407. Birth Keeper: A Doula's Guide to Natural Child Bearing w/ Eyla Cuenca (Men Are Welcome!)

Eyla Cuenca

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Eyla Cuenca is a voice of wisdom and sanity that’s desperately needed in the birthing space. When she realized how short the role of doulas fell when it came to supporting women, she took her own approach to empowering mothers.

Eyla Cuenca has lived and traveled throughout The United States and several other countries, accumulating knowledge and expertise in her field for over a decade. Her work strives to connect women, parents, and children through the scope of conception, birth, and parenting. As a birth guide, she draws on a blend of ancient traditions and evidence-based information to bring custom-tailored support to every individual, no matter where they are in their process.

As a teacher, birth guide, and visual storyteller, Eyla offers natural birth classes, prenatal and postpartum guidance consultations, reiki energy healing, documentary birth photography, and highly individualized birth doula support. She provides support in person and online so that anyone anywhere in the world has the opportunity for empowered birth education and guidance.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Eyla Cuenca is a voice of wisdom and sanity that’s desperately needed in the birthing space. She’s built a wealth of knowledge and expertise in her field that spans over a decade. She draws on a blend of ancient traditions and evidence-based information to bring custom-tailored support to every individual no matter where they are in their process.

Starting her career as a birthing photographer, Eyla saw a place for herself in the birthing process. But as she went through doula training, it became apparent just how much the process falls short of women’s needs.

Whether man or woman, Eyla’s wisdom applies to all. She shares her journey of becoming a birth keeper and lactation consultant, the effect of having a doula on the birthing process, the difference between a birth keeper and a doula, and her thoughts on the continued attack on individual medical autonomy.

Eyla is also offering listeners a generous 20% off her course using code “LUKE20” or by visiting lukestorey.com/eyla.

06:37 — The Role of a Doula in an Optimal Birth

  • What doulas do and how they assist the pregnancy and birthing process
  • How so much doula training falls short
  • The ways media programs us to view birthing
  • How working with a doula affects the outcome of birth
  • Benefits of The Bradley Method
  • Habits for supporting milk production
  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Hierarchy of milk alternatives

45:59 — Preparing For Giving Birth, Body & Soul

  • Eyla’s birthing story
  • Optimal home-birth settings
  • The importance of getting grounded and anchored during birth
  • How epidurals disconnect women from their bodies
  • Following the positions that feel natural
  • Differences between a doula and a midwife
  • The risks of ultrasound – see the Jim West study
  • Feeling confident that you have everything you need to birth naturally
  • Invasive birthing procedures to avoid
  • Eyla’s Uncovering Birth Masterclass (use code “LUKE20” for 20% off!)
  • Placenta as a magical superfood for mothers

1:35:59 — Navigating the Troubles of Modern Pregnancy

  • How the plandemic has changed the approach to alternative birthing
  • Preparing the body for birth
  • Reading a woman’s signposts during birth
  • Resentment that builds up between couples around birthing and how to avoid it

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

Luke Storey: [00:00:02] I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist Podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you.

Thank you so much for making the time to come see me today.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:00:28] Thank you for having me.

Luke Storey: [00:00:29] Yeah. Really, a funny thing happened, for you listeners. There was a bit of a snafu in our booking, and so I'm over at our house just about to jump in the ice bath, take a little break, and then I get your text, "Okay. I'm here at the studio." And I was like, "Studio? What? Podcast today?" I had no idea. I don't know if that's ever happened. So, I'm really glad we were still able to get it in and like, "Dude, I only have an hour." So, how's Austin been treating you?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:00:57] It's been great. I've been enjoying the cold weather. I mean, I love the desert. I love cold weather. And, yeah, good food. Really good food. We got into some delicious meals.

Luke Storey: [00:01:10] Downtown Austin has great food. It really does. That's the benefit of having kind of a culturally liberal, artistic city in the middle of so much rednecks. No. I'm just kidding. But it is. I mean, you get, like, outside of Downtown Austin and there's nothing to eat. Unless you prefer -

Eyla Cuenca: [00:01:28] Chick-fil-A.

Luke Storey: [00:01:29] ... glyphosate and canola oil. So, yeah, Downtown Austin is a great place for culture, food, art, music.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:01:37] Vintage stores.

Luke Storey: [00:01:38] Vintage stores.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:01:39] Oh, my God. I went back to high school. I used to go to these goodwill donation centers and just seek out all of these designer pieces. And then, I created my own little store in downtown Santa Cruz.

Luke Storey: [00:01:53] Oh, really?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:01:53] Yeah. So, vintage, for years, I was, like, going around through college. And it's all since gone. I've kept the best pieces, they're in my closet now. But, yeah, I had a whole thing, so I like to go down memory lane of very good vintage.

Luke Storey: [00:02:03] That's cool. Yeah. I used to do quite a lot of thrift store shopping myself back, I guess it was in the early 2000s. I was pretty obsessed. I drive out to the suburbs of L.A., like East L.A. was great. I went through this phase of soaking in the movie Swingers was out. You know, and there was, like, all this kind of resurgence of swing music and rockabilly and stuff like that. So, I went through this brief sort of guido 50s leisure suit period.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:02:29] Totally. It looks like the crepe button ups. It's so good.

Luke Storey: [00:02:32] Totally. And I've got to East L.A. and find that stuff, you know, and, like, Latino thrift stores.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:02:36] The Valley had great vintage. I grew up in North Hollywood.

Luke Storey: [00:02:40] Oh, you did? Yeah. Oh, L.A. girl.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:02:42] And then, moved to Santa Cruz when I was ten. But there was, like, a going back and forth.

Luke Storey: [00:02:46] Yeah, yeah. And now you're in Miami, right?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:02:48] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:02:49] Okay. I just realized we're actually making a podcast and I'm just sitting here shooting this shit. There is so much to cover, but I don't really get a chance to get to know someone for a few minutes. And this is that, getting to know someone. This is the small talk that precedes talking about birth.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:03:03] The big talk.

Luke Storey: [00:03:03] Dun, dun, dun, dun. So, I think I found you on Instagram. And for those not following you yet, we'll put a link to your Instagram in the show notes. And we're going to call the show notes today, by the way, lukestorey.com/birth. And everyone can find any links, and her website, and social, and any books or references we talk about.

What made you want to become a doula? And maybe define what a doula is for those listening? It might be kind of nebulous for people that are outside of those circles. What is it? How did you get into helping people make babies?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:03:38] So, on a really basic level, I do a lot as a physical and emotional support person, who's trained in normal birth, natural normal birth. Meaning, not higher intervention, not complicated, just kind of the natural unfolding of birth. So, they hold space. We hold space for couples and families, women who want support during the pregnancy, and then through the actual birth itself, through labor, and then sometimes postpartum.

And the reason I wanted to get into that was because I had been photographing birth for some time, and felt that where I really wanted to be was in that very specific field with the woman and her partner and whoever was there, if there was a medical attendant, like a midwife or an OB at the time, and wanted to support that process.

You know, and as a photographer, I very much fly on the wall. You know, I had a lot of experience in photography. That's what I did before I started doing this work, but more in the commercial world at Milk Studios. And so, you know, I wanted to be a space holder in that way.

And so, then I did a training, and pretty quickly realized that the training fell short in so many ways. And most doula trainings do. It's like, these are the very basic ways that you hold space for this woman, this family. And at a certain point you kind of take your hands off. And I was like, "Hmm." I started noticing a lot of women were getting into situations where they couldn't advocate for themselves, and the doula was not really assisting with advocating, and then the partner had no idea how to advocate. And so, there is this huge deficit.

And that's when I got into the education component and certified as a Bradley instructor, the Bradley method, and started teaching everything about unmedicated birth, which led me down the path of exposing the medical industrial complex.

Luke Storey: [00:05:32] Yeah. When you start researching natural birth, obviously, inherent to that research is going to be, "Well, what's the other way people have begun to do it?" And it's kind of treacherous. I've done a couple shows on it. I've had Yolande Norris-Clark on, who was super solid. And I didn't find her perspective to be controversial because we're just talking about, like, the way humans have been having babies for a very long time.

But I had another guest, Jeanice Barcelo, and I vibed with her, but she was very controversial. Because her perspective on medical birth is tied to her perspective that it's essentially a satanic ritual. And, I don't know, I didn't get everyone's feedback, but I know for some that could be a little difficult to contextualize. But based on the things she shared with me, I don't know that I could couch it any other way.

I remember doing the intro for that and I was like, "Hey, don't throw the baby out of the bathwater if some of her perspective that leans into that realm is off putting to you, like just leave that alone." And she's stating medical facts about things like the dangers of ultrasound and all kinds of practices, circumcision, and all kinds of things that I think any rational person could look at objectively and say, "Yeah. There's a better way to do it."

Eyla Cuenca: [00:06:51] Of course.

Luke Storey: [00:06:52] I noticed a lot of funny things. One of them is, when I look at your Instagram and there's all your beautiful photography, by the way, of birthing taking place, I find myself a little squeamish. And this is in not even hospital births, but just in the kiddie pool, you know, however we're doing this. And I look at that and I think, "Why am I squeamish about that?"

And it's almost the same kind of reaction I have to hunting animals and guiding an animal. Like, just any kind of blood and guts, or seeing bodily fluids, and the insides of things and parts that you don't normally see, and all of that.

And it kind of brings me to this realization of - and I'm sure that many people share this reaction with me - how disconnected we are from, not only the process of birth, but also of death. It's just like it's all hidden away behind closed doors in the funeral home and the hospital. And, like, "Why would I get squeamish looking at a baby coming out of a woman's body, and all of the blood and fluids, and things like that? Like, why would that look kind of eww to me?" It makes me just realize there's something wrong with me. Like, I've got to fix this.

When you started photographing birth, did you have any kind of visceral reaction like that or did it just all feel, you know, normal and natural?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:08:23] So, I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with anyone. I would say that there's an opportunity. Because we have all been programmed through Hollywood. So, the woman's pregnant, there's, like ,a very minimal birth scene, and then she's home with the baby and it's cleaned up. So, there are a lot of missing pieces of this process that we're programmed with from the beginning of time, you know, watching films, being told stories, older siblings aren't invited into birth so they never really learn. And so, it makes a lot of sense.

And, of course, like you said, death is tucked away. Nobody talks about the defecation that happens right before the moment of death, or these lucid moments, and urination, and vomit, and the release of bodily fluids. That's not depicted in film.

Luke Storey: [00:09:16] Even when you think about an action movie and somebody gets shot, like, you don't see them shitting their pants. You know what I mean? 

Eyla Cuenca: [00:09:23] Or foaming at the mouth. You know, all the things that do happen. Or even just bleeding through the nose, urination, all of these things.

Luke Storey: [00:09:32] So, when you started being present for birth and shooting it, did you have to take some deep breaths and kind of acclimate yourself to it or did it come naturally just in terms of the experience itself?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:09:44] It came naturally. And I had been doing photography work for some time before birth photography that was very much about the body and these biological functions, so more anatomical photography. So, I had already been exposed to that. And it all made sense to me. It all makes so much sense, you know, feces, urination, vomit, birth, menstruation.

If I were to see someone's arm break, I would probably pass out and vomit because that is not something that the body is supposed to do, so my nervous system can't handle it. But I could watch birth all day, because it's something that the body is meant to do. So, there is no disconnect for me there. Or from my animal body, there is no disconnect.

Luke Storey: [00:10:35] Wow. And how does having a doula or working with a doula generally affect the outcome of birth?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:10:46] Generally, I would say that some of the statistics out there that 61 percent of women who hires a doula have an unmedicated birth or their chances are much higher. A large percentage of women feel that their birth was positive if they had a doula. A lot of women say that if they have a doula postpartum, they're more likely to breastfeed. Maybe with the second one, they had a doula, and they didn't with the first one, and they were able to breastfeed the second one because of the support they had.

Just like the few visits they had of someone coming to their home and holding space gave them the courage, the opportunity to breastfeed. So, yeah, I would say that it can really impact the outcome based on what you want. If you set a goal with her, the doula, or him, then -

Luke Storey: [00:11:32] Are there male doulas?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:11:33] There's one in Puerto Rico, I've heard of, so I included him just now. But, yeah, it can have an impact in that way. What I'm finding is that, there are a lot of doulas out there that tend to support the medical industrial complex. Because they have very little birth education and very little education surrounding the physiological process and legal matters and human rights, they actually fall short in the advocacy that, I think, is what women are looking for and why they actually hire a doula.

Luke Storey: [00:12:11] So, you mentioned that you were trained in the Bradley Method and that you're now teaching others in this method.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:12:18] Yeah. So, I taught the Bradley Method for six years. And then, I started my own method called Uncovering Birth, which is so much based in Bradley. Of course, I love this method. It's traditionally called husband-coached childbirth, but it's really a partnered-coached childbirth. It teaches the partner to be your doula, to create that masculine container.

Luke Storey: [00:12:41] Oh, wow. It sounds like I need to take this training.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:12:43] Yeah. I would love it. So, the Bradley is all about unmedicated birth. So, it's like all the facts on fentanyl, all the facts on lidocaine, and how it affects the mother, how it affects the baby. You know, it's very much like a crash course in obstetrics if you want to look at it that way.

And so, what I've added in my method and what I've shifted is really more focused on the placenta. I've brought in the conversation of vaccines and, really, focusing on informed consent, not only throughout the pregnancy, but then postpartum. Because it's like everyone hyper focuses on the birth, and then there's just this gap when it comes to those first few weeks, and what the container looks like, and how it shifts for the woman and her partner those first few weeks.

Luke Storey: [00:13:29] So, this is one method. What are some of the other kind of types of doulas? Are there other categories or other trainings that are prevalent?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:13:41] Yeah. I mean, the most popular one in the U.S. is DONA, Doulas of North America. It's an international organization. But it's like a three-day training and you just basically learn how to do an intake with a client, how to draw boundaries, what your scope of practice is, and how to communicate properly with the medical staff, and then how to bill your client.

So, that doula training, I did it and then I was like, "This is useless." And then, I just started apprenticing midwives. So, jus working more in the field. I trained with Dr. Bradley. And then, through my education and just being at births all the time was how I started to shift what I offer.

So, my contracts, for example, with my clients are very specific and they're like, "I don't do what a doula would normally do. I get much more involved in this way." Like, you have to commit to an education for birth or else we can't work together. We need to speak the same language. Like, I get very much involved in their life and their journey. And then, some doulas are pretty hands off. So, it depends, there's somebody for everyone out there.

Luke Storey: [00:14:55] In an ideal scenario with you working with a client, at what point pre or post-pregnancy would you kind of onboard with that family and start to work with them?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:15:08] Whenever they find me. So, whenever they find me, it's perfect for them. Sometimes it's, like, eight weeks pregnant. They're ready to to create that container. And sometimes it's right before the birth. They realized that this is what they need. And we make it work. And then, we do a lot more postpartum, you know.

Luke Storey: [00:15:28] So, you're there supporting the mother and helping to educate them about breastfeeding and different ways to care for their newborn, et cetera.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:15:36] Yeah. I'm a lactation counselor as well, and that's really where my passion is.

Luke Storey: [00:15:40] Really? Tell me about lactation. I saw something on your Instagram about, like, night nurses ruined your -

Eyla Cuenca: [00:15:50] Milk supply.

Luke Storey: [00:15:50] ... milk supply. Yeah. And, you know, forgive me, not only am I just, like, a dude, but I've not had a baby yet. So, I'm fairly ignorant around some of this stuff.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:16:00] Sure. So, there's this thing that a lot of women feel that they have to do, and it's usually because someone told them that they need to do it, ad it's hire a night nurse. Which is a person that comes and lives in your home and maybe a guest room or something, and at night they'll manage the baby so that the mother's not waking up at night so she can get rest and then re-meet her baby in the morning. 

So, maybe from, like, 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., the baby's with the night nurse. Or sometimes the night nurse will come in periodically to wake up the mother so that she can breastfeed and then take the baby away again to the other room so that the mother can rest. 

However, there is this initiation process that happens biologically, psycho-spiritually between the mother and the baby where they need to meet each other. And this rite of passage that happens for the woman where she learns her baby's vocabulary, her baby's cues, body language, their very specific needs, and how they communicate. And when we take that away for all those hours in the night, we start to create this codependence with this other person in that field and in that constellation in that family.

And I've seen some of my clients after the night nurse leaves, you know, like month three, the woman feels very confused and disoriented in the nighttime. Like, she doesn't have that language and that ability and the confidence to care for the baby in the same way. So, it creates this codependence and the lack of contact with with the baby and the mother that will decrease her milk supply.

The body is intelligent, so the more contact I have with this infant, the more milk I need to produce; the less contact I have, the less milk I'm producing. So, the body is just taking cues from the mother and the contact. That's why I really don't promote strollers. I promote only babywearing. And this is all really for her health and for her milk supplies, that she has minimal obstacles when it comes to breastfeeding.

Like, we already have society as a whole, the frameworks, what we can control in our home, I really want to give them all those tools. Like, what are all the things that we can do so that you can just have all the milk you need, your baby has all the milk they need, and you're unobstructed.

Luke Storey: [00:18:12] That's so interesting because when I've thought about the prospect of having a baby, immediately - because I really need my sleep. I mean, everyone likes to sleep, but I just truly am a train wreck when I don't get sleep. And so, it was one of the biggest obstacles to the idea of having kids for me - actually, it was just like, "I don't know if I can handle not sleeping for an extended period."

So, I've always kind of had in my head, "Oh, we'll bring someone in to help and take the baby all night so that we don't have to deal with it." I don't think my wife shares that fear, she's good to go. But that's interesting.

But, you know, to that point, I think I always think of things evolutionarily for some reason. My mind just always goes back, "Well, how did we use to do it?" And if you think about a hunter gatherer tribe, 50, 60 people going back, whatever, 15,000 years or so, since the beginning of humans, probably, I picture that a woman gives birth and that she's spending some intimate time with that baby throughout the days and nights.

But that that baby is also sort of getting passed around to other women in the tribe and is bonding to multiple people. If that's true, would that principle not apply to a night nurse or any other women, or men even, that happen to be in the inner circle of that family?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:19:29] Yeah. I mean, like, a multigenerational household might support that. Which, some countries, some cultures still have, perhaps in India where you have a few aunts, cousins, maybe a grandmother all living in one house. So, that's how little girls learn about breastfeeding is by watching these women and their family in their household. The information is passed down.

But that stays within the nuclear family, and the mother is always the one to breastfeed. In the hunter gatherer times, there was communal breastfeeding. Typically, women were having children at the same time. Or there was always someone else who was also breastfeeding, so that support could happen. However, the societal framework was so different that a woman did not need to worry about like, "Oh, well. I have to answer these emails, and do this, and go back to work, and I have these meetings, and I have Pilates class." 

Luke Storey: [00:20:28] "I got to post on Instagram. Shit, I didn't post today."

Eyla Cuenca: [00:20:31] And it's that duality that starts to raise the cortisol levels and the adrenaline and can also inhibit the milk production and that split that's created. And this deep mourning of an identity. You know, once we're breastfeeding, once we're staying up at night, once we're not going to the thing that everyone else is going to, once the relationships have shifted, we start to go through this morning process. And I don't know that the women in these other societies were experiencing that.

Luke Storey: [00:20:58] That actually makes a lot of sense. I mean, I guess the whole context of, like, a woman's life back then would have been totally different.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:21:06] It was to serve her family and to serve the community. That was what she was doing. And through that, serving herself and feeling the fulfillment. So, now, the way we access fulfillment is not through that, or is not so much through serving the family, or serving the community.

Luke Storey: [00:21:21] Right. That's something I've looked at recently - I don't know - it's like a warp in the fabric of our culture that if a woman elects to be a homemaker, and have babies, and stay home, and is under the title of housewife that that's somehow frowned upon, or demeaning, or of lower value in the hierarchy of our sort of social structure. 

And the women that I know that are in that role in the community here where I live, I have nothing but so much respect for them in the work that they're doing in that, in birthing and raising their babies. I mean, I look at them and they're so devoted and so beautiful to observe them in that role that they've chosen for themselves. And to demean that in any way is just super twisted.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:22:19] Yeah. Well, there's just this, like, belligerent feminist ideology that doing that is somehow like Stockholm syndrome.

Luke Storey: [00:22:30] Like, you couldn't have done it on your own volition.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:22:35] Yeah. Like, you believe that this is your full potential.

Luke Storey: [00:22:40] Oh, man. That's sad.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:22:43] Yeah. And some people might say, "No. We've gone past that," but I don't really think we have.

Luke Storey: [00:22:47] Wow. That's interesting. Back to the breastfeeding. A friend of mine, Matt Blackburn, did a podcast recently on tongue tied. I mean, I'd never heard of it, but I've never sought to breastfeed myself, obviously. She was talking about how many babies are born tongue tied. And, you know, there's something with the expansion of their mouth and their palate that makes breastfeeding super painful because the baby has a much harder time getting the milk out. Is that something that you're aware of?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:23:19] Yeah. So, you can have a lip tie or a tongue tie. So, the frenulum here or here under the tongue could be really tight. And, you know, when I look in babies mouths, they typically look pretty tight. And over time, over the days and the weeks, it starts to expand. However, now, most IBCLC, lactation consultants, they'll look in the mouth and say, "Oh, you're having pain breastfeeding. This frenulum looks tight. Just go get a laser surgery for the baby and have it separated. No big deal. One and done or whatever."

However, what I noticed is that women just don't have the technique. Like, their baby is not getting a deep enough latch and so they're feeling the pain. Or the woman is supplementing with a pacifier, or perhaps an artificial nipple with a bottle, for example, and so the baby's latch just becomes naturally more narrow. So, when it goes to breastfeed, it's painful for the woman.

So, the first thing I always ask when I get to their house - because I can only do in-home visits - I need to see where they're breastfeeding to know. So, it's holistic, you know, I can't just do it on Zoom or something. And I usually ask, "Are you using a pacifier?" And they'll say, "Yeah." I'm like, "Let's take it away for three days and see what happens." And it usually shifts.

So, that frenulum, the tongue tie thing, I think it's over diagnosed. And, often, it's a technique thing and it's a lot of other factors, you know. And an emotional, energetic rejection of breastfeeding can affect the woman's desire and pain threshold as well.

Luke Storey: [00:24:49] Right. I imagine it's something that one would have to really surrender into, because it's just you're living your best life. You're not used to that sort of activity. You get pregnant, you give birth and then, all of a sudden, you're now a milk machine.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:25:05] Totally, 24/7.

Luke Storey: [00:25:06] It's got to be a huge change. I mean, just, again, observing the new moms that I know here. I mean, I was at a gathering a couple of days ago for a baby blessing, actually. And I were there three hours and the baby had just turned one. My friend, Devona is her baby. And, I'll bear, Devona, shoutout to my homies there. And I mean, I wasn't paying that much attention, but there were numerous times that I looked up and she was breastfeeding her baby nature. And in that short period of time, I was like, "Oh, this is a thing." This is ongoing.

It isn't like when you feed your dogs. Like, twice a day, I feed Cookie in between a couple of treats, but she's not coming to me continually multiple times in a three hour span of like, "Hey, feed me."

Eyla Cuenca: [00:25:52] Totally. It's breastfeeding on demand. And most of those feedings are not for the milk, they're for touchstone. They're for the baby to access a touchstone for them to regulate their nervous system and for them to just bond with the baby. I mean, how many times do you reach over to your partner and you just want to, like, rub her hand?

Luke Storey: [00:26:09] Constantly.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:26:10] You just want to hug her, you just want to look in her eyes, sometimes you just want to kiss, right? That's what they do when they're breastfeeding. It's just a mode of connection and communication. And so, yeah, they breastfeed.

Luke Storey: [00:26:21] When you talked about sort of the practice of it in some women, are they getting it like ergonomically wrong to make it painful?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:26:27] Yeah. Sometimes they'll just kind of put the baby there and so the baby just gets the end of the nipple. Whereas, the baby's mouth needs to open wide, the head should come back so that the jaw opens. The breast should be sandwiched, and it should really be put like the areola should really go deep into the mouth. And that's why women have so much pain, or cracked nipples, or it feels really sore. Every time the baby latches, they wince. And that's not normal. So, most women give up because they're like, "Fuck this."

Luke Storey: [00:26:58] Yeah, I bet.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:26:59] "Oh, my God. I've never felt anything more painful." And I understand.

Luke Storey: [00:27:03] I'm repeatedly reminded how blessed I am to be a guy in so many ways. Just the things women, especially mothers, go through, I'm like, "God bless my mom." And then, you become, in some cases like mine, you make it through childhood and then you become a wild ass teenager. There's a whole other set of responsibilities that come with that.

How important is skin to skin contact? You know, you mentioned you're not into strollers. You want the mother carrying the baby. A friend of mine in L.A. - I forget the name of the brand but I'll try to find it for the show notes - he created this kind of baby harness that is skin on skin. There's no fabric in between. How much of a difference does that make?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:27:46] And I think that's great. I mean, what happens is the chemical skin imprinting where the hormones are exchanged between the mother and the baby, and the baby and the father. So, I always like to say, the mother can breastfeed, do her thing. And then, the father can take the baby and the carrier and go on a walk for 20 minutes. And that's the way that everyone gets that bonding.

Partners really don't play a role in breastfeeding. There is nothing for men to do when it comes to breastfeeding except create the container, food, shelter, and safety. It's really all they're supposed to be providing when it comes to breastfeeding.

Luke Storey: [00:28:20] Go get them, girl. Hang in there.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:28:23] Exactly.

Luke Storey: [00:28:24] Let me know if you need me.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:28:25] And with that support and that ease and that surrender, she will be able to do what she needs to do. And it will become second nature and she'll be able to walk and breastfeed in a few weeks. She'll be able to have the baby in the carrier and walk. She'll be able to go wherever, out, walk around downtown and breastfeed. And it's not a thing, you know. So, there has to be this initiation process and it has to be supported so that she can get to that place of confidence, and ease, and be breastfeeding a one year old at a party like it's no thing.

Luke Storey: [00:28:56] Because of our aversion and sort of puritanical relationship to nudity and body parts and things, do women typically go through difficulty in the privacy of breastfeeding? Like in my squad of people, I mean, there's just titties out everywhere. People are breastfeeding. You don't even give it a second glance. But I imagine some women are more less comfortable with that.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:29:23] Totally. And that really has to do a lot with the partner as well, like their comfort level. I mean even in my classes I'll say, "If you're at lunch, don't go hide in your hot car to breastfeed. Just breastfeed." Like, what is going to be the easiest for you and that's what you should do and they're in public, you know. So, I think it has a lot to do with the partner as well. You know, and if the woman does want to cover up or use something, she can, she should, whatever it is.

But feeling that you need to hide to care for other people at a café or care for other people or caretake, we have to get away from that. Because then, you're sacrificing your own comfort, your baby's well-being, so that other people around you are not uncomfortable. So, there's a little bit of inner reflection that has to happen there.

Luke Storey: [00:30:15] How common is it for women to have difficulty producing adequate quantities of milk?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:30:22] It depends on the type of birth they had. The level of trauma during the birth. Whether or not they received medication can affect that as well. How long were they separated from the baby after the birth, if they're at a hospital, for example. And then, are they co-sleeping or not co-sleeping. So, if the baby is sleeping with you in the room after the birth, you're having more skin to skin contact, more chemical skin imprinting, your body is going to produce more. 

What's the woman's stress level? What's her relationship like with her partner? Is her cortisol through the roof or is it at a good level that's going to affect her supply? Is she trying to lose too much weight after the birth too quickly? Some people kind of go back into whatever diets people go into their diets. And I believe there is a really specific diet that supports your milk supply. And so, sometimes losing too much body fat will affect that.

So, there are so many factors and it's tricky because so many things that seem like they're healthy and normal and part of how women should be are really not congruent with what supports your milk supply and a healthy postpartum state of mind.

Luke Storey: [00:31:35] What are some of the dietary recommendations you have to ensure that there's plenty of milk?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:31:41] High level of protein, animal protein, roughly 80 grams a day. And high fat, animal fat.

Luke Storey: [00:31:49] Wow. I found out a few years ago that I was not breastfed, and it was, like, very disappointing. I don't blame my mom. I mean, you know, it was 1970, and they told her you didn't have to, just give him formula. And that was easier and more comfortable for her. So, that was what it is.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:32:08] Totally. She was in alignment.

Luke Storey: [00:32:10] I turned out okay. Although, sometimes I do wonder, "I might have been a little smarter."

Eyla Cuenca: [00:32:17] I think that, too, when I think about what happened to me after my birth. I'm like, "I have potential."

Luke Storey: [00:32:22] Yeah. Right. But I have looked into baby formula for friends. I did have one friend back in L.A. that just didn't produce any milk. And so, they're like, "Luke, what's a good formula?" And I did some research on it, and I was shocked to find that even a couple of years ago - I mean, this was horrific stuff - it's soybean oil and just gnarly, gnarly stuff. Are there any alternatives to natural breastmilk that are viable at this point?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:32:51] Well, this is one hierarchy that one could consider is, obviously, breastmilk being at the top feeding on demand. And then, breastmilk from a bottle that's your own. And then, donor breastmilk from another woman. And then, raw goat's milk. And then, you could do homemade formulas, like from Dr. Weston Price. You know, that's a mixture of bone broth, and raw goat's milk, and a few other things. And then, you could go into commercial grade formula. They make goat or sheep formulas that come from Germany, and things like that, that have very little additives.

Luke Storey: [00:33:27] Right. Not made with a bunch of GMO seed oils.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:33:30] Oh, my God. It's criminal.

Luke Storey: [00:33:32] Thank you for that hierarchy, though. That's good. That's something good to put in the show notes. And I'll just add for this conversation for parents that have already given birth and they hear some of the things we're going to get into, don't feel ashamed. I mean, we're all figuring this out as we go. And, also, if anyone wants to do things differently, like, go nuts. I'm just into exploring experts in the fields of the optimal human experience, being as healthy and happy and fulfilled as is possible.

But perfectionism, you know, as I'm sure you've discovered in your work, perfectionism can also turn into a neurosis, where now you're worse off than if you just lived your best life. I think I came to this with food some time ago. Like, boomeranging back from different diet fads and stuff. And, eventually, just like, "God." The neurosis of being so orthorexic or borderline orthorexic is probably worse for someone than just living your best life and doing the best you can.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:34:32] Well, how can we know the framework? How can we dance and play within the framework if we just never learned the framework? Like, some of my clients will say, "I feel guilty because now my partner is taking the baby at night so I can get more sleep. And it's not sleeping with me constantly." And I'm like, "Why is that bad?" "Well, because, remember, one time we had a conversation, you said that she should be with me all night." And I'm like, "No. I told you that this would be optimal. But you need to sleep. But this would be optimal." And then, within that framework, what works for you?

And you can plan and you can decide before the birth how this is going to be. But once the baby is there and you meet them, you then know what you both need. But if I just tell you like, "Yeah. Put the baby in a crib in another room, it's all good." You're not even going to know what's possible beyond that. So, I give you kind of the full spectrum. And then, within that, you make an informed choice that is aligned with your innermost desire and needs.

Luke Storey: [00:35:30] I like that. A gradient.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:35:31] It's a gradient. But I have to give the extremes so that a gradient can be explored. But if I just say like, "Whatever feels right at the time," what are the options of what could feel right at the time? Like, "Yeah. I don't know."

Luke Storey: [00:35:46] Another thing, I'm a huge EMF safety advocate. And one of the worst things that takes place in baby's lives are baby monitors. They produce so much radiation, so much RF, and people put their baby monitor. And, again, no shame to the parents that do that. But, hey, get an EMF meter and test that monitor. Now, they make some wired ones and stuff, which I think I even have one of those on my site. But, yeah, there's just so many things. Again, take something like an EMF producing baby monitor.

If that's the only thing you can do, it's maybe better than your baby jumping out of the crib or choking or whatever happens to babies when they're left alone. But even just moving it across the room by ten feet exponentially lessens the amount of radiation that that kids getting exposed to.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:36:35] And so many women are breastfeeding or holding their babies or the baby's napping and their cell phones are there, the computers, I mean, there's so much around them. And that's also why I say babywear, or have your baby next to you when it naps.

Or some people get blackout curtains for the nursery, they have a crib, they have the cameras, and there's babies in a chamber. And I'm like, if you want this baby to integrate, run the vacuum when it's sleeping. Let the dog bark. Do not desensitize. Let it be light when it sleeps. And that's how they start getting on a natural rhythm with you and sleep. And you don't have to sleep train them. 

If you just integrate them into your routine, then you'll get that natural rhythm you're looking for rather than having to hire a specialist to sleep train.

Luke Storey: [00:37:20] People do that?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:37:20] Oh. yeah. There's a whole market there. And these baby monitors, like if your baby is in the sling with you or it's napping next to you while you're doing your things, you don't need to have those cameras. And if it sleeps with you, you don't need to have those cameras.

Luke Storey: [00:37:37] Right. You just have a camera on yourself.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:37:39] It's just you. And then, your maternal instinct is getting fine tuned every single moment. And you become that. You can start to hear. I mean, this is wild. This has been the account of so many women, myself included, where I've been in another location, like geolocation, for my child. And my milk will have started to come down. I'll feel what's called the letdown. It's like this warm tingle that starts here, and then milk begins to release.

And, like, my mom will text me and say, "Your daughter is crying for you." You know, I've been at births, and I still going to births very often, and still breastfeeding, and she'd be like, "Should I drive over to the hospital and you can breastfeed?" And I'm like, "Yeah. Bring her over." You know, I would feel it.

And so, other women talk about that too. So, you have that built-in, like, radar. But there's a whole industry that thinks we need to be dependent on these apparatus.

Luke Storey: [00:38:34] I bet that radar is super strong to just think about the very common phenomenon. Think of your friend, ding, they text you. I mean, you're not even in someone's field remotely as close as you would be with your own offspring. I mean, I imagine that being the case.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:38:50] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:38:50] The interconnectivity of the ethers.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:38:55] Yes.

Luke Storey: [00:38:56] So, you have a kid?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:38:57] I do.

Luke Storey: [00:38:57] You have one daughter?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:38:58] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:38:59] Oh, wow. Were you already a duola by the time you gave birth to her?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:39:02] I was photographing births and I had just done my doula training.

Luke Storey: [00:39:06] And did you have, like, a badass doula that assisted you with your birth?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:39:10] Yes. Her father.

[00:39:12] Oh, really?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:39:13] He did the Bradley training. And so, we didn't have a doula. We just had a midwife and him, so it's the three of us. And, yeah, he was badass. He really rocked it.

I was nine days after my due date and my midwife said, "All right. You got to start getting things going because State of Florida, if by day ten you haven't gone into labor, we have to transfer you to a hospital." And I was like, "No way. No way." So, I did all the natural induction techniques I could think of and then finally started my own labor at home. And then, yeah, it was a pretty slow Friday night. I let him sleep. I always let him sleep. Like, you do your thing until you really absolutely need them because they're the best when they're well-rested. So, I let him sleep.

Luke Storey: [00:40:06] I can attest to that.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:40:06] Totally. Yeah. I was like, "I need him for game time. Right now, I'm good." And so, all through Saturday, you know, we went out walking, we went swimming, we did all kinds of things. And I was contracting, like, every ten minutes for most of the day. And then, Sunday afternoon she was born.

Luke Storey: [00:40:23] At home.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:40:24] At home, yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:40:24] And when you had your baby at home, and I guess maybe you could kind of give us what your hierarchy in terms of the most optimal home setting would be in terms of, like, is it in one of these little tubs, in water, or in a bed, or it doesn't matter?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:40:41] Oh. No. It doesn't matter. You just need running water.

Luke Storey: [00:40:47] What do you need the running water for?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:40:48] You know, just washing things.

Luke Storey: [00:40:50] Okay.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:40:51] Washing your hands if you need too.

Luke Storey: [00:40:52] I realized how clueless I am.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:40:54] So, that's the only thing the midwife will check. She'll do a home visit and be like, "Do you have running water? Okay. We're good. We can do the homebirth here." I mean, I had a tub and I was in it for a while. You know, the warm water really takes the edge off of the contractions and the discomfort. And you become buoyant and you take pressure off the joints. And you can move and float.

But you hit a certain point at the end of first stage labor. You know, once it starts to get really active and you're contracting every four minutes, the hormones start shifting. You're getting ready to transition. You're getting ready to go into the pushing phase of this process. And you start to go into deep surrender and you should.

And for me, personally, what I see with my clients and my students is that you want to start grounding and anchoring. And in the water, I was like, "This is really not grounding." And we had a raised elevation in our home, and so there was space underneath the foundation anyway, so I just felt too high to really ground.

So, I started crawling around, much like a little dog or a cat would, and just trying to find where I felt the most secure and grounded. And it was in my bed burrowed with, like, 10,000 pillows and a down comforter and darkness.

Luke Storey: [00:42:05] Oh, wow.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:42:06] But I had this idea, like, I'll birth in the water. And it'll be like those Russian films that I've watched a women birthing in tide pools. And I was like, "I got to get out of here. I don't feel safe."

Luke Storey: [00:42:18] Interesting. And you mentioned pushing, and I've heard some kind of homebirth advocates and I guess doulas, essentially, talk about you shouldn't have to push. Like, that's a medical birth thing. What's the deal with assisting by contracting and pushing versus relaxing and surrendering into the allowance?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:42:36] So, typically, women are medicated on an epidural, 99 percent of women who birth in hospitals are on an epidural.

Luke Storey: [00:42:44] Which is essentially a painkiller?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:42:45] Yeah. So, it numbs you from, basically, the belly button down. There's a flexible needle called a Tuohy needle that is threaded into the dural space of the spine. And you're on a drip of lidocaine and fentanyl. And so, women don't feel -

Luke Storey: [00:43:04] That already does not sound like a good idea. I'm sorry.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:43:08] Yeah. I know.

Luke Storey: [00:43:10] Okay. Go on.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:43:10] And so, some women say, like, "I could still feel enough. I had a very low drip. I still knew when it was time to push." But for the most part, women don't. That's if the epidural works properly. Some women only get numb on one side and they can still feel the other side. And some epidurals don't work for certain women. And so, if it's working as it should, the woman is not supposed to feel anything. And she is instructed on when to push because she doesn't know when to. And so, now, it's just kind of the protocol and it's just the way things are done. And that's what we see in films like, "Go, go, go. Push."

And with an unmedicated birth, you start to feel the sensation after you go through transition. Transition is a very short shifting of gears of the control center. All the hormones shift and the woman starts to feel expulsive contractions similar to a bowel movement. There's a lot of pressure on the rectum from the baby's head because the baby is low. So, her breathing will change. Instead of doing this long, rhythmic, more yogic breathing, she goes into this baring down. Much like next time you're on the toilet, just notice your breathing, that's really the same.

So, she'll start to bear down. She'll start to hold her breath. And she'll start to say, like, "I feel pressure." The midwife will just say, "Okay. Release. Just follow your breath, whatever you need to do." And so, the woman will naturally feel into that and guide her baby out in whatever way she needs to.

So, this idea of coached pushing, you know, some of my clients say, like, "If you see me struggling or if I'm not doing it right, just tell me what to do." And we're like, "Okay. We will." And then, they're fine. You know, they don't need much.

Luke Storey: [00:44:52] And what about the position of a woman giving birth? I've also heard something about, you know, that it's unnatural for a woman to be on her back with her legs spread, that that's kind of come out of the industrial medical complex. But that women in nature, a natural woman is going to squat or be in her hands and knees. There's other ways.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:45:13] Yeah. I like to teach about all the possible positions, like learn them all, imagine yourself in all of them, and then kind of throw it out, and follow your body in labor, and that's it. And be in a setting, in an environment - because you asked about environment - so just be in an environment where you have the freedom to go into any type of position you want to go into.

And if you have a birth attendant, if it's a midwife, she might say, "Try this," like, your baby's posterior, meaning your baby's facing this way, what we call sunny side up. So, it might be good for you to try hands and knees. So, sometimes we'll make suggestions if we know certain things that are anatomically specific for that woman.

However, lying on your back is from the knock them out, drag them out era. Knock the mother out and drag the baby out. You know, where she's typically on nitrous. She's on her back, and the the doctor, the OB, can give her an episiotomy, get the forceps in, take the baby out, and do what they need to do. So, that's just how we're used to doing things in the hospital.

That position of lying on the back, it's called McRoberts, and that can be really helpful if the baby's head is caught on the pubic bone. And so, to help the baby drop down and out, we'll put the woman on her back. Sometimes we'll put something really hard and flat under her back to really assist, and it's so uncomfortable for her, but we'll kind of unhook the pubic bone and then she can go into her squat and do her thing, whatever she needs to do.

Luke Storey: [00:46:38] Interesting. And how do you determine what position the baby's in? You know, that's something I always find fascinating. It's like, "Oh. We had to do this or that because the baby was upside down." Or, you know, something was wrong just in the way that they were situated in the birth canal.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:46:54] Yeah. So, you can feel from the outside through palpating. You can observe the woman, you know, what position is she spending most of her labor in. Like, is she mostly on hands and knees because everything else doesn't feel good? That baby might be posterior. If she wants, the midwife can do a vaginal exam just to feel the baby's head and see where things are positioned.

Luke Storey: [00:47:14] Oh, really? They can go in there and just be like, "Hey."

Eyla Cuenca: [00:47:16] Yeah. In a hospital, they'll do them, like, every 45 minutes just to see how much a woman is dilated, which is not necessary. However, in a homebirth setting or birth center, whatever it is, the midwife can can say, "Hey, you've been pushing for a while, we're not making too much progress. Would you like me to check and see?" Maybe the cervix is still kind of on the baby's head, what we call a cervical lip. 

So, the midwife might feel in there and say, "Oh, yeah. There is a cervical lip." Meaning that, one side of the cervix is all the way down and they're still a little stuck here. So then, we'll have the woman bring up her left leg, you know, and try pushing with her left leg to see if she can get that lip up.

And so, you know, it can be really collaborative and not forced or invasive. So, that's one of the beautiful things about having a midwife that you love and trust to guide you and to hold space for you. And, of course, you can do freebirth without an attendant, and that's a whole other world.

Luke Storey: [00:48:16] So, the different options would be just full normalized Western medical birth. I'm just going to run through this and tell me where I don't have it right. Then, there would be a hospital birth, where perhaps you have a midwife and/or a doula present at the hospital. Then, there would be a homebirth, where you have either or both a midwife and a doula. When we're defining freebirth or wild birth, is that where it's just the woman and her partner and whoever else she feels like having there? But there isn't a "professional" birthing assistant there? Do I have that framework right?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:48:55] Right. Yeah. And there are some women who are birth keepers, where they've done different types of trainings to assist with the process, but they don't consider themselves to be medical providers. And so, that might be someone who's out of freebirth. Or a woman might just be like, I'm here with my partner alone or I'm alone, and my body is just going to do what my body does.

Luke Storey: [00:49:20] Wow. Oh, my God. It shows me how indoctrinated we are, because even being a man, when I think about, like, a wild birth, I immediately go like, "It's going to go wrong. The woman is going to die. You can't go this way." I'm thinking about just animals and humans kind of in the wild. I mean, yeah, things I guess did and do go wrong.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:49:42] Yeah. In any setting.

Luke Storey: [00:49:43] Right. But we've also been doing that for freaking ever.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:49:48] Since the beginning.

Luke Storey: [00:49:49] Right. And I don't know, I was watching a video a couple of weeks ago, I think it was an elephant giving birth. And it was so interesting, I don't know if they were all females, maybe they were, but they kind of like encircled the pregnant elephant and then, boom, the elephant just comes out, hits the ground, and they all just kind of stay in this protective circle. And then, after one or two minutes, the baby elephant gets up and just starts cruising.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:50:18] Yeah. They all start trumpeting, too.

Luke Storey: [00:50:21] Oh, okay. I don't remember that part. But I just thought, "Wow. That's so fascinating." Like, they just make it look so easy and you think, "Oh, no. It's going to get hurt when it hits the ground or they're going to accidentally stomp it."

Eyla Cuenca: [00:50:30] You know, all of these mammals when they're born, they're at that stage where they could walk. And they'll breastfeed for a few months, sometimes depending. Like cats, it's six weeks. Gorillas, it's like five years. So, they're all at different stages. But they can walk and kind of fend for themselves spatially. Whereas, a human infant is not at that stage until it's around nine months old.

Luke Storey: [00:50:58] Okay. So, you can't just drop your baby on the ground and let it go?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:51:00] No. I wouldn't recommend it. But it's okay if it happens.

Luke Storey: [00:51:04] And what's the general difference between a doula and a midwife, for for people listening that aren't that familiar with some of the terminology?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:51:12] Yeah. The training is totally different. I mean, a midwife is a medical professional that can offer prenatal support. They attend the birth. They can offer different types of medical support, like Pitocin or antibiotics.

Luke Storey: [00:51:29] Can they do that at a homebirth as well, like a licensed midwife?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:51:33] Mm-hmm. Each state is so different. Some states don't allow midwives to even carry Pitocin. It's just they make it really difficult. But Pitocin can be helpful in postpartum hemorrhage, so why not give that to a midwife? But that's a whole other conversation.

Luke Storey: [00:51:47] What is postpartum hemorrhage?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:51:49] Just when the mother will continue to bleed at the wound site where the placenta detached, and the placenta and the uterus is not contracting back as quickly, and the wound side is still very open, she may continue to lose some more blood. And so, traditionally, a woman would just take a piece of the placenta and swallow it to contract the uterus.

Luke Storey: [00:52:09] Really?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:52:10] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:52:11] Is that because the placenta has some magical cocktail of hormones in it?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:52:14] It has some magical cocktail and it'll stop the bleeding. Or take a piece of the umbilical cord, swallow it or keep it in the mouth. There's a great book called The Placenta, the Hidden Chakra, and it talks all about these traditional practices. However, in the modern world, we have Pitocin, which typically is what a midwife might inject into your leg if she notices there's an excessive amount of bleeding happening and usually does the trick.

So, a doula is not a medical professional. I mean, doulas do not treat or diagnose anything. They should not be doing vaginal exams. They should not be taking blood pressure. Or saying your baby's breeched. They shouldn't do any of that. That's not within the scope of practice. I mean, they can, but they have to have a good contract to make sure that there's no liability there. But that's really not the training that doulas get.

Luke Storey: [00:53:07] Got it. Okay. And you mentioned Pitocin, and I remember when I interviewed Jeanice Barcelo - I mean, that was a hardcore interview. The stuff she was sharing was like -

Eyla Cuenca: [00:53:19] Far our. I listened to it.

Luke Storey: [00:53:20] You did? It was terrifying. I mean, I'm just like, "Oh, my God." So then, I had to work through this whole thing of rather than focusing my energy on being afraid of having a medical birth, of just leaning into the prospect and the vision of having a beautifully uncomplicated homebirth when the time comes.

But when she talked about Pitocin, I remember correctly, she was very anti-Pitocin because of its tendency to interrupt the bonding between a mother and the newborn. Because it, essentially, shunts the oxytocin response and relationship between them. Do you know anything about some of the downside of Pitocin? Would you agree with that or don't?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:54:00] Yeah. So that everyone knows, Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, which we naturally produce, which is what we call the love hormone. It's released during orgasm. It's released when we kiss. It's released when we hug for longer than ten seconds. It's released at birth and when we breastfeed. And so, when we're given Pitocin in the labor process, then the body's like, "Oh, I don't have to produce my own oxytocin." So, it does interrupt a very natural, essential process for the mother's labor to unfold.

And then, of course, I've noticed this, that most women who receive Pitocin to maybe induce their labor or to give their contractions more oomph, end up having postpartum hemorrhage after the birth, and then more Pitocin is given to them.

Luke Storey: [00:54:42] As such as the pharmaceutical industrial complex. It's like create a problem and you have a solution for it. It's usually not the same thing, though, that's interesting. Wow.

And then, what's your perspective on ultrasounds? It seems like women are very attached to this practice. And being an EMF guy, ultrasounds don't seem like a good idea at all. I mean, it's basically like a little radar dish that you're putting on your abdomen and it creates a sound that is extremely loud to that little growing baby.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:55:18] Yeah. Yeah. And people always say, "Oh, the baby's being difficult. It turns away every time we get close." Like, I've heard people say, "She's a diva. She turns away whenever we get the probe near her." And I'm like, "It's because it sounds like cats and nails on a chalkboard, you know, that's what they're experiencing."

Jim West has a great compilation of studies that were done in China, ultrasound studies done on humans. We don't have them here in the States. And so, I really recommend people look into that.

Luke Storey: [00:55:49] Cool. We'll put that in the show notes.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:55:51] Yeah, for sure. The studies we have here are done on lesser mammals and mice and things like that. But what we found is that, when the pregnant mice are exposed to ultrasound wave technology, that the fetuses, their brains don't form in the same way. And what ends up happening are a variety of cephalic disorders and cognitive dysfunction.

And some people will say, "Well, my child was never vaccinated. And I did all the right things. And I ate all the right things. And I took all the stuff. And I had the homebirth. And still really high on the spectrum of autism." And so, Jim West alludes to ultrasound really being the main culprit for this epidemic.

Luke Storey: [00:56:34] Interesting. Wow. I didn't even know that part. And what would be some of the risks or potential risks of not ever doing one ultrasound and just winging it?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:56:46] So, you asked about this attachment to this process, and when we become pregnant, we're just so conditioned, unfortunately, to believe that now there's something pathological going on and that we have to make sure everything's okay. Like, "Is the baby okay? Am I okay? You know, get the blood work. I have to go see a doctor, like, that's who's going to tell me what's up."

And then, when you go to get that ultrasound, they'll just schedule you for more and they'll say, "Did you know your uterus is tilted this way or that way? You have a history of fibroids. We're going to need to do more ultrasounds and really keep an eye on this." So, now, you're in this field that something could potentially go wrong. And it feels responsible to constantly look at the baby throughout the pregnancy to make sure that everything is okay.

And I've had clients in the past, you know, an ultrasound is done and then they find something, and they're like, "We're monitoring it." And then, the baby is born and that thing is not there. So, what has happened is that there's just been this field of anxiety created throughout the pregnancy which affected the mother, the baby, the entire family constellation is now affected by this anxiety around this potential issue that ended up not even existing. 

So, ultrasound can create an issue when there is no issue. And, also, I always ask people like, "If you find something in that ultrasound, do you have to really ask yourself, would you terminate the pregnancy over that information?"

Luke Storey: [00:58:13] Oh, shit.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:58:14] You know? If not, then why would you do it?

Luke Storey: [00:58:18] Right.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:58:19] Because there are risks associated with ultrasound.

Luke Storey: [00:58:22] So, if that ultrasound discovered a defect, for example.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:58:28] Yeah. Like Down Syndrome.

Luke Storey: [00:58:29] Okay. So, they can determine that?

Eyla Cuenca: [00:58:32] Mm-hm.

Luke Storey: [00:58:32] Okay. So, at whatever stage, you're four months pregnant and you get an ultrasound and they're like, "Hey, we think your baby's going to have Down syndrome, you have to be prepared to be willing to get an abortion at that point or else you're having the baby." So, that's a really good question. If there are risks associated with ultrasounds, what you're going to find out is that you're going to terminate that baby. If you're not, then -

Eyla Cuenca: [00:59:00] Which, some people say, "Well, I want to know because if that's the case then I want to prepare," maybe financially prepare for that, right?

Luke Storey: [00:59:09] That's a little more humane.

Eyla Cuenca: [00:59:10] Or rearrange things. Or, "I wouldn't do that. We're not equipped for that," if they're being honest with themselves. You know, maybe that's their choice, whatever it is. So, this is just an invitation to ask yourself, what are your intentions behind doing this invasive procedure that has negative side effects for the fetus and for you potentially? Psychologically and emotionally, this could have really negative effects. So, why are you doing it?

And some people are like, "I want to see the baby." You know, this is how they connect with the baby. So, there are other methods of connecting with the fetus, through meditation, through conversation, through journaling. There are other ways you can connect with your fetus. It's not through exposing them to ultrasound wave technology. So, just understanding your motives for these invasive procedures is really what this is about.

Luke Storey: [00:59:58] That's interesting. Yeah, I'm thinking about Allison. Like, you know, she's a shaman and she's tuning into these other worlds all the time. But it happened this morning, you know? And I was like, "Oh, wow. I have to take plant medicine," you know, I think at least, so far to go to those places. And then, yeah, I'm there.

But thinking about her specifically, I mean, I feel like if she was pregnant, she would be totally tuned in to this baby inside her, and have this working ongoing relationship with it, and probably not have to have something on a T.V. screen that's like, "Oh, there it is."

Eyla Cuenca: [01:00:30] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, this is available to all women.

Luke Storey: [01:00:35] Yeah. That's really interesting. I think it seems that a lot of women elect to have ultrasounds to find out the sex, the gender?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:00:46] You could do that through bloodwork, too. It depends on your flavor of invasion.

Luke Storey: [01:00:52] Got it. Well, I think this topic in general, you know, the Pitocin and the epidural, all of these kind of touch points of a medicalized birth - and maybe just because I've covered it in other shows - just zooming out, I think many of us are just largely indoctrinated into perceiving pregnancy as an illness itself.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:01:13] Right. Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:01:14] It's like if you think about it - and, again, correct me if I'm wrong - a woman whose body is able to get pregnant is probably the healthiest it could possibly be, because if she wasn't, nature wouldn't let her get pregnant. To me, when I see a pregnant woman, I'm like, that's a healthy ass woman. Just vibrant and full of energy and hormones and just vibrating with life force.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:01:42] Yeah. So radiant.

Luke Storey: [01:01:43] It's the opposite of being sick. Yet we think, "Oh, I'm pregnant. Okay. We got to book this appointment and start getting checked out, and ultrasounds, and blood test, and start preparing for the worst." It's kind of like we have this -

Eyla Cuenca: [01:01:55] I mean, everything is structured around this cash cow, which is a newly pregnant woman. And this is the segue. This is the gateway to pharma's entire track. You know, it starts at conception. So, if the woman is locked in that way from the beginning -

Luke Storey: [01:02:11] It's two new customers, the mom and their baby.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:02:14] It's two new customers, totally. Maybe three, depending on if you want to include the partner.

Luke Storey: [01:02:20] I guess, if women are seeking you out, they're probably existing to some degree outside of that paradigm. But how do you help women or couples see that they have everything they need, that creation or God has provided them with the tools and resources within themselves to procreate successfully.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:02:41] It's a layered process. So, it usually begins with dispelling fears around the pregnancy, the birth, even early parenting, for both the woman and her partner. So, it's dispelling myths. And then, it goes into how normal, natural, physiological birth works. And then, it goes into understanding medications and understanding the system without vilifying it to the point that people shut down. There's a fine line.

Because I get approached by the most conventionally oriented people to the most out there in terms of alternative approaches. And both are right. There is no right and wrong. Both are right, because it comes from their own personal choice. But it's this kind of delicate dance of making sure that it remains accessible and it is not an opinion. You know, these things are very real. And it's evidence-based.

So then, once we go through that layer, then it's about having them join together. The masculine, whoever is holding the space for them, sometimes it's the woman's mother. If she's birthing alone, if she's done IUI or IVF, and this is her solo choice and her mother is her birth partner, her mother will be the one, or her sister, her best friend, or her doula that's the one holding the masculine space for her. Or it's the husband, whatever it is.

And then, it goes into that polarity and understanding how that container is created, and how do you want it to look, and how much are you willing to protect her, and how much are you willing to create a structure for her to surrender. So, it's many, many layers of getting them to see that there are so many options. And it all comes down to whatever is in alignment with their deepest desires and their deepest needs around this rite of passage.

Luke Storey: [01:04:39] I think that's a really open-minded and healthy perspective. So, I mean, I don't like to think of myself as anti anything, just pro what I want. I don't always successfully achieve that perspective. But I've been working through myself of just, like they say, worry is praying for what you don't want. And thinking about having a kid, I'm just terrified of hospitals and doctors and the whole thing. I don't want any part of it. But I find myself giving energy to that. Like, being against that.

And one could say from a metaphysical point of view that I'm more likely to manifest that experience by focusing on that. Instead of just like, "Cool. That's there. Let people that feel comfortable with that and do that." We're just leaning into an experience that is more ideal.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:05:29] Yeah. Like, anyone who says I don't want this or I do want this, I want them to be fully researched as to why they don't want it. Like, there has to be conviction for a homebirth or a hospital birth, whichever direction you're going. And once you understand and are very clear and united with your partner on why that is, then you just completely act like it does not exist and you just focus on this.

So, in my classes we learn about all about hospital birth and all about homebirth. And, naturally, people gravitate towards non-hospital birth. And I really don't focus on birth centers because that's a whole other conversation. For me, it's either homebirth or hospital birth.

But people naturally gravitate towards a homebirth because of what they learn. And when they tap into their deepest desires and their needs, they see that every other decision about this process has been fear-based and a reaction. And going to the hospital is a reaction because they believe that that's where they're going to be the safest. And once they learn that that's actually where they're not the safest, where they're actually in the most danger, they refocus.

Luke Storey: [01:06:39] Well said. That's great. That's very cool. Well, while we're on that topic of the way that I would want to do it, so ultrasounds, Pitocin, epidurals, I want to cover basically what I'm trying to stammer into here, is, what are some of the other invasive procedures that are commonplace in a medicalized birth?

I've heard about, you know, clamping the umbilical cord or cutting it too soon. And the baby's not done getting all the stem cells and all the goodies in there. And, of course, C-sections and the inherent issues with that. Again, not to instill fear in people, but just perhaps to break us out of this mold that that's the only safe way to do it. And you're saying actually, statistically, scientifically, logically, it's perhaps the least safe way to do it. What are some of the other things that we want to be aware of with that route?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:07:39] Yeah. So, just to be clear, an intervention is anything that does not look like a woman going into labor, birthing her baby, putting it to the breast. So, as soon as you get a midwife, as soon as you get a doula, as soon as you get an OB, that's an intervention. As soon as you listen to the baby's heart tones, that's an intervention.

So, what I call the gateway drug is the IV. So, when you check into a hospital, for example, you'll get hooked up to an IV of saline solution dextrose. And this is supposed to keep you hydrated and your blood sugar regulated. And this is a practice from the knock them out, drag them out era, where women were not allowed to eat because they were on twilight. So, if you're under, undigested food could come up, you could aspirate, you could die. So, now, it's just, like, no one eats.

Luke Storey: [01:08:25] Oh, like when they have you fast for anesthesia.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:08:27] Yeah. Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:08:29] I never knew. Because we're taking Cookie in for surgery tomorrow, and I was thinking, "Why do they do that?" Now, I know.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:08:34] Yeah. Exactly. But, you know, the likelihood of a woman going under general anesthesia at a birth, it's just rare. It's very rare. So, I always encourage everyone to eat. You're in a marathon. Do not starve yourself.

But the thing with the IV is that now your vein is accessible and it's easy access for anything else. "Oh, you're uncomfortable. Here, let me give you a hit of this. A little bit of that. A little bit of this." So, that's the gateway drug is the IV. And what can happen is hypervolemia, women can actually drown. Women are assimilating that fluid differently, every woman. So, some women get edema. They get swelling of the legs instantly or the feet or the hands. And then, they have to take blood pressure medication throughout the labor because now their blood pressure is going up from the edema.

So, that's a very invasive procedure, but it seems totally innocent and responsible, because you're hydrating. So, that language is interesting hydration.

The other things that come up that are invasive are monitoring the baby's heart tones, listening to the baby obsessively to make sure that everything is okay. And sometimes that's intravaginally with this catheter and then an electrode that's actually screwed into the baby's scalp. It's called an internal fetal monitor.

Luke Storey: [01:09:53] What? That's some Matrix shit. God, humans are so weird.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:09:58] Super weird.

Luke Storey: [01:09:58] We're so weird. Okay. Sorry. Go on.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:10:02] Yeah. So, if they're not getting -

Luke Storey: [01:10:03] How are people cool with this, though? Honestly, I'm just going to, like, have a moment here.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:10:06] People just don't know. Like, I've been at doula births where the nurse comes in and she's like, "Honey, I'm not getting a good reading with the external monitor. So, do you mind if I put an internal monitor in?" And the mom's like, "Sure." And I'm texting the husband, "Meet me in the bathroom. I got to talk really quick." And I go in and I'm showing them photos of what an internal fetal monitor is. He's like, "What do you mean they're going to do that?" And I'm like, "Go out there now. Why are you guys not asking questions?"

And this is why I have a rule now that you have to have taken a class before working with me because I don't want to be doing that in the moment. And some doulas do that. They're like trying to wave magic wands in the moment with people who have no background on terminology. And it's difficult in a hospital setting.

Luke Storey: [01:10:49] I bet. Plus, you have the pressure. You're walking into a system that is already in perpetual motion to try and intervene when that's already steamrolling ahead. It's got to be very difficult.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:11:04] Well, yeah. I used to have to work so hard not to get kicked out of hospitals. So, I was, like, texting, winking. It's a whole thing because as soon as I -

Luke Storey: [01:11:12] If I cough three times -

Eyla Cuenca: [01:11:13] Yeah. Exactly. It's, like, knock twice or whatever. And so, he went in there and he was like, "We don't want to do the internal monitor." And she's like, "Why?" He's like, "It's dangerous. You're putting an electrode into the head of the baby." And she's like, "We don't do anything here that's going to hurt you." And it's like that language is the gaslighting, it's so crazy. And so, they declined it in that moment. And he was like, "Do your job. Listen to the baby's heart tones. If you need to use a stethoscope, old school, listen. But you're not putting that."

So, there are just so many procedures that are done, you know, just kind of coolly. I don't want to say slyly to the woman. And no one asks questions. And then, women find out later. I do birth trauma processing sessions with a lot of people who are like, "I found out later that they did X, Y, Z, and no one even asked me." And I'm like, "They did. They did. They said they were going to do it. And you weren't listening or you didn't have a conversation about it. Or you just trusted them that they were holding space for you," which you should trust whoever is holding space for you in that birth setting.

But, you know, "Legally, I'm sure they told you we're going to do an internal monitor and you're like, 'Okay.'" And then, you don't know what's going on. Sometimes there's a drape, you don't even see what's happening. So, that's another invasive procedure.

The vaginal exam is incredibly invasive, you know, doing them every hour, going in, and feeling the baby's head, the cervix, checking dilation, the IVs, all of it. And then, we go into newborn procedures. I don't know if that's something -

Luke Storey: [01:12:47] Yeah, please.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:12:49] So, yeah. So, as soon as the baby's out, what could be very invasive and damaging is using forceps or a vacuum to extract the baby. And this is often used when a woman can't push because she's on an epidural.

Luke Storey: [01:13:03] A vacuum?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:13:04] Yeah. It's like a little cap. It looks like a yarmulke with a tube. And they put it on the baby's head and they'll suction the baby out.

Luke Storey: [01:13:10] Oh, my God. What the fuck? Oh, my God. Okay. Carry on.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:13:13] It's like a sci-fi novel.

Luke Storey: [01:13:16] I just got to breathe through this.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:13:18] Oh, man. I'm just going down the Rolodex of the shit I've seen with the vacuums. But this is why -

Luke Storey: [01:13:30] Are baby skulls super malleable and soft?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:13:32] Super malleable.

Luke Storey: [01:13:33] It doesn't seem like you would want to attach something to it and pull on it with suction. That seems like a bad idea.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:13:38] And I experienced a fatality last year. My client's baby died from the vacuum. So, there is a dislocation. That can happen with the baby's head. So, yeah, it's very serious. So, that's why my people are like, "Are epidurals really that bad?" I'm like, "The amount of things that can happen by wanting to check out for a few hours, it's not worth it." And you can do this, but anyway.

So, the reason that vitamin K was designed, this blood coagulant was designed, was because so many babies were having these violent births with forceps, C-sections, vacuums. And they would experience internal bleeding and they would hemorrhage internally. So, they had to get these vitamin K shots immediately after the birth to coagulate the blood.

Luke Storey: [01:14:34] That's how they started? Wow. I always thought that was kind of cool. I'm like, "Yeah. Bone density. Awesome. Vitamin K2, love it."

Eyla Cuenca: [01:14:41] Right. Right. Yeah. No, it's just steaming. It's a blood coagulant with a lot of additives in it that, you know, have side effects. Like, fetal gasping syndrome is one side effect of the vitamin K shot, which the baby's lungs will actually cease and it can -

Luke Storey: [01:14:56] Because of the coagulation. All those blood vessels in the lungs gum up.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:15:00] Right. But that's why it became commonplace. And, you know, it's so subjective. Like, "What is a violent birth that could cause the baby to bleed internally?" "Let's just give all of the vitamin K and we'll be done with it." So, that's another procedure that gets done to the baby usually right after the birth.

Erythromycin eye ointment, antibiotic eye ointment, if the mother has gonorrhea or chlamydia positive, and the baby passes through the vaginal canal, it can pick up that bacteria and it can cause blindness in the baby's eyes. So, all it takes is for that to happen to one woman and one baby at some point in history, and then all hospitals just start doing it. You know, regardless of the woman's clean bill of health or whatever it is, they'll just automatically put it.

So, the thing in the hospital is they'll automatically do these things unless you decline. And, typically, at a homebirth they don't do anything unless you request it. So, that type of freedom and ease really helps the woman drop in to the experience, you know, when she's in a homebirth setting.

So, you know, I just recommend that people learn about all of these things. I mean, there are at least 12 invasive procedures that happen after the birth for the baby. Anything from aspirating the nasal passage, to vitamin K, to circumcision. And so, we have to go through what is creating a birth plan. People are like, "Oh, birth plans, I showed it to my doctor and he laughed." Or, "I took a birth plan and then nothing happened." And I'm like, "Well, did you really go in and learn what everything was?"

The purpose of the birth plan is just to get on the same page as your partner. Ultimately, it's not because someone's standing there at the hospital or your homebirth checking things off. It's because you two need to know what you want, and what you're walking into, and what the masculine is going to advocate for, and how they're going to hold space, and how they're going to protect, and how they're going to be a gatekeeper. That's really the purpose of this plan. So, that's why the education and pregnancy is so important for both of them.

Luke Storey: [01:16:58] Do you have, like, an online program or something?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:17:00] I do, yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:17:01] I'm going to take it.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:17:03] It's called Uncovering Birth.

Luke Storey: [01:17:04] And it's good for the male too?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:17:06] Yeah. Totally. It's equally -

Luke Storey: [01:17:08] Cool. I find this stuff just so fascinating. You know, I think because for so much of my earlier life, kids were not a plan at all. A quite strong aversion, actually, to be honest. And so, now, I feel like, "Oh, my God. I got all this catching up to do."

What about the the placenta you talked about and also the umbilical cord post-birth? Again, we're talking about ideal natural scenario and all of the things that are perhaps lower on the scale of ideal. What do we do with both of those and what are they?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:17:44] So, when the baby is born, usually, anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes after the baby is born, the placenta will be born. So, the placenta will come out and then it remains attached to the baby through the umbilical cord. And that placenta is still passing blood through the cord to the baby. So, you want that to stay attached and you want the baby to get all that blood back.

And what we see is that when babies get that cord clamped immediately - which was usually done in the knock them out, drag them out era so that the baby could do that gasp reflex and start breathing. It would initiate their breathing to cut off their oxygen supply because they're getting all their oxygen through the cord -then the baby is like, "Oh, shit. Got to breathe. Here we go."

Luke Storey: [01:18:26] Oh, my God. That's brutal. That's got to be so traumatic for the baby.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:18:30] Yeah. But you had to do that with medicated babies. And I say medicated babies because women are medicated. I mean, fentanyl gets to your baby. Everything in your epidural goes to your baby.

Luke Storey: [01:18:42] Wow. Yeah. It's not like your liver's filtering it out before it gets to the placenta.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:18:47] No. It's in the cerebral spinal fluid. So, it gets absorbed into the brain and then goes into the bloodstream. So, everything in your epidural -

Luke Storey: [01:18:52] So, a baby is born high on fentanyl?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:18:55] Totally. And then they're like, "I don't want to breastfeed. I don't want to -"

Luke Storey: [01:18:59] It's probably impossible to correlate this, but I wonder if that has any influence on a person's propensity toward opiate addiction?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:19:09] Yeah. There have been a lot of people who have really hypothesized that and have looked into it.

Luke Storey: [01:19:15] Interesting. Wow. You know, in an ideal, everything is going great. Homebirth or wild birth, how is the placenta and umbilical cord dealt with?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:19:27] Yeah. So, the baby's on the mom's chest, let's say, over the left breast, where the baby can hear the heart. The placentas is in a glass bowl, let's say.

Luke Storey: [01:19:35] What does it look like? Forgive me.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:19:37] The placenta? One side is the fetal side. It's the side that's been facing the baby. And it looks like this tree of life. And then, the other side, we call it the maternal side or the dirty dunking, because it's ugly, is the one that's been attached to the wall of the uterus. And so, yeah, it comes out and it's usually a sixth of the size of the baby. So, we'll see small ones, big ones. We see ones that are shaped like hearts. I've seen ones that look like an amoeba. I've seen ones that are just perfectly circular. You know, they all look so different.

And it's interesting how the mother's diet has actually - because I prepare placentas as well. And so, when I do placenta training, so I teach people how to do this. A women who want to do it after their birth.

Luke Storey: [01:20:19] Prepare them? I mean, like turn it into a supplement?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:20:21] Yeah. Turn it into a supplement. Freeze it for smoothie preparation postpartum. Turn it into a broth. Chop it up with onions and eat it. Turn it into a patty.

Luke Storey: [01:20:35] Really? Oh, my God. Is this an ancient practice? Like, a forgotten practice that was normal?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:20:40] Yeah. Yeah. So, that book, Placenta, The Forgotten Chakra, talks all about this. So, if people want to learn more, you can get through the book in two days.

Luke Storey: [01:20:48] We're all, like, taking goji berries. It's a superfood. Like, that sounds like a real superfood.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:20:51] Oh, my God. I know. It's amazing. So, yeah, the placenta is out, you know, it's beautiful. And I recommend leaving that attached as long as it feels comfortable for you, waiting at least until it stops pulsing and the baby gets all the blood back. And you can do what's called a half lotus birth, where you leave it attached for a few hours.

And then, when you feel energetically complete and you're ready for the baby to detach from its first mother, you decide how you're going to sever that bond. Is it going to be through cutting with metal scissors? Is it going to be through using a candle and burning it and cauterizing the ends? What's that going to look like?

And then, what are you going to do with the placenta? Are you going to consume it? Are you going to plant it in your garden with a new tree that's going to mark the growth of your baby? Like, what are the things that you would like to do? Are you going to donate it to someone who is educating people on this? I mean, there are so many options.

Luke Storey: [01:21:49] What do you call it, knock them out, pull it out?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:21:54] Knock them out, drag them out.

Luke Storey: [01:21:55] The knock them out, drag them out birth, is the umbilical cord and the placenta just kind of discarded as refuse in the biohazard bin?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:22:01] They say it goes into a biohazard bin. They call it birth waste. I have seen them go into the bins. I've also seen them get put into containers and taken away somewhere.

Luke Storey: [01:22:13] To make placental matrix to get injected into my hip.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:22:17] Exactly. Yeah. They get sent to Biogen X - what's that company called in Maryland? - where they produce stem cell therapy medications and technologies.

Luke Storey: [01:22:26] And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:22:28] No, not at all.

Luke Storey: [01:22:29] If a woman elects to, "Yeah. Here, it's all yours." And I remember I interviewed this guy, Matt Cooke, who did some surgery on me recently, and he was saying there are some pretty strict regulations in terms of a woman can't monetize the placenta or the hospital can't. There's some sort of regulations.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:22:50] Yeah. So, they get donated to these companies for research and basic stem cell therapy research, let's say. And then, maybe that company, like, donates something to the hospital. Like, "Oh, you need to redesign this new wing? You need new beds?" I don't know how that indirect sale could work.

Luke Storey: [01:23:10] There's not a direct, like, monetary transaction perhaps, but there is a synergistic, possibly, covert relationship.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:23:17] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:23:18] Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Okay.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:23:20] But most women learn this, then they make different decisions. And some say, "That's great. I would love for it to go to a stem cell therapy company."

Luke Storey: [01:23:27] Would the placenta in a homebirth scenario - again, everything's going great - like you said, you do preparations of the placenta, what's the most common practice that you find?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:23:41] Dehydrating the placenta, pulverizing it, and encapsulating it in a raw method. So, at 160 degrees for four hours and then at 115 degrees or 112 degrees for about 15 hours.

Luke Storey: [01:23:53] Wow. So, kind of like a desiccated liver or something, a desiccated organ, essentially.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:23:57] Yeah. Totally. That's the typical preparation for organ meat. And so, that's how I've applied it to the placenta. But what I've been encouraging people to do is to take it raw, part of it. So, keep a portion of it raw. And then, once that's over, you start taking the capsules. You can do tinctures with it where you steep it in grain alcohol for six weeks. And you create like a mother tincture, like a homeopathic from it.

I don't really recommend cold foods postpartum. You know, you've just created all this space in the body and there's a lot of wind, if you're looking at it through the Chinese medicine model and perspective. So, I don't really recommend a lot of cold foods. More warming, grounding, nourishing foods. But I think for the sake of consuming it raw, if a smoothie is the only way you can do it, then do that for a few days.

Luke Storey: [01:24:46] Wow. And what are some of the nutrients present in a placenta?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:24:51] All of the pregnancy hormones that you were producing are in the placenta. So, if you want to look at it as, like, a slow tapering off, because as soon as the baby's out, your body stops producing those hormones. And so, now, you're getting it kind of like on a slow drip after the birth. A lot of iron and stem cells.

Luke Storey: [01:25:09] Oh, interesting. Wow. So cool. This stuff is so fascinating to me. Thank you for sharing all of this. In post-COVID, our lives have changed so much and some -

Eyla Cuenca: [01:25:25] Wait. Post? It's over?

Luke Storey: [01:25:26] It is for me. It's been over since, I think, March 2020 for me. But, you know, society has changed. I've seen an increase in people, like, into home gardening, and homesteading, and prepping, and just general autonomy. Have you seen an increase in interest in doulas and alternative ways of birth?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:25:47] Yeah. Totally. I mean, since the beginning of the pandemic, I started getting a lot of contact from people. The tagline was like, "I'm contacting you because I would have never thought that I'd birth out of the hospital. But I need to explore this now. Like, what do I do?" So, it's always like, "Let's take a class. Just take a class. Start here educating yourself on this process."

And so, people have really shifted toward an alternative approach to their experience, and mostly because they learned that if the woman goes into labor, goes to the hospital, she does her rapid test and she tests positive, then her partner can't come in and then she's alone.

Luke Storey: [01:26:32] Oh, my God.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:26:33] So, being alone in that moment will go against every conviction she has or previously had about COVID, and that's powerful. And that's disorienting for a lot of people. But, hey, do you want to be alone during this process in the lion's den?

Luke Storey: [01:26:57] Damn girl. You did mention that one baby didn't make it. Have you experienced similar traumatic situations where things went haywire in a homebirth and everyone needed to rush to the hospital and rethink it?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:27:15] No. I've been part of four transfers. Meaning, we transferred from home to the hospital and they were all elective. And one of them, the woman could not stop vomiting. Just the hormones were a lot. Everything she would drink and eat would come up. And so, we put her on an IV at home because she was getting visibly dehydrated and her contractions started slowing down because she was getting so weak. And the IV did start to cause some swelling. So, we were like, "All right. We got to get to the hospital."

Luke Storey: [01:27:51] When she's at home and needs an IV, would the midwife be administering that?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:27:56] Yeah. The midwife will do the IV. She, basically, brings everything what you'd have at a birth center to the home, her oxygen, her antibiotics, all those things. Anything for suturing after the birth. If the mother's perineum tears, for example, she'll take care of all that.

Luke Storey: [01:28:12] With the perineum tears, are there practices or things that a woman can do before or during birth that would make that less likely to occur?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:28:22] Yeah. Resting in a squat. So, rather than sitting in a chair like this, you're just always in a resting squat. You're adding elasticity of the perineum. You can do perineal massage, which I recommend the partner does, or you have someone do it. You can do it yourself, it's just hard to really go to those edges that you need to go to on your own sometimes. So, you know, it's helpful if you have the assistance. And then, consuming a lot of fats in your diet. 

So, yeah, but nothing's ever gone haywire at a homebirth. However, I have heard of certain situations where something unexpected happened. Like, the water breaks and the cord comes out, you know, the cords hanging. It's still attached. Everything's fine. But now you have a cord prolapse. And you do have to get a C-section at that point. There's no way to, like, push the cord back up. So, that's not something that you can plan for.

But these things of like, "Suddenly, everyone stopped breathing and we don't know what happened." Like, that kind of stuff doesn't happen at a homebirth. Typically, a baby's heart tones will go through the roof in either direction, up or down, depending on what drugs the mother has received. That's typically the biggest culprit for these emergency C-sections of babies having distress with their breathing is a mother who's been medicated.

Luke Storey: [01:29:43] From what I hear, it seems like in the medical model of birth, that C-sections are just like totally normalized. And I've heard people say that, for a doctor delivering a baby, they don't want to sit there throughout a long labor. So, they're going to just pull the plug and recommend or just go ahead and do a C-section when it might not actually be medically necessary because they just want to get home and eat dinner.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:30:10] Yeah, totally. I mean, the training for OB is so different because they learn on women who are typically on epidurals already. So, they don't actually ever get the opportunity to learn about natural birth and how labor unfolds. And to read a woman's behavioral signs and emotional signposts and to look at the animal body in labor. They don't get that opportunity, so they really are not trained in natural birth. They're surgeons and they are trained to find red flags, whether they're real or made up, and act accordingly.

And midwives learn on unmedicated women. So, they really understand that it is such a wide range. But they learn how to read the emotional signposts, behavioral signposts, physical signposts. Like myself, for example, I don't need to ever do a vaginal exam to know where a woman is at in labor. Behaviorally, she tells me everything, by what she says, her eye contact, the way her body is moving, I can see, "She's probably seven centimeters dilated at this point."

So, that's something that we learn in the class and that's something that I like to teach partners. I'm like, "You don't need to be like, 'Who do we call? Call the doula.'" You're just like, "Oh. I'm watching her. Okay. We're good. She's doing this now. I'll give you charts if you want." You know, some people really like to be like, "All right. We're here now. We're here now. I'm kind of watching this." And it's all about observing the woman. She'll tell you everything if you let her.

And so, yeah, OBs really don't have that opportunity to learn. And so, I've seen OBs resort to C-sections when they could have just had some more patients. And, also, they don't know how to resolve a lot of these, not complications, but maybe minor complications where maybe the baby's shoulder is stuck on the mother's pubic bone. It's called shoulder dystocia. And I've seen OBs just say, "Oh, C-section. Get her into the O.R. This baby is not coming out. It's stuck."

And then, I've seen midwives, she's like, "All right. All hands on deck. You grab her, flip her over." And, like, I'm turning the woman one way while the midwife is cork screwing the baby the other way, like opening a bottle. And then, we get the baby out. So, that type of training is just so different. So, I feel much more confident personally being in the hands of a woman who has this knowledge of the body.

Luke Storey: [01:32:28] I think it's important, too, because I just get so pissed at the medical system about so many things. But it's a systemic kind of problem. It's not that every OB is disconnected or doesn't care, or people within the system. It's like a hierarchical system and a pyramid, right?

It's like the practices are sort of developed at the top and then trickle down and become normalized, however bizarre they seem to someone like me. But your average person who's participating in a birth wants it to go as well as possible. It's not like everyone in there are part of a satanic cult. They don't want to torture this poor woman and her newborn. It's just kind of like the system and everyone goes along with it.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:33:14] I mean, they have no idea that they were trained within the framework of that cult, but they were, and their intentions are typically good. So, within their framework, they're doing the best they can with the tools that they have. And that is not typically congruent with what is actually true, and safe, and in a frequency of love for the woman.

Luke Storey: [01:33:35] It's interesting - and maybe I'm not listening to the right people - you hear from a feminist's perspective that that we live in this patriarchy and so many things that are wrong with our society are at the hands of toxic masculinity or just men being in control for so many centuries. I don't see as much vitriol for the male dominated medical system as I would like to?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:34:03] I don't think men should be assisting with birth.

Luke Storey: [01:34:05] Okay. Oh, tell us about that.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:34:08] At all.

Luke Storey: [01:34:09] But, you know, as we're having this conversation, I'm like, so much of a woman's power seems to be just in her discernment and ability to make decisions for her family and her body. Like, all of that power through the medical side of it is just being siphoned away from her and she's just kind of a victim and treated as someone who's ill, when that's actually the most powerful time of her life.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:34:33] Totally. Totally. Yeah. I mean, I think it's so bizarre that a man would want to be a gynecologist.

Luke Storey: [01:34:42] I do, too.

[01:34:42] Or an OB.

Luke Storey: [01:34:44] That would be so awkward.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:34:45] So, I went to a male OB in high school once, and, like, I am traumatized. Like, it was totally clinical and sterile, and I've not been to an OB since and that was, like, 20 years ago - I mean, a gynecologist since. But I've heard them say to women, you know, "This is going to hurt a lot. Why do you want to do this?" And I'm like, "How could they possibly know? How does that make any sense?" They have not experienced this. And they're not space holders for this. They're not equipped to do that. You know, they don't offer you the love and the support and this containment.

And when I look at certain dynamics, like certain couples, I see the partner, the masculine, standing by and watching his woman just get completely abused by, not only nurses, but this typically male OB. And that's not only creating this inner turmoil for him, where it's like he couldn't protect his family. He was powerless. And, now, there's been this desecration. And then, the woman, not in the moment, but later, they've revealed to me, like, "He just let this happen to me. My man was not there or my partner was not there for me." And that creates a lot of turmoil in their relationship.

And so - oh, man - it's so disempowering. It is so disempowering. And I don't really find it to be any different with female OBs, to be honest. And a lot of the female OBs I've worked with, they don't even have their own kids. And I know people feel very differently about this, but I do believe that when you're doing this work, there has to be that shared experience that can really assist you in holding space for the woman.

Luke Storey: [01:36:48] Absolutely. I mean, think about if someone was to venture into a plant medicine ceremony and the person facilitating had never taken the medicine -

Eyla Cuenca: [01:37:00] That's a great way to put it.

Luke Storey: [01:37:01] ... you'd never do that, right? Like, "How many times have you done this? Okay." "Oh, 800 journeys." "Oh, okay. Cool." Like, I'm safe. There's a container. Like, you know, the realms that we're going to. And I haven't experienced it yet, but I perceived that the birth realm is probably not that dissimilar to those realms.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:37:18] I would say - yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:37:21] What's it like? I had an experience where I went hunting when I first got here to Texas and I shot a wild boar. I did a podcast all about it, of course. I mean, it's a long story, and I won't get into it because I've already done a show about it. But the moment when that happened, there was this etheric, strange, slowing of time. And this energy that came over me that was - psychedelic is not the right word because that implies you're seeing visuals or something - but there was a tangible energy in the air that was so profoundly moving and intense the moment that animal died.

I mean, I was crying and just breathing deeply and it was strange. It was super, super far out. And in that moment. I remember thinking this is the same energy as when a baby is born. And that just felt like I just knew that even though I've never been present for one other than my own. But it was just such a profoundly spiritual, just deeply innate sense. It was heavy. It was so moving.

What's it like for you as someone who sat in so many births? Do you see a correlation in that or that kind of medicine space? I mean, when a woman is in the final stages of labor and the baby is coming out, I mean, is there an energy?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:38:57] Absolutely. And I would argue that you've gone through this many times. You know, you've entered this physical plane many times. So, you're very familiar with what it is to see this take physical shape. To go from this 5D into the 3D. Like, that's what we all want. We all say, like we want to get to the 5D. But, actually, we want to be here because this is where all of the magic happens. This is where the experience happens. This is where the arrow's happens. This is where the lessons are learned, where the pleasure is felt, where the pain is felt. So, it's like you recognize that coming in and believing, which is the same.

Luke Storey: [01:39:39] Right. That's the sense I got. It was cognition, but it was just a knowing. I was like, "Oh, this is that space."

Eyla Cuenca: [01:39:47] Yeah. And the spore, they're transitioning. And I recognize that space and it is so moving because of what it is to get that gift to come into the 3D. And we recognize how sacred that is. And so, when I'm at birth, yeah, of course, I cry every time. Like, every time she's getting close, we know she's about to start pushing, her breathing changes, she's bearing down, she's going through this transformation, I start to feel that. And everyone in the room starts to feel that. And we're all holding that space.

And I see everyone moving. And I've even seen partners, like, start to sway. And the midwife is moving and she's focused. And if they're siblings there, other children, they start to get into that space. Everybody gets into that space. And they feel that. And then, the baby is out and there is this release. It's like this poof.

Luke Storey: [01:40:46] How many births have you been present?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:40:48] I don't know. I don't know.

Luke Storey: [01:40:50] Tons?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:40:51] Everyone asks me that.

Luke Storey: [01:40:54] I mean, do you think, like, over a hundred?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:40:57] Yeah. Maybe, like, around 120. I was doing about four or five a month for six years. And then - I don't know - now I'm doing about one a month - I mean, attending, being present. I don't know. Everyone asks and I should know, but I don't think about it that way.

Luke Storey: [01:41:15] What an interesting life you have. Really. You know, I mean, think about all the ways in which someone could spend their time and energy and passion. That's a very unique way, I think. I mean, maybe it's not. In the whole human experience, I guess that's probably normal. There are people out there that are present for that experience a lot more than others. I always kind of put myself in the shoes of a guests like, "What would that be like? Man, that's wild."

You mentioned how resentment can build in a birth situation in which the masculine partner is not able to, for whatever reason, advocate for the mother giving birth. And there's kind of some resentment, whether spoken or unspoken, that develops out of that. What are some of the other reasons you think why a birth experience between a couple can start to create conflict and separation after the fact?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:42:13] So, I mean, it all starts during the pregnancy. I mean, it might even come from preconception. Who knows? But what I can see tangibly going on is that if the non-gestational parent, you know, the partner is not participating in the education process, they're not creating that containment during the pregnancy that the mother needs so she can fully surrender, a woman should not be heavy in decision making during the birth.

Like, she's the oracle. She's decided how it's going to go. And it's really about the masculine taking the action to make it and to really support that. And so, when that's not there, then the woman is in this kind of decision making space. She's stepping into the masculine space. She's not surrendering. And that can be incredibly frustrating. And that's really not how it should be for her.

And what I see happen a lot when there's no completion, there's no resolution that comes out of the education process, a woman will subject herself to birthing in a hospital when she didn't really want to, because that is the one thing that the partner could not let go of, was, this idea that it is irresponsible to be out of a hospital for this birth.

And so, that duality that exists, I mean, that can just blow up between two people, because if the woman has an unsavory experience, which she most likely will in the hospital, then it's attributed to his lack of containment for her and lack of trust in her oracle truth.

Luke Storey: [01:43:48] Wow. What about the other side of that? Because I think an important distinction there is you're saying the woman is the oracle and she's feeling into how she wants this experience to play out, conveys her preferences to her partner. And then, her partner drops the ball and doesn't facilitate it happening according to her wishes. What about when you have the supporting partner to the mother and their control issues move in and start superseding what the mother's own intuition and body relationship to self is indicating that they want.

Do you see what I'm getting at? Like, when you have the father, for example, that's being all super controlling and trying to dictate what that woman's going to do or not do and how the birth is going to go when it's not, in fact, their body that it's all happening.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:44:41] Oh, yeah. No, it creates a lot of turmoil. A lot of turmoil. And just at the 25th hour, women have come to me, "What can I do? Like, is there any way, you know, to get this to change?" And it's so much internal work that that masculine has to do. And then, it starts to crop up throughout postpartum and in the parenting journey. And the co-parenting can become very tumultuous when that was not resolved.

I mean, the birth is an opportunity. The pregnancy is that opportunity to resolve that. Which might be systemic in the relationship anyway. And this is a beautiful opportunity for both of them to dispel their fears. Because of that controlling behavior, it's a fear reaction. It's a trauma response to whatever, maybe their own birth.

So, I always invite people to revisit. Part of the homework in my course is revisiting your own birth for both of them. And some people say, "I can't do that. My parents are no longer with us. How do I access that?" So, it's through meditation, and through journaling, and perhaps through hypnotic regression, or just talking about memories with me and whatever comes up for them. And so, that is really the first step to figuring out where those fears might be coming from.

Luke Storey: [01:45:59] Awesome. Thank you so much. Well, it's 3:53. We got to get you to the Austin Airport soon.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:46:05] Yeah. Soon.

Luke Storey: [01:46:06] I have one last question for you, though. Actually, it's three in one, who have been three teachers or teachings that have influenced your work or your life that you might share with us?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:46:18] Yeah. Okay. So, the first one that comes to mind is Amanda Frances. Are you familiar with her?

Luke Storey: [01:46:27] No.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:46:29] She teaches manifestation and she works with Money Trauma. And I was really resistant to her when I first was introduced to her, this was a few years ago. And I really went into that resistance around her. And I finally committed to doing the course. And, you know, for me, the Money Trauma is so important because that is the root chakra. And so, that's really what I was committed to accessing and understanding.

And so, when I went through this process of reconnecting and healing the root chakra, everything else opened up for me. Every other possibility opened up for me in all areas of my life. And so, I really attribute so much of the awareness that I have now to her and her teachings.

Luke Storey: [01:47:12] Wow. Cool. I want to check that out.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:47:14] Yeah. She's incredible.

Luke Storey: [01:47:15] That sounds right up my alley. I like that.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:47:17] Yeah. Yeah. And my parents. Absolutely. I mean, just the framework that they've given me, either consciously or unconsciously, is what I chose. I mean, I chose them, you know, coming in. And so, I really attribute so much of my growth in this present moment to reflecting on what they have provided thus far and continue to do so every day. I mean, they're amazing mirrors for me and then my daughter.

Luke Storey: [01:47:51] Are your parents understanding of what you do and supportive?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:47:55] They're incredibly supportive. I mean, it's like everything since childhood. I remember in college, I was like, "I'm leaving college for a year. I need to learn." Like, I have this conflict with eating meat, and the only way that I can continue to do so is if I go and learn how to make sausage and kill sheep. That's the only way that I'm allowed to eat meat is if I would kill them on my own.

So, it was like one day they were like, "You're leaving college, your liberal arts college, to do what? Okay, fine. What do you need? How can we hold space for you?" You know, and they just have always believed in me. And having that, I know it's such a blessing, but it's been monumental.

Luke Storey: [01:48:40] Wow. That's interesting. I relate to that, too, with the aforementioned hunting trip. It was the same kind of motivation. Just like, "If I'm going to do this, I need to connect to it more fearlessly."

Eyla Cuenca: [01:48:51] Totally.

Luke Storey: [01:48:54] So, you killed sheep and made sausage out of them?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:48:55] Yeah. And cheese and pecorino. It's been some time. I went back a few times. It's a small farm in Abruzzo, a tiny mountain town. And I told them, I was like, "Nunzio, this is what I need to do. This is where I'm at." And he was like, "All right. If you want to work, I'll teach you."

Luke Storey: [01:49:15] Wow. So interesting. And then, with your daughter, how old is she?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:49:19] She's six.

Luke Storey: [01:49:19] She's six. So, she's obviously aware of your profession and what you're into?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:49:24] Totally. Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:49:25] How does she respond to your being a doula and educator in birth?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:49:29] She loves it. Like, her idea of play, she'll stuff her shirt with, like, towels or t-shirts and she'll walk around and pretend she's having a baby. And she squats, and then she wants me to catch the baby, and then she wants to breastfeed. And she helps me prepare placentas. And she helps me with the encapsulation.

I have photos of her birth, and so periodically and then definitely on her birthday, we look at all the photos. I have a book that I've printed, you know, of the experience. And so, she looks through it and she understands what went down. And, yeah, she loves it. And she has not expressed an interest in wanting to do this kind of work. 

But I do see that this aspect of her that is so drawn to justice is really activated when we talk about this experience and this caretaking that comes through in her. Like, I have wild kittens and wild roosters and chickens and all kinds of animals in my garden that do not belong to me, they all congregate in my garden. And she's always caretaking them and she's created her own system with them.

Luke Storey: [01:50:41] Really? That's so cool. I find it interesting. Your friend Kelly Brogan, when she was on the show a couple of weeks ago, was telling me how she has chickens. And I'm like, "You live in Miami. I've been to Miami, I don't see any houses where you could have wild chickens and stuff in your yard. I guess there's other neighborhoods I'm not aware of."

Eyla Cuenca: [01:50:59] I live in Little Haiti, and they're all wild. I mean, there's 12 wild roosters and then there's all these hens. And they just fly in and they just live around my property and they lay eggs. And sometimes I'll enjoy the eggs and then sometimes not. And there's baby chicks, and cats, and iguanas, and all kinds of stuff.

Luke Storey: [01:51:18] That's so cool. I've got a friend that eats iguanas.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:51:19] I know people who eat iguana. Yeah. Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:51:21] Dino Vitalis, he's a big hunter, hunter gatherer, and whatnot. And, yeah, he goes down to Florida and hunts some, and puts them in a cooler and takes them back, and makes tacos out of them in Maine. Those are delicious. And it's highly encouraged because they're invasive and can cause a lot of problems down there. Because people -

Eyla Cuenca: [01:51:39] Totally. People seize that opportunity when the temperature drops in Miami, they freeze. Iguanas stop moving. They go into paralysis and so then they'll collect them.

Luke Storey: [01:51:48] And so, that's the thing down there, too?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:51:50] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:51:50] Oh, interesting.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:51:51] I mean, I've never tried reptile. Like, there's certain things.

Luke Storey: [01:51:54] I haven't either. But the funny thing with food, I'll eat a lobster. It's like a giant cockroach, and it's like, "Oh, it's delicious." When I think of it, I'm like, "Ew. An iguana." You know, it's just funny how we build these sort of perspectives based on nothing, you know. It's funny.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:52:12] Totally. Yeah. Same with birth.

Luke Storey: [01:52:13] Well, thank you so much for making the time to come out. I've been wanting to meet you for a while. And we'll put it in the show notes at lukestorey.com/birth, but tell people your Instagram because that's how I found you, and I was like, "Oh, this woman is awesome. I have to talk to her." And there's a lot of, not only educational stuff and that, but there's a lot of beautiful photography that's pretty - I don't want to say graphic, like, there's something profane about it. But it's like, "Man, if you want to see what birth is really like, especially in a home setting, that's a good place to do it."

Eyla Cuenca: [01:52:48] Yeah. eyla_cuenca_birth. And I also have a Telegram Channel.

Luke Storey: [01:52:53] Oh, you do?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:52:53] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:52:54] And it's all about this stuff?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:52:56] Yeah.

[01:52:56] I'm going to join your channel.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:52:57] Eyla Cuenca Birth. I get a little more free on there.

Luke Storey: [01:53:00] My Instagram is like, "Love and light, rainbows and unicorns." And then, my Telegram Group is like, "We're all going to die. Do something." It's pretty brutal.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:53:07] Yeah. My whole thing is, like, I post a lot more about legislation and things like that around birth. And then, my website, I have a lot of free resources on my website.

Luke Storey: [01:53:18] Cool. And if people wanted to either go through some of your education or work with you, they would do that through your site?

Eyla Cuenca: [01:53:26] Yeah. Or you can go to uncoveringbirth.com and you can access the courses there and there's a doula birth keeper training there as well. So, if you want to get more specific with what you're offering and do you want to go more into advocacy and informed consent and then training partners in this process, then I would highly recommend the birth keeper and doula training.

Luke Storey: [01:53:47] Awesome. All right. I'll put all that in the show notes. And thank you so much for coming by.

Eyla Cuenca: [01:53:50] Thank you for having me.



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