The courageous Erica Coulter with her youngest son Kingston (2). She is also mama to Maddox (9), Maguire (8) and Paxton (5). Erica says that she's done a bit of a backwards progression with her pregnancies and birth and it's almost as if she has evolved each time. Her pregnancies were healthy but her births could not be more different. With her first son from her first call to the hospital she told them she didn't care what happened, she just wanted her epidural. She got her epidural and she was able to have an uncomplicated vaginal birth. She says she felt a little disconnected from the birth and it was almost as if they could have handed her anyone's baby. She formula fed from the start and says that she felt breastfeeding at that point in time was just gross. Erica had some significant postpartum depression for about 6 months after Maddox was born and had even been advised to consider not having any more because it was so bad. Her second was quite a surprise and she was worried about how the transition from one to With her second son her water broke early again and she also got her epidural and pitocin, things went well in the end and she decided to give breastfeeding a go this time. Erica nursed Maguire for 3 months before switching to formula and says that it was somewhere between him and her next son that she started to research and in her words, became a hippie mom. She decided that she wanted to have a natural birth with Paxton and even though her water broke without the onset of labor and she needed the help of pitocin she was able to labor and deliver without pain medication. Her doctor told her that she didn't need her anymore and should consider having her next baby at home. She was also able to nurse Paxton for 27 months, something she had never considered before but something that suddenly felt so natural. Erica planned her homebirth with Kingston and says that was pretty cocky with her midwives. She told them she was going to jog during labor to move things along and just knew she was going to be a rock star. Her water broke before labor began once again but without pitocin 20+ hours passed and nothing was happening. She is a doula herself and knew that her options at that point were to drink castor oil or transfer to the hospital so she drank the oil and waited. She never got sick but very quickly contractions started and were long and intense. Her husband started filling up the pool and she told him to stop wasting water the baby wasn't coming. She was so convinced that she was just going to be sick that when he told her he thought he could see the babies head she told him he didn't know what he was talking about. Things were fast and very intense but she couldn't believe it was happening with her long previous labors. Her midwives arrived just as he was fully crowning and when she looked down to first see him she said, "Oh! It's a baby!" because she had still been convinced the castor oil was making her sick. Kingston is Erica's last baby and is nursing longer than she ever has before.
Erica is a runner and has been a fitness instructor and while she admits she once was resistant to the fact that pregnancy and birth do really change your body she's seen herself differently each time around. She had a physical therapist tell her that because she was a mother her body was just ruined and she feels that notion is so rampant in our society. We can be strong and beautiful and changed she says, that doesn't mean we're broken.