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On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk with EBB Childbirth Class Parent, Shelitha Owens about her inspirational home waterbirth story.

Shelitha Owens (she/her) is an environmental policy manager who lives in Oaklawn Illinois, a suburb of Chicago with her husband Bobby, their dog, Reeses and their new baby, Alexander, who was born in 2021. Having a biology background, Shelitha has always been fascinated with anatomy and was curious about pregnancy and birth. After having her son at home with a planned water birth, Shelitha’s interest in birth work skyrocketed as she enjoys talking to new and expecting parents about their birth stories.

We talk about how her experience in the EBB Childbirth Class supported her positive mindset related to the stages of labor and birth. She felt confident with the knowledge helping her and her partner prepare for their home waterbirth.

Content warning: We mention grief, implicit bias/racism, medical trauma, and gendered language re: baby’s sex

Resources
Transcript

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Hi, everyone. On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk with EBB childbirth class parent, Shelitha Owens, about her home water birth story. 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. My name is Rebecca Dekker, pronouns she/her, and I’ll be your host for today’s episode. Today, I am so excited to welcome EBB childbirth class graduate, Shelitha Owens. Before we interview Shelitha, I want to let you know that if there are any detailed content or trigger warnings, we’ll post them in the description or show notes that go along with this episode. And now, I would like to introduce our honored guest.  

Shelitha Owens, pronouns she/her, is an environmental policy manager who lives in Oak Lawn, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with her husband, Bobby, their dog Reeses, and their new baby, Alexander, who was born in 2021. Having a biology background, Shelitha has always been fascinated with anatomy and was curious about pregnancy and birth. After having her son at home with a planned water birth, Shelitha’s interest and birth work skyrocketed as she enjoys talking to new and expecting parents about their birth stories. We are so thrilled that Shelitha is here. Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. 

Shelitha: 

Thank you for having me, Rebecca. I’m super excited to be here. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

We love having our graduates of the childbirth class come on the podcast, and I know you are a podcast listener yourself. 

Shelitha: 

I am a huge podcast listener. I’ve literally binged your entire show during my pregnancy. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, you can be an inspiration to other people who are like, “Maybe someday I’ll have my first story featured or my experience featured.” So, how did you find out about EBB to begin with, in the childbirth class? 

Shelitha: 

So, I found the podcast… I got pregnant in October last year and I decided to just listen to some audios. I wanted to hear some positive birth stories, and specifically, I was looking for positive Black birth stories. So, I just went on podcast and I started to find some podcast. I think I was listening to a podcast called NATAL, and another one called Birth in Color. And one of the episodes, it might have been Birth in Color or another one, somehow, somebody mentioned you or your podcast. And every time I had a mention, I would go find it. And so I download the podcast and started from episode one and I was just like, “Whoa, this is exactly what I wanted.” Stories as well as picking through how birth went and education and all those things that really spoke to me, and I just absorbed all of it. It was great. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And also, interviews with birth workers, which sounds like you’re curious about birth work, so we’ll have to go into that more later. And how did you find your instructor, Julie Fors? 

Shelitha: 

So I think we took the course in February or March, I believe. And I wanted the course because I really liked the podcast, I liked the information. And my husband, at the time, I had been telling him what I had been hearing and what I was listening from your podcast, but I wanted a birth class that he could take and would really also speak to him, so I knew I was going to end up taking your birth course. So I just looked online to find it and Julie happened to be the good timeframe we are in. I wanted to do a little bit early just in case something happened and baby came earlier. And Julie ended up being our instructor and she was great, she was really amazing. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And you both shared the experience of being in the Chicagoland area as well. 

Shelitha: 

Which worked out great because she was able to look up some things for me in the background. Even though we didn’t end up using them, but she had worked with my midwife team before, so that was kind of reassuring knowing that she’s like, “Oh, yeah, they’re really great,” and blah, blah, blah, blah, so it was nice. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

What was your experience like taking the class with Bobby? 

Shelitha: 

It was really good. It was a little difficult because his work schedule is second shift, so we kind of had to finesse taking the course like on his lunch break. So he was actually on a computer at work while I was on computer here at home taking it, but it was really good. He really benefited from being able to ask questions and having the hands on with Julie. And I think at the end, especially with the home birth, even though at this point he was on board, it really helped him feel more confident about having the home birth and about his role as my husband and the father of our unborn child to be there and to be a good support system. So he was really excited by the time we had been done with the class. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So it felt like you were really looking for something that would help prepare your partner to be the primary support person. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. I had a doula. My best friend, actually, she is a labor and delivery nurse and has been for the past, I think, nine years. But she just took doula training about last year, so she was also there. But I knew that I wanted Bobby to be as involved as he wanted to be. And the course really, really helped him. He did phenomenal by the way, he was so good. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So you mentioned home birth a couple of times. What inspired you to plan a home birth and how did you go about finding a midwife and getting that all set up? 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. So I took nursing courses with my friend, my doula, her name is Vaisha Kareem. And we were in a course and they showed us the course, “The Business of Being Born”, which is everybody’s kind of pseudo intro into home birth. And it really spoke to me like, “Wow, that is a lot of information when it comes to hospital births.” And being a Black woman, I also knew how our outcomes sometimes can be even if they’re not death related, but sometimes, they can be a bit more traumatic than other ethnicities. And I am the type of person who does not like to be told what to do, especially when it comes to my body and my time. So I kind of knew that hospital maybe wouldn’t be my jam just because I didn’t want to have to be fighting for what I knew I was going to want and what I wasn’t going to compromise for in a hospital setting. 

So I knew I wanted a home birth. By the time I got pregnant, I just looked around the Chicagoland area to see what was available. And funny thing is, of course, this was 2020 this summer, so the pandemic had just started. So I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going to find these midwives.” There were like maybe four or five in the Chicagoland area. I’m going to find them, do the interviews with all of them, and find the best one to fit. Well, everybody was trying to do home birth, so I was terrified that I was not going to be able to get somebody to do a home birth for me because all of these people now just wanted to have them because of the pandemic and how hospitals were at the time. 

And I’m like, “I’ve been wanting to do this for 12 years now and this would really hurt me if I couldn’t,” but it worked out. We found Gentle Birth, we did an interview, they fit and we kind of just went with them. They’re a good company, they have a few midwives on hand, it’s kind of hospital like. They are a home birth midwifery team in Chicago, I believe. There only one that’s you can use your insurance through them. And they have midwives and midwife assistants on call. So even if you don’t end up with a midwife that you may have been seeing, somebody will be there for you. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Okay. Do they have an office you go to your appointments or did they come to your home? 

Shelitha: 

Yes. They had a few offices. We went to one that was close to us in Oak Park. And just like a normal doctor setting, you make your time. I went the normal amount of time, then towards the end, it’s once a week every two weeks, whatever. They did a home visit towards the end where they just set you up to ask you where you’re going to have the birth and everything, look around, make sure everything’s okay. I think it was good for Bobby too, because it was very much of normal type of doctor setup type of thing, but it was just midwives and home birth. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. And what did Bobby say when you told him that you wanted a home birth? 

Shelitha: 

He was nervous. And I had a OB-GYN, I still have her. So, when I first got pregnant, we just wanted to go check and do the normal like, “Hey, I’m pregnant, what do I do now,” type of situation. I knew I wanted a home birth. So, we went there and we were talking to the hospital situation, because he was still kind of like, “I don’t know how I feel about this.” At this point, we hadn’t even interviewed any midwives yet. And it didn’t go so great. I knew I wanted a home birth. My doctor was like, “No.” And then they were talking about all the things that could go wrong and everything like that and Bobby started getting super nervous. And I was a little upset because I was like, “Well, I’m going to have a home birth anyway. So, either you’re going to be on board or you’re going to not be,” so he wasn’t so keen on it. 

But I will say by time we did the interview, the initial interview, and by the time we got up there in person, and he came to all of my appointments, he was much more confident. And then of course, once we took your course, then he was like he loved it. And now, he tells me that decision was one of the best things that I brought to him because we have a couple other friends who’ve had births since and it doesn’t seem as amazing as ours was, so far. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. And was there anything in particular about the class that you think helped prepare you for a home birth? Because I know some people are like, “Well, I don’t need to take a class because I’m having the baby at home, so I don’t need to worry about all the interventions and everything.” What was it about the class that you felt prepared you for a home birth? 

Shelitha: 

The best part of the class for me that prepared me for the home birth was discussion on the stages of labor. That, I think, was probably the most critical thing, because during birth, I knew in my head when I felt like I was transitioning into each stage. So maybe I didn’t see it, but when I’m like, “Okay, this is different, this is how I feel,” and I’m pretty confident I was right. And it helped me stay… I don’t know. I guess, I’m a little bit of an outlier because I was really excited for birth, actually. A little bit nervous, but more excited. And I had planned for so long, so I was just kind of along for the ride. But the class really helped me see like, “Okay, this is where I am, this is what I’m feeling.” 

By the time the midwives got there, I thought I knew where I was. They did check me. It was a satisfactory outcome, at that time. But yeah, that made me feel really confident. It didn’t feel like it was too long, it didn’t feel like the pain was crazy that I couldn’t do this. I was like, “Okay, this is crazy about transition time.” But I’m like, “I think I have to be in transition now with how things escalated. This has to be it.” So, it made me feel good like, “Okay, I’m at the finish line and everything seems to be going well.” 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, it’s almost like the more knowledge you had about your body and how the process works, the more powerful you felt. 

Shelitha: 

Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. It made me feel very confident. At not any point through my birth did I feel that I had any fear because I felt like things were going well. I felt like I knew what my body was doing, I knew that my support team had me. I knew that they were educated enough to have me as well, not just to be concerned about baby, but also myself. So yeah, it was really good. The class helped me with that part and I think it overall helped Bobby, because he did phenomenal the whole birth. I don’t think I told him to do anything really the whole time, which is really great. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

He kind of already knew what he was supposed to be doing and everything. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. With the class, it really helped him like, “Okay, this is what you can do when this is going on.” I was basically just breathing and he was getting the tub ready and getting snacks. And during the day while we were here, he was going on runs getting us food, helping with massages. He was good. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, before the birth story, take us to the end of your pregnancy. What was your mindset like? I know you said you were excited to give birth. Was there anything else going on that you were working on? 

Shelitha: 

At the end of pregnancy, I had a lot of emotions. It actually had been a really rough year for us. I had gotten pregnant in October, and shortly after, my brother passed away. And my cousin, the same, literally 12 hours, my cousin had a stroke that ended up putting her in the hospital, so it was kind of rough. There were a lot of emotions for me, and my family was impacted really significantly. We’re very close, extended family, so my mom, losing her son, finding out I’m pregnant, helping out significantly with my cousin when she came back home because she had been on a coma for a month, I think, and she needed a lot of support with my aunt. She has MS, so it was just a lot. We bought a new house, which was great, except I ended up having to do a lot of stuff on my own. 

I thought I would have more of a support, but everybody was supporting my cousin, which was obviously something I wanted, but it was kind of lonely. My husband was still working second shift and trying to do stuff around the house, wobbling around, trying to get a house ready because I wanted everything to be ready for postpartum so I wouldn’t have to do anything house related. And my son’s due date was close to my brother’s birthday, so I was a little bit worried about that as well. I didn’t know how I’d feel if he came on his birthday, but I kind of didn’t want him to, because I want to remember my brother’s birthday independently. I don’t want it to get overshadowed by the birth for my son. So yeah, I had a lot of emotions. Fortunately, I was able to work from home the last week before my 40 weeks hit. 

I stayed working and they let me work a couple days from home about a month before that. So, I was getting enough rest, which is something I really was focusing on, just trying to be well rested in my body because I knew I had been doing a lot of stuff trying to get the house together and I knew that I did have kind of a bit of a heavy emotional state. So, I was just trying to make sure that I had… Just make my head space and body not be tired. And I actually ended up taking part of a HypnoBirth course as well. That was something I wanted to do, but I waited until the end just because it wasn’t about childbirth, it was something I wanted for me, and it was helpful. My instructor, she was really great. The audio that we got really helped me when I was in the bathtub taking lots of baths, just focus on my breathing and think about my body and opening up and just really helping it along. 

So, in summary, I was excited. I was being patient for him to just come because I knew it was my first time so he might go over. And I was a bit nervous just because I was worried about preeclampsia a little bit. I know it happens in Black women fairly enough. My diet wasn’t that great because I was kind of nauseous during pregnancy, so I was just really trying to pay attention to my limbs, make sure they weren’t swelling too crazy and just checking my blood pressure and stuff. So that was kind of thing I was like, “I got to get to 37 weeks so I can have this home birth,” because that was their cutoff time. So as soon as I got 37 weeks, I was like, we’re good. Yay.” 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, you really focused on trying to keep your body as safe and comfortable as possible. 

Shelitha: 

Yes, that was my main focus. I wish I would’ve maybe worked out a bit more, but I was doing so much around the house all the time. I was like, “This has to count. I don’t need to go for a walk, this has to count. I’m getting like 10,000 steps plus as a third trimester woman almost every day, I’ll be okay.” 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Did you reach 40 weeks, did you go past your due date or what happened? 

Shelitha: 

Yes. He ended up coming on 40 and five. So, day 40 was my first day of maternity leave. So, I woke up that morning and I used the washroom and I had a bit of mucus plug and it had a little pink in it. So, I was like, “Oh, okay, that’s new. Okay, that’s different.” I didn’t have Braxton Hicks, I didn’t have any discharge or leaking. It was just straight pregnant, 40 days all the way. So I was like, “Okay, this is cool.” And I think I had started having little baby cramps. So, I told my doula in Tuesday, we had an appointment with them, because at that point, I was over 40. So now, we are going to be going in twice a week to do the non-stress test. So, we went to the non-stress test, everything was fine, there were no contractions, but everything was okay. 

So, she told me that at 41, that’s when we’ll start talking about maybe having to do some induction if we get there, so the following week. If I want to do a membrane sweep or anything like that, but she told me just to try to relax. And she told me to get some evening primrose oil tablets and to insert them vaginally at nighttime. So, I got those Tuesday and I did that. So, I did that Tuesday, I think Wednesday and then Thursday… No, Wednesday, I was like, “Ooh, these little baby cramps are really kind of…” I mean, I’ve been… They don’t hurt, but they’re pretty feeling them all the time now. So, my husband took off, he stayed home. And I think my father-in-law was in town at that time, so we did a bunch of projects around the house, last minute, putting shelves up and non-essential things like plant stuff that I had going on over here, and baby didn’t end up coming. 

So, I was like, “Oh, man, I made you take off for this.” I felt a little bad, but I was in his gaming room watching him play video games at like 11:00 Wednesday night. I was texting my doula. So, I was texting her like, “Hey, I’ve been having these cramps. Bobby took off, but I don’t think anything’s going to happen tonight.” And she was like, “Well, okay. Well, how far apart are you?” And I’m like, “I don’t know. I haven’t been timing them, there’s just little baby cramps.” So, I was like, “Okay, let me get the little counter app and start timing them.” And I was like, “Oh, wow, these actually are kind of like… They have a pattern.” It wasn’t one minute, it wasn’t consistent. It was like 30 seconds, a minute, three minutes apart, four minutes apart, six minutes, five. 

It was real sporadic. So, I was like, “Okay, it’s probably still not going to start.” So, I was like, “Okay.” I let her know that, I did that for an hour and I let her know. And so I was like, “Okay,” I think around 12:00 or 1:00, I told my husband I’m going to go lay down. Because I was like, “I think maybe baby will be ready to come soon. If I go take some Tylenol PM…” Julie said that you could do that. So I took the Tylenol PM to try to get some sleep and I laid down. And about two hours later, around 3:00, I woke up, awakened by a definite wave. I’m like, “Okay.” So, I’m sitting in bed like, “Okay, all right. That’s a real one.” So, I was like, “Okay, I’m going to lay back down.” I laid back down and another one came up and I was like, “Nope, can’t lay down. This is not comfortable for me. I cannot do this.” 

So, I got up and I got on my birthing ball, which I had been using all the time. And I was just in the bedroom, in the dark, rolling around in the ball. My husband comes in at 3:00 in the morning, he looks at me, comes over and puts his hand on my shoulder, and I’m like, “Stop, it’s not that time yet. Go to sleep. It’s 3:00 in the morning, you need to go to bed because this is real now, I think.” So, he laid down and I think I rolled in a bit and I was just starting to feel like, “Okay, this really early. I know it’s really early, but I don’t know what’s going on right now kind of.” I know, but I’m not sure, so I asked doula if she could come. I felt a little bad because I didn’t want her to come real early, but I did feel like I need somebody here who knows what’s happening right now. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, you were good by yourself for a little while and then you were like, “Okay, now I need…” 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. I was just like, “I don’t know what to expect or what’s going to happen, so let me call her and see if she could come.” We were all… I don’t know any of us. She had been up late, Bobby was up late, I was up late, it was crazy. Of course, when the babies getting ready to come, all of us had no sleep.  

So, she ended up coming. I think she got there around 5:00. When she told me she was on her way, I just came downstairs, I started printing out my signs, putting them up. I had some signs like shoes off, quiet space, and stuff like that, so that if people need to go somewhere and talk, they could go downstairs. 

And I started putting all the snacks out for the midwives, because I’m like, “Yeah, this is going to be a whole thing. They’re going to have to have the snacks. They’re going to have to have the coffee. People are going to have to be sleeping on the couch. It’s going to be a whole thing.” So, I set all that stuff out and walking around, taking my little breaths with my early stage labor contractions. So, she gets there and she bought a bunch of stuff, but she bought a TENS machine, that’s what it’s called, right, TENS? 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Mm-hmm. 

Shelitha: 

That thing was really nice. I really liked it because it had the little vibrations. I had put it on my hips and I really liked the way it felt. And so we went into the nursery now, which is where the birthing pool was. And I had a chair to sit and I sat in it. She started massaging my feet and stuff and then I started falling asleep. So, we moved to the bed. We have an incline bed. So, I had her put the bed up because I was getting really tired. I had pushed the bed up to incline and I kind of got on my… I leaned on the high part like this and put a pillow on my belly and just had contractions and tried to rest in between them. And all three of us ended up taking a three hour and a nap, so it was really nice. 

But then we woke up and we basically just spent the rest of the day going through the house with me on the ball, then massaging me, eating, listening to music. I had a bunch of playlists. And then yeah, that was pretty much how early labor started. I think early labor probably started… We were supposed to go to the midwives that day, that was a second non stress test that would’ve been on Thursday. So Bobby called them, our appointment was like 11:00, Bobby called them, told them that I was having contractions. We told them what time they were. They still weren’t very consistent, but they were there. I knew like, “Okay, this is either I’m about to have a prodromal labor where I’m going to be in labor for three days or this is it, but this is definitely starting.” 

So, they told us we didn’t have to come in because I was like, “I really don’t want to drive up there. I’m clearly having contractions. I don’t want to go.” So, they let us stay, they told us to keep us posted. I think that was the first time he called them. We went on a walk, it was hot. And that was weird walking so much and having contractions, but I just did until I was tired. And then we came back, I took a bath for a while, listened to my HypnoBirthing episodes, got out the bath, we were around, I think, around 5:00 or 6:00 is when I felt myself transition into active labor. 

And that’s when I was like, “Okay, I started to have to…” Rolling on the ball at the time of the contractions became uncomfortable to be sitting. So, I found myself lifting myself up with my hands in order to have the waves, or I would have to stand and lean against something. I think we had to do a bit of nipple stimulation because my contraction still, they were not just really regular. So, Bobby ran out and got a manual breast pump. So they were helping me do that. And still, this whole time has just been me, Bobby, and Vaisha, and our dog Reeses, which he was not helpful, but he’s cute, so I guess that counts. 

Yeah. So, I think we were in the kitchen and I was going through the active labor ways and I was like, “I’m tired.” So, I went on the couch and I got in that same position. I put my forearms on the back of the couch and had my legs on the cushions, and I just laid down to like I’m just going to have to get whatever I can. I felt the need to rest. I just had to rest. It was tiring lifting myself up. And then when I was standing, because I was squatting and kind of like rocking, my legs and back were getting tired. So, I need to rest my body. Laying down wasn’t an option because that felt awful, so- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So you’re kind of resting in this hands and knees, or kind of kneeling, but resting your upper body on the couch. 

Shelitha: 

Exactly. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. So, we did that and remember waking up and Bobby was like, “Okay, that was like 19 minutes in between the last contraction. I’m like, “19 minutes? I was asleep.” I really went to sleep, that was the weirdest thing. And then I was like, “Okay.” So, he called the midwives, told them that. They, I think at that point, they had told us to monitor for an hour without the nipple stimulation to see if we were inducing contractions with the nipple stimulation or if they were actually indeed coming together, but they still weren’t very consistent. They were definitely coming, but it wasn’t hitting their, what is it, the one and five? Their specific number of one minute. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

You didn’t fall on any kind of graph of like, “Here’s where they should be,” it was just- 

Shelitha: 

Exactly. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

But they were real. You were experiencing real contractions. 

Shelitha: 

They were definitely real. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. They were a hundred percent real. I was breathing and grunting and doing all the noises, but they just weren’t fitting their timeline. So, she told me again, this was probably around 9:00 or 10:00 or something. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

That night? 

Shelitha: 

So, they told us… Yes. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Okay, so you’d been at this for almost 24 hours. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. At this point, it’s almost the next day, 24-hour day, yes. And so she told me to take another bath, to have a glass of wine, take a bath, and then just try to relax, and we’ll see what happens then. So, I went upstairs, ran a tub. Bobby had gotten these Google Chrome lights. So, I had them plugged into our bathroom, into the nursery, and into the bedroom. So, you could control it from the app and make different textures and colors. So, I had all of upstairs was in this low light purple, purple’s my favorite color, and it had been the color I had been using when I was taking my bath and listening to my podcast and listening to my own playlist and the HypnoBirthing. So, I really was in a space where like, “Okay, this is comfortable.” 

It was really dark, but it was lit. And I had my playlist going. I remember, I took a glass of wine, a picture of the bathroom with me, the tub and the glass of wine because my friends kept asking like, “Is the baby here? Is the baby here?” I was like, “All right, ladies, just pray for me to get three hours of sleep so that I can finish this out,” cause I’m definitely contracting by just three hours, “Give me three hours,” that did not happen. I did go to sleep and I think I took another Tylenol PM, actually. I did go to sleep and about an hour later, I had positioned myself where I was… No, I was on my back. About an hour later, bam, this huge wave startled me out of my sleep. I flipped over onto my hands and knees in the tub to have the wave. 

And I was like, oh, man, that one was intense.” And I was like, “Okay, well let me just try to lay back down for an hour.” No, immediately, it came again and then it came again and I was like, “Okay, I think I got to get out this tub now.” I don’t know why I felt like I had to take a shower because I just wanted to be super clean or something. It was weird. I’m about to get back in water and have birth, but I don’t know. I had to shower after the bath. So, I’m trying, in the shower, trying to clean my body while having these huge waves that were like they were knocking me out. They were intense. So, I was cleaning myself and then I reached down and there was just mucus plug all over my hand. 

So, I was like, “Oh, this is go time, for real.” The bit of mucus plug I had before did not compare to what this was. It must have all just come out at one time. So, I finally got out the shower. I was trying to get my robe on. I think I ended up having a couple contractions on the toilet as well, which was so uncomfortable for me. And I remember thinking like, “Man,” all these positions that people say, “Oh, you can maybe do it on the toilet, they had a great time on the toilet,” or, “They were laying sideways,” or something. I’m like, “I hate all of these. They hurt so bad.” So, I woke my husband up by being very vocal in the bathroom with contractions. So, by the time I opened the door, he was like, “Okay.” 

He called Vaisha to wake her up because she had fallen asleep on the couch. And so she came up, she was like, “Yeah, I think it’s time for them to come now. Yeah, they need to come.” So, he called the midwives to tell them that we think it’s time. For sure, they could hear me in the background. And then I had him call my mom and my cousin, because my mom, she was just going to be there. But my cousin, I had asked her if she could do videography and take pictures for me. So, they both actually got here before the midwives did and I was still just upstairs at this point. I really wanted to get in the tub, but it wasn’t ready. Bobby had made a… This was his dad moment. He did make a bit of an error. He didn’t put the lining in the tub at first. 

So, it’s a rented tub, so if you don’t put the lining in, you basically own it now because there’s going to be bodily fluid that has to get filtered out of it and everything. So, he had started filling up with the hot water and forgot to put the lining again. So, he did okay. He ended up… I was worried like, “Oh, no, it’s not going to be hot enough now.” We used all the scalding water, but he put it into a tote, poured it over and then put the lining in and then poured the water back in, put- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Oh, so he saved the hot water. 

Shelitha: 

He saved it. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And that is definitely a thing in home birth. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

You can run out of hot water for that. 

Shelitha: 

Hot water, yeah. And the first layer, they want you to put on to be scalding hot water and then to fill it up with regular water so that it’s at the appropriate temperature. So, I’m like, “There’s no way we have anymore straight hot water left after he already started filling it,” but it worked out, he got it done. So, at this point, I’m naked because I’ve had my robe on, but I came out and I was so hot. And I told Vaisha like, “Get this robe off of me.” So, I’m in the bedroom, standing in front of the bed, and I was just rolling, trying to roll my hips to keep them open and squatting into the contractions and just really being really vocal about my breaths, keeping them low. 

I also read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, which was okay, but I liked the stories, just talking about how women were moving through their labors. And so, I really focused on trying to just squat into and make sure my hips felt open and really thinking about pushing all of my energy down into my pelvis and wide the whole time, so that was kind of where my mindset was. So, the midwives showed up… 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And what time was this then? 

Shelitha: 

I think they must have come around… It had to be like 1:30, 2:00. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, this is 1:30, 2:00 in the morning the next day? 

Shelitha: 

Yes. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Okay. 

Shelitha: 

Next day, this is Friday now, Friday the 18th. So yeah, they came around 1:00, 2:00, and it was a midwife and their assistant. So, they had a Doppler and they put it on my stomach to listen to baby, and I hated that. I don’t know. It was such a… They had to use the… The Doppler is so small. It’s just like the little thing. It was so uncomfortable with me. I can’t imagine how people have straps of stuff all over them. Even that little act, I was just like, “Oh, be done. He’s fine.” I didn’t know it was a he at that time, but baby’s fine. We’re good, go away. So, she listened, he was good. And she’s like, “Okay, well, we’re going to have to check you.” And I’m like, “Oh, man, I’m going to have to lay on my back.” 

And she’s like, “Yeah.” So, I’m like, “Oh, God.” I was really dreading it because the laying down contractions were just awful for me. So, I waited until one was done and then scurried over to the bed super-fast and flop down on my back so she could check me because I wanted it to be done before the next one came. So, she checked me and I was a little nervous because I was like, “Man, I’ve been going through it-“ 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

For a while. Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. We did the day stuff, we did the afternoon stuff, we did the late evening stuff, and these ones are legit. So, I’m like, “If she says I’m six centimeters right now, I might cry.” I’m going to stick through this because I’m stubborn, but I might cry because that’s much longer. But she checked me and she’s like, “Do you want to know?” And I thought about it and I was like, “Okay.” And she said you’re eight centimeters. And I was like, “Hallelujah.” I literally said that. And everybody in the room started cracking up. They still talk about that because I was like, “Yes. Oh, thank goodness.” Eight centimeters, that is good. So, I’m still waiting for the tub to get done. And finally, somebody, I think the midwife, she’s like, “Oh, would you like to get in the tub now?” I’m like, “Yes. Yes, please. I’ve been waiting for somebody to just come and get me and tell me it’s ready.” 

So went over there, got in the tub, huge. I felt immediate relief like, “Oh, this is so nice.” But then contractions came like bam, again. So, I basically… I guess that kneeling position really was my jam. I got kneeling in the tub and I held onto the handles that were on the side of it. And really just let myself go into all the things. My doula had been… Hip pressure was really my thing. I think Julie introduced that to us during the class when we had a section where she let us go into different birth positions and had the support person, who was Bobby, just practiced those things. The hip pressure really was what helped me. I didn’t feel like I had any pain in my back, but the, I don’t know, just the counter pressure on my hips really felt good to me. 

My doula was rubbing down my back. Just those two things were more than enough, they were perfect for me. I didn’t need anything else that really held me. It was just her in that motion, calming motion, and helping me reconnect with my breath, and Bobby squeezing my hips. He got in the tub, so he did get in and was in there with me and was squeezing my hips. So, this must have been 3:00 something, we must have been at around 3:00, and at this point, because I started having the deep voices, but then I could feel pressure, and it was getting… I started making this really high-pitched scream when he would, I guess, he was crowning or coming down. I wasn’t really sure. I could feel him in my pelvis. 

I told them like, “The head is coming. I could feel him. I think the head is coming.” But they kept trying to look and I guess they couldn’t see anything. Bobby, at one point, tried to touch and I was like, “No,” I was like, “Don’t touch me.” I just did not like that. And I thought, in my head, I was like, “Okay, doing the course we had and all the birth videos I’ve watched and everything I read, okay, baby’s head is going to come out and then I’ll probably reach down and touch him, and then go with the rest of contractions for the rest of their body to come out. 

So that’s where my mindset was like, “I’m not going to touch. I don’t want to touch.” If I take my hands off of these handles while having these contractions, everything’s going to be messed up. I really need to just breathe and have my hand on these handles and brace my body for the next wave. So, I was hitting these high-pitched screams, the midwives were not in the room. They had gone into the next bedroom to do some paperwork stuff because, I guess… I mean, I told them that I felt like baby was coming and my groans had turned into a bit of a scream sometimes at the top, I guess at the peak of the contraction. And then my doula was really helping me connect with my breath again after they came down again. So, I was doing some more screaming, some more breathing. I felt his head, I guess, come. It was like, “[inaudible 00:37:16],” and then it was like, “[inaudible 00:37:17],” and the rest of him just came right out. It was all in one- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

All in one? 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. All in one. It was like, “[inaudible 00:37:24].” That’s how I felt. That’s a weird noise to make, but Bobby, there’s the language, Bobby, he’s like, “Oh, shit.” Behind me and my doula’s like, “That’s a baby, pick it up.” So, he picks baby up. And then by this time, the midwives come in, because now, they hear a baby crying. They’re like, “Whoa, what’s going on?” So, they get in there. My doula’s like, “What time is it?” So, she got his birth time. He had his cord wrapped once around the neck. I think Bobby was a little bit nervous about that, but they told him like, “Oh, just unwrap it. Don’t dip his head back in on the water.” 

We didn’t know what he was. We had two names. I wanted a girl really bad, but he’s like, “Oh, it’s an Alexander.” And Alexander is my brother’s middle name, so we had decided that we were going to use a name to honor him. And yeah, and then he was there. I remember felt something on my back, because they were like, “Oh, you could turn around, see your baby.” And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, you guys. Can you just give me a second?” I had to breathe and like, “[inaudible 00:38:32].” That was a lot of work, give me a second to turn around. So, my cord was really long, so it was easy for me to turn around and then I was just like, “Oh, gosh, there’s this baby.” So weird, it was weird. I don’t know. But it was great. It was great. It was amazing 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Thrilling to have this real baby on your chest- 

Shelitha: 

Yes. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

… at that moment? Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. I’m not a huge kid person, I wasn’t a huge baby person. Honestly, I always knew that I wanted to be pregnant and experience labor, but then I was kind of like, “Well, what am I supposed to do with the kid afterwards?” So, it was weird to have a baby and then it was like I made him and he had been there this whole time and his eyes were wide open. He was alert. He was awake, just looking around for like 45 minutes and we were in the pool. So, I really only spent about 17 minutes in the pool before he came. He came really fast after that. 

And then yeah, it was really just really great. My mom missed it because my husband had asked her to go get some water for him and she left and I told her she’s crazy. I would’ve been like, “Okay,” and sat at the water right there and stayed down in the hallway, but she missed the actual birth, but it was fine, she was here. And yeah, they came, they got all his vitals, he was good. I didn’t bleed much at all. I stayed in tub for a while and then we finally got out so they could check me, so he went to the bed. They did all, weigh him and do all the things. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Did you give birth to the placenta in the tub? Or in the- 

Shelitha: 

I did, yes. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Okay. 

Shelitha: 

I did give birth to the placenta in the tub, which was funny because she was like, ‘Okay, so now, just push the placenta out like you pushed your baby out.” And I was like, “What? I didn’t push.” 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

You didn’t push you. You had the fetal ejection reflex, right? 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Your baby just came out. Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. I was like, “Push? What do you mean push? I breathed…” I just was breathing the whole time. So that was a little weird because I tried to push but then it wasn’t coming. So, she ended up… They told me to sit up more and then I really was like, “Okay, I focused on it and then it came out fine.” But yeah, that was really weird when they were like, “Oh, push it out like you push a baby.” And I was like, “I don’t know how to do-“ 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

I don’t have any memory of pushing a baby out, it just came out. 

Shelitha: 

No, not at all. He just was there, but it was cool. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

I wonder, Shelitha, you talked about making a lot of noise and feeling somewhat out of control. Do you think maybe the people there perceived you to be calmer than you felt on the inside? 

Shelitha: 

Yes. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Okay. 

Shelitha: 

And to be honest, I was making a lot of noise, but the only time I felt out of control was when I think he was crowning and that’s when everything was just like, “Oh.” 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, you’re making noise, but you seemed kind of calm to these people observing? Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

I do think that they thought… Honestly, my doula, she keeps saying like, “I shouldn’t have had you as one of my first clients because you were so great. You were basically the midwife because you knew everything.” I think so, I think they thought like, “Okay, well she’s a first-time mom, she probably is making a lot of noises.” 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Push for a long time and- 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. And because Bobby had only called them maybe like three times the whole time. He called them in the morning when we were supposed to go to the appointment, he called them again in the evening when we were doing the nipple stimulation type thing, and then he called them to tell them to come. So, I think maybe they did think that. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

It was going to take a little bit longer. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah, than what it was. I mean, I was eight centimeters when they checked me, so I don’t- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah, you weren’t [inaudible 00:42:17]. 

Shelitha: 

I did all that. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Well, and I think one of the only negatives… I don’t know if you can really call it a negative, but the only drawback to using hypnosis for managing pain in the research is that it does happen more often that the healthcare workers don’t realize how far along you are or how fast- 

Shelitha: 

That makes sense. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

… things are moving because you kind of project this just sense of calm and peace that a lot of people don’t have when they get to that stage. So, you were making noise, but you were not panicking or freaking out. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

That makes sense. I could definitely see that. I think that, yes, that is valid. And I will say, I do believe I had a really golden ticket, but one of the things I really wanted, I kind of wish I would’ve had a Black midwife, and it’s not to say anything about Gentle Birth. They did a great job. I mean, they honestly didn’t do too much at the birth, but the prenatal and everything was amazing. But yeah, I could just… When they came in the space, the environment changed just a little bit. I don’t know. Maybe it was a combination of that, but who knows what maybe small biases and- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

I feel like I’ve interviewed a lot of Black women on the podcast who have a similar experience of kind of like not being necessarily believed that they’re about to push the baby out. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And you combine that with the hypnosis or kind of the feeling of calm that you were projecting. And I think that the implicit bias along with not understanding that people look differently and labor differently with hypnosis can combine to missing a birth. 

Shelitha: 

I think that makes a bunch of sense. Yeah, that sounds about right, actually. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Because they were pleasant, but it was just… Especially at… Because I think in the video, she even says, the midwife is like, “Oh, my gosh, next time, you got to scream,” or something. And I was like, “I was screaming.” Everybody in the room- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, you were screaming… Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. Everybody in the room was like, “She was though, she was definitely screaming,” so what do… 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Interesting. Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. But like I said, it ended up being… I mean, it kind of worked out. It didn’t have… I said the space changed a little bit, so it worked out if they weren’t in there because it was exactly- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Maybe that’s what your body needed. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. It was me, Bobby, Vaisha, and my cousin, and it was perfect. And yeah, I think that makes a bunch of sense, between the hypno and that, because I was definitely really focused inward on… I was aware of everything that was going on, but I definitely was making sure that my breathing was my main focus and making sure I wasn’t tensing my body up. I really just wanted to try to stay relaxed as possible, and it worked, it worked well. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And so baby arrived safely and you had the water birth you’d been planning at home. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah, it was great. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And how was your postpartum recovery? 

Shelitha: 

It was really good. Me and Bobby really wanted to focus on spending a lot of our time with just us. I didn’t think that I wanted a lot of people in and that ended up being true. My parents and his parents, they did end up coming over on my brother’s birthday on Father’s Day, which was that Sunday. And it was Alexander’s third day here, so we had a really long day that day. People were basically over from like 10:00 to almost… Vaisha came, my doula came over again and show, then there was this huge storm, so she didn’t end up leaving until like 1:00, just because tornado sirens were going off. We ended up getting into one of the closets at one point, because we were worried about tornado coming, so it ended up being a really long day. Everything was good. The only problem is Alexander ended up having lip and tongue ties and I was breastfeeding. 

And I really wish I would’ve listened to myself because tongue ties became on my radar. One of your episodes, there was a lady who had experienced ties and she was talking about that. So, I had that in the back of my mind as something that was a possibility. And I kept looking, I was just looking at his little chin and I was looking at things were going on and the pain was really bad. He was breastfeeding and I was like, “Okay, well, I don’t want to be that mom who thinks everything’s wrong with her kid,” which I should have been that mom, because he did end up having ties that did not go… Everybody was like, “Oh, it’s not a big deal,” but I ended up taking him to a pediatric dentist and he had a pretty tight lower lip and upper and a tongue. So, we ended up getting that fixed and it did help, but I wish I just would’ve gotten it done a little bit earlier because my milk supply didn’t really kick in how it should have because he wasn’t feeding. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. He wasn’t sucking strongly enough. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

And so that time, it had set already like, “Okay, well, this is what we’re going to produce.” And it was really hard for me to try to get anymore, so that kind of bummed out. But blessedly, we’ve been able to get donor milk this whole time. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Wow. 

Shelitha: 

So, I still have been able to have him exclusively breast milk, no formula, which no shade to anybody who uses formula, I just did not want formula feed. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

I don’t know if I’ve had anybody talk about that yet. How did you get the donor milk? Did you reach out to friends and family? Or… 

Shelitha: 

So, this actually ended up being super great. I know it kind of sounds sketchy, but I first went on Facebook to see if I could find some groups that knew about it. And I ended up finding a group called Human Milk 4 Babies. It’s human, milk, the number four, human babies. And it’s a group on Facebook and it’s actually a collective, so they go by states. So, I joined the Human Milk 4 Human Babies, Illinois. And on there is just a bunch of women. 

Sometimes, they’re partners saying like, “Hey, I have a bunch of oversupply milk, these are the medications that I’m on, I’m vaccinated. I don’t do dairy,” or whatever it is or, “I don’t have a specific diet. I’m not vaccinated, I’m on Zoloft,” or something like that. How many ounces I have in this area? And you can request to get the milk from them or you can post yourself say I’m in this area and I need such and such for my however month-old baby. So, there are a bunch of different NICU babies, babies with milk allergies, or maybe they had started pumping, but now, they have allergies so their supply is gone. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Oh, yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Or people who just had toddlers, older ones, so their milk was supply, but they still maybe got sick or something and they wanted to get some milk with antibodies and stuff in it. So that was great. I’m blessed to be in the Chicagoland area because it’s a huge area. Chicago is obviously a really big city, but the suburban area, the greater Chicagoland is also quite large. So, there were a bunch of people in the northwest suburbs, in the south suburbs. So, we ended up going to the city to get milk. We’ve been to the north suburbs, I had my parents pick up milk sometimes, I have my doula friends pick up milk for us sometimes. So, I’ve just really been hustling to get that. And you can pasteurize at home basically. So, if you Google, there’s two methods. It’s just a heating process to, I guess, kill most of the bacteria that can go through. So, we did that. I did that, I should’ve said, my husband did not do any of that. I did that. 

I mean, yeah, I just refroze a bunch of milk and we’ve been able to do that since. I did try to go to do the donation to pay, it’s really expensive, unfortunately. But also, because of the pandemic, I guess, there’s a bottle shortage, so they were really only focusing on getting milk to babies in NICU, not for outpatient. It bummed me, but it ended up working out because I was able to get free milk from women who just had excess and were willing to help, and that was a great blessing. Anybody, if you have an oversupply and you’re not getting rid of it, please, just try to find moms who are looking for milk because it really was a great… There’s lots of people out there who are not weirded out by sharing milk with other women. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that part of your story because I don’t think it’s talked about enough. Often if you have a milk shortage yourself, the first thing you’re told to do is supplement with formula rather than getting checked out by a lactation consultant or even the option of trying to pump extra, which sometimes is an option if you’re able to bump up your supply by pumping more. Then also the whole option of donor milk. And I know some pediatricians probably look down on this, but to me, I can totally see how some parents would rather use donor milk from someone who discloses what is in their milk than using a formula, which for them, the benefits might outweigh the risks or disadvantages. So, I think that’s really… Especially, it’s really interesting with formula shortages we’re seeing this year for the first time. 

Shelitha: 

Exactly. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So- 

Shelitha: 

That’s exactly why I was very… I knew I wanted my son to have breast milk exclusively for the benefits, health benefits. And just because I’m like, “Okay, he’s got the rest of his life to hop onto the standard American diet of processed foods, I don’t want his first year to just be introduced to that,” and then it’s expensive. And then I was in a bunch of mom groups and they’re all like, “Oh, well, this formula made my son broke out,” or, “This made them sick,” or this. Then you have to hop around to find the one that works for them. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Find the right one. Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. And it’s just like this seems like way more work than what the benefit would be. Now, I got to get up, make a bottle. I definitely, in my… The first pediatrician we had, she made me feel so bad every time we went in there because he had the tie. So, he was 6.13, he lost the weight, but they expected to come back two weeks. He did get to that weight, but then for like a month before I had really diagnosed his tie, he didn’t gain weight. He didn’t lose any weight. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

But he wasn’t gaining. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah, he wasn’t gaining. And then after that, he did gain, but he gained slow. He gained at least a pound each month, but she was saying like, “Oh, he’s not on his curve.” And I mean, he did, according to his curve, he was at the two percentile, one percentile for a bit before I got him diagnosed. And then once we did, it was great, but she made it seem like he should have instantaneously has started gaining weight. But I’m like, “It’s been like two months, he’s got to learn how to latch now with his new mouth. I have to get used to it and everything,” so I was not comfortable with her. And that’s what she did. “Oh, so you guys aren’t interested in a formula.” I’m just like, “Lady, I had unmedicated home water birth and I’m exclusively breastfeeding. No, I don’t want to use formula.” I’ve been going through all this breast pain; you think I’m just going to pop formula in him? No, that’s not going to happen. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

So, I ended up… At one… What happened? We had to go into a checkup and it was a holiday week, maybe it was 4th of July. And there was a different pediatrician there. And she was amazing, because she was like, “Oh, he’s doing so great. He looks good. Look, his little curve is going up,” blah, blah, blah. And so, I was like, “Hey, can I have her?” Because we were looking for other places at this point, and they said I could switch to her. And she’s been phenomenal ever since, just make me feel- 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

And it’s such a difference having a care provider for your child who is telling you you’re doing a great job. I don’t know. For me, that was really… When I was a first-time parent and my pediatrician was like, “You both are doing awesome with this baby,” it was like, “Oh, well, I am? Thank you.” Because you feel so uncertain about yourself. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

So, to have that reassurance from somebody rather than somebody being kind of judge-y and… 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Acting like you’re a threat to your child and stuff. 

Shelitha: 

Yeah. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

That’s how I felt because… I mean, I knew he was small, and obviously, I’m concerned about it, but I mean, she, the first one, she was like, “Well, maybe your milk isn’t calorie rich enough.” So, she was like… I’m like, “What?” I’m like, “She’s telling me my milk is not good enough now at this point, because it’s not fattening him up the way she wanted him to be.” And it’s just like… And he’s good. Now, he’s nice and chunky and his little thighs and stuff. He’s super strong. And that was the other thing. He was meeting all his milestones. Every time she would put him on the table and she’d be like, “Oh, oh, oh,” because of all the things he was doing, but then turns around telling me he needs to be on formula because he is not fat enough. It was very stressful. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Well, Shelitha, thank you so much for sharing your journey. We only have a couple minutes left and I wanted to just quickly ask you, did this experience, was this part of what got you more interested in birth work or what do you think your next steps are going to be, or what are your dreams about that? 

Shelitha: 

Yeah, it really did. And honestly, I am trying to figure out what I can do to kind of get involved. My friend, I’m trying to get her into midwifery school. She’s taking the steps, she wants to. I think she’s finally going to do it. She’s got three kids and then husband and stuff, so of course, life. But I am thinking about how I can maybe support her in the future. I don’t know if I would be a good birth doula, but I’m thinking maybe a postpartum doula might be something I would be interested in because I think I could really help in that regards with just taking care of mom and if necessary, but not just necessarily being there for the actual birth, so I’ll see. We have bills to pay, so I have to keep my nine to five for now, but I am keeping it open to do something. 

I don’t know if it’s going to be research or do the work in the future, but I definitely am excited to get more moms to kind of have a similar experience I have because I honestly feel like I get a bit of a negative energy by just telling people how positive of a birth story I had because it seems like there are so many women out there who just are not getting. And maybe it’s honestly because I’m a Black woman and a lot of the women I talk to are Black women, but they’re just not having the same positive birth stories that I did. And even if they don’t have a home water birth like me, I know they’re listening to your podcast. You know that there are ways that you can have a positive hospital birth, and I think a lot of women don’t know how to go about doing that. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

That’s something that I definitely want because it was such a great experience. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Well, maybe childbirth education would be a good field for you, teaching. 

Shelitha: 

Maybe. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Yeah. 

Shelitha: 

Definitely. That might be it, Rebecca. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

You have an inspiring story and personal experience and you want to spread the word about different options and you used about pretty much every comfort measure I think you could possibly have tried. So you have a lot of personal experience now from that one. 

Shelitha: 

Yes. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Birth, but I think it’s really… Whatever you end up doing, I think you’re just going to be an inspiration to people around you because being able to share that you can have a positive birth and that there are ways to do it, and just spreading the word that you don’t have to have a traumatizing birth, especially even with your first time baby, and even as a Black birthing person in America, you can still be empowered as you’re bringing your baby into the world. 

Shelitha: 

Yes, so empowered. Yes. Listen to Evidence Based Birth® Podcast, stream the whole thing and then decide what birth course you’re going to take, which I suggest this one. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

Well, thanks, Shelitha. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We really love hearing your positive experience and how empowering it was and how you and your family are thriving. It’s so exciting. 

Shelitha: 

Thank you very much, Rebecca. I appreciate all that you do for all the women and men and folks out there with birth work. It is definitely… I don’t think I would’ve been able to have the experience I had without your podcast, so thank you. 

Dr. Rebecca Dekker: 

This podcast episode was brought to you by the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class. This is Rebecca speaking. When I walked into the hospital to have my first baby, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Since then, I’ve met countless parents who felt that they too were unprepared for the birth process and navigating the healthcare system. The next time I had a baby, I learned that in order to have the most empowering birth possible, I needed to learn the evidence on childbirth practices. 

We are now offering the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class, totally online. In your class, you will work with an instructor who will skillfully mentor you and your partner in evidence-based care, comfort measures, and advocacy, so that you can both embrace your birth and parenting experiences with courage and confidence. Get empowered with an interactive online childbirth class you and your partner will love. Visit evidencebasedbirth.com/childbirthclass to find your class now. 

 

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

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