Today we have a unique episode featuring a mom, Gisyra, and her midwife, Margaret, sharing Gisyra's birth center birth story together. It's really neat to hear the perspective of the mom and her midwife and the beautiful bond they seem to have formed throughout her prenantal care and birth.
On this episode, Mary shares the story of her pregnancy and birth with two broken legs. In her own words:
"Labor and delivery of a baby while I had two broken legs immobilized in casts up to the knee was messy and difficult, but what an experience! The casts couldn't fit in stirrups, and a water birth was out of the question unless I wanted the casts to dissolve and give my newborn something to chew on while he was delivered, so a nurse held up the pink cast, and my husband held up the blue one (we didn't know what we were having, so we hedged our bets).
Since I have a history of short labors, this one didn't disappoint, and 7 hours after my water broke, I had my newborn son, Riley. The most difficult part of the entire hospital experience was when the nurse took my Riley to the nursery to record all the measurements and vitals about 12 hours after he was born. I'm a paranoid new mom, so I had to follow her, and that involved moving at the speed of a turtle with the help of a walker after a natural birth that included an episiotomy.
My brain was obviously as immobile as my legs, because looking back now, I should have asked for a wheel chair...Oh well, I got the equivalent of a three hour spin class that day with labor, delivery and a tour of the maternity ward with the nursery being down the hall, up two floors in the elevator and down another hall, standing outside the door as the nurse did her job, then back to my room.
Phew! All worth it with my beautiful, 7lb. 2oz. Smiley Riley!
My bodily fluids somehow found their way onto and inside my casts, so the cloud of smell that followed me everywhere I went became powerful and interesting until I got those casts changed finally two weeks later."
This week on The Birth Hour were re-sharing an early favorite: Indiana Adams' three pregnancy & birth stories. She has had three homebirths and none of them have been void of excitement. Listen to Indiana tell them in her own words on this episode of The Birth Hour.
Zoe Racca shares her experience with pregnancy and planning a homebirth while traveling around the U.S. in an RV. She bought an RV sized birthing tub, installed a tankless water heater to provide enough warm water and gave birth to her son in the family RV with her two older children present.
Adanna had two wonderful birth experiences with her children. Her first child was born in 2010. Adanna and her husband prepared for the birth by attending Lamaze class and planned a natural birth. Adanna had gestational diabetes during this pregnancy and managed it with a strict diet. She was excited to give birth, but fearful, even with all of her preparations, so she decided to get an epidural when it was offered to her. It turned out to be a beautiful experience without any complications. She was very happy that her beautiful daughter was healthy, and that the birth was relatively easy after a tough pregnancy with gestational diabetes and severe morning sickness.
In 2013 Adanna gave birth to her second child, a baby boy. This time she opted to have him naturally without any pain medication. Adanna’s labor with her second child went really quickly and this time she had the full experience that she desired.
Jenn shares the story of her daughter's birth which took place at a birth center in Montana. Her baby actually arrived within minutes of getting to the birth center. When she came out the cord was wrapped around her twice and she needed attention, an ambulance was called and she spent 9 days in the NICU. It was a very intense experience and there were a lot of unknowns but Rosemary is a very healthy one year old today! Jenn wanted to share her story to encourage other women who are walking the path of a NICU mom.
Today's birth story comes from mom of two, Monet Moutrie, who shares her experience giving birth at a birth center in Denver, Colorado. Monet comes to birth with the unique perspective of having photographed hundreds of births as a birth photographer—in other words she's pretty much seen it all!
Brooke Bland has had three completely different birth experiences: a long and laborious hospital birth that looked much different than she’d hoped and planned for, a much shorter accidental homebirth while living in Japan on deployment, and a planned hospital birth, due to potential health concerns with the baby, that turned out lovelier than she could have imagined. In this episode she focuses mostly on her surprise homebirth in Japan and then her next birth, which took place at a hospital due to her baby's heart being on the "wrong side." Her baby ended up being totally fine and Brooke shares how wonderful the entire hospital birth experience was for her.
Brooke is currently living in Everett, WA with her husband and three children, ages 4, 2, and 7 months. She is a speech pathologist by trade but has put that on hold to stay home with her little people. She loves all things birth and baby, traveling the world, eating at new restaurants, and spends way too much time dreaming of remodeling homes.
Today's birth story features Jen McLellan of Plus Size Mommy Memoirs and Peachie Moms sharing her experience with pregnancy and birth as a plus size woman. Initially, she was very discouraged by what she found online regarding what she should expect as an expecting plus size mom. But through research and dedication, she found a supportive birthing team within a hospital midwifery practice, and ultimately had an empowering, beautiful, natural birth. Now she is is committed to helped all plus size moms be informed about their options and empowered in their births.
Jen McLellan is a published author and certified childbirth educator who advocates for plus size women. She promotes positive information to empower healthy decision making during pregnancy. Within her blog, Plus Size Mommy Memoirs, she helps women navigate the world of plus size pregnancy, shares tips for embracing your body, and laughs along with the adventures of motherhood. Her work has been featured in major publications such as Yahoo Shine, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, and International Doula. In addition, she co-authored the Amazon bestseller, The Peachie Moms Guide to Body Love for Moms. Jen is also a skilled patient advocate, professional speaker, wife, and mother to a charismatic 5 year old.
Shelby Shankland shares the story of her her daughter's hospital birth that initially left her feeling empowered, because she had overcome such a difficult experience. But as she processed it, she became more and more angry about the way her care was handled. When she became pregnant again, she knew she wanted a different experience and shares the story of her son Jack's waterbirth at The Farm birth center in Summertown, TN. She ended up going 3 weeks past her due date and faced some scary moments after her son was born, but she trusted fully in her midwives at The Farm and felt empowered after her birth. Read more about giving birth at the farm.
Shelby Shankland lives in East Tennessee with her husband, 8 yr old daughter, and 3 yr old son. Prior to moving to Tennessee, she lived in San Francisco for almost 20 years, having moved there to attend the Conservatory of Music, and stayed on working in various office jobs until switching careers to postpartum doula work and lactation counseling after the birth of her daughter. Shelby is now a Certified LifeWorks Life Coach, a Reiki II Certified Reiki Practitioner, project manager for a learning and development company, and professional flutist. She enjoys all of her various means of bringing home the bacon, but in particular enjoys coaching and empowering women.
When Tiffany's sister-in-law had to have a hysterectomy after a postpartum hemorrhage with her first birth, Tiffany almost immediately offered to be their surrogate for a future child. After some time passed and lots of planning and discussion, they decided to go down the path of surrogacy with Tiffany carrying her brother and sister-in-laws next child. It turned out to be two babies instead of one and soon Tiffany was pregnant with their twin boys! In this episode Tiffany talks about the process of planning for this pregnancy, actually getting pregnant and finally giving birth to her brother's babies! It's a story of unconditional love and such a great listen!
When I got the following message from Danielle Knapp, I was brought to tears knowing the affect that this podcast had had on her unexpected birth experience and knew I had to have her on the show!
Good afternoon, Bryn.
I just wanted to send you a note to let you know how impactful your podcast was for me!! I listened to your empowering birth stories almost everyday during my third trimester. I laughed and cried and clung to the hopes that I too would have an empowering birth. My first birth was in the hospital and it was 31 hours. An epidural in the last 3 hours after a goal of all natural. I felt defeated and 'less than' bc I couldn't do it.... Well, I gave birth almost three weeks ago to my second daughter. My plan was a to have a peaceful water birth at the Austin Birthing Center. Baby had other plans. I ended up delivering her myself... in the car... on the highway, while my husband was speeding to try to get us to the birthing center on time. I didn't even tell him bc I was afraid he would pull over or crash or I don't even know. I just quietly pulled her up on the back bench of our expedition. I feel like the collective confidence I absorbed through all those women's stories is why it happened the way it did. I was never fearful, and even in the most absurd circumstances, it was still a calm and peaceful experience for both me and my daughter. And best of all, I feel so empowered from the experience.
So thank you for doing what you do! I really am not sure how I would have handled a precipitous birth and highway delivery had I not had all those beautiful women on my mind!
The Knapp's welcomed their first daughter, Piper Clementine on January 20th, 2013. It was a grueling 31 hour labor. Looking for a different experience, Danielle planned to give birth at The Austin Area Birthing Center for baby girl number two. After a precipitous birth, Posey James was born in the car, northbound on Interstate 35 on the way to the birth center in Austin.
Today's guest shares her experience giving birth in a hospital under the care of a midwife.
Christina Libby lives in Frankfort, KY with her husband, 15 month old son, Great Dane, and 2 cats. Christina has always been fascinated by pregnancy, birth, and babies. Growing up, her mother babysat in their home and she loved helping her—as she got older, she knew she wanted to work with young children and parents but never quite found a career path that felt like it fit. Into adulthood, she was always interested (sometimes overly interested) in her pregnant friends’ bellies, and was envious of everyone who got to attend a childbirth education class. She says that it wasn’t just that she wanted to eventually be a mother; she loved the whole process. She wanted to live in the world of bellies, birth, and babies. Through her own pregnancy and birth she entered that world and discovered she could stay as a doula.
In her own words, Christina shares a bit about her experience as a doula participating in the world of birth: "I find that as a new birth worker I tell the story of how I came to birth work quite lot. But I try to keep my birth story out of my birth worker story as much as possible. I don’t want my clients to feel compelled to compare their story to mine or to worry that I am judging them based on my birth. And since I can’t control people’s thoughts (yet…), an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping my birth out of the picture helps both of us keep the focus on the birthing person and what they want. However, I also feel very strongly about people sharing their birth stories. Especially in our society where so much fear and negativity surround birth and positive birth stories are seen as exceptions or “lucky” or shouted down as bragging or preaching. All we can do is speak from a place of compassion and authenticity. This is my experience."
Lizzie Mills, is a young wife and mother from Melbourne, Australia who is passionate about birth and shares the birth story of her daughter who was born at home via a hospital sponsored homebirthing program with midwives. In this episode she discusses how this system worked as well as how her pregnancy went and ultimately the amazing waterbirth she had with her husband in the tub as support.
Lauren Hartmann shared her daughter's birth center birth and her son's homebirth on Episode 11 of The Birth Hour. Her son Clive's birth was 19 hours long with 4 hours of pushing and he weighed over 10.5 pounds with a 15 inch head! After Clive's birth Lauren felt defeated and didn't have that same sense of empowerment that she did after her first birth. When she found out she was expecting baby number three, she knew that giving birth at home no longer felt right to her after what she had been through with Clive's birth. She explored possibly giving birth at a hospital but didn't appreciate the model of care there so she ended up going back to the birth center where she had had such a beautiful birth with her daughter, Fern.
Despite a very stressful pregnancy where she and her husband were informed half way through that their daughter had some soft markers for Downs Syndrome, Lauren made it to her due date and was ready to meet their baby girl. She tells this third birth story as being redemptive in so many ways and restoring her beliefs about birth.
Today's birth story features Denene Millner, who is sharing her experience giving birth to her daughter at a teaching hospital in Harlem, NY. Denene had a doctor that she loved, the support of her husband and made plans ahead of time for what she thought would be a great hospital birth experience. Unfortunately, she was treated like a second class citizen for the majority of her time at the hospital. In this episode, she shares her story and discusses some of the issues that many black women face when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth in America.
Today's guest is Jamie Ivey who is sharing her birth story and three adoption stories. Her son Cayden was born in a hospital and while it was a good experience overall, Jamie says if she were to get pregnant again today, she would've done some things differently. Jamie felt strongly that she and her husband should adopt a baby not too long after Cayden was born and went down the path of domestic adoption to welcome their second son, Deacon. They adopted Deacon as a newborn and were present at the hospital for his birth. Jamie talks about how she planned to practice adoptive breastfeeding with Deacon and although he did latch on right away, it ultimately wasn't feasible long term with what was going on with their family at the time.
A few years later they felt called to adopt again and this time internationally from Haiti. The adoption process was much longer than they had initially anticipated and while they were matched with two children fairly quickly the finalization of the adoptions was a complicated and a long process. Jamie and her husband, Aaron, took turns visiting their kids in Haiti but it got harder and harder on both them and their children each time they had to say goodbye. Their daughter, Story, ended up coming home before their son, Amos even though they had been living together with the same family in Haiti.
Things changed suddenly when the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti and after being relieved of the initial concern of whether Amos was safe, they quickly found out that his adoption was going to be allowed to be finalized here in the States and that after 2.5 years of waiting, he'd be coming home to them immediately and their family would finally all be together. Watch this beautiful video to see them travel to Florida to bring him home and listen to Jamie's episode of The Birth Hour to hear her tell the entire story.
Elizabeth Quinn is married to Percy and they are raising their children in Jackson, Mississippi. Her daughters are Chesley Cox, 7 years old, Anderson Lillian ‘Anders’ 5 years old, and Adella Calhoon 2.5 years old and they just had baby number four — a son, Sims McCallum! Elizabeth Quinn returns to The Birth Hour to share her most recent birth story with baby Sims. Elizabeth had two cesareans and then a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and is really involved in the birth community in Jackson. She is super passionate about being educated about birth and helping women who have had c sections to know their options.
Today's birth story podcast guest shares how she planned ahead for her hospital birth by doing research, setting intentions and hiring a doula. Kristin's number one goal was not to have a cesarean and she educated herself on many of the ways to avoid a c secti0n and used that knowledge to self advocate with the help of her doula throughout her labor that lasted over 24 hours.
In today's birth story episode, Barbara Demske shares her experience having a cesarean and then a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with her next baby. Her cesarean was a really traumatic experience which she feared for her life during and after suffering through that, she knew she wanted to have a VBAC.
Today's guest is Katrina Meek who lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. The cesarean rates are extremely high in many parts of South Africa, similar to in Brazil but Katrina knew she wanted a natural birth. After having her first child at a birth center, she decided to plan a homebirth with her second. She faced a great deal of resistance from friends and acquaintances regarding her decision but she ultimately knew it was the perfect birth experience for her.
Leave Katrina a comment on her show notes page.
Connect with me on Instagram @thebirthhour!
Today’s guest is Sarah Villareal who is an L&D (labor and delivery) nurse and mother. She is going to share all three of her birth stories, starting from when she found out she was pregnant, and why she chose to have natural births (one in the hospital, one at a birth center, and one at home) each time.
Sarah says “I am the Mother to 3 amazing children: Arraya (9), Harbor (4), and Solay (17 months). I am married to the love of my life, my soulmate and the guy who keeps life interesting and always funny, Justin. We have been together for 11 years. We are most certainly partners and share in the responsibility of raising this family. I am a full time Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery and love my job with all my heart. I love being able to support women through what ever type of birth they wish to have, and then also supporting them when the plans need to change.
In this birth story episode, Victoria Easter Wilson shares her two hospital births attended by midwives. The first birth was kind of overwhelming for her husband so when they were pregnant with their second daughter they spent some time processing the first birth story and preparing more this time by hiring a doula. This is a great episode if you want to hear some positive hospital birth experiences - I mean check out that tub and bar she got to use at the hospital!
Victoria is a wife and WAHM who thinks the Internet can be used for good and not evil if you have the right intentions. She is a new doula and birth educator, passionate about supporting women in their motherhood journeys. When she's able to sneak away from the busyness for a few hours, you can find her enjoying a pretty latte and the company of a friend...also probably talking about birth. Connect with her on Instagram.
April Brooks was hospitalized for over a month after going into early labor at just 28 weeks gestation. In this episode, April discusses life living in a hospital for two months with over a month of that being on bed rest. She also shares her son's birth story who was born at 34 weeks and spent 16 days in the NICU. Her son Aemon is now a healthy, happy one year old!
April shares her reasons for coming on the podcast, "As a first time mom in a stressful situation with premature labour, I really do understand how hard it is to get through while keeping positive. I really hope my story can help other woman who are going through the same or a like experience. I think it would have helped me to know that I wasn't completely alone; In those couple months I felt incredibly alone and unclear about what my job was as a mom "Am I making the right choices?" "Am I the only one who has had to go through this?" I want mothers to know that they are NOT alone and there is always someone you can talk to. My province here in Canada has a preemie group on Facebook where moms can all talk about their struggles, stories and accomplishments. I suggest looking into that to see if there is one near you! I have a Blog which I have recently started up which also talks about life after, during and before birth."
Sandra is a life lover living in Umeå in the north of Sweden. She is a mother of three boys, Shambo 5, Noah 2 and Moses 4 months. Her first two births took place at home and the third in a hospital.
Sandra is a teacher and forever student of yoga, and she in training to become a birth doula. She is also in the process of launching her website lifemother.com, a place to share, inspire and connect with other women on the sacred journey of motherhood. You can check out Sandra's new website LifeMother or connect with her on Instagram.