Same-sex couple Mariel and Viviana knew they always wanted a baby; so, a year into their marriage they began trying to conceive by the traditional route of IUI's with frozen sperm via a sperm bank. After nearly a dozen failed tries, they switched gears to a known-donor and were quickly pregnant. Early on in Viviana's pregnancy she began having complications, and on the same day of her anatomy scan at 20 weeks and 6 days, Viviana's water bag prolapsed and broke. Tune in to hear the details of their devastating infant loss due to incompetent cervix and the redemption story of their boy/girl rainbow babies conceived within 7 days of each other and born only three days apart. Follow their journey on Instagram at @moderndaytwins.
Lindsey shares her birth center, hospital, and homebirth stories ... and about having twins TWICE! Lindsey Bliss is the co-director of Carriage House Birth, an experienced birth doula, and the mother of seven. Lindsey is considered to be a multiples expert after giving birth to and parenting two consecutive sets of twins. Lindsey takes on her role as a birth doula and childbirth educator with serious passion and commitment. Her mission is to hold space for expectant families through education and informed decision making. Being prepared, and knowing what options are available increases the likelihood of an amazing birth. Lindsey facilitates that process, giving people the tools and inspiration to empower themselves. Her unwavering support and gentle guidance have benefited over two hundred families. Lindsey supports first time parents, multiparas, single parents, LGBT families, twins births, medicated and non medicated vaginal births, cesarean births, and VBACs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The main focus of today's episode with Bex is the it difference it makes when you are present and engaged for your birth versus being disconnected from the experience. Bex has had 5 children with the first 3 being born in a hospital and the second two at home. She describes how those experiences were so different for her and much of it had to do with the mindfulness aspect of her birth. She used Hypnobirthing/Hypnobabies, meditation, and yoga through her pregnancy and births. This is an all around awesome episode for anyone interested in learning more about mindfulness and birth through the experience of a mom who's been there!
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BEXLIFE® and the BLISSED IN® wellness movement, is a mother of five, TV host, meditation guide, Hay House author, speaker, birth doula, fitness and yoga instructor, and popular social media personality. She also travels extensively, sharing her love for yoga, wellness, and meditation at exclusive workshops, luxury retreats, and public events.
This episode is sponsored by Expectful!
Expectful is a digital platform that makes meditation easy for expectant and new moms. Each one of their guided meditations has been created to support you throughout your pregnancy and motherhood journey.
Their mission is to give babies the best start in life, and that begins with you. If you’re pregnant or a new mom, go to expectful.com and sign up for their 30 day free meditation trial. It may just change your life.
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.