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.
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.