23. Jan’s Birth Story: A Partner’s Story of Two Waterbirths – One Sunny-Side-Up

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

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

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:

Waterbirth Resources

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

22. Flamenco Dancing During Pregnancy and Coco’s Birth Story – with Dr. Coco Cabrel

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor are joined by Dr. Coco Cabrel, a Flamenco choreographer and professor, with an MD from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine to talk about the births of her children, and how flamenco dance affected her during pregnancy and postpartum. She shares the tools she learned through flamenco that assisted her during the births of her 3rd and 4th children, and how each of her births differed from each other. She talks about empowerment, the power of rhythm during labor, how to dig deep emotionally and physically, and how giving birth makes you into a god/goddess!

“It was always magic, and there was something about just watching this brand new being just come out into the world that REALLY got me!” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It’s all about digging deep inside yourself. It’s all about oppression and then finding the place inside yourself to figure out the way out – figure out the way out of oppression, and come out of it beautiful. Right? Come out of it better – better than ever!” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It teaches you in a physical way how to emotionally dig deep when you need it.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“Even if you are an experienced mom, each birth is very different from the others.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It’s so helpful to have a tool like rhythm to pull out of your toolbox in those moments.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“That’s actually one of the most common coping mechanisms seen across all cultures when birthing, is clinging to a rhythm of some kind.” – Elle Kennedy

“Finding a rhythm – whether that’s swaying back and forth in some kind of rhythm, or talking to yourself or muttering to yourself under your breath in some kind of rhythm-ized speech pattern, to tapping your hand. It can be external as well – someone brushing your hair, or stroking your arm or your back – it doesn’t have to be internalized.” – Elle Kennedy

“It’s also why yoga, meditation, things like that are recommended so frequently to practice before labor is to get you into the mindset of being present in the moment and not worrying, like you said, about ‘oh my god, I have to count another number, and another number.’ It gets you to stop worrying about how many numbers you’ve already counted and how many more numbers are gunna come, and just be in that present moment of ‘I’m here. I’m here right for this second. I’m getting through this right this second.’ And the next thing you know, ‘It’s another second, and I’m still here and I’m still doing it. I’m still here and I’m still going it.’ It’s constantly being in that present second.” – Elle Kennedy

“It develops that skill of being able to, in the moment, check in with different parts of your body, which is very very useful during pregnancy and during that birth process.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It’s that ability to isolate – pay attention to the isolated parts of your body, and be curious, and ask yourself ‘What is this body part doing? How is this body part feeling?’ Like you said, is it anchored? When you’re having a contraction, is the contraction actually painful? No, it’s just my muscles are tightening, and I don’t have control of it, and that’s scary, and that’s where that pain is coming from. But once you can recognize the physical sensation of ‘This is just my abdomen, my uterus contracting. It’s just a muscle tightening,’ Maybe it’s less painful now, and I can move through it, because I’ve recognized – I’ve isolated that body part, identified what that sensation is ‘It’s a tightening sensation.’ But there’s no judgment associated with that physical sensation, and if we can move past that, that can give us coping mechanisms.” – Elle Kennedy

“Our bodies do not make babies that are too big to be birthed! There are other ways! It’s just that so many of our hospital births and our medical-trained care-givers don’t understand physiological birth and they aren’t willing to break from their routines. They aren’t willing to let birthing people try other positions or try moving around or just give them enough time.” – Elle Kennedy

“I also wish that we would see more experiences that are beautiful, that are empowering, that show the woman mastering herself, right?” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“You’re literally allowing a being that is not out here yet to pass through – pass through that physical, and perhaps that metaphysical tunnel to come out here and to exist here on this earth! Isn’t that part of the definition of being a god or being a goddess?!” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Dr. Coco Cabrel

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.

You can find her on Instagram @theflamefit and Facebook at Fit & On Fire with Flamenco-Flare and on her website www.theflamefit.com

Resources related to today’s episode:

Waterbirth Resources

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

20. Velane’s Birth Story: Ectopic Pregnancy, Miscarriage, and Episiotomy

On today’s episode, Taylor’s mom, Velane Spotville, joins Elle and Taylor to share the story of Taylor entering the world! Velane shares her journey through ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and Taylor’s birth (with episiotomy). They talk about bedside manner, the importance of individualized care, how things have changed from the 80s to now, pregnancy guilt and expectations, and postpartum depression.

“I am glad that they listened to you, and they listened to your individual story and helped work around that to give you the care that you needed given your personal medical history.” – Elle Kennedy

“While I was pregnant, I always had this sense of insecurity in the fact that … I was thrilled to be pregnant. I did everything that I was asked to do and that I was supposed to do, but I always felt just that I wasn’t doing it RIGHT, if that makes any sense.” – Velane Spotville

“Our society places a lot of expectations on “pregnancy is supposed to be a struggle,” and “birth is supposed to be a struggle.” It’s “supposed to be” a physical thing that we have to endure. And I actually reject that narrative!” – Elle Kennedy

“A lot of the struggles we have as birthing people come from the narrative that we’re told of it “should” look like, and if our experience doesn’t match up with that, we’re expected to feel guilt or we feel guilt around that, and I don’t think we should!” – Elle Kennedy

“Our experience is uniquely our own, and there’s beauty in all of our journeys, regardless of how they start, how they end, or what that journey looks like.” – Elle Kennedy

“I don’t think I appreciated the pregnancy as much as I thought I should be.” – Velane Spotville

“When we have fear, it keeps us from engaging in the present.” – Elle Kennedy

“There’s so many emotions, and they just feel so big, and it’s hard to remember what anything was like outside of those feelings you’re in.” – Elle Kennedy

“No one knows what they’re doing when they have their first child!” – Velane Spotville

“Your second kid is probably not going to be anything like your first kid, because that’s what the world gives you!” – Elle Kennedy

“The next day is a new day, and I know it sounds cliche, but you can start over and just enjoy it!” – Velane Spotville

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… yet.” – L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Velane Spotville (Taylor’s mom!)

Velane Spotville is a native Californian. She is a special education teacher and has taught Learning Disabled preschool students for 7 years, and then was able to transition to the job of her dreams and teach in the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing program in the Pomona District for the past 24 years. After 31 years in the same district, she will be retiring this June. She has been married for 12 years, and between her husband and her, they have four grown children, one granddaughter, and 2 great-grandchildren! She enjoys doing puzzles, collecting bumblebees, but her favorite thing is dancing!

You can find her on Instagram @velanespotville.

Resources related to today’s episode:

Birth from the Partner’s Perspective – with Dr. Jay Warren

Rate of Knowledge is Growing Exponentially: “It is estimated that the doubling time of medical knowledge in 1950 was 50 years; in 1980, 7 years; and in 2010, 3.5 years. In 2020 it is projected to be 0.2 years—just 73 days.” 

Amanda’s Birth Story

Courtney’s Birth Story

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

16. Kate’s Birth Story: Miscarriage, Infertility, Natural Childbirth, Foster-care, and Adoption

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Kate Bean, a mother of 3 lively boys, and former and future foster mom. Kate shares her emotional journey with suspected PCOS, multiple miscarriages, the birth of two biological children, foster care, and adoption.

Her first pregnancy was a surprise, and she had no issues conceiving, through pregnancy, or during birth. But when she and her husband decided to have a second child, they were led on a journey of multiple miscarriages and infertility. They had always planned on fostering and possibly adopting, and during this time, they were contacted and asked to take in a boy to foster.

After her second miscarriage, they decided to open themselves up as foster to adopt parents. Right after this, Kate became pregnant again. Two weeks later, they received a call asking if they would like to foster a 13-month old with the possibility to adopt. They said yes!

She shares the heartwarming story of meeting her adoptive son for the first time, and the beautiful moment her soul recognized his.

“The case worker showed up at our door on a Friday night. I opened the door to this little boy, and my heart said ‘Hello, son.’” – Kate Bean

“It was this amazing, beautiful moment of ‘Here’s my child! Here is my son!’” – Kate Bean

“Our bodies were created to give birth, and I want to experience it. I wanna be fully present. I just want to be all-in.” – Kate Bean

“Once you tell someone they can’t do something, or, you tell ME, mmm mm-mm. Like, hold my wine. Watch this.” – Kate Bean

“I just felt so powerful when it was over!” – Kate Bean

“There’s this kind of magic that you tap in to when you have a baby, and it is unlike anything else you experience.” – Elle

“We are all awesome! We create life and we bring forth life into this world however it comes, and that is amazing and miraculous!” – Kate Bean

She talks about “leaning into the pain,” rather than fighting, and how that surrender made labor and childbirth easier when she trusted her body to do what it was made to do, and let go of the fear of the next contraction.

She opens up and talks about the heartbreak and the difficulties of going through multiple miscarriages, and the bittersweet feelings of sending a foster child back to their biological family.

“Our family does the hard things. We do the hard things. We don’t quit. I know it’s hard.” – Kate Bean

“We do the hard things, because in the end, it’s worth it.” – Kate Bean

“You can’t give up hope. Hope is the one thing that we have to cling to.” – Kate Bean

“Your journey to parenthood may look very different than what you imagined or what you hoped it would look like. But any journey to parenthood is a beautiful journey and is worth it.” – Kate Bean

“Your story is a beautiful story – it’s just still being written.” – Kate Bean

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Kate Bean

Kate Bean is the wife of Taylor’s cousin, Eric, mom to three lively boys, former and future foster mama, and while she holds two master’s degrees, she currently works part-time from home as an administrative assistant so she can be with her boys.

She loves to read and go camping with her family. Her guilty pleasure is the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, and she can often be found daydreaming about the one week she and Eric spent in Cancun without kids.

Resources related to today’s episode:

Jesus Feminist

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

12. Amanda’s Birth Story: An Empowered Unplanned C-Section Birth

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Amanda Armstrong, a Women’s Mental and Physical Health Life Coach specializing in anxiety, depression and postnatal recovery through her business Rise As We. She was raised in CA, but currently lives in Virginia with her husband, son, dog and countless house plants. Like many, her birth didn’t go according to plan, but in this episode, she shares how she used her physical and mental preparation to move through it all.

Amanda opens up and shares the emotional transformation she went through when she got pregnant quicker than she expected to. She talks about how, while she was grateful and happy to be pregnant, and excited to meet her baby, that getting pregnant so quickly, when she’d been prepared for it to take a little while was hard.

“I had a lot of mental work to validate that it was okay that it my hard looked different than other people, and to validate that it was a different flavor, and that it was still hard.” – Amanda Armstrong

“We’re humans. Our emotions are so complex! But they’re still valid.” – Elle Kennedy

Amanda also talks about gainly an above-average amount of weight for her body size during pregnancy, and Taylor discusses the medical concerns with “too much weight gain” and how it relates to gestational diabetes. The girls talk about how weight gain is not the be-all end-all of diagnosis for gestational diabetes, and weight changes in pregnancy can look WILDLY different for each pregnant person.

“There is a wide range of what is normal!” – Elle Kennedy

Amanda then shares her emotional birth experience, from how her labor starting with her water breaking through to her unplanned c-section, and all of the beautiful moments in between that led her to being peaceful and at ease with her decision.

“I had mentally prepared for, like, an hour of this, and not five hours of this!” – Amanda Armstrong

“’You’re pushing in a beautiful way! He’s just not moving. … We just need to have the c-section conversation.’ And I was devastated.” – Amanda Armstrong

“I was ready and I trusted my body to have a vaginal delivery.” – Amanda Armstrong

“I am so glad that you had a midwife there with you who was willing to have these conversations early and give you time to process and give you time to make that decision.” – Elle Kennedy

“I’m so grateful at this point for the meditation practice that I have, the meditation practice that I brought with me, to practice a level of acceptance.” – Amanda Armstrong

Amanda also talks about the things she did to continue making this birth feel unique and special and hers, even as she let go of control of the outcome. She discusses how she felt, her hopes for other pregnant people facing the same situation, and how she worked (and continues to work) on giving herself closure.

“This is the story that’s being written right now.” – Amanda Armstrong

“‘Before we head in there, you need to know these four things.’ She said, ‘One, you’ve already proven that you are an amazing mother, because you are choosing his needs over your wants right now, which proves that you are going to put him first time and time again.’ She said ‘Two, this is absolutely no failure on your part. You pushed – they were strong and they were beautiful, and I see no reason why you cannot have that vaginal birth that you want in the future. You have done incredibly well today. Three, you’re not only becoming a mother soon, but through all of this, you’re going to become a warrior as well. And four, you need to know that you’re not in any of this alone. We are all here, and we’ve all got you.” – Amanda Armstrong

“This is a huge, defining moment! Like, you don’t just leave home with a baby, you leave home a mother.” – Amanda Armstrong

“Acknowledging the disappoint, but also extending such a heart and such a hand to say ‘We’re here. We’ve got you.’” – Amanda Armstrong

“There is no such thing as failure in bringing a human into the world. A birth is a birth is a birth.” – Amanda Armstrong

“You leave with a scar that marks you as a warrior forever.” – Amanda Armstrong

“I created a space where I felt empowered internally, even amidst something I felt like I couldn’t control, and felt so empowered, and truly not alone.” – Amanda Armstrong

“I still tried to make it my own moment, and my own story.” – Amanda Armstrong

“I bought all of the things to recover from a vaginal delivery, and I just didn’t need those things. My recovery didn’t look like that.” – Amanda Armstrong

“You waited until you ready to hold that space for yourself.” – Elle Kennedy

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest:

Amanda Armstrong is a Women’s Mental and Physical Health Life Coach specializing in anxiety, depression and postnatal recovery through her business Rise As We. She was raised in CA, but currently lives in Virginia with her husband, son, dog and countless house plants. She has a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology, specializing in Sport & Exercise Psychology and worked as a Personal Trainer at Google HQ in CA before leaving in 2018 to run her coaching business full time. She’s a lover of sunshine, nachos and a mint chip ice cream.

You can find her on Instagram @amandaontherise and on her website riseaswe.com

Resources related to today’s episode:

Amanda’s Core and Pelvic Floor Course (with C-Section Recovery Guide)

Family Centric Cesarean Birth Plan (if you are looking for more idea, it is also called a “Gentle Cesarean” or “Natural Cesarean”)

B.R.A.I.N. Acronym Printable

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

10. Courtney’s Birth Story: A Joyful Hypnobirth

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Courtney Riel Owens, a performer, a Hypnodoula, and is studying to become a Hypnobabies Trainer. Courtney shares the birth story of her older daughter, Hazel, her journey to becoming a Hypnodoula, and how Hypnobabies has helped her and many of her clients to have a peaceful, relaxed birthing experience.

Courtney shares how growing up with positive birth stories inspired her to seek out a positive birth experience of her own. She found Hypnobabies, and it led to a beautiful, joy-filled, positive birth experience with both of her children.

She talks all about her older daughter’s birth, how her background in dance and performing helped her during labor, and some fun quirky parallels between the birth of her daughter and her daughter’s personality now that she’s 8.

Courtney shares encouragement, funny anecdotes, and lively banter, as well as lots of information about how Hypnobabies can help facilitate positive birthing experiences.

Quotes

“I was really lucky. My mom had great birth stories. So I grew up with a different idea of what birth could be.” – Courtney Riel Owens

“I thought I was paying for a 6-week course, and as it turns out, I was paying for a course for my lifetime.” – Courtney Riel Owens

“I kept saying over and over, ‘I can’t believe you’re here.’” – Courtney Riel Owens

“It took a long time for me to feel LOVE.” – Courtney Riel Owens

“A lot of people feel really bad about themselves if they don’t feel that love toward their child immediately. It is really, really normal!” – Courtney Riel Owens

“You’re allowed to feel your feelings – but you’re not allowed to be mean.” – Courtney Riel Owens

“Self care can be boring! And that’s okay!” – Elle Kennedy

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest:

Courtney Riel Owens is a multi talented performer (who can be seen hoofing it up around southern CA when not in these plague ridden times) and a Hypnobabies hypno-doula in the LA and Orange Counties.  She is currently studying to become a Hypnobabies instructor.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, all things Disney, and tea; among a plethora of other things.  Also, not necessarily in that order.  Courtney has one husband, two kids, three dogs, and an affinity for knowing a little bit about a lot of things.

For pregnancy, birth, postpartum, or early childhood specific inquiries, you can reach out to her via email-  crobirthdoula@gmail.com or you can search for her under “Find a Doula” on hypnobabiesla.com and hypnobabies.com if you are looking for a Hypnodoula.

Resources related to today’s episode:

Hypnobabies

Hypnobabies LA

Carole Thorpe – Hypnobabies Teacher

Ep 5: Chiropractic for Pregnancy – with Dr. Taylor Garcia

Sue Walcott (Midwife – Northern California)

Birthing Pool

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

8. Kelila’s Birth Story: A Jewish Orthodox Surrogacy

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Kelila Green, who shares her surrogacy birth story. As an Orthodox Jewish woman, her journey started by making sure her religious beliefs would support and affirm her desire to help another family have a baby, and led to two families who are now friends (and family) through the birth of that beautiful baby.

Kelila talks about her journey into parenthood, and how she knew – even before having children of her own – that she wanted to be a surrogate and help another family grow. She discusses the religious aspects of surrogacy that she had to consider before even traveling down the path to surrogacy.

Kelila delves deep into the process of surrogacy with Elle and Taylor – what to expect, what it’s like, things to think about, things to know – things that you might not expect or think about if you haven’t gone through the process yourself. From making sure that the principles and morals of both surrogate and intended parents align, to keeping the intended parents informed on medical and pregnancy-related concerns, to all of the medications the surrogate has to go on to start the pregnancy, to how the media has portrayed surrogacy, to the differences between someone using a friend or family member as a surrogate as opposed to searching for the right surrogate, to the differences between first trimester with a natural pregnancy vs an IVF pregnancy.

She talks about the surreal quality of giving birth and not having a baby in your arms. She talks about how each step of the journey after birth was a step along the journey of closure for her, as the intended/genetic parents bonded and took over as guardians for the baby. She also talks about how her kids got closure after her surrogacy birth.

Quotes from this Episode:

“We went towards with just a wholeheartedness of saying ‘okay, let’s just find the right couple.’” – Kelila Green

“You need to make sure that your principles and morals align with the person that you’re asking to carry your child.” – Elle Kennedy

“Everyone always asked me ‘Isn’t it going to be difficult to give the child up when it’s time to give birth?’ And I kept saying ‘But this isn’t my child to give up. It’s not my child.’” – Kelila Green

“Even though the birth is such, obviously, an important part of bringing this life into the world, it’s such a small part of the whole life.” – Kelila Green

“The birth itself is integral. It’s important. It’s intimate. It is a transitional thing. It’s a transformative experience. But in the life of the child, it’s a blip… What happens afterward: that’s what they’re gunna remember. That’s what they’re gunna know.” – Elle Kennedy

“One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten is to ask ‘If you were in my position, what would you do?’” – Elle Kennedy

“My best piece of advice for people who are looking to navigate it is to not be afraid to ask questions, to not be afraid to really delve deep within yourself to really think about what you want.” – Kelila Green

“My dream for the birth community is that people are empowered to see what their bodies can do.” – Kelila Green

Listen to this episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest:

Kelila Green has spent most of her life working with babies and children. She started as a mother’s helper at age 11 and continuously garnered knowledge from the parents she helped not only in how in to be a role model to their children but in learning everything she could about pregnancy, parenting, and all things family oriented.

When the time came for Kelila and her husband to embark on becoming parents to their own children, Kelila knew how fortunate she was to get pregnant easily and thoroughly enjoyed each of her three pregnancies. From all of the experience Kelila had, she had confidence that being a mother was the path she was meant to take and Kelila and her husband decided she would be a stay at home mother as well as a homeschool mom when their children were ready to start school.

A few years ago, Kelila realized that because she enjoyed her own pregnancies and becoming a mother so much that, if possible, it would be a dream come to true to be a surrogate and help another family do the same.  Through a fateful connection, Kelila met with the intended parents and carried their child to full term and is looking to help expand their beautiful family this coming year.

You can find her on Instagram @oursandyrs, in her Facebook Group Oursandyrs: Our Online Village and on her website ouronlinevillage.com

Resources related to today’s episode:

Friends – Phoebe as Surrogate

Fuller House – Surrogacy

OursandYrs: Our Online Village

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

6. Mikki’s Birth Story – Precipitous Birth

On today’s episode of Birth Re-Imagined, Elle and Taylor sit down with Mikki Bell, a birth doula and childbirth educator in the South Bay, where Mikki shares the birth story of her oldest child. Mikki shares why she chose home birth for her children, her dramatic water breaking moment at LAX, and the importance of doing a “run-through.”

One of the things they discuss is using labor lines instead of vaginal exams to tell how far along labor is progressing. Labor lines are a dark red or purple line that extends upward from the butt crack up the back, and gets darker and longer as labor progresses. Not everyone has labor lines (roughly 75% of birthing people have them), but they are a different way to assess labor progress without the invasiveness and risks associated with vaginal exams.

They also discuss the use of a TENS Unit during labor to help take the edge off of contractions. A TENS Unit is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, and is used to treat everything from back pain to menstrual cramps to labor pain. A TENS Unit floods the nerves with small electrical impulses along the spine so that the brain is distracted by the sensation in the spine instead of focusing on the uterine contraction.

They discuss the importance of setting yourself up for your best birth by doing the work and making sure you are well-informed and well-supported going into your birth. More information and more support means being better prepared no matter the way your birth progresses.

“Make sure that you are very well supported for your birth.” – Mikki Bell

“Do a little work beforehand and really set yourself up for a well-informed, well-supported birth.” – Mikki Bell

“Helping connect people with support systems they might not even know are available to them.” – Elle Kennedy

“I didn’t even know that there were so many different kinds of birth workers out there that offer ALL kinds of different support.” – Elle Kennedy

Listen to Mikki’s Birth Story here.

 Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest:

Mikki Bell is a birth doula and childbirth educator in the South Bay and on the west side of Los Angeles. She and her husband have had three mini versions of themselves all born swiftly and safely at home.

You can find her on Instagram @thedoulabell.

Resources related to today’s episode:

Husband Coached Childbirth (Bradley Method book)

Birthing Pool

Labor Lines

Rebozo

TENS Unit

Different Birth Positions

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

Looking for More Content?

Check out Episode 5: Chiropractic for Pregnancy – with Dr. Taylor Garcia, where hosts Elle and Taylor dive into the Webster Technique, what chiropractors do and don’t do, and how chiropractic care addresses the physiological health of the pregnant person (and the baby) during pregnancy and during labor.

00. Welcome to Birth Re-Imagined – Episode Transcription

The Birth Re-Imagined Podcast, Episode 00: Welcome to Birth Re-Imagined

Elle Kennedy: Imagine entering your birth space calm, relaxed, and prepared; being surrounded by your chosen support people and birthing professionals; knowing every person in that space honors and respects the decisions and choices you make for your body and your baby. Imagine have a safe, loving, judgment-free space, where you can be free to speak your truth without fear; a space of validation, acceptance, and encouragement to be yourself. Imagine entering parenthood educated, confident, and fearless; ready to tackle every new parenting challenge that comes your way; knowing that you have people in your corner you can call on if you have questions or need help.

Welcome to Birth Re-Imagined, where we believe it is every parents’ right to make educated, informed decisions about their bodies, their births, and their parenting choices; where we believe love is love is love, and your love is valid and beautiful; where we believe you know what is best for your body, your family, and your life.

Hi, and welcome! We are so excited to be launching the Birth Re-Imagined Podcast! We have been working so hard behind the scenes the last few months getting everything prepared for this to go live, and I can’t believe launch day is finally here!

Taylor Garcia: Birth Re-Imagined is a podcast where we are covering everything from pregnancy to birth, postpartum, and beyond. We will be diving deep with pregnancy, birth, and parenting professionals to get you answers to common and not-so-common questions and to help you connect with birth professionals across Southern California.

Elle: We believe in the importance of having support, and one of the most common things we hear is “I didn’t know this was an option,” and “I didn’t know who to reach out to,” and we want to fix that.

Taylor: We are also going to be sharing your birth stories. As important as it is to connect with professionals in this field, it is equally important to connect with other birthing people.

Elle: Hearing the birth stories of others who have traveled this path before, and share their insight, their love, and their acceptance has been extremely healing for me, and it helped make me realize that I wasn’t alone. We hope that these stories can do the same for you.

Taylor: So, you might be wondering “Who are we?”

Elle: Well, if you’re here, you probably already know me. But, if you don’t, Hi! I’m Elle Kennedy. I’m a photographer and doula from Orange County, California, and I specialize in maternity, birth, and family photography. I’m a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for informed consent in the birth room. I homeschool, I’m polyamorous, I love tea and scones, and I love using my free time to create and bake.

Taylor: Hello, I’m Dr. Taylor Garcia. I’m a Webster-certified chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area. I have a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies, and I am currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association certification program. I plan to have that completed by 2021. While I’m not a mama yet, I am the consummate mom friend, and I hope to adopt with my partners in about 5 years. I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community and am polyamorous. I believe in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. I believe in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. I’m a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Elle: So, when Taylor and I sat down to flesh out the ideas for this podcast, there were three very important ideals for us. The first one is Support: bringing together birthing people with people that could support them – both birth and parenting professionals, as well as a community of open-minded individuals to cheer them on along the way.

Taylor: The second ideal that was important to us Visibility, Validation, and Acceptance. No matter who you are, or what your lifestyle looks like, you are welcome here. We believe that love is love is love, that trans/queer/gender-fluid/agender people are valid and beautiful, and that the disparity in birth for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities needs to end, and it starts with us.

Elle: And the last ideal that we talked about is Advocating. While we believe it’s of paramount importance for birthing people to be able to be able to advocate for themselves, we recognize that there are times during pregnancy and labor when that just isn’t possible. We believe that is it therefore of incredible importance that partners and birth support persons are given the skills and language to be able to help advocate for the birthing person as well.

Too often, partners are excluded from the birth space – whether they’re not included in birth or parenting classes, or physically kept out of labor or c-sections, or whether they’re only included as an afterthought. We aim to fix this through education and advocating.

Taylor: Our first interview going live today, with Madalyn Morris, a childbirth educator, where we discuss the importance of informed consent during labor and how to advocate for yourself. Plus we talk about how to discuss your preferences and desires with your partners or birth support persons, so they can help advocate for you if the need arises.

Elle: Our second interview is with Mindy Werth. She’s a birth and postpartum doula, who also specializes in lactation, newborn care, and gentle sleep guiding. We dive deep on gratitude and mindset during pregnancy and postpartum, and ways to make sure you take care of yourself as you transition into parenthood and get used to taking care of a wonderful tiny human.

Taylor: Our first birth story is with Rose, who opens up and shares her daughter’s birth story with us. She talks about consent and advocating, regrets and what she wishes she knew back then, sneaky burritos, tsunami-style water breaking, and the wonders of witch hazel.

Elle: Our second birth story interview is actually my birth story. I’ve shared my birth story before in the written word, but I’ve never actually spoken about it publicly like this before. My birth stories are raw, emotional, and I do open up about the trauma and abuse I went through, so please be mindful before you dive in. I recognize that my story isn’t for everyone, but I also know how important it is to share my story. My goal is that no one ever goes through what I went through.

Taylor: If you’d like to share your birth story with us, check out the show notes for this episode, where we’ve included a link to fill out an interest form.

Elle: We also have a Facebook community to connect with you, and to help you connect with birth workers and other open-minded parents who are also on this crazy, beautiful journey. You can find us on Facebook at Birth Re-Imagined Family. And if you’d like to connect with us personally, you can find me at ellekennedyphotography.com, or on Instagram @elle.kennedy.photography

Taylor: And you can find me on Facebook at Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC or email me at taylorjgarcia@att.net

Elle: Thank you so much for coming on and supporting us! Please remember to subscribe on your favorite podcast listening device, or join our email list to get new episodes delivered right to your inbox. And if you love us, we’d love it if you’d share our podcast with a friend. Our goal is to help as many birthing people as we can, and it starts one at a time.

Taylor: Thank you so much, and hope you check out those first four episodes, they are ready for you to binge through.

Elle: Thanks! See you next time.

Taylor: Bye!

4. Elle’s Birth Story

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down together to talk about Elle’s birth story. Elle is a mother of 2 kiddos, and had one midwife-attended natural birth at a birthing center, and one OBGYN-attended natural birth at a hospital. It’s a good thing Elle has a pretty go-with-the-flow attitude, because her second child was born with a congenital heart defect, which meant some big changes to her original birth plan – even as she labored!

Elle’s two births were wildly different. Her first birth was calm and fairly peaceful, but long. However, the birth classes she took prepared her not only for transfer to the hospital after Charlotte was born, but also for Teddy’s birth two years later.

We do offer a content warning for this birth story, as Elle experienced abuse in the delivery room, which ultimately led to her partner, Jeremy, firing their OBGYN 30 minutes before Elle started pushing. Now, four years later, Elle opens up publicly about what she experienced, how it affected her at the time, and how it led her down this path to becoming a birth photographer and birth doula with the belief that all birthing people need to be empowered to make their own choices, and have people surrounding them who believe in them and will work to honor and protect them during this beautiful and transformational time in their lives.

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Resources related to today’s episode:

Bradley Method Birthing Classes (Our Bradley instructor was Melissa Parker)

Join our email list to access our freebies page, including our Printable Birth Affirmations pages. We have a few different versions. Some are perfect for putting up on the wall, and others are perfect for cutting out to keep in your pocket, wallet, or purse.

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.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

Looking for More Content?

Check out Episode 5: Chiropractic for Pregnancy – with Dr. Taylor Garcia, where hosts Elle and Taylor dive into the Webster Technique, what chiropractors do and don’t do, and how chiropractic care addresses the physiological health of the pregnant person (and the baby) during pregnancy and during labor.

Looking for another birth story? Listen to Episode 3: Rose’s Birth Story, where they talk about consent and advocating, regrets and what she wishes she knew back then, sneaky burritos, tsunami-style water breaking, and the wonders of witch hazel.