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Hello, BIRTHFIT. This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder. And today, we have a super special guest. They're all special, but I love this red-head. Her name is Laura Bruner. Many of you may know her from the Interweb. She has a company called Radical Roots and she is also the woman behind BIRTHFIT Santa Cruz.
Laura is a real food nutrition consultant. She also works for CrossFit HQ and now the mother to Baby Evie. I really, really hope you enjoy this interview as she shares her birth story, her journey and how she got to where she is today, which is about 16 days postpartum. It's amazing and beautiful and magical and all those wonderful words. Enjoy.
Why don't you introduce yourself and tell everybody who you are and what you do in this world and then we'll jump in. Yeah.
Laura: Let's do it. My name is Laura Bruner and, let's see, what do I do? I do a lot of things I guess. Most important right now is that I'm mama to my 16 day old baby, Evie Wilder. And we are just so in love with her. And so that's been really such a fun journey and we're going to talk all about that.
Outside of that, I've got my website myradicalroots.com. My business is Radical Roots where I do nutrition consulting and speaking and recipes and all that. And then I'm regional director for BIRTHFIT Santa Cruz and that has been such a whirlwind and I'm sure we'll talk a lot about that.
But I became regional director this year and it's like I found this really incredible calling and it's been really great. I'm just getting going and now that little one is here I'm super excited to see where things go in these years to come really. So that's really fun. And I coach CrossFit. I also for CrossFit HQ doing stuff behind the scenes for the level three certification.
And yeah, my husband and I live in Santa Cruz with our daughter and our two dogs where we're just down the road from the beach and life is pretty good, yeah. So that's me.
Lindsey: What is your husband's name and your dog's name?
Laura: My husband is Rusty and he's also a CrossFit and just an all-around awesome guy. And I might be biased, but I'm super in love. And then my dogs are Nim and Callie [Phonetic]. Nim is our Pitbull and Callie is American bulldog mix in there. They're our first children and they are so in love Evie and it's just the cutest thing ever.
Lindsey: I love it. So this is also personal so I get to ask you all the questions that maybe I didn't know before. But yeah, so where did your fitness journey, nutrition journey, all that stuff start? Because when I met you which is this is a crazy story. I met Laura at my first CrossFit level one, that whole seminar.
And I think I told Logan I met you and he was like, "Oh, she's a CrossFit OG. She's a legend. She knows her shit." And I was like, "Yeah, she did." But yeah, where does all of this start for you?
Laura: Gosh, okay. We're going way back. I've had kind of like epiphany moment with fitness. I was an endurance athlete like all through college. I'm also vegetarian. I was very underweight. I was anemic. I had no period and I thought I was doing everything right.
Lindsey: Like for how long did you not have a period?
Laura: Let's see. So I was on birth control since I was like 15 because I had an irregular period when I first got it. And then by the time I was a senior in college, I went on like a low dose low estrogen birth control which my period went away. And the doctors were like, "Oh, that's normal." It's like [0:09:11] [Indiscernible]. This is nice.
And then I went off birth control probably like two years out of college and it never came back. And then it never came back for five years. So I went five years without being on birth control and it was a long journey to get that period back knowing that eventually we wanted kids.
And at this point, I was with my now husband and what we knew what the future would look like. We wanted kids eventually. So for me, it was like a whole journey of finding a mindset piece, a nutritional piece and fitness piece. Imagine that, three of the four pillars. And probably chiropractic helped with that too now that I think about it.
They brought my period back and brought me to a place where I could have Evie. But yeah, so no period for five years. And now that I look back, it was probably like a huge blessing in a way because I wouldn't change a thing in terms of the journey that brought me to where I am now and what I learned through that. And how I learned that I need to how to truly take care of myself and realize the importance of having a cycle for a woman.
And sure maybe it's convenient for a while to not have it. And it's sad that I think doctors tell women like, "Oh, it's totally normal not to have a period." But I learned so much through that journey of bringing it back and now I'm so grateful for every piece. Like when I bleed I'm like, "Yes, this is awesome."
Lindsey: Yeah, I am woman.
Laura: I am woman, right. And then my body's ability to conceive and then carry pregnancy and then birth a baby and then feed that baby. It's just I look at my body now and this new space of like wonderment like all the things that it's capable of. And I don't know that I would ever come to this place in my life to see myself that way if I hadn't gone through like not having a period and having a lot of a little bit of like body dysmorphia and some of that female triad stuff.
And so it's been a really cool journey and it's also helped me now to help other people. But getting back on track, so fitness. So by the time I graduated college, I started teaching high school English and some of the teachers at the school were doing CrossFit in the mornings in this really awesome facility.
And so I would go and do like an hour or 45 minutes of cardio and then come do like bicep, tricep, whatever. And they're like, "Hey, we got something that works better." And I was like, "No, no way. I know what I'm doing."
And finally Rusty was coming with me in the morning soon. So we'd workout and then we were like, "All right. Let's try it." And I remember just starting to get into it and being like, "This is so cool." And I remember trying to snatch the barbell and we're in this high school gym and these other teachers are trying to walk me through it.
And I look back now and it's comical, but it was great. And like trying to get the kipping pullup. I had a strict pullup, but I couldn't for the life of me get a kipping. And so just trying to learn all these stuff and then from there Jason Khalipa who own what used to be NorCal CrossFit -- the high school I was teaching was is where he went.
And he reached out to an old teacher of his, one of the ones I was doing CrossFit with and was like, "Hey, I want to start an education program, an SAT like tutoring program at my CrossFit gym." And that teacher was like, "I'm too old for this shit, but I have this young teacher who'd probably be super on board."
And so he connected us. I went and started this program. Greg Glassman came to check it out. He met me and then he called me two weeks later and was like, "Hey, I want to offer you a job with CrossFit." And [0:12:28] [Indiscernible] and doing like education stuff and I interned level one after like a few years learning from the best.
Lindsey: Like what year was this?
Laura: 2011. It wasn't that long ago.
Lindsey: But still early.
Laura: Yeah. I credit what I've learned in CrossFit and fitness a lot of it from the Barbers. I don't know if anyone listening knows, but Pat and Taz Barber, they are just -- like about OGs. These guys are -- they're not only phenomenal athletes, but they are really, really incredible coaches.
And so they took Rusty and I under their wing and just the two of us and the two of them and the two of us pretty much. Like they put so much work into molding us as coaches. And so it was a beautiful thing. And so then I went on to do level one and then learned so much through that process of traveling around with some of the best trainers on earth and getting to coach people.
Yeah. And then did that for two years -- three years, two years, and then got into this new position with CrossFit where I worked behind the scenes for the new certified CrossFit trainer credential. And it was like a blessing and sad because I had to give up level one because just the way that it works for level is a precursor for level three. I couldn't do both.
But now that I have a baby it's really beautiful because I can't imagine leaving on weekends anymore. I mean she's only 16 days old, but still. So that's been my -- and then in finding CrossFit, I found the Paleo diet and Zone. And so I started eating meat and that was a game changer for my --
Lindsey: Yeah, how was that when you first introduced meat again?
Laura: I'll never forget. I remember Rusty made fajitas and with steak. And that night I slept better than I could remember sleeping in years. People were always like, vegetarian, you eat meat again, you feel sick because your body can't adjust to it.
Not me. My body was like, "Thank the Lord." I needed it so badly. And now, I had cholesterol genetically and I had high triglycerides. And I cut out, I stopped gluten and most grains and processed shit. And I started eating a ton of red meat like every other day, eggs, multiple eggs, like three eggs a day, bacon, all the stuff.
And my cholesterol dropped significantly and my triglycerides cut in half. And I was like, "Okay, something is going right." And so that's when I got really into nutrition and like true nourishing nutrition, real food nutrition and how it can help to heal without using, needing medication or any of that. And so that's when I dove into how can I fix my body and then how can I use this to help other people who are dealing with stuff.
And it's just been a cascade of awesome since then. Finding CrossFit and getting passionate about nutrition has introduced me to so many amazing people who have changed my life and helped me I think to impact other people's lives. And it's just been a pretty awesome thing. So…
Lindsey: For sure, for sure. Yeah, Pat and Taz are some of the nicest, radest people ever.
Laura: My god, yeah. They're incredible.
Lindsey: Yeah. And to have them as your mentors, that's awesome.
Laura: Yeah. And then now they've become some of our best friends and they've got two little boys. Oakes is four coming up on five here. And then Arrow is like a year and a half. And so I remember thinking like, "We're so excited to have our daughter basically have some big brothers to kind of like show her the ropes."
And so it's pretty fun because they live here in Santa Cruz too. And they've got a really cool business, Warmup & Workout, which now they're creating programming for affiliates. And that's been really cool to see that take off.
Lindsey: And I mean I don't mean to talk about them the whole time, but aren't they traveling around right now in like -- what do you call it, sleeper van or something?
Laura: A sprinter van. Yeah, Pat bought a sprinter van and he changed it into like -- so they have built-in beds in the back. And their work now is basically just they work remotely and they work with affiliates all over the world. So they'll go on these trips. Like they're road-tripping out to Madison to the games and they're going to make it like a month and they're going to stop at all a bunch of the affiliates that they work with.
So they just like -- they're living the dream. It's pretty awesome. But yeah, so now Rusty and I, we've had this plan for a long time. But now that they're doing it, it's like there's a fire on your ass to do it faster. But we're going to get in an excursion and same thing like work out the backs and the beds and stuff and do that whole thing.
We live on the west coast here and it's like there's so much to do. And you have a vehicle set up where you can drive and then sleep in it and whatever, camping, go up to all the way to Washington and Canada and all the way down to Mexico and hit it all. So that's the plan.
Laura: We're not trying to put anything on this baby, but we're crossing our fingers that she likes to surf and camp. Because that's the idea. We just get in the big car and go. We always say like we support her no matter who she is and what she wants to be, but if she also wants tutus and tea parties, we have a lot of learning to do.
Lindsey: We'll love that too, but…
Laura: Yes. She's going to have to teach us the rope.
Lindsey: So how did the baby journey start?
Laura: You played a big role in that, my friend. It really, truly started when I met Rusty. That's when I knew, "Okay, I met the person."
Lindsey: When did you all meet?
Laura: We met -- I was in my fifth year in college getting my teaching credential and he was in his like super senior year finishing up. And we met at the rec center. Of course he was working there and I was working out all the time. We kind of met there and then I kind of stalked him for a little while and then we officially met at a bar.
Lindsey: That you knew he was going to be at.
Laura: Yeah, totally. Not really. But yeah, so we did that and once I met him and after like a month I was like, "Okay, so now I really want to have kids in the future." It became a reality. When you meet the right person it's like up until then I'm like, "I don't have a period, whatever. It doesn't really matter, fertility, whatever. I don't care. It's great. It's convenient."
And then all of a sudden it's like, "Okay, this is something that it's now --" like at that point in the very, very back of my mind, but existed. And then like once we got out of school and moved in together up north and we have like jobs. And I was like, "Okay, now." And then when I quit teaching and then at that point I was just part time for CrossFit, I had no insurance.
And so I couldn't get birth control anymore. And that's when I went off and I was like, "Okay, cool. My period." We were at that point I think engaged and I was like, "Okay, my period will come back just in time." We were thinking like three years later. My period will for sure come back in that time.
And I was like twiddling my thumbs. I'm eating healthier. I'm paleo-ing really, really hard. But then I also took my fitness mentality with endurance training kind of into CrossFit. So I was overtraining in CrossFit and Paleo-ing maybe too hard and zoning too hard. So it took a whole process to kind of figure out my --
Lindsey: I don't mean to interrupt, but what does that look like because people -- that's a really great thing to elaborate on. Like what does training too much in CrossFit look like or what does zoning too much look like?
Laura: Yeah, at this point, when I first started CrossFit, I've been doing it for like a year and then jumped into training with Jason Khalipa and Miranda Oldroyd and Neal Maddox and Gary Fisher. They would show up at 1:00 at the gym and then train until 3:30. And I was like, "I got this." And so I would just do this training with them and my body, like physically my strength wasn't where it need to be. I had a background in endurance and then I would just push, push, push.
And then it was just too much for my body to take. And especially when I was doing Zone for the first time too and what my body needed after coming out of years of vegetarianism and probably undereating was just for me to eat as much nourishing food as I could possibly want. Not to do any sort of restriction.
I think that's where people can have some issues sometimes is they're like, "Well, I'm eating really nourishing food. I'm eating real whole food, but I'm still going to count or measure." And I think weighing and measuring serves a beautiful purpose in some situations for some people and maybe at some point for everybody.
But for me at that time in my life, I needed to just eat until I was satisfied and not restrict at all because I had done so much. I was at such a deficit. And so I was training a ton and then if you put two hours into endurance training, like if you go for a two hour run, that is actually significantly less taxing on the box than training CrossFit for two hours, which most people know.
I mean the intensity level, so do we like a metcon and heavy lifting and then we'd work on the snatch. And it was just like that is so taxing on the nervous system and the physical system and like all of it. And so to be weighing and measuring and blocking -- I was doing Zone at the time. I just wasn't fixing anything. I was just kind of continuing similar habits, but under a new façade of now it was weight lifting or CrossFit and Zone.
Sure I was getting like now red meat in and my cholesterol -- my blood work was better, but I still had no period. And for me, I had to come to realize that like for me, having a period was a true sign of my complete wellness and health. And I was putting on some muscle, but not like what I was hoping. I wanted to be like jacked and I was like I put on a little bit of weight and I was so proud.
But really not what I needed to be where I wanted to be. Both like at that time I thought maybe I'd compete and now I'm in a new place in my life where I'm like, "Nope. Training for health and wellness and to be a good mom and be healthy for the long run."
But yeah. So for me it was just too much training. And you know what, before I got pregnant -- actually, when we conceived, I was probably the healthiest and fittest I'd ever been. And all I was doing for training was five days a week taking a CrossFit class. So one hour in the gym and then other days I'd hike or like go play in the woods or go to the beach.
But it's amazing how much fitter you could get if you just do one hour a day and you give that one workout everything you got and you follow some really solid programming. You don't need all the extra stuff unless you're looking to go to the games or to go to regionals or to compete on any level. But yeah, I was fit and my body was clearly healthy because we made this little human.
Lindsey: Yeah, that's awesome that you can look back and say, "I was the healthiest version, most optimal version of myself when we conceived." That's pretty rad.
Laura: It's a really cool thing. And I think that the way my pregnancy went and the way my labor and delivery went and how healthy she's been since she joined us earth side are all a testament to the way that I was when I conceived. Like mindset, physically, nutritionally and then the way I kind of carried that on through pregnancy.
And I learned a lot about where I needed to be when I conceived through BIRTHFIT to be honest and through listening to the podcast and through listening to you and going on and reading the blog and everything. It's like I understood finally that it wasn't just -- I didn't just need to Paleo really hard and like eat liver every day.
And I didn't need to stop CrossFit. I needed to do a little bit of all these things and continue training, but also to nourish my mind. It's like the whole -- it takes all of it in order to get into a place where -- it's not necessarily difficult to conceive for everybody. But I think to conceive in a place where the experience is going to be one -- for me anyways, like I might have been able to conceive earlier or later or whatever.
But when we did make her, it was like I was in a place where I needed to be to have the experience that I really wanted. And to make it I guess right for me. So all those pieces came together and it was pretty awesome.
Lindsey: Yeah. You got to a place and I forget what book this is in or where I read this. But it's almost -- and oh. And I think we've talked about this before. You're primed for that situation. Like you're ready. You're aware. You're conscious of what was going on.
Laura: Yup. And I knew I was pregnant before any test told me because I think at that point I was so in tune. And I knew that I ovulated without, you know. And I ovulated four days after my period ended, which is very rare. That's early in the cycle.
But I was like, "Hey, Rusty, now is the time." I knew. And then I knew I was pregnant before really, really early because I could just -- I was so in tune at that point. It was really cool. I hope now like postpartum I'm able to get back to a place.
And I think that I will. I think I have the tools needed to be able to feel that again before we conceive again so I can get back to a place where I'm super in tune and aware of where I'm at and where Rusty is and Evie too now. It's like is she ready? Are we all ready for another soul to join us?
Lindsey: Another Bruner.
Laura: I can't believe we're already talking about that because honestly the day I had her I was like, "I'm done." And now she's 16 days old and I'm like, "Let's do it again."
Lindsey: So funny.
Laura: Yeah, biology. [0:25:25] [Indiscernible], yeah.
Lindsey: What was your first exposure to BIRTHFIT? Do you remember?
Laura: Oh, man. So I met you and Logan, like you said, it was so long ago. I remember coming down and meeting you in person for the first time at Deuce. And that point, I know you were -- I'm trying to think like when it connected for me because I feel like I said following pretty early. Like I knew about BIRTHFIT well before the podcast and I was reading online.
And then you launched the podcast, I think that was so brilliant because it gave an outlet for people to sort of start in. Because it's funny like I think back when I started and it was you, Embo and then -- what was the guy's name? Tyler?
Laura: And he was like the comic relief.
Lindsey: Doing it because of [0:26:08] [Indiscernible].
Laura: Yeah. But it was really entertaining and the more I listened the more I was like, "Oh, my God. This is gold." So I think that I was reading for a long time, but I'm a big listener and I love walking. And so for me to have the podcast and hear all these different guests and hear you talk about where it started and then you started having some of your not regional directors, but what do you call like with Erica and Mumma and all them?
Lindsey: Oh, the senior leadership team.
Laura: Yes, the leadership team. You started having like each one of them on and my mind was just blown. I was like, "She has created this crack team of amazing women." And I started to really kind of get more involved with it emotionally even from a distance. It was something that I'm called to and it just makes sense.
It's not just about nutrition. It's not just about chiropractic. It's not just about mindset and it's not just about fitness. I think a lot of people come into BIRTHFIT hear about it for the first time and think BIRTHFIT is like fitness for pregnant women. And it's so much more. And the more I realize how much there was to it, the more I realized that this is exactly how I wanted to come into this transition of my life with these four pillars and surrounded by people who get it.
And I've been a rebel by tendency my whole life. So if there's a system that's broken and someone in that system tell me what to do, I'm going to say no. Well, that's nutrition. That's not an American diet. I'm like, "Hell no." And then the way that birth is done in this country the majority of the time is just so broken.
And so the fact that BIRTHFIT as a movement is kind of fighting that break in the system, I love that. And also I went to the coach's seminar and that was huge for me because at the time I was stressed out about the politics of this country and I felt like, "Hey, this is a way to -- there's no better way to change the world than through babies."
Like empowering moms who can then raise these little humans to be empowered and loved and aware. And then that's the future. So there's like all these things of like BIRTHFIT is where it's at. And I went to the coach's seminar when I was I think 21 weeks pregnant.
Lindsey: Yeah, you had a little belly. It was cute.
Laura: Yeah. And so that was really powerful for me too to be able to be there at that time and connect with her and connect with this movement and the people and the tribe. And so I just never kind of looked back and now I'm a regional director and full speed ahead and I've never felt so supported.
I keep having people check in like, "How are you doing postpartum? Are you feeling good? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Any baby blues?" And I'm like, "I feel like a million bucks because I feel so supported." And I think that's a big part to battle postpartum is feeling like I have so many tools and so many people to reach out.
If she poops weird, I can text one of you guys and just get reassurance. And so that's been really incredible and it was incredible throughout the pregnancy and then going into labor and delivery just feeling empowered. Like the moment I went into labor I was like -- any fear was gone. I was like, "This is what I'm supposed to do."
It's just like [0:29:10] [Indiscernible]. You feel like it's something that we kind of have to learn because, you know, relearning.
Lindsey: Yeah. So what was the prep work going into your birth? Like I know, but I want everybody else to know. Like what did you do to set up your team, the practicing or just mindset practice you did, stuff like that?
Laura: Yeah, so the mindset stuff started while I was dealing with some chronic pain and I had some cervical spine issues like starting back probably three years ago. And yeah, I think 2013. And so that was kind of one of those things where like once you get into place of chronic pain it's hard to -- like it's easy to kind of feel a sense of hopelessness.
And so for me, I wanted to talk to somebody about that. And so I sought out a therapist and she was specialized in mindfulness therapy. And so it was very much a practice of like being instead of just like, "Hey, take these drugs," or whatever. It was very much all like work on going in and being mindful and staying present and that was so powerful.
For me it was like that was the final piece. I was seeing osteopaths and chiropractors, but I don't think my mind was in a place where I was able to heal from the pain. And so like getting out old baggage and talking to someone and learning the tools of mindfulness I think was like the final piece that helped the pain to go away, which was huge.
And so the pain I started healing and then I kept going to her. And then we actually moved to Washington. We moved to this tiny remote town in Washington and just got away for a year. Like a year and month we were gone. We're in the base of Olympic National Forest. I just go for long walks and the trees.
I just did CrossFit three days a week and just walked the other days and just kind of like got back in tune with my body. And so the mindfulness piece I started, the mindset stuff I started long before. And that carried me through my pregnancy too.
When we moved back to California, I started seeing her like once a month or every other month just kind of checking in and talking about how things are going with the pregnancy and how I saw motherhood and all this. And that was huge. So having that, I didn't do any classes.
Plus like knowing what I've been learning with BIRTHFIT, I couldn't picture myself in any sort of pre-labor or like prenatal class. I'd sign for two and then pulled out because I was like. "I'm either going to do the prenatal, like BIRTHFIT Prenatal Series or I'm just going to do my own thing." Because that's just again the rebel tendency. And it worked out beautifully.
So I had that mindset piece kind of in play ahead of time and that carried me through when I did a lot of like mindfulness work and meditation and just like breath work, which I find the functional progressions actually in the breath work from BIRTHFIT to be very meditative for me. So I'm a doer. So for me to just lay and try and just let my mind go is a little hard.
But doing breath work and being into my breath is really a powerful way for me to kind of meditate. So yeah, I did a lot of that and a lot of talking to Evie while she was in my belly. And I found that to be very awesome because having this connection with her made it so that when I went into labor and it's like the most intense experience of your entire life.
But I knew that each contraction was getting closer to meeting her and it's this little soul that I felt like I knew already. So it made it a lot more bearable I guess and a lot more -- like it served a true purpose. Like pain with a purpose is one thing. Chronic pain when you don't know when it's going to end and there's no real reason, they're so different.
And so I actually would prefer like it's not like anything anyone will ever experience outside of labor and delivery. That feeling, that sensation. But it's so worth it and the feeling when she's put on your chest is just like, yeah. So the mindset piece was started long before I got pregnant.
And as far as like my team, I don't think I knew what a doula was until I started listening to you. And that is something that I will until I'm blue in the face will tell people once you get pregnant, find a phenomenal doula because she was incredible. And so I labored five hours at home and then I got to the hospital at nine centimeters and finished there.
Lindsey: So did you doula come to your house?
Laura: Yeah, she came to my house. And so that was such an intimate, incredible -- I want to say comfortable labor. Labor is not comfortable, but like being at home made it so much more comfortable. And then I could go from room-to-room wherever I felt. Like I could go on my shower. I could lay on my bed.
I could be where I wanted to be and it was just me and my husband, our dogs, our doula and the baby inside of me. And we're all working together and it was just like -- and she's also a photographer. So now we have these photos that she just sent them actually. We haven't looked through them. I cannot wait.
But it's like I need Rusty and me and just some peace because I'm going to probably cry my eyes out. So I just can't wait to see them. But yeah, so doula is huge because she met up with me multiple times before the baby came. And she would answer any text I had, any concerns. I feel like I could reach out to her no matter what. And she was amazing.
And then she showed up. And when she showed up it was like, "Oh." She was great for helping Rusty help me and she was great for helping me. And it was just like this amazing -- she knew when to reach out and when to touch me and when to whisper something in my ear. And when to kind of bring me back if I had a contraction where I kind of let it get the best of me or whatever kind of got a little bit panicky.
She'd bring me right back to that primal state of like, "It's just your baby moving down. It's just your baby moving down." And so she was phenomenal. My husband was amazing. Rusty was like a Godsend through that too.
You see in movies where women are like, "I hate you. You did this to me," that kind of thing. And I never went there. It was like I needed him. There are times he supported my entire weight. And so it was really incredible having him so involved in that too.
So I'd say like -- doulas are amazing because they allow also for the partner to be super involved. And it's not like the doula and you. The doula helps your partner help you. And I think that's really neat because then you have this partner who's super involved in that process. And then it's easier for that person to then be super engaged and involved with the baby once the baby's here because they felt like they're part of that journey bringing the kid earth-side, which I love.
Lindsey: Yeah. How did you find your doula in Santa Cruz?
Laura: A Google search. Yeah, I just Googled or Yelped, I forget, maybe both.
Lindsey: Did you interview?
Laura: I had three or four set up to interview. And she was the first one we met with. And she came over and we talked for like half an hour. It was supposed to be 15 minutes. She stayed for longer and she left and I looked at Rusty and we're both like, "Well, we can cancel the rest." We just knew she was just perfect.
And that might not be the case. I would recommend, "Hey, interview a ton. Interview until you find the one where when they leave the door or leave your house you're like, 'That's it. She's it.'" It has to be someone that you feel so incredibly comfortable with and that you can trust with anything. And so yeah, she was phenomenal.
She helped us write our birth plan, which we didn't end up meeting because I got there and had her within like 90 minutes, which is great. So yeah, and I loved her having her because she knew exactly when to go to the hospital. We didn't leave for the hospital until I felt pushy.
So I was like I started feeling that pressure and she's like, "All right, let's go." It was 3:00 in the morning. There was no traffic. It was awesome. And she had my back when we showed and we're like, "Yeah, my water broke five hours ago." And they kind of gave us a little bit of guh. I didn't feel concerned because I knew she was there to kind of just be like, "No, we're good. We know what we're doing."
So it was awesome. She's great. And then she came over. You don't see -- if you have a conventional hospital birth, you don't see your provider for like six weeks after you go home, which is crazy to me. But she came over two days later and checked-in and then has been texting me every other day since just making sure I'm okay.
So it's just something -- and you're a doula. So you know all this, but it's just something that I can't recommend any harder. It's amazing having a doula. So we had her at a hospital, but our Santa Cruz hospital -- those of you who don't know, Santa Cruz is relatively crunchy, which I love.
And so our hospital is kind of like a birth center. You can choose between OBs or midwives. We don't want the midwives. The rooms are set up to look kind of like a hotel room. They hide all the medicalized stuff as best they can. And they ask you before they do anything. So they gave us two full uninterrupted hours with the baby before they even touched her.
Lindsey: That's amazing.
Laura: Yeah. Rusty caught her, put her on my chest. So the only people she touched at this point were Rusty and I. And he -- no gloves or anything. They weren't worried about that. They let me deliver the placenta before they cut the cord, which is pretty rare in hospitals as well.
And then they just left us for two full hours and then finally came back and they just did a quick weigh and measure and took her vitals and stuff and then left again. And they just totally left us alone and it was really incredible. I basically had my dream birth for this birth knowing I was going to be in a hospital. It was amazing.
And so the next one we'll probably have at home because now we've done it once and it went really well. I feel very confident in my body and all of it. So the next one we'll go at home. My doula is like, "You got to keep having babies because you're meant to do this."
Lindsey: You're born to have babies.
Laura: Yeah. I was like, "Let's not get ahead of ourselves because this world is very populated and babies are expensive." So we're planning on one more. And it's so funny because every mom I think will tell you that right in the midst of it or right after you're like, "Holy shit, never again." But then a day I was like, "I could totally do this again."
And she's just such a good baby too and all babies are good. But she's very calm which is nice and very just kind of like peaceful. And she lets us know what she needs without -- knock on wood -- we haven't had any like fits at this point or anything. So we feel very lucky for that. But I think a lot of that stems from too is having those first two weeks of just really laying in with there.
And she was touching one of us almost all time. We set her down every once a while, but just having her on our chest and really kind of getting in tune with her and her needs both of us I think is really huge for just keeping her kind of like she's so peaceful. And I think a lot of that is just because she's had, I don't know how to say it, I guess she's had her needs met.
Lindsey: She's been supported.
Laura: Yeah. All they need is to be just like they want to be touched. Because they come out, they spent nine months, nine plus months inside of you in this really like quiet or cozy, warm, safe place and then they're in this like crazy world that I'm still scared of sometimes.
Lindsey: Yeah, you can't blame them.
Laura: They just want to be close and they want to be held. And it's funny because I had this whole notion of like I was going to put her in this swivel basinet right by the bed. And the first time we got home, I was like "Hell, no. I need her on my chest. I need to be touching her at all times." And so we both just slept better that way and so that's what we've done.
And you can have all the preconceived notions you want, but then you have a baby and then you go with what works best for both of you I think is how it should be. And that's how it was for us. All that stuff, expectations maybe go out the window. For us they've been blown away. Everything's been better than I expected to be honest. And I have this little, tiny person laying on me and she's pretty cool.
Lindsey: What would you say has been the most awesome thing to observe in Rusty?
Laura: Gosh, that's when I would start crying. It's funny. I can talk about my whole experience about myself, but then start talking about him. And I think it's just been phenomenal to see him like -- not that I had doubts it would happen, but like stepping up to the plate in terms of the second I went into labor, he went into this mode where he was like, "These are my people. Like this is my world and I'm going to take care of them and I'm going to support and I'm going to be there."
And so like all through labor, he was just so incredibly in tune with what I needed. And like I would be about to fall down in the middle, like collapse in the middle of contraction. And he somehow would be there and catch me. And so it was just really incredible that part. And then when she actually was born, he caught her and he had a time said like, "I don't know how I'm going to feel about seeing that part of you in that way." Not because it was gross, but because it's gnarly. And it's hard to see the person you love --
Lindsey: Something you've never seen before.
Laura: -- in pain. Yeah. And going through something like that. And so it's beautiful. But like once he was in the moment, he was up at my head totally supporting me and then he went down to see her crowning. And he was like -- I could actually -- in that moment, all I saw was him.
We were in the hospital. There was the midwife and nurses, but all I saw was his face and it made pushing definitely the most enjoyable part of the whole thing. Just like I would look up and see his face and he was like, "You got this. She's here," with his eyes.
So him being there and then catching her and putting her on my chest and then coming over and we had a named picked out we hadn't told anyone. And I was like, "Is this Evie?" And he's like, "Yeah, this Evie." And then we both cried and he got into bed with me and the baby and it was just so magical and it made us so close.
We already were, but it was like this whole new -- like we made this person and it's truly magic. And I think for us having her has brought us closer together emotionally. And that right now we're physically more spread apart. She sleeps between us and there's not a lot of touching going on right now in this healing time, but spiritually it's just like this whole new level which is really cool.
So I don't know. It's been amazing. And then this postpartum, I was concerned because I've got the boobs and so I was thinking like, "Okay, she's going to want to just be with me all the time." But she will pass out on his chest and it's like the sweetest thing I've ever seen in my whole life.
And just seeing them, whenever we're at home we have our chest bare so that we can do a lot of skin-to-skin. Having a summer baby is amazing because she has worn clothes like twice in this whole time. And so I think that's been really powerful too for him and for her to have that bonding and that skin-to-skin time. And then eventually it will start maybe when she's to bottle like six weeks or so, so that he can have that as well, feeding her.
I'll start pumping and whatnot and I think that'll be cool. But he's just been super involved in helping however he can. And I keep checking in because I worry when he's holding her and she cries and then he gives her to me and she stops crying because she knows she's going to get fed. I was like, "I hope that doesn't get to him." And it totally doesn't.
He cherishes when she does connect and sleeps on his chest. And it's just it's nature. When she's crying it's because she needs to eat and I'm the only one that can do that. And so there's no -- we just keep checking in with each other and he's always checking in me and making sure I'm doing well. And I think that just being in tune with each other has been really huge. I fall more in love with him every day she's here.
Lindsey: I love what you said about it's just a deeper level of connection.
Laura: Yeah, it totally is. But now it's like there's this person that exist in the world who's half and half him. And it's a mind trip, but it's so cool.
Lindsey: If there's one word you could use to describe your birth experience, what would you use?
Laura: Magic. That's the word I keep -- that's like what you're saying because it's almost like unearthly this whole experience where you go into labor and you're in it and you're like, "I can't do this. I can't do another one." But then like you do and the female body is just that, it's magical. It was seven hours of intense -- like an intensity I cannot even describe.
And then the second it's over and the baby's on your chest, you just forget. And also there's something about each contraction. Like the fact that it brings you closer to your baby and it's just it is, it's magic. And then it's over and you're like, "That was seven hours?" or however long for each woman. And you forget and you're ready to do it again. And then you have this human.
And there's something -- yeah, it's just magical. Like all of a sudden you're pregnant and then there's this little life and you made it. And yeah, there's the baby outside of you. And then you continue to give them life through your boobs and that's cool too. But yeah.
And also just the love that you have, the immediate love that no other time in your life is there. I mean you can fall -- like there's love at first sight and whatever. But it's not the same as when your baby is put on your chest. It's like this intense, immediate and magical love that you feel for this little human. And that's biological too no doubt because they're so helpless. It's biological, but it's also magical. So it's pretty cool.
Lindsey: So there's like a thousand things I want to say. So the first two weeks, what did you do? What did you plan? What did you have people do to help you and Rusty have that time in?
Laura: Yeah. So I cannot recommend a meal train enough. Taz, who we talked about earlier set one up for us. And I wasn't sure how soon I want people to come. But I think the first person brought food. Our friend, Danielle, brought food. We had her on a Tuesday, got home on Wednesday. I forget. I think two days later she came and brought us food.
And not like -- first off, my friends know like I've got the whole Radical Roots thing. I'm very passionate about food and sustainability and like nourishment. And so our friends have gone above and beyond. I can't even believe some of the meals they brought over just like so deeply nourishing, straight from Farmer's Market, so delicious. It's pretty cool.
And so having that first off like the nourishment from the food I think my breastfeeding experience has been really great so far in terms of like she's putting on weight really well. I'm producing milk. My recovery was really, really -- has been awesome in terms of like bleeding hasn't totally stopped, but it's definitely that's stopping earlier than I expected. I had some stitches and those have healed really quickly.
My mind space has been really, really good and I think a lot of that has to do with the nutrition, like eating really well. And so having those food come versus like I don't know what we'd do. We'd probably be making like gluten free pasta or ordering out. And you just can't get that same nourishment.
So people are bringing over like fresh salads and just like vegetables and really good quality meat and stuff that's just really helping. So that on one level is nourishing on an actual like nutritional level, but then the nourishment that comes from visitors -- first off, just coming -- even if it's a short visit just like talking and getting to share my story and having them like love on Evie and love on me.
So it's like nourishing on an emotional level. And then just knowing how much someone cares to bring food over. It's just powerful. So the meal train is more powerful than I could have imagined. So that's my biggest advice. If you can set up something where people bring you food and they want to. They really, really want to.
So you're not putting anyone out. And that's another thing. They want to come over. They want to help you. We are innately tribal. We want to support our tribe. And so people love that opportunity. So do that if you can, if you have the means to. If you don't live like super remote. And if you do, if you don't have the means to have some sort of meal train, then preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them I think is huge.
Having good food that you can -- because that's one thing. It's really hard to make food. You have one arm and it's just like there's not -- you can't really schedule your day. So to have food on hand you can just grab out of the fridge and eat is really awesome. So that's big.
But yeah, we just laid around, totally snuggled especially the first week. They didn't leave. People came. And even when people came, we'd have like kind of boundaries like no one's coming before 11:00, no one's staying after 6:00. No one's going to hold my baby for that long. I'm going to have her back and ready. So I did a lot of that. I was like, "I need her back." It's something like deep inside where you don't -- I did not feel comfortable with people holding her for very long.
Even family. I just wanted her back. So I'm like, "You can vacuum or help out, but I'm going to hold her."
Lindsey: You can hold her when she's five.
Laura: Yeah, exactly. So that was fun, but yeah. So the first week -- and then after one week I went for my first super short walk. I think I just took the dog to the bathroom just down the street. And then --
Lindsey: How did that feel?
Laura: It felt good. It's one of those things where I become super in tune with my body. I have no desire to come back quick or to get my body back or whatever. Like things will happen naturally. Breastfeeding for me so far has kind of sucked the weight. I didn't gain that much during pregnancy, but then also like -- things will happen the way it's supposed to happen.
You carry weight that you need to breastfeed and support your baby. You eat healthy and you feed your baby and you move how your body feels ready to move. And your body would be where it needs to be. That's really how I think about it right now.
So I'm not trying to walk to burn calories. I'm trying to walk to get my blood flowing and to get sunshine and to bond with her like in a wrap. So it started with probably five minutes and then I did like a ten minute walk. So I've gone for a little walk every day and it's been awesome. And so today, I'm actually on day three of the postpartum program, the BIRTHFIT postpartum programming.
So I put her in a wrap and we walked for 30 minutes and I listened to a podcast. I actually was listening to your interview with Girls Gone WOD.
Laura: She's awesome. So yeah, so that's been good. And then we have like our first outing. I think when she was 12 days old, there's a -- fortunately, I don't like putting her in a car seat. I don't like the way she looks in there. For some reasons it -- she's fine. She sleeps. But I'm like, "Uh-uh. I don't like you -- I don't like the position that puts her body -- just none of it."
So we have a lot within walking distance. So we did like we walked and had brunch and they've got like a couch set up outside. So I sat there and ate with her in the wrap and then fed her and then she slept again. Wrapped her up, walked home.
So stuff like that has been really nice. She's getting out. A friend had a barbecue for Fourth of July and we went for about an hour and a half. Just put her in the wrap and she's super content in there. So getting out and being social. But as soon as I hit any point where I'm like I'm done, we're out. And everyone obviously gets it.
Lindsey: Yeah, totally.
Laura: So yeah, I think just gradual baby steps. And everyone's different. Some people are like, "I need four --" my friend had a baby five days before me and she's doing 40 days of sit, laying low and laying in or whatever. And I would probably go nuts, but it's working for her.
So you just got to figure out what works for you and baby. And I'm a social person by nature up to a point. And then I get tired and then I'm done. And so this has been really great and our friends have been super awesome. So just feeling loved and if you can set up your support ahead of time and let people know that -- well, you might not know.
Even if you get home and you're like, "Hey, I want to see people." Then invite people over. And people are going to be very respectful and they might wait to reach out. So don't feel bad like reaching out to someone like, "Hey, you want to come see her and bring some food or whatever?"
They want to be asked that kind of thing and they want to be a part of it. But sometimes they don't know how to be.
Lindsey: Yeah, give them a little direction.
Laura: Yeah, exactly. And don't set high expectations. Like we walked to Farmer's Market and I went alone on Saturday with Evie. And I was like, "I'm going to get a loaf of sour dough and that's it." Where like Farmer's Market used to be for me like Saturday side like stock up, like all the likes and the fruits everything and some [0:53:40] [Indiscernible].
Like, "Nope, a loaf of bread. We're taken cared of with food. I'm going to go in my outing and I can carry this one loaf home while I hold her." And it was great. And I felt so accomplished. So set low expectations and then you'll be really proud of yourself.
Lindsey: Yeah, that's awesome. I love that. What a beautiful experience.
Laura: Yeah, it's been incredible.
Lindsey: So what's in store for you in the future? Like I know you've got some thoughts about BIRTHFIT Santa Cruz, nutrition, things like that. Anything you'll share?
Laura: Yeah. So I train mostly at CrossFit Santa Cruz which is awesome. It's like a four minute walk from us. And that community has been just phenomenal in supporting us and then also at CrossFit Aptos which is a little bit further away. So I will be starting my first prenatal and postpartum series in the beginning of September is what I've decided.
That gives me the rest of July to just snuggle this one and then August we'll be promote and give the word out. And I've now connected to my doula and also my prenatal chiropractor and my prenatal masseuse. I did Mayan massage all throughout my pregnancy which is like uterine massage. And she worked a lot on positioning in my belly and whatnot. It's phenomenal. I can't wait to go back. Great for postpartum too.
So they all worked out of same place which is Full Moon Birth in Santa Cruz. And they've actually offered -- I can have -- I can run. They've got a really cool room with carpet and these really nice chairs that you actually sit on the ground, but your back is supported. And so I think I'm going to do -- I'm considering doing maybe my prenatal series there and then the postpartum series at CrossFit Santa Cruz.
I'm not exactly sure, but I'm kind of figuring out the details. But I've got a great support system, great referral system. Like having had her, the lactation consultants at the hospital all asked for my information so they can pass people onto me. And then whole Full Moon Birth, they're becoming a birth center. So they've got midwife and so they're all going to start passing people onto me.
Because there is no one in Santa Cruz doing anything like BIRTHFIT. So I feel this enormous responsibility and opportunity to bring this to people. There are so many CrossFit gyms, but there's nobody who's doing it who's working specifically with moms prenatally and postpartum. And so I'm really excited to bring this here and to offer these programs and then to just get women in the door and to create a tribe.
Because I feel like people are having babies like crazy right now. And having a support system is so imperative. So to get people into the prenatal and the postpartum I think will be really, really huge.
Lindsey: Yeah, the tribe is key. It's one brilliant thing that CrossFit did. I don't even know if they meant to do that or not, but bringing people into the gym, the box. Having them work out together rather than, "Okay, you do 30 minutes on the stair step or whatever." You're in it together and I think it's the same thing.
One of the first things I started seeing when I first started CrossFit was the women that would get pregnant and they just disappear. And the lack of information that was there -- there was no support for them. So whatever fitness community you're in, I think the support is there and like you said earlier, sometimes you just have to ask for it. Like that's so key. Give people directions.
Laura: Yeah, it will help.
Lindsey: Yeah. And start your community. I think that's so, so key. And you're going to be a freaking inspiration to all the women there. I think you're --
Laura: I hope so. I get goosebumps when I think about it.
Lindsey: Yeah, like nutrition, fitness, everything. Yeah, I think you have a lot to offer.
Laura: Thank you. CrossFit Santa Cruz is going to start a child care too, which I think having those two things together is huge because you get these women who come in. They're like, "Prenatal series, awesome." And then they have their baby then they want to come back. And they go through the postpartum and then they want to actually take classes and then they have this baby.
So then that baby grows into a kid. So it'll be nice to have some sort of childcare and then kids can play and then eventually they can -- what I love about that too is then these kids are watching their parents train and then they're seeing the whole fitness mentality and the tribe and then they will come to that. And then they're inspired. So it's like this -- again, we're raising empowered humans through BIRTHFIT. So I think it's super powerful on so many levels.
Lindsey: Yeah. I'm excited to see the next generation like our kids and beyond.
Laura: So cool.
Lindsey: So looking back, if there's one piece of advice you could share with women that are about to embark on this journey through the motherhood transition, what would it be?
Laura: It would be to ask a billion questions and to trust yourself and trust your gut. I think that's a huge thing is that with the way the system is right now, we're kind of trained through the medical system to not trust ourselves and to doubt our bodies and to doubt our intuition and to -- we're basically taught not to question doctors at all. And I think no matter what, doctors are human and they're not perfect.
And they can't have learned everything in their med school. And so it's important that we ask questions and that we trust ourselves. So three things I'd say like trust your gut and trust your body. Ask a lot of questions and then find your tribe, those three things.
And I think that BIRTHFIT is a way for people to kind of sift through the BS in a way. Like you find your BIRTHFIT Regional Director and you talk to this person. You go maybe it's just like you do an initial consult.
And they just kind of help you sift through stuff and they're going to be there to lead you to the different care providers and like, "Hey, here are all of your options. If you want the most medicalized birth possible right next to the NICU because that's what makes you feel comfortable, here's your option. If you want to have like a home birth in a bathtub with flowers, then here's a great midwife for that." And then everywhere in between.
And there's no wrong way to have a baby as long as that's the way you want to have your baby, you know what I mean? So it's just like epidural is not a terrible thing, but do you want it and why? You know what I mean?
And so it's like finding, first off, your body's own potential and then figuring out your options and asking questions that you can find the birth and have the birth fit you want. And understanding there are lot of options and just because your mom had an epidural and a posterior birth -- and this is huge for me. I was born posterior. I came late.
My mom kind of ingrained in my mind that that's how mine was going to go. And so it took a lot of mind power for me to realize this is my experience not my mom's and I'm going to have this. And she was not posterior and she came in seven hours, not like 24.
And it was -- I labored at home and I didn't get an epidural. So it's like it was my experience and she had hers. Because understandings that people in your life -- and one thing about being pregnant is everyone's going to tell you their story. And they're going to tell you and for me, people told me their story in a way that was like this is going to be your story. And that drove me nuts.
Lindsey: Don't pass that on to me.
Laura: Yeah. You can tell me your story and this like, "Hey, this is my story and it's my story." But I got really frustrated when people would tell me their story in a way that was like, "So be ready." Like, "Just wait. This is how it's going to be." And my experience is my experience.
And I love listening to birth stories. I listen to the Birth Hour podcast and I love hearing every end of the spectrum. But I liked hearing them from a place like that's her story because I find it fascinating, but still understand that my story is going to be mine.
So just know that your experience is going to be yours and don't expect anything because someone else told you that was theirs. Just trust yourself because we're meant to do this and I think trusting the process is so huge. And yeah, that's it.
Lindsey: That's it. So let people know where they can find you and then about your podcast that you're doing.
Laura: Oh, yeah. How about that? So you can find me at BIRTHFIT Santa Cruz on Instagram. That's where I'm the most active for sure. So BIRTHFIT Santa Cruz and then laura.radicalroots, those are my two handles. And then website is birthfitsantacruz.com and myradicalroots.com.
And then, yeah, so I've got -- my friend, Jess and I -- Jess from Hold the Space Wellness. We started a podcast called Modern Mamas Podcast. And we want to have you on, Lindsey. That's like our next goal. So basically we just talk about all things like fertility, pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum and then motherhood.
And it's kind of like this whole range. We've recorded with Dr. Erica Boland. So I'm really excited to have that one go live. We just recorded with Liz Wolfe all about aware parenting. We interviewed Megan Blacksmith of Ginger Nutrition about hormones during pregnancy and postpartum. So we've got some great guests coming on. We're going to get Lindsey.
And then a lot of it is just Jess and I talking. So the first three was like we talked a lot about self-care during pregnancy. So nutrition and fitness and mindset and stuff. So it's been really fun. I love as you can probably tell I can just talk and talk and talk. So it's been really fun to record and talk and build a community.
And the whole goal of the podcast is to be a non-judgmental space where we can just bring insight and there's no right or wrong. There's no judgment. And that's I think a big part of what BIRTHFIT is too. It's just like we don't judge. We just support. And the goal is just to get information out and then let women and parents or whatever do what they will with it.
Lindsey: Yeah, you decide after that.
Laura: Yeah. As long as you have the information, then you're empowered to make whatever decision you want.
Lindsey: Yeah, totally.
Laura: That's what I feel.
Lindsey: Well, this has been awesome.
Laura: So fun. Thank you so much for having me on. I always wanted to talk to you too.
Lindsey: I know.
Laura: Lindsey came and visited and she got to meet Evie when she was like, what, four days, five days old. That was so cool. It made my week.
Lindsey: Yeah. I was thinking she was like a week old then and I was like, "Holy shit. She's only four days?"
Laura: Well, she came Tuesday and you came Sunday. So yeah, she was very new.
Lindsey: Yeah and she's beautiful.
Laura: Thank you.
Lindsey: Well, thank you for sharing your story, your journey, everything. And if you have not followed Laura, go check her out. And then will we see you at the summit next week?
Laura: I'm working out details right now.
Lindsey: You are?
Laura: Yeah, I think we're going to make it happen. The tribe's been amazing. Someone's already like, "You can use our infant car seat." And Embo's like, "Come stay with us. We've got a car so Rusty can make trips to the grocery store." And I'm like, "Okay."
I mean there's no better place to be like this close postpartum than with the BIRTHFIT tribe. So I think we're going to try and make it work and I'm pretty excited about it.
Lindsey: Awesome. Don't forget a hat because it's sunny down here.
Laura: Okay, good. Some inside, some outside I'm guessing.
Lindsey: Yeah, yeah.
Laura: It'll be awesome.
Lindsey: Yeah. Well, thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you.
Laura: Yeah, thank you. I'm really excited and have fun with these last days of planning. I know you've been working your butt off. So we're all very grateful.
Lindsey: All right, I'll see you soon.
Laura: Okay, thanks so much.
Lindsey: Bye, Laura.
Lindsey: I hope that you enjoyed that episode as much as I did. It feels like I'm talking to my longtime girlfriend. Laura is awesome. All right, I want to give a special thank you out to all of our BIRTHFIT Summit sponsors. Be ready. I'm going to read the list here. HaaKaa, RIE, Original Nutritionals, US Wellness Meats -- P.S. use the code BIRTHFIT 17 for 15% off -- Caveman Coffee, Topo Chico , Deuce Gym, STR/KE MVMNT, Primal Kitchen, That Fudge, Traditional Medicinals, Scopa Italian Roots, [1:06:03] [Indiscernible], Expectful, ICPA, Pathways to Family Wellness and Brooch Drink. Thank you all for sponsoring the BIRTHFIT Summit.
I know I always wrap up with a like pearl of wisdom from each episode. But because this is Laura and because she is so special, I want to share with you this poem from Shel Silverstein which she also has tattooed on her. So it's pretty special. Here we go.
Listen To The Mustn'ts.
Listen to the Mustn'ts, child,
listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn'ts,
the Impossibles, the Won'ts.
Listen to the Never Haves,
then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be. [1:07:18] End of Audio