ride the wave

I did Day 2 of Adriene’s yoga two days ago, and multiple times she said to “ride the wave.” It reminded me of when I was in labor with Evie, and how hard I fought to have the chance to go through labor with that little muffin.

I have my birth story written up elsewhere, but I want to talk about how I came to even get to go into labor with Evie in the first place.

When I was 26 weeks pregnant with Evie, I was in a minor car accident. As a result, I had to go to the hospital because when you’re pregnant they always want to make sure the baby is OK. When I got there, the nurse casually mentioned that Evie was breech. And also completely fine. But of course, when I left the hospital I had something new to worry about.

My sister’s first baby was breech, so I had experience with the steps of having a breech baby. I didn’t worry about it too much because it was still early in my pregnancy – about 25% of babies are breech before 28 weeks, compared to 3-4% at full-term.

Cut to 34 weeks pregnant, when Evie was still breech. My doctor started talking about C-sections. I knew I wanted to avoid a C-section for many reasons. It’s a major surgery. IT’s better for the baby to pass through the vaginal canal for many reasons. So I started doing some research and talking to my sister. I found a chiropractor, did pre-natal massage (it should not be called massage, my god it hurts) and went to an acupuncturist. I did moxibustion. I did yoga. I got in the pool and did headstands.

(Thanks to Ellen for the photo!)

During my 35 week, I went to a chiropractor for the first time. My chiropractor/masseuse Dr. Berlin asked me a question no one had yet asked me when I went there the first time, “If you could, what kind of labor would you have, no holds barred?” I said home birth, preferably water birth. And he said, “Well if you’re going to give birth at Cedars and you’re potentially going to have a scheduled C-section, but it’s just because she’s breech, then here’s what I recommend.” And he told me there are doctors in LA that do vaginal breech deliveries. He told me about his podcast and that a 3-part series about breech babies. He told me something I already knew – that I should get a doula.

By this point, I had already been to a yoga workshop with Jeff about labor. And been going to a prenatal class with a teacher I really liked – who also happened to be a doula. And so we set up a meeting with her and hired her around my 37th week. She, along with Jeff, encouraged me to switch OBs. Switching OBs so late in my pregnancy seemed insane, but so did scheduling my C-section without doing everything that was humanly possible to have a vaginal birth.

At my 36th week, Evie was still breech, and my doctor wanted to schedule a C-section. I asked her if we could try an external cephalic version (EVC) or version for short. Basically this is when your doctor tries to rotate the baby in your stomach externally. I knew of this option because my sister had one. They have a success rate of 58%, and my doctor didn’t think that it would work, but I wanted to try. She didn’t even offer it as an option to me, which was frustrating – what if I had never heard of them?

So during my 37th week, we scheduled one. My sister’s worked. Mine did not. We went to the hospital and attempted one, but ultimately Evie didn’t want to turn for us.

So I called and made an appointment with Dr. Brock, one the LA doctors who does vaginal breech deliveries and also happens to work at Cedars where I was already supposed to deliver. He had been on vacation but I explained that Dr. Berlin had asked me to call and had referred me and they slotted me in the day I was 38 weeks.

I went to my OB during my 37th week, told her I was going to see Dr. Brock, and she said “Well I don’t think you’re a very good candidate for vaginal breech, but go see Dr. Brock.” Not rudely, but more like “I know more than you so good luck.” Which was frustrating, because why wouldn’t you at least want me to review all my options? I asked if she’d consider doing a vaginal breech (no) and if she’d at least let me go into labor before we schedule the C-section (also no.) Honestly, if she had said yes to the second one, I might have not switched doctors. I just wanted Evie to come when she was ready. But she wanted to schedule Evie to come before October 2. So she reserved an OR room for September 29 at 5 pm, and I made an appointment with Dr. Brock.

Jeff and I met him Dr. Brock on September 25, and explained the situation. He listened and said, “Let’s get a look at your baby.” After the ultrasound he told me “No problem – she’s in a good position for an attempt at a vaginal breech delivery.” I was to come back weekly until I went into labor. This was such a relief to me – finally someone who was with me. I asked how far along he’d let me go before he’d schedule a C-section in case Evie was late, and he said 41 weeks. Dr. Brock mentioned he couldn’t deliver Evie if I went into labor on her due date (October 2) as he was seeing Hamilton, but otherwise we were good. That made me laugh and realize I was in good company.

So, on the Monday I turned 38 weeks, I switched OBs. That Thursday, three days later, my water broke. And that Friday, four days later (and four days early/before Dr. Brock saw Hamilton) I had Evie via C-section. But, before she arrived, I got to labor. My water broke at 4:15 am on Thursday, September 28, and on Friday, September 29, at 4:00 am, Dr. Brock told me I was fully dilated, but that Evie’s feet were down, so we’d have to go in to have a C-section. Pretty hilarious that she came on the same day my other OB had wanted to schedule my C-section in the first place, but she’d come in on her own terms.

Before my C-section, I’d breathed through 9 hours of contractions without any drugs, until 1:00 am when Kim asked me what I thought the baby needed, and I replied “an epidural” (ha!). I’d ridden the wave of my contractions, breathing into them as Kim coached me through/Jeff & my Mom supported me. Using my breath to ride them rather than fighting the tide, if you will. I’d felt how strong the body can truly be. And, as I did Day 2 with Adriene, I smiled because I was reminded of just how strong the breath can be – how much it can get you through just about anything. Including all 30 Days of this yoga program. Including birthing your child – even if you end up in an OR. Including using yoga to rebuild all those muscles that were cut through to bring Evie into this world. And so, we move on, to Day 3, and Day 4, and on…

you got your heart right.

Photo Apr 16, 10 49 16 AM

Well chickadees, today was Day 30 of my 30 Day Yoga Camp. Yesterday I did yoga in the parking lot of a hotel just so I didn’t have to skip a day and miss the amazing streak I was on.

I can actually say that’s the most days in a row I’ve ever done yoga. It’s the most consistent practice I’ve had. And it’s been an amazing journey. It’s taught me that it is possible for me to get up early, get on the mat, and make time for myself. I made myself a priority for the last 30 days, and I carved at least 30 minutes out for me to focus. It wasn’t always easy, and there were days I wanted to skip it, do it later, quit halfway through…but by the end of each video, I was so happy I’d committed the time to it.

My hips are more open. My shoulders are more open. My balance is better. My patience is longer. My breath is more even. My heart is cracked wide open to the world. To the endless possibilities and the light and the sky. I’ve loved taking advantage of my backyard to get outside and appreciate nature while I practice, and I cannot wait to see where this practice takes me. It was the perfect reset to my yoga practice, and I see only up and up from here.

I want to get back into running a bit because soccer will start this month and I want to be prepared, but my body feels so much better after having focused on this yoga, so I know I need to focus on that as well. My wrist is healing and strengthening, and my right quad is feeling better than it has in ages. I pushed myself too far for that half-marathon, and now is the time to find the balance I deserve.

That’s where I’m at, y’all. Hope you’re in some valley of balance, too. Namaste.

check your thoughts.

After weeks (probably months) pushing this off, I’ve started Yoga with Adriene‘s 30-Day At-Home practice. I’ve been off the mat too long, and Fiji’s 14-Day Yoga, while amazing, is just too much for me right now. Adriene is chill enough yet serious enough to get me hooked, but hard enough to make me stay and stretch and feel happy.


Yesterday was day one, today day two. In class yesterday, she remind us to “check your thoughts” – keep focused on what you’re doing, what you’re feeling, and where you are. My life mantra is pretty much “Do the best with what you have where you are” and I feel like this is what Adriene was trying to tell me through the TV, too.

So much of our lives is spent having negative thoughts and I’ve been working ons self-love for years. As hokey as it can sound, you have to put yourself first if you can love others. You have to take care of you to take care of “them.”

Adriene’s 30 days have different mantras. Yesterday’s was I Accept. Today’s what I Create.

I Accept where I am.
I Accept who I am.
I Create time for myself.
I Create space in my body for twisting, turning, stretching.
I Create energy and light to use and spread through my world.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. I need this reset to get me back to a place where I am hitting the mat more on the regular. Luckily this is a great time, before soccer starts again, to get back to it.

What are y’all up to?