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Ep 34 Kristen Womack | A Fertility Story

Fertility struggles are so common, and yet they each are so unique.  And going through fertility struggles can be a painful and isolating experience.  In this episode, we hear from Kristen Womack about her fertility struggles through two pregnancies, and the support and care she received along the way.

We discuss the importance of feeling seen and heard by your care provider, trusting your gut and balancing input from experts with knowing what’s right for you, and the benefits of both conventional and holistic medicine specifically regarding fertility.

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[00:01:08]Lilly: I am here with Kristin Wommack. And this is a unique episode because we usually interview practitioners or wellness professionals. And today we’re going to be talking about the side of the patient and more of a healing story that she is so graciously sharing with us. So Kristen has a very unique fertility story and it hits on so many important topics between conventional and holistic medicine, and really patient centered care and feeling good in your care team.

[00:01:41] At every point along the way. So we’re going to get into a lot of these topics. This is a really powerful story that she’s sharing. And Kristen, I am so grateful to you for joining me on the show to talk about all of this. So welcome to the show.

[00:01:57] Kristen: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here.

[00:01:59] Lilly: Yeah. So let’s start at the beginning. Where did your fertility story start?

[00:02:06]Kristen: Yeah. So my partner and I, we bought our house and we were getting settled in and we were starting to talk about having children. We had always kind of talked about having two children and, um, and I don’t know, it just kept feeling like I wanted to get a little bit more time, just the two of us or just the house.

[00:02:25] So we kind of put it off until we are a little bit older. And then once we started. And decided to start trying to have children and were in a heterosexual relationship. And so I think that’s an important part of the journey too, because everyone’s coming from so many different angles. So we were starting to talk about, getting pregnant and,  I thought one of the very first, most important steps was to find an OB that I liked.

[00:02:50] So I started going through all the different providers and I settled on this one woman. And I think, I didn’t really know what to pick from, but she looked friendly and she looked happy and I felt like I could be safe with her or get to know her as a practitioner. And so I started seeing her in establishing a relationship and then I let her know that one of the reasons I was looking to find a new OB was to start thinking about having children.

[00:03:15] So, what I didn’t know at that moment when I told her is that my clock already started ticking with her. So I didn’t realize this at the time. So we started, trying to use a period tracking app to track fertility and started,  trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t happening and it wasn’t happening.

[00:03:35] And I think it didn’t really feel like infertility at that point, we had, uh, lost a pet in our family during that first part of our journey. So we took a break because we were feeling really emotional and kind of wanting to heal from that. And our re our, our journey felt really relaxed at this point.

[00:03:51] Just kind of like, okay, let’s try this month, let’s skip this month. It didn’t feel pressured. And then at about a year in. My OB, I was at an appointment and she said, well, um, since you’re in fertile, we should start talking about the next steps. And I, like, I had a jolt, I thought, wait, I’m diagnosed with infertility.

[00:04:12] Cause she actually said the diagnosis was infertility. And so I asked her to pause and I said, I don’t. Um, I’m not following. I don’t understand why would I be diagnosed as infer and fertile? Because in my mind, when you get a diagnosis you’ve gone through tests or you fail, you’ve asked to say, something’s wrong.

[00:04:29] Can you look into

[00:04:30] Lilly: Yes, that makes sense. That’s what would be in my mind too.

[00:04:34] Kristen: And she said, well, 80, I think she said,  80% of people trying within a year would be pregnant by now. And so that would make you infertile.

[00:04:42] Lilly: Which is probably actively trying every single month. Right. you weren’t doing.

[00:04:48] Kristen: Exactly. And I had to explain that to her and she, it just felt like we were talking past each other and she wasn’t really a hearing me. And at the time it was frustrating, but. In my journey, I’ve started to realize that a lot of medical professionals are actually pressured to see patients like every 10 or 15 minutes.

[00:05:05] And they’re barely have time for charting and all these different things. Where of course, I’m just one person in her day, even though that’s not how I think I should be treated or how I think patients should be treated. It’s part of a system in conventional medicine. And so at that point she said, well, I think we should move forward with Clomid.

[00:05:22] And in my mind, I just kinda thinking, just pause, hang on. I don’t even know that I want to go down the route of doing different drugs or, um, in my mind I thought, Oh boy, if we couldn’t get pregnant, I guess I would prefer to set her adoption. Like that was what was calling to me. And so I left feeling frustrated and then the next appointment, Well, actually, then I decided to start doing some reading on my own.

[00:05:48] And I figured out that, um, there was these fertility strips. You could pee on urine strips, like in the middle of your pregnancy and determine when you’re ovulating. So I bought those from target and they did not match with my period app. So apparently this whole time we were trying on the wrong days.

[00:06:05] And when I was using these, um, I can’t remember what they’re called. They’re like ovulation strips. And then once I saw that we were kind of off by a few days, we started trying in that way. And then one day, boom, we were pregnant and I was so excited. And so I took, I think, four pregnancy tests. It was over a weekend, positive, positive, positive.

[00:06:28] And then I called first thing Monday morning, 8:00 AM like good studious patient. Hi. I think I’m pregnant. I need to come in and. Need the authoritative. You tell me that I’m pregnant also. And the woman on the phone just sounded. So, she was like, well, did you take a pregnancy test? And I said, yeah, I took four of them and they’re all positive.

[00:06:48] And she’s like, well, then you’re pregnant. So we’ll see you at eight weeks. And I didn’t understand that there would be such a gap in the beginning. So the whole thing was just really confusing and felt. Like, I didn’t understand what was happening. And so that pregnancy went really well. And we had, um, our first baby and it took us about a year and a half to get pregnant.

[00:07:13] So then when we tried to have our second child, we had, Also, I’ve been trying for about a year and a half. Before we got pregnant and six months into that second journey, we remembered what she said about 80% of people, being infertile. If you hadn’t tried, if you were trying for that. Period of time for a year.

[00:07:32] So I said, okay, it’s six months. We should try to like figure out. So we, in our first, in our first pregnancy, I think it’s important to mention that the relationship with the OB just continued to get worse. And I eventually changed providers in the middle of pregnancy and. I was part of a yoga class and in the yoga class, everyone would introduce themselves.

[00:07:52] Um, hi, my name is Kristin I’m, you know, 21 weeks pregnant. This is where I’m birthing my baby. I have a doula. This is who that person is. This is kinda my hopes and dreams this week. I’m feeling this. And so you would get to hear from everyone in the class. And for me, that was really pivotal because I would see these people who were pregnant ahead of me that were at 40 weeks or 35 weeks just before they were about to have their baby.

[00:08:18] And one week this woman came in and she said, I am 36 weeks pregnant. And my relationship with them, it will be just continues to get worse. And I feel like she’s not hearing me and I’m feeling very unsafe birthing my baby. And so this week I’m switching and I’m meeting some midwives at a birth center, and I think I’m going to switch providers.

[00:08:37] And then she came into the next week and said, I switched providers. And then like two weeks later she had her baby and I read her birthday and I was floored. I couldn’t believe you could switch providers. Mid-pregnancy.

[00:08:49]And so immediately I decided to switch providers and there’s a whole lot more to that story. But in terms of the fertility story, it was like one of the first steps in trusting myself and trusting my gut. And so I had a group of midwives and they were wonderful. And I had a birth experience that was, closer to what I wanted.

[00:09:13] And I know that once I had my baby, I remembered back to that OB and I, I have a suspicion that my birth would have not gone the way I wanted based on how long I was in labor and all those things. So anyways, fast forward to my second pregnancy or second attempt to become pregnant. I at six months, we sought out from a midwife who referred us to a fertility clinic.

[00:09:34] And we went to that fertility clinic. And the things that I learned about fertility is that you can have, known issues that can be fixed. You can have known issues that are really not. Able to move forward that you have to start looking for other options and then you can have unexplained fertility.

[00:09:52] So with my first pregnancy, I had unexplained fertility. I had no idea why we weren’t getting pregnant. And then out of nowhere, we did get pregnant. And with my second, we went through a bunch of tests. So when you first find out that you might be infertile or having some fertility issues, you go through tests, like they take your blood, they take your urine, you start to, figure out where all your different levels are.

[00:10:17] They do a test where they put a, like, Balloon catheter into your cervix, and then they pushed dye up through your fallopian tubes and then they can see with that dye and, uh, imaging, if you have a blockage in your fallopian tubes. So essentially if an egg is trying to come down the fallopian tube and it’s blocked, that can cause, you to be infertile.

[00:10:37] If there’s something implanted in your uterus, like a tumor or a polyp or something, you can also not become pregnant because your uterus thinks that there’s something already embedded in the lining. So in the second journey, we had a bunch of tests and I told the woman early on, I said, I’m here to find out if we have some problems and if they’re fixable, but I really want you to respect where I am as a person and the things I want.

[00:11:01] And while I. Really want to become pregnant, or I want to be come a parent a second time. I’m definitely not interested in doing IVF. And I guess I haven’t shared my fertility story with a lot of people because everyone’s story is so different. And I think sometimes you can start to feel like your story is less valid or if it’s, if it’s not, um, you know, like there’s a lot of people that I know, and I’ve heard their stories where they’ve gone through several rounds of IVF and it’s a lot of heartbreak, years and years of.

[00:11:31] Two weeks of hope, two weeks of grieving, two weeks of hope, two weeks of grieving, and it takes a serious toll on people. And there’s so many great things about IVF, for surrogacy, for,  pregnancy issues where,  sperm and egg aren’t coming together on their own and need a little bit more help from science and all of these things.

[00:11:47] But for me in my heart, I knew it wasn’t for me. And so sometimes I just am a little bit more shy to share my story, I think because, Infertility. It can feel really lonely and feel like a lot of there’s a lot of grief. There’s a lot of anger. There’s a lot of trauma. There’s a lot of, um, judgments. And so sometimes I think we shrink back in our stories a little bit, and I know I for sure have done that.  But for me with this woman, she heard me and she said, okay, I will help you figure out if there’s a problem and we’ll help you and I’ll let you drive this situation. So I really was very happy. And then what she ended up finding out is that I had a polyp in my uterus. And so what that means is that for all the time, we were trying to get pregnant.

[00:12:29] The lining of my uterus was thinking there was already something embedded and so pregnancy just couldn’t occur. And so I had surgery to have it removed, and then we had to, wait a few months because in the. Testing I had done, they also found that I was no longer immune, um, had immunity to chicken packs.

[00:12:52] And so she said, in order to keep working with their clinic, I had to update that immunization. So I was like, okay, another roadblock. And at this point we’re getting to like a year in. And so it feels like every month that goes by, you’re just like running out of time and it feels really scary. And so I waited a few months, got the vaccine.

[00:13:16] And then we got pregnant right away and I was really excited because it meant that the polyp was gone and that was the problem. And it’s like, Oh, we found the problem. Let’s this is it. And then we had a miscarriage. And so we, that was really hard because then it was like, okay, monster ticking by. And at this point we were like I said, getting close to a year into our journey.

[00:13:38] And so I was starting to think this isn’t going to happen. We already decided we weren’t going to keep trying for more than like a year and a half or two years. Um, and yeah, so it was, it was really hard. And then I have always sort of come from this background of this like holistic health and wellness, approach to my life.

[00:14:00] And so I’ve really skewed more to how can I heal or get to the root cause of what’s going on? How do I heal myself with food and movement? And, um, functional medicine has been a big part of my life. And so I had been talking with the wellness providers at wellness, Minneapolis. I’ve been seeing Dr.

[00:14:19] Barrett there for years, and she’s an incredible person

[00:14:22] Lilly: so great.

[00:14:23] Kristen: smart, and she specializes in thyroid health. And so around this time that I had the miscarriage, that’s when I started realizing I was having thyroid problems. And with Dr. Barrett,  I usually,  see her regularly. And when I had this thyroid, test results, come back from the infertility or the fertility clinic.

[00:14:44] They wanted to prescribe me,  thyroid medicine, like a synthetic, thyroid medicine, so like hormones. And so I immediately called Dr. Barrett and said, okay, I really want to know, like, should I take this? Like, what does this mean? Help me interpret this? Cause I’m pretty much like taking medicine is like, I really have to know what it is.

[00:15:04] I have to know what the side effects are. How is this going to take me down a further loop and. This is where Dr. Barrett is so amazing is that she’s a functional doctor who is grounded in,  holistic medicine and natural,  pathic,  medicine. And she also knows, okay, this is when we need a little bit of help from Western medicine.

[00:15:25] This is how they can work together. Here’s how we can respect each,   approach. And so with her encouragement, I started taking the thyroid medicine and,  And I was still,  struggling with,  not getting pregnant and just month after month was going by and around the end where it was kind of like, okay, this is it.

[00:15:45] This is, I need to feel this grief. This is over. We’re not having another baby. I’m going through the stages of trying to accept it. And I started getting these just like terrible rashes on my hand. And I had this had been going on for a long time off and on. And I, it was so painful that I started doing these like Google searches, like for images and.

[00:16:10] I kept coming up with this one for, uh, like kept coming back to the same symptoms for this thing that’s related to, uh, gluten induced rash. And so I called Dr. Barrett and I said, there is just something that won’t stop, like. I have pictures and it’s just keeps getting worse and I was like monitoring it.

[00:16:29] And, um, and I said, I finally found something that seems to fit the, um, the, the feelings I’m having in the description of what’s going on. And she’s like, Oh yeah, but you don’t eat gluten. So this would be weird because I had stopped eating gluten because of,  family, , thyroid problems. And,

[00:16:46] we had a lot of allergies until like 2012. So like eight years ago I stopped eating gluten, I guess nine years ago.  And once I stopped getting gluten, all of my allergies went away. Like I ended up

[00:16:59] Lilly: nasal, like.

[00:17:02] Kristen: no, like. I was allergic to bananas,

[00:17:05] Lilly: Oh, wow.

[00:17:06] Kristen: kidney beans, like this long list. And when I would eat bananas, I would get like an itchy mouth and swollen throat and swollen lymph node glands under my arm, like in my armpits.

[00:17:18] And with avocados, I could have like a bite or two and then my mouth would start itching really bad. And then it, yeah, it’s just like a really, um, yeah. So when I stopped eating gluten, I had always, even though I get an itchy mouth from avocados, I would always just take a bite or two because they are so delicious.

[00:17:35] And so I was cutting up avocados for my first baby and I just kept eating them and I wasn’t getting an itchy mouth and I was like, what is happening? So I had a blood test on two for food allergies and bananas, avocados. None of them showed up after I stopped eating gluten.

[00:17:52] Lilly: wow.

[00:17:53] Kristen: And so when I’ve talked to so fast forward, when I was talking to Dr.

[00:17:57] Baird about this itchy hand, rash that I was getting, she’s like, well, you don’t eat gluten. So that’s so weird. And I was like, Oh yeah. Sometimes like every once in a while I’ll like cheat, because look at that croissant, it’s so delicious.

[00:18:07] Lilly: Sure. Yeah.

[00:18:09] Kristen: like, you know, and. And she’s like, Oh, Kristin, no, like you have to be like, you have to be strict.

[00:18:16] Like you have to remove gluten from your lotions, your shampoos, your like everything. It’s like pretty binary it’s it’s like yes or no. So I stopped eating gluten and I actually stopped eating anything that came in a package. I just started focusing on whole foods and prepared foods that I was making myself and eliminating as much sugar as possible.

[00:18:39] Um, Like I’m talking fruit sugars at this point. Cause I’m not really any sugars at all. And, um, and strict, like went through my house, everything with gluten a month later I got back

[00:18:52] Lilly: Wow

[00:18:54] Kristen: and the hand rash went away and it has like never come up.

[00:18:58] Lilly: crazy. So did you find out why gluten was potentially a contributor to a whole holding it back from

[00:19:05] Kristen: Yeah. That’s a great question. So, um, A couple of years ago, I read this book called unconventional medicine and it’s written by Chris Kresser, who I think is pretty popular in the functional medicine space. Um, I know most of it as a patient or as a person who is interested in my own health and. Um, unconventional medicine is a book that I think is mostly written for practitioners.

[00:19:31] Like the beginning part talks about like having a clinic and some of the problems of Western medicine and the rushed appointments and, um, not listening to the patient of wanting to dig deeper into allergies or food or, and, you know, and I know from reading your story too, that, um, you’ve also had your own journey with like allergies and, and when practitioners don’t listen to you about that, it’s like your body and, and.

[00:19:56] Throughout both of my fertility journeys, pregnancies and births. And, and I’ve had two miscarriages. So of the four pregnancies I have learned to really trust myself and to go deeper into, okay, I’m not feeling heard. Why am I not feeling heard? What information do I need to seek out? This doesn’t align with the story and the things that I’m experiencing.

[00:20:19] What else can I learn about it? And just going deeper and deeper. And so with the unconventional medicine book, I listened to the audio version of it, and it was really nice to hear him, um, talking about medicine in the way that. Feels like I’m interested in learning more about, but in the middle of the book, he talked about fertility and he talked about how so much unexplained fertility is highly likely to correlate to stress diet the way we move our bodies.

[00:20:48] Just our lifestyle is so different and functional medicine really focuses on walking every day and doing more manual labor, like, you know, gardening, or even if your job has manual labor or. You know, in your house and not being so sedentary.

[00:21:02]And I think that,  you know, for all the effort that we put into,  fertility treatments,  one thing that we have in our control is how we, you know, want to interact in our day to day in terms of mindsets movements,  and eating. And that seems like for me, it felt like those were the things that I could control and work on. , I should also be clear that in my second,  journey we did do. One round of IUI. So if listeners don’t know what that is, it’s like the, insemination. So there’s IUI and there’s,  IVF. So in uterine insemination is where basically they take my partner’s sperm and they,  give me a bunch of drugs too.

[00:21:51] Produce more eggs and then they monitor the eggs movements and development. And then at the exact right moment, then they, insert the sperm. And for someone like me who leans more towards holistic medicine, I only knew of IVF for nothing. And so when I learned about IUI, that was actually quite a huge eye-opener for the journey.

[00:22:10] I think that it’s helpful to understand where you are in the journey and it’s like trying, having tests done.  Then knowing what all of your options are. So I did one round of IUI and I, after that round, I said, I can’t ever do that again, like ever the drugs that they give you are like hormones. So it’s like, Clomid, and then you have to take this progesterone and it’s been some time.

[00:22:37] So I can’t quite remember all of them. I felt like an emotional wreck, like. The worst. I think I’ve ever felt in my life. It just was too much for me. And really I, um, and I think I had to do like a shot in my belly and it was just, it was really too much for me. And I know that there’s a lot of people out there who have done,  This for several months and then have done IVF.

[00:23:03] And there’s the term like IVF warrior or like fertility warrior. And like I doing that once is like, okay, I understand this because you’re doing a bit Jillian, all these hormones, it’s making you feel like a roller coaster. Um, and so my heart really goes out to people who are like dedicated to doing this.

[00:23:22] And it’s cause it’s a lot,

[00:23:26] Lilly: And everyone’s got their own, you know, decision to make and their own choices. Right. And this, so

[00:23:34] Kristen: Yeah.

[00:23:35] Lilly: I appreciate you saying it was too much for you, but we know that, um, everyone’s different. Right. And so. Thank you for sharing more about what that was like so that people can understand, you know, people that are going through this or similar things.

[00:23:52]I think, you know, everyone wants to share different levels with the people around them.  But just in the interest of. Building a more compassionate world.  Just, you know, giving each other grace and, and really like being there for people that are going through different struggles, even if they’re not sharing exactly what it is or exactly what’s happening. I appreciate you sharing your experience that people can understand it a little bit more.

[00:24:21] Kristen: Yeah. And I know a lot of people where I UI has worked on the first or the third or the fifth time, and I know people who’ve done IVF for a long time or on the first time they’ve gotten pregnant. Um, And there’s just so many different varied stories and experiences, and I’m sure that there are people who have also gone through IUI or IVF, and maybe didn’t even have the same experiences that I did, like the severe emotional roller coaster.

[00:24:46]And so it’s like, that’s why I think it’s so important that we know ourselves because for me, I just know that I don’t really do well with medicines. I don’t really do well with,  like hormonal medicine too. Whereas. I’ve tried birth control before in the past,  like the pill and that also didn’t work for me.

[00:25:02] And so some of us, I think like for me, I’m just really, I think, sensitive to that type of thing.  But one thing I learned in my journey, so I mentioned earlier that I switched providers in my first pregnancy. And when I was seeing the fertility clinic, doctor who I really liked, like she was great.

[00:25:22] She respected me. I felt heard.  She was smart.  She did the surgery on me, so I was in the operating room. Like they put me under, I trusted her. I felt really. Good about her. But even as much as I liked her, when they found the polyp, she was, you know, she had her like clipboard or something and she just said,  yeah, so, I mean, your OB, you can just take this paperwork and they’ll remove the polyp.

[00:25:47] And then I said to her, Oh, I don’t have an OB. I work with midwives. And she gets like, rolled her eyes and gave me this look of like, Oh, so I’ll be doing it. And it just felt like. Early on one of the things that happened right before I switched pregnancy providers for my OB to midwives the first time.

[00:26:09] Lilly: Okay.

[00:26:10] Kristen: I wanted to know more about the birth experience.

[00:26:12] So what, like, can I do a water birth and what kind of options do I have? And, and when I was with that first OB and my first pregnancy, and I asked those questions, she looked down at her clipboard and said, Oh your, Oh yeah, your, your baby’s not viable yet. So we’ll talk about those things later. And it felt like a punch to the gut because.

[00:26:31] Here. I am thinking about my journey of pregnancy and what birth will encompass. And I’m interviewing her as my provider of like, do I want to work with you? And so I didn’t want to know about those things when she thought it was okay. I wanted to know about those things now. And I thought that they were important and, and I felt that same way when the person who was at the fertility clinic kind of gave that face, which was like, okay, this is irrespective.

[00:26:57] This is like, Not a person person doing it. Me, it felt like this is what it’s like in the Western medicine world of how we treat pregnancy and birth. And I had a very different experience with midwives. So when I worked with, I worked with two sets of midwives for each pregnancy and, um, one set with my first one, and then I went to health foundations for my second birth.

[00:27:19] And the experience was just. Out of this world, different. It was completely different. So I guess the reason I’m sharing this is that I think that if you go through fertility with a fertility clinic and you get help from science, which is important there, like I mentioned this earlier, so many reasons why IVF actually is just wonderful.

[00:27:41] I

[00:27:41] Lilly: Yes. Amazing.

[00:27:43] Kristen: like lots and lots of different things. Um, but if you go through that route, you don’t have to also go full on science route through your pregnancy and your birth. So I think that there’s a stat out there that says that 80% of births are in the, they call them low risk. But let’s just say like, there isn’t any extenuating, like other risks circumstances in terms of health. But 98% of people go to OBS and or 98% of babies are born in a hospital. And I think that it’s like 90% of people are with OB is something like that.

[00:28:20] Lilly: Wow. I didn’t realize it was that high.

[00:28:22] Kristen: It’s really, really high, whereas like midwifery around the world has, uh, actual practice that can incorporate midwives and OBS and all kinds of health providers.

[00:28:33] So when you have midwifery midwifery model, it saves the OB like surgeon, um, skillset for if you need surgery

[00:28:42] Lilly: Right.

[00:28:42] Kristen: and midwifery for taking care of, uh, you know, a physiological birth.

[00:28:48]One of the best,  people who talk about,  this topic is,  Rebecca, Dr. Rebecca Dekker from evidence-based birth. She has a podcast and a book about, babies are not pizzas. Can have like a plan. Babies aren’t delivered. Babies are born and you’re the person who birthed the baby. And so giving that power back to you.

[00:29:06] So it’s like trusting your gut, taking your power back, really owning what your feelings are and figuring out how to find the provider who will support you and see you and not, you know, pressure you into practices and services that you don’t need by saying. You know, like all that matters is a healthy baby.

[00:29:25] It’s like, no, your pregnancy or birth, your baby, you like lots of things matter. So.

[00:29:30] Lilly: Lots of things matter. Absolutely. And I think it’s important for people to understand, too. You mentioned that,  You know, working with a midwife or a midwife group really saves that OB GYN surgical experience for when it’s truly needed. Because all OB is, are surgeons, right?

[00:29:50] They’re all trained to do C-sections and other surgeries.  And you know, any midwife group that you would work with would have an emergency care plan where you would get. You know that care if it’s, if it’s needed. Right. So yeah, I think that’s so important for listeners to know, even just thinking about anyone that might be listening, that’s about to have their first baby or thinking about getting pregnant.

[00:30:15]You have lots of options and it’s important to. Really understand what’s all available to you. And if you’re in a situation where you don’t feel listened to, you don’t feel seen or heard whether it’s a midwife or an OB or any kind of care provider, you can change providers. And it matters like how you feel in your care really matters.


[00:30:41] Kristen: Yeah, it matters so much for, yeah. Even like, especially in those postpartum weeks, they say, there’s a saying, that says how you. Feel about your birth is like one of the biggest indicators of your postpartum mood set. So like, I don’t like to say emotional disorders because I don’t really think they’re disorders.

[00:31:03] It’s like, if you take somebody and give them some of the situations that we see, like, even in COVID it’s like you go to a hospital, you can’t bring your partner. You have to choose between your partner or doula. You get rushed. You only have 24 hours, then it’s an  or you don’t, you aren’t told the whole story.

[00:31:20] And then you are just. Putting home with no support, there’s no continuity of care and understanding, and you’re learning so rapidly. It’s like, if you have postpartum depression or sadness or anxiety, it’s like, yeah, no wonder you that dramatic. And so like how you feel about your birth is so important, even if you end up having things go, not the way you want to, if you’re treated with dignity and respect, it’s so important to how you feel about your birth story.

[00:31:48]You can still feel empowered even when things don’t go right.  To plan. And so, yeah, I think that in my journey, what I learned, if I could summarize in it, it’s like infertility for me and it up being one of the biggest vehicles for. Learning more along the way, and really feeling that pushback and saying like, actually my gut feels differently or lean more into the holistic medicine because that already was my default.

[00:32:14] And so it’s like, what can I do more with food? What can I do? And I’ve talked to a few people and some I’ve, um, I’m definitely not alone.  I know other people have had similar experiences, but it’s like, I’ve really learned to trust my gut and ask more questions, read more books, find a variety of,  experiences and feel free to just take them all in and then do what you wanted.

[00:32:34] If somebody is sharing it, it’s a gift to hear their story and then to do with what you want. If you want to file it in that doesn’t apply to me or, wow. I could take this one thing away. Um, but yeah, just learning and finding out more information along the way was key for me.

[00:32:51] Lilly: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it’s, when you go through something like this, it’s a, it’s a way to feel more empowered in your health and wellbeing too. I guess like before you’re going through anything tough, you probably aren’t putting as much thought into it. And so you don’t feel that. Um, but when you do and you’re researching, at least in my experience and I’m learning so much on your own and making decisions and asking tough questions from the providers that you’re working with, it helps you to feel like you kind of are taking more ownership and have more control.

[00:33:27] I think too.

[00:33:29]Kristen: And so it’s like knowing your options is half the battle, especially when. I think that, you know, for me, I felt like the time was just slipping away. And so it’s like when time feels like it’s slipping away, it’s important to know your options sooner than when you feel like you only have a month or two left.

[00:33:45] And I wish I would’ve known about this option before, or, um, or like, Oh, I only knew there was IVF. I had no idea. There’s this other thing called IUI. Wow. That seems. Like, maybe I could do that. And I had the opportunity to try it, and I know now it wasn’t for me, but at least I had those options available, you know?

[00:34:04] Lilly: Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story, Kristen, is there anything else that you want our listeners to know?

[00:34:14] Kristen: I mean, if you live in the twin cities and you have the chance to go to wellness, Minneapolis, I cannot recommend them enough. I’ve seen almost every practitioner there, including Jesse Haas, who does like.  Food preparation and meal planning, but Dr. Barrett has been my main doctor for many years. And then if you’re looking for a birthplace health foundations was just incredible.

[00:34:36] Um, and I really love both of those. So yeah, if you’re in the twin cities, I think that is the one thing I would leave you with. And then if you’re, if you’re looking for a book recommendation, I think babies are not pizzas is a really beautiful story giving just enough information of the holistic. Space of birth, but then also, uh, first, uh, like a front seat to a healing journey too.

[00:34:59] Lilly: Love that. Thank you. We’ll include that in our book list for March, so people can have that. Um, and we’ll have it in the show notes of this episode as well. So thank you so much, Kristen.

[00:35:12] Kristen: yes. Thank you for having me.

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