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  • Episode 1


    Jeanette: Should we dive into our topic for today?

    Susan: Yes. We were talking about birthing stories and I think like people, like we talk about having babies.

    Susan: And leading up to that per CISE moment of the baby coming out, you have fears ,because it’s, like the first time you’re ever experiencing this. So it was like, no matter how many books you read or blogs, or watch videos, what is it really going to be like? So I’m curious for each of you , what were your fears leading up to the birth?

    Jeanette: Hmm, like you kind of had a chemical wash over that part of your memory. Do you guys have that? I mean, you guys are on your first kid, so maybe you haven’t really noticed this yet, but for me, I think back to Isaiah’s birth and it’s like I remember it all, but some aspect of that memory just seems like somebody pour like a bucket of diluted bleach over that memory. Cause like I [00:01:00] remember it all, but there’s like certain emotions that I feel or kind of missing because I feel I heal Susan. Like when you’re asking the question, I’m like, Oh, was I afraid of something?

    Jeanette: I don’t remember. Yeah. And maybe that’s why you ended up having a second kid because you don’t remember anymore.

    Susan: I love how

    Susan: you said it was diluted bleach and not just bleach.

    Jeanette: Cause it’s not like corroded. The form is still intact, but it’s just, there’s an aspect of it that’s gone or sanitized,

    Susan: you know, I wonder if that’s like your own body’s way of like.

    Susan: Removing the trauma of it so that you can make another one. And that’s like its own like Darwinistic, like survival thing, because they were like, don’t remember how bad it was. Kate. Did you have any theories?

    Kate: Well, not any about the birth. I was actually more concerned about afterwards.

    Kate: I think the reason I didn’t have really any fears about the birth is because I spent probably well a lot of time both thinking about, and then actually [00:02:00] physically preparing for it. So I, I know this sounds really. I don’t mean to like show off our brag, but I feel like by the time that birth rolled around, I was pretty confident of my ability to perform labor.

    Kate: Delivery. Yeah, because I literally did everything. Right. I was like, exercising. There’s this like this thing called spinning babies this doula created to help you position your baby correctly. I already knew my baby was in the optimal position. Right. Facing my right side head down, like and you know, my cervix was already pretty dilated.

    Kate: So I just felt pretty good. I was more anxious about like, ah, postpartum, like how to take care of this baby, but not really nervous for the labor and off. And also I just, because I’m an inveterate, like warrior in general for this one, I really did make a concerted effort to just at the end, right before.

    Kate: Labor to just take things really a day at a time to really just enjoy the time that I had left walking with my dog. You know, watching [00:03:00] Netflix at night instead of worrying about what actually happened. So I went to not. Feeling scared.

    Susan: I think like, you’re

    Susan: the person who was like a national merit scholar or something like you went into the PSCT bucking

    Susan: prepared.

    Kate: Yeah. I guess if you know we were making the analogy. That would be definitely true. And in fact, I was like making jokes and like having a lot of fun walking in to the hospital too. So I don’t know. Maybe, maybe, yeah. I was an overachiever. . I

    Susan: got to tell you my fear was that I would have a stillbirth.

    Susan: Because my classmate from business school had one, like they go into labor and she has a stillbirth. And then another classmate from business school had one at 35 weeks and she had to go through with the delivery.

    Susan: So I heard unusual

    Jeanette: Shannon shared a stillbirth at 35 weeks and she had to deliver it.

    Jeanette: Yeah.

    Susan: So I [00:04:00] heard these stories and I got to tell you, like, I enjoyed the pregnancy process. It was cool. I went on tour, like I’m dancing with my baby, but I did not want to become attached to my baby. Cause I wasn’t sure if he was going to leave me. Yeah. And so it wasn’t until I could see the baby, I could hold the baby.

    Susan: That I was really going to commit to actually becoming a mother. So that’s like really deep seated, right? It’s my own abandonment stuff around my mom dying when I was 11, but it was just kind of like, my business school class is small. It’s looking 240 people. So to a classmate above me and a classmate the same class as me have ,a similar issue.

    Susan: I was sitting there going like, how does this stuff happen? Like here we are super educated women, reading, Emily Oster, like thinking we know everything. And then all of a sudden it’s like, you, you are not in control until I saw the baby. I was like, I’m enjoying the process, but I’m not going to be attached to this entity.

    Susan: Until I see the thing. So that was, it’s kind of [00:05:00] weird. Like I was trying to be like Zen about it and inform as little attachment as possible so that if , they died, I didn’t know that the sex at the time, it’d be less painful. And so I was trying to do pain management.

    Jeanette: Yeah. I don’t think for some reason I didn’t really.

    Jeanette: Worry about that part. It’s like your fear is driven by things that happen to people that, you know, or friends of friends and things like that. So I think combined with having a pretty healthy pregnancy and then Not having that happen to people that I personally know, or even one degree removed.

    Jeanette: Like that was not so much my worry, my worry was more like I might bleed out, you know, because that happened to a friend of a friend’s where she almost died because after she delivered her baby, she just started hemorrhaging. And they actually had to give her a blood transfusion.

    Jeanette: That’s actually, I think the most common complication, like serious complication after birth. That just like, [00:06:00] kind of scared me. So I think that was probably my. Biggest fear and I think I had even more of that fear, like the second time around going into give birth to our second kid, because I just felt more Of the weight of like, what if something happened to me right then it’s like, not just Jake who’s being left behind an officer it would be super hard for him, but to kind of put that burden on a child , it was like pretty hard to think about that.

    Jeanette: And you know , you think about it even though, I tried to like use my rational brain. I’m like statistically, like. In this country, even though we don’t have grades statistics for our level of wealth is still pretty safe to go into a hospital and give birth.

    Jeanette: But you know, I was thinking like, Oh, do I need to write a letter or something? What if something happens? You know things like that. I just morbid thoughts.

    Kate: Well, actually I do now I think about the reason why I ended up doing so much homework, Susan and being a national merit scholar was because I [00:07:00] did have one fear starting off in the very beginning.

    Kate: Which was hearing stories from other people about the, how, like their pelvic floor, just like. Went like after giving birth. And people were still doing physical therapy, like a year out or two years out, even like they still peed when they laughed or whatever. And I just freaked.

    Kate: Me out at the time. And so that’s why I did all my homework. You know, and then I think what all of you said is I said, it’s true. That childbirth is for a woman. One of the closest times you can come to death, whether it’s your own, right. You face your mortality, even in a developed country, like the United States, which has terrible maternal, mortality rates, especially for like.

    Kate: Minority women or the mortality potentially of your baby. And I think people don’t talk about that, right. Again, you know, a lot of the, Oh, it was so cute. Like all the hospital photos, like, you know, blah, blah, blah. But yeah, the reality is women have fears and there is actually the reality too, [00:08:00] of a lot of.

    Kate: Suffering and pain around birth and thereafter.

    Susan: Yeah. I mean, and, and just even like the birthing process, there’s still so many choices to make, you know, doula or not epidural or not home or not, and it’s like, we go in with our plan and , there are so many variables that happen, like for me , the last thing I thought about was a tailbone injury that would prevent me from sitting and being able to feed my son once he came out, you know, like I didn’t even, I didn’t even think about that as an option.

    Susan: Like for all of y’all, , what was your birth plan? And then what really happened?

    Kate: Hmm. Well, I actually had a really long birth plan and even my doula was like you probably don’t need to put these like,

    Susan: ridiculous. Like, were you like, I need the Whirlpool?

    Kate: No, no, no,

    Kate: no, no. It was basically like my personal story, you know? Cause I had like a whole leading up to this or I had some fertility issues and like, anyway, I like

    Jeanette: doctors to [00:09:00] read it.

    Kate: I wanted

    Kate: them to know how I felt about the whole process. Anyway, my, my do like. Like made me delete a bunch of stuff. So

    Susan: your horoscope

    Susan: sign.

    Kate: I think, I think I didn’t have a specific, like, so for me, I was actually pretty open to anything that could happen. Like I was open to you know, epidural, not epidural.

    Kate: I just didn’t really have like a specific thing that I needed to do. I just felt like whatever I wanted to just do what I felt was necessary, as opposed to being worried, like ahead of time, I’m definitely gonna get this. I’m definitely gonna get that. And you know, and I actually like really enjoyed packing my hospital bag.

    Kate: I don’t know if any. If you guys like did it, but I spent like weeks, I was like, Ooh, let me add some gummy bears or, Oh, I heard that it helps to suck on like, you know, sugar-free hard candy. Let me add those. So by the end I had this like giant carry on full, basically 50% with snacks, thinking that like at the hospital, I’m just going to like snack on stuff.

    Kate: I’m in labor anyway, but my labor is so fast. I got to the hospital at like 1:00 PM. I gave birth at 5:00 PM. I didn’t want, first of all, I didn’t have any, I didn’t have time for [00:10:00] any. Meds much less an epidural. And then I didn’t even get to eat any of my like tasty foods that I’ve had to.

    Susan: Oh my God. I can’t believe it.

    Susan: I hope you like gave away your bag to like another, like a whole bunch of moms on your Instagram. And like, it was like a great giveaway. Cause like what? These are no, I was

    Kate: getting out stuff afterwards, just giving a lot of stuff to people. I ate the food later, but anyway, yeah, that was. Anyway.

    Susan: Whew. So talk about your birth.

    Susan: I mean, you, like, you arrive in your, like you have the fastest delivery ever, like, well, I mean,

    Kate: I was already five centimeters dilated at that morning and I knew because so I have basically what’s called an incompetent cervix. I know it makes it it’s like, what, how can you call a cervix incompetent? I had a small procedure done on my cervix cause I had basically up to stage zero cervical cancer, which sounds more awful than it actually is.

    Kate: So they removed a chunk of my cervix. And so I already knew that going in that [00:11:00] like once I stopped taking the progesterone pills that were stabilizing my cervix at week 37, I was like, at any point I could just give birth. I was like, okay. Five centimeters dilated that morning when the OB went and she poked around, which, by the way, I’m pretty convinced.

    Kate: She caused me to start labor because two hours after she was like poking around in my cervix I started having contractions, but I didn’t realize, cause I was taking my dog to the dentist, the dog dentist, not the human dentist. And I was like, Oh, I feel like I’m having some like period cramps, but like it’s not the five one, one rule.

    Kate: Right. I was like, Oh, they’re like, you know, happening every 40. Seconds, but they’re only lasting like a few seconds, like no big deal. So I went and got my dog’s teeth done, came home like lying around on the bed and I was like, Hmm, these are happening more frequently. Maybe I should be concerned, but it wasn’t painful.

    Kate: Right. So I was like, I’m going to go take a shower and put on some makeup. And cause I have to go to the hospital. I need to look good. So I did that. And then I called the hospital and I was like, should I come in there? Like now as like, okay, so like I tried it into the hospital, I was like, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    Kate: Yeah. And they’re like, Oh, my God, you’re [00:12:00] eight centimeters dilated. How are you still up? And like walking? I was like, I don’t know. It feels like fine. Right? Is that why? Yeah, that was like 1:00 PM. And by this, at this point, I was like, you know, they were just really pretty, you know, , just cramps.

    Kate: And I was just hanging out with my doula for, you know, a couple hours, like talking on the phone with a friend hanging out, and then I was like, well, I wanted to take a bath. Cause you know, all the birthing suites have a bathtub. I had heard you should do that. So I went to the bath, like there were even fake candles and they dimmed the lights for me and famous last words I told my doula.

    Kate: Ooh, if having a baby, is this enjoyable? I will have 10 of them. Well, that was before they broke my bag of water. As we were waiting for my mom to show up, cause she’s super slow. She was like packing her bags. Finally, my mom shows up at like four 30 and I was like, I’m ready the nurse. I don’t think I was really ready.

    Kate: Cause I wasn’t really thinking what, what actually happened. The nurses, like I’m just saying, you know, like the bag of waters is like padding, you know, the, between the baby’s head and like, you know, the birth canal. So you’re going to feel like a. Downward pressure. I was like, okay, cool. Whatever.

    Kate: [00:13:00] Like I can do it. And let me tell you, as soon as they broke my bag of waters, I went immediately into pushing like I think I pushed for like maybe 10 minutes, although it felt like a long time. And I was basically like, I’m going to die. I’m going to die. I’m going to die. That’s I think the only thing I remember from those 10 minutes of pushing was I’m pretty sure.

    Kate: I said I was going to die. And it was like screaming again. No epidural. Cause like there was no time. And then she came out. So that was the story. So it was not, I mean, I didn’t know, again, it was not really planned. I didn’t plan to not get an epidural. I wasn’t against it, but it just was, some things you just don’t know how they’re going to happen,

    Jeanette: so, yeah.

    Susan: Yeah. I can’t believe you went to the dog then.

    Jeanette: I know I put on makeup. Like, honestly, that was the furthest thing. From my mind, I had to pay

    Kate: deposit for the dog dentist, by the way. So I was going to lose my deposit. I was like, I gotta go get her teeth done. And then the makeup thing was only because I was like, Oh, you know, I was thinking like, it was too much social media influence.

    Kate: Cause I’ve seen other people like, you know, taking selfies or something [00:14:00] after they had kids and I was cool, how do they look so good? I was like, I should look good too. Anyway.

    Susan: Okay. I’m glad you looked good. Kate, I never put on makeup and either today do it on the day. My baby came out. Jeanette, were you that prepared?

    Jeanette: I think it was similar in that I was kind of like, okay, I know this could go a number of different ways, so I’m not going to be like too prescriptive.

    Jeanette: But, you know, there were a few things that I knew I didn’t want to do. Basically my birth plan had two or three bullets. One was , I don’t want you know, that thing where they like cut you. They don’t really do that very much in the U S physionomy. Yeah. I’m like no PZ. Otomy like in case you were thinking about it.

    Jeanette: The hospital where I gave birth to Isaiah or older one offered laughing. Yes. I was like, I’m going to start off on the laughing gas and it’s probably not going to be enough, so I’ll go on the epidural, but I’m going to start with the laughing gas. And then in terms of preparation, I didn’t pack fancy snacks, but I did pack like some Odwalla smoothies, because [00:15:00] I had heard that for some people like.

    Jeanette: You know, the, one of the main reasons people going to C-section if you don’t have some medical condition is because you’re in labor and you get so tired when it comes time to push, like you don’t have any energy. Then the baby’s stuck there and then the doctor’s like freak out and then they’re like, we need to get this baby out ASAP.

    Jeanette: We’re just going to cut you open. I wanted to avoid that. So The recommendation was like, you bring some thing to give you energy during your labor. So I packed some pretzels and smoothies. This is probably TMI, but I had the brother of a friend By this this this pelvic floor training thing from the UK, that’s like not available in the us.

    Kate: Oh, I know those things. LV has one. I know

    Jeanette: it’s not a, no, it’s not an LV. It’s something else. I forget what it’s called. I still have it. But it’s basically this balloon that you put in your. A vagina and you pump it up. And you’ve practiced the key goals and it [00:16:00] has a little gauge.

    Jeanette: And it shows you , as you’re putting pressure on the balloon, like with the Cagle, like you can see the gauge moving and over time, you try to strengthen your pelvic floor by doing this. And as you get closer to your delivery time, you practice kind of letting it out.

    Jeanette: So like you kind of practice relaxing your, pelvic floor to let the baby out.

    Susan: That’s cool, like orange theory, but for your vagina , there’s like accountability to know if you’re in the orange zone.

    Jeanette: So I did that. I don’t know why it’s not available in the U S but somebody recommended it to me.

    Jeanette: So, okay. Brief summary of Isaiah’s birth. I was 10 days overdue. I was like, this baby is never going to come. I was in Boston, there was a giant snow storm. Friends were over, we walked to a fancy restaurant that was having a deeply discounted prefix because of the snow storm.

    Jeanette: I ate a ton. I like carry it around there. Eight months old, it was like playing with him. And then I, we walked back home. I went to bed.[00:17:00] At 10 30 and then like at 1230, I woke up and I’m like, Oh my gosh, my body’s just going to shit now. I can’t even control, like going to pee. I’m like pink. I’m dripping while I’m walking to the bathroom.

    Jeanette: And I’m like, Oh, this is like, actually doesn’t feel like pee. It’s coming from a different place. And I realized that my water broke. And then I start having contractions. But yeah, K like you said, it wasn’t really following that five, one, one rule.

    Jeanette: I’m not sure it was, like not fitting that mold. And then, so I called my OB and she’s like, Oh, if he just started labor, you know, you could probably come in in like six hours. There’s no hurry. And I got off the phone and 20 minutes later, I was like, this baby’s going to be here in six hours.

    Jeanette: We need to get to the hospital now. So our car was of course snowed in. We had not , shovel it out. So we call an Uber and we make the 10 minute trip to the hospital. And the Uber driver’s freaking out because there’s a screaming pregnant lady in his car and he’s driving on super snowy [00:18:00] streets and we get to the hospital and I can’t find the door to get in.

    Jeanette: So I’m yelling at this time curity guard. I feel so bad. I was like, where is the door?

    Jeanette: And then, so , he lets us in and then we take the elevator up to the. Maternity ward. I think at this point it’s probably 2:00 AM . And I get on the laughing gas and it works great for me. I’m totally high. And I’m saying things like, you know what, Jake, I think this was a really good.

    Jeanette: Decision it just validates that I just have to trust my intuition. Apparently I was saying things like that. While I was on laughing gas. And yeah, and I just labored, I was just basically twisting and groaning on top of the bed for four hours while on laughing gas. I don’t really remember a lot of it.

    Jeanette: I mean, it was painful, but like I was also kind of high. And at 7:00 AM, she’s like, okay, you’re ready to push. And I pushed for 45 minutes, [00:19:00] just a note to ladies push, like you’re taking a poop and in my experience across two kids, that’s the best way to push don’t push other ways because you’ll mess your pelvis up.

    Jeanette: And then he came out and that was that I had a little bit of tearing, but not too terrible. And then with my second, it was pretty similar, but no laughing gas, no epidural, no Uber driver, no Uber driver,

    Jeanette: Meal, no prefixed meal. Labor starts at six o’clock. I get to the hospital at seven 30.

    Jeanette: She’s out by like nine. Yeah. So it was pretty fast.

    Kate: I do. And the labor, like you’re pooping because my physical therapist told me one of the things she made me do in practicing for labor was to imagine that I was pooping out a lemon.

    Kate: So those were the exercises community. And she said, it’s not intuitive because kegels are literally the opposite. Of pooping. If you think about it, you’re squeezing in right with a Cagle. Whereas when you’re pooping out a lemon or a baby you’re squeezing out, and she was saying the only two times you really use those muscles in [00:20:00] those exact ways are one when you’re pooping and two, when you’re giving birth to a baby.

    Kate: So Sage advice.

    Jeanette: Yes. Yeah, for like the first 15 minutes, I feel like whenever she said push, I was. Doing this. I mean, it’s like, you just don’t know. Right? It’s like, you’ve never given birth to a baby before, unless you’re a kid. And you’re like, somehow like super prepared. I mean and so I was doing this thing where I was like holding the back of my knees and then like just pulling them close to my chest, like super hard.

    Jeanette: Right. So it wasn’t like really pushing so much as like pulling on my mind. And that really messed up my pelvis. I already had the pelvic misalignment before pregnancy, which I think is fairly common, but then I made it a lot worse by doing that for 15 minutes, like, and like in an intense, like extremely intense way.

    Jeanette: Right?

    Susan: Why aren’t the nurses

    Kate: saying anything? They don’t know, Hey, they don’t, you’d be surprised at how little they know, but the way my OB doesn’t even know, she was like, A lot of women just show up. They don’t know. And they, they’re not trained in that.

    Susan: Why [00:21:00] don’t they do it every

    Jeanette: day?

    Jeanette: Well, after 15 minutes, my OB was like, okay, just push. Like you’re pooping. That’s what she told me. And then I started doing that. And then we made progress.

    Susan: I mean, maybe they don’t want to be like blamed or judged or yelled at and they’ll let you do it you’re away. But then you’ll come around and be like, help me, you know?

    Kate: Also I realized like, you know, the, the positions that are most helpful for women during labor, they’re not ones that are really encouraged by you’re OB. Typically because, they also might seem weird to us, right. Because we’re so used to the image in movies or what have you, of women lying on their backs slightly, like at an angle and, giving birth.

    Kate: But really historically women have really been giving birth, like squatting which is actually really good cause gravity, right. Or even like on your side, actually, I practice different positions with my. Physical therapist. And she noticed that when I was on my side, I pushed in the most correct manner.

    Kate: But you know, like no one thinks when you’re in the middle of all this pain, you’re like, Oh, excuse me, while I move into the optimal position on my [00:22:00] side, but I do know that some places do have burning chairs. , but anyway, it just goes to show you the, all the things are sort of counter-intuitive and that what we see, you know, in the media or wherever else is

    Kate: not necessarily the best option for us physically and in giving

    Jeanette: birth. Susan, tell us about, giving birth to art. Yeah, I mean, well,


    Susan: mean, Kate, I just think if you were looking for a second career, you should just help women decide between products and services and therapies and everything. Cause you know, I feel like I kind of went into this, like I was cramming or something, but, um, I was 41 weeks pregnant, scheduled an induction.

    Susan: Cool. And I was like, Ooh, gotta do it before, like my insurance cycles renews, you know, like, cause it renews on March 31st. So they’re like, well, yeah, I wanted to like maximize, we already hit the ceiling or something. I don’t know. We were close to the ceiling. And then I was like, okay, [00:23:00] cool. So let’s do it on the 29th let’s schedule on the 29th instead of the 30th, you know, in case it takes another day and another day or whatever.

    Susan: Induction 41 weeks. Uh, we just like, okay, it’s almost eight. You know, we had some cool food head over and I’m just strolling in. And then they’re like, you need a wheelchair. I was like, I got it. I’m cool. You know, I’m just like walking and then like take some, you know, pop some pills, make it all soft or whatever.

    Susan: And like, for me, me and Marvin, our whole theme for our wedding was easy and hilarious. And I was like, why not? Our pregnancy be easy and hilarious. So like, We had watched this one birthing video at Swedish where it’s like, if you don’t do epidural, you like hold onto something. And the woman just like rocks her hips and like moans, like, Oh, so we always thought it was so funny.

    Susan: And then I got to a point where I was getting, I don’t know, soft, like I don’t even know the names of any of these. Things, Kate, like, I just, I don’t know. They’re like, you want this [00:24:00] thing? I’m like, sure. So like all of a sudden I’m like, Oh, Mara was like, I think I got to like, start doing that. And I was kind of joking and then I like really needed to start doing that.

    Susan: I’m like, I was like, rock my hips. And then he was like, kind of doing it, but I was kind of laughing, but I was kind of in pain. And then I was like, I gotta use the bathroom. And like, I like poop right before. Like I like when they’re like, okay, you’re getting upgraded to the birth room or whatever. So it was like, before, like, You know, like the last point you can eat and all that stuff, like, it was like, good.

    Susan: I clean the system, I go to some other room. Um, and then they’re like, okay, we’re cool. Like you poop, you put down the toilet. Yeah. But I was like contract on the toilet. Same time. Oh yeah. It was no one had to spray anything. It was fine. And then, so like, we go to some other room. Like, I don’t even know any of these technical w the phases and it’s like there.

    Susan: And I was like, give me the drugs, you know, because like I talked to all my sister-in-laws and like one person had three kids and she’s like, by the second one, she didn’t have an epidural. [00:25:00] First one second, one. She’s like, I’ll try it. Third one. She was like, I’m definitely getting it. And so at that point, I was like, I had read the Emily Oster book and I was like, Just give me the drugs.

    Susan: Like, I want this to be easy and hilarious. I think it’s going to be easy if I get drugs. So I was like, give me that the girl, but for me, like my whole fear is like, okay, my mom died from plastic surgery malpractice, and the doctor was on probation at the time when he operated on her 30, like 23 losses against him, like he had a track record.

    Susan: Right. So for me, my biggest fear was that. Anyone that was operating on me was on probation. Like had some kind of a record and they were going to kill me. Okay. So even though I’m like, totally into like having a good time, I’m paranoid about the stillbirth and I’m paranoid that someone is going to do something bad.

    Susan: And so they would come into the room and be like, Oh, are you ready? I’m like, Oh yeah, just give me your name. Can you leave the room? And I’d be like, Marvin, Google. Google let’s look them up on the state medical board. And then until we knew that [00:26:00] their license was okay, then I come back and I’m ready and I’d just be like, yeah.

    Susan: But so it would be this period of like total chillness and then total, like, I get really serious about it. Because I was like, I only need to learn that lesson once and it’s a really quick check and then we can move forward. So I got my epidural and then I was like, kind of shy to press the button every time I want it, like when it started to like, feel a little crampy, but like every time I did it, it felt so good.

    Susan: Like the epidural was so good. I was watching Incredibles too, but. They like, you can’t watch it on TV. And it was like, it’s coming in through a little, like walkie-talkie and the audio is really bad and it was so weird, but then I was like, Oh, like, let’s get all the free hospital food. So I was like, Marvin, like go to the little kitchenette and it would be like chicken broth and it would be like Popsicle.

    Susan: And I was like, Ooh, this is so fun. Like, I was like, so into like, Eating their food, even though it was like, you can’t eat solid straight. And the most that I learned about like what to bring in pack your bag was through the audio book of dear girls by Ali Wong. You know, she like says spring the Gatorade, [00:27:00] take all this stuff when you’re there.

    Susan: And like, I felt like that was the best education. Like, because people don’t really talk about it. And, uh, anyways, so we’re just chilling. We’re just chilling. And I’m like, I’m having this whole, like mom moment, like the, about my mom and then a nurse comes cause they have, they shift every like what seven hours or something.

    Susan: And then she’s like, Oh, I had just been to Santa Rosa, which is my hometown. And I felt like at that moment, like my mom was in the room. So like for me, it’s like, I was like trying to, I’m always like trying to make meaning out of things and like search for answers and like. Uh, or deal with like intense fears.

    Susan: It’s like, it’s not even about the birth. Like it’s about like this like emotional journey. I’m always on, you know, um, anyways, so like we’re having a good time and then they’re like, you’re almost dilated. I’m like, cool. And then they’re like, you’re ready to give birth. And I was like, great. I was like, where’s the doctor?

    Susan: And they’re like, She’s busy right now having dinner. And I was like, but I’m ready. Right. And she’s like, she just gave [00:28:00] like, birth is six babies. And I was like, Oh, she must be really tired. And then they were like, I was like, you know what? She should eat dinner. So I was like, I was chilling, keeping, pressing the drugs.

    Susan: Then she finally shows up. She’s like, you ready? I’m like, yeah. Cool. And I was like, I got a play. So then we like played like top RNB hits, including of course, salt and pepper. Push it. Real good. Like. I don’t know how much money they make on the royalties of that. But like clearly every hospital should have it playing on demand.

    Susan: I like we’re playing it. I was like, Marvin put on the play out is the playlist is called, push it, push it out or something. Um, and then I’m like Dr. And Dodger singing with me and she’s like, okay, she’s a kind of singing, but not really. Yes. So anyways, so Dr. Hannan comes and then she’s like, okay, we’re going to do this.

    Susan: And I’m like, cool. And I’m like making her seeing, and, and then I was like, Marvin, do some boomerangs. And like, and so I’m pushing, I think I pushed for about an hour. Like I kind of wanted to like, [00:29:00] Set a goal for myself. Cause like I hear women they’ll be like, my liver was 24 hours, 52 hours. And I was like, how the fuck is it so long?

    Susan: Like, I don’t understand. Like I didn’t understand. It’s like from the point of contractions until the baby comes out, like that just sounded so scary. And I was like, I don’t want to be pushing for 52 hours. Like that’s what I kept thinking. It was. Um, so I was like, okay, why don’t we just do this as quickly as possible?

    Susan: So. When we were hitting the one hour Mark, she’s like, it’s almost out, he’s almost out. Or they they’re almost out. And then basically all she saw was hair, a lot of hair. And she’s like, and I was like birth plan. Like, I’m just like, hi, you know, I was like birth plan and then they don’t even read it. They don’t even read it.

    Susan: ALA you write all this stuff. You’re like put stickers on it and no one reads it. And then I was like, The mirror, the mirror, because it was an option, but I didn’t know why I wanted the mirror, but it was an option. So I was like, let’s just like, see what all the options like do for me. [00:30:00] And then I see it.

    Susan: And it was just like, The hair. And I was like, Oh my God, my badge hair is out of control, but it was like the baby’s hair. That’s like just the only thing that’s coming out. And then like, push, push, push, come out, come out. And then they’re like babies almost here, but now there’s like so many nurses, you know?

    Susan: And they’re like, just in case, I was like, just in case what, um, baby comes out, I’m holding baby. Everything seems fine. And what I’m really preoccupied with is the placenta, because then I’m like, I’ve always been the I’m going to birth at home. I’m going to have placenta pills. Like it’s gonna be so great.

    Susan: And like, we’re, we’re birthing in a hospital at this point, you know, like I want, I want low medical issues. Right. Um, so baby’s mind cleaned up, taken away, whatever. And then I was like, Marvin, Get your phone out now. And he’s like, why? I was like, we’re doing boomerangs and selfies with the placenta, because I heard that with the placenta, it might not be great to [00:31:00] do boomerangs.

    Susan: Boomerangs is like, you record like boomerang, sorry. I recorded like five minutes. So like, if I was doing like the wave or something, and it’s five seconds of me doing the wave, it’ll like, repeat it backwards. So it looks like an ongoing GIF of something. Right. So I was like, I just want to do something fun with my placenta.

    Susan: And then people always talk about placenta and they were like, people are always so grossed out. And I was like, let’s, let’s make it funny. You know? And so I took all these selfies with the placenta and squeezing it and stuff and shaking it and like all that, I was like asking all the nurses to do this.

    Susan: And they’re like, they’re kind of. They didn’t say anything, but I could tell with their eyes that this was unusual. And, uh, and I was like, I was having such a great time because I knew that, um, we weren’t electing to turn them into pills. Cause I heard they’d said this there’s this, you know, a minor bacteria.

    Susan: Risk that could happen where you’re ingesting bacteria. And I was like, [00:32:00] well, if they’re, if I’m not going to see it and I forgot to like call, search and rescue for them to pick it up so that they can like bury the placenta and train dogs to find dead bodies with your place, I’d done. Like I wanted to do that, but I like, it became very low priority.

    Susan: Um, before birth, I was like, let’s do a boomerang. So I’ve got these great boomerangs. We hang out on the hospital. Am I but super hurts. And like, people are like, Oh yeah, the hemorrhoids thing. And like, we bought a donut, pillow, whatever, and it was just like, it really hurts. Like it really hurt, you know? And, you know, I’m like, and do all the things in the bathroom with the witch Hazel and like all the things and like make sure in the spring, you know, you know, and I like taking stuff like every time, every rotation of nurse, like make sure we get all the supplies at home.

    Susan: And I was like, my butt hurts so bad, you know? And, um, And, you know, we finally go home. I can’t believe they, they let us just leave with the baby. So crazy. Uh, we [00:33:00] arrive home, they call us, they’re like, actually art has jaundice. I’m like, okay, what’s what’s John D like, what does that mean for us? Do we go back to the hospital?

    Susan: This is when COVID breaks out. Right? So like, they’re like, no, we’re going to bring people into your home. And they’re going to draw his blood every day. He’s going to be in this like lit. Contraption thing and you see, he can’t be on you, you just feed them really quickly and then put them back in the machine.

    Susan: I’m like, okay. You know, I wasn’t like, I wasn’t really prepared for that, but all my friends were like, Oh John, this is so normal, but it was just like the layer of COVID. And then the layer of like, we’re not in the hospital anymore. Like, it’d be different if we’re still in the hospital and they were just taking care of him, like, I’d feel more secure.

    Susan: Um, so we were dealing with that and I still had problems sitting. Like it hurts so bad. I didn’t want to have him on me. And then, um, and then I just went straight to pumping, but it was just like, it was bad because I didn’t plan for it. Cause I didn’t [00:34:00] ever expect this to happen. So there I am. With the pump and then it’s like, I’m pumping, but I don’t have a pumping bra yet.

    Susan: So I’m just, I have my glasses on, I’m having a robe I’m naked and I’m trying to hold my, the pump. And it’s just like, my glasses keep like slowly slipping down my nose. And so I’m like trying to like move the glasses at my face and like score it out and like no sleep. And I can’t really like sit. And it was just like, that was the beginning of motherhood for me, which was like, Didn’t plan for this, this isn’t hilarious anymore, you know, and I think that’s when it just, it was hard for a number of months of just like trying to figure out how am I going to feed this baby?

    Susan: How is he going to overcome jaundice COVID stuff? You know, like no family has come. Um, so yeah, there’s different parts that were easy and hilarious, but like some parts were just like, it’s just a reckoning with the fact that like, you know, [00:35:00] I’m not in control of everything, you know?

    Jeanette: Yeah. What is that saying?

    Jeanette: I think it’s like a Muhammad Ali saying, everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face. I feel like the moment after you have the baby, maybe not for everyone. I think some people do have super easy babies from day one. But I think for like a lot of women that’s the punch in the face.

    Jeanette: Right? It’s like, you can plan as much as you want, but then when you’re, when you haven’t been sleeping for more than 30 minutes for like three days, um, and your milk doesn’t come and you’re worried about feeding your baby and , blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? It’s like. That’s when you feel like you’ve been punched in the face and you’re just trying to cope.

    Susan: Jeanette. What were like your biggest postpartum challenges? Um,

    Jeanette: I did have some hip issues. Not as bad as your Susan, I didn’t have pain all the time, but, um, I had trouble getting in and out of bed. [00:36:00] So, I mean, I look back and I’m like, how did I do it?

    Jeanette: Right. And I think you guys, I don’t know if you already feel this way, but like, you might feel this way, a year out from now. Cause I’m just like, okay. Um, my husband wasn’t really getting up at night somehow. He’s normally a light sleeper, but the day after we had the kid, he just like turned into.

    Jeanette: Like a sleeping, like a log kind of person. It was like a miracle how tightly? I know. Right. It’s like the baby would snort and I would wake up, like, I’m the sleep? Like the log person before baby. And then the baby comes and the baby snores. And I’m like, what, what happened? And then like, I look over and Jake is just like totally passed out.

    Jeanette: Right. I just wonder, like, how did I get out of bed? Like get him, feed him, change him, put him back. Right. Because I distinctly remember, I had a lot of trouble, um, getting in and out of bed. It was painful. It felt, it felt like kind of nasty. That’s the only way to put it because it’s like the bones in my pelvis were not aligned.

    Jeanette: So it felt like they were kind of grinding [00:37:00] against each other. And so I just I’m like, how did I do that? And, Oh, the other thing I remember too is , I don’t know if you guys experienced this, but anytime I lay flat on my back, I had trouble getting up. I think it’s just because of the hip alignment issue, but also because I had some separation in my abdominal muscles, it’s like, I just didn’t have the same core strength that I did.

    Jeanette: I eventually came back to normal, but for at least six to eight months, after having Isaiah that was hard. Um, biggest challenges. I don’t think I had that hard of a time overall. He was a fairly good eater, a fairly good sleeper, but I do.

    Jeanette: I mean, it’s like the physical recovery. Um, and I think just sometimes like, feeling a little alone, I think, and just, um, even though this was. Prior to COVID. So we had a lot of family and friends, stopping by and stuff, but, you know, everybody just wants to , hold the [00:38:00] baby and coo over the baby and stuff like that.

    Jeanette: And I don’t know why, but I just felt so, um, Like, I was just always worried about the next time he needs to eat, like, is his diaper clean? Like, you know, he needs to sleep now. And it just felt like everybody else was just more Oh, I just want to play with him.

    Jeanette: You know, like, Oh, he’s so cute. Like, Oh, this guest is going to drop by, you know? And I just felt like , I was really stressed out and everybody else was so happy. I felt kind of resentful and like stressed out about that. Um, yeah, I remember feeling like that was, that was kind of hard, you know, even with family, even with your husband, you know,

    Susan: I don’t want to be heteronormative normally, but like, what is it with husbands when they’re just like, yeah, yeah, let’s go make yourself something to eat, you know?

    Susan: And I’m like, no. No, that’s why we have meal train. That’s why we froze all [00:39:00] this stuff. So I don’t have to make any decisions. Are you creating food? Are you like doing, like, he just was like, let’s go on a walk. And I was like, have you not heard of 21 days where I’m not supposed to shower and I should be in bed and I should be like this weird queen cow.

    Susan: Do you know, what is supposed to happen right now? Whatever. Like, like they probably just made that all up. I was like, so for hundreds and thousands of years, women just made up that we need to rest. And he’s like, yeah. I mean, you’re fine. And I’m like, What the hell is wrong? You know, I was like, there is no family here.

    Susan: He’s like, you know, I think I’m just going to take paternity leave for like two or three weeks. And I’m just going to go back like, you know, cause you know, he’s working from home, so it’s like, you got this. And I was like, I got this, like I’m waking up every two to three hours. I’ve now like I’ve asked all my Korean friends to bring me [00:40:00] seaweed soup, right.

    Susan: Like at new Jeanette. And I, like, I made all these containers and I wake up and I had this routine. I like microwave the food. Brew the tea for the milk tea, and for, you know produce milk and like sit down. And like, I had like so many steps to finally get me fed baby, fed me clean and empty and then go to sleep.

    Susan: Like it was just like, it was nonstop. Cause remember I was just on pumping at this point. Right. And Marvin is just on bottle and I’m just like, Yeah. I just don’t think he understood. He like, he’s like, Oh, I’m going to wake up and just do the bottle and like change the diaper, man. I’m so tired, you know?

    Susan: And I’m like, you’re so tired. He’s like, why are you so grumpy? Like, come on, let’s go hang out. I’m like, Hey, hang out. Like, the last thing I want to do is to hang out, you know, and it was just like, he just didn’t get it. Like he just thought it was like, we were still the same. Pre-birth. Yeah, but there was a baby [00:41:00] here, like, and it’s hard for them.

    Susan: Like they don’t have the hormones, like surging and raging through their body. And like slash I was not the queen cow. I wanted to be right. Like, no one was doting on me and it was hard. It was also very frustrating when he didn’t like really get it.

    Jeanette: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s hard because It’s kind of like a traumatic event.

    Jeanette: I mean, I don’t know if that’s exactly the right word, but it’s such a intense, physical, emotional, like risky thing, right. That you just went through and this person who is supposed to be your life partner, the person closest to you, not understanding that you’re hurting actually.

    Jeanette: And like, you need to be recovering. Right. To be in that state and then to have your husband, um, not really understand that that’s very hard. I think I can understand why they don’t completely understand, but it doesn’t make it any less hard. I think it is hard.

    Susan: Right. [00:42:00] It’s so interesting. I got to say like when art was first born and other friends would check in with me and they would say, how are you doing.

    Susan: I would get so annoyed when I saw that question, I felt like it was work. I was like, Oh, do you really want to know how I feel right now? Are you going to really get it? You know? And then sometimes I felt so alone as a new mom. And I was like, why is everyone only asking about the baby? You know, like, I, I, I always wonder, like what advice would I give to friends trying to support new moms?

    Susan: And it’s so confusing. Like the entire process is so not straightforward. You know, like before baby, we come from a world of like, Oh, if you have merit, if you work hard, if you study, like, things will work out. But like when baby comes, it’s like, things are not always predictable and you have to like, kind of work around it.

    Susan: And then also like your moves and hormones, there’s [00:43:00] just like all over the place. It’s like, sometimes I wanted people. To ask me how I’m doing. Sometimes I didn’t, you know, and sometimes I would feel overwhelmed and see it as another task. Like how, knowing what we know now and knowing how confusing it is.

    Susan: What advice would you give to friends trying to support new moms?

    Kate: Uh, I, I think one thing is instead of asking, you know, how are you doing, which is to tell the totally normal thing to do. And I’m sure I did this also to, you know, new mom, friends before just say words of affirmation and don’t expect a response. Right? Like, so I, now I, I text my new mom friends and like, Hey, just thinking of you, you know, um, you can do it.

    Kate: Talk to me whenever you want, you don’t have to respond to [00:44:00] this. Cause I know you’re probably really busy, but just wanted to say I’m thinking of you, just something simple like that. Right. And I think, I mean, for me, I think if I had received something like that, I did it from a couple of friends. It just is enormously uplifting and helpful because you remove the burden of feeling like you need to respond to someone and you don’t have to pretend that you’re like, Oh yeah, everything’s fine.

    Kate: You could feel really shitty. Um, you know, and I think that’s one thing that would be really. Really helpful to keep in mind for new new

    Susan: moms or like one friend of mine. Like, I, I think it was with the tailbone stuff or something and, and a couple of people were like, you’re going to be okay. You’re going to make it through.

    Susan: I would get so angry. I was like, Oh yeah, are you, are you here? To help me and put this and that on my butt. Are you, are you here right now? And I would get so angry and then one friend, she was just like, I’m thinking of you, which was great. And then, [00:45:00] and then I was like, I’m a wreck. And then she was like, let it flow, like let the tears flow or something.

    Susan: And I still remember that text because I was like, she wasn’t trying to fix me. She was just like, yeah. And that was it. And that was what I needed, you know, it was this weird. So just saying, thinking of you, it’s actually quite powerful, right? Because there’s no expectation. There’s no conditionality.

    Susan: It’s not, how are you? And then I have to say, how are you back? You know, like there was no like social demand from that. So I that’s what I love about your statement. What about you, Jeanette? What do you think.

    Jeanette: Yeah, I totally agree with what you guys are saying. I mean, I think it’s just, just keeping in mind that this is probably going to be one of the most vulnerable, needy, hurting time, like in your friend’s life.

    Jeanette: Right. So it kind of is consistent with what you guys are saying in that, you want [00:46:00] to check in, but you don’t do things that are additive and practical, but without any expectation of them doing anything back. Right. Because they can’t,

    Susan: totally. I mean, I got to say one of the most amazing things that happened postpartum was the meal train and both of you dropped off food numerous times. And I got to tell you. My love of my life was like meal, train this bullshit.

    Susan: Like, why are you going to do that? I can just cook everything, which he didn’t. And after meal train started, he was like, this is such a good idea. This is awesome. And I’m like, yo, this is awesome. Isn’t it? You know, and I just got to say food is so nourishing. It’s one less thing for us to think about, you know, um, or like credit for takeout or whatever it is.

    Susan: It’s just like, It’s just the joy of cooking. Like it’s just so many steps, so many steps to [00:47:00] get fed and you have to feed something else. I would say the meal trains were so, so helpful and not bullshit.

    Jeanette: No, not bullshit at all. I’m a big meal train fan. I also remember a friend of mine.

    Jeanette: She was the first one of our close friends to have a kid and. You know, we just go over there. We would bring food. And we would sit across the dining room table from her while she was pumping. And you could hear that like, boom, boom, boom, boom noise. You know what I mean? It’s kind of awkward in the beginning because I, I had, I didn’t have a kid and like, I had never seen any of my friends, like pumping milk.

    Jeanette: Right. But like, we’re

    Susan: like making their tits and you’re like, Whoa.

    Jeanette: Right. And you’re just like, you just are like, okay, you that’s, you know, your friendship is like entering a new stage. Yeah. And, um, you are there to, to like be around for whatever they’re going through.

    Susan: Yeah. I th I think Kate, I saw your tits and then you were like, you’re you’re, I don’t know if it was a wireless [00:48:00] thing and you’re so casual about it.

    Susan: And we were just like in the baby room and I think I hadn’t given birth yet. And I was just like, wow. Yeah, like, We are women. Yeah. It was like when I was a little kid, I was thinking I was nine. I was in the YFCA and we were going there for swim lessons and we w we go into the shower and then these women are just like, their nipples were like giant eyes of a dragon.

    Susan: Like my nipples are still small and there’s just so big and dark. And I was like, Oh my God, what happened to them? You know? And, and the fascination with the body. Cause you know, like. In my culture, in my culture being Vietnamese is like, we don’t really talk about the body. We don’t look at the body. We don’t, we don’t, it’s very shameful in a way.

    Susan: And, and so I never really seen other naked people, you know, and like, even me and my husband, like, we don’t really look at each other’s bodies when we’re having sex, you know, we don’t. And [00:49:00] like, so for me to hang out, I’m like, Hey, I can, she’s like, Oh, you need this and you need this. And then I see her tits and she doesn’t say anything.

    Susan: And I’m like, Oh, my God am I like a pervert, like looking at her tits right now, you know, but it was like, I don’t know what, what it was like for you, Kate, but for me, I was like, Whoa, this, this got really real. Like, we’re definitely in a good friend level now.

    Kate: Oh, I think definitely before I would just like very conscious.

    Kate: I was to be that person in the women’s locker room, like hiding, you know, behind like a tiny towel while I change. And then after you have kids, you’re just like, you know what. Hiding my boobs from everybody else is really the last thing I care about right now. I just, you know, reprioritization of things that are important in your life.

    Susan: Yeah. Like when I walk in my peeing right now, that’s a new priority.

    Jeanette: Um, yeah, I mean, like my father-in-law would like be visiting us and I’d be like, okay, baby needs to eat time to pop out the boob, you know? [00:50:00] I mean, you just are like baby seat. You know, I I’m tired.

    Jeanette: I don’t have energy to worry about what other people think

    Susan: about this? Yeah. It’s like orotic, but at the same time, like bad-ass bitch, you know,

    Jeanette: and then like those covers like thing, you know, those nursing covers just never worked for me because my kids would always fuss under them. Right. And they like.

    Jeanette: I always like, felt like I was suffocating them. So I just, you know, just pull your shirt up, pull your shirt up, pop the boob out. Just

    Susan: stick it in their mouth. Yeah. Yeah. It was a great note tit in, in done.