On today's episode, Morgan shares her two birth and postpartum stories.
Sarah approached birth wanting whatever type of birth her baby needed to arrive safely; but, she did want to start her labor naturally and hired a doula to help her cope with labor. She ended up having a 33-hour unmedicated hospital birth with a midwife! I loved hearing how despite very little birth-preparation, Sarah completely trusted her doula to guide her through her labor and benefited so much from her doula’s knowledge and guidance. She shares some of the positions and tools that were most helpful to her during her long labor at the hospital.
On today's episode, Allyson shares about her experience with a planned c section birth as a first time mom. She talks frankly about how it felt meeting her son for the first time and how her introduction to motherhood did not go as planned.
Hannah is a first time mom who discovered the birth community during the middle of her pregnancy, and fully embraced it. After lots of research, planning, and self-discovery, she planned for an unmedicated hospital birth with little to no interventions.
Caitlin and her wife had a difficult time navigating the barriers faced by queer couples trying to conceive. After two years and many failed IUIs, they decided to take a different route and try at home inseminations with a known donor. She hoped that removing the stress of the fertility clinic would help her body welcome pregnancy. She was right! And shortly thereafter Caitlin finally got the positive pregnancy test she had been longing for.
Elisabeth gave birth to her first child, Owen, on April 5th, 2019. The pregnancy itself was mostly uneventful minus persistent nausea at 20 weeks that caused to switch from OBs to a midwife. Then a follow up ultrasound brought up concerns that Owen had a potential heart issue. This added some worry to the end of the pregnancy and required sticking with OBs. So, then Elisabeth’s plan was to have an unmedicated childbirth in the hospital. Her due date came and went and as her induction date loomed closer.
Luckily, after two acupuncture sessions, labor started on the day of her induction but she developed a high leak in her amniotic fluid. Instead of using any medications, her OB broke her water completely. She went from 1cm to 3 cms in 2 hours, then felt the urge to push 3.5 hours later. After almost 3 hours of pushing, Owen entered to world accinclitic and at 9lbs 1 oz! Elisabeth had an immediate severe postpartum hemorrhage that only got under control after administering multiple rounds of pitocin, misoprostol and methergine. About 2 hours later, she had another bleed that required more medications and eventually two blood transfusions. This may have contributed to her current struggles with low milk supply.
After having a fairly easy and healthy pregnancy, Vidita was excited to meet her daughter soon as her due date approached. Unfortunately, she never went into labor and at 41.5 weeks hesitantly agreed to go in for an induction, as recommended by her doctor. Not knowing the strong correlation between inductions and C-sections, Vidita was completely blindsided when her induction stalled and led to a non-emergency C-section due to “failure to progress”.
In the months after her daughter was born, Vidita spent endless hours nursing her round the clock while simultaneously thinking about all the things she would do differently when she became pregnant again. She was convinced that the choices she had made had led to her first C section and she was determined that her birth outcome would be different the second time around. She felt like somehow she had failed by not achieving a vaginal birth. She read all about VBACs and researched everything that could possibly increase her chances of success.
Heather is the creator and editor at My Life Well Loved! She created her site out of a deep passion to empower women, inspire confidence, and elevate living a life well loved. She is mom to three year old Leyton and 8 month old Finn, wife to Eric, and healthy lifestyle advocate! Heather is defined by her faith in Jesus, her southern roots, and her deep love for people. She admits she is just learning to balance it all! MLWL is a place where she strive to affirm women, to embrace the balance, get their sweat on, enjoy a glass of wine, and savor the little things. MLWL is a destination for fitness, fashion, mom hacks, wellness tips, travel guides, and most importantly FUN! Heather would love for you to follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! You can read about her son Leyton's birth here and Finn's birth here.
Danielle’s birth is not what she expected. Danielle knew she would have a c-section because of a trauma to her hip in the past but she did not expect it to be at 29 weeks. Danielle went in for her 28 week check up only to find her blood pressure dangerously high and traces of protein in her urine. Upon being admitted to the hospital it became increasingly hard to control her blood pressure.
Along with preeclampsia, Danielle was developing HELLP syndrome, causing her platelets to plummet and her alt levels to rise. Eventually it became too dangerous for Danielle to remain pregnant. At 8am on 10/24 the doctor decided it was time to have a baby. Danielle was wheeled into the OR with tears in her eyes. She feared it was too early for her baby.
On this episode, Kathleen discuses her fertility journey, accreta diagnosis, and cesarean section.
Melissa's children were born in Iowa under the care of midwives but in a hospital setting. In Iowa all midwives who are legally practicing are Certified Nurse Midwives and many of them are providing care within a hospital setting. The hospital that Melissa gave birth at was set up more like a birth center than the typical hospital image that you may have in your head. It had a large tub as well as other comfort measures that aided her with finding more natural methods of coping with labor than typical hospital pain medications. Melissa also practiced Hypnobirthing which really made a big difference with her births and kept her from even considering asking for an epidural.
Bek entered her pregnancy wanting an unmedicated birth. She went with a midwifery group in a hospital because of wanting to be in the best possible place in case she needed help due to her disability. She was confident that her limitations wouldn't be an issue and her midwives were confident in supporting her. But when she went into labor at 34 weeks and her son was in an incomplete breech position and a whirlwind labor, she had to get an emergency c section. Baby and mama were safe and spent 11 days in the NICU before heading home. Even though it was much different than what Bek wanted, they made it through and look back knowing they were safe and didn't have any complications making it home for unlimited snuggles.
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 insurance. She wanted to share her story and the ways she advocated for what she wanted and navigated the medicalized environment.
Megan gave birth to her first child in December 2012. Her only “birth plan” was to get an epidural...unfortunately that didn’t go as planned! When her daughter was born in March 2016, Megan was induced at 38 weeks due to possible cholestasis (ICP). She was able to get her epidural that time and the induction went relatively smoothly. For her last baby, born April 2018, Megan was induced at 37 weeks after it was confirmed she had cholestasis. She delivered her baby girl about 4 hours after the induction process started. Her daughter had to spend about a week in the NICU due to respiratory distress. Between her three pregnancies and births, Megan has dealt with just about every pre and post natal situation there is!
Tara went into childbirth knowing that she would have a cesarean delivery. As a Type 1 Diabetic, the expected birth weight of her daughter had reached 8 pounds by her 36th week of pregnancy, and shoulder dystocia had already complicated her first delivery. She and her husband, Adam, were informed on May 29th that her delivery had been scheduled… for the very next morning! Lowering blood sugar levels were pointing to possible problems with her placenta, and baby looked good, so all doctors involved agreed that the wait was over!
After suffering from an autoimmune condition most of her life, Caroline approached pregnancy with trepidation, initially unsure she would be able to successfully conceive. After becoming pregnant in Fall 2016, her initial elation gave way to concern when a 12 week scan revealed her son was suffering from a condition called megacystis. When not resolved in utero, megacystis proves fatal. Careful monitoring continued until 24 weeks when she was finally given the "all clear" to enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Meeting with a doula around the same time gave Caroline and her husband, Brett, the confidence to pursue a homebirth; and, despite insurance difficulties, they secured the services of an incredible homebirth midwife.
At 38 weeks, Caroline’s waters broke and after an intense but pain free night (thanks hypnobirthing!) her son was born after a posterior labor in the bedroom of their home. When her placenta tore after delivery, Caroline was transferred to the local hospital for a D&C where her impeccable care continued.
Sofia shares her experience with the maternity health care system in India as well as her dissatisfaction with her birth experiences and finally the amazing postpartum care she received from family.
In this episode January Harshe shares her first four birth stories: a cesarean, a homebirth transfer to cesarean, a hospital VBAC after being dropped from care by her homebirth midwife, and a very healing unassisted homebirth. You can hear her 5th and 6th birth stories on her podcast that she hosts with her husband, The Harshe Podcast.
After a 20 hour labor, Liesel delivered her son epidural-free at the hospital (and department) where she worked. Liesel battled an OP presentation during labor, with her biggest hurdle being back labor. She stuck it out at home until she was 5cm dilated, and then got admitted to the hospital where she had her doctor break her water. After many position changes, a few doses of IV pain medication, and pushing on hands and knees, she was able to successfully vaginally deliver her son epidural-free. She prepared for her birth by reading countless birth stories, interviewing her co-workers, and studying “Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth”.
Gaela delivered both of her babies in Paris, France. For her first birth, Gaela took HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method classes, which got her incredibly excited to give birth. She labored at home and kept waiting for the pain to arrive and it never did. Her daughter was born 47 minutes after Gaela arriving at the maternity ward in a birth tub with hardly any water in it! Gaela became a HypnoBirthing instructor after her daughter’s birth. She gave birth to her son 23 months later in a birth center. She was able to deploy all of the techniques that she teaches in order to stay focused and have a peaceful birth. She was able to “breathe” her baby down and have him auto-latch during the sacred hour. She had two distinct yet wildly empowering childbirth experiences.
Mabel is 31 years old and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Tim, and son, Darasimi. She married her college sweetheart in 2013 and the couple decided to wait for a year before actively trying to get pregnant. After learning she had fibroids shortly after she started her TTC journey, Mabel decided to have a laparoscopic myomectomy done to remove multiple fibroids from within her uterine wall. The journey to get pregnant continued on for another 2 years before she got a positive pregnancy test which was a both a surprise and relief. She had a relatively smooth pregnancy with a few hiccups which included fibroid degeneration and gestational diabetes. Her son was born vaginally in a hospital in September 2018 after a 36 hour labor.
Mabel works as an education specialist for her local school county and enjoys spending time with her close circle of family and friends and learning about birth work. She is also a new doula, ready to support women in advocating for their desires regarding birth and pregnancy. You can find her on Instagram @mabedababe (personal) and @withinherbirth (doula business).
Clarice Amorim Freitas was planning to give birth at a birth center, but at 37 weeks was diagnosed with intra-uterine growth restriction and needed to be induced immediately. They were in the hospital for 39 hours before their little one was born via vaginal birth. The hospital and birth center staff were both incredibly supportive and they had a very positive experience despite the abrupt change of plans. They were able to continue their postpartum care through the birth center even though they did not physically deliver their baby there.
On this episode, Neram discusses giving birth in Amsterdam as well as Bogata, Columbia, where she was encouraged to enjoy weeks of postpartum rest and care.
Rachel had always envisioned herself having an unmedicated home or birth center birth, but when she found out she was considered high risk she knew that wouldn’t be possible. So, she and her fiancé hired a doula and chose a hospital and team that best fit their birth wishes. Rachel delivered her daughter vaginally and unmedicated 3 weeks early and just 14 hours after arriving at the hospital! As smooth as her pregnancy and delivery went, she’s still dealing with some unexpected postpartum complications 3 months later.
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.