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On today’s podcast, we are thrilled to share with you an empowering and transformative home birth story from Trish and Mimi Ang.

Trish (she/her) and Mimi (she/her) are first-time parents to their baby boy, Aspen Kai, and they are graduates of the EBB Childbirth Class. Mimi and Trish fell in love three years ago over rock climbing, and pushed up their home insemination plans last year due to COVID. 

We spoke with Trish and Mimi about using an alternative process for their family planning, as well as their refreshing experience taking an EBB Childbirth Class with their doula and EBB instructor, Shalin Butterworth. They also describe their empowering home birth experience (including how they overcame some challenges!) and the supportive care provided by their midwives and doula.

Resources

Learn more about Shalin Butterworth here (https://www.sozenbirthservices.com/). Follow Shalin on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sozenbirthservices/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sozenbirth/).  

Learn more about Birthstream here (https://www.birthstream.com/). 

Learn more about California is Mothers-for-Mothers Postpartum Justice Project here (https://m2mpostpartum.org). 

 Learn more about Chicago Volunteer Doulas here (https://www.chicagovolunteerdoulas.org/). 

Learn more about the Military Birth Resource Network here (https://www.militarybirthresourcenetwork.org/). 

Learn more about 4th Trimester Arizona here (https://4thtrimesteraz.org/). 

Learn more about Postpartum Support International here (https://postpartum.net). 

Transcript

Rebecca Dekker: Hi, everyone. On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk with Trish and Mimi Ang about their empowering and transformative home birth experience. 

Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. My name is Rebecca Dekker and I’m a nurse with my PhD and the Founder of Evidence Based Birth®. Join me each week as we work together to get evidence-based information into the hands of families and professionals around the world. As a reminder, this information is not medical advice. See ebbirth.com/disclaimer for more details. 

Hi, everyone. Today I’m so excited to welcome Trish and Mimi Ang to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. Trish pronouns, she, her and Mimi pronouns, she, her are first time parents to baby boy, Aspen Kai. Mimi gave birth in their home in Davis, California in March, 2021 admits the pandemic. Mimi and Trish fell in love three years ago over rock climbing and bumped up their home and semination plans last year due to COVID in their quote “geriatric eggs”. Mimi works in biotech as a senior manager of operations and Trish is an Engineering Manager at Slack. Welcome Trish and Mimi to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast.

Mimi Ang: Thank you. We’re so happy to be here to share our story. This is Mimi. 

Trish Ang: And yeah, thanks so much. This is Trish and really, really glad to be here. 

Rebecca Dekker: So could you all tell me a little bit about how your plans changed from the pandemic. I think that there was some just things that changed due to COVID. Can you talk about that?

Trish Ang: Yeah, absolutely. So we scheduled our wedding for 7/11. We thought it was a lucky date in 2020. And we were really excited for it. The interesting thing is that Mimi’s parents were in China once the beginning of the pandemic started and we were like, oh no, we might have to adjust things because their parents might not be able to come. They were in lockdown over there. And we didn’t even anticipate like, oh, it was going to spread to the states and then the states were going to be way worse. So I think March hit and then April and we were still like, well, maybe we can push it to September. And then it really hit us and we were like, no, that’s not happening this year. 

The other thing is that we had been planning to go to the Tokyo Olympics for our honeymoon because it’s the first year of our climbing. And that also went out the window. So with all of that, we were like, I guess, we should skip to step three, which is we were going to try and get pregnant after our honeymoon, after coming back from our honeymoon. For us, we have several queer friend couples who have just really struggled. I get even straight couple friends who’ve taken a year or more to get pregnant. So we were like, it just wouldn’t hurt. So see what the options are and start the process. And that’s kind of kicked off for us around May or June of 2020.

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Were you worried-

Trish Ang: Yeah, we’re-

Rebecca Dekker: … Were you worried at all? Because I know you mentioned about the eggs, the egg issue-

Mimi Ang: Oh yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: … in your intro that you sent me.

Mimi Ang: Yeah. Yeah, we were both 36 at the time. I’m 37 now and my eggs were only getting older. And we went in for fertility testing and we got all the normal fertility results were fine. But then when I went into count my eggs, I had a system when my ovaries and then it only had five follicles, whereas Trish had 13 or something like that.

Trish Ang: Yeah. And yeah, we were pretty lucky. All this fertility testing is we hadn’t really heard of it, but they were offered through my words. So, definitely felt privileged to explore these options at all. And because of that, it really determined which of us would go first. I think we’d been planning to have two kids in long-term. And from the moment I met Mimi, she was like, “I want to have kids and I want to carry kids.” And I was like, “Okay, that’s cool.” Then she eventually kind of maybe talk me into considering the option. I definitely was not as excited about going through childbirth.

But yeah, so we decided we should move forward with her getting pregnant first. And then as part of that, we were exploring potential donor options. So Mimi is Chinese and I’m Filipino and we wanted our baby to kind of reflect that. So actually with Mimi going first, we are really lucky that we have a close friend who’s kind of a big brother to me and he’s Filipino and a climber and an awesome guy. And he was willing to be known donor for us. So it’s pretty lucky just thinking through, for most other folks, they have to find an anonymous donor on a sperm bank kind of website and-

Mimi Ang: Which we looked into as well.

Trish Ang: … Yeah.

Mimi Ang: But there were very few choices.

Trish Ang: And it’s extremely expensive. Plus the sperm is frozen. So it decreases the viability by, I forget what the percentage-

Mimi Ang: I don’t know. Like-

Trish Ang: … is like 60%. So something ridiculous. 

Rebecca Dekker: What is the price typically that you were quoted for the anonymous donor sperm? 

Mimi Ang: Well, each IUI injection would have been like $1,200.

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mimi Ang: Yeah. 

Trish Ang: Yeah, and then if you want things on top of that, then yeah, it’s just like the price increases from there. So yeah, we thought we would just kind of try our luck with the “Turkey-based method” to start. So once we determined that we… We did a little bit of paperwork around setting up a known donor agreement with our friend and then the other snag was that this was still the middle of the COVID lockdown. And our friend lives up at the Canadian border basically at the edge of Washington, Northern Washington and we’re in California. So it’s a 12 hour drive or more.

Mimi Ang: It was 16 hours.

Trish Ang: 16 hour drive. So normally when we had considered this at first, we were like, oh, we would just fly back and forth. And that went out the window. So we started researching how to do at home insemination. Mimi watch a ton of YouTube videos.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, just wanted to optimize it so that we didn’t have to make so many of these trips-

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … because if were going to get pregnant and then have our wedding, I didn’t want to be super pregnant by the time our wedding came around still. So when we decided to start in May, we had all the ducks in a row. We made sure that we had syringes and cups and pineapple and pre-seed lube and making sure that all was ready to go. We knew how to use all the tools. Yeah, there was a lot of YouTube educations-

Rebecca Dekker: So you mostly did a lot of self-education, which I feel like 10 years ago, there wasn’t as much information easily accessible about self insemination.

Mimi Ang: Yep.

Rebecca Dekker: You felt like you were able to find a lot of information to help you?

Mimi Ang: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Trish Ang: Yeah, it was really funny. There’s one YouTube tip that was like, definitely eat pineapple after doing the insemination to-

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: … seal the deal. And-

Mimi Ang: And definitely have an orgasm because that helps the sperm go up. 

Trish Ang: … Yeah, causes the contractions or something-

Mimi Ang: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Trish Ang: … So but it was pretty great. I think it was helpful. And we use an ovulation and one of those thermometers to just-

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: … check the basal temperature and figure out when would be the optimal week we should drive up. And try-

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and I had been tracking my cycle for about three months at the time and my cycles are pretty regular. So we went up within a week window of my ovulation and it was, yeah, pretty spot on. My ovulation was on a Saturday and we tried on a Wednesday, a Friday and a Saturday. 

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mimi Ang: And luckily, we got it on the first try. Yeah.

Trish Ang: She came back-

Rebecca Dekker: So a couple of weeks later, you had a positive pregnancy test.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: We came back June, June 10th. We were going out for a-

Trish Ang: Black Lives Matter protest.

Mimi Ang: … Yeah, protest actually. And then we took the test right after and we wanted to be safe. And so we stayed in the car with the protesting.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: But then right after we took the test and found out we were positive and I took the test three times after.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, it was for sure.

Trish Ang: It was like, no way. This cannot happen. And we joked that it was Mimi’s frugal ovaries that-

Mimi Ang: I’m Chinese.

Trish Ang: … she’s really wanted us to not have to-

Rebecca Dekker: I’m going to just save money.

Trish Ang: Yeah. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Wanted to save money.

Mimi Ang: We didn’t want to go make the trip again.

Trish Ang: Or have to resort to an IVF or anything like that down the line. So-

Mimi Ang: Yeah, we were very surprised. 

Trish Ang: Yeah, really just felt grateful that it worked out and it just kind of felt like meant to be almost.

Rebecca Dekker: That sounds like it went amazingly smooth for the process. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, we really couldn’t believe it.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Because right after, we were supposed to take another fertility test to make sure that my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked from the cyst stuff and we actually just-

Trish Ang: We didn’t even-

Mimi Ang: … canceled all those tests-

Trish Ang: … Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … that were following.

Rebecca Dekker: Did you find that care providers were helpful in helping talk with you about this or do they not talk with you about it that much or they were not that knowledgeable?

Trish Ang: We talked to the fertility clinic folks and it felt a little, for one thing, it felt a little bit weird that we had to do all these tests and they recommended it just because we’re a queer couple. And then I guess, it makes sense because we are a little bit older. But it did feel a little fear-mongering. They were like, no, no, we have to do XYZ otherwise this will never work. And they were kind of like, okay, yeah, try your thing, but we’ll schedule your appointments because of course not.

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mimi Ang: Yeah, we had already gone through three or four different types of testing like AMH and LH or I forget what those-

Trish Ang: The different hormones…

Mimi Ang: … hormones tests were.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, it was a lot of testing.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, so it sounds like it all worked out and that you were able to bump forward your baby making plans-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: … for 2020 to have a baby in 2021, which ended up being great timing because we’re just… There’s not much else to do anyways other than to have a baby, right?

Mimi Ang: Exactly.

Trish Ang: Exactly, yeah.

Mimi Ang: And so did our friends.

Trish Ang: Yeah. 

Mimi Ang: All of our friends are getting pregnant now too.

Trish Ang: Yeah, had a lot of friends who had babies around this timeline also.

Rebecca Dekker: So how did you find out about Evidence Based Birth® and the EBB Childbirth Class?

Mimi Ang: In October or something or November.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: We were looking for either continuing with a hospital birth or we’re actually in the middle of moving. I had just gotten a new job in August of 2020 and we had the opportunity to take a relocation up to Vacaville area for my new company. And we considered moving to Davis because it was closer to my parents who are in Sacramento and it’s about 30 minutes away from them. And so we were going to have to switch providers anyway from Sutter Oakland to Sutter Davis at the time. And my experience really with Sutter Oakland wasn’t great. I felt like I was just kind of ushered in and out and I wasn’t given a lot of time to think about my decisions. It was just like, here’s what you need to do. Take this test, do a gestational diabetes test. Now do another one to make sure you’re not diabetic. 

And I was just thinking like, there’s no way I’m diabetic. Why are you making me do it twice as an example? So I just felt like I wasn’t given the time or day to really talk about my feelings about things. And I heard a lot of great things about Sutter Davis too, but I think given my first experience with the OB in Oakland, I really wanted some advocacy for myself and more information. And given that we’re first-time parents, we really didn’t know that much. So I, first of all, looked for a doula just in Davis knowing that we were going to be moving and that we needed support. And looking for that doula on the web was just a long list of white presenting cis-gendered women in Davis. And I was like, okay, this person seems to have a really cool Evidence Based background and she teaches classes. So let’s interview with her. And that person happened to be Shalin Butterworth.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And the moment we met her, first of all, on her website, there was Brooklynn and Hoang’s testimonial-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … who are a biracial couple that you actually had on your podcast. And we were such big fans of their testimonial and it just sounded they felt really, they had a great team, a great doula and a great experience overall.

Trish Ang: Yeah, we were also really encouraged and just excited to see that Shalin offered a scholarship for BIPOC folks or LGBTQ folks. And-

Mimi Ang: Yeah, to take her classes.

Trish Ang: … we didn’t use it because we’re pretty privileged and being able to afford a class without that. But I just think it’s such an important thing, especially-

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: … hearing stats from your podcasts on how much it impacts positive outcomes of birth. So it was really, really glad to see that resource.

Mimi Ang: So we first decided, well, it’d be kind of low commitment just to take this class with her and see what she’s like as a person. But then even before the first class, our first conversation with her, we just felt such a great connection that we signed up to have her as our doula as well. 

Trish Ang: Yeah. 

Mimi Ang: So-

Trish Ang: She was just, I think our first call, she was just so warm and it felt like we’d known her for years. And she was just like, asked us about our fears and anxieties around home birth and immediately put us at ease. And I was just like, wow. My experience with childbirth is I’ve seen my sister go through it too and I just remember her curled up in pain and being like, it’s okay, it’ll be fine. And not knowing anything past that. So I had a lot of fears and especially had a lot of fears that Mimi was considering home birth and-

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, what brought you to that, Mimi? Was it your negative experience with the OB and the other town that led you to consider home birth?

Mimi Ang: A couple of things. Yeah, I had always in the back of my mind considered home birth. I think the seed was planted in 2010 or something when I first watched this documentary called The Business of Being Born. And I think a lot of people kind of think about it from that perspective of the healthcare system just not being in your best interest when it comes to birth sometimes. And that previously in the 50s, there was a lot more home births than there are now and now there’s a lot more cesarean and there’s… We wonder why that is. And so I always just felt like, huh, maybe a home birth would be a good way to go for me. And then when I became pregnant, I started talking to my family. 

And a lot of my family members actually had unmedicated births or actually a cousin of mine had a home birth accidentally. But a lot of them had unmedicated birth and I thought, well, maybe it’s okay. It runs in my family that I can withstand the pain and they were healthy enough to do it. And with COVID, I actually had a lot of anxiety about going into the hospital just for my prenatal checkups. And this was around January, 2021 when things were really, really bad. And so I made the decision then to go into a home birth instead of continuing with Sutter Davis, even though I had continued care with Sutter Davis and felt they were great and they would have been just as good I think as a backup option.

Trish Ang: As a backup option, yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, so how did you find a midwife then for the home birth?

Mimi Ang: We asked our doula and she recommended a couple of midwives in the area. Then we found Birthstream in Davis and they were a team of four midwives and a student. And they rotated through and kind of acted as backup for each other. And we thought, wow, what a great idea to have backups in case you have multiple births to go to.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And then we got to meet each and every one of them and they were all really kind. And-

Trish Ang: Yeah-

Mimi Ang: … they spent hours with us-

Trish Ang: … it was really like-

Mimi Ang: … at our first meeting.

Trish Ang: … night and day between the OB appointments at the Sutter Hospital versus that one was a 10 minute in and out kind of thing. And then our first meeting I remember with Leslie I think, she came in and sat on the floor in our bedroom where we were going to have the home birth and just talk to us for over an hour just kind of exploring how we felt about things and how Mimi has been doing throughout her pregnancy and really got in touch and built a trusting relationship and it was-

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and I would say I was not totally convinced I was going to have a home birth until after we graduated from EBB. I think that’s when I was like, okay, I’m pretty confident that one, I’m healthy enough to do this. I had to be between 37 weeks and 42 weeks. I had to only have one child. They don’t do home births with twins. And I had to have an unbreached baby to be able to do it at home. So I was like, those are all what I am right now. As long as that happens, I can do it at home safely. And two, I felt like because COVID was just getting worse, I really needed to make the decision to do it at home.

Trish Ang: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah, because you’re right. There was a big surge in California-

Mimi Ang: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: … early 2021.

Trish Ang: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: So what was your experience like taking the EBB Class with Shalin?

Mimi Ang: It was really great. We had all virtual conversations, trainings throughout I think four or five weeks. And Shalin is just all about sharing her knowledge, but also being super open about answering any questions that we had. So we spent 1/2 the time in the class talking through the material, but then 1/2 the time just answering questions or coming up, talking about our anxieties. And there was five or six people, other couples on the call every time. And so we all got to talk to each other and see what other people’s experiences were like as well.

Trish Ang: Yeah, I think too what really resonated for me is all the language was so inclusive and that it was just so refreshing. I think exploring a lot of things both around getting pregnant and around even just when we were getting married, everything is so heteronormative and people assume like, “Oh, where’s your husband, who’s the dad?” And so it was so nice to hear language like “the non-birth parent” or “chestfeeding” and helped us feel really welcomed in the class. And that was… I also really appreciated hearing the details on the impact of systemic racism on healthcare and how that affects Black mothers and birthing folks. So it just really resonated with our values and all the content was so informative and helped me feel really confident. I’m definitely one of those passive patients normally in my life where I go into the doctor and I’m like, okay, I guess, that seems fine. I trust her authority.

Mimi Ang: I’m the opposite. I’m the researcher. I have a science and engineering background-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … and I always do way more research than I need to going into a checkup. And I’m the doctor’s worst nightmare because I’m asking them all these questions that feels challenging to them I think.

Trish Ang: Yeah, so that’s really why Mimi brought us into this class, but I think I got the most out of it. Just I had no idea what I could do as a supporting partner other than in the movies, the partner’s just holding her hand and then the person is screaming their head off or whatever. And it totally empowered me to understand there are a million things I could do and there’s a million things I should do. And this is actually, like I mentioned, we have a lot of friends having babies and now I feel like beta spraying. All this information that people like, oh my God, try and do this. Take this class. And you can do comfort measures and trying to really help other people now with all this information that we’ve learned from you. So it’s been such a great change.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, for me, it was more just validating about the concerns I had about the healthcare system and showing that I could advocate for myself and it’s not a bad thing to ask questions and give informed consent that’s actually informed. A lot of times I think we’re just told to do things without being explained why and I’m the kind of person that always asks why and what’s the risk. And so the class really validated that, “Okay, here there is risk and here’s the level of risks that we’re looking at. And you can choose not to do it, but this was what might happen.”

Trish Ang: Yeah, this actually came up recently for us. Mimi, her dad recently found out that he has prostate cancer and her parents are from China and don’t speak English that well. So I think they had a very disempowering experience dealing with a doctor who was just trying to prescribe something and get them out of there. And luckily, Mimi I think probably in part because of this class, we were like, wait a minute, questioning that too.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, I did my own research online. I talked to a lot of family physicians and they’re like, no, that’s definitely the wrong treatment plan for early stage cancer. And so I went back, fought with the doctor and we ended up getting a second opinion. And now he’s no longer going with the first treatment plan, which I think would have been pretty bad for him at the time because he’s still young and has a lot of life to live. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: So-

Trish Ang: It’s just really makes me want an Evidence Based class for everything now. Something for cancer, something for pediatrics. 

Mimi Ang: … Yeah.

Trish Ang: And there’s so many potential black holes out there of things we don’t know.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: It’s so validating to hear you say that because it is one of our primary goals for people taking the class is to kind of inspire a love of learning evidence-based information about all different kinds of topics so that you can take those kinds of skills and researching and educating yourself and advocating and then apply it to other aspects of your life, particularly with your elders. That’s been really important in my life and having a background where I worked as a hospital nurse and I don’t talk about this a lot. But I used to work in a medical surgical unit where we had a lot of elderly patients and people with chronic medical conditions. And I saw all the things that fell through the cracks and went wrong. And you know how important it is to have a family member there with you to advocate for you-

Mimi Ang: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: … and he’s willing to ask questions. So we try not to sugar coat in the class. Obviously we’re not anti-healthcare because-

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: … I’m a nurse, but we don’t sugar coat things either. We say, you have to be able to advocate for yourself in any kind of system that you walk into. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and I was thinking how can we advocate for ourselves during the labor process because we’re both so stressed out? I’m in the moment turning in and then Trish was super stressed out. It was so good that we had Shalin, even though we had the “golden ticket with our midwives”-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … but had we been in the hospital, Shalin would have been so important to advocate for us because we wouldn’t have been able to even speak out even if we had the knowledge-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … just because of how fight or flight kind of stressed out we were in.

Trish Ang: Yeah, even with our home birth, there were some moments where Shalin still interjected and was, “Hey, wait a minute. Is that really what you want or was it this other thing that we had talked about in our birth plan?” And it really provided kind of an opportunity for me to-

Mimi Ang: Speak up.

Trish Ang: … Yeah, to speak up and do, yeah, do what we actually wanted for the birth.

Rebecca Dekker: So take us to the end of your pregnancy. We know you were planning a home birth. What was your mindset like right before you had the baby?

Mimi Ang: We were really stressed out because we had just moved from Oakland to Davis and we were going through home renovation at the time. We didn’t have a kitchen, we didn’t have cabinets, we didn’t have floors, we didn’t have paints. So all that had to be done while we were moving in still. So house was under construction.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: I was seven months pregnant at the time and kind of one thing led to another, but there was a lot of really stressful moments towards the end where I was approaching my due date. And because we didn’t have a kitchen, I was using a propane stove in the kitchen and I did this really bad thing which is install propane canister in the middle of lighting and it blew up basically on fire. And I was crying using the fire extinguisher, totally stressed out, putting the fire out. And I was just in tears because I thought I was putting my baby in danger doing this thing that was, it was an accident, but also because we just didn’t have a kitchen and I was desperate to cook. So that led to a lot of cortisol. And my midwives were like, well, now the baby is probably going to be late. Yeah… 

Trish Ang: Mimi got poison oak. We took a babymoon up just near Sebastopol near the coast and we went mushroom foraging and Mimi got poison oak. And it also really aggravated the end of her pregnancy and caused more stress. On top of that, you had pretty bad hemorrhoids throughout. Then third trimester. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and they were very painful, size of grapes hemorrhoids. So the three things I think added up and the baby was just very, very late. We were approaching 41 1/2 weeks and I knew that by 42 weeks, we would have to go to the hospital. So we were doing everything we could in the books to try to stimulate labor, to induce labor naturally. So we were taking evening primrose and alfalfa and Danny Lyon tea. 

Trish Ang: And we got acupuncture a few times and had these ear beads to do acupressure on your ears.

Mimi Ang: We did the acupuncture with a pineapple, yeah. 

Trish Ang: Yeah, basically.

Mimi Ang: Nipple stimulation. And then towards the end, our midwives gave us some options like castor oil. And I was like, no, I’m not doing that. It’s going to give me diarrhea. And we started walking a lot more, even though I had really bad hemorrhoids and it was painful.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And then at 41 1/2, I started getting contractions, early contractions for about a day and it felt super minimum kind of light period cramps. And my hemorrhoids were so bad that it kind of masked everything anyway. So by the time I actually felt pain was pretty much approaching active labor and it was the middle of the night, Tuesday night. And we had just finished watching an episode of Netflix and I was like, okay, I can’t really sleep now. They’re getting pretty heavy and intense.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: So around 1:00 AM, I was still awake and we called our doula. 

Trish Ang: Yeah. Yeah, I think leading up to this, we definitely got the room ready. So the only settled room in the house with all the other reno going on was our bedrooms. So we had a tub just waiting to go there propped up against the wall. And then they gave us this giant duffle bag of a birth kit thing with tarps and other kind of supplies and then a box of medical supplies. And then they gave us a scavenger hunt list basically of things we needed to prepare in the house of a sheet pan and a pot for boiling water and all these other things. So those are all ready to go in the room.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, because I was already 41 1/2 weeks pregnant, I had done everything to prepare for this baby to come. And we were just waiting around twiddling our thumbs-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … basically organizing everything in the baby room-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … and had nothing to do.

Trish Ang: But luckily it gave us the time to also just prepare the space emotionally. Mimi put up photos of her mom in childbirth and her aunt in childbirth and photos of just some adventures that Mimi did the PCT a few years back. And so photos from those adventures or other climbing trips and photos of our loved ones. And Shalin gave us string lights. So we put those-

Mimi Ang: Affirmations.

Trish Ang: … candles. Oh yeah, she printed these really sweet affirmation cards. And we put those around the room as well. So everything was ready. And we were just kind of chilling and waiting.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and I had no real signs of going into labor. Except I had a little bit of a bloody show, but my water hadn’t broken or anything.

Trish Ang: Yeah. It’s funny, but we had appointment with the midwives when they were like, so castor oil or Davis Sutter, these are what we’re going to have to do by Sunday if the baby doesn’t show up. And that night was when the first kind of real contractions happened. And then the next morning it intensified. And then yeah, as Mimi said, by that night, then it was real, the real deal.

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative) So when did the midwives get there?

Mimi Ang: So after Shalin got here, I had the TENS unit working to bring some relief to the contractions. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: I had a shower Shalin recommended and we just felt really, really good. I really wanted to hold off on calling the midwives because in my mind I was like, I don’t want to waste their time if it’s going to take a while because they say it’s supposed to be like 12, 24 hours in your first baby.

Trish Ang: Yeah, we didn’t have a couch or any furniture in the living room. So we just felt bad. we didn’t want them having to just hang out waiting around for us or even in calling Shalin, knowing from both of these groups of people that they were like, no, absolutely. It’s okay to call us literally anytime. That’s our job. I still was like, oh. I don’t know. And I was-

Mimi Ang: It was in the middle of the night.

Trish Ang: …. dilly dallying. And yeah, it was 2:00 AM when we called Shalin. And then I think five-

Mimi Ang: 4:00 AM. Yeah.

Trish Ang: Four or 5:00 AM when we called the midwives.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: It kind of makes it more real when you have to call someone, right? 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Sure.

Trish Ang: Yeah, definitely.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, so with Shalin here, we did all the walking, try to walk down the hall and I couldn’t really do it. I was like, are you serious? You want me to walk right now? And I think I was, looking back, I was definitely in active labor, but at the time I was like, no, don’t call the midwives.

Trish Ang: Yeah, and she was vocalizing more. Learning the cues from the class of, oh, she’s turning in labor. She can barely talk at this point. And I really knew things were getting real-

Mimi Ang: I was-

Rebecca Dekker: Nauseous. 

Trish Ang: … Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … Yeah, nauseous. I couldn’t eat anything.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: I could barely drink much.

Trish Ang: It’s interesting I guess, that we learn so much all these techniques from the class too. And yet in the moment, it was still like, I think I was just getting very frantic and as soon as Shalin got there, she immediately came up to Mimi, touched her forehead and was, relax your jaw, relax your… Breathe and-

Mimi Ang: Take deep breath.

Trish Ang: … open your mouth and immediately changed the tone of everything happening. And that was so… Because it helped me calm down, I remember what I was supposed to do to help Mimi. And even with the hip squeezes, I had been doing them just kind of harshly on her. And when I saw Shalin do it, she just kind of slowly applied pressure and then slowly release pressure with each wave and then kind of rubbed her hips to make it less intense on Mimi. And that made such a huge difference too. So-

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: … really, really-

Mimi Ang: It felt so good- 

Trish Ang: … helpful.

Mimi Ang: … with pain management. Yeah, I was definitely in a lot of pain by about 5:00 AM and I was like, can we get the midwives here to set up the tub ASAP? 

Trish Ang: Yeah. 

Mimi Ang: So it took about 45 minutes to just fill the tub and I couldn’t get in until 6:00 AM. So by 6:00 AM, I was finally in the tub feeling a little bit better. But the contractions were so bad that I was like, it was hard for me to stay in there. And for a moment I was like, no, let’s go to the hospital. I can’t do this.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: It’s been so long. And I don’t even know if I’m dilated yet.

Trish Ang: We had a safe word, which was… Because Mimi didn’t want any interventions basically other than these comfort measures and her safe word was banana. And she was… There was a moment in the tub where she was holding onto me and just sobbing and like, “I don’t want to say banana, but I might have to say banana.” And then this whole process has also kind of been, we’ve been joking that I’m going next in two or three years. So as somebody who can also get pregnant, I’ve been kind of teetering back and forth like, oh my God, can I go through this? I don’t know if I could do that. 

Mimi Ang: So this was-

Trish Ang: All that seems so intense.

Mimi Ang: … This was her trial run to see if I can make it. And if everything went well, maybe she would consider a home birth. So-

Trish Ang: Yeah, so Mimi’s been-

Mimi Ang: … I felt like I had the pressure to make it smooth. And then in the moment, I think during transition, I had a break from my contractions and as the sun was coming out, I was like, wow, this is so beautiful and-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … I felt a sense of calm. And-

Trish Ang: Surrounded by-

Mimi Ang: … I finally opened my eyes and I looked around.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And I was like, wow, this is so peaceful. And somehow I got to a point where I was like, “Hey, you know what? This doesn’t hurt at all. And all the noises I’m making, that’s just for effect”. And I was joking and the midwives were all laughing. And I was like, “Just kidding.”

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Just so you know it’s… Yeah.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: We can do it.

Trish Ang: But it was just really sweet.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Even leading up to the home birth because so many people had told us no way. I had a friend, she almost bled out and it was so good they were at the hospital and all these things. So in the back of my mind before everything started, I was like, well, we could go into this and I could lose my wife and my baby. And then I’ll just be stuck alone and this nagging fear. And yet when the midwives came, they consistently would come in and check the heart, the, I forget what the-

Mimi Ang: Baby heart’s.

Rebecca Dekker: Terms.

Trish Ang: … Yeah, the audio thingy and just be like, oh nope, everything’s good. Everything looks perfect. This is totally normal. And just completely put me at ease. I didn’t even worry after that point. And-

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: … they were just so kind and so knowing about everything. And I think when Mimi was in the tub and it was getting hard for you, we were doing the cold towels and rotating through drinks, but you just didn’t feel like you were making any progress and-

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and the midwives said, “Well, do you want a cervical check?” And I was like, “Ah, what if it’s not progressing?” I don’t want to find out that I’m like not dilated at all because if that’s the case, then I definitely can’t do this because I already feel tired. And I don’t know if I can go on anymore. And they said, “Well, why don’t you go ahead and just touch yourself while you’re in the tub.”  And so I reached down and I touched myself and I was like, that’s weird. I don’t feel anything hard. It’s like squishy. And I feel like that’s my cervix. So I’m not even dilated. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And they’re like, no, no, no. Why don’t you get out so we can check you. So finally I got out of the tub around 8:00 AM and when they checked me, they were like, “Nope, that’s your baby’s head.” And it was squishy because it was in the water bag still.

Trish Ang Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Oh.

Mimi Ang: So I was like, oh, thank God. I’m like, I can’t, yeah, I couldn’t believe it.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: I was just so surprised.

Rebecca Dekker: You’re almost to the end.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: At the end.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and I had the urge to push. So I was kind of like, I didn’t know what was going on why I would not have been fully dilated.

Trish Ang: Yeah, and then I think getting out of the tub really helped just provide more gravity and move things forward because as soon as that happened, Mimi was on bed. She tried both hands and knees and then on her back.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: And it was just so funny. So there were five women in this room basically and holding, everybody was holding a different limb. And we were trying different like-

Mimi Ang: Angle.

Trish Ang: … right leg up, but left leg down or left leg tucked in and just all these asymmetrical positions to help move the baby forward and-

Mimi Ang: And one of the midwives had my hemorrhoids held with a warm compress because I was afraid if I pushed, I was going to explode my hemorrhoids because I was in so much pain.

Trish Ang: Yeah, that was really good with lighter came too.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: So really helpful. 

Mimi Ang: So I pushed for about an hour and a half in different positions and didn’t feel like I was making a lot of progress. I remember thinking, oh my God, he stuck or the baby’s stuck at the time. We didn’t know the gender of the baby.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And what if the shoulders are impacted or something, why is it not coming down? I was really running out of energy. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And so finally I was like, okay, let me try on hands and knees again because I feel like that gives the baby more room because my hips were feeling like they were going to explode.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: They were just so tight and felt like as the baby was moving down, it was squeezing my hips out. And even just the hip squeezes were no longer working for me because I felt like I had bruises on my hips from being squeezed so much. 

Trish Ang: Yeah, that was my opportunity too because before that, when Mimi was on her back, I was behind her and holding her and massaging her shoulders, but I wanted to catch the baby. And the midwives at that point were like, “Oh, I think you’re in a good position there. So we’ll catch the baby. Don’t worry about it.” And that’s when Shalin was like, “I don’t know. Maybe we can rearrange things.” So when Mimi got up, I was able to get back to kind of catching position too so that it was really perfect and worked out really well.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, in the moment that Trish went back there, I think gave me the mental permission to push harder because also I knew she wanted to catch the baby and I was like, well, I don’t want to push too hard until she got back there. And then right when she got back there, a couple of big pushes, I got the baby out kind of like hike, hike.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Yeah, the midwives had been using a mirror too to help Mimi kind of see what was happening.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: And when I finally got out there so I could see, it was the coolest thing. It was just like this blue, glowing bubble with this massive hair underneath the nose. Looked like a little space helmet or something. It was just so, so cool.

Rebecca Dekker: At least the bag of waters was still-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: … intact. 

Trish Ang: Intact.

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mimi Ang: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Trish Ang: Intact. And I’d never seen anything like this. And I know a lot of people were warning us. It’s really traumatizing. You might pass out. Don’t get too… It’s like… But I was just in awe and so amazed to see how strong Mimi was, how resilient she’d been through the whole thing. And knowing her legs were camping or her hips were hurting and everything and she was still kind of continuing on. This is kind of classic Mimi I would say. She really enjoys type two fun, which is where you’re suffering through it and have a really amazing outcome. I mentioned she’d done the PCT before and we rock climb a lot. So we’ve been using all these visualization techniques to remind her, you can do this. You’ve hiked through the desert without water. You’ve done all these things. Your body is capable of doing this. And just being able to witness it, it was really, really inspiring for me. And yeah, it makes me love her so much more just knowing what she’s done for our family and all the pain, even through postpartum, everything that she’s gone through is so amazing. So-

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and Trish and I had done one big epic climb together and she would use those words reminding me of that climb as imagery when I was really struggling and thinking, “Okay, this is not going to work. It’s going to last forever. I don’t know if I could do it”. She would just say, “Hey, we’re almost at the top. You can see the bottom. We’re about to head down.” And she was just continuing to hold me and giving massages the whole time without any breaks for the full seven hours. And I was just like, oh my God, I need to hurry up.

Trish Ang: Yeah. Yeah, I didn’t realize, but I was so wrecked for the next couple of days. Every muscle hurt. I was just constantly… There were points when because Shalin and I would tag team, but around the tub where neither of us could reach both of her hips at once, we were just each pushing one hip. So all of my arms hurt, my legs hurt from bracing. Yeah, it was a pretty intense workout I guess. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: So the water never broke until his shoulders came out and then the whole team was splashed with his waters.

Trish Ang: Yeah, it was… I don’t know why, but I… So Shalin took video of this luckily and I got a time-lapse of the whole event, which was really fun just to kind of watch back and see. But the video of the actual baby carriage, I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate this, but I was like, oh my God, there’s a baby. I was like, it’s a baby. Where did this come from?

Mimi Ang: And he did a somersault-

Trish Ang: Yeah, he’s coming.

Mimi Ang: … coming out. He was definitely like-

Trish Ang: We found out he had a short cord, which is-

Mimi Ang: … Yeah.

Trish Ang: … an asynclitic.

Mimi Ang: He was asynclitic.

Trish Ang: Asynclitic.

Mimi Ang: So his head was a little tilted, came out and the midwives were saying like, he was born at six pounds, 10 ounces. But his head made it look like or feel like a 10 pound baby because he was-

Rebecca Dekker: Because of the way he was angled.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: So midwives explained why it was a little bit more difficult for you at the end with-

Trish Ang: Yeah, absolutely. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, an hour and a half of pushing. I did not imagine that it would be that bad. 

Trish Ang: Yeah. Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, and then I had some second degree tear. So I had some stitches and definitely a lot of pain in the postpartum because of that.

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mimi Ang: Yeah. 

Rebecca Dekker: So what was it finally having baby on the outside? 

Trish Ang: Oh my God.

Mimi Ang: Amazing. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: We were crying.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: We were like, oh my God, it’s a boy. What do we do?

Trish Ang: Yeah, we had no idea. Oh yeah, and I mean, we’re both cis women. And I was like, I don’t know how to deal with a boy. I don’t understand anything that happens down the line. 

Mimi Ang: She only has girl nieces. 

Trish Ang: Yeah, we have nieces. So yeah. 

Mimi Ang: But we learned.

Trish Ang: Yeah, I mean, eight weeks in now, we’re like, okay. He’s peed on me a ton, but we’re getting way better at them.

Mimi Ang: Anticipating.

Trish Ang: Yeah, and knowing how to take care of them at least as a baby for now.

Rebecca Dekker: I don’t know if you use this trick, but I learned that the exposure to air is what triggers them to pee. So you open the diaper and then let them get some air down there and then put the diaper back on top. 

Mimi Ang: No.

Rebecca Dekker: And then that catches the pee as they inevitably go. And then you change it. So-

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: That was my trick.

Trish Ang: That’s a good one.

Mimi Ang: I’ve also heard the trick where you put the wet wipe on top of the penis and that triggers a little pee also

Trish Ang: with cold.

Mimi Ang: … with cold.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, cold or air either works. So you have this amazing little boy. What was your postpartum experience like? 

Mimi Ang: Oh my God, amazing.

Trish Ang: Oh men, this is the other incredible thing about one home birth and two midwives. We were just in bed. I still once in a while, I’m, holy shit. Everything happened here when we were in bed and I’m like, this is right where this baby came out. And-

Mimi Ang: Even the day of the birth-

Trish Ang: … Yeah. 

Mimi Ang: … after everything happened, they cleaned up while we were in bed with the baby trying to nurse, learning how to nurse and doing skin to skin-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … during that golden hour. They just took care of everything. They cleaned the kitchen, they cleaned our bedroom. It looked like nothing had happened by the time they left.

Trish Ang: The best part of the time-lapse is you can see all this happening. You can see them come in. And Shalin helped set up the tab and then they filled the tub. And then there’s this immediate eraser of everything. They just… The midwives mentioned somebody called them a pit crew. They just come in and instantly clean everything up. But there’s a moment where I’m holding the baby and I’m lying in bed. And they changed the bed with me in the bed still. And they just scooted me over and then scooted the sheets over. And then it’s this funny rotation. And then yeah, they did the baby check just at the foot of our bed. And we just stayed in bed I think the entire day barely got up.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: And I remember just laying there and Mimi and the baby were sleeping. And outside the window, it was raining and then it started hailing. And it was just so real and magical and just these incredible women had come and been so supportive and loving and so kind to us throughout this entire process. And then helped us and helped make sure we were okay. And then just excuse themselves. And then let us be a family unit together.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, but they were there the next day.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: That was the first baby checkup and mama checkup. And they came three times in the first week and then they came once every two weeks after that. And so we were constantly being looked after and we were asked how we were doing every time they came and we didn’t have to leave the house.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And during COVID, that was the best. And also during postpartum because I had a really hard time walking around the first three weeks even. And I was just like, oh my gosh, thank goodness. I don’t have to drive anywhere right now.

Trish Ang: Yeah, I didn’t even know that this isn’t a thing that-

Mimi Ang: Hospitals.

Trish Ang: … normal hospitals offer. For the actual birthing parent, they don’t really check up on them until six weeks. And I’m like, but you just went through such a traumatic event. And how could you not… It seemed like such an important thing that they were constantly there helping tend to your wounds and check your stitches and all these things. So-

Rebecca Dekker: And even with a hospital birth, it would be helpful if there was home visits afterwards.

Trish Ang: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: So my sister’s a family doctor and she’s one of the only doctors I know who still makes home visits. And she always does home visits with her newborn patients. 

Trish Ang: That’s amazing. Yeah. 

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, and it’s really important, she says, it’s really important for all the reasons you just said, it’s hard for you to leave the home. You’re recovering. And then she gets to come to you and it just makes all the difference.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Trish Ang: And I found out too, so Birthstream, they do postpartum visits even if you don’t have a home birth now.

Rebecca Dekker: Yes.

Trish Ang: So that’s such a nice offering and definitely something I’m going to tell our friends about and stuff. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah. 

Trish Ang: It’s so nice. I don’t even know. I was joking with my friends about how they just kind of tucked us into bed and gave us a plate of snacks and then left. And they were all like, I want that just normally not because I’m pregnant just because it seems so nice. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah. 

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, I don’t know why people don’t consider home births more, but I hope that our story does inspire people. I know that cost is one of the things, but Birthstream actually takes insurance. They take our insurance. And if you don’t have insurance, they take a cash pay option as well. And I can imagine that it’s a lot less expensive than the hospital will charge.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Trish Ang: And just really impacted I think our mental health and made us feel way more safe throughout the entire process. I totally would agree. It was a golden to get options. Everything that we had learned from your class and when they like asked us about it, they were like, “Oh, what do you want for vitamin K?” You’re like, “Ooh, how do you feel about circumcision?” And they were totally aligned with all of our decisions. They were like, yep, that seems totally fine. And we’re happy to provide that option and stuff like that. So-

Rebecca Dekker: Do you have any advice for people listening who are planning on entering birth or parenthood soon?

Mimi Ang: I mean, I think if you have the privilege to do a home birth, I mean, if you don’t have any complications with your pregnancy, it’s definitely an option that you could consider. And I think that just having that as an option makes you think about how to advocate for yourself more so. And you can always go to the hospital as an emergency backup plan. But yeah, I think having that as an option and being able to think about what are your choices, what is it that’s most beneficial for you and your family instead of just thinking, oh, I have to just go to the hospital. I know it’s not available to everyone and that maybe there’s no midwives in their area, but it is becoming I think more popular, especially with COVID.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And hopefully it’ll stick around more as laws change because I know there’s a lot of barriers to midwives practicing just because of the laws that the medical community has put in place.

Trish Ang: Yeah, personally as someone who is planning on getting pregnant in a few years, this definitely changed my opinion completely. I was started off in the camp of, I don’t know. Maybe hell no. And at this point, I’m like, that was such an empowering and incredible experience that Mimi went through and I think I want to try that. And I think that maybe my body can handle that. And I guess, that is my takeaway from this is that, I mean, we’re just regular people also. I feel like anybody’s bodies can do this, any breathing parent is capable of doing this, even the TV and media makes it seem like, oh, epidural is the only way to go. And even if we had done an unmedicated birth in a hospital, I think it would have been possible. And I’m just so surprised that it’s something that I am saying right now because it was not at all open to that opinion before.

Mimi Ang: I think the media just has normalized Pitocin and epidurals as the way to go if you don’t want pain. But your body’s totally capable of making all the oxytocin that you need to get through it. And you just kind of block it out after. So it’s one time in your life that you go through this really, really amazing experience.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: And it is empowering because after the birth, I was like, wow, I could do anything. I feel like a rock star. 

Trish Ang: Yeah, especially-

Mimi Ang: And I got through it.

Trish Ang: … It’s funny. Mimi compare this on a pain scale and she was like, oh, the birth, at least it was done. And then postpartum was an entire, very really painful experience.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: And getting to see all of this, I’m like, hey, I’m so impressed with all parents ever in the world because of the things that people do for breastfeeding and-

Mimi Ang: Oh yeah.

Trish Ang: … taking care of these babies. It’s really in awe and respect of new found respect for folks.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, the other advice is to get a doula-

Trish Ang: Oh yeah.

Mimi Ang: …. if it’s accessible to you and you have the ability to because like I said before, when you’re in the moment, if we were in the hospital, even though we had the knowledge from Evidence Based Birth®, we would not have been able to be in the right mindset to speak up for ourselves I think. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to for myself. So just having that third party person to check in with you, to advocate for you, to give you a helping hand with all the comfort measures like hip squeezes, give you a break, give my wife a break from her duties, that was super, super helpful.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: Yeah., I feel like-

Rebecca Dekker: I was very super amazing listening to your story. I’ve just loved every minute of it. So thank you so much for letting us vicariously experience your birth with you. That was so beautiful. Do you have any questions for me? Is there any way I can help you today?

Trish Ang: Yeah, I guess, we had two things. I really… Going through this experience knowing that the healthcare system has such inequity, how do we as regular people advocate for more people to have access to midwives, to doulas, especially like postpartum care? I know we’re really lucky that both of our employers gave us a very generous bonding leave with our baby, but I know that other folks have to go back to work after two or three weeks or whatever the minimum amount is. And that’s just wild to me knowing that Mimi was barely able to walk at that point. So I’m just curious how we can help advocate for that.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, so that’s a great question. And I was reaching out to my network to look for resources for you. So there’s a couple of different topics about postpartum that are really important. One is obviously postpartum care and having increased visits and support. Another is postpartum doulas. That’s a really important option. Another access issue is to nutrition. Nutritious food plays a really important role in healing as you may have experienced, experiencing a tear or if you’ve had surgery, having nutritious food. And then like you said, there’s also access to midwives and maternity leave or gestationally repair natal leave for both the birthing body and their partner. And so there’s a variety of organizations working on this. One thing that I found interesting that you might appreciate is because looks like it’s based in California is Mothers-for-Mothers Postpartum Justice Project.

Mimi Ang: Oh.

Rebecca Dekker: And their website is m2mpostpartum.org. And you can look at, they started in 2014 and they kind of have had different phases that they’ve worked for. They initially focused on publishing recipes for postpartum of immigrant and refugee Asian American women. And they published a cultural multi-lingual recipe book that features different Asian recipes for traditional postpartum. And then phase two, they created a website. They created a course at UC Berkeley. They hosted a summit and they defined postpartum justice, which I haven’t seen defined elsewhere. So they define postpartum justice as “the set of values forming the foundation of postpartum care that is fair and equitable. It is free from sexism, racism and the healthcare system based on profit. Postpartum Justice recognizes society’s collective responsibility for all parents of new babies. It distills the postpartum wisdom of the past and transforms it to serve the future.”

So it looks like now they’re moving into their phase three projects, which includes “Nourish” which is rebuilding a community to support new moms in the Black and Indigenous communities by making postpartum nourishment and food accessible and available and affordable as well as other projects that they’re doing. So that looks like a really cool option. And so one thing that I encourage people to do whenever you want to get involved is go see what is being done locally near you. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but find people who are already doing the work and then ask them how you can help donate, get involved, get on their email lists so you get their updates, just kind of basic starting to educate yourself on what’s going on because there’s lots of networks, people and we can list some of them in the show notes.

There’s association in Chicago called Chicago Volunteer Doulas that deploys postpartum doulas into the community at no cost to anyone who needs it. The Military Birth Resource Network is advocacy group advocating for maintaining continuity of care through military moves. There’s so many other places. There’s one called 4th Trimester Arizona. It’s a nonprofit shedding light on what postpartum really looks like. There’s also a really important foundation called Postpartum Support International or PSI. They have a website called postpartum.net and they have virtual parent support groups for LGBTQ families, military families, dads, partners, BIPOC families, Spanish-speaking groups, Black mom groups, et cetera. 

So I think especially with COVID, there’s been a wealth of virtual groups popping up to support people. So part of it is that emotional support as well. So I hope that’s helpful for you to kind of open your eyes as to what’s going on. And reproductive justice is a topic that includes everything from deciding whether or not to have children to helping raise your children in the postpartum period. So technically the whole postpartum period falls right into the concept of reproductive justice, which there’s been lots of books written on. So that’s something you can also use that as a keyword when you’re looking to educate yourself.

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Yeah, that’s really incredible. I’m so glad those groups exist and yeah, that there’s one so local to us. So we’ll look into that. Thank you. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah, I also think that Evidence Based Birth® should be something that is accessible to everyone-

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: … and those scholarships really, really help. I don’t know if you play a part in providing that to Shalin. But I know a lot of my friends probably wouldn’t take this class if they had to pay full price for it because it is pretty expensive.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, thankfully that we have a number of instructors. We encourage them, not all of them do, but a number of instructors do offer scholarships and sliding scales. And then we also have scholarships and sliding scales to recruit more Black and Brown birth workers into the instructor program.

Mimi Ang: Oh great.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Trish Ang: Yeah, that’s amazing.

Rebecca Dekker: So we’re in the process right now of judging applications and getting people enrolled into that program because families of color often feel more comfortable and have better experiences when they are taught by an instructor with a similar background to them. So that’s one of our top priorities. And then another thing that we’re working on is connecting with nonprofits who want to supply those instructors of color with grants so that they can teach free classes in their communities.

Trish Ang: Wow.

Mimi Ang: Oh.

Rebecca Dekker: So there’s a lot more nonprofits that are looking into getting into this. And if you’re listening and you have one, you can feel free to email support at evidencebasedbirth.com and we can connect you with instructors who are open to receiving grants to their small business that they can then teach for free to families of color in their community. 

Mimi Ang: Awesome. 

Trish Ang: Yeah. 

Mimi Ang: Thank you for doing. 

Trish Ang: Thank you so much.

Rebecca Dekker: Well, thank you so much, Mimi and Trish for coming on the podcast. Is there anywhere we can go to see pictures of your family?

Mimi Ang: We’re not really on social media anymore.

Trish Ang: Yeah.

Mimi Ang: We tend to detox on that. 

Trish Ang: Instagram is @feesh, but yeah, I just haven’t posted in a long time. So I’ll try and put something up I guess.

Rebecca Dekker: Okay, if just for this podcast. 

Trish Ang: Oh yeah. 

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, thank you so much for coming on.

Trish Ang: Thank you for having us.

Rebecca Dekker: I appreciate you.

Mimi Ang: Yeah, thank you so much for having us.

Trish Ang: So fun. And so fun getting to relive the experience through those two. So I appreciate it. 

Mimi Ang: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Your welcomed. Thank you. 

Trish Ang: Yeah. 

Rebecca Dekker: All right, thanks enough. Bye. 

Trish Ang: Thank you. Bye.

Mimi Ang: Bye.

Rebecca Dekker: This podcast episode was brought to you by the book, Babies Are Not Pizzas. They’re Born, Not Delivered. Babies Are Not Pizzas is a memoir that tells the story of how I navigated a broken healthcare system and uncovered how I could still receive evidence-based care. In this book, you’ll learn about the history of childbirth and midwifery, the evidence on a variety of birth topics and how we can prevent preventable trauma in childbirth. Babies Are Not Pizzas is available on Amazon as a kindle paperback hardcover and audible book. Get your copy today and make sure to email me after you read it to let me know your thoughts.

 

Listening to this podcast is an Australian College of Midwives CPD Recognised Activity.

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