My 38th birthday gift was 24 hrs of Labor to my “Jedi In Training”
At 1:00am when my water broke, I realized that our little man Lucca wanted to be here for the party.
As most of you know, I had my home birth plan all set and ready to go. I had my mediation techniques ready, the essential oils, calming music and Vito and I had just completed our birthing classes 4 days earlier.
We were just wrapping up a “Vision In The Vineyards” retreat here at the house
Our amazing visionary Rose worked with us all weekend to establish her brand and future product suite for her business. We celebrated with a big Italian feast that Saturday night.
Little did I know that I’d wake up in the middle of the night to the beginning of what seemed like the longest day of my life.
No birth plan or “idea of what labor will be like” prepares you for the task ahead of you.
****Every mom is nodding her head right now thinking, “amen to that”***
I had no idea.
…and it was a rough birth my friends
They say the first one is always the hardest but I guess I wasn’t even close to prepared for what that hard felt like.
Even though I had my home birth plan, I ended up in the hospital getting all the drugs I wanted to avoid but ultimately saved my life and helped me get Lucca here healthy and safe.
The initial 18 hours of laboring at home wasn’t fun but I was doing my best to be calm, follow the midwife’s instructions to move, change positions, relax…
At about 2pm I was in severe pain with massive urges to push but I still wasn’t fully dilated it was harder and harder to fight the urges.
I tried to avoid the rush to the hospital and kept working hard for the next 3 hours to progress.
Finally, my midwife told me that I was almost fully dilated and that I could try and start pushing to see if the baby would come down.
So with her encouragement I started bearing down and pushing with each contraction. I tried every position I could to try to get Lucca to start descending. I was bent over standing, squatting, reclined, lying on my back, you name it, we tried it but nothing was working.
I remember working so hard during this time, thinking if I can just suck it up and give 100% effort here, I would meet my baby soon.
…but even after a couple hours there was no sign that Lucca was coming down and my safety started to get compromised.
We needed intervention.
My body has never felt so torn up. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I could barely open my eyes, never mind stand or walk. Every 2 minutes was another bout of extremely painful contractions and the thought of heading to the hospital brought a gush of tears.
Not only was I disappointed that my planned home birth was a failure, I was also concerned for Lucca’s safety as we traveled to the hospital and putting my trust in a hospital that I had never been to.
It took everything in me to stay calm.
In my High Performance coaching lessons I talk about Accepting and Adjusting to things that happen in your life so that you don’t harness guilt, regret or sadness when things don’t go as planned.
This was important to remember when I was already 18 hours in labor pain at home and still not fully dilated.
In my heart I was disappointed and the tears fell… but I knew that accepting the new plan and being rushed to the hospital was my only choice. So instead of feeling defeated and going into a state of panic, I quickly adjusted my attitude to one of pure determination.
Ultimately, getting Lucca here safe was the only result that truly mattered.
When I reflect on my birth experience I can see how often this same type of situation happens in our daily lives. You have a plan and it gets derailed so you have 2 choices; feel defeated & give up on the goal or adjust your plan to keep fighting for the goal.
You have to be aware of how you are responding to the hurdles and obstacles in your plans as you work towards those big goals.
No plan is perfect but the only result that truly matters is giving birth to that goal before giving up.
You are probably only “one push” away from the results you’ve been fighting for!
I gathered every ounce of energy I had left in my body to grab a throw over dress on and walk to the car. Vito had the back seats down and a towel and pillow set up for me to lay on. I can’t imagine what it looked like as I struggled to crawl into the back of his SUV from the trunk.
I felt so heavy and weak at the same time.
Out of all the extreme activities I’ve done in the past, nothing compared to this. Triathlons, Hiking 22 miles up and down Mt. Whitney in a day, Running a Marathon, running 13 miles of mountain range in Malibu…nothing compared.
The 30 minute drive to the nearest hospital was just like a scene from the movies. A pregnant woman in painful labor in the back of a car while her husband is swearing at every red light. The Sicilian in him was in full effect.
For those of you who know first generation, 100% Italians, you know what I mean. Those of you who don’t, just think of someone who is vigorously waving their arms and speaking in a tone well above normal levels, then 10X that because it’s an Italian man rushing his wife to the hospital.
I can laugh at this now but it was the most torturous 30 minute car ride of my life.
Every bump, stop and go, or turn made it harder to breathe through the contractions.
The intensity was rising every minute and I had to go very deep into my mental practices of breath and focus to keep myself together.
There were multiple times throughout my contractions and during delivery that I recognized the power of my breath and the ability to remain mentally focused.
I teach the power of mediation and physical fitness for mental and physical benefits but if there was ever a reason to need those benefits, it was in this very moment.
I remember being able to slow down my breathing and instead increase the depth and effectiveness of each breath.
You practice this both in yoga and meditation which only becomes second nature when you do it regularly. I had been practicing both for the stress release benefits but now I realize how powerful it can be during situations of extreme stress and pain.
When we got to the hospital, it was another whirlwind of challenges both mentally and emotionally.
I had my original birth plan to avoid all drugs but here I was,
I knew that I had to relax my body versus tense up during each contraction but at this point it was too much. My body simply couldn’t handle the pain and I needed relief.
The doctors and my midwife both recommended I get an epidural so that my body could relax. However, with that said, it was still going to be close to an hour until they could give me the drugs after they took blood and gave me an IV.
When the doctor checked the baby’s status he informed me that I was only 8cm dilated and that I should NOT have been pushing this baby down. Not only was that bad for the baby but,
My insides were swollen from pushing against “a brick wall”.
When they finally came to give me the epidural I was told that I couldn’t move at all. I couldn’t even breathe heavily.
I sat there through my contractions with tears running down my face as I held in the urge to breathe deeply or move a muscle. I think that could have been the hardest moment of my experience.
At this point I had every needle and monitor hooked up to my body; Catheter, IV, Epidural, Baby Monitor, Blood pressure cuff, O2 monitor.
This was the first time I have been a patient at a hospital and it felt so invasive…but I knew I needed it all. I had to surrender all my idealistic ideas of what this labor was going to be and put my faith in this new process.
As the pain started to subside I could feel my legs going numb
After a few hours they checked the baby’s status again and I still wasn’t fully dilated. It was close to 7pm and the Doctor was now getting concerned by how long it had been since my water broke. I knew he was going to recommend Pitosin to speed things up.
As much as I didn’t want to get more drugs, I agreed that this was the best choice to progress the labor.
I remember looking at Vito with a heavy heart and an exhausted body saying, “I still have to push this baby out, I don’t know if I can do this”.
They say that most women have that moment of doubt just as they are so close to the finish.
I know that I did. Just the mere idea of pushing Lucca down the birth canal felt exhausting….
But when the nurse said it was time to have a baby and start pushing, I put on my game face because hearing the words, “let’s have this baby”was all I needed for motivation. It’s all I had wanted since 1am when my water broke.
The next two hours was nothing but Cardio and Strength!
Nobody told me that the pushing part of labor was going to be as challenging to my breathing as running 3 sprints one after another with about 2 minutes recovery to catch my breath.
At this point I didn’t have pain, I just had the task of using all my strength and breath to give birth to this little guy.
His head was turned in a sideways position which is why he was slow to come down. But the nurse was impressed with my strength to push him down, saying, “you push like it’s your 3rd child”.
All my years of fitness really helped me get the job done.
The most exciting moment came when the doctor said, “just one more push”….
…and hearing that first cry as they placed him on my chest and I got to look into his beautiful little eyes.
Every mom knows that feeling of relief and joy when baby is finally born. Knowing he is healthy and safe and knowing that you just accomplished one of the hardest jobs of a woman…to grow and birth a healthy human being.
It was the hardest most rewarding experience of my life.
Lucca was born 7.6 lbs, 21 inches long
When they placed him on my chest I remember thinking, “oh my goodness, he’s huge! How did this just come out of me?”
Vito was right by my side and such an amazing coach during the entire day. He cut the umbilical cord (even though he claimed that he might not want to in previous conversations). I think that after watching me work to get Lucca out, he was ready to step up and do anything to play his part.
At this point I was soooooo ready to go home.
..but our little adventure was still not over.
Lucca was healthy on all accounts except for a slightly higher than normal level of jaundice in his system. They didn’t want to release him until this went down and recommended some light therapy.
Listening to Lucca scream and cry through that extra night in the hospital was torture.
I was able to feed him every few hours during his light therapy but after he was fed, he needed to be placed under the light wearing nothing but a little facemask and hat to protect his eyes.
It took everything in me not to pick him up and hold him during that time (which I totally broke several times because I just couldn’t bear to see him so scared and exposed).
Luckily he would only cry for about 10 minutes, which felt like an hour before settling down and sleeping a little bit.
He was so brave and fortunately the combination of feedings, poops, and light therapy over those next 20 hours was enough to bring his levels of jaundice down enough for us to be released.
The lactation nurse said that my health and hydration played a big part in creating the perfect Golden color of Colostrum that Lucca needed to feed on so that we didn’t have to give him formula during the light therapy.
I was so grateful that I could provide that to him.
Although my body felt heavy and sore, I was invigorated and energized when we got the ok to go home.
Vito had stayed with us for the first two nights and went on a crazy cleaning and shopping frenzy during our 3rd day in the hospital to pick up anything else we needed for the nursery.
Thank god for his OCD because he loves to organize and clean. He situated the entire nursery, cleaned and tidied the entire house and made sure we had everything we needed. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.
I know there are so many single moms out there who do this on their own and they deserve a freaking badge of honor and bravery.
Vito and I only have each other with all our family back east. So it’s a blessing to have a dad that works from home who can help me settle into motherhood by picking up the cooking, cleaning, errands, watching baby, feeding and still making me laugh.
Vito and I knew several years ago when we started dating that we both wanted to grow a family and build businesses that allowed us to work and parent from home.
We don’t know many couples that have created that type of lifestyle but it’s something we are always talking about with our visionaries when it comes to purpose behind building an online brand and business.
What we teach in our coaching programs helps fitness professionals gain the freedoms that Vito and I have to make our own schedule, take off time when needed and not suffer financially when new babies arrive.
I love the career I’ve built for my life because my hours are on my terms and my work load depends on what I choose which allows me to rest, recover, be with my little boy and know that my business is still running. I can take my foot off the gas during this time of transition and not worry about losing income.
It took me 5 years to build this type of coaching business but now that Lucca is here, I’m so glad I started when I did! If I was still teaching classes, driving around LA to train clients or working for a studio, I would be taking a pretty big financial hit right now.
If you are planning on having kids and want to plan on keeping an INCOME that doesn’t strip you away from your newborn, it’s a good time to start building now.
This experience has been both eye opening and life changing
I have new found respect for mothers in a way I never could have before actually becoming one myself.
We all have a different plan, process and experience but we all still share the pain, the challenge, the joy and responsibility that’s required to bring a new life into this world.
I’m so grateful to share my birth story with you because it taught me so many valuable life lessons and also revealed how important it was that I practiced so many of the high performance habits in my life before getting pregnant.
#1. Having the ability to Accept and Adjust to the changes in my birth plan so that I didn’t harness any regret or sadness when things didn’t go as planned.
#2. Using the power of my mediation practices and physical fitness for mental and physical stamina when it came to staying calm through contractions and having the strength to deliver Lucca after 24 hours in labor.
#3. Having a healthy and hydrated body that provided Lucca with the nutrition he needed in the first few days as a newborn to lower his jaundice levels.
#4. Making the choice to build a career that allows me the time and flexibility to be a stay at home mom without sacrificing my ability to do what I love and keep earning an income.
In my Sexy Confident Mama Prenatal Fitness Series, women are practicing these high performance habits and many more to remain strong both mentally and physically as they prepare for their own upcoming challenges.
If you or someone you know is bringing new life into this world, I would love to support you in the club and provide you with an environment of like-minded women who are working to stay healthy during pregnancy and into motherhood.
Check out the details by clicking below:
I think it’s so important to have resources and a supportive environment during this time in your life. No job is greater, no challenge is harder than giving birth to a new life.
Now I’m facing the next series of challenges, which isn’t much easier than the last. You know what I’m talking about moms?
Yes, the cycle of feeding, changing, soothing, sleeping, repeat. All while healing and recovering your own body.
Those of you who have toddlers and newborns, all I have to say is…bless you. I’ll be there soon.