On today’s episode, Elle is joined by Jan Shane Kowalski, who shares about his perspective on the births of his two sons with Coco Cabrel (who joined us on our last episode!). Coco and Jan had two waterbirths, one of which was a sunny-side-up baby, and ended with Coco tandem nursing her new baby and two-year-old together in the birthing pool.
“Coco danced and taught classes to the last day! Literally, to the last day.” – Jan Shane Kowalski
“She started having contractions during the class!” – Jan Shane Kowalski
“I felt more connection with her, with the universe and the baby you know being connected to the earth element, to the elements, you know.” – Jan Shane Kowalski
“There are certain positions that are better if you have a baby who is sunny-side-up. If the babies spine is along your spine, that means their spine is going to be rubbing across your tailbone as the baby is being born, and that can be more painful. But there are certain labor positions that are better and can help alleviate some of that pressure.” – Elle Kennedy
“Sebastian wanted to be in the water!” – Jan Shane Kowalski
“Since Sebastian was breastfeeding, he was breastfeeding! The midwives got the baby and so the baby was on the other side!” – Jan Shane Kowalski
“Really, it was one of the greatest moments! The four of us in the water, and the both of them breastfeeding. I mean, Coco was glowing!” – Jan Shane Kowalski
“There is some spiritual thing. We can feel the connection that the boys have with the water.” – Jan Shane Kowalski
“During labor, even if you don’t actually give birth in the water, taking a bath, taking a shower, being in the water can be incredibly soothing, especially if you are having back labor or the baby is sunny side up. Those things can be incredibly soothing.” – Elle Kennedy
“The body needs movement.” – Jan Shane Kowalski
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Today’s guest: Jan Shane Kowalski
Coco Cabrel is a Flamenco choreographer and professor, with an MD from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Impeccably-trained in ballet from childhood, she found Flamenco while nursing her second child, when she wanted to return to dance but knew her postpartum, breastfeeding body needed a beginner dance class. Flamenco gave her the physical strength to heal a herniated disc without surgery, and the emotional empowerment to rise stronger from a divorce.
In a Chicago dance company, Coco met her now-husband, Jan Shane, a native of Poland who was steered into Flamenco when his college ballet professor found him “too wild.” When Coco and Jan were partnered for the first time, sparks flew in the rehearsal studio, and they were cast most famously as Othello and Desdemona in the US premiere of “Otelo,” the Flamenco ballet of the great Madrid maestro, Ciro.
Coco was pregnant with their first son while teaching both Flamenco dance and Anatomy & Physiology at the University of New Mexico in Taos. She and Jan, a set builder for film and TV, wanted a more natural birth than they had in their previous marriages. The Taos Midwifery Center gave them a Russian video on water birth, and they were hooked.
Coco taught her Flamenco classes and performed full 3-hour shows throughout her pregnancy and post-partum. Jan was by her side the whole time.
The water birth was so easy that Coco thought, “I could do this again.” And she did. A water home birth at age 43. With Jan and their 22-month-old in the pool, in their living room, with her.
Resources related to today’s episode:
Who are Elle and Taylor?
Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.
Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.
Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography
Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC