Grace had an unmedicated hospital birth with an OB. She prepared for her unmedicated birth by hiring a doula and taking Bradley classes during her pregnancy. She also had the added bonus of having her sister as her L&D nurse throughout her entire birth!
The episode is sponsored by Milkies by Fairhaven Health. Milkies is a line of thoughtfully designed products for moms, by moms to help support all women in their breastfeeding journey. Products include breast milk collection and storage, supplements, teas, nursing pads and much more! Milkies is generously offering 10% off all products with the code BIRTHHOUR at www.fairhavenhealth.com. We are also giving away a milk catcher and milk collection tray over on Instagram.
Anjelica gave birth to her first daughter while living abroad on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Though she originally wanted to deliver with a midwife, she had to make adjustments based on her location’s cultural norms and her Spanish language barrier. Anjelica’s story takes some crazy turns that involve driving two-hours to the hospital, her husband paying for a private labor room while she was in labor, and her doula almost delivering their baby. As she shares what birth is like for many women on the island we get an idea of what it takes for some women outside the continental U.S. to achieve a low-intervention vaginal birth.
Anjelica gave birth to her second daughter on another lush island, Guam. This time around she was able to have a midwife provider like she’d hoped for the first time, but experienced other hurdles that came along with being a military spouse and mother of a busy toddler. Anjelica’s story quickly gets interesting as she realizes she’s in labor while her husband is in the middle of running a half-marathon.
Alexandra Barretta is from Queens, NY. After struggling with infertility she was able to get pregnant after several IUI's and 2 IVF's. Her son was born 6 weeks early due to a placental abruption via c-section. The C section was a very difficult recovery, so she knew she definitely wanted to attempt a VBAC for her second pregnancy. She was told not to get her hopes up about having a VBAC by her high risk doctors, but that they would entertain the idea of it. She successfully delivered her daughter via VBAC after challenging the on call doctor at the hospital that morning.
Leah Rodrigues had two natural, unmedicated child births at the hospital. It was not her first choice to give birth in the hospital but she felt that she didn't have another option due to her insurance. She wanted to share her story and the ways she advocated for what she wanted and navigated the medicalized environment.
She feels that her birth stories offer other moms hope that they can advocate for themselves even if they don't get to birth in the place that they want. Leah wanted a birth center birth with both of her babies but financial circumstances prevented her from doing so. She thinks discussing the limited birth options because of socioeconomic status is an important topic. You can connect with Leah on Instagram.
Planned for a hospital vaginal birth (under OB care with an in-house midwife), both boys were head down at 26 weeks; last appointment before induction, both were still head down. Morning of my induction, one last ultrasound was ordered to check positioning, and baby B had flipped and was now breech, and my BP was high (for the first time in my entire pregnancy, but no other signs of pre eclampsia). Several options were presented, but I chose to go forward with induction since there was no true risk to the babies.
I had plans to labor as long as possible with no drugs and was using breathing techniques learned through our birth class and some brief Hypnobirthing reading I had done. Decided on an epidural about 8 hours in to rule out the chance of needing GA if I needed an emergency C section. After 12+ hours of labor, 10 minutes of pushing delivered the boys, both vaginally, in the OR (most twin hospital births happen in the OR) 6 minutes apart; baby B flipped to head down in the labor process, no help needed.
Today's guest, Megan, shares her three birth stories: two family-centered c-sections, and a VBA2C! During both pregnancies that ended in cesareans, Megan suffered preeclampsia; during her VBA2C, she overcame gestational diabetes.
This episode is sponsored by Beco. Beco focuses on bringing you an ideal combination of comfort and style to power you through daily duties with your baby close. With the new release of the Beco 8 baby carrier, you now have more options than ever to carrier your baby. Learn more about the Beco 8 at becobaby.com. We are giving away a Beco 8 to one lucky mama over on @thebirthhour Instagram.
Trezelle happened to see a video about hypnobirthing the night before she went into labor and from that video alone used the practice through her homebirth and describes it as a beautiful and empowering experience. She is now a doula with the mission of helping other families navigate pregnancy and childbirth.
Today’s birth story is a rebroadcast of an early favorite. Our guest is Phoua Moua who didn’t know she was pregnant until she was 33 weeks along. She and her husband have been married for 8 years and had been trying to conceive for 5 years. Phoua had put getting pregnant towards the back of her mind and didn’t realize she was pregnant until she took a test after noticing a linea negra. She called her doctor and they asked her to come in and draw some blood. The day after she went in for blood work, they called and told her she was pregnant and was about 6 weeks pregnant. The doctor then scheduled the first ultrasound for when she was “9 weeks”. Even though she called the clinic back and told them she thought she was further than 6 weeks, they insisted she wait another 3 weeks to come in.
The day finally came and she and her husband went to her ultrasound on May 15, 2014 where they were told she was already 33 weeks! Her baby was due the end of June which was the very next month!!!
Katie followed her intuition and switched from an OB practice to a midwife-led, hospital-based practice during the beginning of her pregnancy. She ended up going past her due date and even when she eventually did go into labor she experienced prodromal labor and was in labor for more than three days. Prodromal labor is labor that occurs prior to actually going into full, active labor. It is sometimes called “false-labor,” but you are actually are in labor the whole time with contractions, it's just that they start and stop for long periods. Katie tells the whole story on today's episode of The Birth Hour.
Stephanie was living in the Netherlands when she found out she was pregnant and went to what she thought was a birth at home OB office like everyone else she knew had done. Turned out that in the Netherlands if you were a low-risk pregnant mama you automatically saw midwives and you had the option to have your birth at home attended by midwives or at the hospital attended by midwives. Stephanie initially made plans to have a hospital birth but eventually changed courses towards the end of her pregnancy.
Her first labor was a precipitous birth and baby arrived in less than 3 hours, she describes it as a very intense experience that she wasn't at all expecting. After her initiation into midwifery care and homebirth, she knew she would give birth at home with her next baby even though she was living in the U.S. by then. Both of her births contributed to her desire to become a doula and childbirth educator.
After Carolyn found out she was pregnant again at three months postpartum, she and her husband decided to move the family from Washington, DC to Arnold, MD. Sticking with her OB in DC, the plan was to deliver Carolyn's footling breech baby by scheduled c-section. Plans changed, when her water broke three weeks early. Rushing to get to DC, an hour away, with a breech baby, coupled with contractions both strong and fast, ultimately caused them to detour for an emergency c-section at a much closer hospital. Baby Ophelia was wasting no time—her feet were already on their way out! The hospital staff of all women hustled to get her into surgery for a successful c-section, ending with a happy baby and a happy mom.
Today's guest is Gayleen Peters who went in for a check-up around 37 weeks and realized she basically had no fluid left. She was told she'd need a cesarean that day but then had to wait several hours for the OR to open up. Her baby arrived safely but did have to spend some time in the NICU and she discusses that experience as well.
Alexis is a survivor of sexual assault, and never once considered how that experience would impact her birth until she read “When Survivors Give Birth” for her Doula training. It was life changing and made her realize why she hit a wall in both of her births. She shares how her birth center and hospital births were both impacted by the fact that she never felt completely safe and therefore wasn't relaxing and opening to give birth. Alexis hopes to use her experience to hold space with other survivors and let them know their birth can actually set them free.
Alexis is passionate about every woman’s right to have informed and supported births. She tirelessly planned and prepared for her own natural births, only to be greatly disappointed by the need for intervention. Her own struggle with accepting her births inspired her to become a doula and build a holistic practice that incorporates not only birth and postpartum support services, but that also recognizes the link between birth and mental health. She created the Mindful Mama Collective with the hope of helping other mamas feel confident and supported as they heal and grow into new motherhood.
The main focus of today's episode with Bex is the it difference it makes when you are present and engaged for your birth versus being disconnected from the experience. Bex has had 5 children with the first 3 being born in a hospital and the second two at home. She describes how those experiences were so different for her and much of it had to do with the mindfulness aspect of her birth. She used Hypnobirthing/Hypnobabies, meditation, and yoga through her pregnancy and births. This is an all around awesome episode for anyone interested in learning more about mindfulness and birth through the experience of a mom who's been there!
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BEXLIFE® and the BLISSED IN® wellness movement, is a mother of five, TV host, meditation guide, Hay House author, speaker, birth doula, fitness and yoga instructor, and popular social media personality. She also travels extensively, sharing her love for yoga, wellness, and meditation at exclusive workshops, luxury retreats, and public events.
This episode is sponsored by Expectful!
Expectful is a digital platform that makes meditation easy for expectant and new moms. Each one of their guided meditations has been created to support you throughout your pregnancy and motherhood journey.
Their mission is to give babies the best start in life, and that begins with you. If you’re pregnant or a new mom, go to expectful.com and sign up for their 30 day free meditation trial. It may just change your life.
Rachelle O'Neil was living in Bermuda when she was pregnant with her son. She went to the hospital to be induced 7 days after her due date, and 20 min before her son arrived the doctor realized it was his hip coming out rather than his head! Everything went smoothly and she was so happy that she delivered a breech baby vaginally rather than by csection. Rachelle also shares her second birth for which she was living in Luxembourg. She had planned to have a natural birth and although she ended up with a "walking epidural", she describes it as an amazing euphoric experience. Connect with her on Instagram @roinlux.
When I received an email from Gina explaining that after three medicated hospital births, she had successfully had a natural birth with her fourth baby and that she credited listening to other women's birth stories on The Birth Hour, I knew I had to hear her stories.
This episode is sponsored by Boba.
Kacie Case shared her two homebirth stories in Episode 21 of the podcast and recently had her third baby. I absolutely love seeing past guests having more babies and although I haven't heard her most recent birth story yet, I've adored watching her pregnancy journey the past few months. Hopefully we'll have her back on to share this third birth, but for today we're looking back at the long labor and delivery that made her a mama and the second birth that was a whirlwind.
Kacie offers words of wisdom to enjoy the last few days of your pregnancy and to take a moment (write a letter even) to thank your body and acknowledge the time that you've had with your baby inside of you before you have to share that baby with the world! She also (like many mamas we've heard from) benefited from reading Ina May Gaskin.
Tiffany lives in rural South Carolina running a farm with her husband. They recently welcomed their first child, a daughter named Florence at the Baby+Company birth center in Cary, NC. Tiffany is passionate about natural living and left her birth feeling powerful and confident with the support of her midwives and husband. Connect with her on Instagram.
My firstborn is turning 5 in less than a week, FIVE! How did the time go by so fast?! I know that's so cliche to say, but it truly surprises me that the little baby that made me a mama is now in full blown kid-mode. Since this time of year is crazy at our house with two birthdays and Christmas all within two weeks of each other, I thought I'd take a step back and do a couple replay episodes.
Today I'm replaying that first wild and crazy 34 hour labor and homebirth with my daughter Adelaide. It's a fun episode too because I shared it along with my husband, Richard, who was such a huge part of this birth story. I needed him every single step of the way during her birth so I love that we recorded this story together.
Toniette was so surprised to learn that she was having twins! She had previously had homebirths and knew that with twins she would be in the hospital, but she definitely wanted natural births. She had quite the whirlwind delivery with Baby A , who fell out on a moving delivery bed because none of the nurses thought she could possibly be that close to delivering!
Toniette wants to give other twin moms the confidence to do a breech Baby B extraction without an epidural.
Ellen Richards is English born, and is now an Australian citizen, living with her family in South East Queensland. She and her partner, Billy, have 4 children, aged 13 years, 11 years, 8 years and 9 months. She was 44 when her fourth child was born. All have been planned to be born at home, and two of them were. Each birth has been a incredibly positive experience and each was totally different: an elective cesarean birth at almost 43 weeks; an ecstatic birth after a 76 hour labour; an intense 50 minute labour after a patient 10 day wait (with broken waters); and, a chemical hospital induction (which was at the clear indication of her unborn child). She also had gestational diabetes during two of her pregnancies, including one of the homebirths. Each pregnancy and birth has required Ellen and Billy to make many choices, and it is these choices, with the support of their midwives, that have made each birth such a positive experience.
Amy shares her experiences dealing with her fair share of complications in pregnancy and birth. She has had 3 births within a hospital setting and has dealt with a subchorionic hemorrhage (vaginal bleeding for six weeks) during pregnancy, miscarriages, epidurals that haven't worked, NICU stays and so much more. She also talks about how intuitive birthing helped her cope with the pain of labor and childbirth during each of her three births.
Alexis shares the birth story of her son, Sebastian, which took place at Growing Families birthing center in St. Augustine, Florida. With her fiancé as her birthing coach, and Misti Balzar as the midwife (guardian angel) assisting the delivery, Sebastian arrived Thanksgiving Day 2014. Approximately 9 hours of labor produced an 8 lb. 13 oz. healthy baby boy. The birth wasn’t at all easy or painless, but she views the experience as a wright of passage.
Ashley Clarkson shares her hospital birth experience, which was very traumatic. She gave birth in Winnipeg, Canada when there was a really bad flu going around, and the hospital wouldn't let her have more than one person with her. She felt like she needed to choose her husband even though her mom might have been a better support person during birth. She ended up having a cesarean and struggled, feeling unconnected with her baby. She suffered postpartum depression, and wanted to share her story with other women to empower them to find help and advocate for themselves. Read more from her story at the bottom of this post!