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.

When your first homebirth turns into a transport, what do you do with baby #2?  Do you plan for the hospital, or attempt another homebirth?

 

Today we’ll be speaking with Nicole, who had to decide just that— should I try again at home? 

Now before we jump into the episode, I want to remind you of some super exciting news.  This week I’m hosting a free learning event— Homebirth Mythbusters: The 5 myths you need to bust to have a happy homebirth.  This masterclass is perfect for you, whether you’ve already chosen to give birth at home, or if you’d just like to have some questions answered before you make a decision. 

 

Head to myhappyhomebirth.com/mythbusters and reserve your seat.  A replay will be available, should you not be able to make it live.  But… attending live is perfect so that you can have all of your questions answered! 

 

I’d also like to thank our reviewer of the week, Jersey Girl 1223455667

 

Thanks so much, Jersey Girl!  Please send me an email at katelyn@myhappyhomebirth.com and I’ll send you a happy homebirth sticker

 

Okay, my friends.  Let’s head on over to the interview.  Please remember

 

Show Notes

Took Nicole and  her husband a year to conceive her first— struggled with hormonal imbalances

She delved into homebirth stories at that time— she didn’t think it was something that she would do with her first, but they watched The Business of Being Born and decided to look into it

 At 41.3, Nicole’s midwife did cervical acupressure, which dilated her from 2 cm to 3 cm

She was desperate to have her baby— she was doing everything she could to get labor started.

She had a large birth team and felt like she needed everyone there

After 36 hours of labor, they transported for pitocin

 

With the second baby, there was no doubt that they’d attempt a homebirth.  However, Nicole did have concern that her body might not “work”.

However, the transport was so successful, she wasn’t worried about being under the care of a midwife again anyway.

 

Nicole learned about Happy Homebirth Podcast and began listening.  When she realized that Happy Homebirth Academy was available, she immediately purchased it and immersed herself in the program.

She and her husband bonded through preparing with one another again.  

 

 On her due date, Nicole and her family decided to go camping.  They camped, then in the morning they went on a 3-hour hike.  She was exhausted, so she took a nap, which was irregular for her.

 

Later on in the day she noticed that her Braxton hicks contractions seemed a bit crampier. 

 

That evening, Nicole’s parents suggest that they go home just to be safe.  Nicole agreed, but not because she thought she was in labor—only because she wanted to sleep in her comfortable bed!

 

35 minutes into the ride, she had her first “very real” contraction.  Suddenly they were coming consistently.  

 

The second midwife came to check her when she got home and let her know that she was at 2 cm, so likely in early labor, but it could be a long time.

 

Nicole rested through the night, even though she was experiencing contractions throughout

 

She noticed that at this labor she was able to cope much better this labor.  Where last time she NEEDED people to hold and help her, this time she only needed her husband to remind her to breathe during contractions.  

 

Suddenly, Nicole’s labor went from 0 to 100.  Her husband texted the midwives, and one headed over.  Once she arrived, she checked Nicole and told her she was complete with her bag of waters bulging

 

Nicole was in shock that not only did her body “work”, but it worked so quickly!

She wasn’t ready to push, though, but finally realized that it was her bladder was completely full, but she wasn’t able to pee.  

 

Her midwife realized that he baby was asynclitic, and his head was untucked.  Because of this position, Nicole had to lie down on her bed with her knees to her chest.  Her midwife helped maneuver his head with each contraction to help him exit the birth canal.

 

The end of the labor was a lot and very difficult.  In fact, the labors were complete opposites.  With the first, the labor itself was long and difficult, but pushing was fast and easy.  With the second, it was fast and easy, but pushing was long and difficult.

 

Once her placenta was removed, they realized that it was bi-lobed, which means it looked almost like two placentas.  It was anterior, so between these two issues, that’s probably why her baby was having a difficult time exiting in the right position.  

 

Episode Roundup:

 

What a lovely episode.  As we head into this weeks episode roundup, I’ve got a few thoughts I’d love to cover.

 

  1. A hospital transport is not a failure.  Nicole was able to get the additional support she needed, and she ended up having a successful vaginal birth.  That’s a huge win.
  2. Just because Nicole’s first birth ended up in a hospital transport, this did not deter her from homebirth midwifery with her second pregnancy.  She loved the care that she received and knew that she likely would have a successful homebirth this time and even if she ended up needing to transport again, the care she would receive prenatally was completely worth working with her midwife again.
  3. Nicole and her husband rededicated themselves to preparation in their second pregnancy.  They took Happy Homebirth Academy together, and Nicole felt far more mentally prepared for her second labor with this style of preparation.  If you’re curious to learn more about Happy Homebirth Academy, make sure you’re signed up for homebirth mythbusters masterclass: Go to myhappyhomebirth.com/mythbusters to sign up
  4. Every birth is different—and sometimes they’re completely OPPOSITE!  Nicole went from a long labor with a fast pushing phase to a fast labor and a long pushing phase.  Each birth is its own story, so go into it with an open mind.  

Okay my friends, that’s all I’ve got for you this week… I’m looking forward to seeing you at our homebirth mythbusters masterclass!  

 Let’s say you struggle with anxiety.  Does that automatically count you out as a candidate for homebirth?

 

Welcome to BONUS Episode 100!

  

Because of all of the exciting things going on around Happy Homebirth, I felt a bonus episode was warranted for this week.  What exciting things? 

Well if you haven’t heard, I’m hosting a totally free, totally awesome masterclass next week.  It’s called Homebirth Mythbusters: The 5 Myths You Need to Bust to Have a Happy Homebirth. 

So…. Are you pregnant and considering homebirth?  Curious, perhaps, but you’ve got some reservations?  Or maybe you already know that you’re FOR SURE having a homebirth… either way, this free learning opportunity is for you!

 

I wanted to share Franchesca’s story in celebration of this event. Why?  Well, I’ll give you a two-fold reason.  First, Franchesca’s concern with homebirth was very anxiety-based.  However, as you’ll soon hear, she took steps to work through the anxiety, and decided to give birth at home.

 

Second, Franchesca is a successful graduate of my childbirth education program, Happy Homebirth Academy.  She used my course to prepare herself physically, mentally and emotionally to give birth at home.  Because I’m now hosting a FREE learning opportunity, I wanted to share a story from someone who entrusted me with their education and had a great experience with it.  So, what are you waiting for, and what do you have to lose?  Go sign up for Homebirth Mythbusters -- right now!  There are several times and days available, and there will be a replay sent to everyone who signs up if the times don’t work for you.  But of course, try to show up live—so that I can answer your burning questions on the spot!

Go to myhappyhomebirth.com/mythbusters to reserve your seat now!

 

Okay, let’s waste no time and jump into Franchesca’s incredible story!

 

Show Notes

Franchesca and her husband grew up across the street together.  He was 3 years older than her.  They lost touch for 10 years, then reconnected.  They dated for a year and got married exactly a year later.

 

She “definitely didn’t want kids”, and her husband said he could go either way.

They got married in 2018.  About 4 weeks later, Franchesca began balling because she realized she wanted kids. 
Her husband laughed and said that’s totally okay.

They waited until spring of 2020 to begin trying

They became pregnant on their first attempt

 

Franchesca wanted to use a private OB so that she would know who would deliver her baby.  She expected to use pain medication to avoid anxiety

Unfortunately, she did not mesh with her OB very well.  The OB was very nice, but did not understand Franchesca’s anxiety.  She seemed rather dismissive and would tell her, “You don’t want to rub anxiety off on your child…”

 

Decided to meet with a midwife to see if she could hire her to watch her at home only for labor

 

The midwife came over the same day and chatted with Franchesca.  Eventually, she asked— Have you considered homebirth?

Franchesca mentioned that she had big fears about emergencies, particularly related to bleeding.  Her midwife shared how she carries Pitocin and other medications should bleeding occur.

 

She decided to tell her OB her plans of laboring at home, especially when she found out that her OB was friends with the midwife.

 

One issue she had with the OB was that she was wishy-washy.  She said she supported Franchesca working with the midwife, then she suddenly began pushing the idea that she shouldn’t work with a midwife.

 

She began considering homebirth more, though she always allowed herself the feeling that if she needed to go into the hospital or wanted pain medication, she would easily go in.

 

 

Franchesca decided to purchase Happy Homebirth Academy.  She mentions the thoroughness of the course, and how knowing each step that your body is going through during labor is incredibly important.  

 

At 37 weeks she was checked by her OB…. She said that she assumed she would be in labor within the week (She was only 1 cm dilated).  

Towards the end of pregnancy, Franchesca began attempting to help her baby out: sex, nipple stimulation, red raspberry tea

 

On the day before her baby was born, she and her husband went on a walk, had sex, went on another walk, went to the mall and had a massage: Perfect recipe for labor!

 

Towards the end of the day, she felt like she was getting lots of downward pressure, and maybe even contractions.  She was trying to continue on with normal life, but it was very difficult for her to stay distracted.

 

She texted her midwife to let her know that she was having contractions, though they weren’t painful.  She told her to take a bath to see if they’d go away.  They intensified somewhat.

 

Her midwife told her to take a Benadryl and try to get some sleep if she could.  

 

At 5:30 or 6 she woke up and knew that she was truly in labor.  

 

Her midwife came over and checked on her, then said she would give her the IV antibiotics for Group B Strep, though her veins are very small and difficult.  Her midwife allowed her to have an intramuscular shot instead.

 

She got in the birth pool at 3pm and stayed in until 8pm—when she was in transition.  At that point, she asked her midwife if it was too late to go to the hospital.  She said, “I can prep you, but if you want an epidural I’ll have to give you 2 bags of fluids first… by the time you get to the hospital and actually get the epidural, you’ll be ready to push a baby out.”

 

Finally her mom and husband asked if the midwife could break her water.  The midwife said, “let me check her first…” she went to check Franchesca, and her water burst on its own…. Suddenly Franchesca felt the deep urge to push.

 

Her baby began crowning, and she felt it was intense, but not her least favorite part of labor.  The head emerged, so her husband caught the baby and handed it to her.  

 

Her midwife said, “At one point, I asked God to give you this experience so that you’d know that you are healthy and strong.”  Franchesca says that it did change the way she believes in her body.

 

 

Episode Roundup:

 

  1. Anxiety does not have to opt you out of a homebirth.  You CAN take steps to conquer your fears, learn about your body, and learn your strengths as a woman through the process of midwifery care and homebirth.
  2. I found it so interesting, and such a neat perspective that Franchesca was in no way dogmatic about her choices.  She allowed herself the grace to choose where she would finally give birth all the way up and through her labor.  Though this may not be the way others view their home birthing decision, I certainly appreciate Franchescha mentioning this, and I do believe it could be a very helpful approach for some.
  3. Finally, as Franchesca mentioned, knowing what is happening during the labor is over half the battle!  When you know that what you’re experiencing is normal, you can relax, let go, and allow your body and baby to work together.  To learn more about this process, make sure that you’re signed up for my free upcoming masterclass, Homebirth Mythbusters- the 5 myths you need to bust to have a happy homebirth.  Remember, head to myhappyhomebirth.com/mythbusters to reserve your seat.  Spaces are limited, so don’t wait!  Okay, my friends, that’s all I’ve got for you for today.  I’ll see you back here next week.

 

Did your spouse have any quality resources to help him prepare for homebirth?  

 

Today, we have the privilege of speaking to the man behind the coolest YouTube find ever, The Paternal Partner.  Sam Evans, a homebirth dad of two has taken the guesswork out of the dad birth prep.  This episode is full of insight when it comes to partner preparation, and Sam gives us some incredible tips and resources along the way.

 

This episode is so perfectly aligned with some crazy exciting news I have for you all.  There’s a new *totally free* learning opportunity for all of you, and it’s perfect for everyone considering homebirth and for those who have already made the decision. 

It’s called Homebirth Mythbusters, and registration is available now! 

To reserve your seat and learn the 5 myths you need to bust to have a happy homebirth, head over to myhappyhomebirth.com/mythbusters. 

And tell ALLLLL of your friends, because this event is going to be a party!  GO NOW!

 

Thanks so much, Ellie!  If you’ll send me an email at katelyn@myhappyhomebirth.com, I’ll be sure to send you a happy homebirth podcast sticker.  And if *you* have a moment to head over to apple podcasts and leave a hopefully 5-star rating and review, I will be forever grateful.

 

Show Notes

Sam's wife, Sarah, knew she wanted to have children, and she knew she wanted a homebirth.  When she met Sam, she let him know this from the beginning.

Sam was totally on board, and when they became pregnant with their first babe, they knew they'd be hiring a midwife.

The experience went wonderfully, though Sam realized there were some aspects of preparation that he'd overlooked.  He didn't realize how much there was to know-- what the heck is Vitamin K?!!

He also learned that his feelings of tension and stress could impact both his wife and the baby.

Second time around, he and his wife were once again on the homebirth train.  

Their daughter was born on the later side of the spectrum, which can increase the possibility of meconium aspiration.

She was born safely and was a beautiful pink.  However, as she rested on her mother's chest, she suddenly became limp and was struggling to breathe.  

Sarah and Sam's midwife took confident control of the situation and performed neonatal resuscitation until the paramedics arrived.  The family was transported to the hospital, where their daughter Maggie was able to receive more help.  

 

This experience, although not what they would have hoped, was still what they would have chosen over the hospital.

 

Since that time, Sam has created and founded The Paternal Partner-- a YouTube channel and website designed for dads.  He's teaching dads what they need to know about pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting in fun, quick videos.  

 

This is such a fantastic resource, and I'm so grateful to be able to share it with you all!

 

Sam gives his top 10 tips for dads in the episode, so click to listen!

 

 

Show Links:

https://www.thepaternalpartner.com

Home Births Demystified for Dads

Castor Oil Video 

Home Birth: How to Talk to Your Worried Loved Ones (R&B Jam)

The Price of Labor & Delivery

 

Episode Roundup:

 

What a solid episode!  I’m thrilled to have had Sam on the podcast, and I look forward to seeing his channel take off— it’s such a needed resource!

 

As we head into the episode roundup, I want to linger on two important points we made today.

  1. A homebirth doesn’t have to be perfect to be safe.  The story of Sam’s second baby’s birth is a perfect example of emergencies are handled at home.  Yes, emergencies still happen at home.  Albeit, rarely, but they do happen!  Luckily, Sam and Sarah had a midwife who was experienced and fully trustworthy.  She took confident control of the situation and kept everyone safe as they transported to the hospital for more support.
  2. We can use birth to capitalize on our relationships.  When we come together as partners and spend time considering how we’ll work together, both in labor and in parenthood, we truly set ourselves and each other up for success

Does homebirth affect your partner’s involvement?  I’m excited to share Julia’s stories, as we see quite a difference in how she and her family were able to work together in the hospital versus the home.  This isn’t an aspect we’ve covered much on the podcast, and Julia’s story brings up some amazing points.  Let’s dive in!

 

Show Notes

Julia and her husband became pregnant earlier in their marriage than they had expected, though they immediately became very excited.  When they lost their first pregnancy, Julia and her husband realized they were ready to begin their family and decided to try to become pregnant again.

 

Once pregnant again, they prepared for birth with a Bradley class.  They found the information to be incredibly helpful, and they looked forward to a natural birth in the hospital.  However, once they arrived at the hospital, Julia struggled with the intensity, especially because her husband had to continuously be pulled away from her do paperwork, etc. 

 

She was checked and realized she was only at a 4.  Because of the intensity and the expectation that labor would go on for hours, she agreed to an epidural.  Only 45 minutes later, she pushed her baby out.  She did have a terrible tear that shaped her postpartum experience.  It was very difficult to recover.

Julia had another miscarriage, and then shortly after became pregnant again.  With this pregnancy, she chose to go back to the same OB practice, as it had now added midwives (though the OB would still deliver the baby).  

She still wanted a natural delivery, but her confidence was shaken.  She decided to hire a doula and assumed this would keep her from a medicated delivery.  However, once in the hospital, the story happened similarly to the first.  Things felt intense, but she was checked and found only to be at 4cm.  She tried to continue on laboring, but eventually said to her doula, “I can’t do this anymore- I want the epidural.” The doula agreed and went to fetch the Dr.  Julia remembers thinking, “Wait, I thought you’d talk me out of it!”

After receiving the epidural, she was checked 30 minutes later and found to be complete.  She did decide to wait longer until she felt an actual urge to push, so she waited 45 minutes.

Her baby was born soon after with minimal tearing.  She was able to use a hand mirror to see him come out, and the Dr. Helped her reach down and put the baby to her chest.  This postpartum was much easier without the severe tearing.

 

3 years later, Julia became pregnant again.  She decided to work with a CPM in NC, where midwives are unable to obtain licensure.  Julia lost this baby at 12 weeks, which has become even more devastating each time.  Especially this time, as they had shared the news with friends and family.

 

With her next cycle, Julia became pregnant with her most recent baby.  She chose to work with the midwives again, but decided to stay on care with her current OB/Midwife office throughout the 20 week anatomy scan so that she could have insurance coverage through that time.

 

The reasons she particularly wanted a homebirth: she wanted her kids and family involved, and she didn’t feel that she could have an unmedicated birth in the hospital.

 

On July 30th, Julia slept in until 10:30.  She stood up, and her water broke.  She went much of the day without contractions, so she spent time with her kids and prepared some snacks.

Around 6:30 she began feeling contractions.

At 8, she called the midwife.

Her husband and 6 year old were amazing supporters, both helping her through contractions.  Her son was so excited for a baby sister, and he was very happy to be involved with the birth.

At 10, Julia’s midwife checked her and found that she was at 6cm and baby was at -1 station.  

The midwife told her it may helpful to get out of the pool, as contractions were so far apart.  Perhaps she should eat and walk around.  She had her husband go downstairs to get a snack, and at that moment, she suddenly felt her baby shift all the way down to crowning.  The midwives called for her husband and son, they came back, and she pushed her baby out in one contraction.

 

Julia felt so overwhelmingly loved and supported during her homebirth.  She felt like her husband was able to take on the perfect birth partner role now that he didn’t have to worry about all of the logistical issues of hospital birth. It was an incredibly redemptive birth.

 

 

Episode Roundup:
1. Children can be amazing to have at the birth, and they generally handle it very well.  Especially when they have a job!  I loved having my daughter present for my second baby’s birth.  We had my sister here to help keep her entertained when necessary, but it was beautiful having her involvement as her baby sister was born.

2. Where you give birth can have an impact on how your partner is able to care for you.  This is huge, and such a great point to consider!  When you’re leaving the home, there will be more logistical issues, more tasks… simply put, more things for him to do and consider.  When staying home, he can be focused on caring for you.  This gives such a sense of empowerment to both parents, and allows for a family birthing experience.

What unpopular child birthing or childrearing practice do you partake in?  Homebirth?  Cloth diapering?  Bed sharing?  I find myself checking many of these boxes… and truth be told, these “unpopular” choices are actually gaining popularity!  

I’m so excited for today’s interview with Tori, who is a homebirth mother to two, and author of the new book Ready to Unpop.  She dives into the “unpopular” practices in her book, and sheds light on the benefits and why mothers may choose to make those decisions.  She’ll be sharing her two birth stories with us, and then explaining how this led to her writing this exciting and helpful new book.

 

Before we jump in, would you take a moment to head to apple podcasts and leave a 5 star rating for us?  Maybe even a nice review?  You’re helping the podcast beyond measure when you do this.  I’d love to thank Rachel Clare, who left this sweet review:
Rachel, if you’ll email me at katelyn@myhappyhomebirth.com, I’d love to send you a Happy Homebirth Podcast sticker!

 

And— exciting news!  Happy Homebirth has joined the Pinterest world!  If you’re on pinterest, come follow along! 

 

www.pinterest.com/myhappyhomebirth

 

Show Notes:

Tori Smith

 

Her first birthing experience went unaccording to plan.  She was initially seeing an OB because she thought that her pre-existing condition of arthritis would risk her out of homebirth.  When her OB told her that was not the case, she decided to switch.  He was willing to serve as her backup. She knew that she wanted a natural birth, but her partner and family were uncomfortable with the idea of a homebirth.  Instead, they planned to give birth in a freestanding birth center.

As her labor began, she called her doula.  She was feeling intense contractions, but was confused, as everyone expected her first labor to be very long.  After conversing with her midwife, the midwife decided to come to her home and check up on her.  Once she arrived and performed an exam, she asked, “Would you be okay with having the baby at home? I don’t think you’ll make it to the birth center.”

Tori’s midiwife went to grab her equipment, her partner grabbed extra towels, and they readied themselves for an unexpected homebirth. 

The birth went beautifully, and Tori knew that if she had another baby, it would most certainly be a PLANNED homebirth.

Her birth team was preparing for a super fast birth, so when she went into labor, Tori was nervous that she wouldn’t call everyone in time.  She had her doula come over, and contractions seemed to slow a bit.  They all decided to sit down and watch Titanic.  Later, Tori found out that her daughter was born on the day the Titanic set sail, and her due date was for the day it sank.  She had no idea of this when she picked out the movie!

Soon, contractions started back.  Her midwife came over, and helped her with suggestions to have her water naturally break.  Once it did, the intensity greatly increased.

Tori hopped into the birth pool and gave one push, and the head of her baby was out.  Once she was fully out, the midwives recognized that the baby was not yet responsive.  They performed resuscitative measures for 3 minutes, and her baby took her first breath.  

Tori’s experiences have led her to write a book, “Ready to Unpop,” which she hopes will bridge the gap between the mainstream and more holistic models of care.  Her goal is to show mothers that these holistic practices aren’t just for hippies— and that no matter where you choose to give birth, you deserve to be supported!

 

Ready to Unpop on Facebook

Ready to Unpop on Instagram

readytounpop.com

 

Episode roundup:

  1. Reminder that freestanding birth centers and homebirths are incredibly similar.  The main difference is who gets in the car.
  2. This episode is another amazing example of how things don’t have to go perfectly and there is still safety and amazing outcomes.  Although Tori’s baby took several minutes to come around, the midwifery team was ready and trained on exactly how to proceed.
  3. Go check out Tori’s book, Ready to Unpop!

Prenatal appointments? Check.  Childbirth education program?  Check. And I’m sure it’s Happy Homebirth Academy.  You’re feeling prepared for your birth… but have you considered your relationship in the postpartum phase and how you can prepare it for the certain shifts that will take place?  Hey there….. Today we’ll be speaking with my friend Laura Spencer, a postpartum coach who has been in the trenches, experienced the difficult postpartum season with her relationship, and now so generously comes to share what she’s learned with us.  I know you will love this conversation and take away some incredible ideas.

 

Show Notes-- Laura Spencer

With her first pregnancy, she had expectations of how she wanted her birth to go, but felt completely blindsided by postpartum.

She hadn’t considered what becoming a mother would be, and what parenting together with her husband would be like.

Laura found herself in a place feeling like she had to perform.  She wanted to quit her job.  She wanted to be with her baby.  However, her expectations, values and desires were not being expressed easily, and her husband did not understand.  This led to great conflict.

 

Fortunately, Laura realized that she had the power to change much about the situation.  She began reading “The Power of a Praying Wife,” and she went to counseling and worked with a marriage coach.

 

After her own difficult experience, Laura now has so much to share with others:

Prepare Your Relationship for Postpartum (Prepare Your Communication)

  1. Make sure you are in the right place when you prepare for conversation: Spend time with yourself and know what you want so that you can convey it to your partner.
  2. Communicate with curiosity.  Consider, “Am I trying to defend, or am I trying to learn more?”
  3. Make a plan for post-conflict communication
  4. Questions to ask one another:
    1. What does compromise look like in our relationship?
    2. What will our relationship look like after baby?
    3. How can we support each other through change?
    4. What does it look like for you to be vulnerable with me?
    5. How can I find the courage to be vulnerable?
    6. How will we split up responsibilities?
  5. Focus together on how you can play on the same team
  6. Let go, have grace— for both yourself and your partner
  7. Consider how you are nurturing yourself.  Without self-love and care, you cannot truly give love and care to your partner.

To learn more about Laura, find her on Facebook and join her group: Motherhood Mentoring

 

Episode Roundup:

  1. Remember that the birth of your baby is not the finish line!  We spend so much time preparing for this, and very necessarily.  But building up the foundation of your relationship with your partner is so critical in this time.  In fact, there’s a whole module on this inside of Happy Homebirth Academy.  It’s crucial.
  2. Remember that you and your partner made (or are making) this beautiful child together.  You can make a great team, but it’s so important to remember just that— you’re a team.  The goal is to work together, even when it’s hard and even when you’re functioning on like 2 hours of sleep.  Preparation beforehand helps so much with these expectations.

 

You're listening to episode 105 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast.

How long did you wait to tell your friends and family about your pregnancy?  No time? 8 weeks? 12 weeks?  What about 6 months?  Today’s episode with Alissa covers an incredible array of stories, and she bears her soul with her experience.  I feel so honored that she shared her stories, and I know you’ll feel the same when you hear them.  I do of course like to mention when stories contain especially difficult situations, and I will aware you that she did have some very traumatic events occur at the hospital, and we will discuss a miscarriage.  These topics are so important to discuss, but of course I want to be sensitive to those who are approaching birth or who are in a place where they would prefer to wait until a later time to listen.  Otherwise, enjoy this amazing woman’s stories.

 

Show Notes:

 

Alissa’s first experience of pregnancy came at the age of seventeen.  She herself did not realize she was pregnant for quite a bit.  In fact, she ran an entire season of Cross Country and began the basketball season before anyone knew.  The realization of her pregnancy, however, came in a very public way, as she danced during a half-time show with her dance team.  Her shirt came up, and all saw that she was pregnant.  She hadn’t even told her family at this point, and she was 6 months pregnant.

 

Alissa says that no one gave her a hard time about her pregnancy, and everyone stood by her.   

 

Once everyone found out, she and her child’s father went to planned parenthood to receive care and figure out where to got an OB.  They measured her belly and told Alissa there was nothing they could do to support her.

 

Her first labor was incredibly fast, and she was actually only at the hospital for about 15 minutes before her baby arrived.  However, in that time she received both an episiotomy and had a vacuum delivery. Immediately following, she was simply proud of herself for having an unmedicated birth and knew she would do so again in the future (she’s highly afraid of needles—no way she’d have an epidural!)

 

13 years later, after marrying her husband, she became pregnant again.  They were in Texas for the majority of the pregnancy, and were planning a birth center birth with a midwife. 

 

Their anatomy scan showed bilateral choroid cysts, which had her very stressed.  Apparently it usually self-resolves, but when it doesn’t it can be fatal.  There’s nothing to be done for it, so they decided to remain calm and not do any additional testing. 

 

Around 28 weeks pregnant, they moved back home at the end, and decided that they would give birth in the hospital with a community OB who was greatly recommended.  She seemed to be comfortable with natural options.

 

She went into labor at 41 weeks, when her water broke, though there was no fluid.  She had another traumatic birth experience where no one listened to her requests— even the ones the doctor had signed off on.  She was only in the hospital an hour before baby was born, but her rights were trampled on constantly.  The next morning, they planned to leave, but the doctors told her that her Hep B results came back as positive, and they couldn’t leave the hospital without giving the baby the Hep B injection.  She refused, and knew that the results were incorrect.  She told them again and again to recheck, and they wouldn’t budge.  Finally they signed papers “allowing” them to leave, although legal action was threatened.  A week later, her doctor called to tell her the original results were wrong—they’d given her someone else’s results.  During that phone call, Alissa’s milk finally came in.

 

Alissa’s 3rd birth was a heartbreaking miscarriage at 10 weeks.  They learned that the baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks, and she wanted to miscarry naturally at home.  This happened over the span of a week, which she was very surprised about.  After losing a large amount of blood, they went to the hospital and found out that a small piece of placenta was adhered to the cervix.  Once the piece was removed, she stopped bleeding.  Alissa wants to shed light on the fact that miscarriages are labor and birth, and they should be treated and understood as such.  

 

She became pregnant with her rainbow baby two months later, and her family was thrilled.  She finally had the beautiful, peaceful homebirth that she deserved.

 

Episode Roundup: 

  1. Birth trauma is real, and it can impact our postpartum, our bond, and our mental and physical health.  This is a reminder that if you experience trauma or abuse with your care provider or nurses, you can report it.  There can be serious consequences for these types of situations for mother and baby, and those responsible should be held responsible.  
  2. Miscarriages are labor and miscarriages are birth.  I’m so grateful for Alissa sharing how her natural miscarriage happened, how she experienced it, and how it impacted her.  I know so many of you have been in her shoes, and my heart goes out to you.  Your baby matters, and your experience matters.
  3. And finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  After several incredibly difficult experiences, Alissa went on to have a glorious, triumphant homebirth.  A birth that was a huge step in the direction of healing, and that is what I wish for us all.

You're listening to the Happy Homebirth Podcast, Episode 104

 

Today's guest: Dr Rachel Reed is a midwife, academic, author, and international speaker who focuses on childbirth physiology, midwifery practice, and women's rights (and rites). She has provided midwifery care for many women and has attended births in a wide range of settings and circumstances. Rachel is the author of the award-winning blog MidwifeThinking and the co-host of The Midwives' Cauldron podcast. She has published widely in journals and magazines, and her first book Why Induction Matters is a popular resource for women and care providers. Her most recent book Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage: weaving ancient wisdom with modern knowledge will be published early 2021. Further information about Rachel and her work is available at www.rachel-reed.website. and….she’s just delightful. 

 

I find myself getting sucked into her blog archives for hours at a time, and for today’s episode I decided to ask her about several topics that she covers quite wonderfully there.  I know you’re going to deeply enjoy this episode.  With that, let’s jump in! 

Show Notes:

Big Babies

Most women having homebirth in Australia have “big” babies, and they’re not scary. 

In hospital, however, it can be a different story.  If a doctor diagnoses a mother with a “big baby” on ultrasound, it can begin to cause stress and fear for her.

Dr. Reed mentions that the research does not separate healthy, normal big babies from those whose mothers have gestational diabetes.  These babies tend to have bigger shoulders and can have more difficulty coming out (though most of them come out just fine, too).

“Big babies don’t scare me, but what people do about big babies does scare me.”

Women who are told they have a big baby: C sections, tearing, poorer outcomes are more likely— so it’s the outside causing the problem.

A care provider’s fear of the big baby can cause many of the interventions

 

Gestational Diabetes as a label— fairly nonsensical

If there are abnormally high blood glucose levels circulating, that does impact the baby and potentially the birth.  However, the blood glucose levels being used are not evidence-based

In Australia, around 17% of women are now labeled as a gestational diabetic.

When Dr. Reed was training, we only tested those who had risk factors.

The issues with challenge tests: it’s an abnormal test— many pregnant women are not drinking sugary drinks, so the tests results can be very off.

 

VBAC- Mountain or Molehill? 

Is this as dangerous as the medical community seems to happen?

Research related to this is mixed with those who are having inductions and those who are not— when we remove those who are having inductions, we see the already small number of issues become all the smaller.

Statistically a <1% chance of uterine rupture, compared to all of the issues that may occur during a Cesarean (there is a higher chance of losing the uterus due to hemorrhage during c-section than having a uterine rupture).

Inside the hospital, there’s been higher support for VBACs… if it’s done the right way: prepared for surgery, continuous monitoring, etc.

Many women are choosing to have home births because they’re having VBACs to avoid all of the issues that can occur in the hospital

 

The woman is the decision-maker.  It’s her body, her baby, her experience.  Dr. Reed discusses how the care provider’s role is to support the woman in whatever decisions she is making.

 

It’s so important to make sure that the midwife and client are on the same page at the very beginning of the relationship. 

 

“This is who I am, this is what I want, this is what I expect of you” from both client and midwife.

 

Fear Around Childbirth

 

Dr. Reed considers fear to be an important aspect regarding birth, as ancestrally we always would have had some amount of respect/fear for birth.

 

 

Separation Phase (early labor)— There’s anxiety and stress because you’re feeling the contractions begin.  The neocortex needs to be functioning at that time to prepare your surroundings.

 

Liminal Phase (active labor)— High endorphins, you look stoned— a woman should not be frightened significantly during this phase

 

Emergence Phase (birthing baby)— Requires neocortex function again, as you need to be able to push out your baby and then care it. 

 

How does this happen? (transition)  The body sends a huge serge of adrenaline— many people experience this as fear.  “I can’t do it” “help me” “I’ve had enough”

 

 

Preparation phase— all about the woman building self-trust.  Instead of trying to get rid of fear, we should focus on nurturing self-trust.  What do YOU need in order to trust that you can do this?

 

Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage

 

It’s been a very long labor, post dates!

 

Chapters:
Herstory

Legacy

Blood Mysteries

Childbirth as a Rite of Passage

Preparation (physiology, rites of passage, rites of protection,

Separation

Liminality

Emergence

Integration

Medical Birth Rites

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode roundup:

 

I really want to end today’s episode focusing on the first two words in the title of Dr. Reed’s upcoming book: Reclaiming Birth.  What does that mean to you, to reclaim birth?  The honest truth is that this momentous event, this life-altering rite of passage has indeed been stolen from mothers.  Generations of women didn’t even realize this, and many in my own generation still do not see that their power to be decision-makers in their own birthing experiences has been removed.  But… now, there’s such easier access to information.  Now we can look back, see the atrocities of the medical system in regards to birth, and CHOOSE something different.  We can choose to be in charge of our care, in charge of our birthing experience, in charge of our motherhood.  I want to thank Dr. Reed for adding to the evidence with her continued work. 

 

Okay, my friends.  That’s all I’ve got for you today.  Merry Christmas, and I’ll see you back here, next week!

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You're listening to Episode 103 of the Happy Homebirth podcast!

 

Today's episode features Elena, who was interviewed previously in episode 46:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/happy-homebirth/id1446934537?i=1000453404935

 

After having a hospital birth with her first daughter, Elena knew with her second pregnancy that she would be giving birth at home.  It took her several years to feel ready to have another child, but in the meantime she continued to prepare and educate herself even further regarding birth.

 

Once she became pregnant, Elena committed herself even further to her traditional diet and the practices of the Weston A. Price foundation.  

Elena heard about Happy Homebirth through the Wise Traditions podcast (Katelyn was interviewed):

 

Elena followed along with the show, and when she found out that Happy Homebirth Academy was in the making, she decided to jump into the founding member's group.

 

Other noteworthy aspects of Elena's story:

 

Felt like she was in transition for several hours— later realized that she had a cervical lip.  Elena's midwife eventually pushed the lip back during a contraction.

Soon after, Elena felt she needed to get out of the tub.  Instinctively she got into a squat and began to push.

 

Postpartum Elena had mastitis: Used phytolacca, belladonna homeopathic and steeped herbs to put on her breast, took sunflower lecithin 

You're listening to the Happy Homebirth Podcast- Episode 102!

In today's episode we're speaking with Robyn Riley all about her journey to having her first baby at home.

 

She decided that homebirth was the appropriate path for her well before she was pregnant-- in fact, 10+ years before!  

 

Robyn and her husband met in their early 30's, and they were both eager to settle down and start a family.  They decided to court for one year, and then if they were the right fit, they would get married and start a family immediately.

 

Robyn began preparing her body for conception well ahead of time.  She cleaned up her diet and supplemented with important nutrients like Iodine.

As soon as they were married, Robyn and her husband began attempting to conceive.  During the second month, Robyn became pregnant!

 

Her husband was away on a job interview trip (they were hoping to move from Brussels to Canada) when she found out, and she decided to wait until he was home to tell him-- it was incredibly difficult not to tell him on the phone!

 

Once they moved to Canada, Robyn found a midwife.  She shared with her midwife that she was a Christian, and she was shocked and comforted to find out that her midwife shared her faith.  Robyn discusses how incredible this was-- especially because this was the only midwife anywhere near her area!

 

Her pregnancy went very smoothly, and at the end, she began seeing a chiropractor and pelvic floor physiotherapist.

 

Robyn practiced pushing and stretching using a device called the Epi-No: https://www.epino.de/en/epi-no.html

 

During labor, Robyn found herself lying completely still- something she did not picture! 

Once her baby was born, she learned that he had a nuchal hand (a fist up next to his head), which she feels is the reason she needed to remain still.  Fortunately, Robyn did not tear.

She chose to use a protocol for the third stage of labor (pushing out the placenta) that requires the mother to stand up at 3 minutes after birth, cut the cord, and push out the placenta.  The belief is that this helps prevent postpartum hemorrhage: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344429308_Expedient_Squatting_Third_Stage_technique_to_prevent_bleeding_at_birth

 

Robyn mentions how amazing her midwife was in the postpartum period.  Right as her son was born, the world went into Covid lockdown.  Her midwife visited daily, bringing soups and nourishing foods from Robyn's church community.  She cared for Robyn and helped her immensely in what is such a critical phase.  

 

If you'd like to learn more about Robyn and her Youtube channel, follow along here:
https://www.instagram.com/realrobynriley/

Youtube Channel: Motherland

 

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