minutes apart and getting stronger actually had to sit down at daycare. And the teachers they were like, what, what’s going on?
Natalie K. Douglas 5:19
No, no, no, I’m good.
Kate Callaghan 5:22
I’m good. But then then I started to realize actually was so vetoed the playdate went home. And I still haven’t packed Olivia’s bag. And it was the day after. And so on the 19th Aaron, my husband’s mother was due to come and look after Libya. So I was freaking out. But she wasn’t there to look after Libya. And so many people say well, you, you won’t go into labor until you know that the second ones look the first child with after yet BS in babies come when they want to. So I was a little stressed about that. I came home and I said, as I said, I think I think we’re actually going to have a baby soon. And he was very excited. And I burst into tears. No, no, I’m I’m not ready yet. It’s not time. Olivia was five days above. So it was five days early or six days early. And so running around like a madwoman. And then I got in touch with my midwife eventually, after being more and denounce it, you know, now they kind of three to five minutes apart. And she said, Okay, we’ve got to go. Because the I was giving birth of the birthing center, and the birthing center was an hour away from where I lived. And at this point in time, I still had Olivia with me. And one of my friends is coming out and seeing another friend. So I messaged her and said, you probably going to be taking another child back with you. That’s okay. I was all good. Thank you, Kate, I love you your life saver. And Olivia was very excited to be having a sleepover with her, it went well. So we left here in about 5pm. So my contractions probably started around 2pm we left here about five, we got to the birthing center at six. And the car rides always fun. Yeah, we kind of felt every bump. Well, I felt every bump, but I managed it a lot better this time. And then I did with Olivia. And I think I was better at breathing through the contractions. And and then sometimes I was just doing other things to keep my mind off them like emailing people was I wasn’t ready, I had stopped that needed to be done. So see, so he got there at six and an active label what they call them get up at 630 quite full on to start with. So I was just kind of wandering around the stairway and moving a lot big part of my birds, both birds and and I think a big part of what everyone’s birth should be if they want to have an unmedicated birth and a natural birth and if they can, is to move around as much as possible. And to stay upright as much as possible and to let gravity do its work and, and helping to move the baby down. So when you lie down on your back, you’re essentially putting your pelvis in this position where it creates a little bit of a hurdle for the baby to get over a bit of a bump, speed bump, so to speak. So if you’re staying up, right, that’s going to help things move along. It’s not always easy to walk around and you might kind of be kneeling or holding on to the edge of the bed, but just in the upright position to encourage gravity. And so we got there we said everything up. And I wasn’t as organized as I was with Olivia. But you know we had our music so we put our playlist on. I think I was listening to Tijuana Cartel. ask you what were you listening to? Tijuana Cartel, which is an Ozzy band, they really really cool actually. And I think I listened to a bit of deep forest as well. Olivia was born to Michael Jackson. Was it like, was it I can’t remember.
What else did I have in there, I had some essential oils, I put my diffuser on. And I had the big ugly dressing gown that I got from waste busters, which is at the recycle center here, just to keep warm and because I got naked, because you’re an enclosed when you giving birth. And the only people that were there were my husband and my midwife. And we’re in kind of this little birthing Birthing Unit. But its birthing center. So it’s not really a hospital. So it has an essential supports or lack support oxygen, it has gas, so nitrous oxide, laughing gas, in terms of pain management, you want it but other than that, it doesn’t really have anything in terms of what a hospital would have. So if you if anything goes wrong, you need to be transferred to the hospital, essentially, which was another two hours away. So you’d have to get helicopter there or emergency ambulance there. Yeah. Which I was fine with. And so what else do I said? So I had to centralize Linda fees I had my music on. I was really craving fruit. I had to pay, which was last year. Yeah. So I would I recommend in terms of food, people always ask what they should eat during labor, I don’t actually recommend eating a lot of food during labor, because it will most likely come up again. So with Olivia, I, I got a ginger tie stuff, right? Because I thought the ginger will really help my nausea. That was bad I came back. So this time, I just had a pair. And it was awesome. This parrot it ahead, really, I also had something called Labor Day, which was an electrolyte drink that I made up myself. And you can find this online the recipe for labor aid, Google labor aids, like coconut water, lemon juice, honey, constant trace, trace mineral drops and a few other things. And that it’s a healthy guy to ride. And to help you through it. Because essentially, birth is like a marathon. And you need to replace electrolytes and it just helps to keep you hydrated, and keep you as energized as possible. So those are just a few things that I had. I also we used the the birthing pool, so I jumped in there after a little bit. And that helped with pain management as well, it also felt so amazing, because one, we don’t have a bath in our new place anymore, and I love having a bath. And two, they always recommend not having a bath during pregnancy, so the body doesn’t overheat. Or they recommend a lukewarm bath, which might Why bother having a warm bath, that’s just plain. So getting into a proper warm bath is so good. And so my contractions are coming more regularly now. So I’d be sitting down and just kind of relaxing, and then they would they would come and I would roll over and get into a kneeling position and just breathe my way through it a lot better with the breathing this time. And that really, really helped just focusing on the breath. And I kind of counted with the breath. So I’d count four counts in with my breath, and four counts out just for that something to focus on. And I knew that I was riding his white wave of intensity, pain, so to speak, to and I knew it was going to be over. And eventually it was just a matter of breathing through it and trying to allow my body to relax and open up as much as possible and not fight it because it was going to happen either way, but if I tensed up, then that was going to make it more painful for me and probably extend everything. And I didn’t really want things extended.
Natalie K. Douglas 13:32
So one question, I’ll jump in with there, because we did have a few questions that were written into us. And I guess one of the questions that we got was, does the pain actually continue to get worse? Or does it level off? And? And also, I guess, in that, when you’re saying using the breathing? Is that one of the strategies that you would say, helped with pain management? And if if there were any other strategies that you use in terms of pain management, what were they?
Kate Callaghan 14:02
Yeah. And so does the pain continue to get worse? Or does it level off? And it gets more intense? In that pre pushing praise? And that active labor? Yeah, it does. It does increase, but not to the point where you can’t handle it when you get to that point where you think you’re going to die. And most people get to that point, and you think you can’t do it anymore. That’s what we generally call transition phase. And that’s where you’re almost ready to start pushing. And your babies pretty much ready to come out essentially. Yeah, so that’s a good sign. But yeah, it does continue to, to increase in some respect, but it is nothing to be scared about. And you need to know that your body is capable of it, we’ve been doing it for millennia. That’s why we exist today. And you need to trust that your body can do it, and not to focus on that pain getting worse. So if you go in thinking and you’re starting to have contractions, and you think oh my god, these are just going to get worse, worse and worse and worse. That’s just going to stress you out. And so just trust that your body is going to be able to do it, you know, I have the lowest pain threshold in the world. So if I can have two unmedicated births anyone can assuming that everything’s going to pick according to plan.
Natalie K. Douglas 15:18
Kate Callaghan 15:21
And in terms of what I did for pain management, and again moving around and that birth Paul that the heat of the birth Paul was was awesome. And a little bit of back back message I used a bit of basil essential oil for on my back pain relief, which helped a bit late as a funny thing. So I enjoyed the message to start with. And then I really didn’t it was like don’t touch me get away. So it’s very it’s very much a roller coaster of emotion. And on that in the bath I am I got and to to put some essential oils and in the bath as well. So I’m going to put some wild orange in and he put in way too much and no, no, no, no just overwhelmed my senses.
Natalie K. Douglas 16:16
push my body with like a body wash that had peppermint essential oil in it. Oh my God, my vagina was on fire. And I just, I do not recommend it. Anyone
Kate Callaghan 16:31
know i think i think that’s pretty much all I did for pain medication this time. Last time with Olivia I did try the tins machine, which is like an electrical stimulation. And the moment it was on, I needed to get it off. It was just not something that worked for me. But in saying that I’ve heard that people love it and have found that it’s kind of the thing that really really works for them. And that movement as well really helped with with the pain for me. Last time with Olivia, I asked the guests to help with the pain. So Olivia’s birth was a lot longer. And so hers was kind of 20 hours all up ends was six hours all up. And so I was pretty exhausted with Olivia. But then they said they told me they’re giving me gas, but it didn’t seem to do anything. And I found out later that machine was actually broken. But they were pretending that it wasn’t good for them.
Natalie K. Douglas 17:32
Or I would I think that’s a good strategy.
Kate Callaghan 17:37
Natalie K. Douglas 17:40
And so anyway, so I was
I was just gonna ask in, like another question we kind of had around as around that is, were you going into it with the, I guess, with the intention of definitely not having medication, or was the lack the window or so to speak.
Kate Callaghan 18:03
So again, where I was going to give birth at the birthing center, the only option for pain management was gas. So I didn’t have the option to have other medications. So I was fully going into it, knowing that I didn’t want to have an AP journal, I didn’t want to have anything stronger at all. And so I was already in that mindset that that wasn’t an option. So I just suck it up, essentially. But I always knew that I wanted an unmedicated birth. And I did quite a lot of research around AP journals, and things before I had Olivia, and it just didn’t feel right for me. And so if you haven’t AP journal, you’re most likely going to be lying down on your back strap to machines. And that in itself is going to make birth harder. And research shows that you have an increased increased likelihood of going down what they call a cascade of interventions. So you start with maybe general to help with the pain and then your new back and things not progressing as they should or maybe get stuck. And then baby might need help to get out using forceps or suction, or any might need to have an episiotomy where they actually cut the opening a little bit of your vagina of your parent am sorry, to help baby out. And then you know, it can even increase your likelihood of going to C section. And some research suggests that epidurals what you can have, some mothers can actually have lasting symptoms from having any future or XV headaches, and it can potentially make baby sleepier when baby comes out. And that can affect things like lecturing and bonding. And when they come out, so So yeah, there’s, there’s things to think about in terms of episodes, not just, I want to have a pain, free birth, you’ve got to think about all these other things that that could go on. That no judgment, if you want to have that epidural, but just have Have a think about it. I know people told me I was absolutely crazy, not wanting to have an epidural. And on that in terms of preparing and getting in the mindset. If you are pregnant people will try and tell you horror stories, they’ll tell you how horrible birth is and how much pain you go through. And it’s the worst thing in the world. And I don’t know why people feel the need to say that because it’s really, really not the worst thing that you’re ever going to go through. It’s amazing what your body can do. And so my suggestion there to help get in the mindset of preparing for a natural American birth, would be to try and tune those people out. So when they tell you their stories, smile and nod, and just let it go in one ear and out the other and again, trust in your body. And, and one book that I found really, really helpful for that. And it’s called I enemies guide to childbirth by Anna may Gaskin and so she has some great stories in there about natural birth and how to prepare and just really empowering women. Yeah, to the idea that your body can and will be okay.
Natalie K. Douglas 21:30
Yeah, I think that’s important. I think that’s a good point. Because, you know, at the end of the day, you know, what’s the point of like? You know, I guess you’ve got to go through it anyway. And what’s the point of listening to horror stories and getting in the mindset that it’s going to be horrible? Like, it’s if it’s, if it’s going to be horrible, it’s going to be horrible? And why would you like like it, I don’t think it’s going to be beneficial to listen to those stories and to manifest that, you know, along the way, you know, you’re better off, as you’re saying, just, you know, reading that the positive side of giving birth, and you know, of course not being like unaware that things are going to be painful. And you know, it’s not comfortable. But I think it’s much better to focus on, on the positives. And I think a really good point that you’ve made as well is about doing your own research and, and making your decision because what’s important to you, is important. And so doing your research on, you know, the pros and cons of an epi journal, you know, the pros and cons of all these different options that you have, and then making that decision and not letting other people influence that. So I think that, you know, going in with a plan and with a decision is is quite important to make you feel comfortable in, in what you’re about to
about to do and about to go through as well.
Kate Callaghan 23:01
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, for me, a hospital birth wasn’t, wasn’t an option unless things turned really bad. And I think you need to think about going somewhere where you feel most comfortable. If you if the thought of going to a birthing center where there’s no way you don’t have all these doctors and surgeons and all this medical treatment at your fingertips. If if the thought of that freaks you out and you don’t feel comfortable, then don’t do that. Go to a hospital where you feel comfortable if that’s where you feel comfortable and relaxed. And to me if I went to a hospital, the moment I step in a hospital, I don’t feel relaxed at all, I feel stressed out my my dad had a really bad car accident when I was 15. And so whenever I go into hospital, I just get reminded of that. And so it’s not a it’s not a nice place for me. It’s not a place where I’m uncomfortable. So think about where you feel most comfortable. And don’t. Don’t listen to what others say that you should do it seriously. Yeah. But I’m so moving on I out of there, I was in their birth and palm, and then I it’s time to get out because it’s just I’m not loving this anymore, which part of the roller coaster a little. And so as soon as I got out of the birthing pool, I knelt down beside it. And then I was broke. And, and pretty much as soon as my word is broke, I went into the pushing phase. And, and 20 minutes later, it was born.
Natalie K. Douglas 24:32
It was white, little thing.
Kate Callaghan 24:36
It was really, really quick. So Olivia’s pushing phase was at least an hour. But one thing that was different with this one was so as soon as Olivia’s head was out, she pretty much flew out like a rocket. And because the shelf is smaller than the head, or they kind of they buckled down, you move down to she was like a little rocket that flew out. And so when they said to me with Ed when they said, hits Alex sweet, we’re done. Awesome. But no, he wanted to hang out with his head, just out my vagina for a good couple of minutes. Just hanging out there, the longest two minutes of my life. And then he then he screwed out slowly. was fun. Oh, my God, the pushing price is quite, quite intense. And I, I if you were to watch what I was doing, it maybe would look a bit disturbing because I would bash my head on the steps isn’t exactly the thing that it worked for me in terms of the steps of the pool. So it wasn’t like a afraid step kind of a plastic step. It works for me in terms of fearing the pain a little bit with the liver I did that did that during active labor, but it was on I was bashing my head on a metal bar the bed to work for me. So yeah, yep, sorry, it’s not become hip, no birthing that you would probably expect to me say I did read, I did read the book. And I think it helped in terms of me managing my breath. And especially during that pushing phase, and you do just want to push. But there are times where you do actually have to slow down. So your your body can open up a can have time to open up and you don’t tear. And especially with aspects like that. So 20 minutes of pushing is really really fast. And there’s a greater risk of tearing with a faster assignment because it doesn’t give your body time to open up. And so the breathing breathing really helped with that thing to slow things down. When my midwife is saying don’t push and I’m like you I want to push. And actually at that time I am I made a blend of oils, which is a perennial support and faction of coconut oil and Helichrysum frankincense and lavender I think it was and Aaron’s, like, what do you want me to do with it? You just need to rub it all over my lady. rub it all over.
So he did and it helped. I didn’t I didn’t care. I had one internal tear in my vagina. But I didn’t have any perinatal tears. And I think I had an internal tear because because of him corkscrewing out his shoulder probably gave me a little tear. But a turning into a couple of pictures and was all good. Yeah. And then I had
Natalie K. Douglas 27:54
to acknowledge as he well done us, you really took one for the team?
Kate Callaghan 28:00
Well, this one, now this is probably going to be too much information for some, but I think if you’re pregnant, you need to be aware of this. And you may poo if you give, but there’s a lot of pressure going on down there. And you’re pushing and sometimes a little bit of poop might come out. But this time, it didn’t. I didn’t put this time we deliver your idea. Remember, remember going I just pooped.
But it can happen. Just be prepared for that. But you know, husbands, they need to do what you want them to do. You’re doing a lot of work. And they’re pretty useless most of the time. So if they can rub oils and your lady God and get them to do that, yeah, for sure. Exactly. And so then I had a baby. And he he latched on really quite easily. And he started fading, I think he’s worked out 40 minutes after he was born. And we left the umbilical cord attached until it stopped pulsing. So that really helps to transfer all the iron and platelets and everything to baby. So that delayed cord clamping, I really encourage everyone to look into delayed cord cramping and speak to your Kara about that it’s really, really important for getting those iron stores into your baby because they will deplete over those first six months of life. So we need the cord was attachment for quite a while. And, and yeah, all went smoothly after that. Breastfeeding within 40 minutes. And he did have a bit of mucus over the first few days. And I think he swallowed up a bit of amniotic fluid. So he was a little bit a little bit blocked up. But otherwise, otherwise all good. Yeah. Wow. That’s my story.
Natalie K. Douglas 30:00
Very, like that is a very good story. And I know that I’m not the only one that’s really grateful for you sharing all of the information and you know, the highlights and lowlights. So thank you for sharing all of that. We did get some questions in from from listeners and actually reading through them. Most of it has actually been covered in what we’ve discussed. There was one other question that I will get you to answer quickly that we didn’t quite specifically answer. But just question or question around, DG use things like red raspberry leaf, or eating dates or anything like that. In terms of food or your like that kind of preparation.
Kate Callaghan 30:49
Yeah, I did have red raspberry leaf every day in my third trimester. And that’s helpful for encouraging the uterus to tone. And so I did have a a lot of regrets belief. And in terms of eating dates, I did not. I mean, there is some some research around suggesting that dates can help things along. But in my third trimester of pregnancy I had, and this is again, probably too much inflammation. But I’ve told you that I had thrush, which is actually really quite common in pregnancy as your immune system is suppressed. I didn’t get it with Olivia, but I did get it with Ed. And so I didn’t want to have a lot of high sugar foods, even natural sugars. I’m not saying data bad. I’m just saying that I had to kind of cut down on my sugars to try and try and fix the thrush because I wasn’t gonna treat it with any sort of medication or anything like that. It completely went away as soon as I gave birth, which is crazy. But yeah, the dates might work, I haven’t tried them in terms of preparation, otherwise, a lot of deep school antelope crawling around on the ground to to get bugs in the right position. You can also do a parent, you know, you can also do perinatal massage in the last few weeks. And so getting some oils and again, rubbing them on your lady got any kind of stretching it gently to help prepare the parents aim for birth. And I didn’t do that this time. I was I was lazy in preparation. This time. I did it a bit with Olivia. And it can get awkward when you get really big, but it can be very helpful.
Natalie K. Douglas 32:34
Yeah, sure. good tips. Well, I think that that probably sums it up and we will wrap up there. But if anyone has any follow up questions, then please do writing to Kate or myself. Probably Kate would be more appropriate but and you know, we can answer them. And if there’s enough questions, we can make another podcast out of it. And we will also link to to the book Kate referred to as well before earlier, and if there’s anything that she’s mentioned that you can’t find on the internet that you need a link to them, please let us know if we haven’t already put it up. Kate, thank you so much again for sharing and we will hear from you soon.
Absolute pleasure. Thanks.
All right. Bye
Kate Callaghan 33:26
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Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist
Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.
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