From our founder, Leah Giles
It has always felt like there was something physiologically pulling at my heartstrings to run to a person in need. I love to comfort, to encourage and to leave a situation better than I found it. My passion lies with helping women and babies. I assisted in my first birth when I was in college. My best friend from childhood was in labor and she allowed me to be with her the whole time. It was empowering being able to get through to someone in distress and help her deliver her son and also so incredible to see what our bodies are capable of first hand. I was not a mother yet when I helped her through her labor, but I walked away feeling so happy and fulfilled to have helped her through such an amazing process.
Prior to starting Belly Coach, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Fresno State and ran a franchise of The Little Gym, a children's fitness center. I later got married and started a family of my own. My first pregnancy was easy breezy (shhh don't tell) and I loved every minute of it. My water broke naturally around 38 weeks at 6:30 in the morning. I was admitted into the labor and delivery ward and told to hold tight since first time births tend to last a very long time. Labor seemed do-able as I had no idea what active labor had in store for me next. I was planning on delivering naturally and without medication. All was fine and dandy and then things got intense and I dilated from a 2 to a 10 in no time flat and 3 pushes later at 1:00 pm we welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Emmerson. I received a dose of ibuprofen and was sent home the next day. The nurses (and us) were shocked it all happened so fast! I was able to stick to my birth plan and learned a lot about how to deal with the pain of contractions naturally (that we now share with our clients of course).
My second pregnancy we found out that I was carrying twin boys!! This time, I was extremely sick, nauseous, exhausted, starving and was in and out of doctors appointments since one of the boys had a heart condition in utero. This pregnancy was labeled “high risk” and I was living through the experience of endless doctors visits, medications, ultrasounds, bed rest, and anxiety of delivering multiples. I was admitted to the hospital at 26 weeks because my son’s heart was not holding up well. Thanks to the wonderful team at the hospital, we were able to get his heart back to beating properly and we were able to go home. On bed rest, but still home was nice. At 32 weeks I went into spontaneous labor. I was admitted and given mediation to try and stop my labor although I was already dilating. My body did not respond and I was driven by an ambulance to a different hospital with a higher level NICU. I was already at a 10 when I arrived and I received an epidural and delivered vaginally in an operating room.
A very different experience.
Although my boys had to spend a few weeks in the NICU, they are now healthy 5 year olds who never sit down ;-))
After having my own kiddos, I had a lot of support from family, friends, church groups and neighbors. My support tribe was crucial and so life saving. I can’t imagine not having that kind of help post-partum. I vowed to pay it forward and extend the same support that I received to other new mamas in need because I know how amazing and important it is. People and our actions can literally breathe fresh air into someone’s heart and soul. Whether it’s valuable advice, knowledgeable care or just a hug and an encouraging word that they are enough and doing a wonderful job, we at Belly Coach want to make sure every mom gets the love and support that I so loved receiving.
Head Coach & Belly Coach Founder