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.
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.
Today's guest is Tracie Enis who shares her three birth stories and then we chat about resources and guidance that she provides to the mamas she works with during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
I spent this past week in Sedona, AZ with six expecting couples at the Babymoon Retreat. We had such a blast, and I was blown away by the level of childbirth and postpartum preparation these couples got in just four days of class time. It was so refreshing to spend so much time getting to know couples that are experiencing all of this for the first time. After having two kids of my own and hearing so many birth stories from so many women, I feel like I forget just how many unknowns there are for first time expecting parents and I loved watching them absorb all of the information. I could see them becoming more confident day by day and empowered in their birthing decisions.
We wanted to commemorate this special time and the experience of the retreat by recording with each couple as they are bursting with the anticipation of their birth and meeting their baby. I hope you enjoy getting to know these couples as much as I did, and if you are newly pregnant or planning to become pregnant, I strongly suggest that you sign up for updates from the Babymoon Retreat.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
In April I attended the 4th Trimester Bodies Project's conference Body.Breast.Baby in Portland, OR and recorded mini sessions with a bunch of the attendees to put together this special episode of The Birth Hour.
In this episode they all answer the same three questions:
What is the first moment you felt like you'd become a mother?
What one moment do you remember most from your birth?
What's one piece of advice you'd give to a pregnant or new mother?
Listen to this compilation of all of their responses! We'll be back on Thursday with another full birth story episode.
Katie Vigos of Empowered Birth Project is a mom to three boys and wife to her husband of nine years. She shares her hospital birth, homebirth, and her most recent birth which was a planned unassisted home birth that ended with an emergency c section.
In this episode, Miranda shares her three very different birth stories featuring the Bradley Method, an epidural, and water birth. Miranda Anderson is a wife and mom of three living in Austin, Texas. She is also a seamstress, compulsive DIY-er, believer, and adventurer, who shares stories and tips for living a simple, creative life on her blog One Little Minute. She also teaches local craft and sewing workshops in Austin. In what feels like a former life, Miranda graduated with a degree in nursing and worked several years as a nurse diabetes educator. She loves her family, food, and the next project, whatever it may be.
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Today's guest is Amelia Barnes. Amelia is going to share the stories of her two children's births. Her son Landon was born in July of 2014 and lived for just four days and her rainbow baby, her daughter Lily was born just a few weeks ago. She began sharing Landon's story on Instagram during his pregnancy and continued after he was born and was so unbelievably honest and raw about all of her experiences and emotions that she quickly found herself surrounded by a virtual support system of women who had also experienced a loss.
Amelia's story is especially close to my heart because it helped me navigate the unbelievably hard journey of supporting my best friend through the loss of her son around the same time. Amelia shared her most private thoughts of everything from grief to jealousy and anger to love and healing in ways that not every mother who's experienced a loss is able to express but most are feeling. It was so helpful to me to read her posts and know some of the things my friend was struggling with and be able to offer support in the right ways.
Both Landon and Lily's stories are beautiful, emotional and so worth the listen but if you are not in the right emotional place to listen to a story of loss right now please just skip over this episode and return to it when you are ready.