McKenna shares 2 beautiful birth stories.
Claire was an unassisted birth which was lovely.
Sadly she died in an accident at 11 months old.
McKenna discovered she was pregnant a month after Claire died and after a pregnancy filled with grief,
she had a healing birth of Eden,
exactly a year after Claire’s death.
Read or Listen to this beautiful and tender story, have kleenexes ready.
Sheridan: I’m so excited to welcome McKenna to The Gift of Giving Life podcast today. She has some interesting experiences that she’s going to share with us, and I’m really excited to be able to hear what she has to share. So I’d like to start McKenna with you, just introducing yourself.
Mckenna: Yes, of course. So I am McKenna Wolley
I am the mom of four babies and I am. a wife, but I’m also, an entrepreneur and an artist. my husband and I are currently creating an NFT project, which is a crypto currency art collection. and it is also integrated into building a community. , My artwork is all about motherhood. It is all about, the experiences that we as mothers go through, whether it is in fertility and trying to conceive or miscarriage and loss, adoption, I cover every arena of motherhood that we experience as women. And so that is currently my project where I’m working on and what my life’s mission , is to gather women and also a lot of healing practitioners and helping women through their adversity and through their challenges. both physically and emotionally and spiritual.
Sheridan: Wow. That’s , really great. I always like to just start out with the question, how did you find out about The Gift of Giving Life book or podcast?
Finding the Podcast
Mckenna: I’m in several Facebook groups, a lot of them pertaining to motherhood and birth. And I think you had posted in one of those groups about the podcast.
So I actually haven’t had the chance to listen yet, but I was following you on Instagram. I don’t know how exactly, but it just was like, oh, this really aligns with what I’m doing in my life and what I am passionate about and birth and just all the things that I love. And so I just was like, I need to connect with this woman.
And so, yeah. I just felt really spiritually driven to, to connect with you.
Sheridan: Great. Thank you. Yeah. And it definitely sounds like what you’re working on does go hand in hand with. motherhood and birth and loss and all of those things and the spiritual aspect of it and how we can gather strength through those challenges.
Shifting from traditional care to midwifery
Sheridan: So, yes. okay. So I would just love to have you share your experience of the spirituality of pregnancy birth, mothering. Just go ahead and share what you want to share.
Mckenna: All right. I think I’ll start with my third baby. I have had four children. all of them were home births.
I was really on a journey once I became pregnant with my first child, like it really took like this whole evolution of giving birth has really evolved who I am as a mother and as a person, I. I was never really into birth before that it wasn’t on my radar to really, develop this part of myself and my education.
When I got pregnant with my first child, I, became very curious about everything, about my body, about giving life and giving birth and. And so it kind of spiraled me on just an education journey of really wanting to have an uplifting birth experience. I have one sister and three sister-in-laws and they all gave birth via C-section except for one pregnancy.
Mckenna: And so I was kind of like teetering of like, How do I want to give birth? Like, it just kind of stemmed questions for me of, you know, everyone’s situation was different, but, for me, I was like, I want something different than what they had experienced and, they kind of went the traditional route and, I, I started on that path.
I really jumped into. just going to an OB and, you know, beginning. And he was like, at the end of our appointment, he’s like, do you have any questions? And I’m like, I don’t even know what to ask. Like as a new mom, you just really have no idea what you’re doing. You’re just jumping in and, you’re kind of expecting the professionals to kind of tell you what to do. And, and so when he was, when he had asked that I was just like, I don’t even know.
So I jumped into a hypnobirthing class and that opened my mind to new possibilities of what birth could be. And so then I met with several different practitioners and ended up meeting with a home birth midwife and she spent an hour with me. It was so personable. Like she touched my stomach and talked to the baby and I don’t know, it was just way more, spiritual. It was me more personable. And,
and so that, really set, the standard for what I wanted in a birth. I wanted it to have that feeling behind it and not just feeling like you’re showing up and they check your baby and then you walk out there was no, it was kind of stale.
Traveling in a RV while pregnant with her 3rd baby
Mckenna: And so, when it came to the time after I had had two home births. I had had really great experiences. I had some complications like hemorrhaging and things like that, but it was all taken care of and all it all evolved well and beautifully. And I was well taken care of. and so my husband and I, by the time I got pregnant with my third, who, she was herself, a rainbow baby.
I had had a miscarriage before I got pregnant with her and we were traveling in an RV at the time we had, our housing situations had changed and we just thought, you know what, maybe we should go see, go see the U S go see where we want to live. So we went on this adventure, we got an RV and we started traveling and I became pregnant, within probably a few months of our travels. I had miscarried literally the day we had left. and then I had gotten pregnant a few months after that.
So we had done traveling for my entire pregnancy, with my daughter named Claire. And it was a really challenging experience for our family. We had to go through a lot of ups and downs emotionally, because it can be pretty lonely if you aren’t traveling with other families.
And, the places we were going, we were. we were basing it off of a project we were working on at the time. And, we got pretty lonely and financially it was very stressful and, but we still got to experience a lot. We got to see , a lot of the states in the United States and, see the east coast.
Impressed to birth Unassisted
Mckenna: And by the time it was nearing the end of my pregnancy, we had kind of circled back to where we had started, which was in Florida. And we got down to Florida and I, we had both kind of felt very impressed that we should give birth, unassisted. And that, that can mean many things, but for us, it meant to not have any midwifery care there, to do it just me and my husband and my two older kids.
And. There’s a lot of emotions that you run through when you are choosing to give birth that way. because you know, you worry about the safety of your child, of your life, of possibilities of things that. Could happen. So I had hemorrhaging with my first child and then I had needed stitching with my second.
You have to really do your research on how you give birth when you give birth that way and the possibilities that can happen and what you would do in that situation. And so, for me, it became a really, a poignant time in my life to see spiritual revelation and to really know how to receive answers from God.
It was at the end of 2019 and the prophet at the time, the president of our church, he gave a talk on spiritual gifts and to seek out spiritual gifts.
And it kind of propelled me into this curiosity about learning about my own gifts and my talents and my ability to hear God. And so during this journey, I really had to get in touch with. This aspect of myself. And to know the way this baby should be born.
I didn’t have a single ultrasound because we had traveled the whole time. I. I had nothing to basically verify the pregnancy. And in Florida, when you go to give birth in Florida, if you are hiring a midwife, if you’re past 28 weeks, you need to have approval from an OB
and I had met with no one, my entire pregnancy. And by the time we were down there, I was already 38 weeks pregnant. And I knew I could go into labor any time. And it was like, this point of. Are we really going to do it this way? We had family who offered to pay for a midwife because I think they had their own insecurities with how we were doing it.
Questioning my Impression
Mckenna: And it kind of set me back and made me really question like, am I supposed to give birth this way? I met with two midwives and the first midwife I met with, when she walked in, she was very kind like there was nothing wrong with her, but just spiritually, I felt inside me. Like, no, I can’t have her at my birth.
A Midwifes Comment Was Just What I Needed
Mckenna: And then I met with a second midwife and I really loved her. She was so kind. And she said some things to me cause she had had her own birth. One of her births was unassisted. She didn’t have a midwife there, but she did have other, like a doula and she was a midwife herself. So there was kind of care, but.
She said something to me where she, it just gave me what I needed.
She said, babies want to live. And they come to this earth and they desire. They are strong. Like they want to live.
When she said goodbye and we kind of, I said, I’ll let you know if you know, we hire you or not, or kind of thing. And.
I sat with that for a couple of days and was just like, you know what, I think that’s why she came to us. I think we needed to hear that from her. cause the first midwife was kind of like, well, you know, I really recommend that you have someone there and you know, there was kind of this, the sensation of fear coming from her and like, I, I became very allergic to fear.
Within my pregnancy was like, I cannot let fear in because I know that fear can affect the outcome. And so when I had that second experience with that midwife that just like washed over me, like the comfort that the words that we needed to hear.
Claire’s Unassisted Birth
It was January 25th, 2020 that I gave birth to my baby Claire and.
Mckenna: It was the most incredible experience. So I woke up kind of very early in the morning and it was very similar to my first two where I woke up and labor began. Like I could just tell immediately that yeah, these, these sensations are a lot stronger than any sort of Braxton Hicks and.
And so I, I just felt very in tune with my body and my baby and I had had births before, but I just knew every step of the way I felt guided to her birth and what to do, and to just kind of take it easy. And we were excited and my, my kids were involved. And so my son, he had woken up. At some point and my husband woke up and, you know, we all just gathered and prepared.
We ate breakfast together while I was breathing through contractions. And I was Marco poloing, one of my good friends who’s been at, my birth, my second birth. And, it was just this really peaceful experience. And so I gave birth her around. 1130 in the morning, I had had probably six hours of labor and we did it all by ourselves and I had no hemorrhaging, nothing.
Like I had prepared herbs and things that I could use to help if I had excess bleeding. And I kind of used them proactively. Cause I didn’t want to have to judge if I was bleeding too much or not. So I would just take them proactively. And, I just knew the whole time exactly what was happening.
Like I was guiding my husband, like I need you to grab this and I need you to grab that. And like, it was all me and the baby, just really being in tune with, with what was happening.
The Loss of Claire at 11 months, Grief and Healing
Mckenna: And so. my daughter, Claire, she lived for 11 months of her life, of life on earth. And when she was 11 months old, we had come from Florida to visit family to see, ’cause my grandma had passed away.
And so we came to visit and then stayed for Christmas because it was around November that her funeral was. And, we stayed for Christmas So we were staying with family and, my sister-in-law had set up beds for us, and one of them was an air mattress and she had fallen in between the air mattress and she died and
it was. Obviously traumatizing experience for my entire family. We came to bury my grandma. And in that we ended up burying my daughter.
Birth Experience was a preparation for understanding intuition and trusting myself.
Mckenna: I think her whole birth and her whole life, her whole experience. Was it a preparation for me to understand my intuition and understand how to receive answers and understand how to,
how to trust myself, and through the grief process. I questioned that a lot, because I had had certain promptings about the bedding situation and to move the bed and I didn’t. And so that plagued me a lot of the, a lot of the past year and five months that it’s been of her passing and, I’ve had to come to an understanding through divine revelation that this was her time to go.
And that those promptings I received weren’t necessarily the spirit of revelation. It wasn’t a revelation to teach me to change something. It was the spirit of prophecy. That something was going to happen with the beds.
Found out she was Pregnant one month later
Mckenna: And so, exactly one month after her passing, I found out I was pregnant and nine months.
Exactly to the day and almost to the very hour I gave birth to Claire’s baby sister, and we named her Eden.
And I, you know, I went through pregnancy and grief all at once. Pregnancy is tiring, in and of itself like it’s exhausting, but grief is an added layer of exhaustion and having to rekindle that trust in myself.
So I was pretty numb that entire pregnancy. I just, I had was not connected with my body. I was going through a lot of, counseling coaching. I did a lot of different healing modalities.
A Questioning and Refining Time
Mckenna: That was refining me spiritually and also just like really questioning God and questioning my testimony. Like things, things that I felt really secure in, it was like, Hey, do I really believe these things?
Like, do I believe in life after death? Do I believe that I will see her again? Do I believe all these things that I have claimed to believe my whole life and. I had to kind of go through those emotional, experiences of questioning to then come to the birth of my daughter, my fourth baby. And, about a week before she was born, we had had the RV.
moved from Florida. We actually never went back after my daughter, Claire passed. And someone flew to Florida and picked up our RV and brought it back for us. And our RV was parked at the house that my daughter passed away in.
And about a week before I was, you know, I had no idea how far along I really was.
I had kind of two possible dates. And so I didn’t really know when she was going to be born. I just knew that I was, you know, nearing the end. I was expecting her to be born kind of early October of 2021. but I didn’t know.
And so about a week before her actual birth, I just felt like, you know what, we should do it in the RV.
We’d kind of gone back and forth of where we should go, what we should do. We were living at my parents’ house and, I just decided. No, the RV is the right place. the weather had kind of cooled down and we were able to get enough electricity to the RV that we could make it work. And so I, when I had gone into labor, it was, it was just kind of.
It was almost like this mystery. I did not feel as in tune, as I did with Claire’s it was very different. I just was like, okay, like, I guess I’m in labor. I had been shopping that entire week, like trying to prepare the RV. I was keeping really busy and really not mentally in a space of, of oh yeah.
Like I’m preparing for birth. I was like trying to stay busy. Cause I didn’t want to give birth. It was like I was avoiding it and avoiding this whole situation of being prepared. I, I was just like, I don’t even know if I’m prepared because I’m so emotionally disconnected and by the time we started the whole.
preparation process of, going to the RV, getting my kids ready and getting their beds ready. And, and we had gotten to the RV and labor started to get really strong.
Mckenna: And I was like, wow, like I’m really, I’m really in labor. Cause I was kind of in denial the whole time. And. I had let my husband go, go to sleep. I was kind of expecting it to possibly go all night. I wasn’t really sure how long it would take. And. I had let my husband go to bed and I was like, yo, I’ll lay
down and go to bed too. And I laid down and I was like, no, that’s not happening. I cannot tolerate the pain when I’m laying down.
And so, I had just kind of gotten up and had a few quiet moments to myself and, was standing in the same place that I’d given birth to Claire and just had these moments of trying to connect myself to Claire and know that she was, she was aiding me in this process of giving birth, her baby sister.
And, there came a point where the contractions were really picking up. And so my husband probably got maybe a half an hour to 45 minutes worth of sleep, but it was enough to re-energize him so that he could be present. And my son woke up when he heard kind of the moaning and those, those things that you do and you’re giving birth. So we had no video. We had nothing happening because she came so quickly. My husband was running up and down the RV steps to, to get his camera and I would have a contraction and he’d run back down the stairs to help me breathe through it. And then he ran back up the stairs and I had been wearing one of those,Pregnancy diapers just in case my water would break. And, I bent down to take it off. And as I did, my water broke all in one sweeping motion and her head started to descend through the birth canal immediately. And I was like, what? And so my husband came running down the stairs and helped me breathe and was
there to catch her as her head came out and she let out a cry immediately before her shoulders were even out. And then, then I pushed the rest of her body out. And my husband was like, it’s a girl. And because we hadn’t had any ultrasounds for this one either. And it was just miraculous, like it was beautiful.
And it was, it just rekindled that. Part of myself that had questioned everything, and had questioned my abilities and questioned my faith in God and just gave me so much healing and so much love towards this new baby. And she is our gift from Claire.
She’s just such a light in our lives.
Eden adjusting to life in her body
Mckenna: And I mean, it hasn’t all been easy. There were first few weeks and months of her life, where she was adjusting. Like you could tell that it was kind of a shock for her to be in her body. And she would cry quite, quite a lot at night. And we did some, we were able to get some help for her.
We did cranial sacral therapy and some other things that helped her to kind of find peace in her body. And since then, she is just the happiest baby and everywhere I go, she gets the exact same compliments that Claire would get. And we just know that she is a literal soul sister of Claire. Like she is very much in the likeness of Claire.
She doesn’t look like Claire. They have different eye colors and different hair color, but her, her persona, emanates Claire.
And so that is my very long, but summed up story of the last two years of my life and my spiritual journey of being a mother and going through the grief and loss process and the rainbow baby experience.
So important to hear this story
Sheridan: Yeah. Wow. Thank you. That was beautiful and hard. to even listen to him like, oh my heart. but also so important to share, because I think that we all have times when we doubt and it may not be as dramatic or as obvious as why we doubt, like you had an experience that. it’s heartbreaking and it, everyone can understand why you would question and other people doubt and people have no idea why, and maybe they don’t even know why, but then to have this healing experience where you were able to reconnect, with Claire in that moment of birth, and maybe you had felt connected to her before as well.
I don’t know, but that’s such a pivotal moment. I know that birth, the veil is often so thin and such a great opportunity to feel connected to heavenly beings, to people that we’ve lost or children that may one day come or angels of any kind. So thank you for sharing that beautiful experience with us today.
Mckenna: Yes. Thank you for letting me share.
Sheridan: Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And, is there somewhere that if people wanted to connect with you online or learn more about your NFT projects, which sounds fascinating, how can they find.
Mckenna: So the NFT world, they are on Twitter. My project is called mothers of Eden, in reference to my daughter, but also in reference to all of us who were birthed out of Eve who came from the garden of Eden. And so. mothersofeden.com is our website. and then our handle is on Instagram, mothersofedennft.
Then my personal, Instagram is McKenna Woolley. so you can read Claire’s story, you can see photos of her and kind of, it’s a little more personal.
Sheridan: Great. Thank you so much.