Baby C's Unexpected Birth Story - Part 3 - The Arrival



I walked into the brightly lit OR alone.

My husband had to stay outside (for whatever reason) until surgery was about to start.

So I approached the operating table and a doctor asked me if I could sit up on the edge. It was quite high, but I had a pretty easy time hoisting my 6'1" pregnant body up there. It was time to place my spinal block. 

My anesthesiologist asked me to round my back like a cat and stay very still. I leaned forward and rounded by back so my spine would stick out, and my nurse stood in front of me and held my hands. A needle pinched going into my back, more intense than getting a typical shot but it wasn't terrible. I breathed into it and groaned a little. This was just the numbing stuff before the anesthesia that would numb me from the waist down but I don't even remember that second needle. As the anesthesiologist worked, I thought of my brother who is also an anesthesiologist, and how interesting it would be to talk to him about my experience.

I was actually pretty anxious about having a needle inserted into my spine but since the car accident that set me on this path to health and wellness 10 years ago, I'm kind of nerdy when it comes to medical procedures and the body. My first birth had been completely unmedicated and I never really saw myself getting an epidural or undergoing any sort of medical intervention in order to have my babies. A spinal block is different than an epidural because it's just anesthesia injected directly into the spine, without anything getting threaded in there to control the medication. This was a one shot deal. I took some deep belly breaths and just trusted the process.

As soon as the medication was in, the anesthesiologist said, "OK, I need you to lay down, RIGHT NOW."

It suddenly dawned on me that  yes, I had to get myself down onto the table before it was no longer possible!

I laid down as quickly as I could.

Dr. Cap came into the OR then and greeted me, his voice relaxed but clearly focused on the task at hand.

Surgery prep

The drape was quickly placed over me, and now the anesthesiologist asked me to put my arms out on either side of me like a "T". He started to test my sensation, asking me if different parts of my upper and lower body felt the same, or different. Things were starting to feel different. The block was taking effect. Soon I couldn't feel my lower body at all. It was strange, but not alarming. I felt pretty relaxed.

Then the anesthesiologist flopped a piece of fabric over my arms on the table. 

I felt them tighten. 

He had just strapped me down.

THIS was NOT OK. I now know (from my anesthesiologist brother via my mom) that when people are numb from the waist down, they sometimes like to "help", or their reflexes cause them to interfere with the surgeon. But in that moment, all I knew was that I was being restrained for seemingly no reason. He didn't tell me this was going to happen, or why, so I started to freak out.

"What are you doing?" I asked him. "Please let me go. Don't tie me down."

I am not claustrophobic or anything, but being strapped down made me feel like I was being perceived as a hysterical woman who couldn't be trusted with her own body.

"Let me go, please let me go. Don't tie me down. Just don't tie me down." I was starting to feel a little panicky. I was already robbed of the birth I wanted, and I was not about to let this experience become something traumatic.
I didn't care if it was "procedure" or "policy". I needed to feel in control of my own body, especially being numb from the waist down. I needed my arms free.

"Ok, but don't touch the doctor." Quickly the straps loosened and were removed. I immediately relaxed.

Dr. Cap joked, "just don't grab my butt, Maggie!"

"Have people done that?!" I asked.

He laughed and said something like, "oh, you'd be surprised."  

"Don't worry, I won't." I couldn't imagine grabbing someone while they were either cutting me open, getting my baby out, or stitching me closed.

But I also realized how important it was to have a voice and ask for what I needed, because if I'd stayed silent, I'd be strapped to that table, miserable.

Suddenly someone new was next to me on my left, dressed in full surgical garb complete with a mask, protective glasses, gloves... they looked down at me and said, "Hi Maggie."

It was SUSAN! My midwife had made it. I knew she had full privileges at the hospital and worked there often, and that she often worked with Dr. Cap, too, but after she had told me to go to his office that morning, instead of the birth center, I had assumed it would be just him from there on out. I was so grateful to see her and know that she would be a part of my birth, too. It still wasn't the birth center, it wasn't anywhere close to an unmedicated birth, but somehow having Susan there in the O.R. beside me made me feel even more supported. She, too, knew how badly I'd wanted to avoid this kind of birth. She looked me in the eye and smiled, unable to physically touch me now that she was dressed for surgery.

Then my husband was ushered in and he took his spot just next to my left shoulder. 'Hey baby," he said. I smiled up at him. I couldn't see what was happening below my chest because my "clear" drape was lined with blue fabric. I  kind of wished I could see, then felt glad that I couldn't, and so I just waited. I knew my husband planned to take photos of the birth with his phone so I hoped they turned out ok. 

"Ok, Maggie, I'm going to start. You'll feel some tugging."
Dr. Cap began my caesarean birth.

I felt nothing at first, and then soon there was some significant side to side tugging, but the drape blocked me from seeing anything more than Dr. Cap's and Susan's heads looking down at my belly as they worked.I felt relaxed and curious, anxious to meet my baby. 

It only took a few minutes and soon, I heard Dr. Cap say, "there's a foot!"

So he HAD been footling! If he'd been frank breech, I was pretty sure his bum would have come out first because it would have been the part of him that was sitting down low in my pelvis.

"Here comes your baby, Maggie!" Dr. Cap said.

"I can't see! I can't see! I want to see!" My voice rose in pitch and volume. That damn blue liner was still obstructing my view and I didn't want to miss this! Everyone was so focused on the c-section, the drape had been forgotten.

Dr. Cap paused. "Someone get the drape for Maggie?" A hand reached over my right shoulder and pulled the liner away from the clear plastic drape, and there was my baby in Dr. Cap's hands, hovering in midair right over my chest. I was disappointed I hadn't seen him emerge but that feeling quickly faded.

All I could see was this perfect little baby in front of my eyes.

It turned out my husband didn't get any photos of this because he was too busy watching. I can't blame him, but damn. 

My baby was covered in white vernix and my blood, and he was perfect. I felt my heart explode with joy and love and I drank in this beautiful sight. I couldn't believe he was here! I wanted to hold him so badly, but I kept my hands down, instead finding my voice. "Hi baby, I'm your mama." I called him by name, tears streaming down my face. "I'm right here. I love you."

Then he was carried away, the blood mopped from his face, and brought back to me with his cheek placed against mine. My god, he was so warm and so soft. I cried and talked to him more, just waiting until I could hold him close.

After a few moments he was whisked away again and my husband went with him, to check his vitals, make sure he was stable, and to wait for the umbilical cord to empty its blood into the baby. My husband gave him a finger to hold to make sure he was getting some skin-to-skin contact (when he wasn't taking photos) while the nurse looked him over, and when another nurse wanted to wipe the white, cheesy vernix off him, my husband stopped her. He and I wanted it left on for all the good things it offered our new baby. Vernix soaks in by itself and moisturizes baby's skin, helps regulate their temperature, and has antimicrobial properties that protect the baby from infections! He wasn't dirty, there was no reason to wipe it off or bathe him right away. When my husband spoke up, another nurse agreed with him. "Yes, it's really good for their skin!" she said. So the nurse mopped off the blood and left the vernix alone.




My placenta was still in my uterus and Dr. Cap was massaging my belly, getting it to release, so while the baby didn't get full delayed cord clamping, he got to have the blood that remained in the cord after it was clamped near the placenta and cut there. I do wish he had gotten all of the blood from my placenta and not just the cord blood, but I figured it was unsafe to leave me cut wide open for too long.

As Dr. Cap received my placenta and put it safely aside (he knew I wanted to keep it for placenta encapsulation), he told me that I had a full septum. My uterus was literally divided in half, top to bottom. "Maggie, it's a good thing we did this," Dr. Cap said to me. "Your baby had NO room in there. Other moms I've seen who had a uterus like yours couldn't carry past 24 weeks, and you had two full term baby boys. That's amazing."

Tears of joy

Tears of joy


My heart swelled with gratitude for the choice I'd just made, for being 6'1" and having enough space to grow my babies, and for my doctor who took such good care of me. Then suddenly my husband was there holding our baby and he gently placed our little guy on my bare chest. I cried some more.

Dr. Cap and Susan, and another surgical assistant whose name I can't remember, closing up my belly. Baby C and I resting and bonding under the plastic drape.

Dr. Cap and Susan, and another surgical assistant whose name I can't remember, closing up my belly. Baby C and I resting and bonding under the plastic drape.


And before the nurse could get to him to help him start breastfeeding, he started wiggling across my chest, hunting for my breast. It didn't matter that he'd been born via c-section, my baby was doing the breast crawl! It was the most beautiful thing to watch and it felt so special, like a little private moment for just us, hidden from view. Soon the nurse's hands were there to help him but he'd already found  what he was searching for. He was latching on all by himself. I was so proud of him!

Epic newborn breast crawl, still in the OR!

Epic newborn breast crawl, still in the OR!


Then suddenly Dr. Cap said, "do you want a photo of your uterus so you can see the septum? I know you like that kind of thing."

A PHOTO?! Really? "Yes please!" I knew photos were usually strictly forbidden in the O.R. so for my doctor to offer that was huge. I DEFINITELY wanted to see what the inside of my uterus looked like so he quickly directed a nurse to grab my husband's phone and snap some photos. 

This is what it looks like: CLICK TO SEE - WARNING, this is an open surgical wound. VERY GRAPHIC. Don't click if you're squeamish at all. This is something you won't be able to un-see ;)

Then Dr. Cap told me he was going to stitch me up. "Do your best stitches, please!" I said.

"I always do my best stitches. I'm doing this just like a plastic surgeon.," he said.

And a few minutes after that, it was done!

I had my baby, all was well. I was transferred from the operating table to a bed, and wheeled back to my room to recover, breathing in that new baby smell on my chest as he happily nursed away.

Back in my room, me, my husband, and our new baby C.

Back in my room, me, my husband, and our new baby C.


At my incision check about a week later, Dr. Cap told me more about my uterus. My little guy had been really wedged in there and it really was like my body KNEW to not go into labor.

"He couldn't even get around the corner to get into the garage, let alone get down the driveway!" Dr. Cap said. His umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck once too, which wasn't a big deal during the caesarean, but might have been in other situations.

It was a good thing we didn't try an External Cephalic Version, too, although my gut had already told me that I wouldn't go through with one - either baby would flip on his own, or he'd stay breech and I was at peace with that. But now I knew that even if he wanted to turn, he couldn't. I felt a little badly for all the times I'd massaged my belly, encouraging him to turn. "Sorry, little one," I thought.

He would have had to choose a head-down position way earlier in my pregnancy but at 18 weeks, he was already breech, as the ultrasound tech pointed out when I was at a speciality appointment to check for normal growth and size. Normally a baby's position that early doesn't matter, but that assumes they have lots of room to turn and roll. If I'd started my Spinning Babies inversions then, maybe I would have had a totally different birth. But then again, maybe not. I really believe that babies choose their births, and are our greatest teachers.

Waiting for labor and trying to go the natural route would have most likely been really bad for baby and I, and I won't share the "could have happened" scenarios but... yeah. Bad. So I felt even more at peace with my choice for my baby's birth. I'd still never choose an elective c-section but since this one was necessary, and it was a positive experience with some minor hiccups, I was happy. I wasn't traumatized at all, and I had gotten the chance to experience how a belly birth could truly be just as beautiful as my unmedicated vaginal birth. What a gift, and a lesson for my ego that had held some pretty strong opinions about c-sections before I needed one myself.




Baby C's Unexpected Birth Story - Part 2- The Decision


"Can we take a peek at your baby?" Dr. Cap said.

"Yes, let's see what's going on," I said.

Despite leaking fluid for about 18 hours at this point, Dr. Cap said we'd probably see little pockets of fluid around certain parts of the baby's body. There was no panic, we just wanted to know more about my little guy's situation.

I laid down on the cushioned exam room table, crinkling the fresh paper under me as I lowered myself down and pulled up my shirt to expose my pregnant belly. More water smooshed out between my legs, making me extremely thankful I'd remembered to wear a pad before taking J to his morning of preschool. I stared at the TV screen on the wall, waiting to see what was up with my baby and I smiled when his black and white image popped up.

He was still breech. As Dr. Cap moved the ultrasound around on my belly, he told me what those fluid pockets would look like if they were there, but we didn't see any. My baby was pretty much dry docked, but his heartbeat sounded great and he wasn't in any distress.

Dr. Cap's office in Encinitas, CA.

Dr. Cap's office in Encinitas, CA.

Next up, we tried to find his feet. We couldn't see them up by his face for an obvious frank breech (bum down) position, but we couldn't see them anywhere else either. His feet were hiding.

It could be a trick of the angle we were looking from on the ultrasound and his body position, but my first thought was that he could be footling breech - a more risky breech presentation to deliver, I knew.

Dr. Cap didn't say anything about that possibility but I knew from my own education that a feet-first baby could run into trouble with things like a prolapsed cord or other complications.

Labor still wasn't starting. I had no contractions at all despite leaking fluid for 18+ hours.

Finally, we looked at my baby's head. He was looking straight up at my face from under my ribcage, putting his head in an extended position instead of chin tucked to his chest. He was still sitting really high, too. This baby had not dropped.

If labor started with him in this breech position, and Baby C dropped into my pelvis with his head extended like that, Dr. Cap told me he was concerned because my baby's head could get stuck.

I knew exactly what that meant because my two-year-old had recently gotten his head stuck in our cat tower/scratching post thing that had a little kitty hide-out compartment with a circular hole for an entrance. My doula was over for a prenatal chat and while we weren't looking, J stuck his head in there to see what was inside. Of course, he lifted his chin to see better, and then couldn't get out as he tried to pull straight back with his head still in that extended position. He panicked and cried, and my doula and I had to physically help him adjust his body position, and verbally coach him to tuck his chin to his chest so that he could finally slide his head out. It didn't last long but it was really scary for all of us.

The baby in my uterus wasn't so coachable.

I briefly considered that maybe my body could sort him out and give me the vaginal (non-surgical) birth I wanted, but I quickly nixed that idea because my intuition was practically shouting at me to lose the ego around having a "natural birth," and just give my baby a safe, peaceful arrival into our lives. I wasn't going to risk letting it turn into an emergency.

Dr. Cap entering the exam room during one of my previous prenatal visits. Always in a good mood, always armed with a cheerful, "Hey guys!" Here, he was talking to our son who was turning a light on and off, over and over.

Dr. Cap entering the exam room during one of my previous prenatal visits. Always in a good mood, always armed with a cheerful, "Hey guys!" Here, he was talking to our son who was turning a light on and off, over and over.

And Dr. Cap basically said the same thing. He looked at me kindly, knowing everything I've been through and what I wanted for this birth, and gently said I could still go to the hospital that day and have my baby via c-section. And he quickly explained what surgery would look like with him.

A gentle cesarean. A horizontal incision below my bikini line. A clear drape so I could see baby as he emerged if I wanted. A little delayed cord clamping. Immediate cheek-to-cheek skin to skin. Then Doran would go with the baby while he got checked out to make sure he was stable. Then he'd be put on my bare chest right there in the OR for full skin to skin and breastfeeding, and I'd be stitched while leaving everything internal. He'd close my uterus, my rectus muscles, the fascia, and the skin, finishing it off with a special skin glue so I'd have a nice clean, small scar.

I took a deep breath. I knew deep down that labor wasn't starting because my body was protecting me. This baby had chosen his birth and it wasn't the kind of birth I'd had with Little J. It wasn't safe for this baby to go through labor so my body was buying me time. I didn't know why yet, but the information I'd get after he was born confirmed everything my intuition was telling me.

C-SECTION. The word made my stomach hurt. The realization of what I needed to do hit me hard, and I started sobbing. Out of sadness for my body that would undergo yet more surgery, out of fear, out of anger, and out of a deep disappointment for not getting the birth for my baby and I that I had dreamed of for months.

These weren't quiet tears running down my face, either. I was sobbing uncontrollably, letting the emotion wash over and move through me. Dr. Cap left the room and gave me and my husband time to talk about it and decide what we wanted to do. I looked mournfully at my husband. He just wanted our baby here safe and sound, too, so I called Britney, my doula, to fill her in on what we were thinking. She knew my wishes and how I'd do pretty much anything to avoid being cut open again, so she wanted to help me have this baby vaginally, the way I had hoped, but I knew this was different. My heart knew what I had to do. "Okay," she said softly. "If you're sure this is what you want." And truthfully, I never wanted it, and although things like Pitocin weren't an option for a breech baby, I knew labor or the lack thereof could turn into a shit show, fast, and more than anything, I wanted my baby and I to be safe. Dr. Cap made me feel safe and I trusted him, so I took another deep breath, and I said to my husband, "Ok, let's have a baby today."

Dr. Cap came back into the room, and we told him our decision. Then we casually asked, "so what time should we do this? Should we go home and get organized and go to the hospital this afternoon?"

"No," he said. "You need to head over there right now."

My doula, Britney, looking after me with foot rubs and some last minute education at the hospital.

My husband's and my thoughts raced. Wait. What? NOW?! Um... ok. Now. So many things to figure out with no time. Our son was in preschool, we had no plan for his childcare, I had no clothes other than what I had on, I hadn't eaten breakfast or had coffee (sad face), but now we were headed to the hospital and I was going to have surgery and have a baby by lunchtime!


Britney, me ready for surgery, Daniella, and Jen. My friends. My Wise Women. My village.

My husband drove us the mile or so over to the hospital and I started making phone calls and texting people on my cell phone. First thing to figure out was our son's childcare. I immediately reached out to our friend, Jen, who had stayed with our little guy the night before when my husband and I were away in Temecula. She already knew what was happening since I had filled her in on what  I suspected was happening as I made my way home in early morning traffic, and she took one look at my pants when I walked in and said, yup, your water broke! As a mom of four with years of experience as a birth and postpartum doula, she knew what she saw, no medical exam needed.

I couldn't believe how normal our lives had been when I left for a day of pedicures and the pool the previous morning. Now I laughed with her and halfway joked, "Can I hire you right now, at the 11th hour?!" She had been my postpartum doula when Little J was born and she had been a godsend for me then. Now I had a feeling I'd need her just as much but for a different reason. Luckily she said that if we needed her, she could help, and sure enough when I called, she came through for us without hesitation.

Walking with my husband to go have our baby in the OR.

We organized the details quickly and I relaxed a little knowing our son would be with someone my husband and I trusted and we knew he really liked. Then I called my doula again, and my friend Daniella, who had agreed to be my birth photographer a second time, filled them in, and amazingly they were both able to be at the hospital with me as I prepped for surgery, and after.

Soon my son and Jen were there, too, with Britney coaching me on what to expect when I went into the OR, making sure I'd had a chance to inform the nurses of all the things I wanted for my baby when he was born, and helping me relax (to help the baby stay relaxed), and Daniella was quietly documenting it all for me on her camera. Without even meaning to, I realized these friends, these incredible women with so much birth knowledge and experience between them, were my village and the feminine support I needed that day. Just their presence, strength, wisdom, and calm allowed me to get excited about meeting my baby instead of stressing about medical interventions and the surgery I was about to have.

I hugged them all, hugged my son tightly as my only child for the last time, told him I loved him and that he would meet his little brother soon.

Then my husband and I walked out together and down the hall to the Operating Room.



Baby C's Unexpected Birth Story - Part 1 - The Pool

I did not expect a Sunday when I was 38 weeks to be the last full day of my pregnancy.

And I did not expect to be faced with the birth experience that I feared the most.

That Sunday morning, I left home to spend a day with a girlfriend in nearby Temecula, CA, getting pedicures at the spa, swimming in the salt water pool, and then planned on staying the night away with my husband so we could relax and connect, just the two of us, before our new baby arrived.

Grapeseed Spa

At 38 weeks, I had every expectation that I would be pregnant for another two weeks or so. My pregnancy with Little J had gone to 40 weeks and 2 days, I just expected more of the same. With a pregnancy that was normal and straightforward from the beginning, just 6 weeks earlier, my awesome OB, Dr. Capetanakis (Dr. Cap), had told me that my baby was head down at 32 weeks, and things were as straightforward as could be.

I knew I didn't want to give birth in the hospital again, which is the only place my doctor delivers, so after trying for months, unsuccessfully, to get my insurance to cover a home birth, I took my "straightforward as can be" pregnancy, and finally transferred my care to the nearby birth center, Tree of Life. I loved their birthing rooms, the midwives, and the experience I could see myself having if I gave birth there, all the midwives had hospital privileges, and they often worked closely with my OB, too.

But my 36 week midwife appointment revealed that my baby was in a breech (head up) position. This was not straightforward, and the midwives were not legally allowed to deliver a breech baby at the birth center. I immediately starting employing all of the tools I know to help a baby turn, and I thought it was working. I often felt things in my belly that led me to believe he was vertex (hiccups down super low, little kicks up high) but then it would seem like he flipped head up again.

Soon, I fully believed that he was turning up and down at will. So I kept hoping he would go head down when it was time to be born. I was mildly worried, but I continued with my care at the birth center, believing I could help baby get into the right position in time. I wanted to cover all of my bases to ensure a positive birth experience, so I opted to get co-care with Dr. Cap and Tree of Life, so that no matter what happened, I would be having my baby with someone I knew and trusted, rather than an on-call doctor after a potential emergency transfer to the hospital if things didn't go the way I hoped. 

Sans our 2-year-old boys that fateful Sunday, my friend and I were ready for some much-needed pampering and as we settled into our massage chairs, I started to unwind like I can never do at home. We painted our toes in happy colors, snacked on cheese and fruit and talked birth predictions poolside, and I decided to hop in the warm pool for one last attempt to get my unmistakably breech baby to turn.

I am blessed that Dr. Cap knows how to, and will, deliver breech babies! Not all OBs are trained in breech births, and many won't do them, preferring instead to perform c-sections because they they're taught that it's "safer." I had read that the level of risk for a breech vaginal birth and a breech cesarean section are actually the same (although the risks are different), but the older school of thought still prevails, making a c-section the go-to "fix" when a baby is breech.

If I was unsuccessful in turning my baby head-down, I knew I wanted to try for a vaginal birth even though he'd be coming out bum (or feet) first. I'd watched several videos of breech births, I saw how normal these births were, and I knew my body could handle it with ease.  Breech birth can be just another variation of normal, and after multiple lifesaving surgeries a decade ago, and braving the ensuing pain and uncertainty about recovery, the idea of MORE surgery was just not an option for me. I was willing to do pretty much anything to avoid being cut open AGAIN.

I swam laps of breaststroke and did countless underwater handstands in the pool, but I never felt the desired, dramatic roll or flip of position in my belly. I had yet another earnest and serious conversation with my baby about why he needed to be head down (for a cozy birth center birth, versus a clinical hospital birth) but... nothing. 

When I got out of the pool, water left my body and ran down my legs. "Huh, guess it was all those handstands," I thought. Then a few minutes later it happened again. I still didn't think much of it. I got dressed and went to get gas for the car and noticed my seat was wet when I got out to fill up my tank. "Wow, that's a lot of water. Must have filled up completely with all that time upside down." But throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening, it kept happening, and I was in TOTAL denial about what it really was. 

Before dinner, I did at least check the color (clear) and odor (chlorine), but with absolutely no labor symptoms, my brain hung onto the "it's just pool water" fantasy. Because amniotic fluid doesn't smell like chlorine, right? So I put on my little black (maternity) dress, let my hair down, and went out for a fancy dinner with my hubby and we had an awesome date night. 

Back at our room, I was still leaking, and we googled a bunch of things, but I was adamant that I was fine and it was just pool water, and my loving husband kept his doubts to himself. That night, I woke up around 1am, and my sheets were SOAKED.  I knew this was strange but nothing felt "wrong" or anything like contractions, so I STILL clung to this idea that somehow it was still water from the pool! I did google how much water a vagina could hold, though, and how would I know if my water broke while swimming.

The internet was NOT helpful and so I went back to sleep.

When I went into labor with J, my contractions started as soon as I woke up that morning and my water didn't break until late afternoon. And then when it did, it was a small leak, followed by a dramatic "KERSPLOOSH" all over my living room floor. Then the pushing contractions started. It was a totally different experience and I just didn't know what to make of what was happening now.

38.5 weeks pregnant. The last photo of the bump before I had our baby!

38.5 weeks pregnant. The last photo of the bump before I had our baby!

I wasn't even to 40 weeks yet! I knew that "2nd babies often come early" and "breech babies often come early" but my brain just couldn't grasp it. When I woke up in the morning, and the towel I'd placed between my legs was also soaked, and when I sat down on the toilet to pee, MORE water leaked out of me before I'd even started peeing, I finally thought, "OK. Time to call the midwife."

* * * * * *

Let me rewind to the beginning of my pregnancy for a second. When I conceived this baby, I decided early on that I REALLY wanted to have a home birth this time. My experience of racing to the hospital to have J was no fun, and actually left me with some pelvic floor pain because I was trying to hold him in while my body was trying to push him out!

And my experience with one of my labor and delivery nurses actually contributed to that pelvic floor pain because her fairly aggressive and painful uterine massage after I delivered caused me to store that pain in my pelvic floor as well. That deserves its own blog post but I'll just say that emotional "stuff" causing physical pain is a real thing. And it left me feeling less than safe birthing in the hospital.

I knew I could birth this baby, and so aside from wanting my OB to be there, I had no desire to have another hospital birth. I just wanted to stay at home and have my baby. I wanted no interventions and to be pretty much left alone except for my husband and doula's support. So I applied to my health insurance company to have them cover my out-of-network home birth at the in-network level. Due to family health stuff, we spent a lot of money and hit our deductible over the summer, and "just paying for" a homebirth midwife out of pocket just wasn't an option. And despite looking high and low, I discovered there are NO midwives near me, in network with my insurance company, who attend home births. So I applied for what's called a "gap exception" since the lack of in-network midwives constituted a "network gap."

This is also worthy of its own post because the process was long and complicated and frustrating, but eye opening in terms of how to deal with health insurance companies.

In the end, though, my request was denied.

And that's how I ended up at Tree of Life, and it seemed to be working out that it was really the best outcome. I was excited to birth there. But when my baby was definitely breech at 36 weeks, my mind raced. I immediately thought of all the possible scenarios and I knew that more than anything, I DID NOT want to end up with an on-call OB I didn't know, if a transfer to the hospital became necessary.

So I requested co-care with Dr. Cap and Tree of Life. It's not an uncommon thing for them to do as they work together often, and it was simple to start seeing them both. More expensive, certainly, but after hitting our deductible, I didn't care. I needed the peace of mind that no matter what happened, I'd be under the care of people I knew and trusted.

But at my appointment just before Thanksgiving, Dr. Cap told me, "just don't go into labor this weekend."
It was his one weekend off that month, and if the baby came, and was still breech, I would end up with an on-call doctor.

"I won't," I said with a laugh, confident this baby was still weeks away.


When I woke up with the barest tightening in my tummy and a slight low back ache, my sheets and the towel I'd put between my legs soaking wet, I knew I had to call someone. I had no idea when Dr. Cap was returning, and Monday was not one of his usual clinic days, so I called the birth center to talk to one of my midwives. Susan answered the phone, asked me a few standard questions, and she agreed I should come in a get checked out. I  I had a 45 minute drive home, and we had to get our son to his preschool, so by the time we were about to head to the birth center, I had several text messages on my phone, telling me to go straight to Dr. Cap's office instead.

We arrived at around 9am and went immediately into an exam room. I was nervous, but excited.

"So, what's your plan?" he asked me.

"Ha! Plan? I have no plan. I was not expecting a baby this early!"

* * * * * *


* * * * * * 


10 years and 2 Babies

Holy cow, guys. My Whole Healthy has now been a resource for you to live your Whole Healthy Life for 3 whole years! If you've followed me for a while, you may remember that I was also nearly killed by a drunk driver TEN years ago, TODAY! So there's a LOT to celebrate! 
New website design,
Website's 3rd birthday.
10 years since I stared death in the face and said, "NOT TODAY." And decided to live an epic, joyful, healthy life that allows me to serve you! 

My healing journey over the past 10 years has been long and hard and confusing. Especially early on. But as I moved through it, I felt increasingly driven to use my experience to help others.

So I built this website to help me share the things that helped me heal, and pass on evidence-based information (I do have a journalism degree and a penchant for facts) that you could use in a practical way. I also wanted to connect with you, and share my experiences and life in a way that would hopefully inspire you!

The past 3 years haven't been seamless, or made this blog see exponential growth! Not even close. But I'm still here, still writing, and now doing so much more. At first, my passion for health and wellness led to a very generic "wellness" website. I actually did NOT want to focus on my history of traumatic brain injury and all those broken bones. While those injuries will always been a huge part of my story, I no longer identified with being the "broken girl." I had recovered. I wanted to move on and lift people up. It didn't feel good to me to keep revisiting what happened unless I was speaking directly to someone who was going through it now.

Then, I got pregnant with my son in 2014. 
Soon after that, I became a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
I was soaking up everything I could learn about fitness. But soon, that desire to learn "all the things" about fitness, was dialed in to focus on pre and postnatal wellness. 
It's what I was living and learning myself!
My birth classes showed me that many of the same techniques I had used to heal after my accident applied to my pregnancy and having a healthy, peaceful birth. Nutrition was EXTREMELY important, mindfulness, meditation, and visualization were everything, and movement helped make pregnancy and birth healthier, easier and more comfortable!


Talk about a light bulb moment. Pretty soon, I knew I had to narrow the focus of My Whole Healthy.

I am now a Pre & Post Natal Corrective Exercise Specialist with Fit For Birth, and I have pending certifications as a Fit For Birth Pre & Post Natal Diastasis and Core Consultant, and as a Certified Pre and Postnatal Coach with Girls Gone Strong. I can't stop learning.

My passion for helping and educating mamas has only grown as I raise my son, wait eagerly to welcome my second little boy in a couple of weeks!!! and serve my clients by helping them discover what their body is supposed to feel like, and see real results. 

Too often in this country and worldwide, I see women and mothers who need support as they try to conceive, during pregnancy, birth and into postpartum, but are completely failed by our medical system and our birth culture. It makes me sick, and it makes me angry. But when I see injustice like that, and that little flame of anger is lit, nothing can hold me back. 

I hope to grow My Whole Healthy more and more, and the beauty of the Internet is that it allows me to help support moms everywhere! So that's what I'm here to do.

Thank you for being here, whether you're a veteran reader, or you just stumbled on my little digital home today. 


If you're not sure what's new, this website got a big makeover over the last few months as I tinkered away and perfected the design myself (because I was quoted $8000 *cough cough* for a new website despite the examples I saw being designs I KNEW I could do on my own! So I decided to DIY it all the way).  I hope you like it!
I also created the most amazing resource for you that I'm giving away!!! - the Whole Healthy Mama Toolkit!


So scroll down the welcome page and check the navigation links at the top to see my new and revamped offerings, see how you can WORK WITH ME, check out my RESOURCES page, my MOM MUST-HAVES, all the affordable equipment I love to use when I WORK OUT AT HOME, my custom (organic)  MY WHOLE HEALTHY swag, and more!

I have so much amazing stuff planned for you, you're going to want to stick around. Make sure you like My Whole Healthy on Facebook, and follow me on Instagram! This is where I share tons of valuable info, and peeks into my life behind the scenes. My social platforms are a great place to connect and get to know me better, and to be sure that you never miss a big announcement! Once you've hit that "Like" or "Follow" button, make sure you say hi so that we can get to know each other. I can't wait to see you there!

Here's to YOU. I already think you're awesome.
xoxo Maggie

The My Whole Healthy Household is EXPECTING!
My Whole Healthy, baby, expecting, baby bump, Whole Healthy Fit, Prenatal, prenatal fitness, prenatal wellness, pregnancy health

Yup, you read that right.




My husband, I, and Little J are so excited to be welcoming a new baby into our family this coming winter!

To celebrate, I have an EPIC giveaway for Pact Organic for you!!! So make sure you keep reading to learn how to enter to win the softest, cutest, most ethically made organic cotton clothing for the whole family!

Get PACT Organic for yourself by clicking here.

I am so excited to share this pregnancy journey with you. Right now, I'm feeling great. I had NO morning sickness at all during my 1st trimester (it was the same with J, thank you for those genes, mum!) but I was EXHAUSTED. Far more than with J - probably because I had all of my mom, breastfeeding (we have started a gentle weaning process as J approaches his second birthday), and business stuff going on, PLUS growing a small human!!

So, I let myself rest. I took naps when J napped. I did not go to the gym AT ALL for a month (but still walked and played with J lots so I kept moving) but am now getting back in there with new goals.

So far weight gain has been right on track - I'm right within the recommended 1-6 pounds for my 1st trimester. Definitely noticing an extra pound here and there when I've indulged in a lot of sugar! And then watching it fall off again when I get my diet back on track. Just a fantastic reminder right away that nutrition (or the lack of) has a powerful and immediate effect on the body, and it pays to pay attention.

I'm still using all of my favorite supplements. My fish oil and probiotics every single day.

My Seeking Health prenatal with methylfolate and methylcobalamin, necessary because of my MTHFR, and other bioavailable forms of all the necessary vitamins.
And I take this 10-strain probiotic that's also very effective now and then, to boost my gut and immune system, and the microbiome of my TWO babies!, with a wider variety of beneficial bugs.

These are my non-negotiables but I'm so thankful for my plant protein powder that helps me boost my protein intake, and curbs my sweet tooth, because pregnancy cravings are ridiculous.  And my greens and mineral powders that help give me energy (coffee is out), and make me feel less frazzled and more "together," and also taste incredible. 

In celebration of our happy news, I am giving away a $250 gift card to Pact Organic!!! 

1. FOLLOW me @mywholehealthy AND Pact @pactorganic on Instagram
2. LIKE Maggie Yount: My Whole Healthy AND Pact Organic on Facebook
3. SHARE this blog post on either platform and TAG ME to make sure I see it! Remember to make the post public - if you share as friends only or have your Insagram set to private, I CAN'T see it even if you tag me.

Follow all three steps, and you are officially entered! All entries will be verified.

Giveaway closes Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm Eastern time!


Leave your questions in the comments! And enjoy some recent pics. All photos by my wonderful husband.

I'm wearing all PACT in these photos! Please excuse the fresh-off-the-clothesline wrinkles ;) PACT sponsored this giveaway but all opinions are my own, and I'm not getting paid for this. I just live in their clothes.

Plus, I wanted to celebrate with you!

Fully relaxed baby belly. No core engagement.

Fully relaxed baby belly. No core engagement.

My "normal" resting baby belly. Slight core engagement.

My "normal" resting baby belly. Slight core engagement.

High lunge - one of my current go-tos to stretch my psoas and hip flexors.

High lunge - one of my current go-tos to stretch my psoas and hip flexors.

Little J is very excited to be a big brother!

Little J is very excited to be a big brother!