The Resource Doula

How to Have Twins, Exclusively Breastfeed, and Run a Business at The Same Time With Stephanie Kase

November 01, 2022 Natalie Headdings Episode 18
The Resource Doula
How to Have Twins, Exclusively Breastfeed, and Run a Business at The Same Time With Stephanie Kase
Show Notes Transcript

On today's podcast, I chat with Stephanie about her experience with becoming a mom of twin girls, her pregnancy and labor journey, her unexpected hospital, birth and NICU stay, and running her business throughout her motherhood transition.

Show Notes

On today's podcast, I chat with Stephanie about her experience with becoming a mom of twin girls, her pregnancy and labor journey, her unexpected hospital, birth and NICU stay, and running her business throughout her motherhood transition.

Stephanie is a business educator and content creator. She’s an entrepreneur who helps brands confidently create content so they can grow online. Besides running her online brand, you can often find her cuddling her two Sheepadoodles, hanging out with her husband, and being a mom to twin girls, Annabelle and Felicity.

Stephanie and I were friends in high school back when she lived in Alaska, and our worlds have recently collided again with all things birth wellness and growing our online businesses

Resources Mentioned

Book: The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

Book: Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols

Birth Course: Pain Free Birth

IG account: Let’s Talk Babywearing

Books: Ina May Gaskin’s Guides to Childbirth & Breasfeeding

Podcast: Birthing Instincts with Dr. Stu & Midwife Blyss


Connect with Stephanie

Website: https://stephaniekase.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/StephanieKase

Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephanielynnkase/

SK Education Insta: https://www.instagram.com/stephaniekaseeducation/

Stephanie’s Podcast: https://stephaniekase.com/podcast

Check out The Mental Push Plan at www.mentalpushplan.com

Please remember that that what you hear on this podcast is not medical advice. but remember to always do your own research and talk to a trusted provider before making important decisions about your healthcare. If you found this podcast helpful, please consider leaving a 5-star review in your favorite podcast app, it helps other people find the show. Thanks so much for listening!

Come say hey on social media:

Instagram: @trainernatalieh

Facebook: @trainernatalieh

Twitter: @trainernatalieh

Snag my freebie here: https://trainat.li/field-guide


Published by: Nata

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Natalie:

on today's podcast, I chat with Stephanie about her experience with becoming a mom of twin girls, her pregnancy and labor journey, her unexpected hospital, birth and NICU stay, and running her business throughout her motherhood transition. Stephanie and I were friends in high school back when she lived in Alaska, and our worlds have recently collided again with all things birth wellness and growing our online businesses I'm Natalie and you're listening to the Resource Doula Podcast, a place where we provide information to help you make informed healthcare decisions for yourself and your. Stephanie is a business educator and content creator. She's an entrepreneur who helps brands confidently create content so they can grow online. Besides running her online brand, you can often find her cuddling her two Shepa doodles, hanging out with her husband and being a mom to twin girls. Annabel and Felicity.​Stephanie, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here today,

Stephanie:

yeah. I'm so excited.

Natalie:

So my first question for you is, was your dream always to become a digital content creator and a twin mom? Tell me about that. How did you come to be this.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Um, I don't know if it was necessarily. I, I will say I have always wanted twins. I thought that would be fun. And I have always wanted like dream like end goal was to have like an online business. And I guess I have both of those things, so that's super fun. Um, but yeah, no, my journey's definitely been like, there's been a journey getting to hear, so.

Natalie:

What do you think is the thing that really stuck out to you in your journey, like the turning point to get where you.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I guess I feel like it'd be a few different things. So if you're not familiar with me, um, I am a business educator, so I, you know, have like an online shop and online courses educating other business owners on how to grow online using like social media, content creation, things like that. And we talk a lot about like reals and all of that. And then obviously I'm also a twin mom, so I started my business in, uh, it's like the very end of high. And then when I, um, graduated college, like through that, through college, graduated college, and then I started out as a photographer. So I did that for a really long time and then I kind of pivoted into education, but for photographers and then from there pivoted and then I'm like, Okay, now I'm an educator, so I'm gonna pivot from photography, education to business, education. And then, so that's kind of how it got to where I am today.

Natalie:

Awesome. And it's been like a really beautiful thing to watch you because it feels so natural. It's not like, Oh, I'm gonna do this and then I'm gonna do this. It like, it's all, it's all flowed really, really well watching from the outside at least.

Stephanie:

Ah, thanks. It doesn't feel that way. I feel like I always think I'm like, Like, there's so many times where I felt like I have no idea what I'm doing or where I'm going. Like it might look like, I'm like, Yeah, like I, I got this, like I'm doing this. Like, but I feel like there's so, like, so often I feel like I'm just like taking the next step in front of me and trusting like God's leading me to where I'm supposed to go versus me knowing like what that end goal's gonna be like. I knew the end goal. I wanted to have like an online business that was super flexible. So when I did have kids it would be super, like I could be super involved and like be at home and like all of that, but I didn't know what that was really gonna look like. And so I feel like a lot of it was just like, Okay, like now I'm doing photography education and now I wanna teach on something else. So let's kind of move into that and then see what happens there. And yeah, so I feel like it has been a very like natural transition over the years, which has been cool.

Natalie:

Absolutely. Yeah. And that's the best we can do oftentimes is just take the next step, the next right decision. Right.

Stephanie:

Oh

Natalie:

So I really would love to talk about your pregnancy journey and how you prepped for birth, how postpartum has been. It's, it's seven months now, right? They're seven months old.

Stephanie:

Yeah, the just seven months at the time of this recording. Yeah. Uh, five days ago.

Natalie:

Oh my gosh.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Natalie:

real to you? Does it feel like a normal amount of time or like It went by really fast?

Stephanie:

okay. So I feel like people always say like, it goes by so fast, like, you know, soak it all in. But I feel like because I've heard that so much or I just like, I don't know, for some reason I feel like I have been able to soak in every stage so well that sometimes Michael and I are even like, when are they gonna do something now? Like, what? You know, when's thing, like, when's it gonna come? Like I feel like we have been able to like really enjoy each stage. So while like I'm like, wow, like I feel like I just gave birth and went through all that at the same time, it feels like it's come by fast, but at the same time not like we really been able to like cherish each stage and like the different things they do and. Yeah, I feel like maybe it'll be, feel like it goes by faster once you get to like a few years old and we look back and we're like, Wow, okay. They're already a few years old. Like, that's crazy.

Natalie:

Yeah. incredible though. I feel that's more of a rare experience that people report, so that's

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Natalie:

guys have been able, and you can both, you both work from home, so you can both be there. Correct.

Stephanie:

Yeah,

Natalie:

That's really, really cool. So I.

Stephanie:

is really fun,

Natalie:

Um, I know you and I talked like a couple weeks ago and we realized that we had a lot more in common talking about non-toxic life, birthing all things natural. So how did you come to love birth? How did you start that journey?

Stephanie:

Yeah. Okay. So it's real. Also, I'm really excited to talk about all this because I feel like I've been on podcasts, um, before for more like business stuff, but I feel like I've never been on a podcast before, really just to talk about like more of like this side of things. So I'm really excited. I think it'd be really fun. Um, but yeah, so I guess as you reminded me just a bit, right before we like started the recording, I was really into like more like, I would say healthy, like eating whole foods and stuff in high school. Um, more because I had really bad acne and like to the point where it was like, like bruising and like painful and like, I was like, I am done with this. I don't wanna deal with this. Like, it was just awful for a few years. Yeah, so that's how I really got into eating a lot cleaner. And I basically cut out, Like for me, sugar was the main thing. Like I cut that out for two years. I still remember it. Like, um, like anything that has sugar in it, I was like, Nope, I don't want that. Like, it's just not worth it to me. It was so painful and I just felt so much better without it. So did that for two years and then I feel like I kind of like went through, I guess it would've been a good like five-ish years where I just didn't really care that much. about what I ate or what I did or whatever. Like I would say I was, I was still like, oh, like I wanna like eat more naturally, but did I know what that meant? No. Like I had no idea all the horrible things that can still be in food, even if it says natural or whatever. But, um, I would say when I. So it was when I got pregnant, so that was a little over a year ago. August of 2021 is when like I, up until that point, like I knew, always knew, like when I thought about giving birth, I really wanted to have like a natural birth. That's like in my mind I was like, Oh, I want it to be like natural. Like, and for me, like being, um, a believer, like I was like, I feel like God like gave us the ability to like birth the way, you know, like obviously like he created us amazingly. And obviously there's things that can happen, but overall, like for a healthy pregnancy, um, I just had this like super strong, um, trust in what my body could do. And when I got pregnant I knew absolutely nothing. Pregnancy or birth. So we did get pregnant pretty quickly, so I really didn't have a lot of like lead up time to think about it or to like start researching or whatever. I was like, it was just like, then it happened and I'm like, Wow, okay. I need to figure out like what I'm doing. I don't, I don't know anything. Um, took the typical advice in early pregnancy was nauseous to like eat junk food and crackers all day, which now I know. I'm like, that's probably the worst thing you could do. And I know just from my experience, like, um, so basically I, one of the first things I did was, I still remember there was this girl that I follow, she was kind of along the lines of, um, I am where she really wanted more of like a natural birth and she got pregnant a little bit before me and she shared about, um, Mama Natural, I don't know if you're familiar with her,

Natalie:

Yeah. Oh yeah.

Stephanie:

shared about Yeah. Her pregnancy book. And I remember, um, she shared it and she was like, Don't be scared by the reviews. Like, I promise, like it is super helpful. Some people think this book is wacky, like, and I remember reading the review. Uh, like some of these people say, This book is just like super weird. I'm like, so I was going into it like, I don't know, like, maybe this'll be interesting. I don't really have anything else to go off of, so we'll just go with it. Um, I read that book and basically, so, okay, so in the midst of this, I also did get connected with an OB and had gone to my, well, so I read the book, went to the first appointment, um, with the OB was I had already had my wheels turning about like, oh, like there's a lot of research to support, like, you know, maybe I'll look into a birth center or even consider a home birth. I still remember, um, when I was reading it, I was like, I think I'm crazy, but I think I wanna homer like this. Like, I didn't know any, like most of my friends, I only have one friend I know of, um, like a closer friend that had even has a kid like, and I'm kind of one of the first ones in our family, siblings and all of that. Yeah. So I was like, I don't know, Like I haven't never all know anyone who's ever done this, but this sounds like what I want. Like I didn't know that's what I wanted. But, um, yeah, so basically went to that OB appointment already, kind of like thinking about this and had already decided I didn't wanna do any ultrasounds yet. I just, um, Just felt like, you know, I was like, I'm gonna have, like right now I have a healthy pregnancy. There's no reason to that, that I knew at the time. We'll find out later. Um, but I was like, I'd just felt like there wasn't a reason to do one. And so I told them I didn't wanna do one yet, and they basically told me I was crazy and like called me or like, we're not comfortable, like, with you not doing one, it's ki it's like mandatory. All of these, all this stuff. And basically I just didn't, they scheduled an appointment for me and I just didn't show up and was like, Okay, see ya So, Yeah, so basically, um, after that it almost reaffirmed a little bit like, okay, like I don't obviously want a provider who's gonna force me into things that I'm not comfortable doing. And that's when we really started looking into a home birth midwife. So in our area, um, there really aren't a lot of birth centers. I was considering that first, especially as like a first time mom. I feel like it's almost, it feels safer in a way cuz you're like, I just don't really know like what's gonna happen. And obviously I didn't know anyone, but from my research, like the ones in our area were basically like, they're at a hospital so it's might as well go to the hospital kind of thing. So I was like, okay, well I guess I'll, um, guess we'll go to the home birth route and started looking for midwives. And just from that whole experience from there, like started researching so much about birth and pregnancy, having a healthy pregnancy, like all the things you. No, if you go to your OB appointments and just take what they tell you, like I did a lot of research outside of that. Our midwife, um, helped point me to a lot of resources. And, um, yeah. From there it is just, I just find it so fascinating. And I know like some people don't, um, necessarily like, wanna know everything about birth and what happens. I think that's totally fine. But I'm also like, I feel like it is helpful to know even the basics. And I also, I do find it more interesting probably than a lot of people, so I just really into it after that.

Natalie:

That is amazing. I didn't realize that you were on the OB track originally. I didn't know that about your story, so it's wild that you just decided. To say peace out and switch your whole process. Um, that's amazing. I think it's really a theme on this podcast that advocating for yourself and doing more research, so you have the education, which is power, right? To make informed decisions is like, that's the theme of basically every guest that I've ever had on here. Um, and it's, it's sad because in women's health we really have to do that for everything because of the lack of research or because of people just assuming that we'll just say, you know, yes or Yes ma'am, to whatever doctor is put in our path. But it speaks volumes to do your own research and really know what's going on. It's your body, right? You should know what's going on with your body, even just a little bit. If you don't wanna know all of the details, you don't have to. But yeah, you and I know all the details though, so

Stephanie:

Yeah. I feel like I just fi I do find it really interesting and yeah, I feel. It is such, and I was, I'm so appreciative of the midwife. We did find, I feel like she was definitely the person that we were supposed to work with, and she was so like, um, gave us so much great information, encouraged us to do our own research on things, like, didn't force us into anything. And I really appreciate that. Um, Yeah.

Natalie:

So you didn't have an ultrasound. You said goodbye to your ob. You transitioned to the midwife, and then what happened from there?

Stephanie:

Yeah. So it's kind of funny. So basically I was a first time mom, first time I'd ever gotten pregnant, so had no history of anything to go off of. And I think we hired our midwife at, oh, I think I was like eight or nine weeks pregnant. And then our first appointment with her wasn't until I was probably like 11 or 12 weeks. So, um, I. From from there, it's kind of funny, looking back, I'm like, Wow, if I had just gone to the ultrasound appointment probably would've been a lot different. Um, cause I think if I had known from the beginning, So, um, like I mentioned earlier, I do have twins, so like at luncheon from, uh, or from the beginning, um, if I had known that, I don't know, I, so I'm just like, I don't know how the journey would've gone or like if I still would've like pursued a midwife. But looking back, I'm like, that was one of the best decisions we made just in that whole process. But, uh, basically like worked with her, like absolutely loved her. Um, we even did a doppler once or twice and saw, you know, heard a heartbeat and so I was like, Yay. Like so, you know, so fun. And then we went and did an ultrasound at 18, 18 weeks pregnant. So I was about, uh, halfway through my pregnancy and found out there were two babies. biggest surprise ever.

Natalie:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

We have no twins anywhere. Um, had no suspicion that there were two babies. Like, uh, yeah. So I think it was funny when I saw our midwife, like uh, the appointment after the ultrasound, when she measured me that time, she was like, Okay, I probably was suspected something at this point. Cuz you're definitely measuring way ahead now. Like, I was getting that point I was starting to show a lot more and, but before that was like we had no idea. Yeah.

Natalie:

That's the best surprise. And you always wanted to have twins, so it was like a dream come true. That's amazing. So you were planning a home birth. Did that change at all when you found out that there were two babies? I.

Stephanie:

Yeah, so basically when I found out there were two, um, I still felt really comfortable doing a home birth. And obviously it was kind of a qu first of all, it was a question of like talking to our midwife, like seeing her thoughts. I didn't know at that point, like I hadn't researched home birth or other things enough to know a whole lot about, like if it's, you know, with twins, like what does that look like? Like doing a home birth and. I, uh, for remember first talking to our midwife and there were just a number of things that we kind of talked through, like, um, was they be a head down. That was something that was really important to our midwife, uh, was what kind of twins they were. Like if they're, um, I think it's mo mo twins, which means they share the same stack and placenta, then it's pretty risky to like, you know, even attempting a vaginal delivery can be more risky. Um, in that case, just because of the babies are sharing literally everything. Um, or even with mo dye twins, which means they share the same placenta but two sacs. Um, you just do a little more monitoring with making sure one twins not, I can't remember what the actual term. It's like something growth where like one twin is basically getting more nutrients than the other. other one's like lagging behind on growth. Um, but ours were actually die die twins, which, which means they had separate sex and separate placentas. So they kind of had, you know, their own like source of nutrients. They had their own sex. Like it's almost as if I had two pregnancies just happening at the exact same time. Cuz everything

Natalie:

cool. The body is like amazing. It's blows my mind every time.

Stephanie:

yeah, no, it's crazy. Which also means we have a lot higher chance of having, so they're fraternal twins. Um, and so because they're so die, die twins are usually fraternal, sometimes identical, but ours are fraternal even though they're both girls, means we're very likely to have twins again, which is very, very interesting fact. I'm like, okay, good to

Natalie:

Yes. Be prepared.

natalies-studio_interview-with-stephanie_stephanie_kase-rz8xm769l_cfr_2022-oct-25-1838pm-utc-riverside:

But yes. But yeah, after that it was kind of just like talking to her like from the ultrasound. Like she obviously looked at it and we knew all those different things that they were like, die, die. Um, they're positioning all those things and she felt comfortable still moving forward with it. I felt comfortable still moving forward, forward with it. So, um, we just went for it. And so from there, um, basically we had, I know we started scheduling appointments every two weeks instead of every month, just so she could like keep track of everything better. Like, talk to me a little bit more, make sure I'm still doing good. We put a really heavy emphasis also on nutrition and continuing with that. Got got past the, um, eating cracker's face, I promise. Um, once I, I actually read, it's a book by Lily Nichols, um, The Real Food for Pregnancy Book. And that book is amazing. I still follow like, pretty much that exact diet for the most part. I still enjoy like ice cream and stuff, but like, you know, for the main like meals and everything, like, uh, it's just amazing, especially with like, breastfeeding, continuing lots of protein and fats and all of that. But yeah, so I,

Natalie:

she my favorite.

Stephanie:

yeah, she's pretty awesome. So I loved that book and I did have, I know even before we found out it was twins, we were already a little bit, like, I wasn't, uh, I was so nauseous my first trimester, I was struggling to gain much weight at all. And so we were a little like, concern, I guess, concerned about that. Like, we were like, you know, just, okay, like gonna make sure I try to eat as much as I can. But besides that, I mean, I also had a hard time, I couldn't take any like prenatals or anything because I would just like gag'em or throw

Natalie:

Hmm.

Stephanie:

So that's why I also, even before it was twins, I was like, Well, I can't keep these prenatals down. So, which I think is also good anyway, like the prenatals are more, again, learning from Lil Nichols, like prenatals are more kind of like a safety net, but your diet should really be like the foundation of getting great nutrients. So, um, just focused even more on that. Trying to get as much as I can, learned a lot about different foods I could eat, and then, yeah, that's pretty much what we did the rest of my pregnancy. Just monitoring me.

Natalie:

Awesome, awesome. Yeah, I think nutrition is like one of the biggest components that you can control in pregnancy, right? Because we can't control a lot of other things, and so that really gives you like the best possible chance for success in, in all areas. There's studies, I mean, Lilly goes into all of the science, but like studies on birth outcomes with better nutrition, it's just beneficial all around. And I was gonna ask if started Beef Liver yet,

Stephanie:

Yes. No, I did. So, okay. So that was one that I could take. I figured out like I could get those down. So I did, I had a really great diet and then I was able to do beef liver most of the time. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had really bad heartburn, so I had to like, either take them slowly throughout the day or like, yeah, or it wouldn't be good,

Natalie:

Did you do the, um, desiccated capsules or did you do Frozen Raw.

Stephanie:

So I tried getting the frozen one first and I never got around to actually like, trying to cook it. I got a little scared, so I just got the capsules and I was like, I'll just start with this for a while. Um, but to me they just, they seem, there's like a vitamin, like they don't have any taste, weird or anything. So,

Natalie:

yeah. No,

Stephanie:

So I still take those

Natalie:

Same here, I've been taking them for like probably two months now, six weeks or two months. And they have made a huge difference. So I started eating beef liver, but it was really inconsistent so I was like, I need something a little bit more consistent. And the pills really with that, so. Awesome.

Stephanie:

yeah. And, um, I will say too that even so with the, you know, eating well and beef capsules and everything, like, um, so I ended up get going into premature labor at 34. Well, I've been 34 plus four weeks pregnant and had them at 34 plus five. But I will say that, um, for their gestational age, like we had really great babies, like super healthy babies for their age, which I'm so grateful for. And I think, um, having that emphasis on nutrition and taking care of myself made a huge difference. Like, I, I really do think, like, and I don't think my pregnancy would've been as healthy if, like we hadn't worked with a midwife, like had gone the OB route and been given the like same more generic information and not like, given information on good nutrition and all of that. Um, or even a lot of the advice you're given is like, just, just down as much calories as you can, like drink milkshakes, drink whatever. And I remember trying that I think for a week. Because I was concerned about like my weight gain I was like, I can't do this. This is awful. I feel awful. Like this is not, Yeah. So don't really recommend that. Um, but yeah, even going into labor early, um, we did end up going to the hospital and had our babies at the hospital. They had some NICU time. Um, but with the NICU time a lot. I mean, really the main reason they kept us there is because I really wanted to breastfeed, which I know we'll talk about later, so won't go into that whole story. um, they really were super healthy. Like everything that, like, I think Annabel had a C P A P for like eight hours, but she kept pulling it off. Did it seem to really need it? Um, and then as far as everything else, all the other tests and stuff, they kept asking with flying colors and like wasn't a big deal. So,

Natalie:

That's amazing. Yeah. So talk a little bit about your birth experience because you were planning a home birth, but then you went into premature labor. So how did that change, like mindset wise? I wanna know how you had to like recalibrate all of that. And then what was different about going to the hospital versus being at home?

Stephanie:

Yeah. I will say it was definitely very hard for me and still is kind of hard sometimes to think about. Like, I wanted a home birth so bad, like by the time I got even that late in my pregnancy. Um, and I keep telling myself, I'm like, Okay, next pregnancy, like, we're still gonna plan a home birth. Um, and if I go into labor early again, it will be a toss up whether I go to the hospital, at least based on our experience.

Natalie:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

yeah, so I will say, obviously I didn't have a home birth, so it's hard for me to like compare like, oh, this is what a home birth was like, and then the hospital was like, But um, I will say that all the, for one, like just talking about like nutritionally, like how healthy my pregnancy was, um, having an ultrasound. So I had one literally the week before I went to labor. And so it helped confirm like their positioning was still like baby was head down. Um, they both were still growing really well, like at a really great weight. All of those, which I know again, the weights can be so off that late but from what they could see, like they said, it looked really good and, um, different things like that. So I. Yeah, it was definitely I, Okay, so when I went, lemme just talk through, I'll talk through what I was thinking when I went to labor, like happening after that. So when I went to labor, basically I was just at home, like had no, did not think I was going, gonna go into labor any time soon. And um, I heard this huge pop and I was laying in bed really, I was up way too late. I was on my phone literally researching how to alleviate like, it was like pelvic pain because I was like, so I was like, Oh, it's getting so like heavy And like, and I had a, made a list of all the different things I wanted to do. I was gonna like, yeah. Anyways, so I had that and then I was about to go to bed and heard the pop. My water had broken. So I go to the bathroom, it all like spills out and basically like a movie scene if you can imagine like how people say it's not gonna be that way. But it actually was that way for us. it was kind of crazy. It was like, Yeah, so basically we, Michael jumps up and goes into Gomo, just starts throwing, Cause we we're planning a homer, so we had, you know, we didn't even have like a backpack or anything. So he just starts throwing as much. He said. He looked up a list on Google of like what to bring to the hospital. Just starts throwing stuff in a suitcase and we're running around like mad men and our dogs are like, What's going on? them in their crates and just leave and they're like, Oh my gosh, what just happened? Um, I do remember when my water broke. So I had bloody show right before that and I was pretty sure I knew what it was. And then I googled it. Obviously I contacted my midwife when I saw that. Pretty sure. I told, I'm pretty sure this is what it is. And I low key freaking out because Google says, Oh, you'll see your baby within 24

Natalie:

Oh my

Stephanie:

was like, No, like what's happening? This is not supposed to happen. And so I texted my midwife and then that right after that, my water actually came out. And so I remember when that happened, I was like, That's what it is. It's happen. Like, and I remember I was definitely freaking out for a good five minutes. I was like, Oh

Natalie:

That's not very long, honestly.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Okay.

Natalie:

that's pretty short.

Stephanie:

it was, yeah, I think the only reason I didn't forget longer is because I calm myself down. Michael helped calm me down. He was like, It's okay. Like, and I was like, and I had just spent, well, I had, didn't quite finish it, but I was taking a birth course from pain-free birth, and she talks a lot about just like how mentally, like how much that can affect, like how painful things are or how like, you know, if you're holding intention, like how that can, um, yeah, just make birth not as enjoyable. And so, I basically like, had just been going through a lot of these videos and was like, okay, I can either choose to sit here and freak out about something that I can't control. There's nothing I can do about it now. Or if I just like, relax, like, you know, trust my body, like, um, and just not let my mind go there of like freaking out about the fact that like, I'm gonna have to go to the hospital and everything. Like then, um, I am, I'm like, I know it's gonna be a much more smooth experience, So that's what I did. Um, I tried not to let myself think about the fact that we were having to go to the hospital, but yes, I definitely had a good like five minute freak out of like, this is, I think I remember I was like crying and I was like, this isn't supposed to happen. It's not supposed to happen. Like, you know, I we're supposed to have a home bird, like we were supposed to have our walkthrough like that next day, like everything. Um, but yeah. Got myself together. And then I think too, my contraction started off like a minute and a half apart and they were like a minute long. Like they were intense. Yes. Right at the beginning. So I think that also kept me from like being able to freak out for too long. like,

Natalie:

focus your

Stephanie:

gotta, Yeah. Um, yeah, so I will say, I can't remember what the original question was. I think just like the experience of going to the hospital, um, the birth experience itself, o obviously I was going into it knowing like they're gonna automatically label me as high risk. They're probably gonna just want to do a c-section right away. Like, and knowing that we're kind of going in with, and for me, we went in because, um, obviously if there's something with the babies right when they came out, like I wanted them to have obvi, like be at the hospital and have access to all of that. And so, So it was, I think it was just knowing, like I knew going in, like it wasn't gonna be the home birth that I wanted, you know, with, you know, completely intervention free, like everything. But I will say educating myself on all of that. Um, so in addition to like having, you know, a pretty healthy pregnancy and then, you know, obviously doing really well coming out, um, I think being educated on just like the basic things that do happen at hospitals, like when they started the, um, fetal monitoring, like they wrapped it around my belly. Uh, obviously it's not like, you know, it's, it's one of, it was like one of those things I'm like, Okay, I should pick my battles here. I can't just like get mad at everything

Natalie:

Yeah,

Stephanie:

you know? And obviously I would, I want to, but at the same time, like I got, I'm going through contractions, but like I knew it was happening. I was like, I know what this is. I'm not just like sitting here like, what's happening to me? Like, what are all these things? Like what are they talking about? Like, I'm like, Yeah, I know exactly what they're talking about. Um, yeah, I mean they pushed for some things and um, so in order to, obviously in there where it's like attempt a vaginal delivery, so, uh, like they wanted me to deliver in the OR room, they had me get an epidural, but for me, um, it was definitely worth like kind of compromising on that and being like, okay, I'm kind of in a space where, you know, I'm just gonna have to let go of some things that I really wanted, um, in order to hopefully, you know, have closer to an outcome that I originally planned on. Um, so yeah, so it ended up being a vaginal birth for both babies, which is awesome. It was only like a four hour labor, like from the time my water broke to the time both babies were was four hours

Natalie:

Yeah, you might wanna stay home next time, You might not have

Stephanie:

So next time I'm like, the baby's gonna fly out of like, I don't know what's gonna happen. But I'm probably, I'm like, especially wanting to plan a home birth again. I told Michael, I'm like, I'm gonna have to educate myself on like, as if I was doing a free birth or something. Like where I have no one just in case. Like there's no one else there. And I'm like, Michael, I'm gonna have need you to know some things to do and like, just in case it takes a second for other people to get there, but

Natalie:

So did your midwife come with you then to the hospital when you were on your Okay. I.

Stephanie:

Yeah. So basically I let her know when my water broke and she initially was like, Okay, like we, you know, we probably have a few hours, you can take your time. Um, but I was, it was obviously pretty intense from the. And Micah was more like, um, I'm just gonna like go as fast as I can, just throw everything in. And thankfully we decided, and when I told her how close together they were, cause I started timing them, she's like, Okay, let's go ahead and like get there as soon as we can. So, um, she met us there at the hospital. I did also have a doula that I had hired. She got there maybe I wanna say like an hour after we got there. they had a hard time. They didn't wanna let her in because they said our midwife was already a doula and Covid restrictions and all of that.

Natalie:

Hmm.

Stephanie:

It was, she had our time getting in, but um, she eventually did. And, but our midwife was the one who they let her come in the OR room with us and like, be right there. She took pictures for me, which was really nice. Like just at least have that, you know, And she was a huge advocate for the things we did want. So I really think like the way it turned out, um, would not have turned out the way it did if she wasn't there. Avoca advocating for us, like behind the scenes, like talking to the doctor. Um, even I know she talked to him about like, Are you sure you can dore birth? Like all this stuff. And uh, you know, almost like making sure. And almost encouraging them that like, you know, this is like, these are the outcomes we want, like, how can we get there, kind of thing. And I think we did get, I mean, huge blessing. Like I think the doctors that were there were a lot more open to like, you know, doing that than some other doctors might have. And there were actually two doctors in, one was did initially say we're just gonna do a c-section. Um, but the other one was a little more open. He was younger and had gone like, had been trained in breach and all of that and had done breach births and um, so he was a lot more open and he knew, he said, you know, there are risks and benefits to both. And kind of explained a little bit about it and um, and I told him I really wanted to attempt, like do it vaginal delivery. And so that's what we went for.

Natalie:

That's so cool. I think like bring back breach. It's hard to say fast, but yeah. Um, it's disheartening to just go in that situation, what you didn't expect and have a doctor just say, Oh, we just have to do a c-section that's vastly different than what you had planned on. So I'm amazed and encouraged that there was a doctor there who was trained in breach like that is. It's an art, right? And it's something that not a lot providers have been trained in because it's easier and quicker and more cash for them if they can just cesarean. But it's more beneficial for moms and babies and everyone else involved if we can at least work towards a vaginal delivery. So your first baby that came out was head down, but then the second one was breach.

Stephanie:

Yes. Yep.

Natalie:

Okay.

Stephanie:

So Baby A Annabel was head down and then Baby b Felicity was breach

Natalie:

Wow. Wow. And, um, how's your pelvic floor after all of that?

Stephanie:

Yeah, great question.

Natalie:

You don't have to share

Stephanie:

I feel like, so, Oh no. Yeah, so I, um, I feel like, so I did see a pelvic four therapist. Uh, it was like five weeks after I gave birth and she was like, Wow, it actually looks really good for having just given birth to twins. Um, I will say since then, so I did see her again maybe like a month ago and working on a lot of like, just rebuilding my core and strength and everything because I feel like it was definitely like weaker. Um, obviously, And then I feel like it wasn't like getting much better over the months. And so she has started helping me more with rebuilding, like strength and all of that. Um, so too, it's like I don't really know what to compare it to, like. How, you know, how normal is that for like a singleton pregnancy versus twins and Yeah. But I will say like, I am definitely like, we wanna wait at least a couple of years to try again for more, We want more kids in the future. Um, and I definitely wanna give my body a chance to like totally heal and like recover and everything. Um, especially after caring twins for eight months. So,

Natalie:

Yes. Yes. And breastfeeding. You're still breastfeeding, right?

Stephanie:

Yes, I am. Yeah.

Natalie:

is incredible. I wanted to go back though and say, I love to hear you talking about pelvic floor physical therapy because you know that I advocate for that and that's huge. Should be standard for everybody. But Yeah, it's really, it's, I think it's becoming more popular. I think people are talking about it more and more, but it's necessary to get stronger and leaking when you lift and cough and sneeze and run is not normal.

Stephanie:

Right, exactly. Well, for me it was, um, what triggered me to, Cause I was thinking like I probably, I'm like, I wanna see her again because I don't feel like I'm getting that much stronger as the babies get bigger. And, uh, what what triggered me to also go back was I was baby wearing both. I also am a huge fan of baby wearing, I was baby wearing both babies, um, for maybe like 30 minutes, which I'd done before, but for some reason that time, like the next morning, I could barely walk. everything was so sore, so weak. Like, I was like, Yeah, I need to like talk to her again and see else we can do. So,

Natalie:

absolutely. There's a girl on Instagram. I don't know if you follow her. It's Let's Talk baby Wearing,

Stephanie:

Oh, I don't think

Natalie:

You should follow her cuz she demonstrates like every single rap and carry or that there is. Yeah. And some twin

Stephanie:

I. Oh, fun. I feel like at this point I've bought them all so probably all the ones she shows. I'm like, Yep, I have that one. I have that one. Yeah, that sounds really fun.

Natalie:

also talks about some strategies to help with back pain in carrying and how to adjust your carry if you feel like your baby's not sitting correctly or comfortably. So she's definitely one I would recommend. Yeah.

Stephanie:

Oh, so fun. I just followed her.

Natalie:

Yay, so let's talk about breastfeeding. You've been breastfeeding exclusively for seven months. Talk about your experience because in the hospital, you mentioned in the nicu they were in the NICU because of your desire to breastfeed. How did that start? And then how did you, what have you learned along the way?

Stephanie:

Yeah. Yeah. So I, um, I feel like most of, um, breasts, I will say, like with the whole experience, I feel like most of it was just my, like stubbornness. And I'm like, if I'm not gonna have a home birth, I'm gonna have something that I planned on. Like, I'm like, I'm gonna do this. Um, no, there was a lot of different things that like played into it. Once we had the twins, um, they went to the nicu, which I was thinking about like, if there's one thing, like if I would do differently, that is one thing I'm like, Oh, I wish I'd push more to like, have them with me, you know, for that first hour whatever. Cause they both were pretty stable. Like they weren't at a point where like they needed a ton of medical treatment or anything like that. But anyways, they went to the NICU and that's where my doula that I had hired, like definitely helped a lot. She helped me with like, figuring out the pump at the hospital. Cause I'm like, I don't, I don't have a pump, I don't have, I don't know anything. Like I did a, a breastfeeding, like a private class with another lactation consultant we had hired, um, who had worked with some families that had twins and just had some experience with that. And her, with the midwife and doula, like were all like gold that week for us. Like we talked to them so much about, um, breastfeeding because at the hospital we did have an I B C L C that would come and check in on me in my room, but obviously the babies weren't there. And then she even came to the NICU a couple times to like watch them breastfeed and like help. And so that was really sweet and helpful. Yeah. So, um, that whole experience was so, was very interesting. So basically the, at least for, and this is, I don't think it's true of every single NICU or every single hospital, but at least for the NICU we were in, um, they definitely weren't pro exclusively breastfeeding. And I don't think they really had a mom before that wanted to do that with a NICU baby or really push for it that hard. And so, um, obviously they were pro like, yes, like definitely pump, like bring us milk, like whatever. Um, but they, you know, for them, like their routines, their schedules, they really, really, really wanted us to bottle feed like right from the get go. And even, um, the fir, so the way our NICU worked, which I assume most work this way, but there's like a doctor that oversees the nicu, um, that swaps out every few days. And the one we had that happened to be there the first few days after I gave birth, um, the. First day after I gave birth. So I went and saw the babies for the first time, like three or four hours after I had given birth. By the time they got them in there situated by the time like I had pump some and then like was able, got rolled a different floor and like got my nurse and wasn't able to get there before that. And so that day was super, I would say pretty relaxed. Um, tried to initiate some breastfeeding, but not a lot happening. They were just sleepy little babies, Um, and then the next day though, I remember I was almost like a okay, like we need to figure out like what we're gonna do, like what's the game plan kind of thing. And the first doctor that had been there the first few days, um, literally told me on that day, like, uh, you, it's not possible to breastfeed because they're twins, because they're premature. Um, you're not gonna have enough milk. You're, um, it's gonna be really hard because you're not gonna get enough sleep. You're not going to eat anymore. Like, he literally told me all of those exact things. Not just that day, but also the day after that. And it was definitely very discouraging. Um, Because one, I know all those things are not true. Um, but for me, like I'm like, I just given birth. I'm like a first time mom. Like, I don't know a whole lot. At that point. I'm like, I was just getting ready to dive into my breastfeeding book and learning even more, and I ended up bringing it to the hospital with me and like, like scouring that that first week. But yeah, so, uh, it. Yeah, just super discouraging. And, but I'm really grateful I had those, those people I'd mentioned in place, like lactation, midwife, doula, and they were able, like, I was able to ask them like, Hey, this is what they're telling me. I don't think this is accurate. But like, and they, they were able to, even the lactation consultant, we used the like visit that was included after birth. She came to the hospital in the NICU and was able to, um, watch me breastfeed and see the baby and see how they're doing. And basically she was like, These babies, like you can do it. Like they're doing great. Like they're doing what's normal for a baby that is three days old. You know what I mean? Um, or that it's, you know, normal for your milk to not come in till three or four or five days after birth, you know, But at the hospital there it's very like, we wanna see these exact numbers. We wanna see this, this exact weight gain we wanna see. Um, so I think they did give them some donor breast milk the first day or two, which. again, it's like I wouldn't have really chosen to do that, but you have to pick your bottles sometimes. And then after that, my milk came in and it was all my milk from there. Yeah, so basically they told us like, okay, if you really, So after the, the first few days, like he's telling us like, you can't do it. Um, it's not gonna be possible. And, but then getting like, you know, help from my midwife, doula, lactation and they're saying like, you know, um, and I think this is where it's really important too to have that support from people who actually know how breastfeeding Cause if they told me like, Hey, like they do seem like they're struggling to latch or, um, like this is not, like they're not far enough along where they can adequately, adequately get enough. And I think that is true of a lot of but ours are definitely more on the late preemie side and even for their gestation, I think, cause I've talked to even other twin moms that, um, have breastfed and have said like, my twins literally could not latch at 34 weeks. And so it is, that is really cool, um, that they were able to, but I think that is where it's important to get information from people who know what they're talking about with breastfeeding. Um, And so, yeah, so basically after the first few days, I think that's when they started to take us a little more seriously because I would come in like at every single care time. So every day, obviously they work on schedules, so every three hours they had a care time where they changed diapers, weigh their diaper, and then feeding. And so obviously I'm like, well, I wanna breastfeed. So I would go in every three hours, um, hardest two weeks of my entire life because, and it made me actually appreciate being home, um, once we did go home because I was getting more than an hour of sleep at a time because during those two weeks it was like I would have to breastfeed and then they weren't draining me all the way because now I look back that I know like how breastfeeding works. Um, I do think it's because like it was scheduled, like I wasn't able to feed on demand really. And so cuz that was an immediate shift when I came home, I basically, um, Just went to feeding them on demand and never had to like top off because they were completely draining me. But while I was there, I did have to pump to make sure to keep my supply up. And so, um, yeah, so feeding them would take a good hour, had to do one at a time, and then I would pump and then I would try to sleep a little bit and then go back. So week was very hard. Um, again, I think feel like they didn't really take us seriously until like day four or five. They're like, Okay, she's coming in like every three hours. They keep saying they want this. And then they were trying to figure out, again, I don't think they ever had a mom that like ever wanted to do that was willing to like stay there. Her could stay there. And so that's when they started, um, start creating guidelines again. The guidelines, it was so funny at the beginning it was like if they have an eight minute feeding session, it's like successful and we don't top off. But then by the end it was like they had to feed 15 minutes and then it was successful. And then, I don't know, I just think they didn't know, really know what to do with Um,

Natalie:

they kept changing the goal post for you.

Stephanie:

Right. Yeah. Um, but he did, the first doctor did say, he's like, You're gonna be here at least another week, probably longer if you decide to do this and don't wanna like, you know, use bottles or anything. Cuz we were doing, um, they had feeding tube like the, um, tubes in their nose to supplement with because I didn't want them to prefer a bottle and then have to like do all the work of switching them over

Natalie:

mm-hmm.

Stephanie:

And so I wasn't opposed to bottles, but, uh, like we do some occasionally, but I just knew long term like what I wanted and that was gonna be easier. Then trying to like spend weeks once we got home, trying to like, get them back. So we did end up, we were there two weeks in a day and it was at the two days before they discharged us, was the day we're like, okay, you can give him a bottle. And literally two days later they let us go So, um, cause they wanted us to prove that they could, they knew how much they were taking and that they could do it without it feeding tube kind of thing. Anyways, so we, so, but once we came home again, I basically just, I remember like the huge bag of like bottles and everything. I threw it in our laundry room. I was like, I don't wanna see this. I can do this. Like, I know there that we can do this. And again, we also had the support of midwife, lactation. Um, our pediatrician also, like, she does home visits. She's an np and she would come and like, weigh the girls and make sure like their weight's good and all of that. Everything was like going really, really well. And ever since then we just, we pretty much just nurse all the time. Like occasionally again, do a bottle, but mostly nursing. So,

Natalie:

What a cool story. That's just testament to your determination. I think like telling a mom she can't do something and you won't be able to do something is like recipe for success in a way. because they will prove wrong. Oh my gosh.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Natalie:

It's just so interesting to me that the NICU was so hung up on numbers, even though they could like visually see that the babies were doing well, they had enough wet diapers, they were moving their bowels, like probably all of that they could see, but they needed the visual of the bottle. Being emptied to be able to let you go Hmm. Is, Yeah.

Stephanie:

Yeah. So that's why I say like, I do think, um, cuz he said like, You'll, you'll go home like that those first couple days. He said You'll go home this week if you go ahead and give bottles and then we can send you home. Um, but because we decide, so that's why I'm like, okay, I'm gonna think long and hard next time. if I do have a late premature baby, like if I would just monitor them and then take them in if needed kind of thing. Um, cause I know that they both were doing so well, like just from straight after birth, But yeah. I know it's interesting, but I do think that's, It is cool to, to even see though, like how we had that support in place, like the choices we made early on to work with a midwife, um, higher lactation and to like go that route. Like I do think helped so much with that entire process and like having the encouragement to keep going and to keep like, um, breastfeeding and keep pushing for it and having them be able to see the babies and say, Yeah, like they're doing really good. This is completely normal. Even though all the nurses and doctors are staying the opposite. Like, um, I do think it was really encouraging and really, yeah, just like such a great decision for us to work with those people and to have those people on our birth team and, um, yeah, just gave me a lot of confidence to keep going with it.

Natalie:

I think a birth team is a necessity. whoever you pull into your team, you. Like trust them really, really well and feel like they are for you always. And having that be a be a flexible thing. Because if they're only able to support you in a certain environment, then that's not necessarily as helpful as your team. They were able to accommodate they were gonna be at home and then they ended up being at the hospital. They were able to go into the NICU and help you afterwards. And having a pediatrician who does home visits, that's like unheard Holy cow,

Stephanie:

Yes. It's amazing. It's someone that my midwife knows and she recommended her to us. So she's like a direct pay family doc. Family doc. Well, she's an mp, don't know if you can say family doctor, but yeah, it's like, uh, what's the term? Direct pay, um, pediatrician, Yeah. So then she just comes to your home and it's really cool. It's very nice when you have

Natalie:

Uh, yeah. Yeah, I don't think, I don't think any moms should be required to leave the house in the first few after giving birth. Unfortunately. That often the case. But yeah, we need to rest, We need to take care of our bodies and our babies and have people come to you. Right.,let's change, let's change American Healthcare, I think

Stephanie:

Yes. That would be great.

Natalie:

Uh, so you mentioned a couple of resources that you recommended. The pain-free birth and then the mom natural, Can't remember the title of it. The pre her pregnancy book.

Stephanie:

It's pregnancy week by

Natalie:

Okay. Okay.

Stephanie:

think it's what it's called technically. Yeah.

Natalie:

Any other resources that you would recommend for someone who may be pregnant with twins currently or in a similar situation or just, you know, is interested in doing more research? What would you, what would you recommend?

Stephanie:

Yeah. I love,. In Mae Gaskins Guide to Breastfeeding and Ine Gaskins Guide to, I think it's childbirth. Both of those books are really good. I really love them. I. The breastfeeding book. I remember I took with me to the hospital, Well I, when we went back home at some point I grabbed it and like scoured it that first week while in the nicu like, okay, how does this work again? Like how does you do this? And that was so, it's just very informative, very, very helpful. Um, I also liked, I already mentioned, um, PainFREE birth. She has like, her Instagram's really cool to follow. And then her course I really did enjoy. I also like the, um, Dr. Stu, I think we've talked about him before, Birthing Instincts podcast. Yeah. So he, um, that gave me so much confidence after finding out it was twins. I was trying to find information on like twin home birth and like what that looks like. And he is an OB in California, cuz there, I think they have to be at home births if I'm right or

Natalie:

You might be correct. I don't know that one, but pro potentially

Stephanie:

Yeah, something like that. So he has a podcast that he does with, um, Bliss, Is that right? And they talk a lot about just the different home births that they're doing, twin births they're doing. And I remember him sharing just like different statistics from his practice and all of that on his twin birth. And that was really encouraging, at least for me to see like, okay, like there's, there are other people out there that do this. And he had a lot, like his, um, stats, at least for his practice, were very in line with just the other like home birth stats side. Her like cesarean rates and stuff or transfer rates was like just very in line. And so that was really cool just to learn more about twin home births cuz I feel like. A very specific topic, but he has a lot of great information about it. He, his podcast, he talks a lot about, um, different topics like surrounding birth and things like that, but he definitely incorporates too, like, he'll be like, Oh, like I was at a birth this weekend, and kind of talk about it and how it went and all that. So it's really fun.

Natalie:

Yeah. And he teaches how to deliver breach. He teaches midwives and other practitioners, so, Yeah, he's well versed in the world of home birth, home birth breach, and twin birth. So yeah, he's a good follow. So what has it been like running a business while going through this whole motherhood transition and having twins? How did you make that possible? Did you take a maternity leave? And what would you recommend to someone who is facing a similar situation?

Stephanie:

Yeah, so I will say the best decision I made was I hired, technically she was my second employee, but she was really my first like employee that worked a substantial number of hours every week for me and like really helped to run the ins and outs of my business. I hired her not even two months before I gave birth. I thought I was gonna have, you know, an extra month or month and a half. But yeah, so she's incredible. So she wasn't really able to run things for me, and I did take a maternity leave. Basically I hired her less than two months later. I'm like, Sorry, I gave birth early. I'm gonna peace out, have fun. I just finished her like training, like, you're doing great. Um, but she's incredible. Like she really has, um, done a really, really good job. So obviously I was still somewhat like available. She had questions, but at that point she was pretty well, Like she knew a lot of the ins and outs of everything and knew how to do everything. And I had given her projects to work on. Yeah, so she really helped a lot. Like I would say having a team like that was so helpful cuz at that point I also had other team members. Like I have a bookkeeper, I have a girl who does a lot of HR stuff for me and runs payroll and all of that. I have a video editor, um, an accountant, like we really do have a content copywriter. Like we have a lot of people who work in a lot of different things. So I was handing off as much as I didn't need to do to other people or the peop things that I needed to do, like pre-record contents allowed to buy businesses recording like YouTube and podcasts and stuff. Making sure I prepared that like super far in advance so I could take that time off and still have some stuff going out. And we did take a break for like a month. Um, didn't like post anything. Totally So yeah, so having those people in place was incredible. And then I took a good three months off where I was like, I have zero expectations to work. I'm really glad that I did that. I definitely needed the full three months. By the time I got to three months, I was excited to go back to work. But I do feel like my brain was still kind of in mush I feel like people talk about that like, like when you have a baby, it's like your brain just like doesn't know how to like do things like concentrate as well. I don't know what that is, but I do feel like I didn't really get into like the groove of things again until closer to five months. So if someone's like had a baby, and maybe that's also I think a twin thing, like it does take a little longer. Feel like you can re-situate and like feel like you have enough time. You're not just like having enough time to shower, yourself and brush Like literally that was my to-do list every day that I had on my fridge. Like, make sure to brush your teeth today. Um, and so I feel like once I got closer to that five month, um, mark it, I feel like when I've really found, so in the past, like two or months, I feel like I found my groove a lot with working. Um, the baby's being at home, like being home with them. And I also am in a position where my job is so flexible. Like most of what I do, I don't have to be somewhere in a certain time. Usually it's just interviews like this or I have one meeting with my employee every week and we go over things. But all of my other work is pretty much on my own time whenever I can get it done. And I maybe work around 15 hours a week, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. So just depends on the week and what it is. Um, and for me that's kind of what I've always envisioned and worked a long time to get there so that I could pour more, even more time into being with my babies. And I feel like when it comes to. Um, like advice to someone who's in a similar stage? I would think like a few things come to mind. It would be to give yourself more time than you probably think. Like you could always jump into work early, but it's harder, you know, to push things back out. And like I mentioned, I didn't feel like I didn't really get into a groove until five months, which sounds like a long time, but I feel like it's just, it's so like, like you need that time to rest. And at least for me, like bonding with my babies, especially having two and feeling like I want as much time as possible to bond with each one. And I've really needed that time to just like be at home and not have a lot my to-do list. So, um, and it gets easier, at least, you know, especially when you're breastfeeding. My husband, uh, Michael, he could take care of a lot of things like, um, you know, making food or cleaning and things like that while I was focused on breastfeeding. But it still is, you know, a lot if you are wanting to exclusively breastfeed, um, obviously you're the one who has to do it, or, um, if you have someone else do it, you gotta pump instead. So it's like, well, is that really easier? I don't really feel it is. So, um, yeah. So I do feel like, um, just giving yourself grace with all of that and jumping back into it and, um, having those people in place to really help as you go through, um, such a big life transition and just like giving yourself time.

Natalie:

love that. Yeah. It's what I preach to all of my people anyways, too. the research shows it takes at least a year to recover from childbirth. So giving that six week, like go ahead is really is it's doing a disservice to all moms to make us believe that we could go back at six weeks. Yeah.

Stephanie:

Yeah. And it's like, for me, it's like, I feel like, um, I know that I'll never get this time back. Like I'll look back and be like, Oh, like I just, you know, I can never go back to when my babies are this little, And I do feel like I've been able, like I mentioned earlier, it's going by fast, but the same time I feel like we've been able to really soak in so much of it. Um, and I think part of that is like, you know, for me at least, having that flexible like work time and being able to work for myself has been huge. Um, so

Natalie:

Yeah. You're living the dream, I think

Stephanie:

It is, it's so awesome. I mean it's, yeah, it's def it's so cool to like be at a place where I can do that and have babies and like have such a flexible work routine and all of that. Like it truly is like what I wanted for so So it's just, it is really cool to like be in that place. Yeah.

Natalie:

I'm impressed. I'm impressed.

Stephanie:

Awe

Natalie:

Um, okay, so we're gonna wrap it up with my two favorite questions to ask every single guest. The first one is, what is your favorite wellness habit that you incorporate into your daily life?

Stephanie:

Okay, so I was telling Natalie, I feel like in some ways I still feel very new to like, trying to take care of myself and like, I don't know, even though like in back, you know, high school, like I was eating cleaner. Like, um, I even up until like last summer, which is a little over a year ago, I was still using like Bath and Body Works, like lotion and like, I don't know, like I wasn't very conscious of like the things I do in my daily life or just the rhythms that I have or the products I'm using and things like that. But I will say that, um, when I think about this, the one thing that I feel like prioritizing is like, my days just go so much better when I prioritize this and incorporate this into my day, is making sure I'm feeding myself really well. I feel like that's something as like a mom, especially a new mom, it can be easy to like, just always put your baby first and obviously take care of your But obviously taking care of yourself is also taking care of your baby. Even Michael tells me that all the time, like, make sure you take care of you. Like that's the most important part. Like that you can't take care of them unless you're feeding yourself well or taking care of yourself well. And so, um, yeah, so just making sure for me, like breastfeeding, twins, um, need lots of every day, so making sure that I'm feeding myself well. And previously I was also someone who didn't necessarily, um, I. Prioritize that always. And when I, you know, didn't have babies or what was breastfeeding, I could go hours without eating and be like, Oh, like I'll be fine, whatever. Um, which is not great you're not breastfeeding or you don't have babies, still prioritize that. Um, but I do have found that has been really important, just that I feel like I have enough energy and obviously, um, taking care of my baby as well and making sure that I'm making great meals, eating well, eating good foods, and not putting that off. So, and I will say too, um, going back to the, like, I still feel very new to this, the whole like eating well and all of that. Um, it also has helped me to just like pick one thing at a time to. Do or swap or like incorporate. So for me, like, um, it didn't start off with like, oh, like now I can make myself three meals a day and great snacks and know what to make. Like, I feel like it took time to like slowly like, okay, I'm gonna cor like swap out where we get our meat and now I'm gonna swap out like, you know, incorporate taking beef liver and now I'm gonna incorporate this or you know, So I feel like if you're also like me, cause I still get overwhelmed sometimes, like, Oh, I just wanna be at like this place and be doing all these

Natalie:

it's easy to get overwhelmed.

Stephanie:

movement. Yes. Yeah. Cause I know like you're so great at like incorporating, um, movement and like talking about that like moving more in your days and I feel like that's something like, oh, like I wanna do more of and make sure. Um, but also having grace that being like, it's okay. Like take it one step at a time. Um, you don't have to do it all So

Natalie:

Awesome. Okay. What's your number one piece of advice for our listeners? What do you want everyone to know?

Stephanie:

I guess as it relates to like birth and everything we talked about is you prob you talk about this all the time, but educate yourself, advocate for yourself. Um, to me it's so worth it. Like even if you are someone who's like, Oh, like I don't feel like I wanna know every single thing about birth or whatever. Like, and maybe it does, like, you're like, I just don't wanna know everything. Like, I don't think you have to, But like I said, I think our, my story, our story would've gone so, um, much differently if I hadn't educated myself even on the different things that happened and like why they're doing things. And I even, even. That was not what I wanted at all. I still felt pretty empowered in the decisions I was making. And when they were explaining, for example, like wanting me to get the epidural, like I knew I already knew, in my mind I'm like, Okay, here's the pros of that. Which to me is pretty short. I don't really have any Um, but here's the cons of that and some of the things I might be concerned about that I was able to ask my midwife, like, Would you be concerned about this right now? This right now? Um, and we were able to like, I felt like I was more empowered to make decisions and the things that were happening and already knowing why they're happening, not just feeling it's all happening to Um, so like you said, there's a lot of things that can be out of our control when it comes to like birth and pregnancy, but, um, one thing you can control is educating yourself and at least knowing what's happening and knowing your choices.

Natalie:

It's like I paid you to say that.

Stephanie:

secretly she did.

Natalie:

Oh man. Um, okay. So tell us where listeners can find you online if they wanna follow along with your twin mom life. If they wanna follow your business, where can they find you?

Stephanie:

Yeah, so I have, I first, I have a website that's probably the easiest. Stephanie case.com, um, has links to anything you wanna find, if you wanna find my Instagram or business education or anything like that. But I am on Instagram at Stephanie Link case also on TikTok, at Stephanie Case. Um, that's where I share a lot of like twin mom stuff. And then I also have a YouTube channel that's more focused on business education. Um, I think YouTube actually has handles now, I

Natalie:

They do. Yeah.

Stephanie:

So, yeah, I saw that. Yeah.

Natalie:

Well, thank you so much for being here today. It was lovely getting to chat with you and hear a little bit more about your story. I'm sure lots of people will be so interested and and excited to learn from you.

Stephanie:

Yeah. That was so fun. Thanks for having

Natalie:

Absolutely. My top takeaway from my conversation with Stephanie was really just how hard she had to work to breastfeed her twins with all of the oppositions she received in the NICU from the doctor. So her recommendation to really equip yourself with a team of professionals who will support you and tell it to you straight and have experience seeing breastfeeding So gather your support system now. Equip yourself with knowledge and don't be afraid to seek a second opinion if what you're hearing doesn't sound right to. I've linked all of the resources she mentioned as well as her sites and social pages for you to follow in the show notes for this episode.

Carolyn:

Welcome to the push corner with Carolyn and Lauren of mental push plan,

Lauren:

bringing you mental tools to empower you through pregnancy birth and. Birth affirmations.

Carolyn:

Birth affirmations are a popular tool to use for labor and birth. And we are on that train. Using a birth affirmation, gives you the opportunity to tell yourself how strong and powerful you are. They can help you release what happened during the last contraction or wondering when this will all be over because you are here and you are strong and powerful and you're doing it. Or it could be an affirmation that helps you acknowledge and release difficult thoughts or emotions, especially if you've experienced loss or had a previous traumatic experience that comes up during pregnancy or birth having one or even a couple of phrases that evoke positive or empowering feelings for you can come in handy. Especially if you start to regress into negative thought patterns.

Lauren:

We recommend making your affirmation visual during your pregnancy so that you can see it regularly and repeat it to yourself. Often doing this before going into labor or heading to the hospital helps you and your affirmation get comfortable with one another, leaving it until the last moment can work too, but affirmations gain momentum the longer you use them, because. Practice practice, practice.

Carolyn:

As always, you already have all the mental strength you need. These

Lauren:

are just the tools to help you tap into it. Check out mental push plan.com or find us on Instagram to learn more.

Natalie:

Please remember that what you hear on this podcast is not medical advice, but remember to always do your own research and talk with your provider before making important decisions about your healthcare. If you found this podcast helpful, please consider leaving a five star review in your favorite podcast app. It really helps other people find the show. Thanks so much for listening. I'll catch you next time.