Lida battled chronic pain throughout her teens and twenties, and underwent laparoscopic surgery at age 24 to remove adhesions caused by endometriosis. In order to inhibit the disease's progression and to preserve her fertility, Lida took continuous hormonal birth control until she and her husband were ready to begin trying to conceive. The endometriosis started to return immediately, but with the help of a minor fertility intervention, Lida was able to conceive after only seven months.
In spite of being a Large Animal Veterinarian (Board Certified in Animal ObGyn) and a Reproductive Physiologist studying human fertility, Dr. Joanna Ellington was surprised when the flu threw off her ovulation cycle and an unplanned pregnancy occurred. Using excellent classic references like Active Birth and Spiritual Midwifery, Joanna used perineal massage to prepare for childbirth, and was maybe a little too active with a 2 mile hike that turned into 5 miles the day before her membranes began leaking. An induction resulted in a normal birth where Joanna used her knowledge of birth and lactation in animals to enjoy the process as much as possible, even telling her midwife “That was kind of fun!”
Joanna's second son was born within 10 minutes after she arrived at the hospital. In the chaos and discomfort of having two male doctors she had never met working on her son and her private parts, Joanna coped by switching into “medical professional mode" and talking to them about her research. But, she lost her focus on her baby and the moment. Sadly, she forgot to invite her waiting son and mother in to see the birth, as she had planned. This was a valuable lesson of not “taking care of others” or outwardly focusing during birth, but staying centered and baby focused.
Lindsey shares her birth center, hospital, and homebirth stories ... and about having twins TWICE! Lindsey Bliss is the co-director of Carriage House Birth, an experienced birth doula, and the mother of seven. Lindsey is considered to be a multiples expert after giving birth to and parenting two consecutive sets of twins. Lindsey takes on her role as a birth doula and childbirth educator with serious passion and commitment. Her mission is to hold space for expectant families through education and informed decision making. Being prepared, and knowing what options are available increases the likelihood of an amazing birth. Lindsey facilitates that process, giving people the tools and inspiration to empower themselves. Her unwavering support and gentle guidance have benefited over two hundred families. Lindsey supports first time parents, multiparas, single parents, LGBT families, twins births, medicated and non medicated vaginal births, cesarean births, and VBACs.
After a long (64 hours) and traumatic first birth, Melissa decided to take a wholistic approach in preparing for her second birth by addressing aspects of her mind, body, and soul. The book Mindful Birthing was pivotal for Melissa in holding an open hand about what her second birth would look like. Melissa had a team prepared to support her, including a birth doula, birth photographer, and a birth singer.
After going to 41 weeks and 2 days with 0 contractions, Melissa went into labor while hiking by herself. After a long first birth, Melissa was expecting the same for her second. After mooning the entire town on a speedy car ride, Melissa gave birth minutes after arriving at the birth center. Melissa had never imagined that she could give birth without feeling pain and laughing throughout the entire process. This is a story you have to hear to believe. Her birth singer, Meghan, is featured on this episode singing some of the songs that were sung over Melissa before and after her daughter arrived.
With her first son, Remy, Tayler went a week past her due date and had a very long labor (over 30 hours). Looking back, she realized that she had been resisting every contraction. So for her second birth, Tayler wanted to do things a little differently. During her pregnancy, Tayler practiced hypnobirthing; and during labor, she remembers repeating the word "opening," and actually feeling herself dilating. Tayler's second birth was much quicker: her second son, Sage, was born in the water and en caul very shortly after arriving at the hospital.
In her lighthearted and quippy style, Crystal hilariously details her three births: A hospital birth at 42 weeks involving "The Devil's Urine" and a hemorrhage; a 3 week early and extremely fast water birth; and, a one-push water birth with a hospital transfer solely to get a rest from her preschooler and toddler at home. Crystal talks about how her love of ramen noodles made from placenta broth helped her adjust to the news of an unexpected pregnancy, and about how her "Birth Boss" midwife and doula made all the difference through three unmedicated births. Crystal's births taught her that she has an extremely high tolerance for pain, and that absolutely anything is possible if you trust your body and allow yourself to be nurtured and supported by the community of people who love you.
After overcoming a severe case of endometriosis in her 20s, Vani changed her diet and lifestyle, but still worried that she'd have trouble getting pregnant. When she and her husband were finally ready to have a baby at age 38, she conceived after just one month of trying! Vani chose to have a natural hospital birth, and assembled a team to help her get there. She says she couldn’t have achieved a natural child birth without the coaching of her doula, supportive doctor, and a very positive and helpful nurse. She also says there were a few moments during labor where she asked the team “can I do this?” and they would say “yes, you can do this,” and that really motivated her. Taking drugs, however, didn't enter her mind once. She says that after having her daughter a few months ago, she has been in pure bliss enjoying breastfeeding; and, that the happy-hormones from nursing help her overcome the sleep deprivation that comes with juggling motherhood and business.
Sarah is 28 years old and is the owner of two large hot yoga studios located in Northern Arizona. Hear Sarah tell the story of giving birth to her son, Hayden, after almost 18 hours of labor.
After years of hoping and praying for a baby, Camille was amazed to find her infertility treatments had finally worked—she was actually pregnant! In this episode, she shares her story and talks about how much love she and her husband experienced as they grew together in the pain of longing for a baby. She discusses how after years of disappointments, infertility overshadowed many joys and experiences in letting her pregnancy be real. Ultimately, she and her husband were able to find joy through the ups and downs of pregnancy complications, and expand their love through the birth of their miracle baby.
Scarlet originally planned to give birth at a birth center, but those plans changed close to the end of her pregnancy when she received a gestational thrombocytopenia diagnosis.Still, Jane’s birth was a very powerful, intense, yet rewarding experience. At 41.5 weeks, Scarlet's labor started in the middle of the night and progressed quickly, but stalled after her hospital check-in. Scarlet's doctor ended up breaking her water, which jump-started her labor again, and her daughter, Jane, was born soon after. A retained placenta led to a manual extraction and extra blood loss; but, everyone went home healthy the next day. But only 4 days later, Scarlet's family was back in the doctor’s office due to a thyroid problem that showed up on Jane’s newborn screen.
Genevieve's first labor with her son, Griffin, was long (27 hours with 4 hours of pushing,) and she had a hard postpartum recovery. With her second pregnancy, Genevieve was proactive in preparing for birth, and credits her nutrition and healthy lifestyle to the super-quick and much easier birth of her daughter, Paloma.
After months of research about unmedicated birth and creating a “birth plan” with her midwives, Lauren’s birth center birth didn’t turn out the way she’d hoped. Her long labor started with slow dilation and ended with a transfer to a hospital to get an epidural and a host of other interventions. While everything turned out fine and baby was born healthy, she dealt with many months of regret, guilt, and sadness related to her birth story. Lauren hopes that by sharing her story she’ll help other women to know that it’s important to educate yourself about birth, and if things don’t go as planned, it’s okay to grieve the loss of your ideal birth. You may just find community and empowerment through your experience.
When surrogate, Ashley, measured large at her 38 week check, the decision was made to induce her at 39 weeks. Intended parents Nancy and Justin flew from Chicago to Utah, where their surrogate Ashley was set to deliver. Only three days later, they were all together in a labor and delivery room as Ashley was induced with a drip of Pitocin. While labor progressed uneventfully in the beginning, pushing lasted hours as baby Audrey’s head was very large and stuck. Following nearly four hours of pushing, and close to being prepared for a c-section, baby Audrey was born on a strong push at 10:21 pm. Nancy, her intended mother, cut Audrey’s cord and immediately took her into her arms for skin-to-skin bonding as feelings of gratefulness and awe washed over her.
In honor of International Sibling Day, I thought it would be fun to interview kids who were present for their younger sibling's birth!
Kate experienced an uneventful pregnancy, until at 38 weeks she discovered her baby was in the breech position. She made the empowering decision to have an external cephalic version (ECV) in a hospital, then went on to have a successful homebirth.
Mary shares the stories of her three planned homebirths (two in water); one crazy-fast, planned hospital birth; and one unplanned hospital birth that resulted in a natural footling breech birth. She also has experienced a natural miscarriage at home.
Mary is a mother to five on earth and one in eternity. She works as a certified birth and bereavement doula, birth educator, and as a writer at Better Than Eden. There, she shares about birth, her faith, mothering, homeschooling, miscarriage, raising boys, and more. She is also a featured writer at Elizabeth Ministry International. A theology graduate, she has a passion for helping women experience their God-given “feminine genius” through birth, motherhood, and in the very design of their body. She believes that treating babies and women with the utmost dignity and respect at every moment during pregnancy and birth is necessary for building strong families and a culture of life and love. You can find her writing at Better Than Eden or connect on Facebook and Instagram.
And thanks to Earth Mama Angel Baby for sponsoring today's episode!
Kelle shares the story of her daughter Nella's birth. Nella was born with Down Syndrome unexpectedly, so it obviously came as a huge shock to Kelle. Kelle is open about her grief surrounding that initial news. She talks about those first days in the hospital and how little she knew about Down Syndrome before her daughter was born. Her daughter Nella is seven today, and Kelle looks back on her birth story with a lot of emotion, sharing how her family and friends supported her through that time, and how she offers hope to mothers who contact her today when they get a Down Syndrome diagnosis. I loved this episode not only because Kelle tells it so beautifully, but also because I personally was very uninformed about Down Syndrome and learned a lot through her story.
Melissa opted for a birth center birth for her first baby. After an unexpected first birth in the backseat of the car, she chose to have her next two babies at home with the support of a midwife. She pulls from these very different birth experiences and the confidence that they granted her daily as she leads a Facebook community of over 200,000 moms.
Melissa is a mom to Nathaniel (4), Alexander (3), and Caroline (1). Empowered and inspired by the births of her children, Melissa founded Latched Mama: an online community and a clothing line for nursing moms. She spends her days outside of Richmond, Va with her husband, Eric, chasing after the kids, searching for new ways to innovate and grow the business, and trying really hard to keep it all together. As a trained (non practicing) birth doula and CLC, she is passionate about supporting all moms no matter what their journey to motherhood looks like. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram (@latchedmama, @thelatchedmama).
Today's episode is brought to you by Latched Mama. Latched Mama is on a mission to support new moms with affordable and functional nursing wear. Using comfortable fabrics and modern designs that also work for tandem feeding and pumping, Latched Mama is helping moms nurse confidently and comfortably wherever they are. Also, check out their new labor dress! Made from a super-soft fabric and featuring snaps up the front and back for monitoring and epidural placement, and snaps at the shoulders for skin-to-skin and breastfeeding access. The Latched Mama labor dress can truly bring a little extra comfort and confidence to your next birth.
Sure that her baby would not arrive on his due date, Sara settled in for the evening only to wake up to her water breaking at 11:00 pm. She and her husband, Dave, had planned an at-home water birth, and the journey began as she woke him up to tell him about the water dripping between her legs. They had a fast yet gentle birth at home, delivering an 8lbs 1oz baby boy, Bodhi, at 5:23 am on the winter solstice. One week after Bodhi arrived earthside, he was rushed to the hospital because he was displaying signs of respiratory distress. He had a urinary tract infection caused by E.coli, and had to spend a week in the hospital. Sara and Dave were forever changed as parents after going through such a scary experience, but are so grateful that Bodhi was able to get the care he needed to recover quickly.
Today's episode is brought to you by Birth Song Botanicals. Birth Song Botanicals was founded by a midwife and herbalist who's mission is to produce high-quality herbal products that are naturally safe for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, and their children. I met Maria when I lived in Arkansas, and am so honored that she is sponsoring an episode of The Birth Hour. Maria is offering 10% off for Birth Hour listeners at Birthsongbotanicals.com with the code: THEBIRTHHOUR. Today's birth story is actually a mom who had Maria as her midwife.
You can also enter a giveaway for the Deluxe Organic Herbal Gift Set For Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding which includes everything you need to get you through pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and beyond.
In 2015, Lori Kitchen-Buschel and her husband, Kenneth, became licensed foster parents: in less than a year, they went from 0 kids to being the parents of 3 children under 5 with the addition of their daughter Louella Kitchen-Buschel in 2016. In this extremely moving episode, she talks about her journey from meeting her foster children, to finding out she was pregnant unexpectedly and struggling with wondering whether she would have enough love for all of her children.
This episode is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow helps new and pregnant moms qualify for breast pumps through their health insurance. They carry all of the major brands, including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh, Evenflo, and more. Visit their website to get started today, and your dedicated breast pump specialist will take care of all of the paperwork for you, including getting a prescription from your doctor and filing the claim with your insurance. Go here to get started!
Tricia was shocked to find out she was pregnant shortly after getting back from her father's funeral. She hadn't been really trying to get pregnant with her husband, but they had agreed to go off birth control. She figured it would take a while, but it didn't! She has a lot of feelings and things to say about grieving while pregnant, and mostly remembers crying...sleeping...working...
Anna went to the hospital with her intentions set on birthing naturally. However, after experiencing back labor due to her daughter being posterior, (i.e. her daughter's head pressing on her spinal cord) she had an epidural. She often describes her decision to have an epidural as being one of the best and worst decisions she ever made. Best because it stopped the pain, worst because of what happened only a minute or two after getting the injection.
Diana's first baby was an unexpectedly large, 12 lbs, 3 oz. He was born via c-section after a very long labor. It was a deeply traumatic experience for her, but when she became pregnant again 2 years later she knew she'd the have this second baby at home.
Diana had a completely different labor and birth experience the second time - a beautiful, fast home birth that was also incredibly healing for her. She wants any woman who's had a traumatic birth or a c-section to know it's completely possible to not only heal from it, but to have a better, empowering subsequent birth.
Tapping into her meditation, healing and yoga skills, Elyse stayed connected to her intuition throughout the birth process even though it went opposite of what was planned. Her family, spiritual mentor and doula also supported in creating a welcoming, beautiful environment for baby Oliver to enter this world.
After 18 hours from her water breaking, Elyse was only 2.5-3 cm dilated. Oliver made his grand entrance via C-Section. In this episode, learn how Elyse & her husband came to this decision, stayed grounded, and embraced the many changes that came along the way.
The family was excited when they found out Emma was pregnant. Emma had an amazing pregnancy, she felt powerful and proud to be nurturing a baby. After hesitantly deciding to have a hospital birth (because of costs) Emma was able to maintain her goal of an unmedicated labor and delivery.
Emma's contractions sped up ferociously and she almost did not make it to the hospital. Emma arrived at the hospital and the baby was earth side within 20 minutes and 3 pushes.
Emma planned to breastfeed and had to deal with the challenge of extremely low milk supply. She was unprepared for this challenge and felt the doctors and lactation consultants she worked with did not support her breastfeeding or understanding of low supply. Emma was incredibly resilient and worked hard to continue to breastfeed along with supplementing. Emma has become very knowledgeable about low supply issues and resources for mothers. She wants other mothers to know that low supply issues are common, their many contributing factors, and a great deal of lactogenic foods, herbs, and activities to support milk production.
Emma is a hard working Social Worker and Therapist for Native American youth in her Bay Area community. Emma met and fell in love with Davey many moons ago while they attended college. Emma and her partner Davey have created a beautiful home together in Berkeley, CA with their pup Rio, The family welcomed Zia in the summer of 2016. Emma loves being a mother and feels blessed for the light that Zia brings to her family and life.