Danielle spent her pregnancy reading Ina May Gaskin's seminal texts on natural labor and envisioned having a peaceful, drug-free delivery. Once she crossed the 41-week mark of her pregnancy, Danielle's doctors began talking to her about scheduling an induction. Hopeful that she would go into labor naturally, Danielle begged her doctors to let her go as long as possible to avoid an induction. After some negotiation, they collectively landed on a scheduled induction at 42 weeks. Still convinced she would go into labor naturally, Danielle tried everything to induce. But nothing worked. At 42 weeks, Danielle was induced by her doctor and labored for 13 hours. In the end, her labor was anything but drug-free, but it was somewhat peaceful. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Quinnah.
Lauren's first birth was a precious, yet invigorating experience. Her water broke before active labor began and, because there was meconium in the water, she was admitted into the hospital before contractions really began. She set out wanting to have an all-natural birth in which she labored as long as possible at home, but accepted her doctor’s recommendation to use Pitocin to progress her labor and avoid risks of infection. It was a happy, safe and fulfilling experience despite the fear that was produced for her about the use of Pitocin in leading to complications. She hopes this experience relieves fears others have about using Pitocin and epidurals when necessary.
After an easy pregnancy with no complications, Lindsay had an intense, 48-hour back labor with four hours of pushing. The first half was at home with her husband and a doula, and the second half was in a hospital with an epidural. After the baby was born with the cord wrapped tightly around his neck, he was immediately whisked away to the NICU where he stayed for a week of monitoring and therapies to reduce the likelihood of brain injury (turns out he's totally fine!). During his week-long stay in the NICU, Lindsay had some unexpected health issues of her own: she developed severe postpartum preeclampsia, with no warning signs at all.
For today's episode, we're revisiting Scarlet's powerful hospital birth story.
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.
Trystan and Biff adopted their niece and nephew (both survivors of an abusive situation), and that story was featured on WNYC's parenting podcast, The Longest Shortest Time. Suddenly, the young couple found themselves sharing the lessons they learned, becoming parents under such stressful circumstances, with many people across the country. Then they decided to grow their family by having their own biological child—one that Trystan carried and birthed himself. As a transgender man, he has all the parts necessary to give birth in a safe manner. He stopped taking his hormones, and he and Biff successfully conceived and had a beautiful, happy baby.
Julia planned for an unmedicated, hospital water birth. After having to have her water artificially ruptured and finding meconium, the water birth was no longer an option. After laboring for nearly 26 hours, pushing for 4.5 hours and narrowly avoiding a c-section, Julia was able to have an unmedicated vaginal birth.
Anita and her partner, Brian, were initially surprised by their pregnancy. After six months of trying to conceive, they both weren’t sure they could. After delivering her son via a vaginal birth (with an epidural) in 2009, Anita desired to have an unmedicated birth with her next child.
Kelly's first birth was unexpectedly long and difficult. She planned to have a natural water birth, but the birth took a different path. Her experience made her very fearful of a second pregnancy and birth, but a short 19 months later she was back at the hospital in labor. The two births turned out to be very different and she was able to have an experience with her second birth that made her feel truly empowered.
Suzy had been planning the birth of her first child long before she was pregnant. When she found out she was pregnant, she went to work right away preparing for the birth. She knew she wanted to have an unmediated birth with as few interventions as possible. After lots of preparation during her pregnancy, Suzy was able to give birth naturally, peacefully, and joyfully in the hospital. This was all in spite of the fact that her labor only lasted five and a half hours.
Leslie was 40+3 when she went in for a Non stress test. The NST showed baby’s heart rate was declining after each contraction so she was admitted to the hospital that same day. She was induced around 7pm Thursday, April 14th. After almost 24 hours of labor, baby wasn’t moving down the birth canal so it was decided to go ahead with a cesarean birth. Jaxon Maggit was born via cesarean at almost 8pm Friday night.
Kristin Croxton shares her 2 very different hospital births. The first, her oldest son Jack, was born sunny-side up after Kristin received an epidural and multiple other interventions. After months of trying to conceive again, Kristin was diagnosed with unexplained secondary infertility. With the help of Femara and intra-uterine insemination, she was able to get pregnant with her second son, and had a medication-free hospital birth.
Bert Anderson had three positive vaginal births in hospitals. She used epidurals for all three births and for the most part she had uncomplicated pregnancies. After her first birth she was diagnosed with postpartum depression when her son was four months old. Since then she has become aware of her mood and depression so she can recognize the warning signs.
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Chelsea has had three epidural births in the hospital, each one a little different. With her first baby, she was induced a few days after 40 weeks and her son was born less than 8 hours later. With her daughter, she had a scheduled induction at 39 weeks, and was in labor 12 hours before her daughter was born. Chelsea experienced a few days of prodromal labor with her third baby, then went into labor on her own at 39 weeks. Chelsea gave birth to her third baby 7 hours after arriving at the hospital.
Jill Krause is the founder of Baby Rabies. This is what happens when baby fever becomes something more. Jill Krause self diagnosed herself with baby rabies (it’s not an actual contagious disease, FYI) in the summer of 2007 when she became obsessed with getting pregnant. Learn more about the definition of baby rabies here. She started blogging about all things trying-to-conceive then. 10 years and 4 babies later, Baby Rabies is now a internationally recognized pregnancy and parenting blog. Connect with Jill on Facebook and Instagram.
Caitlin Shrum lives in the Bay Area, California with her husband, Andrew, and their son, Cooper (2). Her first birth caught her by surprise as she found herself in an emergency c-section situation. She quickly realized her experience wasn’t normal and has spent the past two years educating herself in order to set up her future births for success, and has found within herself a passion for the birth space and maternal care. In this episode, she walks us through her pregnancy and childbirth experience and how she has taken that experience and is channeling it into education and learning for herself and hopefully others down the line.
After an especially tough pregnancy, Megan was more than ready to welcome her third daughter into the world. Being that this was her third child, she went into this sure of two things: this child will be born on or before her due date (like her older sisters) and this mama definitely wanted an epidural. It wasn't until she found herself 4 days past her due date without a sign of labor that she started to suspect that this birth might not go as planned. Little did she know that was only the beginning.
Before she met her midwife, Jessey assumed that her births would be long and full of complications. However, once she switched to a certified nurse midwife practice to birth at the hospital her goals were changed and fears diminished. Jessey has 3 births that all went smoothly with only a couple of minor exceptions. Each time Jessey's waters were broken there was meconium in the fluid, which caused last minute changes to the water births she had planned. With her first daughter the tub was used for laboring (but not delivery), at her second daughter's birth there was not time to fill the tub upon arrival, and her third daughter's birth was technically in the tub, but not without a (literal) twist!
Rachel experienced a peaceful, unmedicated hospital birth with her now 14 month old son, Ananias. She was surprised to encounter so much support and encouragement from the doctors and nursing staff to accomplish a drug-free labor. Even though the seamless delivery left her feeling strong and empowered, her confidence was shaken as her son battled severe jaundice in the days following the birth due to her delayed milk supply. Thankfully, after a 48-hour NICU stay, Ananias came home healthy and happy. Rachel hopes to encourage other women through her story by revealing the potential beauty of hospital birth and by opening up about an issue many new mothers are ashamed to be facing - low milk supply.
I was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant when I went into labor. Just one day prior, My daughter's father and I went to my mother's house to go to the state fair. I was so over being pregnant, I decided to walk the baby out. I went into labor early that morning around 2 AM. Thankfully, I slept through most of my labor and the next morning we took the two hour drive back to Atlanta. I stayed home until 7 PM then labored naturally at the hospital before giving birth.
Bethany Chambers planned for a home birth but ended up transferring to the hospital at the end of her 24 hour labor due to decelerating heart rates from her baby. Once at the hospital, she still had an un-medicated, no intervention birth. However, 8 hours later, she had a severe hemorrhage and lost about half her blood. But as a nutritionist, she had worked hard to ensure her body was in optimal health so miraculously, she didn't have to have any blood transfusions. She discusses the MTHFR gene mutation as a possible factor in the hemorrhage. She came away from her birth feeling very grateful and empowered.
Katie had a very fast, unmedicated (due to time and low-platelets) hospital birth with an OB. She had the support of her mother and her husband. Though she prepared for labor with classes at a birth center, there was never a chance to use the techniques in the three hours she labored.
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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.
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.