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Happy Homebirth

The Happy Homebirth podcast is your source for positive natural childbirth stories, and your community of support, education and encouragement in all things homebirth and motherhood.

There's a first time for everything.  Sometimes midwives miss births, sometimes they *almost* miss births, and sometimes....  Well, you'll have to listen in to hear the odd in-between!  

Important Updates:

 

Happy Homebirth Academy is almost ready to launch!  In the meantime, check out my free mini-course, and join the facebook pop-up group!

 

myhappyhomebirth.com/essentials

facebook.com/groups/happyhomebirthpopup

 

Resources Mentioned in this episode:

Coming Alongside A Friend Who Has Experienced Loss

 

Show Notes:

  • Cierra is a Le Leche League Leader who love supporting parents in breastfeeding.
  • Cierra’s first pregnancy ended in miscarriage weeks after she thought she was in the “safe zone”
  • Cierra never forgets the compassion of the OB that was on call when she learned that her baby had passed. She gave her a massive hug and support in a time of need.
  • The “at least” comments are so painful to the grieving parent
  • stillbirthday.com
  • Second pregnancy was several months later—this time there was less jubilation, more “survival mode”
  • Cierra opted for an epidural, which she says began the “cascade of interventions”.
  • The delivery was very difficult, requiring forceps.
  • The next birth was much faster, and she had a baby at a hospital-based birth center.
  • On the way to the birth center, as Cierra was very far along, she said, “THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HAVE HOMEBIRTHS”
  • Their baby was born only 30 minutes after arriving
  • With their third baby, it was easy to decide to have a homebirth
  • Cierra’s midwife helped her as she decided to stop tandem nurse during the pregnancy of her most recent baby.
  • Cierra experienced prodromal labor with this pregnancy
  • Cierra is laboring on the tub. She stood up to walk to the birth pool, but as she stood, she felt that her baby was coming immediately.
  • Her third baby “birthed herself”—fetal ejection reflex!
  • The bathroom was dark, and nobody could see. Everyone thought the baby was about to be born…..
  • The baby had already been born! She caught herself on the toilet seat.
  • There was a true knot in the cord
  • Cierra’s midwife said, “I’ve missed some births, and I’ve almost missed some births. I’ve not missed a birth right in front of me before.”

Pregnancy and postpartum.  Many of us strive to maintain a healthy diet during these pivotal times, but what does a healthy diet look like?  Should we stick to the guidelines?

 

Enter Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE.  Lily is an expert on all things nutrition pertaining to the pregnant mother.  She is the author of two books: Real Food for Gestational Diabetes, and Real Food for Pregnancy.  

 

Lily sheds light on what it looks like to eat nutrient dense foods, how our food choices affect ourselves and our babies, and how real food can set us up for real success in the postpartum period.

 

Check out these links from the show!

 

Birth is an intertwining of souls, and the community a mother surrounds herself with can make all the difference. 

 

Show Notes: 

  • Mandy didn’t know about homebirth, but she did know that she wanted a doula. Her doula introduced her to the childbirth method.
  • Mandy’s water broke dramatically in bed with her first child. Even after 10 hours, she was only about 2 cm.  She went on Pitocin for about 2 hours.
  • Contractions stopped after several hours because baby was posterior. They thought he flipped, but he did not—not until the very end, after pushing for several hours.
  • Mandy’s doula was amazing at recognizing that her getting an epidural was quite possibly the best way to save the vaginal birth.
  • Between births, Mandy and her husband saw The Business of Being Born.
  • At the time, she felt almost ashamed to tell people that she wanted to have a homebirth.
  • “You don’t get a gold star for going natural”- No, I’m liking for an oxytocin high!
  • With her second birth, after choosing midwives, Mandy’s appointments were typically 1.5-2 hours long. This was perfect for her, as she had many questions about how birth would go compared to her previous experience.
  • During the birth, at one point, she was in the water and felt the urge to push. Her water broke, and there was lots of meconium.  With a quick check, her midwife determined that the baby was breech. 
  • Mandy was asked to get out of the water—the midwives informed her that the protocol is to transport to the hospital—likely to have a c section.
  • The second midwife checked to confirm, and Mandy was 10 cm—birth was imminent, and Mandy felt unsafe and scared. She didn’t even know that you could deliver a breech vaginally.
  • A panic attack was coming on for Mandy—and her doula came and got right in her face and told her that she could do it. It was everything she needed to say to help Mandy get the baby out.
  • Mandy remember shouting, “My vagina!” as the baby came out.
  • She discussed how women can go through something so traumatic, yet the first question still be, “is the baby okay?”
  • The birth team who came were both backups—and they happened to have been to a breech birth previously to this.
  • 6 months postpartum, Mandy found out she was pregnant again (a bit surprised!)
  • At the anatomy scan, Mandy had a slight placenta previa, but the doctor felt it would move before the birth- She would just get checked again towards the end of pregnancy.
  • At the recheck, Mandy found out that her placenta was completely covering her cervix. Even more so, where the umbilical cord was attached was right above her son’s head, which could have caused a lack of oxygen.
  • She got a second opinion ultrasound with the same results.
  • The doctors kept referring to her as “the homebirth transfer”
  • For the last few days, Mandy had to be on bedrest.
  • Her midwives continued prenatal care with her and remained as a support system.
  • At the home visit, the midwives and doula came and surrounded her when she needed it.
  • The day of the birth was very hard- Mandy had to walk into the OR by herself. Her husband and doula weren’t allowed to be there until she was completely prepped.
  • Mandy was able to do vaginal seeding for her son, thanks to the help of her doula.
  • She was able to lean into her doula very heavily as the doctors were sewing her back up after her son was born. This 45 minutes were the hardest for her, and she was so grateful for her doula’s presence.
  • Mandy’s midwives host a C-Section support group that meets monthly.
  • “Birth is this intertwining of souls”

 

Episode Roundup

 

 

 

  1. “You don’t get a gold star for going natural.”   It’s important to keep in mind that those who say these kinds of statements are uneducated about the benefits of experiencing physiological birth.  Of course, this isn’t a conversation you can have in the throes of labor, or ever, but it might be worth educating these people on why you’re making the choices you’re making.  Feel free to direct them to this podcast!  Of  course, if medication is relied upon during birth, this doesn’t make your experience any less valid or important!  But to speak down to women who are attempting to give birth without intervention is so unnecessary.
  2. I also want to acknowledge just how divinely Mandy’s second birth occurred. Praise God for putting exactly the right people at her birth who could knowledgeably and confidently support her through such a shocking turn of events when her baby was found to be breech.
  3. Finally, let’s end where we began. Mandy said it so beautifully, “Birth is an intertwining of souls.”  Mandy was surrounded not only by her husband, but also by a community of women who could comfort and encourage her.  These relationships are so intimate, so deep.  They can carry you through both the highs and the lows.  I want to encourage everyone to foster those relationships in your own community.  If you can be the shoulder for another mother to lean on, be it.  And if you need that shoulder, ask for it.  We need each other. 

 

Loss.  A painful subject, but a subject so near to so many women.  With statistics showing that 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage, I feel it’s incredibly important to process these types of events. 

I want to be completely transparent about the content of this episode, as I understand that even the mere mention of miscarriage and infant loss can bring a mother and father to their knees with a wave of grief.  This episode goes into detail about Ashley’s experience with loss, how it affected her life, how it affected her subsequent pregnancy, and how it has changed her as a woman today.  I am so grateful for her willingness to share, and to those who need to hear it, I pray this episode serves as a glimmer of hope, or a message that you are not alone. 

 

Show Notes:

  • Ashley’s first pregnancy was under the supervision of a traditional OB group.
  • She spent her time considering how she would care for her baby
  • Unfortunately, at 19 weeks, Ashley experienced the pain and grief of miscarrying her little baby.
  • She was taken by complete shock and surprise, as she assumed she was already in the “safe zone”
  • At her follow up appointment after her miscarriage, her OB prescribed her antidepressants without so much as a talk with Ashley about her mental state.
  • What’s worse, the subject of her loss was taboo—she was young, so many of her peers had not experienced such a situation, and though surely well-meaning, she was consoled with many “Well, at least you’re young” and other demeaning phrases.
  • She struggled for 6 years with her grief, with anxiety and depression until she finally found a therapist who helped her through meditation and relaxation practice.
  • She then met her husband, Kevin
  • They became pregnant the first month of trying to conceive
  • Ashley was surprised at the amount of anxiety she experienced during pregnancy
  • She took Hypnobabies and treated it as though it was a college course- using her 3rd trimester to prepare herself for pregnancy and postpartum
  • Ashley felt she could doula herself
  • Unfortunately, she neglected to prepare for early labor and felt lost during this time.
  • After a long early labor and being admitted to the birth center earlier than active labor, she found herself stuck in the fear-pain-tension cycle
  • After a midwife shift change, she felt even more off-kilter
  • Eventually, her midwife broke her water, which provider relief
  • Her labor stalled, and she could see that her family could feel her pain
  • At one point, her midwife, whom she had never met before, bent down to her face and said “Remember—this is not something that is happening to you—this is something that you’re doing.”
  • Ashley began to push immediately after, and baby was born within 20 minutes.
  • Her postpartum experience was incredibly hard, as her husband had to travel to Germany 3 weeks after her baby was born. She moved in with her parents for help.
  • Physically she feels it took about 5 months to return to baseline
  • Psychologically, however, she felt it took more like a year, and even then she still felt misunderstood and uncomfortable
  • Finally, once she weaned her daughter, she noticed one day that she felt back to normal.
  • She waited two years and began to pursue doula work.
  • Now Ashley is certifying as a doula through DONA and Still Birthday, and pursuing a certification in childbirth education, too.

 

 

Episode Roundup:

Such a powerful story.  Ashley’s heart for mothers is so apparent, and I’m so grateful for the work that she is doing.

 

Episode Roundup:

As we roundup this episode, I want to focus on one key aspect:  When we experience loss, it is okay, normal, and right to grieve.  I beg you not to bottle up your feelings.  I beg you to seek help and comfort.  Ashley mentions that it took her six years to finally start to truly work through her grief.  I also want to acknowledge the fact that…. Gosh, people just don’t know what to say, and that can cut so deeply.  Phrases that start with “at least…” are typically not going to end well.  I hope that this can serve as an educating point to those who have not experienced such a situation.  Putting ourselves in the shoes of others can be difficult work, but it’s always worthwhile.

Thank you for tuning into such a powerful episode, my friends.  I’ll see you back here next week.

Have you ever been on a drive and say 15 minutes in you think to yourself, “Woah, how did I get here?  You realize you’ve lost your way and you need to turn it around and go back to the start. 

 

In this week’s episode, we’ll be taking a look at the past, the history of midwifery and women’s care as it pertains specifically to the United States, and delving into some of the reasons that compared to many other westernized countries, women and babies in the US have abysmal outcomes. We’ll be sharing just how lost we’ve become when it comes to maternity care, and how we should really turn this car around.

 

Janelle Alier is a Certified nurse midwife local to me, and one of the coolest women around.  As she’ll explain momentarily, she’s worked with moms and babies in a number of capacities, and she recently opened her own homebirth practice, Paris Mountain Midwifery.

 

Show Notes:

 

Anciently (ex. Ancient Greece), women were held in high regard and valued as healers.  When the mindset began to change, in a way this was the beginning of the end.  This change corresponded more with religious and theological changes, not the dawn of medicine.

Protestants burning “witches”—women healers

Much of the knowledge gained over time began was lost with these women

 

Colonial America- childbirth attendants were women/midwives/family matriarchs

 

1800s- medical schools are popping up.  Physicians were around, but not trying to be involved at all

 

19th century—we could charge a fee! Began being interested in birth.  Obstetrics

 

Midwifery predates medicine: Rachel’s midwife is mentioned in Genesis

 

Varney’s Midwifery includes transcripts from Doctors meetings talking about the “midwife problem”

 

One doctor said the answer was to “educate the ignorants”.  This started a campaign to portray midwives as dirty and uneducated.

 

Laws began to change—it became illegal for midwives to practice the way they had.  They now had to obtain licensure by the state, which was almost impossible to do. 

 

What’s happening to birth at this time?  Physicians recognize that the midwives are more skilled and have better outcomes, but they did not try to work with or learn from the midwives.

 

Obstetrics in its infancy—it’s not going great!  Many deaths in the early years are now attributed to anesthesia

 

They were giving morphine and narcotics, which we now know doesn’t lessen the pain, it just makes you care less… and forget.

 

Culturally there was not a lot of accountability.  Family members were told that the women didn’t survive because “birth is dangerous.”

 

Late 50’s, early 60’s- nearly all birth occurred in the hospital

 

In the late 60’s and 70’s, there was a small subset of the population who revived the natural childbirth movement, but by that point, the medical model was so mainstream that this movement was considered radical

 

80’s and 90’s- c section rates soared

 

In the last few years, we’ve realized we’ve lost our way.  The profession of midwifery is becoming more organized, though there’s not tons of money for research, scholarships etc. as there are for medical students.

 

In South Carolina, Black Grand Midwives were the women delivering babies and taking care of the communities.

 

What do we do?

 

More midwives,  more midwives of color, better integration of midwives and the hospital setting  (if a mother needs to transport to the hospital, that should be easy).

 

In other areas of the Westernized world (Europe, Scandanavia, the UK, Australia, New Zealand etc.) midwifery wasn’t wiped out the same way it was in the United States. And their outcomes are much better than ours. 

 

In the UK—there are 5-6 times more midwives than OBs.  Everyone starts with a midwife, and if you need a physician, you get referred by your midwife.  The OBs manage higher risk care while midwives manage low risk birth.

 

In the US, only 10% of births are attended by midwives.  In Alaska, it’s up to 30%, whereas in Arkansas, it’s more like 1-2%. 

 

If you overlay a map of birth out comes by state and the integration of midwives… you see that where there are more midwives practicing, there are better birth outcomes.

 

In the US, we have 1% of planned homebirths in the home.  Most American midwives work in the hospital.  Globally, not only do they have more midwives, but they also have more options.  You can have a midwife at home, or she can follow you into the hospital and continue care (this is not the case in the US). 

 

Episode Roundup 

  1. The first thing I want to emphasize is the idea of encouraging the little ladies in our lives to embrace their healing and intuitive natures. What a spiritual gift—And truly, the best way to encourage this is to embrace it ourselves.
  2. Isn’t it amazing how in a matter of just a few generations our country lost so much birth wisdom? I’m grateful for the resurgence of midwifery, but how heartbreaking to think of where we could be now if circumstances had played out differently.  Perhaps our outcomes wouldn’t be so abysmal.
  3. And finally, looking towards the future, we have a chance to make things better.  We have the ability to speak out about the inexcusable rates of maternal and infant mortality.  We have the ability to inform other moms of their options, so that they’re willing to speak out, too.  On a local level, this can be as small as sharing your birth choices and experiences with others.   This is a perfect moment for me to give a huge thank you to all of the mothers who have so willingly shared their stories on this podcast.  Thank you for inspiring other mothers and showing how 

 

 

 

 

 

If you were a medical professional, do you think you’d be more comfortable giving birth in the hospital?

 

Meagan and her husband, both medical professionals had their first baby outside of the hospital, and their second baby at home.  Unlike many moms who decide to give birth outside of the hospital before or between hospitals, Meagan was actually introduced to the idea during her pregnancy—and it completely changed her trajectory!  Listen in to this incredible episode to hear her journey.

 

Show Notes:

  • Before her first pregnancy, Meagan had not considered anything besides having a hospital birth
  • A nurse she worked with asked her if she’d seen The Business of Being Born
  • Meagan watched the documentary, and immediately went home and watched it again with her husband
  • They both were immediately on board with having an out-of-hospital birth!
  • Meagan self-studied through the Hypnobirthing program.
  • She stayed incredibly active and had a great pregnancy
  • At 39.4 Meagan began to lose her mucous plug
  • Once labor began, she spent the majority of her time in the tub, which she found fascinating, as she doesn’t typically enjoy water
  • Around 6pm after laboring all day, the midwife on call (not the midwife she had expected or seen during prenatal care) came to her house to check her—she was 7.5 cm and the midwife was getting frantic that they needed to head to the birth center.
  • When they arrived, Meagan got in the tub with her husband. Soon she found herself on all 4’s as her baby began to crown.
  • Meagan mentions that the midwife was moaning with her—which although she couldn’t talk or say anything about, she hated it.
  • At the end, her hypnobirthing music turned off. She wanted her mom to turn it back on, but her mom did not have the password to her phone—her mom calmly asked her for the password, but unfortunately Meagan’s baby began crowning at that very moment.  She yelled at her mom to “F-Off”!
  • Her midwife gave her Pitocin without discussing it prior, and she cut the cord, though Meagan’s husband had wanted to.
  • She didn’t get her cycle back until after she stopped nursing completely
  • She struggled with insomnia beginning at 9 months postpartum
  • She became pregnant as soon as she stopped nursing
  • For this baby, Meagan had a wonderful midwife that she felt deeply connected with.
  • When the midwife arrived at 3am when Meagan was in labor, she immediately called the backup midwife.
  • Meagan was in the tub, but could not get comfortable. Finally she asked her husband to get in with her, and he did.  This changed everything.  Almost immediately she got the urge to push, yelling “I FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO SHIT…”
  • 3 minutes later, baby was born! She didn’t have to push at all!

Episode Roundup:

 

You know what’s fascinating?  From my perspective, at least, there have been a number of common themes throughout the last weeks of birth stories. I’ll begin with this.

  1. Although it could not be helped on Meagan’s part, she did not jive with the backup midwife who attended her birth. Luckily, she was at a place in her labor where it did not throw her completely off track, but it certainly did bother her.  This shows just how important the birth team can be.  Energy can be palpable, especially in such vulnerable a time as birth.
  2. And this is a funny one- I love how moms have certain tells of approaching the end of the birthing process. For example, Meagan mentions letting expliatives fly right before baby arrives both times.  This is so cute to me—I pray that doesn’t sound belittling—but some of my favorite moments at births have been when a sweet, angelic mom lets out a string of words that would make a sailor blush.   Truly, it’s such an amazing glimpse into the primal state of the birthing mother—and the openness that the birthing process demands.
  3. I also love hearing how the birthing process so often brings out the best in the partner team. Meagan’s husband was such a strong support for her.  The fact that him just getting in the water with her during their second birth allowed her that final piece of relaxation—that’s just so special.
  4. Finally Meagan took childbirth education seriously. You all know this is a passion for me, but I just love seeing mothers take their education and choices seriously, and Meagan absolutely did.

 

How did you know you were ready to become a parent?

 

 Desirea did not want children—until the moment she held her first baby in her arms.

 

When she and her husband got married, she told him that she did not want children.  He did not want children any time soon, but he did state that he always had seen himself as a dad.  They decided they would wait 5 years and reevaluate.

 

5 years came quickly!  She was still not ready.

 

Years down the road, Desirea’s husband came to her and said, “I’m not trying to pressure, but I wouldn’t be upset if we became pregnant.”

 

This sent Desirea into a tailspin because she was still not ready. 

 

She considered her life and realized that when she visualized herself in the future, she saw herself as a mother… to college age children.  (She would joke that if she could give birth to college-age kids, she would.)

 

She and her husband decided to stop using protection and she immediately became pregnant.  She was so shocked, she initially thought the test must be wrong!

 

She was scared, but when she told her husband, he said, “I know you’re scared, but I’m really happy.”  She no longer felt alone, even with the fear.

 

Desirea contacted two birth centers: one attached to a local hospital, and one other.  The hospital-based birth center was cold and unkind on the phone, while the freestanding birth center midwife was welcoming and loving. 

 

During the pregnancy, Desirea was confronted with a terribly difficult decision:  The birth center was closing.  She would now have to choose between having a homebirth or a hospital birth. 

 

Desirea and her husband decided to give birth at home.  She felt good, but nervous.  Several weeks later, she went back and found out that her midwife had decided not to renew her license—and she would not be available at Desirea’s birth.  The other female midwife was full, so she would now need to choose between a male midwife and a hospital birth.

 

Desirea decided to use the male midwife and have her former midwife as her emotional support.

 

She told herself, “your part-time job is to eradicate fear.” 

 

At 40 weeks and 6 days, Desirea went into labor.  She was careful to stay completely hydrated to prevent exhaustion. 

 

At one point, she wanted to be on hands and knees with her bum in the air.  She wondered if it was counter-intuitive, but she later figured out it was exactly what her body needed to reposition her baby.

 

After getting in the birth pool, a wave came and her body suddenly pushed. 

 

At one point, the midwives could not find her baby’s heartbeat.  At that point, the midwives encouraged her to push as hard as she could.  She got the baby out quickly, but she did tear.

 

Desirea greeted her baby- first with wonder, and then wonder turned to deep love.  When she realized it was a daughter, after thinking it was a daughter throughout her pregnancy, she was overcome: “I knew you, she said.”

 

After her first daughter, Desirea had a heartbreaking miscarriage. 

 

Two months later, she became pregnant again.  She had an anterior placenta, which gave her anxiety—the difficulty finding a heartbeat and the inability to feel movements.

 

Her second birth was much shorter.  Her midwife had a feeling that it was going to be a short labor, so she got in the car before Desirea even asked her to come.

 

Her doula arrived 45 minutes before the birth, and her midwife 20 minutes before.

 

Suddenly she felt she needed to poop, so her midwife rushed to get everything ready.

 

While the midwife was rushing to grab everything, Desirea pushed her baby out!

 

Episode Round-Up:

  1. The journey to parenthood is different for everyone.  Some people know from a young age they’ll want many children… for others, like Desirea, perhaps the desire sneaks up and surprises you.  I love hearing the many variations that we experience as mothers, and how the love we have for our children comes in so many different forms.
  2. Desirea’s discussion of fear-clearing throughout her pregnancy was such a wonderful reminder. With negative attitudes surrounding birth being the norm, it can take quite a bit of work to overcome fear.  Treating it as homework, or a part-time job, showed the commitment Desirea had to eradicating any negative feelings or anxieties she had about her upcoming birth. 
  3. What a gorgeous story. I hope this touched your heart as it did mine.  That’s all I have for you today, friends.  I look forward to seeing you back here next week.

 

How do you make strong, powerful decisions…and stand by them?

 

Dr. Kayla and her husband Anthony, before even beginning to try to conceive, felt they had been called to have a freebirth or unassisted childbirth.  Of course, this group is a tiny percent within the tiny percent of moms who give birth at home within the tiny percent of moms who give birth out of hospital.  So… about as niche as you can get. 

Yet even though it was their first birth, they felt strongly about their decision and knew it was what they were meant to do.  Listen in to hear how they approached both their wild pregnancy and wild birth.

 

Show Notes

  • After having a vision of a spirit baby, Dr. Kayla felt called to look into unassisted birth, which she’d never even heard of before.
  • She decided to have an unassisted pregnancy and birth, or wild birth.
  • She and her husband were very strong in their decision and made clear boundaries for those around them
  • She enjoyed speaking to several peers about her decision to have a freebirth. She felt that she was able to learn from them, and they were able to understand the importance of connection from her.
  • Her labor was rather short, though she was very active through it (squatting and walking around the entire time)
  • She timed her contractions originally by singing a song and seeing how long they took—I love this idea!
  • Although they had no care providers, they did hire a birth photographer.
  • Her husband was an incredible support- he always seemed to know what she needed right before she needed it
  • At one point she went into the bathroom alone to cry and pray. She came out feeling a surge of adrenaline.
  • Soon she realized she had a cervical lip, so after asking a friend what to do, he husband pulled her belly towards her chin for one contraction. This did the trick.
  • She then went into the bathroom again with her husband this time. They cried, he prayed over her, then they laughed together.  When she came out, another surge of adrenaline.
  • She tried pushing once, but it felt wrong. She decided to wait…. But immediately she felt the fetal ejection reflex and baby’s head emerged while she was in a deep squat.  Her husband caught the baby as he was falling back somewhat into the fireplace. 
  • Kayla was in such a euphoric state that she had an out of body experience.
  • She mentions that she’s never felt so incredible in all of her life.

 

Connect with Dr. Kayla!

Loveandlightfamilychiropractic.com

drkaylaabeid@loveandlightfamilychiropractic.com

www.freebirthsociety.com

 

Episode Roundup:

So many takeways from this episode.  It was such a deep, sweet story, and I love hearing Kayla share her heart.  She gave me chills with her sweet connection to her husband and baby.

The biggest takeaway from this episode for me? 

 

Dr. Kayla took her decision to have a wild pregnancy and wild birth seriously.  She wasn’t just leaving things up to chance—she did much preparation both mentally, physically and spiritually.  She was involved with a group of other women who had chosen the same style of birth as her, and she continued her education and connection with these women as well.

 

I love women who take full responsibility of their birthing decisions.  No matter what those decisions are—be it a hospital, a home, with a room full of people or all alone… stepping into motherhood in an empowered way will change our world. 

 

Mentioned:

Give Birth on Your Turf Tee

Homebirth Candles

The Dope Doula

I’ve got a secret for you.  Your uterus is unaware of the 5-1-1 rule.   

 

This week’s episode features the birth stories of Heather, who has given birth to both of her babies at home.  Her first experience of labor was with a posterior baby, and posterior babies are notorious for funky labor patterns.

 

Her second baby, though not posterior, also gave quite a different pattern. 

 

I love these stories because they show the reality of labor:  It’s different for everyone, and it’s different for every birth.  So while tips and rules are great to keep in mind, we must remember that our uterus doesn’t know these tips, and it may very well do its own thing.  We’ve just got to follow its lead.

 

Also.  For inquiring minds—the 5-1-1 rule is a common one given to first time moms:  Call the midwife when contractions are five minutes apart, lasting a minute for one hour.  And generally, this can be handy!  But let’s not forget—we’ve got to be in tune with our bodies.

Show Notes:

  • Heather knew she wanted to have her babies at home after several of her church friends had homebirths
  • Financially, she and her husband realized homebirth would be the cheaper option, and Heather has never been comfortable with the hospital seting
  • She mentions that her first pregnancy was easy, though she did go past her due date. Fortunately, her midwife had drilled in her head that most first time moms go to 41.1 weeks.
  • Her first baby was posterior, which made for quite a wonky labor pattern. At one point, Heather’s midwife put her in a position she called the “Texas Roll” or exaggerated sims position.  One leg straight, the other leg up at a 90 degree angle and belly diagonally on the bed.  This helped her finish dilating.
  • Heather pushed for 2 hours with her first baby and did have a 2nd degree tear. However, after measuring baby’s head, her midwife informed her that she had a 15inch head… pretty big! 
  • Between her first and second birth, Heather’s midwife retired. Instead of hiring her midwife’s apprentice (who was now a working midwife), she decided to go with another midwife in town, who was also a naturopath.  This was difficult for Heather, as she liked the other midwife, but she felt she’d be more comfortable with her new care provider.
  • The night before giving birth, Heather was having contractions every 30 minutes apart. She found this amount of time to be quite annoying—as soon as she’d start to fall asleep, the contractions would wake her back up.
  • This continued all day the next day. Even the next evening, they were still 30 minutes apart, but suddenly they were very strong when she had them. 
  • Heather’s midwife told her this had happened to her before, and not to worry. Her body would flip a switch and labor would likely go quickly.
  • She was right! All in all, Heather’s labor (from the time of the strong contraction) was 3.5 hours.

 

Episode Roundup

  1. I found it fascinating that Heather mentioned at the beginning of the episode that truly, when they prepared to give birth to their first baby, they recognized that homebirth was a less expensive option for them. People are often shocked to find out just how affordable this option is.
  2. Heather’s first midwife’s reminder is one of my very favorites: Most first time moms usually make it to 41.1.  We psyche ourselves up for the “due date” and can often feel frustrated when it comes and goes.  It’s so important to remember just how arbitrary that day really is.
  3. Finally, in my opinion, the most important piece to draw from Heather’s story: You’ve got to select a midwife that you jive well with.  Not every person is going to be comfortable with every midwife—this in no way means the midwife is not a good midwife.  It just means you’ve got to find the personality that aligns best with you and your family.  Be sure to check around and see what options you have in your area.  Of course, some areas truly don’t have many options.  But when it’s possible, interview a number of practices.

 

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Beautiful One Midwifery

 

“But what if something goes wrong?” Perhaps the most often question asked when a homebirth mother reveals her plans to her loved ones.  Sure, having a homebirth sounds like a good idea if everything goes right—but when it doesn’t?  What then?

Today’s episode is going to cover this topic and several more with two incredible midwives.  Tiffany and Kelly are the midwifery partners behind Beautiful One Midwifery, and their perspective is so useful.  I am so happy to offer this episode as a resource for you, mama who is considering homebirth, and for your loved ones who would like to know more about what happens when things “go sideways”.  Such an amazing listen. 

 

Please remember that the opinions of my guest may not necessarily reflect my own and vice versa, and although Kelly and Tiffany are midwives, none of us are acting as your overseeing medical provider, so please be sure to continue to see your doctor, midwife, or if you’re like me, your chiropractor.

 

 

Show Notes:

  • Tiffany and Kelly were both doulas before becoming midwives. They knew of each other for quite a while before realizing how similar their styles were.
  • Both decided to go to midwifery school. Upon completion of their programs, they decided to open a practice together.  Both were interested in a sustainable practice.
  • Today’s topic: What if something goes wrong?
  • Acknowledge that there are risks when having a baby- no matter where you give birth.
  • 3 major complications: shoulder dystocia, hemorrhage, and need for neonatal resuscitation
  • Kelly mentions that in truth, midwives are actually there for these specific events, not so much the easy peasy labors. Midwives are for when things “go a little sideways”
  • They discuss how baby is always telling us a story, we just have to pay attention to what is being said. Typically if something is off, little issues here and there will begin to “ping”
  • Tiffany and Kelly always prepare their clients for the 3 common complications prenatally. In fact, they bring their supplies (oxygen masks, tanks, etc) to the home visit to let parents see what is involved so that they are not taken by surprise if it’s needed during birth
  • Neonatal resuscitation:
    • About 1 in 10 babies will require at least a little extra help
    • A few helpful breaths

 

  • Postpartum Hemorrhage:

    • They emphasize nutrition prenatally (calcium supplement)
    • Discuss how there are a number of reasons for too much bleeding, but there are many ways to help stop it
    • Hands outside, hands inside, herbs, and Pitocin/other prescribed medications
    • A great way to prevent pph is a hands-off delivery of the placenta. Allowing mom to do this on her own.

 

  • Shoulder Dystocia:

    • A great idea is to ask your midwife what she typically does in the event of a shoulder dystocia
  • Beautiful One Midwifery puts a strong emphasis on postpartum care. They have extended postpartum care packages that they offer not only their clients, but their community as a whole.  I hope to see this become the norm!

 

Learn about midwifery in your state: https://mana.org/about-midwives/state-by-state 

 

Episode Roundup:

  1. We often forget that no matter where we give birth, risk is involved. There’s no guarantee that any birth will have a specific outcome—whether at home or in the hospital
  2. The midwives model of care is amazing for catching red flags and signs of concern because care is so hands-on prenatally. This allows a true understanding of both mother and baby, so when it’s time to make a change, a change can be made safely
  3. Neonatal Resuscitation, Postpartum Hemorhhage and Shoulder Dystocia are the most common concerns, yet for all 3, midwives take specific measures to bring the situation back into the realm of normal and safe. As Tiffany said, “Everybody doesn’t just die”
  4. I want this episode to serve as a reminder- talk to your care provider! Ask them what it is that they do when complications arise so that you can feel confident.  Ask them if they will show you the equipment so you’re comfortable with it beforehand.  I love this idea.
  5. Finally, extending postpartum care is such an amazing idea. I love that this is so front and center in their practice and care… I pray it catches on everywhere!

 

Keep up with Tiffany and Kelly!

 

Instagram: instagram.com/beautifuleonemidwifery

E-mail: hello@beautifulonemidwifery.com

 

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