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© 2023 by Arianna Castillo​. Proudly created with Wix.com

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  • Jessie

Towards the end of my pregnancy I found myself feeling ALL the emotions. As I neared my scheduled induction date I also found myself reading every birth story I possibly could. Knowing that I was going to be induced, I was under the impression that the way that I had wanted our birth to go, might not actually have worked out. I found solace in other people’s stories and I enjoyed reading about other peoples experiences, as I know that everyone’s is different. Since I found comfort in reading about others experiences, I thought I would share mine too.


First a little backstory: my pregnancy was considered high risk from the start. Back in 2015 I had gotten a blood clot (DVT) from my birth control. As scary of an experience as that was, one of the things that had stuck with me was that my doctor at the time told me whenever I decided to have children I would be considered high-risk because of my previous DVT. Of course this devastated me, especially not knowing exactly what that meant. So when I found out I was pregnant towards the end of 2018 I knew that when I went to see the doctor this was likely going to be the case. I had intention to see the midwives at The Women’s Clinic here in Fort Collins, but after having my first appointment they let me know that I had to see a doctor because of my previous DVT and that I was indeed, a high risk pregnancy. Luckily the midwives recommended one specific doctor very highly, and said that he was very good about honoring what you wanted and was also very pro natural birth. My next appointment I met with this doctor, and I instantly loved him!


After meeting with my doctor he put me on an injection called Lovanox. This is a pregnancy safe blood thinner, and I injected myself every evening my entire pregnancy because of my previous DVT. Being pregnant, your likelihood to clot is much higher and with my previous medical history, these injections were a must. With that, in the third trimester of my pregnancy my doctor explained that once I hit 37 weeks, which is technically full term, that for my safety and well-being it would be best if we got the baby out prior to 40 weeks. If I had gone into labor naturally, my options when it came to pain management (epidural) would have been much more limited due to me being on blood thinners. So I knew early in my third trimester that she was going to be coming out a little bit early. This was totally fine with me, because as you know if you’ve been pregnant, once your towards the end you are large and uncomfortable. And as much as I enjoyed being pregnant (I really did love it), I didn’t mind the thought of the pregnant one less week.


Wednesday, July 17 was our scheduled induction day. We were to go in at 7:30 PM to start the process. My doctor and I had discussed what the plan was for being induced. And I knew going in that the likelihood I was going to need an epidural was high. Not that there’s anything wrong with using the pain medications that are available to us in this day and age, but I had really wanted to try to give birth naturally even with being medically induced. I went through the hypnobirthing method with classes by Peaceful Mama Birthing (see previous post) and it only enhanced and affirmed what I knew I wanted for my birth experience.


So Ricky and I, anxious as ever, drove to the hospital that evening knowing that hours later everything was going to be different. By 8 PM I was already in my hospital bed and my doctor was starting the process. He first checked me to see if I was dilated, and at that point I was only a fingertip, which is maybe 1 cm at best. That was definitely disappointing for me, as I had been doing everything I could to naturally prepare my body, including long walks, spicy foods, sex, and also doing labor inducing acupuncture starting at week 34 of my pregnancy. Nevertheless, I did my best to stay positive, and know that everything would work out how it was supposed to.


My doctor then started the process by giving me Cytotech, which is a medication that helps to soften the cervix and promotes your body to start having contractions. After putting the Cytotech inside of me he then inserted a medical balloon. This was to help put extra pressure on my cervix and make sure the medication was doing what it was supposed to. He then inserted a second balloon inside the first one, again for extra pressure. My doctor had been very upfront with me, that the way that he handles inductions can sometimes seem a bit aggressive. But he also told me, if we’re coming in to have you induced, why prolong everything? And that made sense to me to try to get the baby out as quickly as possible, we were in the same page. Hours and hours of laboring sounded dreadful so I was grateful for this “aggressive” way to help her get out of there faster. After having the balloons inserted I then tried my best to relax. At midnight is when the doses of Pitocin started. Pitocin is a medication that starts contractions. It’s hard and fast and within 45 minutes I was having contractions every 2 to 4 minutes. The goal with Pitocin is to tell your body it’s time to have a baby. And with everything else going on with my body, believe me, it was working! Contractions are no freaking joke, and it’s no wonder why so many women take advantage of the fact that an epidural helps to relieve some of that pain. But alas, I was determined to make it without it and I went through the night having my contractions and barely sleeping.


Side note: I sweat through 3 different nightgowns I had brought with me for our hospital stay. I wanted to have “options” to wear just because, but it turned out I needed those options because of how much sweat was involved in laboring. Like I said before, laboring and contractions are no joke!


My doctor came back in the morning around 6:45am and took out the balloons. He checked my cervix and I was at 7cm. For those that don’t know, you need to be at 10cm to start pushing. He was impressed that I was at 7cm, and the nurses seemed to be too. As much pain as I was in with contractions that seemed like a success. Inductions usually take at least 24 hours and it takes a while to go from not having your cervix open to opening THAT much. I told the Dr. I needed to use the restroom (other side note: those balloons make you feel like you have to poo, so that’s how I felt all night long while having contractions, no fun at all lol). After using the restroom the Dr. wanted to check me again (this was about 20 minutes after the first time he checked me in the am) and I had gone from 7cm to 9-10cm within 20 minutes. All of the sudden he was like, you ready to have a baby? Your body has responded great, let’s do this. And I was like wait, what? I thought it was still going to be a while but he assured me my body had responded to everything we had done, it was time, she was ready to come out!


The next 20 minutes were kind of a blur. Our doula encouraged me to change positions as I had only found one position I was “comfortable” in throughout the night. Changing positions was a big win and helped me get through those last contractions that are so freaking painful (see photo below).

I utilized the peanut (a special type of birthing ball) and that helped as well.




The doctor got all his stuff ready, including bringing down the large “transformer” light, the nurses got ready too, and then they started coaching me of when to push. Can I just tell you, pushing has got to be the hardest part of the birth process. There is so much pressure down there it feels like as hard as you’re pushing, there’s no way you can push harder. Sure enough, you can.


At one point the doctor told me to put my head down by my lady bits so I could feel the top of her head, full head of hair and all. He told me I just needed a few more solid pushes and she would be out. Total I had just about 45 minutes of pushing, and then all of the sudden that last push, felt like an out of body experience. All of the sudden she was on my abdomen and worked her way up to my chest. Did you know that babies are capable of crawling up to your chest when they are fresh out of the womb? It’s the only time they will crawl until they actually start crawling several months later. Crazy right?! A fun fact I learned in hypnobirthing class!


I wish I could explain to you the feeling of when they put your baby on you for the first time. Its so surreal but I will try my best to describe it. It felt like a dream. All of the sudden there she was, my little angel who had been inside me for the last nine months was here, on my chest, she was a living, breathing human. I was so overwhelmed with emotion I somehow did not cry but instead just stared at her thinking how in the world did I do I just do that, and how is it that she’s so new and perfect.





At PVH they do something called “magic hour” and once they have checked the vitals of mom and baby to make sure everything is good they let you have the room with just you, your partner, and the baby. I can’t tell you how incredible that hour was, holding her, crying with Ricky, kissing her, just taking it all in, it’s so so special.


The next few days at the hospital were kind of a blur but I’m glad we did everything the way we did. You’re able to stay two days, two nights, as long as everything goes smoothly and we did opt to stay both nights. I’m glad we did because having constant medical care by professionals who specialize in mamas and babies was such a blessing. I was able to meet with a lactation specialist to make sure we established a good latch right away (we did, thank goodness), Ricky met with a car seat technician to make sure our car seat was properly installed, we got to order room service at any time and not even have to think about food, oh and speaking of food, they have something called the “first parents dinner” and you can get surf and turf, and it’s delicious and it doesn’t cost anything extra, it’s just included in your food bill for the hospital.




Overall I have to say that my birth experience was exactly what I had wanted. I was able to have her naturally, even with all the medical things they did to me. If you made it this far, thanks for reading about my experience. If you’re an expecting mama, I hope you find it helpful but let me just say: everyone’s story is different. Do not compare what my experience was to what you experience. At the end of the day what matters most is that you deliver a happy and healthy baby, whether he/she comes out from a c-section, natural birth, epidural, water birth, anything in between. I think when I say that whatever you experience, even if it’s traumatic, any mom will agree that you would do it 100x over again because of what you get at the end of it. There’s truly nothing like it.


I’ve included some photos that our doula took and I’m forever grateful for.


Love, light, and safe delivery,

Jessie

  • Jessie


If you’ve been following me for a while you know I struggled with how I saw myself for a very long time. It took years of retraining my brain to learn to love myself and who I am as a person. Being pregnant I wanted to make sure to speak only loving words to myself, and one of my highest priorities was to send all the positive and joyous energy to the baby that I possibly could. It’s not the babies fault that I used to hate myself, and I needed her to know from minute one just how special she is.


As I got further along in my pregnancy I started to do some research on birthing methods and birthing classes. The Women’s Clinic (where I saw my ob doctor) offered classes and while I did take a few through the clinic I knew I wanted to find some sort of birthing class to help me feel more confident going into delivery since I’ve never done this before.


One of my dear friends had a little girl last September and had given me a bunch of maternity clothes, as well as a book on the birthing method she used, hypnobirthing. I read a little about it and became very intrigued. Not even two weeks later, Katy of @peacefulmamabirthing started following me on social media (the power of social media can be such a blessing, friends) and I saw that she was a doula and hypnobirthing instructor. I, of course, stalked her feed to find more info, visited her website, and then she reached out to me on an Instagram DM. After talking with her directly and reading more on hypnobirthing I decided I definitely wanted to do classes.


I signed up for her next open session, which was 5 weeks of classes, one day per week for 2 hours. Your partner is encouraged to attend but it’s not mandatory. Ricky actually missed the first class (which of course he felt terrible about but #work) but was able to make it to the rest of the classes no problem.


So what is hypnobirthing? Hypnobirthing is a birthing method to bring your baby into a joyous and peaceful environment. It’s a combination of affirmations, self-hypnosis, and specific breathing techniques to help you have an empowered birthing experience no matter how you plan to give birth.


Each week we learned countless new things, we watched videos of actual women using the hypnobirthing method to deliver, had at least one hypnosis per session, were given numerous resources for pretty much anything we asked a question about, and then also had homework in between. One of my favorite homework assignments we had was Katy asked us to right down our top five fears about birth/parenting. As a person deep into personal development and constant reflection, I found it so helpful, and the best part? When Ricky and I compared our lists, four of our five fears were the same thing. It felt really good to know we were on the same page, especially with something as life changing as having a baby.


If you know me, you know how big I am on affirmations. In fact, my primary love language is “words of affirmation,” so this birthing method could not have been more perfect for me and for Ricky. I listened to the affirmations and birthing meditation almost every single night. It helped me get to sleep and also prepare my mind that I was capable of having the birth experience that I wanted.

{Stay tuned for my birth story coming out on the blog later this weekend/early next week!}


I also totally connected with Katy and after finishing up the hypnobirthing classes we decided we wanted her to be our doula. Originally I didn’t feel the need for a doula but after going through classes & connecting with Katy and seeing how passionate and knowledgeable she is, it felt like a no brainer. It was Ricky who asked me if we could hire Katy and said he thought it was a good thing to have another advocate besides the two of us on our birthing team that wasn’t necessarily “medical.”


After officially hiring Katy as our doula I met with her solo to go over our birth plan. She helped me to shape what we wanted, especially with being medically induced. It was so helpful and encouraging to have a professional who lives and breathes birth experiences, and helping moms and their partners to feel confident and empowered in the process.


Then came day of induction and Katy was there. She got to meet the night nursing staff and helped to see what was going on for the first part of induction. We then told her to go home and get some rest and Ricky would call her if anything drastic happened in the middle of the night.


After they started the induction process Ricky made sure to immediately make the room an environment that was exactly as we had discussed, a hypnobirthing method room. We dimmed all the lights, he put on the essential oil diffuser (which he kept going the entire time I was laboring) and he started the birthing affirmations for me to listen to. And honestly throughout the entire night, the natural encouragement of Ricky (he’s always been the best encourager and teammate, and the additional skills he had learned from class), the hypnobirthing affirmations, and the mediations are what got me through all of the painful contractions.


We also had the benefit of having Katy there during my birth. She came in the morning right after the doctor took the balloons out and was there until about two hours after Lincoln was earth-side. She helped remind me to send positive energy to Lincoln as she was coming down the birth canal and also the breathing techniques I had learned in class (which when you’re in active labor, some things are much harder than others). Katy also took photos of the whole thing and I’m so thankful to have photos of such a life changing experience, vag shots and all.


Overall, I’m so thankful for finding the hypnobirthing method and Katy and will definitely use it again when we choose to have a sibling for Lincoln. A very special thank you to Katy and all the amazing support and resources she provides for her clients. You’re one special lady and I’m so blessed to have crossed paths with you!


Love, light & peaceful motherhood,

Jessie


P.S. if you have any questions and want to know more feel free to reach out to me! Also don’t forget to follow Katy on social media and check out her website.

@peacefulmamabirthing

www.peacefulmamabirthing.com


Taking a social media hiatus has honestly been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself in a lonnnng time. Watching my screen time go down each week from a crazy amount of HOURS per day to now using my phone for about 35 minutes a day has done more for my psyche than I can even try to explain.


Essentially, I realized my relationship with social media had become super unhealthy. I would spend hours creating content, trying to be “active” at all times, making sure I was engaging with all the people, researching new and relevant hashtags, and then finding myself seeking validation and feeling like a failure if a photo didn’t get over a certain amount of likes. Even though my commentary has always been real, these were things going on the background that no one saw, things I was battling with on my own and pretty much feeling like I was “faking it.” I also started to feel like I was just contributing to the noise of this constant need for new, and it started to make me sick thinking about how much crap my eyeballs were trying to ingest at all times. All in all, a really sad way to realize that my priorities were way out of whack. When I had this realization of my unhealthy relationship with social media was also around the time I found I was pregnant, I wasn’t feeling well anyways so it was the perfect excuse to say you know what, no more. Right now is my time and it’s my time to not give a sh*t about social media. It was the most liberating thing I’ve done for myself and I couldn’t be more grateful for my time away. So, here’s the most important things I learned: 1) Social media is a blessing and a curse. It can bring people together but it also can make them feel so isolated and alone. Make sure your relationship with your phone and how you’re using social media is something that makes you inspired and excited, and the minute it feels Ike something other than that, put your phone away and do something else. Your social media is not something you should build your worth upon because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. It’s literally Instagram. Who the heck cares how many likes or follows you have? Do you hear me? IT DOESN’T MATTER. Go call a friend, get outside, pick up a book, do something fun away from a screen, you’ll be better for it. 2) Using it to build community is great but, BE REALISTIC. Most people don’t have a fancy camera, most people don’t have a best friend who is a photographer who can take super insta worthy photos, so some people are going to see your photo and yes, be inspired, but others are going to feel bad about not having what looks like that seemingly perfect manicured life. Sharing your real authentic moments are what social media should be about and what I am committed to doing moving forward. Will you still see beautiful photos taken by my best friend? Yes. But are you also going to see the in between moments of my real life, yes. That’s only fair because that’s actually real life. It might not be pretty but it’s real. 3) BE PRESENT in the actual moment. I have barely any photos on my phone from the past couple of months and though it might look like I wasn’t doing anything, I was actually enjoying my life and not feeling the constant need to document every single thing. Despite what social media seems to tell us, you don’t have to document everything. If you went to some cool event and you feel compelled to share, by all means, share. But don’t do it because it would be good content for the gram. Do it because you’re genuinely feeling like it could contribute to something. And not documenting something, that is great too! I encourage you to try it. You get to see things through a different lens, literally, because you’re looking at it through your eyes, and not your phone. And I promise you that you’ll have way more fun enjoying yourself, whatever you’re doing. Just take the moment to drink it in and be present in the moment, you won’t regret it. So here’s my commitment moving forward: You’re going to see me a little more of me than you have over the past few months but I’m not necessarily going to be posting to social media every day/every other day to make sure I’m relevant and still in people algorithms, I’ve let that go. You’re going to see more genuine and authentic things going on in my life, and it’s probably going to involve more pictures of my dogs being crazy and getting ready for a baby on the way because that’s my actual life. And lastly, I promise to be my MOST AUTHENTIC SELF AT ALL TIMES, and that means when I’m not feeling it, and I feel like it’s something that could still be valuable, I’m going to share it, because that’s real life and we are all imperfect. I think at the end of the day it’s most important that we realize that we are all in this crazy thing called life together. We might not be going through the same exact thing as our neighbor but we can identify that we aren’t perfect and sometimes things are going to be so great that you want to shout from the rooftops, and other times you’re sad and you want to know that it’s ok, and there are other people who have been sad too. And that’s ok!!


So cheers to healthy relationships with our phones, cultivating community authentically, being present, and choosing to show up each day and give it our very best! I’m excited to be coming back in a way that feels honest and open.


Love, light, & lipstick,

Jessie