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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.

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Show Notes:

  • Leah is a registered nurse engaged to a UFC fighter, Brandon Davis. They have just grown their family with a new baby!
  • She had a homebirth with her first baby. When asked how she decided to have a homebirth, she said she’s always been fascinated with it, but she doesn’t have any friends or family members who had had homebirths previously.  That being the case, it took a large amount of research on her part to come to the decision and know for certain she wanted to give birth at home.
  • As a registered nurse, she did have some negative reactions from coworkers and friends about her decision.
  • “I think that labor is best left untouched.”
  • Leah’s fiancé was very uncomfortable with the idea of a homebirth. Early on, she asked him to visit several care providers, and he quickly disagreed, saying she needed to give birth in the hospital like every other “normal” mom!
  • Not wanting to argue, Leah began seeing an OB. She continued with this care provider up until week 26, when she began feeling very uncomfortable with the idea that she was now going to be having a hospital birth.
  • She decided to set up a quiet little meeting with a local midwife without involving her fiancé until afterwards. She immediately felt connected with this midwife and said, “This is it.  I know that whatever my birth story is going to be, you are going to be a part of it.”
  • Leah continued to see both her OB and her midwife up until week 36, where she completely transferred care over to her midwife.  Though she liked her OB, Leah began feeling pushed to do things she didn’t want to do, including a  3rd trimester ultrasound and weekly cervical checks after 35 weeks.
  • She felt that her prenatals were far more in depth with her midwife; they discussed issues like nutrition, which never happened with her OB- not because she didn’t care, but simply because there was just not enough time.
  • In fact, her OB was so busy, that she had a patient due every single day of the month that Leah was due. She had warned Leah that she would likely not be the person delivering her baby anyway.
  • Leah’s midwife was able to discern that her baby was posterior, and explained how that had the potential to complicate, or at least prolong, labor. She recommended chiropractic care and yoga to help get baby in a more optimal position. 
  • She appreciated how much more hands-on her care was with her midwife. The OB pushed for a 3rd trimester ultrasound to see baby’s position, but her midwife already knew baby’s position by consistent belly palpation.  “I felt like she was almost a sister or a mom to me, as well as a care provider.”
  • Leah decided to work up until the day that she gave birth.  She was healthy and her baby was healthy, so she decided to continue.
  • During her 39th week, she got up on a Friday to go to work and noticed some bloody show. She let her midwife know, and asked her what that meant in relation to when labor would start.  Her midwife responded that it could be any time between the next 24 hours and week!
  • Leah went to work and worked the full 12 hour shift. She was on her feet all day, and by the time she got home, she was feeling crampy and “not good,” but she hadn’t realized at that point that she was on the cusp of labor.
  • Leah tried to go to sleep early, but couldn’t sleep. Although she was feeling crampy, she thought that maybe she was just experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions.  At about 3:30 in the morning, the discomfort was feeling less tolerable.  She thought that maybe she should start timing them to see if they were actually contractions.  At this point, she was having contractions every five minutes. 
  • At 4:30, she called her best friend who lives hours away and let her know that she thought today was going to be the day, so get in the car and head her way whenever she was up and ready.
  • At 5, Leah called her midwife and let her know what she was feeling.
  • An hour later, she called her midwife back and let her know that she was still consistently contracting.
  • At 8:30, Leah’s midwife arrived. Leah says, “I remember walking to the door and saying, ‘Hey…I feel like crap.’”
  • Her midwife checked her and said, “Strong work, girl! You’re a 6!”  Leah was very happy to know that her contractions were doing something!
  • Leah’s midwife had an assistant with her, who also acted similar to a doula during the experience.
  • In the late afternoon/evening, she was checked again and was at 9cm with her bag of waters still intact. Her midwife gave her the option of continuing with labor uninterrupted or breaking her water.  Leah decided to wait and see and did not want her water broken at that time.
  • She labored on for another hour and began feeling exhausted. At that point, she decided to have her water broken.  She as laboring on the bed at this time, but her midwife told her she should try to decide where she wanted to be when they had the baby since they were getting close.  She labored for about 26 hours total, but only spent about 45 minutes in the pool.  She decided she wanted to go back to the labor pool.
  • Leah’s midwife told her that would be fine… but she was worried that they wouldn’t actually have time to get the birth pool set back up before baby arrived.
  • Leah decided to go for the next best thing- her shower! At this time, she was already feeling pushy.  With her next contraction, she made a clear pushing sound, so her midwife came back into the room…. Only to realize that Leah had already birthed the baby’s head!
  • Her midwife came behind her and provided perineal support to help prevent tearing. After a few pushes, Leah’s midwife that the baby wasn’t coming out.  She asked Leah to give her everything she had during the next push.  At this point, Leah was doing all that she could, and wondered what was happening.  Her midwife told her that she would need to get out of the shower if baby didn’t come with the next push.
  • Baby still did not come, so Leah stepped out of the shower/tub and her midwife had her get onto her hands and knees on the bathroom floor. Her midwife had her alternate lifting one knee into a runner’s lunge, and then the other knee.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Baby still was not coming, though Leah’s midwife did free a nuchal cord that was wrapped twice around his neck.
  • At this point, about 5 minutes had passed. Leah’s midwife had her lie down on her back and lift her knees up as high as possible (this is called the McRoberts maneuver).  Baby came at this point!!
  • Leah’s baby was not crying or vigorous when he was born- he was absolutely exhausted. It took a bit of stimulating him to finally get a solid response.  Of course, he was attached to the cord this entire time, so he was still receiving oxygen via the placenta. 
  • Even after this entire situation, Leah did not tear at all during her birth.
  • She and her midwives spoke after everyone had calmed down. Leah was curious to hear how this situation would have played out in the hospital.  She learned that she certainly would have received an episiotomy, which she mentions is not a very helpful intervention because a shoulder dystocia is not a skin-on-skin issue, but rather a bone-on-bone issue. 
  • Leah says that she felt so good postpartum that she probably didn’t take it quite as easy as she should have. Postpartum bleeding ended up being somewhat of an issue. She had a hard time just lying in, so she admits that she ended up doing too much and being on her feet too much!
  • She felt such a sense of empowerment after the experience, and so did her fiance. He was very upfront that he didn’t want her to give birth at home, but after the experience, he couldn’t stop bragging about her. He was so happy with their birthing experience.

 

Episode Roundup

  1. This is an amazing example of a rather large complication being handled at home. Notice how calmly and skillfully Leah’s midwife managed the shoulder dystocia.  She had her get up, then hands and knees, then alternating lunges, and finally had her move onto her back with her legs pulled up.  She also knew the importance of course of keeping the cord attached so that Leah’s baby still had a direct flow to oxygenated blood, even if he wasn’t quite breathing yet.
  2. Just because you’re feeling empowered and strong doesn’t mean you should go make dinner! Once again, make sure you are taking care of your body and recovering appropriately after birth. 
  3. If your gut is telling you to go with a certain care provider, please be in tune with that.

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Show Notes:

  • Madeline Murray is a CPM working in Atlanta, Georgia. She is part of a 3-midwife practice called Modern Midwifery
  • She had her first child this past year, and remembers people telling her that having a baby would make her a better midwife. Though she’s not sure if she agrees, she definitely thinks being a midwife made her a terrible pregnant lady!
  • Madeline was born at home in 1982 (her mother had her first baby at home in 1977). When she was growing up, homebirth was the norm for her
  • How she got into midwifery: Her job was coming to a close as a nanny, and she witnessed her sister-in-law’s victorious VBAC
  • She went to Midwife’s College of Utah for her didactic training
  • She attended births in Haiti and the Philippines, then finished her training in Oregon at a birth center
  • Madeline explains “Believe in Midwifery”
  • She discusses how difficult it was to be living in Oregon and not be able to experience anything outside of an hour away from the birth center. She was feeling suffocated from being on call all the time, but felt she wasn’t allowed to say anything about it.
  • “I was either going to quit or figure out a way that I could get a little time off.”
  • “I knew that I wanted to be a midwife, I knew that I was going to be a great midwife, but I also knew that I couldn’t do it in the system that is set up right now.”
  • Madeline developed a schedule for the midwives and midwifery students that showed how each of them could receive time off while still providing continuity of care for their clients. She presented this at a staff meeting.
  • The midwives told her that it would work, but that’s not what “midwifery is”.
  • Madeline discusses the physical toll that on-call workers take by that type of lifestyle.
  • “I could be both things: I could be a good midwife and someone who wanted to have a life, too.”
  • “The midwives model of care is the answer to so many of themajor problems with the birth culture in The United States”
  • “To make midwifery sustainable, midwives need to have regularly scheduled time off call.”
  • Madeline discusses how she feels like if mothers knew and understood what that on-call lifestyle was like, they would be just as happy to have this system as midwives.
  • She mentions that one incredibly depressing statistic is that the average career time of a midwife is a mere 7 years.
  • She also brings up a fabulous point: how one midwife for one client in and of itself is still somewhat isolating. The ability to have several women pouring into each client is an incredible benefit and truly more in the sisterhood vein that midwifery was intended to be!
  • Contact Madeline!:
  • believeinmidwifery.com
  • com/believeinmidwifery
  • midwifemadeline@gmail.com

Episode Roundup:

1. It’s okay to want to be a midwife or birth worker but have a life outside of that, too!  Your family is important, and you need to be able to be there for them.

2. In order to provide more services to more mothers and to prevent burnout and short careers, we need to find a way to make midwifery more sustainable.

3. For mothers, seeing several midwives gives the benefit of seeing several different women, perhaps with different styles of mothering or in different phases of motherhood and life.  I know this left a huge impact on me, and I’m so grateful that I was exposed to a few strong mothers/care providers before entering into motherhood myself.

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Show Notes:

  • Kendra is a mom of 4: a 6 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old, and 1 month old
  • Before becoming a mother, she was a vet tech. After the birth of her first child, Kendra entered the world of birth photography and has not looked back!
  • She and her husband, who were high school sweethearts, have always seen eye to eye on birth: He has supported her in all of her birthing decisions.
  • At the age of 19, Kendra’s doctors informed her that she would likely never become pregnant; she had chronic lyme disease, as well as what they thought was PCOS.
  • Shortly after marriage, Kendra had a miscarriage. Although very disappointed, in a way they felt positive that she even conceived at all. After speaking with several doctors, they decided to begin trying to get pregnant (they hadn’t been, previously).  After a year, Kendra became pregnant with her daughter.
  • She had what she refers to as a very “by the book” pregnancy and birth with her first daughter. Kendra says she didn’t think to research much.  She was told that she had borderline gestational diabetes, and her OB wanted to induce her at 39 weeks for fear that the baby would be “too big.”
  • At about 3 cm, the nurse told Kendra that she looked uncomfortable, so she’d send the anesthesiologist her way.
  • Kendra was nervous about the epidural, and now recognizes that she ended up having a panic attack due to the lack of feeling in her legs.
  • Her daughter came out at just over 6 pounds, so NOT TOO BIG!, but she was a healthy girl, so Kendra and her husband did not think much of the experience.
  • After the birth, Kendra said to her mom, “Gosh, I wish there could have been someone here like a wedding photographer to take pictures of the birth.” The nurse then told Kendra that that’s actually something people do!
  • It was through her clients that she began realizing that she could have her next baby differently.
  • “I started researching and realizing how I wanted to do it different if we had another baby”
  • A month after her realization, she was pregnant with her second child!
  • At 37 weeks, her OB told her they needed to go ahead and have her little boy- there were complications with the placenta.
  • Kendra did receive Pitocin for an induction, but did not use any pain medication for his birth. She says it was the most exhilarating thing she’d ever done. 
  • “It was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done.”
  • She hired a doula for her second birth. Kendra says, “My husband was my number 1 support.  I wanted the doula for him to be able to support me.”
  • Her doula was amazing at helping them weigh each choice that came up.
  • “With birth, you really have to know your choices… and what you want for your birth.”
  • Kendra thought she was done having children, but then became pregnant with her third! She switched care providers this time in hopes of not being induced.  She was able to get exactly what she wanted, and had a completely natural childbirth at the hospital.  Baby weight in at 5 pounds and some change. 
  • Compared to the Pitocin contractions, Kendra couldn’t believe how well she was able to cope with the unmedicated contractions. She compares the difference, saying that with Pitocin she felt like she was out of control, but with no Pitocin, she knew a contraction was coming and felt she could ride the wave. 
  • Kendra’s third baby was over 9 pounds!
  • Once again, after their 3rd baby, Kendra and her husband decided they were done having children…..
  • Then…. She photographed her first homebirth! “Then I photographed my first homebirth, and I was just amazed.”
  • Kendra said she had never felt more safe for a mother than at the homebirth, and she has what she refers to as a “duh moment,” where she thought, “This is how it is supposed to be… in the comfort of your own home surrounded by people that you love and trust.”
  • She said that if they were ever crazy enough to have a 4th baby, they’d have a homebirth… and then she got pregnant.
  • Kendra interviewed the same midwives that she had worked with at her first homebirth and loved them. She decided to hire them, and that was that!
  • Kendra talks of how it was quite a switch to go from birth photographer to client. As a photographer, she speaks of how it’s all about going unnoticed.  To then have prenatals and care be centered around her was quite a different experience.
  • Kendra loved how her prenatals were in a living room type office instead of a cold, clinical exam room. She loved that her kids had a place off to the side where they could play with hot wheels and baby dolls.  It made all of the appointments so much comfortable than what she’d experienced before.
  • After the first appointment, Kendra’s daughter told her that she wanted to be with her at the birth. Her daughter was always asking questions and involved in the prenatals, and the midwives included her completely.  She loved the experience and how it felt like family. 
  • Though she didn’t add anything new to her pregnancy routine, Kendra says this felt like her healthiest pregnancy. She attributes this to feeling so relaxed.
  • One exciting aspect of this pregnancy for Kendra was that she did not have to drink glucola for her gestational diabetes test.
  • She loved that her midwives looked through her history and realized that the fact that her lyme disease affected her pancreas could very easily be why she failed the gestational diabetes test in the past.
  • At 38 weeks, Kendra called the birth team to her house. They were there for 14 hours, when finally she asked to be checked.  She found out she was 3 cm dilated, and her midwife told her she thought what was happening was “prodromal labor.”  She was so frustrated, but also felt incredibly supported.  Her midwife reassured her that this was a normal part of birth and labor.  The same thing happened a week later.  Finally, at 41+ a few, she began having contractions.  Kendra got in the shower, and the contractions quickly intensified, so she called her team back.
  • Her doula arrived about an hour later, and the contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart, and very intense. Her doula texted the midwives telling them to come, but not necessarily to rush because Kendra felt it would still be a while.
  • Kendra’s daughter, wearing her “tiny doula” shirt, took care of giving her water and helping in any way she could.
  • Kendra felt like she needed to go to the bathroom, and while she was on the toilet, her water broke. Once it broke, her contraction was incredibly intense and she called her doula in. 
  • Kendra’s student midwife arrived and had her lie on the bed on her side, in hopes of being able to breathe through the contractions until the midwife arrived.
  • Once the midwife was close enough, the student midwife told Kendra she could get in the tub. She immediately stood up from her bed and sprinted downstairs to the birth pool. 
  • “I remember thinking to myself, ‘my body is doing things, and I’m not doing it.’”
  • She felt lots of pressure and put her hand down to see where the baby was. She realized his head was out, and then his body slid out after.
  • This baby was 6lbs 5oz, so much smaller than her previous!
  • Kendra’s labor was very short, which she appreciated after so much prodromal labor.
  • They noticed that her baby had a “true knot”. The cord was very long, but it tore away from itself, so her midwife had to clamp it quickly.  All worked out perfectly.
  • Kendra had lost a very close friend of hers in August 2017- she was like a mother to Kendra, and she always came to help with the children after each birth. It was incredibly emotional moment for her once her baby was here and she felt like her friend was there with them.
  • Kendra discusses how if she would have gone into the hospital during either of her prodromal labor situations, it’s likely they would have admitted her and progressed her labor synthetically because she wasn’t progressing.
  • “If you’re healthy and the baby’s healthy and you’re doing all the best things- the baby really will come when he’s ready!”
  • Kendra mentions how the long wait after prodromal labor was very tolling on her. In fact, she had a night where her mom took her kids, she cried, had a bath and processed through all of her emotions… and then the baby was born two days later!
  • com/kendramillerphotography
  • com/kendramillerphotography

 

Episode Roundup:

  1. Parenthood is a continuous learning journey. We don’t have, and never will have, all of the answers, but if we keep an open mind, we will continue to grow and make the wisest possible decisions for our families.
  2. Your body and your baby are so deeply connected, and they work together so beautifully. Although Kendra’s prodromal labor was incredibly frustrating, she and her midwives decided to continue to wait until her baby was ready- this led to a beautiful, healthy outcome. 

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  • April and Aleena are sisters, Aleena is the oldest, so she gets to go first!
    Aleena has 4 children and a loving husband. Her kiddos are 13, 11, and a pair of boy/girl twins who are 9.  Her family has moved a round a bit, but they now live in the Boise, Idaho area—7 minutes away from her sister, April!
  • April has 4 kids with a babe on the way—She has 3 little girls: 7, 5, 4, and a 2 year old boy.
  • These two sisters own the company Dear Darby, which was created about 1.5 years ago.
  • April has been a doula for almost 7 years, and Aleena has been for about 2. April had mentioned how much she would love to create a functional/beautiful labor gown.  After attending her first doula birth in the hospital, Aleena completely agreed and knew they had to make this product happen.
  • April had be having homebirths, and felt that there was nothing on the market for mothers that was functional for that setting, either. Typically sports bras and a skirt or pants are the go-to, beyond the typical birthday suit!
  • The gowns they saw on the market were often replicas of hospital gowns, just in pretty colors.
  • Their product has finally launched (about a month ago)!
  • “Women are too important and birth is too important for you not to show up as your best self” This is what inspired these sisters to create a luxury labor gown for all birth settings.
  • Backing it up, we go into more detail about Aleena and April’s personal stories.
  • Aleena’s last pregnancy was a twin pregnancy, and as she says, “It was a doozy!” Her first two births were with a midwife in the hospital.  When she moved to Las Vegas, she found out that at that time, Las Vegas did not allow midwives in the hospital.  She had to go through 3 OBs to find one who was even willing to consider doing a vaginal twin birth.
  • Aleena tells a really neat story of her mom having a premonition that she would have twins—and she didn’t find out until her 20 week ultrasound that they were actually twins.  “They put the ultrasound machine on my belly, and I see two babies.  So I said, ‘Oh, is that an echo?’ And the lady said, ‘Oh, you didn’t know you’re having twins?!”
  • During the birth, Baby A came out head first, and Baby B ended up being breech. Luckily Aleena was able to have the vaginal birth that she desired!
  • Because Aleena had an amazing unmedicated birth, all of her sisters decided to follow suit. By the time April was beginning to have children, she was very comfortable with the idea of an unmedicated birth. 
  • With her first birth, April planned to have a hospital birth. However, around 28 weeks, she started considering other options.  The midwifery practice she was with was rather large, and she felt that she had to keep explaining herself and her goals again and again to new people.
  • “I wanted whoever was up in my business to be my best friend!”
  • She decided to change to a birth center, and loved her experience. Later, she realized that the only part she didn’t like about the birthing experience was getting in the car and driving to another location.  For that reason, she decided to have her next babies at home!
  • It was actually Aleena’s birth that April witnessed that gave her the “birthworker bug” (at the age of 21!)
  • Aleena has been a doula and childbirth educator for 2.5 years now. She owned a health and nutrition store for about 7 years prior to that.  She’s always been an entrepreneur at heart, even in childhood when she’d sell snow cones and McDonald’s toys in the neighborhood! 
  • When April mentioned the idea of creating birthing gowns, Aleena though, “Oh, that’s a business! We can do that!”  And set off contacting manufacturers. 
  • “If we change their clothes and change their mindsets, they will show up how they want to show up.”
  • April and Aleena discuss the community aspect of Dear Darby and how they are hoping to influence birth for so many.
  • “Women need women… especially in birth, and just in life.”
  • instagram.com/dear_darby
  • www.deardarby.com
  • Sizes range from small-3x
  • Facebook Group: The Darby Clan

 

Episode Roundup:

  1. Changing what you wear can be a very powerful way to change your perspective- empower, give autonomy,
  2. Women need women- There is such a sisterhood to be had when we allow ourselves to become close with mothers around us- of varying ages and stages!

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Show Notes:

  • Carrissa is a mother of 6 children: 5 girls and 1 boy.
  • She always knew that she wanted a big family: Carrissa has 4 siblings herself, and her husband was an only child- both were very on board with a large family!
  • I met Carrissa through a group in which she has been an admin of for over 9 years- Homebirth and Waterbirth.
  • Carrissa explains the group and its purpose: A place for mothers interested in homebirth and waterbirth to come and feel connected and supported.
  • When she became pregnant with her first child, Carrissa began thinking that she wanted to have her baby in the most natural way possible. Her husband was not quite comfortable with the idea of a midwife at that time and preferred they use the hospital.  Carrissa decided that was okay and went along with a planned hospital birth.
  • Unfortunately, while in labor, Carrissa had a very negative reaction to a medication given to her. On top of that, her water was broken very early- she was about 4 cm dilated at the time. She continued to labor, though and at close to 9 cm, she asked for medication to ease the discomfort.  They gave Carrissa Fentanly through her IV, and immediately she felt a shift in her body.  Baby move back up the birth canal, and her cervix actually began to close- she went from 9 cm dilated to 7.
  • Carrissa went unconscious for a moment, and the nursing staff had to wake her back up. Her baby’s heartbeat went from 144 beats per minute down to 77, and she was in distress.  They tried to get Carrissa up onto hands and knees, while several doctors and lots of nurses rushed her to the OR.
  • They put Carrissa under general anesthesia, and when she awoke, she realized her baby had been born about 4 hours prior. Everyone had been able to hold her and snuggle her before Carrissa.
  • Carrissa says she felt heartbroken—she felt as though she had given her baby a bad birth experience. Of course, now she recognizes that the situation was not ideal- she had a doctor who was not very supportive, and a lackluster nursing staff.  She mentions that that hospital has come quite a long way since that time, and they’ve done quite a bit to improve (this was 13 years ago).
  • With her second daughter (11), Carrissa was adamant that they would have a homebirth this time. The birth went so much better, though she discusses how once again at 9 cm, she stalled.  She attributed this to the fact that that’s as far as her body had gone with labor the last time, so her body still had to do the hard work of figuring out how to have a baby this go ‘round.
  • Baby was born safe and sound, and Carrissa mentions how much better her postpartum experience was with this baby- she did not have to contend with the drugs and medication that she had to be on with her first birth, which kept her feeling foggy and as though time was slipping from her.
  • Carrissa’s third birth (another homebirth) was her shortest. She was putting her two daughters to bed one night when her midwife called and said, “Hey!  It’s a full moon tonight, so I just wanted to call and check up on you- full moons tend to put moms into labor.”  Carrissa laughed and told her that she was actually about to call—that she was getting into the shower and thought she might be in labor.
  • Her midwife came over and checked her, and told her that her waters were bulging and she was very dilated- she’d be having a baby soon! The pushing phase was rather difficult, but overall the birth was short and lovely.
  • Carrissa’s next pregnancy was 6 years later- it was a surprise! She decided to have that birth in the hospital- it was financially a better option at that time, and her midwife was no longer practicing.
  • She mentions that she also wasn’t in the best place mentally and emotionally at that time, so the decision to go to the hospital made Carrissa feel the most comfortable.
  • For that birth, she had been in prodromal labor off and on for several weeks. In fact, she’d gone to the hospital several times thinking it was certainly the real deal.  Luckily, they did not admit her at any point.
  • Several days after Thanksgiving, Carrissa and her sister were making ornaments for their children to hang- She was clearly in labor.  Everyone around her kept say, “Let’s get you to the hospital,” but Carrissa was not ready to go- fearing it would be another false alarm. 
  • All of Carrissa’s children came at 39 weeks and 6 days… except for this baby! She was 40 weeks and 2 days at this point, and she was convinced that this baby was just not coming!
  • “’Im going to be the first woman in history to be pregnant forever’… I was convinced of that!”
  • Finally, after several hours of what was clearly active labor (to everyone else), her sister and father convinced her to go to the hospital.
  • “They didn’t even get to fully admit me before I was crowning!”
  • The nurse checked Carrissa and said, “Great, you’re at 7 cm.” Carrissa responded, “Okay, that’s great, I really need to push right now.”
  • “[The doctor] walked in and was putting on his gloves, and said, “Op, there’s the head.” Both the doctor and Carrissa caught her baby. She says it was a great experience.  In fact, it’s her favorite birth story to tell!
  • With her youngest baby, Charles, there was concern of preeclampsia. An induction was scheduled, but on the morning of the induction (39.6 weeks), Carrissa woke up in labor.
  • She says that his labor was difficult- he was very large compared to her previous babies: 9 pounds, as opposed to her 2nd biggest being 7 pounds!
  • “My husband was a huge support- he was pretty nervous, but he did awesome.”
  • Carrissa had the same understanding doctor as with her previous birth, making the experience a very comfortable one once again.
  • We touch on the idea of education on the mother’s part being so critical. At one point in her last birth, a nurse told her she thought Carrissa having a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) was a bad idea- Luckily Carrissa knew that this information was incorrect, and a vaginal birth was statistically safer than another cesarean.
  • “I really do believe that research and education can make or break your plans.”
  • Carrissa has been a doula for 9, going on 10 years. After having her homebirth, she became so in love with the birthing process that she wanted to help other mothers.
  • Carrissa has been a doula in a number of situations: homebirth, unassisted births, and hospitals too.
  • “I love watching a mom find her voice.”
  • Now, with 10 years of experience under her belt, Carrissa has created a doula course: Birth Workers International Doula School, which opened in March 2019.
  • She is offering courses for birth doulas, fertility doulas, and postpartum doulas.
  • Carrissa is also creating a program with her father, who is an NLP, that focuses on healing for women with trauma: be it birth or sexual. She discusses how giving birth after either of these types of trauma can be incredibly difficult.
  • com or on Facebook at Birth Workers International Doula School

Episode Roundup:

  1. Education changes everything! Carrissa discusses the difference between her first hospital birth versus later ones, and the massive difference was her ability to stand up for what she knew was right for herself and her baby- all backed by education.
  2. Not every single birth requires the same birth setting- Carrissa knew with several of her births that a homebirth was just not the right choice for her at that time. What’s most important is going with what feels will be the best, healthiest choice for you- even if it’s a different choice than you made with previous births.
  3. Sharing is caring. Carrissa is dedicating her time and energy to not only serving as a doula, but also training other doulas.  Whatever skill you have, be sure to share it with the world!

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Show Notes:

  • “Holistic Hilda” is a health coach and podcast coach in the D.C. area.
  • She has 4 young adult children, and a husband who is an athletic director
  • Hilda’s own birth story: Hilda was born with a birth defect- a hole in her heart (because her mother was exposed to German Measles while pregnant). At 9, she had surgery to repair her heart. 
  • As a child, she had to be very careful. After her surgery, she was ready to live life to the fullest!  This, she believes is what spurred her on to living such an active, healthy lifestyle.
  • When Hilda became pregnant, although there were not as many resources regarding natural childbirth at the time (late 80’s-early 90’s), she did find The Bradley Method, which was everything she hoped it would be. She learned about avoiding the cascade of interventions
  • Hilda self-describes her body type as being small in stature. She found out later that when she walked into the hospital, her doctor thought, “She’s definitely going to have a cesarean.”  Hilda proved her wrong!
  • Hilda had a friend who was working as her doula. She was there to support Hilda and her husband, and remind them of their plans of how they wanted to give birth.
  • Baby #1 weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces!
  • Although Hilda has learned a great deal more about nutrition and holistic health since her childbearing years, she was still eating a relatively healthy diet and was certainly keeping active.
  • “For all the moms out there, don’t ‘should’ on yourself. All we can do is move forward from this point in time.”
  • I mention that the Weston A. Price Foundation focuses a great deal on eating a diet for growing healthy babies and nursing, but they also focus a great deal on pre-conception. I ask Hilda to explain what this looks like, and what we can be doing to encourage health, no matter what stage we are in:
  • Hilda reminds mothers that if they have been on birth control for preventing pregnancies, we cannot immediately expect our bodies to become pregnant once we go off. There’s a time of rebalancing and releasing the hormones that have been given.
  • “Detox”- shed little by little the things you can that you know aren’t favorable.
  • “Your body needs to have the signal that you’re in abundance, and you’re able to bear.” Don’t have a scarcity mentality, which means avoid “dieting”. 
  • “Let your body know, ‘we’ve got what we need to produce a healthy baby’”.
  • Detox your environment- get rid of air fresheners, perfumes, perhaps over-the-counter creams, and chemicals you can’t pronounce—these things are getting into your body through your skin, and they’re being absorbed by all of your cells.
  • Take on and embrace: healthy foods. Nutrient-dense foods—a great example of which is liver.  
  • Take on and embrace: your intuition. Trust that your body knows what it needs, and don’t live in a place of fear.  Consider, what is your emotional and spiritual state to have a baby?  Hilda emphasizes the importance of giving your baby a peaceful environment to grow in—so work on the anger and anxiety beforehand!
  • “I just feel like I was burning the candle at all ends- not just both ends! And it was to my detriment.” So go ahead and make those peaceful changes before conception.  Take self-care seriously!
  • Hilda discusses the work of Dr. Weston A. Price (whom the foundation is named after), and how his travels showed that all of these strong, healthy cultures had very specific pre-conception protocols and rituals. The mother and father would eat special diets of highly nutrient dense foods, like fish eggs.
  • Finding good sources for these types of food is critical. The Weston A. Price foundation actually has an incredible resource for this through local chapter leaders.  Find your local chapter leader and learn where to source the best food in your area! https://www.westonaprice.org/category/get-involved/local-chapters/
  • Hilda’s births:
  • With her first, she focused on relaxing her jaw. She had her husband quote scripture- 1 verse- over and over.   The nurses even commented afterward that it was like her husband was giving her drugs whenever he would do that for her!
  • Hilda did struggle with some amount of preterm labor. In fact, with her 3rd birth, her doctor informed her that she needed to go on bedrest.  For a fitness person like Hilda, this was rough news.
  • Hilda talks about the benefits of not being so dogmatic in our beliefs about exactly how everything is supposed to go.  She gives an example of a friend who planned a homebirth, but then ended up having to go into the hospital.  Of course, this woman was disappointed not to have the homebirth she was expecting, but was grateful for the necessary care she received. 
  • On a lighter note of this- Hilda and I talk about routines with small children: She mentions that she used to give her kids baths at night, then put them to bed in the clothes they would wear for the next day.  Her mother-in-law tended to raise an eyebrow at that!  I mention how on the opposite end, I don’t bathe my daughter every day, which stresses my mother out!
  • Hilda goes on to discuss the benefits of children not being raised in too-sterile environments. She mentions how health-giving it is for children to be exposed to the ambient temperatures of their surroundings, no matter what climate they live in.  This is even helpful during the newborn phase, where expose to the outdoors helps set baby’s circadian rhythm correctly—meaning more sleep for everyone at night!
  • Hilda’s last recommendations (3 factors): What we’re putting on our body in terms of light, especially at night. Red light is great for night, and maybe even use it in the baby’s room, and making sure that kids are getting out in the sunlight, and inform yourself about vaccinations, as it’s something that goes directly into your child’s bodies. 
  • Stay in touch with Hilda!: holistichilda.com  and Instagram.com/holistichilda

Episode Roundup:

  1. Don’t should on yourself
  2. Take out that which isn’t serving you, bring in that which does
  3. Let your kids be kids- get them outside, expose them to their climate, and let them PLAY
  4. Whatever decisions you make for your child- surrounding food, surrounding screens, even vaccinations- give yourself the empowerment of looking into these topics. There are so many touchy topics—whatever decisions you decide to make, feel confident in them by being informed.

 

 

 

 

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Show Notes:

  • Sarah and her husband have been together for 10 years now, and have lived all over the world.
  • She has two children: Manning and Alex
  • Sarah’s first birth was in a birth center setting. As a child and teen, she never had exposure to out-of-hospital birth.  However, her mother did refuse epidurals, chose to breastfeed (in the 80’s- when breastfeeding was going through quite an uncommon spell).
  • Sarah and her husband had their eyes opened to the idea of natural childbirth outside of the hospital.
  • “Birth is a natural, healthy process. There’s no need for it to take place in a hospital.”
  • Of course, hospitals can be a fine place to give birth- and especially important for emergencies, but Sarah certainly sees the benefit of the out-of-hospital experience.
  • Her first birth, which took place in Alaska, was attended by a number of Certified Nurse Midwives, as well as Certified Professional Midwives.
  • Sarah’s first birth was long- 36 hours from her first contraction until baby was born.
  • Sarah’s friend attended her birth as her very first doula training birth, and now she is a very successful midwife!
  • Sarah’s midwife, after quite a while, called her directing midwife to check and see if all was well, or if they needed to transport. The head midwife came and assessed the situation, saying that all was well and a transport was not necessary. 
  • The setup of this birth center is incredible: Being able to call other providers to come help and support, even though her original midwife did stay all the way until the very end.
  • Sarah and Katelyn discuss the “what if’s” of had she gone into the hospital at the time she went to the birth center, she very possibly could have ended up with a c-section.
  • Sarah’s second child, Alex, was quite a surprise! Sarah began searching for options in Mississippi, where midwifery is not regulated.  Certified Nurse Midwives are unable to practice outside of the hospital at all. 
  • Luckily, Sarah was able to locate a CPM in the lower part of the state of Mississippi. At least at that time, she was the only CPM that Sarah could find who resided in Mississippi.
  • “She had not only a level of training, but also a level of accountability that I appreciated.” -Sarah on selecting a CPM
  • This midwife does not take on many clients, and even more difficultly, she lived 3 hours away from Sarah. Upon agreement of working as her care provider, her midwife required Sarah have an OB backup care provider who would be able and willing to take care of her in a hospital should any situation arise. 
  • Having an OB backup made Sarah feel even more comfortable with the process, and it helped space her visits out, especially towards the end. She was able to see her OB for some of the prenatals as they got closer together, allowing her not to have to drive the 6 hour round trip drive bi-weekly and weekly.  Her OB would not officially condone her blessing for Sarah having a homebirth, but she did not try to strong-arm her into the hospital setting, which was quite a relief for Sarah.
  • Sarah and Katelyn touch on the accountability of a CPM and how these care providers are held to a certain standard based on their credential- no matter what their state regulations may be. This allows for consistency and trust between midwife and clients.
  • Before committing to using a midwife, Sarah toured the local hospital first and met with an OB practice. The pamphlet that they gave her stated two things that made her very uncomfortable: 1. Patients could not eat or drink during labor (this would not be feasible if she had another long labor like last time) and 2. Photography was not allowed during the birthing process.  This made Sarah feel very unhappy and uncertain, especially because some of her most precious photos she has are directly during and after the birth of her first child.  She sent a picture of the pamphlet to her husband without mentioning her concerns, and he immediately responded saying that was not going to work for them!
  • When it came to estimating her due date, there was a small level of uncertainty on Sarah’s end, though she felt fairly confident about her dates. She measured along with her dates, too. However, when she had an ultrasound, the results said that she was actually about 2 weeks further along than expected.
  • Based on Sarah’s calculated due date, Alex came 2 weeks early, though based on the ultrasound estimation, he came right at 40 weeks.
  • As labor approached, Sarah did not notice much different in her level of activity. However, when she looks back, she realizes, “I did actually clean out my car and my husband’s truck and install the baby seat!”
  • Alex was born very quickly. She went to bed on Sunday night with no indication that anything was coming.  Around 11:45, she went to the bathroom and though, “Oh, what was that?  Did I pee myself?  Nope, something’s definitely still coming out… oh, there’s more….”  She then realized her water had indeed broken.  Sarah called her midwife to let her know that her water had broken, and no, she was not having any contractions.
  • Sarah called her mother who was in Dallas, and told her to head their way.
  • Sarah’s midwife’s assistant, who lived about an hour away, began to head their way to check on Sarah.
  • About an hour later, contractions started. By the time her birth assistant arrived, they were getting stronger, though she was able to still speak. 
  • Sarah’s midwife arrived and was very pleased with the way she was progressing.
  • At some point, Sarah got into the bath tub, which was helpful in some ways, but did not help with her back labor (which she had with both labors).
  • Alex was born at 5:50 in the morning, so only about 6 hours of labor as opposed to 36!
  • “My body eased me into labor and my brain was able to keep pace with what was going on.”
  • Though Alex, like his brother Manning, came out with his hand up over his face, Sarah had no problems with the pushing phase.
  • Once Alex arrived, Sarah found out that he was a boy! She had not wanted to know his gender beforehand.  However… Her husband Thomas had found out the gender earlier on in the pregnancy!  He was able to keep it a secret from Sarah for the remainder of the pregnancy!
  • Alex was born on their anniversary!
  • Back to the first birth:
  • Early in the morning on New Year’s Day, Sarah began contracting. These were slow building, and they did not initially stop her from doing anything. 
  • After a while they decided to go to the birthing center, and stayed there for the rest of the labor. Manning was in an awkward position, and Sarah had a cervical lip.  This all culminated in quite a long labor… and quite a lot of pushing. 
  • Manning came out facing Sarah’s right side with his hand up by his face.

 

Episode Roundup:

1. Just because your labor is long or arduous the first time does not mean it will always be that way.  Each labor is different.

2. Sarah took the time to see out a CPM even when it was difficult.  She felt it important to have a certified midwife who is held to very specific standards, no matter what the state requires or does not require.

3. Disclaimer: I will begin adding a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode to remind you that the views expressed in these interviews are not necessarily my own, but this is a space for all to share their stories.  

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Show Notes:

  • Carrie is a Licensed CPM working in the upstate of South Carolina
  • Her first two children were born traditionally in the hospital. After the birth of her first child, she realized she loved all things related to birth.  This was in 1997, so before the ease of internet access. 
  • She learned about becoming a doula, and decided to take a DONA Certified doula training course.
  • Soon after the birth of her second child, she found an ad in a local parenting magazine for a midwife who was looking for midwifery students.
  • She contacted the midwife, who invited her to dinner. This midwife explained to Carrie exactly what her job entailed, and Carrie was shocked.  “People actually do that?  They give birth at home?  And pay you?  That seems so strange to me!”
  • This midwife invited Carrie to a birth, where a precious mother allowed Carrie into her birthing space. Carrie remembers vividly how amazing the experience was.  “It almost like time stood still when that baby was born.”  She mentions how the mother’s thoughts and feelings were taken into consideration, as was the father’s… how this was their experience and it mattered to the midwife that they were respected.
  • Having only worked in the hospital previously, Carrie was overwhelmed with the beauty of this way of giving birth. At that time, in the hospital, there was no such thing as “the golden hour” or “the magic hour,” and babies were typically very quickly and unceremoniously removed from their mothers.
  • Carrie explains her route to midwifery, though schooling has changed since she studied. At that time, she had do a self-study course led by a licensed midwife, complete a certain number of prenatal exams, births, and newborn exams, and once everything was satisfied, she was approved to sit for the NARM exam, which is similar to a nursing exam. 
  • Now, Carrie is on the other end. Not only is she a midwife, but she is a preceptor.  Carrie takes on apprentices and teaches them about midwifery from top to bottom.  
  • “Sometimes it’s still amazing to me that I am a midwife.”
  • Carrie discusses how amazing it is to be able to teach others- to watch them replay and sort out births and process how it all works is very worth it for her.
  • We now compare the similarities and differences of midwifery vs. a typical ob/gyn
  • Carrie shares how all of the same testing is offered: ultrasounds (whether early ultrasound, 20-week anatomy scan, 35 week weight and position scan), gestational diabetes screening, and group b strep. All of these are offered, but more options exist.  Carrie also believes strongly in informed consent.  A mother is given all of the information and asked to consider it and do research on her own if she feels uncertain.  Should she decide to forgo certain tests, Carrie supports her clients in it, knowing that they are owning their own decisions.
  • When it comes to the differences between midwifery and OB/GYN care, Carrie mentions how with midwifery, the experience tends to be much more one-on-one, without any middlemen. For example, when she experienced OB care, typically the nurse did the bulk of the work, with the doctor coming in to speak for a few minutes.  With a midwife, the prenatals are 45 minutes to an hour, and flexible at that.  The midwife is the one checking vitals, listening to baby, palpating the belly (feeling where baby is in the belly—moms love getting to know their baby this one and what kind of position he/she is in), and taking a urine sample. 
  • Carrie discusses how a large part of the prenatal is made of “teachable moments,” where nutrition is discussed, growth spurts, and information pertinent to that mom’s particular place in the pregnancy journey.  She talks about how it’s somewhat astounding to her how many of her second and third time mothers who are having their first homebirth will often say, “wow, nobody ever told me that…”, which Carrie finds rather disappointing, as she feels the information she gives is all very relevant—information mothers should be given.
  • “If you give them the tools they need to have a better feeling pregnancy, they’ll use them!”
  • Beyond having longer prenatals, Carrie’s clients have access to her 24/7. Of course she asks that they not call her at 11pm to ask what comes in her birth kit, but she does say, “if you’re worried about something- if something is keeping you awake at night- just call me.”
  • We next jump into the common misconceptions of homebirth.
  • Carrie mentions how the training for midwifery is similar to being trained to work on an ambulance: midwives are trained to deal with whatever comes up in the moment.
  • Medications are carried in case a mother were to have too much bleeding postpartum, midwives are required to maintain certification in neonatal resuscitation, and they carry oxygen and resuscitation equipment in the small case that they need to use it.
  • Carrie mentions how with homebirth, it’s the mother’s body doing what it’s designed to do- the midwife isn’t adding anything or taking anything away by using interventions. Because of that, the chances of running into true emergencies are so much less.  
  • “What about the mess?!”
  • “That’s what I feel like makes us birth ninjas—we have all of these little tricks”
  • Carrie discusses how being a midwife does not mean that she is in any way anti-hospital. In fact, having strong relationships with local doctors, nurse midwives and OB/GYN’s is hugely important to her.  Being able to groom these relationships and work with other providers to make sure that her clients are receiving exactly what they need when they need it is what her practice is all about.
  • Carrie says her clients range from moms who say, “What is the greatest amount of things you can do for me” all the way to “What is the least amount I can do and get away with it”
  • She mentions that each of her clients is seen by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse midwife at least twice during her pregnancy. This is to confirm that the client is healthy and a good fit for out-of-hospital birth at the time the care practitioner sees them.
  • Carrie’s recommendation for a mother who is considering homebirth: Gather a list of questions together, meet with multiple midwives, and certainly bring your spouse along—especially if he is uncertain or uncomfortable with the idea of homebirth.  Often times once he meets the midwife and sees that she is a genuine medical care provider, the fears drop away.

Episode 17 Roundup:

  1. Midwives (CPM’s) are trained professionals who have to go through rigorous schooling and testing (and it’s getting more rigorous all the time), as well as an intense apprenticeship program. They have to maintain certification in life-saving practices such as neonatal resuscitation and CPR. They carry equipment and medications, should an emergency arise.
  2. A competent midwife has working relationships with local doctors, hospitals and the like. Of course, some hospitals and doctors are more friendly to homebirth families than others, but midwives do their best to maintain solid relationships and have people to call on when needed.
  3. Homebirth mothers are well cared for through long prenatals where not only are all of the routine tests and practices offered, but midwives take the time to discuss other pertinent parts of pregnancy, such as nutrition, that often times OB’s just don’t have the time to cover. They are also often overseen by another care provider several times throughout the pregnancy to assure that they are a good candidate for homebirth.
  4. If you are a mother considering homebirth, go interview midwives. Bring your questions, bring your spouse, heck bring your whole family.  Find a midwife that resonates with you and who makes you feel comfortable and supported. 

 

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Show Notes:

  • Megan lives in Texas with her husband and 5 children. She homeschools, and is so grateful to have her in-laws in the same neighborhood, and her parents just 30 minutes away.
  • For her first birth, Megan decided to have a birth center birth. This came about in quite an interesting way: during college, she was required to volunteer a certain amount of time.  She decided to work at a crisis pregnancy center.  The volunteer coordinator there happened to be a midwife.
  • She had a good friend at the time who was having children with that midwife, and she saw how amazing her friend’s experiences were.
  • Several years later, Megan was married, and she and her husband became pregnant on their honeymoon (isn’t that the cutest?!). Megan and her husband decided they should consider all of their options. They first toured a local hospital.  Later, they went to the birth center of the midwife Megan knew at Family Birth Services.  The birth center is a renovated historic home.
  • “I just felt heard. I felt encouraged.  I felt supported.”  This is how Megan felt immediately at the birth center.  She and her husband came prepared with lots of questions, all of which were comfortably answered by her midwife and the staff.
  • “I did not feel like a number. I felt like a person with valid questions, and they did not rush me.” 
  • Megan read several books to prepare for birth: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Supernatural Birth
  • With her first child, she had been praying throughout the pregnancy for a short delivery. At 38 weeks, she called her midwife and told her she was experiencing contractions.  Her midwife talked her through everything, and the contractions dissipated. 
  • At 39 weeks, Megan began feeling contractions again. She laid on the couch, and they still would not subside.  Her husband began saying, “Hm, I think we should get in the car and head to the birth center,” knowing that the center was a 45-minute drive away.
  • On the drive to the birth center, Megan’s husband had his mother pull the car over so that he could drive and get them there faster (don’t worry, he’s a police officer!). The 45-minute drive turned into closer to a 30-minute drive.  By the time they arrived, Megan was quite uncomfortable.
  • Once she got into the center, she had her midwives check her. At this point, she was dilated 3cm.  This was at 7pm.
  • At 9pm, her midwife, who was in the area, stopped by the birth center to check on her. Knowing that Megan is a first time mom, the midwife said, “Oh, I’ll probably have time to go home and take a shower and gather my things, but let me just check you.”  At 9pm, Megan was already dilated to 9cm!
  • “I just followed my body. I felt like I was being pulled through birth.”  Megan mentions that when she wasn’t fighting the contractions, all went well.  She did experience moments of pain, however, and she later realized they were the times that she began fighting the feelings and tensing up.  She recalls how it was very related to the pitch of her voice getting higher and higher. 
  • After her first birth, Megan stated that she never wanted to have to go through laboring in a car again. That was the major reason that she switched to giving birth at home. 
  • “I just thought, ‘if I don’t have to go anywhere, why go anywhere? Why not just be in my own place?’”
  • With Megan’s second child, beyond the fact that she really didn’t want to labor in the car, she loved the idea of the coziness of giving birth in her own home. Another deciding factor for having a homebirth instead was that she now had a toddler to contend with.  Her in-laws were planning to take the toddler down the road to their house as she gave birth to her son.
  • Unlike her siblings, Daniella took her sweet time coming out.  At 40 weeks and 6 days, Megan finally felt what she thought were true contractions.  She downloaded an MP3 called Childbirth In the Glory and listened to it as her husband and family members still slept.
  • Her plan was that once labor truly began, she would have her in-laws come pick up her 3 boys. Her daughter, who is 10, wanted to stay home and witness the birth. 
  • Unlike all of her other births, which took 4-6 hours, Daniella’s birth was 12-14 hours long.
  • Megan’s midwife Bethany texted her and told her to try the Spinning Babies’ Abdominal Lift and Tuck. She decided to walk outside with her 3-year-old and get some fresh air.  Megan remembers leaning against her chicken coop performing abdominal lifts and tucks during contractions…. As her son chased chickens with a stick!
  • Megan went inside and ate a light lunch, then laid down for a nap. Around 2:00, her contractions began coming stronger, lower and longer.  At this time, she still was concerned that maybe she was contacting her midwife too early.  Because her labor was so different this time from previous labors, Megan was feeling confused, and even struggling with fear.
  • “I think that every woman faces that… fear vs. faith.”
  • Around 4pm, Megan finally texted her midwife and said something to the effect of, “My husband would feel more comfortable if you’d come this way.” …Still not wanting to be the reason that her midwife came out all that way if it wasn’t actually time!
  • In relation to that feeling, Megan mentions, “And midwives.. that’s their desire. To be there for you in your time of need, whether it’s the ‘real deal’ or not.”
  • By the time the midwife arrived an hour later, Megan was in the labor zone. “I think the thing I love most about midwives and labor, is that they are in the background and I get to follow my body’s lead, and I am the star of the show.  I’m the queen for the day, at least for a few hours!”
  • Megan mentions how wonderful it is that her midwife is so good at waiting in the background, yet anticipating her needs at the same time.
  • Her husband was wonderful support- staying next to her and holding her hand when needed, letting go when needed, and praying over her.
  • Megan got to the point where she felt the familiar wave of transition nausea run through her. However, this time was a bit different.  She got on hands and knees to throw up, and as she did, the baby began crowning!  “So here I am… throwing up in the bowl, and the baby’s crowning, and it all happened all at once!”
  • Megan’s midwife helped her switch positions to lie on her side so that baby could make a slower entrance and prevent tearing.
  • She discusses how her postpartum has been amazing, even now at 4 months out. But the few weeks leading up to Daniella’s birth, Megan felt like she was an emotional wreck.  Much of this she feels is because she had certain expectations for when and how she would give birth, and when they did not come to pass, she was frustrated and confused. 
  • Megan tells us how this postpartum has been very laid back. Daniella sleeps better than her previous babies, and she’s taking supplements to keep her energy and mood stabilized.  She says that experience also helps—She knows what kind of mother she is and how she parents.  “It’s not about what other people think.  It’s about what works for me and my family, and with that comes peace.”

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Show Notes

  • Jenny has been running Nourished Kitchen for over 11 years now- what started as a small hobby has blossomed into a vibrant community of people committed to traditional ways of preparing food.
  • She is the mother of two children, ages 13 and 2. She and her husband have been together for almost 20 years now.
  • Jenny had been struggling with poor health in a number of ways, which is how she stumbled upon her traditionally-rooted diet. She was suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Thyroid Disease, hormonal imbalances and infertility. 
  • She was told in her early 20’s that she’d likely be unable to become pregnant on her own. Jenny began working with an endocrinologist, who recommended that she shift her diet.  Jenny thought she’d been eating well: low fat vegetarian foods, lots of soy-based products, etc.  She decided, however, to take the endocrinologist’s advice and shifted her diet.  Within 3 months, she became pregnant with her first child.
  • When her son was about 9-10 months old, Jenny came across the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation. This was in 2007, when butter was still considered an unhealthy food by many, nobody was talking about bone broth or kombucha, etc.
  • “I’m so pleased to see how these traditional foods have become mainstream.”
  • What are traditional foods? The foods that your great-great-great grandparents were eating.  The foods that came before the industrial revolution.  Before the processes of mono-cropping and the introduction of heavy agricultural chemical use.
  • Examples of traditional foods include: sauerkraut, long-simmered broths, sourdough bread
  • During Jenny’s first pregnancy, she was so concerned with her health issues that she decided to use an OBGYN. She remembers feeling that her voice was lost in the dynamic of Doctor/Patient instead of Doctor/”Client”. 
  • By her second pregnancy, she had been adhering to a traditional diet for a decade. She consumed plenty of fresh and fermented vegetables, stews made with grass-fed bison, pastured eggs, fresh oysters (rich in zinc)
  • “I wanted the safety to be able to give birth at home. I wanted the autonomy to make decisions, and I wanted to be able to work with a practitioner who truly listened to me.”
  • Jenny mentions how when she worked with a homebirth midwife, she felt it was a more collaborative approach. The midwife listened to her, and when it came to health, she took a more proactive approach.   During their long prenatal sessions, nutrition and movement were at the forefront of discussion.
  • “Instead of waiting for problems related to pregnancy to arise, we made sure I was in optimal health throughout the pregnancy.”
  • As a survivor of sexual assault, Jenny discusses how negatively the hospital experience was for her: Her birth plan was thrown out the moment she walked into the hospital. She was checked and prodded without consent, people were in and out of the room… all very strong issues for someone with previous traumas. 
  • “The homebirth experience that I did have was an incredibly healing experience.” Luckily, her midwife’s proactive approach allowed Jenny to work through much of the trauma.
  • “It wasn’t just about giving birth to a healthy baby, it was about becoming a mother again.”
  • “With homebirth, it’s a much more organic, holistic, respectful experience.”
  • “We talk about these due dates like they’re set in stone… when the reality is you kind of have a ‘due season’.”
  • With Jenny’s first birth, she was pressured into having an induction. With her second, her midwife reassured her that as long as everything looked healthy, she would be willing to wait for Jenny’s body to go into labor naturally. 
  • After a week, Jenny went in for a biophysical profile, which came back saying all was healthy and well. She continued these every few days until finally around 42 weeks, her body was ready to have her baby. 
  • At 42 weeks, Jenny remembers having contractions that at the time, she thought nothing of… she’d been having them for weeks. She mentioned to her son that her back was feeling very uncomfortable, and he told her she should call the midwife.  Jenny laughed it off.
  • Later she went upstairs and realized that these contractions were getting more powerful. She called her midwife, who said to give her a call in an hour after she timed some.  By the end of the hour, Jenny found herself in full blown transition.  In fact, her son was born with in 45 minutes of her arrival.
  • She remembers reading about the Fetal Ejection Reflex and thinking how odd it would be not to “have to push,” but rather that her body would actually do it.  But there she found herself, in the tub, 3 contractions of her body doing the pushing, and baby was born. 
  • At one point, not realizing her birth was only going to be 4 hours, Jenny asked her husband to turn on the tv show “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
  • She was not even cognizant that she was pushing, once the time came. She had a contraction, and baby’s head was born.  Another, and out came his shoulders and body.
  • Katelyn says she feels this MUST be because of Jenny’s pregnancy tea recipe, which she drinks every day beginning in the second trimester.
  • Jenny’s tea is a variation of “NORA” tea: Nettle, Oatstraw, Red Raspberry, and Alfalfa. She adds lemon balm, rose hips and rose buds.
  • Jenny brings up a book that we’ve had several moms mention in relation to postpartum recovery: The First 40 Days
  • Her midwives both told her that in the long run, it would be easier for Jenny to recover if she took the first few weeks especially slow.
  • When it came to her diet, Jenny avoided drinking too much dairy, as she knows it can cause fussiness in newborns. She found herself eating lots of iron-rich foods, and she had her placenta encapsulated to help restore the iron she lost during childbirth (a natural part of childbirth).
  • Jenny’s magnificent postpartum with her second child is contrasted with her first postpartum experience, where she was called back to work only 2 weeks after giving birth.
  • Jenny recommends mothers check out the book “Real Food for Pregnancy” as a good start for learning how to eat during pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Find Jenny’s book The Nourished Kitchen at your local library, on barnesandnoble.com or on Amazon.
  • Follow Jenny: instagram.com/nourishedkitchen
  • nourishedkitchen.com

 

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