Both of Charity’s babies were born in the UK. After excitedly planing for an unmedicated hospital birth centre birth, Charity had to quickly change her expectations when she was told her baby would be delivered via cesarean section. Her body and baby disagreed with the doctor, and her son was born vaginally on the operating table as preparations were being made for surgery. For her second birth, Charity was determined to have a greater ability to advocate for herself and her baby, so she and her husband hired private midwives to help deliver the baby at home. Her second son was born in a birthing tub in the living room of her small flat in central London.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This episode features Denver mama, Alaina, who struggled to get pregnant and had two miscarriages before using Clomid for her 3rd pregnancy, and gave birth in a hospital setting. She found out she was pregnant again without any outside assistance just a year later and gave birth at a birth center, having an unexpected waterbirth.
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."
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.
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 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.
Tammy gave birth in the UK and was in active labour with her son Milo for 24 hours. Tammy credits her yoga practice prior getting pregnant for getting her through such a long and arduous birth.
Tammy is a Senior Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher & Therapist with over 1000 hours of training. She's practiced yoga since the age of 14 and has been teaching for 8 years. She considers herself a life-long yoga student and teaches a wide range of people -- from professional football players, cage fighters and snowboarders to pregnant ladies, children and senior citizens. She is passionate about inspiring and nurturing the intuitive and creative powers that are innate within women at all stages of the female life cycle including menstruation, conceiving, pregnancy and postpartum. She believes that yoga practice teaches that there is so much potency and wisdom available to women when they really open up to exploring it. You can connect with Tammy on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter or visit her website.
In this episode, Andrea shares the birth story of her son, a natural birth in a birth center. Andrea discusses the commonality of c-sections in Brazil and how she chose a different birth for herself. She also shares helpful insight on the postpartum experience.
Andrea organizes Women Circles in NYC. She is a Shaman practitioner, environmentalist, and vegan mama. Andrea facilitates emotional healing for women and Mother Earth. She recommends pregnant women and mothers to connect with other mamas and mamas to be through support groups, platforms like this podcast, and social medial like Tribe de Mama. Also Aviva Romm books are fantastic resources from pregnancy through postpartum. You can connect with Andrea on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or on her website The Gaia Healer.
Today's birth stories features Elise sharing her birth center and homebirth experiences. Her first birth at the birth center, although empowering, was not what she was expecting. With her son she carefully planned for and had what she describes as a sacred birth experience.
Gypsy mama Elise and her tiny tribe currently call the islands of Hawai'i home, although they are travel junkies most of the year. Elise whole heartedly believes in natural birth, gentle-playful parenting, and living life to the fullest! She is passionate about sharing her experiences birthing her two babes, which she believes inspires the way she now lives her life. Everything in life comes back to the breath.
Welcome to the Birth Hour! In this episode, Danielle Burkleo shares the birth story of her fifth child, Lula. She talks a little bit about her first 3 births and then tells the story of her most recent pregnancy and birth. Her pregnancy this time around was a little uncertain and as she discusses in this episode; but, ultimately she ended up giving birth to a healthy 11 pound baby girl! Listen to Danielle share her story in her own words.
Welcome to The Birth Hour! In this episode, Joyce tells all three of her birth stories. Joyce had three natural births that share some similarities, but which were also surprisingly different. As a doula, Joyce offers a helpful, informative perspective on birth and doesn't hold anything back!