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.

You're listening to episode 101 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast.


In this week's podcast episode we'll be hearing from Jessica Johnston, CPM and co-founder of the Pacific Birth Institute.


Jessica and her co-founders are bent on bringing birth back into the community, which requires more hands and feet on the ground-- more birth attendants, more midwives.  But how, when becoming a birth worker is fraught with barriers? Not everyone can give up their life to be constantly on call, sacrifice everything to attend school, and work as an unpaid apprentice for years on end.


Pacific Birth Institute is on a mission to help break some of the barriers.  They've released an online pre-requisite birth assistant program (available for all), and they've created an incredible training program in Alaska-- one that I hope will pick up steam across the country.


This is so important, as we recognize that bringing birth back into the community is the best way to begin decreasing our national maternal mortality rate.  


If you're considering working in the birth world, be sure to go to pacificbirthinstitute.com and check out the program!

You're listening to episode 100 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast!

In celebration of this milestone, Happy Homebirth Academy will be available for this week only (until the new year).

Join here: www.myhappyhomebirth.com/HHA


Show Notes:

Christine and Andrew started their pregnancy journey traditionally with OB care.  However, as the pregnancy progressed, they began feeling more and more frustrated about the fact that appointments were fast and shallow.  There was not in-depth preparation for childbirth, and they felt there must be something missing.

The couple decided to begin their own research, which led them to switch to midwifery care and homebirth.

Their commitment to giving birth at home grew as they became closer with their midwife, and as she answered their questions and prepared them deeply on what to expect during the entire process.  Both Christine and Andrew recognized the added layers of safety in their homebirth experience because they did know their midwife so well.

Whenever there were questions about what happens if something goes wrong, their midwife always had a quality answer on what to expect and the protocol.

Christine expected to go beyond 40 weeks, for at 38 weeks she and Andrew decided to go camping.  On the trip, her water began leaking.  They went home the next morning and prepared for the onset of labor.

Throughout the process of labor, Christine and Andrew worked together.  He kept up with what she needed and encouraged her through contractions— reminding her to breathe and relax.  This was incredibly helpful during Christine’s long and arduous pushing phase. 

Andrew recalled how amazing it was that the midwife was able to recognize when to step in and provide feedback and when to stay back and remain an observer.

He truly understood that it was his duty to be Christine’s support person.

After baby was born, he needed resuscitative breaths.  Christine and Andrew were calm and confident during this experience.

Once he was breathing and stable, the midwives began tended to Christine, as she was bleeding a good bit.

After a while, the midwives had to perform an internal examination of the uterus to see what was causing the bleeding.

Though uncomfortable, Christine and Andrew both felt completely calm during what could have otherwise been a traumatic experience, as the felt heard, understood, and like the most important people on the birth team.


Episode Roundup:

I am so appreciative of this episode and the perspective it brings.  It’s so important to focus on mothers and their experience of birth, yes, but what a disservice we are doing if we’re not showing up for dads and helping them see how they fit into the equation.  Christine and Andrew worked together so beautifully before, during and after their birthing experience, and Andrew’s understanding of his responsibilities as the birth partner certainly added massive value to their homebirth.  I hope this episode acts as inspiration and as a roadmap for other fathers who are looking for ways to be involved in the birthing experience.  You’re part of this team, and you’re incredibly important. 

Your care provider.  When you think of the person who will be attending your birth, what adjectives come to mind?  Do you feel at peace, comforted and cared for, or do you feel bullied, manipulated and belittled?  Hannah has experienced both ends of the spectrum, and I’m so happy to have her on today’s episode to share with you just how difficult, and then how beautiful birth can be. 


Happy Homebirth Academy has an affiliate program for care providers.  To enter yourself in a monthly drawing for a Happy Homebirth T Shirt (or Amazon gift card), tell your care provider about it!  Take a screenshot of the text or email sending them to www.myhappyhomebirth.com/affiliate , and send it to katelyn@myhappyhomebirth.com with the subject line: Midwife Message


Hannah thought her hospital birth would be totally covered, as she was actually on two insurance plans.  As it turned out, she was not, and her hospital birth was more expensive than her later homebirth.

One big red flag Hannah experienced with her OB, that she now wishes would have made her turn and run, was that when she gave the OB her birth plan, the response was “Oh, you’ll get the epidural.  Don’t be a hero.”

Hannah urges mothers— if you’re experiencing obstetrical bullying, FIND ANOTHER PROVIDER!

She actually experienced her first labor contractions while camping at 40 weeks.  The labor was long—beyond 48 hours, and she finally received pitocin, an epidural, and “purple pushed” for 2 hours.

When she became pregnant with her second child, she still felt somewhat traumatized by the first experience.  Even though she knew she wanted a different experience, she wondered, “Can I do it?”

She chose a midwife, and the difference she notes is that she felt completely secure and completely safe at home

She felt her care provider was perfectly aligned with her.

During her second pregnancy, she and her husband communicated more effectively about what she would want during labor.  This paid off, and he was able to support her perfectly.

Hannah also hired a doula, which she recommends to everyone.

She loved the book “Childbirth Without Fear,” and one of the biggest takeaways she found was this:  In Genesis, we’ve translated the discussion of the fall as Adam toiling the land and Eve experiencing great pain with childbirth.  However, the same Hebrew word is used in both: Toil.  She discusses the idea that labor is an experience of toil, not necessarily an experience of pain.
Once her baby arrived, Hannah experienced “the birth pause” where all felt right in the world.  She was overwhelmed with thankfulness and connection, where she recalls feeling completely out of it after her first hospital birth.

Her biggest takeaway from birth is that when you have the right care provider, you feel in charge, not managed.


Episode Roundup:

1.If your care provider is bullying you, FIRE THEM AND RUN.  Remember, they work for you.  Remember, you are your own and your child’s advocate

2. I want to bring back this discussion of pain vs. toil.  I love this concept, and as I’ve said many times… I just don’t consider childbirth painful. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, and I love to hear all of the ways that others experience it.  But toil… great work?  Certainly.  Remember that so much of our experience is often unknowingly wrapped up in our own expectations.  If we’re expecting pain, well, pain we shall likely have.  Coming into childbirth with an open mind and an arsenal of tools to provide comfort gives such a great chance at truly appreciating, if not downright enjoying, the experience.

You're listening to episode 98 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast!

Has Happy Homebirth influenced you in a positive way?  As we come up on episode 100, would you take a few minutes to go to speakpipe.com/happyhomebirth and leave a message telling us how it's impacted your life and pregnancy?  We'd love to share your message on episode 100! 


What does preparing for a homebirth look like to you?  Do you prefer a done-for-you checklist, or do you enjoy putting the puzzle together yourself?  Although I am, of course, a huge proponent for childbirth education, particularly childbirth education FOR homebirth mothers, I love hearing how mothers choose to prepare for homebirth.  There’s no one right way, and in today’s episode, we’ll hear how amazingly Kyleigh did with her preparation.  From creating a birth labyrinth to practicing pain management techniques, there is so much to learn from this episode.  


Show Notes

Kylie decided she wanted a homebirth before she became pregnant by listening to birth podcasts and realizing she didn’t like the sense of lack of control many seemed to experience in the hospital.  Once pregnant, she read the book Mama Zen, which she credits for her comfortable, mindful attitude during pregnancy and birth.  She feels it truly set her up for success.

At 37 weeks her baby was transverse, so she began going to the chiropractor 3x/week, which helped baby into a good position.

Before labor, she spent lots of time on her birth ball doing puzzles.  She also practiced pain management techniques by holding ice.

Kyleigh’s labor was 9 hours: 5 hours of active labor, then 4 hours of pushing.

Favorite books: Spiritual Midwifery, She Births, Unassisted Childbirth

She created a “labor labyrinth” for herself


Episode Roundup:

  1. Preparing for birth doesn’t have to look any specific way. When I spoke to Kyleigh before the interview, she was like, “Yeah, I really didn’t prepare.  I just went with the flow.” And she’s definitely not giving herself enough credit.  Kyleigh thoroughly prepared for her birthing experience, she just didn’t attach any unnecessary expectations.  She was there for it, whatever it would be.  I love the sense of mindfulness she brought, and this is absolutely something we harp on inside of Happy Homebirth Academy.
  2. Chiropractic care!  Whew, I can’t recommend it enough, and now I know Kyleigh is on board with it, too!  How incredible that she was able to create space for her baby to get in the correct position.
  3. Finally, I loved Kyleigh’s discussion of her ability to relax and be exactly as she needed to be to get her baby out of womb and into arms.  She was surrounded by a loving team, and she knew that she could make the noises, move in the ways she needed to move and be completely uninhibited.  THAT. Is what we need more of.  The understanding that we can do exactly what our body is telling us to do.  Whether it seems serene and quiet, or it sounds like a freight train coming at you, it matters not.  Birth is incredible, and allowing yourself to experience it fully— the way your body needs it to happen- is amazing.

You're listening to Episode 97 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast! 


When you have a perfectly lovely hospital birth, why on earth would you change things up with your next?  I’m excited to share Imogen’s story with you today, as she and her husband did just that.  Of course, we know that many mothers seek out a “better way” after having a traumatic and emotional birthing experience in the hospital.  But of course, that’s not always how it happens!  And I can’t wait for you to hear about the generational baby catch.  Let’s jump in!


Imogen lives in England, and is the mother of two children.  Her mother has worked as a midwife for over 30 years, so she grew up with somewhat of an understanding of childbirth.  However, she wouldn’t consider herself completely educated on the subject prior to her own births, and she decided in her first pregnancy that she wanted to keep it that way!  

She was, however, hoping for a natural birth, as she does not typically like to take medications of any sort.

Imogen’s midwife had a hunch that she would go quickly once she was in labor, so she warned her that she should head to the hospital soon after contractions began.

9 days after her due date, she was sitting in the nursery on her ball.  She decided to try out her breast pump, and her water dramatically broke!  She and her husband headed to the hospital with her mom. 
Upon arrival into the birthing center, she was checked and only at a 4.  They told her they wouldn’t officially write down that she was in labor, but that she could go to the early labor room to see how she progressed.

She was, however, very much in labor!  After a while of laboring on the floor, her mother gave her some gas and told her she’d be back.  She went to the midwives and asked them to check her.

Imogen was beyond 9cm dilated, so they walked/wheeled her to one of the delivery suites.  She hopped in the tub, and soon began to push.  She had to push for over an hour, turning her baby from posterior into an anterior position.  

Baby was born, and her husband asked if they could just go home.  The midwives agree, and only a few hours after giving birth, they were tucked into their beds at home.


Soon after becoming pregnant again, Imogen told her husband she was interested in a homebirth.  He was very excited and supportive of the idea, as he mentioned that going to the hospital had felt somewhat traumatic with the first— hospitals generally being a place of sickness and sadness.


She began searching for podcasts and found Happy Homebirth, which she listened to throughout her pregnancy. Imogen said that it made a huge difference feeling that she had a community of support, and that the stories helped her feel confident in her decision.  She also reached out and found local homebirth mothers to connect with.


Though her pregnancy was healthy, the pandemic added a cloud of stress and exhaustion.  She wasn’t able to have help with her toddler, and she was still working full time—but from home.  This caused more aches and pains than with her first.


3 days after her due date, Imogen woke up at 6:20 with a pain in her belly.  She flipped over, and a few minutes later felt it again.  After a few minutes, she realized she could be in labor!  The contractions were 3 minutes apart.  She told her husband, but had him stay in bed with their daughter.


She called her mother and had her come over.  They worked through some contractions together, and eventually discussed with each other that the midwife should be called. 


Imogen wanted to get her birthing space set up with the pool, so her mother went to do that.  Suddenly, though, she knew birth was imminent.  Her mom ran upstairs to find Imogen’s husband preparing to get in the shower.  She told him to head downstairs or he’d miss the baby’s birth.  He came downstairs, sat their toddler in his lap, and Imogen’s mother ended up catching her grandson before the midwives arrived.  


Although it wasn’t the water birth Imogen had imagined, the empowerment and wonder of her mother being able to catch her grandson was amazing.


Episode Roundup:

  1. You don’t have to have a negative hospital experience to choose to do something differently the next time around.  If you feel empowered, go for the homebirth!
  2. Community makes a difference.  Imogen listened to happy homebirth, she was active inside of our Facebook community, and she connected with other local homebirth mothers.  This was incredibly helpful for her as she prepared, especially with all of the pandemic lockdowns of her pregnancy.

You're listening to the Happy Homebirth Podcast, episode 96!


What would it be like to go through pregnancy and birth with someone you loved dearly?  Whether it's a friend or family member, experiencing pregnancy with someone close can be amazing.  But... when it's your twin?!  From in the womb to full-wombs together... what an incredible story today's episode entails!


Join me as Sharina and Latrina share their most recent (perhaps final) pregnancies with us-- and how they shared the experience together!



You're listening to episode 95 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast!


Show Notes:

Although Angelique looked forward to her first birth (she planned a homebirth from the beginning) her labor experience did not go as planned.  Both her midwife and her backup midwife were attending other births at the time she went into labor.  Her labor was intense and felt fast-- she never felt like she could catch up with the contractions.  A third midwife arrived before her son was born, but not long before.


Angelique's postpartum was devastatingly hard.  She and her husband were functioning on almost zero sleep, and although she tried to explain the situation to others, people were not realizing just how serious the issues they were experiencing were.  This lack of sleep turned into hallucinations and terrifying thoughts for Angelique.  Eventually she and her husband came up with a way for Angelique to get more sleep, and although she didn't fully recover until about a year after, things did begin to get better.


Everything was different with her second baby!  Angelique had a beautiful experience, and went into labor right after a tornado came through--knocking out the power.  It was a gorgeous day, though, and a birth surrounded by all of the people she wanted there.  Her second baby was born peacefully, and she had a blissful postpartum experience the second time around.

You're listening to episode #94 of the Happy Homebirth Podcast!


Join me as we do a mash-up episode.  I interviewed Julie Solomon of The Influencer Podcast on her own show.  We discussed the details of why and how she gave birth at home.  

This was such a joyous show.  Make sure you check out her podcast, especially if you're of the female entrepreneurial spirit!

You're listening to the Happy Homebirth Podcast, episode 93!


I’m excited to switch things up today.  This podcast episode is going to be all about fertility awareness, and why understanding our menstrual cycle can be hugely empowering.  We’ll be discussing this with my good friend Sophia Zafares, who is a Fertility Awareness Method Educator.  So… basically the perfect person to get the low down on what this all means.


And exciting news!  Check out the happy-Homebirth podcast on nstagram this week, as Sophia and I will be holding a giveaway together.  You don’t want to miss it.  Literature and a useful tool!


Show Notes:


Sophia is a fertility awareness method educator.


FAM- understanding the biomarkers of your fertility to avoid pregnancy, achieve pregnancy, or keep up with your general hormonal cycles.


Training through FEMM: Fertility Education and Medical Management


Pills, IUD, Shot, Implant: It’s important to know that they have basically the same forms of synthetic hormones.

These hormones do not interact with our bodies in the same ways that our natural hormones do. 


These hormones are administered at consistent levels, whereas during our natural cycles, the hormones go through rhythms instead of a steady-state. 


Hormonal bc: steady state, masculine stability

FAM: tuning into the body and noticing what it’s doing, feminine rhythm



Hormonal bc (side effects/ EFFECTS): Remember that hormones are involved in every part of our bodies and all of our systems

Prevent ovulation - without ovulation, certain hormones cannot be created.  Depleted nutrients, lower ability to absorb and use the nutrients

Affects attraction and mate selection- choose someone they wouldn’t typically choose, come off of bc and are very unhappy

Depletion of bone density



It takes several years for a girl’s cycle to fully mature.  If a young girl is put on bc, her maturity stops, and her cervix will be aged. 



Lisa Hendrickson-Jack: The Fifth Vital Sign, Fertility Friday



Follow Sophia: @sage.fertility on Instagram

Website: www.sagefertility.co


Congratulations to the newest members of Happy Homebirth Academy!

Check out myhappyhomebirth.com to access the interview application.  It's open this week!


Show Notes:

In her first pregnancy, Katie felt excited about her birth, but did not think there was anything for her to learn.  She knew that God had made her to give birth and she would.  She thought that any education she found, like What to Expect When You’re Expecting would be negative and unhelpful.  Looking back, Katie says this was well-meaning, but very naive.


With her first labor, she was in Mass and noticed that she was having “stomach pains” almost every 6 minutes.


Once she went to the hospital, she labored all night without any coping mechanisms.  She just knew that she wanted to have an unmedicated birth.


She called her mom and asked her to make her way there- a 5 hour drive.  Katie’s labor stalled the entire 5 hours her mom was making the drive.  As soon as she arrived, her labor began progressing immediately.  


Once her baby was born, they were taken to a recovery room with an amazing queen-sized bed.  


With her second birth, her husband was deployed.  Her mother came to support her.


Once she went to the hospital, she met up with her doula, who was an amazing support.  


They walked the hospital halls, then went to their room.  Once Katie’s water broke, her baby was born about 4 minutes later.  

Because she had declined antibiotics for GBS, Katie had to stay for 3 days.


Katie learned so much about birth between her 2nd and 3rd birth.  Because she didn’t want another experience like her previous hospital one, she began looking into birthing centers.  Her doula asked if she’d be interested in homebirth, to which she replied “no way”. 

Later that very week, Katie decided she did in fact want a homebirth!


Her doula accompanied her into the bathroom, then yelled for the midwife to get in there.  Katie was adamant that she didn’t want to have her baby in the bathroom,, so she walked over to the tub, where her water broke and Fetal Ejection Reflex kicked in.  She flipped over onto her back and then pushed her baby out.  She found out that her baby had a nuchal hand.


Katie loved the experience of her third pregnancy and adores homebirth.

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