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.

By your fourth birth, there’s no way you’re trying anything new, right?

 

Hey there Happy Homebirthers, and welcome to episode 71 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast, where we’ll be speaking with Kerrie, who went from a string of 3 inducted hospital births to an intervention-free homebirth.

 

Before we jump in, I’ve got news!  Happy Homebirth Academy is set to launch in just a few short weeks!  Tell all of your friends!  And if you’re a birth worker interested in checking out the program, give me a holler at katelyn@myhappyhomebirth.com or DM me on instagram.  I’m hopeful to let some fellow birth workers take a look before launch day… provided I have it ready.

 

I am so excited about the content of this course.  It’s perfect for your first, fifth or tenth birth, whether you’ve had them all at home or all in hospital, and it gives you the tools have an empowered, mindful, peaceful homebirth.  It’s my third baby.  SO.  To keep updated with the launch, be sure to join the Happy Homebirth Pop Up group on facebook, or check out my free homebirth essentials mini course! It’s a quick little guide to some of the most important aspects of having a peaceful homebirth.  Just go to myhappyhomebirth.com/essentails for your download. 

 Show Notes: 

Kerrie used a traditional obstetrician practice for her first baby.

At the end of her pregnancy, she was diagnosed with Cholestasis of pregnancy, which is when the liver stops filtering out bile acids, which can be dangerous for the baby.

She was induced at 38 weeks pregnant

Looking back, there were several aspects of the labor she was unhappy about.  They did internal fetal monitoring, so her baby had a probe stuck in her head, and Kerrie wasn’t able to move around because of this. 

The doctor threatened to wheel her to have a c section, and then said she was going to cut an episiotomy, which she also was very unhappy about.

At that point Kerrie roared the baby out!

For her next pregnancy, she thought that she had Cholestasis again.  She felt uncomfortable, so she went in at 37 weeks to have an induction.

Her second labor took a very long time. 

Once her water was broken, her son came 15 minutes later. She had been asking them to break her water for a long time!

Her third pregnancy, she had no symptoms of Cholestasis.

At 39 weeks, she was given the option to have an elective induction, and she said, “Yes, please!”

With her third baby, she elected to get an epidural.  Once she finally got it, she laid back and his head emerged.

Her third birth was the first time that she had requests that went against the typical routines of the hospital.  She didn’t want the baby bathed or vaccinated, and she felt that she had to fight and wasn’t being heard

When she found out she was pregnant again, she was confident that she was having a homebirth.

When she began telling people she was going to have a homebirth, people told her she was crazy.

Her midwife connected Kerrie with a neighbor who had also had a homebirth.  This neighbor introduced Kerrie to an entirely new, crunchy tribe, who accepted her family with open arms.

With her 4th baby, she was convinced she wasn’t in labor because she was so used to pitocin contractions.

Kerrie’s water broke, and she got in the tub. Her neighbor called the midwife, and the midwife told her not to let her get in the tub.  She knew Kerrie’s baby was big, and she knew that getting in the tub would likely let her relax, and she worried she’d have the baby without her.

Her labor was only an hour and a half in length.

Kerrie’s community gets together with all 40 children for dinners weekly.  This was so special for her postpartum.  Everyone was checking in on her and taking care of her— never expecting to hold the baby, only doting on her.

 

Episode roundup:

  1. Just because you’ve had 2, 3,4 or 10 babies one way doesn’t mean you automatically have to do it the same way next time.  Kerrie went from 3 inductions to an unmedicated, untouched homebirth.  You can change your situation!
  2. Wasn’t it beautiful to hear how Kerrie gained such a supportive community?  This is so important postpartum, and it sounds like she was truly cared for and doted upon postpartum.  I loved hearing how she was cared for so well as her baby struggled with breastfeeding.  What a difference our community can make.  I encourage you to reach out to the other mothers around you.  Even having one or two friends or family members who can walk through the postpartum journey with you can make a world of difference.


Okay my friends, that’s all I have for you this week.  Go download that free mini-course, and I’ll see you next week!

Homebirth… on a school bus? 

If you think that’s the wildest part of this upcoming episode, buckle up, baby. 

My guest, Caroline Campbell is a homebirth mother of two, and both of her experiences were intense to say the least. 

I always like to be up front when episodes contain difficult topics, and this one contains quite an emergent situation during her first birth.  Be prepared for that, but know that she and her midwife do an absolutely bangin’ job of handling the situation.  It’s truly powerful.  However, if you’re close to giving birth and are concerned that hearing a story of an emergent situation might upset you, you might want to come back to this episode. 

 

Before we jump in, just giving another quick update on Happy Homebirth Academy.  I’m in the home stretch!  Just a bit more work to go, and it will be ready for all of you lovely women seeking a homebirth-centered childbirth education course.

 

Secondly, I’m a few weeks behind on sending out stickers for reviewers of the week.  You’d think that being at home all of the time would give more opportunity to keep me on track, but I feel like it totally doesn’t.  So if you’re waiting on a sticker… sorry!  I’ll get it in the mail!  To add to my list of mail, I’d like to thank this week’s reviewer: Bailadora Del Mundo

 

And if you would, go ahead and take a screenshot of you listening to this episode, upload it to your instagram stories and tag @happyhomebirthpodcast.  Don’t forget to use the hashtag #givebirthonyourturf! 

 

Finally.. if you aren’t in the Happy homebirth pop up group on facebook, you’ve got to get over there.  So many stories, so much amazing, supportive homebirth goodness.

 

Show Notes

  • Caroline is the mother of a 2.5 year old daughter and 4.5 month old son.
  • Her husband was born at home (freebirth!), so she was familiar with the idea of homebirth once she became married.
  • In high school, her friend became pregnant and the father was not in the picture—she stepped in and took birthing classes/witnessed her friend’s birth.  Though her friend had a healthy pregnancy, Caroline was uncomfortable with the hospital birth.
  • During her first pregnancy, Caroline glowed.  It was easy and beautiful—she did prenatal yoga, she focused on her diet, and had a wonderful time. 
  • She and her husband were living in Virginia, but knew they were going to move to Ohio.  They traveled 6.5 hours to their midwifery appointments.
  • They planned to have a structure prepared to live in before the birth—that didn’t happen.  They ended up moving into a school bus conversion!
  • Caroline went from living in her childhood home in Virginia to living in a school bus… without running water (they had a spring on the property)
  • She and her husband nested in their school bus- they spent time with the dogs outside, with their new chickens.  They worked on the property and enjoyed their time.
  • Little known fact: 2015- I bought a school bus!
  • Caroline went through early labor during the night.  She woke up in labor with contractions that were 5 minutes apart.
  • She didn’t have cell phone service where the bus was parked, so she would walk up and down a big hill to text and call her midwife.
  • Caroline’s birth team arrived around 11.  Her midwife checked her, and found out that she was 8 cm dilated. 
  • With her first baby, Caroline didn’t feel an urge to push, which frustrated her. 
  • After her baby was born, her first words were, “That was so easy!”
  • Caroline experienced a legitimate emergency during her first homebirth. 
  • Postpartum was also difficult, as her child had severe tongue and lip ties.
  • Caroline decided to wait a bit before getting pregnant again.  She wasn’t ready to commit to a homebirth again quite yet.
  • They waited a year and a half to become pregnant again, and her second pregnancy was not a fun one.  She was very sick, and her pregnancy lasted 42 weeks.
  • Once she finally went into labor, she felt everything in her back and was unable to find relief.
  • Once her son was born, she had him nurse so that contractions would continue and she could deliver the baby.
  • The placenta was born 20 minutes labor.
  • Caroline’s pregnancies and labors were total opposites of each other.
  • Breastfeeding went much better with her son than with her first baby.  She jumped quickly into action, and she had her mom visiting for the first few weeks postpartum, which was of great help.
  • Because Caroline was so concerned about breastfeeding, her baby developed a “breast aversion,” which was very difficult for her because of her strong desire to achieve, especially in relation to breastfeeding.  After 36 hours of pumping and using a bottle, he accepted the breast again.

 

 

Episode Roundup

 

  1. Emergencies DO happen at home.  Luckily, midwives are highly trained professionals who are prepared to do what they must.  I love the fact that Caroline was still involved in the decision-making process, even during an emergency. 
  2. When it comes to breastfeeding, it’s an amazing idea to know the resources at your disposal.  There are certainly hiccups that can be had, and as Caroline shared, it was much easier for her to navigate the second time around when she already had a plan.  Even if this is your first baby, it’s a great idea to learn of the different care providers in your area, should you need them postpartum.

Oxytocin- it’s a powerful drug!

 

In this episode, listen to hear how Bess, a mother of 3, experienced more and more oxytocin and bonding with each birth.  From a medicated hospital birth, to an unmedicated hospital birth (where the baby was still whisked away quickly), to an intimate birth center setting… it becomes quite clear that the less we intervene with physiological birth, the more room we give to oxytocin.  This allows mothers the ability to connect deeply with their babies from the beginning- forming that unbreakable love bond. 

Be sure to check out the new Facebook group.  It's so empowering!  www.facebook.com/groups/happyhomebirthpopup

Happy Homebirth Academy... it's coming to you soon! 

Show Notes

1st pregnancy- Bess says she was young, and even though she knew about homebirth (her mom had 4), she opted for a hospital birth for financial reasons

  • Bess had a low-lying placenta. Fun fact!  The placenta can move as the uterus grows (it also can move on its own!)
  • Bess went into labor on the night before her due date
  • Bess had a horrific first birth. She had a terrible nurse who bullied her and coerced her into receiving fentanyl.  She then had an epidural.  As baby emerged (with both her hands by her face), Bess received a 4th degree tear.
  • She did not have a loving feeling towards her daughter when they first handed her over. They pushed her to breastfeed immediately, though she could barely even comprehend what had just happened.
  • Bess was living in Korea during her second pregnancy. She began prenatals at a local Korean hospital.
  • In this hospital, Bess was made to wear a gown each time in public, and she had to have an ultrasound at each appointment.
  • At 20 weeks, after her doctor told her that he was concerned with how big her baby was, Bess switched to an army hospital.
  • She asked far more questions this time around and had a successful unmedicated birth. Her husband was a huge support.
  • She and her husband decided they didn’t want more children… until one day, suddenly, she knew she wanted one more baby. She bought her husband some beer, they discussed the matter, and they conceived that night!
  • With her 3rd pregnancy, Bess started back at Ft. Hood hospital.
  • At 16 weeks she decided to look into other options and found a birth center.
  • Her final birth was redemptive of her previous experiences. She was able to experience the full effect of oxytocin.

 

Episode round up:

What a redemptive story.  Bess was able to improve her birthing experiences each time, ending with a beautiful water birth at a birth center that allowed for physiological birth to take place.  As we head into the episode round-up, I want to focus on just that:  The importance of staying out of the way. 

The ability to bond with your baby is critical—it sets the two of you up for success in the days, weeks, months and years to come.  When babies are unnecessarily removed from their mothers, as so often happens in the hospital setting, a new hurdle is added to the mother/baby team. 
I love how Bess’s joy over her third birth was so palpable.  It is the true proof that the ability to give birth on your own terms, without unnecessary intervention, and of course—to actually hold your baby immediately after—allows oxytocin to do its magical work.  What a joy to hear so much love in a mother’s voice.

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

Important Updates:

 

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

 

myhappyhomebirth.com/essentials

facebook.com/groups/happyhomebirthpopup

 

Resources Mentioned in this episode:

Coming Alongside A Friend Who Has Experienced Loss

 

Show Notes:

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Check out these links from the show!

 

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

 

Show Notes: 

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

 

Episode Roundup

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

Show Notes:

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

 

 

Episode Roundup:

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

 

Episode Roundup:

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Show Notes:

 

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

Protestants burning “witches”—women healers

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

80’s and 90’s- c section rates soared

 

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

 

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

 

What do we do?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Episode Roundup 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Show Notes:

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

Episode Roundup:

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

5 years came quickly!  She was still not ready.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

After her first daughter, Desirea had a heartbreaking miscarriage. 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Episode Round-Up:

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

 

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