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.


What happens when you break a bone, undergo surgery, or get sick?  Typically, very specific time is taken to rest, and most importantly, to heal. 


What about when you have a baby?


After creating an entirely separate, entirely new life in your womb for 9-10 months, then bringing that life forth one way or another, what do you do?  Do you give your body the same type of attention and care that one does when recovering from any other strenuous/difficult event? 


I sure as heck hope so, but I sure as heck worry that it isn’t happening enough, especially when considering our western culture’s nonchalant attitude regarding postpartum recovery. 


Today’s episode is all about Adilah’s personal experiences with postpartum recovery.  As the daughter of a mother with a Malay background, she was truly required to rest and recover after giving birth.  Her mother made her broths, soups and warming stews, and saw to it that she was given traditional healing treatments: postpartum massages, belly pastes to warm her body and increase circulation, herbal baths, body scrubs, belly binds, hair treatments and feminine washes.  All of this combined with rest taught Adilah the true benefits of taking the postpartum period seriously. 


Now, with her in-depth understanding of these treatments, Adilah is providing many of these same kits to interested mothers through her website,


With all of this attentive care, it’s no wonder that Malaysia ranks the lowest in the number of women with postpartum depression.  Perhaps if we adopt some of these principles, the western struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety would decrease as well.


This podcast is full of beauty and fascinating cultural information.  Listen in to hear how Adilah’s grandfather understood so deeply the importance of this postpartum support that when her mother gave birth to Adliah, he came and stayed with her and cared for her just as Adilahs mother did for her (her grandmother had passed away before Adilah was born).  This example so clearly demonstrates the depth of understanding this culture has in regards to the importance of postpartum healing and bonding. 


Connect with Adilah:




Other resources mentioned in this episode:


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Hatched at Home- Midwife Carrie LaChapelle: 



Help out the show:

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Motherhood: What does this word mean to you?  What comes to mind? 

I know that personally, I think of my own experience- raising my daughter, and now starting again with raising our second girl.  

Sydney's experience, however, is quite different.  She has experienced motherhood from several different aspects: as a biological mother who placed her child for adoption, as a mother raising her second child with her husband, and as a surrogate.  

This episode details Sydney's experiences in all of these areas, providing us all with a fresh perspective on the word 'Motherhood'.


Show Notes:

Sydney found out she was pregnant directly after college- she was not expecting or planning on this pregnancy.  She felt sure that she was not ready to be a parent, she did not want to parent alone, and she knew she had to figure out quickly what she needed to do. 

Her family assumed she would get an abortion, but she felt that because she wanted to be a mother one day, she could not allow herself to end this pregnancy with abortion.

Once she chose the family to adopt her child, she wanted them to be as involved with the pregnancy as possible.  They got along very well. 

Sydney struggled with her familial relationships in terms of deciding to keep the pregnancy, and in fact did not speak to her father for the entirety of the pregnancy.  Their relationship was quickly reestablished afterwards, when he acknowledged that he had handled the situation incorrectly.  He now continues a relationship with the child by sending presents, birthday cards, etc.

For the first year, all seemed to go well.  Sydney felt rejuvenated to be able to spend time with her friends without being pregnant… she felt like her old self.  However, at the 1 year birthday party of the baby, she became very emotional and realized she had not taken the time she needed for herself to heal after the birth. 

She decided to take a job with Teach for America and travel.  She moved to Memphis and met her husband.  Within a year, they were pregnant and married!

Her second birth was a homebirth in Las Vegas.  Her husband was able to catch her son and passed the baby to Sydney under her legs.  Both she and the baby were crying!  She discusses the difference of feeling between having her first baby with her second- knowing that this baby was hers to keep. 

 Her third pregnancy was as a gestational surrogate.  The beginning of her pregnancy was incredibly easy- she had no morning sickness, which was very different from her two previous pregnancies. 

During the 20-week anatomy scan, a heart defect was found in the baby.  The parents of the baby had to decide whether or not to terminate the pregnancy.  Right before Christmas, they’d decided to terminate. 

However, the day after Christmas, they changed their minds and said they would keep the baby no matter what! 

The rest of the pregnancy went okay for Sydney, though she did feel stressed trying to make sure she was doing everything she could to help the baby be healthy.  She was induced at 39+2. 

The labor was long, but once she finally was pushing, she pushed for only 3 minutes.  The baby was born screaming- so she could breathe!  And she didn’t need oxygen.  She was also strong enough to have her heart surgery on day 2 as opposed to day 5.

Sydney was able to breastfeed the baby while she was in town, and then she was able to donate over 3,000 ounces of milk to other babies. 



Deepest Thank You to Our Sponsor!

Hatched at Home- Midwife Carrie LaChapelle: www.hatchedathome.com 



Help out the show:

Leave a review on iTunes for a chance to be the reviewer of the week– you’ll be sent a Happy Homebirth sticker if selected!

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Show Notes:

Happy Homebirth hit 10,000 downloads!  It's time to celebrate.  What do you want to see?  A Facebook group?  Merchandise?  Send an e-mail to with your suggestions.

Imagine your ideal birth.  Where are you?  Who is with you?  In what position are you laboring?  Listen in to hear Katelyn's most recent birth.  Her experience was "magical," as she was surrounded with exactly the right people in exactly the right time.  Katelyn set up her birthing space very intentionally and set her mind to the exact kind of labor she wanted to experience.

She and Thomas share their labor story, as well as a hilarious postpartum experience that occurred.


Katelyn's labor march:


Katelyn's birth video:



Deepest Thank You to Our Sponsor! Hatched at Home-Midwife Carrie LaChapelle: www.hatchedathome.com 864-907-6363 

Help out the show:

Leave a review on iTunes for a chance to be the reviewer of the week-- you'll be sent a Happy Homebirth sticker if selected!

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Hatched at Home-Midwife Carrie LaChapelle:



Show Notes:

  • Rachael is a mother of 3: Her oldest is 10, she has a 4-year-old son, and a 1.5 year-old babe
  • In 2009, when pregnant with her first, she decided to have a birth center birth. We discuss how uncommon this choice was at that time, at least in the area she was living.
  • She had two friends who had had hospital births without any interventions. When she asked them about their decisions, she began seeing the benefits of an intervention-free birth and thought it might be something she’d like to do.
  • Rachael admits that another big aspect of choosing an out-of-hospital birth was the fact that she wouldn’t be allowed to eat in the hospital. The more she learned, the more she began to feel rebellious!
  • We discuss the fact that childbirth education courses can truly help shift your perspective of what your body can tolerate (in regards to pain) during labor, and what you can do to relax and enjoy the experience.
  • “It was as much like therapy as it was a [prenatal] appointment”
  • Rachael finds it very interesting how different each one of her birthing experiences were.
  • With her first, she had prodromal labor for a week and a half
  • Rachael kept feeling like she needed to poop- so she had her husband run grab her an enema from the store. She laid down on the couch while she waited, and after about 3 minutes, she heard a sound that sounded like a shot going off.  Initially, she thought her colon had exploded!  And then she realized it “worse”—her water had broken!  She expected that she still had several weeks to go before having her baby, so this was quite a shock.
  • She called her midwife, who said she would check back in with her once contractions began. About 30 minutes later, her midwife called back and asked her if she’d like to begin heading to the birth center so she could be assessed (she also recognized that traffic would be getting difficult soon, as rush hour approached).
  • 12 hours after he water broke, her baby was born.
  • Rachael discusses how all of the things she thought she’d want in labor were NOT what she wanted. The opposite was true, too!  She did not imagine wanting to labor on the toilet, but it worked for her during labor.
  • When Rachael laid down, she would vomit- she was grateful that she learned about how sphincters work during her childbirth education class, so she wasn’t shocked or scared by this reaction.
  • “I didn’t panic… until I hit transition, which is I guess when everyone panics!!”
  • “I looked like I’d been pulled behind a speedboat for about 6 hours when Lilah was born, but I felt SO good!”
  • “Don’t be so afraid of birth—don’t let somebody else handle it because it scares you. Learn what you can about it so that you can make informed decisions.”
  • Between her first and second child, Rachael had been divorced, and she was now in her late 30’s. She did not think that she would have more children.
  • Her next pregnancy was a surprise—“No one was planning that!” She was grateful that her partner was completely supportive and on board with having a birth outside of the hospital.
  • Rachael feels that her second baby’s birth was even more straight forward. He was born en caul!
  • The day before labor, she didn’t feel good and decided to stay home instead of going out to dinner with a friend.
  • Rachael talks about how in her mind, she did not want her daughter to miss school because she was having a baby (She’s not sure why that was a big deal to her, now!). She didn’t go into labor until 1 am on a Saturday, so she thinks she must have mentally willed that to happen!
  • “I didn’t want to wake up the midwife before 5am—I thought that was rude.”
  • Rachael remembers feeling more “with it” during her second birth.
  • Her son was born around 9 am, and they were back home by lunch time
  • With her last birth, CeCe, Rachael was 40 years old: “That’s not what I had planned for this year!”
  • Once again, Rachael had prodromal labor. 
  • Her husband’s mother came into town a week before the baby was due- she was hoping that she’d be around once the baby came.
  • Rachael made dinner, then decided to go get in the bed, as contractions (she was confident they were prodromal) were making her uncomfortable.
  • Rachael contacts her midwife, who tells her that she’s heading out for a birth that’s in quite a distant location. She asks how Rachael is doing, and Rachael tells her not to worry, she feels like she has plenty of time.
  • Thank goodness—the other baby was born in quite a hurry, and the midwife (who was acting as a second for that birth) was called and told not to even worry about coming out because everything was taken care of.
  • In the meantime, Rachael’s daughter began getting sick. She got up to go check on her--
  • “When I stood up, I had that ‘Oh no, what have I done’ contraction!”
  • She went to the bathroom and saw that she’d lost her mucous plug. “Okay great, well we have to go now!”
  • Somehow Rachael and Andy were able to make it to the birth center in 30 minutes—usually a 45-minute drive!
  • Once they arrived at the birth center, Rachael’s baby was born within 30 minutes.
  • “It just keeps getting better… maybe we should just keep having more kids!”

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Hatched at Home-Midwife Carrie LaChapelle:



Show Notes: 

  • Anne is a mother of 6 children who range in age from 25 to 3
  • She has been a doula/labor support person for 25 years (before the term really even existed!)
  • In 1999, Anne trained formally as a doula. She trained a second time with another organization the following year, and found that the two organizations had rather opposite methods and beliefs.  One was very medical, the other was almost medically antagonistic.  Anne felt she was lacking training from both organizations, so she set out to do something about it.
  • She and a group of women started a business called Maternity Wise, and she’s been training doulas since 2004.
  • With her first birth, Anne had a doctor who she says was more like a midwife than a typical doctor. At the end of her labor, she did use some narcotic pain relief at the end of her labor (though her doctor did discourage it), which she attributes to having a more difficult pushing phase.  Anne mentions how it made her feel drunk and slow- unable to move the way she wanted to.
  • Once the narcotics wore off, Anne was able to push more successfully and baby came out quickly at that point.
  • “What I’ve learned throughout the course of my births is that I’m one of those moms who does a lot of early work.” Her births are fast, but she does a lot of laboring off and on in the weeks beforehand. “I do a lot of laboring off and on during the weeks beforehand… and that sort of thing makes everybody nutty!”
  • With her second child, she was actually put on bedrest several weeks beforehand. She had both of these babies 2 weeks before her due date, and both were over 8 lbs!
  • As soon as they took her off bedrest, she went into labor.
  • When she went to the hospital, the nurse checked her and her water broke. The nurse left, saying that she had quite a ways to go.  As soon as she left, Anne begins feeling the “poop pressure”
  • The nurse ran back in, lifted the blanket, and caught Anne’s baby as he came “shooting out”!
  • All in all, her second labor was 55 minutes long.
  • Between her second and third birth, her amazing doctor stopped practicing. She was referred to an OB who she very much liked, but in 1999, doctors were now working in groups, so she was not necessarily going to be attended by her own doctor. 
  • At 37 weeks Anne went in because she was experiencing potential labor. After being there for several hours and having everything die down, she wanted to go home. The doctor said, “Let me just check you one more time and we’ll go from there.”  What she didn’t know is that the doctor had an amniohook in his hand, and he broke her water without her permission. 
  • After the baby was born, Anne felt he looked far too small and young. She’d been studying for quite some time at this point, so upon assessment, she felt confident that he was not 3 weeks early, but closer to 5 weeks early. 
  • “I think of all these moms whose due dates could be miscalculated- and how they induce and how they hurry things up and how they have these itty bitty babies who are just not ready.”
  • In 2002, Anne decided to have her first homebirth (baby #4). With this baby, she went 3 days past 40 weeks- much further than she’d ever previously gone!
  • Anne’s sister in law came to stay with her because her husband was working an hour away, and they knew that might be too far to make the birth! Of course, her baby waited until the day her sister in law left to be born!
  • She began feeling slight contractions, but they very suddenly made a turn and got very strong. She called her midwife, who said she was on her way, but was 45 minutes away.  She had been in the tub, but got out because she was uncomfortable.
  • As she got up, her body started pushing. She walked to the bed, and with the next contraction, her baby was born. Anne’s husband caught her, juggled her around a bit, and put her on Anne’s chest.  The baby took a good breath, but then went limp, which very much scared Anne at the time.
  • Anne mentions that as a toddler, this daughter would faint if she were surprised or scared… she now thinks that’s what happened at her birth!
  • This daughter that she had alone- Ruth- is very shy. On the other hand, her next daughter is the life of the party.  And for this birth, Anne needed all of her people there!  She had plenty of women around her, as well as her husband, and her kids were in the other room “eatin’ triscuits”.
  • Her midwife was about 10 minutes out, and her water had yet to break. With the next contraction, she felt a big, warm gush.  This contraction was particularly difficult. She assumed her water had broken, but when she opened her eyes, she saw that everyone around her looked concerned.  She looked down and realized that this was not water, but blood.
  • One of her friends, who is a lay midwife, was with her and supporting her. She prayed over Anne, then looked at her and said, “You need to push the baby out.”
  • At that time, Anne’s midwife arrived. She grabbed a Doppler and checked baby’s heartrate, which was good, so everyone felt reassured.  However, she was still bleeding copiously, so there was great concern.  Her midwife checked her and told her that she had a cervical lip, which she was going to hold while Anne pushed through the next contraction.  Her midwife kept saying, “You have to push harder.  You have to push harder.”
  • Anne remembers thinking, “They can’t help her if I can’t get her out.” So she pushed with what she felt was her last bit of life force (she was weakening with each contraction, as she was losing so much blood) and her baby came out screaming.
  • Once her baby arrived, Anne’s perception of what happened vs. the reality of what happened were very different. She says she wouldn’t have believed it had it not been video taped. 
  • Anne is in a state of delirium at this point, but suddenly something amazing occurs. Her two-year-old daughter Ruth, who is incredibly intuitive,   comes up beside her mother’s face and touches her. 
  • Her midwife later diagnosed that Anne had had a marginal placenta previa, which is what caused the tremendous bleeding. A piece of Anne’s placenta actually came out before her baby, but it broke off on her cervix.  This was a serious complication. 
  • Between the next two babies, Anne gets divorced and remarried. She has been traveling all over the country and the world training women as doulas.  To her surprise, she finds herself pregnant!  At 40 years old, Anne is considered “advanced maternal age.” 
  • Once again, Anne is experiencing lots of prodromal labor. All of her babies had been born in the evening up until this point, so when she would feel signs of labor in the morning, she typically ignored them.  One morning, she was having a consistent feeling of, “Oh, if I could just go poop, I’d feel better…” This turned into her walking around, getting in different positions, and continuously thinking, “If I could just do this (insert activity), I would feel better.” 
  • Anne had her husband fill the tub with water. She sat on the toilet while she waited, and had several very intense, uncomfortable contractions there.  She gets into the tub and tells her husband that he should call the midwife.  In the meantime, she’s thinking, “Oh, if I just get my tummy in the water, I’ll feel better….”
  • Anne gets on her hands and knees, and the next contraction was more manageable. The next contraction happens, and Anne does “the big Moo”.  Her midwife was on the phone at this point, hears Anne and heads for the door.  Apparently she had been nursing her toddler—she threw her toddler at her husband, ran out the door without a shirt on, and drove straight to Anne.  This was the first birth her midwife ever missed!
  • With the next contraction, Anne’s baby’s head was born. She was still en caul (her water had not broken)
  • “For good or bad, I think we define ourselves as women by our birth experiences- and that’s why when you have a bad birth experience you’re more likely to suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety.”
  • “Birth works all on its own- We just interfere with it so much.”
  • Anne on MaternityWise: “One of my favorite things to do is help women birth their business.”



Show Notes:

  • Sarah is the co-host of the Doing it at Home Podcast
  • She is a balance lifestyle coach who works with mothers in integrating their identities, purpose, confidence and sexuality
  • She is wife to her husband Matthew and Mom to her daughter Mya
  • Orgasmic Mama is the name of Sarah’s online membership program that she’s recently launched for moms to have a place to explore conversations regarding sexuality
  • Daily life before having a homebirth: “What the hell were we doing? We didn’t know how much time we had, really!” They were both working for a small marketing agency in Atlanta and had very flexible schedules.  Sarah shifted out of the agency and began working as a personal trainer.  She was then working with clients remotely related to lifestyle and balance
  • They found out they were pregnant the same week that Matthew decided he was also going to be leaving his job and starting his own consulting business. So much life change at once!
  • Getting pregnant: “We decided we wanted to conceive, and we got pregnant two seconds later.”
  • When she first found out she was pregnant, Sarah and Matthew went to see her OB. She’d only seen him for yearly exams since moving to Atlanta, so truly they’d only met twice. 
  • She was keen on having birth with as little intervention as possible: not being attached to anything, access to water and ice, to eat and drink etc. As they began establishing a relationship with her OB, they realized that her desires were not going to be met by this care provider and hospital
  • Sarah was watching the DVD series: Happy, Healthy Child and it began opening and expanding her mind about birth and parenting.
  • She was connected with a homebirth group that was about 15 minutes from her house. Matthew was a big part of the process, which was a big differentiator between the midwives and the hospital experience- it was an experience they were having together.  They were both pregnant together.
  • Sarah and Matthew both like sharing the fact that they did not immediately click into place that they would 100% have a homebirth. At first, Sarah was the one encouraging the idea while Matthew was more uncertain, and at one point, the tables turned and Matthew was for the homebirth while Sarah was unsure.  Finally, around 18-19 weeks, the two synced in opinion and decided they were going to go for it!
  • At that time, Sarah was looking for resources to connect with mothers who were deciding to have a similar birthing situation. As she and Matthew looked around, they really couldn’t find many resources.  In comes the entrepreneurial spirit: They decided to launch the Doing it at Home Podcast.
  • Several weeks after launching the show (after Mya was born), women began coming out of the woodwork wanting to share their own birth stories.
  • Sarah acknowledges that her pregnancy was beautiful and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • “Those midwife appointments were just amazing—Matthew came to every single one.”
  • Sarah and Matthew stacked up quite a large birth team, which worked for them. There were a total of 10 people in her bedroom when Mya was born—Mya not included!
  • Sarah wanted to make sure that Matthew had someone available for him during labor. She wanted to make sure that he was supported and cared for just as she was.  
  • Sarah’s Birth:
  • They were a day shy of 41 weeks
  • “Is this the last day that I’m going to be pregnant? The last shower that I’m going to take pregnant?” 
  • Sarah was doing all kinds of lunges and movements to try to get Mya to move down, as she was not yet engaged.
  • They went to an outside concert in September in Atlanta: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performing John Williams music (Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Star Wars)
  • As they walked back to the car from the concert, Sarah noticed that she was feeling very uncomfortable. When they got home between 10-11, Sarah couldn’t get comfortable in bed, so she went to the bath tub. 
  • By 1am-2am, they called Sarah’s midwife. That period of time was incredibly beautiful and magical for Sarah and Matthew. 
  • Matthew reminded her, “Be grateful for this experience.” That affirmation really resonated with Sarah and was something that she carried with her through the labor.
  • Matthew was so fascinated with all of the gear that the midwife brought to the birth: the oxygen tank, the medications for too much bleeding postpartum, etc..
  • The birth pool was blown up and Sarah got in, spending about 90% of active labor in the water.
  • Sarah discusses how the feelings of labor have such a unique quality: the intensity and the perhaps pain are with such purpose
  • Sarah’s total labor was about 12 hours
  • Her midwives encouraged Sarah to use the restroom- while she was sitting on the toilet, she remembers looking up into Matthew’s eyes and saying, “This really hurts.” Which to her, was more of a feeling of “what if I can’t do this” and because she was so emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.
  • She felt like pushing was an amazing experience for her because up until that point, she felt like she had been tossed around in the waves- Once she was able to push, she felt like she was able to lock in physically.
  • Matthew held her and supported her physically throughout the entire 45 minutes of pushing.
  • Once Mya was born, Sarah’s midwife noticed that Sarah was losing too much blood. She helped Sarah to the bed and gave her Pitocin
  • Matthew put himself between Sarah and the midwife- he shielded her from the rest of the room, and even from what the midwife was doing to keep her focused on the baby and calm
  • Sarah discusses how she certainly did not expect to have a homebirth podcast, but loves how the fact that it has opened up so much possibility.
  • Doing it at Home Podcast
  • Parents on Demand



Episode Roundup:


  1. Your partner can play such a critical role in the birthing experience. Of course this doesn’t match everyone’s situation or preference, but I love the idea of going into pregnancy as a couple and being “pregnant together.”  It certainly made me consider ways that I can include my husband in the experience more and make sure that his needs are met along with mine.
  2. The second point is just a thank you- thank you to the Doing it at Home Podcast and all of the other platforms that help normalize the birthing process. So much time, effort and energy is clearly put forth from their end, and yet they continue to show up every week.  What a blessing to have so many beautiful souls in the birthing community providing not only resources, but also community to birthing moms. 




Show Notes:

  • Currently 38 weeks pregnant
  • Have had quite a successful pregnancy-- this one has gone by much faster (probably because I've been chasing my toddler)
  • Planning to have my daughter at the birth.  We've prepared by having her watch birth videos and even listening to/watching the video of me pushing with her
  • This pregnancy I: continued strength training throughout- I feel it made a huge difference for me
  • I did start eating more poorly during February/March, so I did the Whole30 with my husband and daughter as a reset in April and felt much better
  • I got sick with a stomach bug around 34 weeks- I don't wish that on anyone!  So awful to be sick and that pregnant.  I worried momentarily I'd accidentally push the baby out while puking.
  • I had a blessingway ceremony this past weekend.  Surrounded by amazing midwives and birth workers who love me. 
  • We: ate, had a bead ceremony, a fear-releasing ceremony, made an affirmation banner, and prayed over me
  • If you had a Blessingway, what did you do?
  • Please send me songs to add to my playlist- feel free to send them via your instagram stories, tagging @happyhomebirthpodcast 

078A9796_websize.jpgShow Notes: 

  • Mia and her fiancé have been together for 7 years and have two precious sons together.
  • She comes for a naturally minded family- some of her aunts had had homebirths. However, she was not very educated on the subject.  She planned for a hospital birth and had a pretty good experience. 
  • She later experienced a friend’s homebirth (about 8 months after her own hospital birth) and realized that’s what she would want to do with any subsequent children.
  • Mia found out that she was pregnant with her second son right after her first son turned one.
  • When she found out she was pregnant, she knew she wanted her friend’s midwife to act as her own midwife.
  • Interestingly enough, both Mia and the midwife did not make it in time for the actual birth of Mia’s friend’s child! However, Mia loved how the midwife interacted with her during the home visit and immediately postpartum enough to know that homebirth was the way she wanted to go.  “It made me more aware that homebirth isn’t a scary thing.”
  • Mia admits that she procrastinated a bit with her prenatal care- she began going to prenatals at 20 weeks.
  • One way that Mia educated herself was by joining several homebirth and natural birth Facebook groups. Every afternoon when she would scroll through her feed, she would gain more insight into the choice she was making. 
  • With her first birth, her water broke before labor began. Once she went in, Mia mentions how many steps there were before she was actually able to focus on her labor: She had to get checked in through labor, assigned a room, they had to bring a birthing tub in in pieces, her water line was broken in her room so she had to wait for maintenance—Because of this the hours seemed to pass by like minutes.  “Looking back at it now, the hours passed by like minutes.”
  • After laboring for 3-4 hours in the tub, Mia was checked and found to be 9 ½ centimeters. After a few more contractions, she was ready to push.
  • Mia says that pushing was the time that things became more uncomfortable. She was on her back, bright lights shining directly on her, nurses and doctors hustling and bustling, etc.  Mia felt that the discomfort of the situation slowed her labor dramatically.  She ended up pushing for 3 hours, and when her baby finally came, he was tangled up in his cord.  Mia wishes she had been able to push in a better position, thinking that could have helped her situation dramatically.
  • With her second child, Mia had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks. She woke up at 3 am one morning with contractions that were different from what she’d been experiencing.  Her fiancé works nights, so unfortunately this was right when he was coming to bed.  She remembers having to tell him, “Hey, you can’t go to sleep- I’m having contractions!”
  • They decided to wake up and straighten up the house a little bit. After, Mia decided that it might be a good idea to eat a little something and begin timing her contractions.  She was contracting every 5 minutes and they were lasting about 30 seconds.  However, because they were consistent for an hour, she decided to call her midwife and let her know what was going on. 
  • Her midwife agreed that she was in labor, but recommended that she try to go to sleep for a bit. Mia took her advice and after about an hour of trying, she was able to fall asleep and stay asleep for 4 hours.
  • She woke up and had a normal day. Mia was even able to get a small nap in when her son did later.  Once she awoke, she decided it would be best to head to the grocery store to get a big haul of groceries so she wouldn’t have to leave her house any time soon!
  • She remembers her son running away from her in the store. As she chased him, she began having a contraction and though people must think she was crazy!
  • “I think that I was so busy trying to relax that day that I didn’t nourish my body the way that I should”
  • Mia stayed in touch with her midwife throughout the day. At 7:30 pm, Mia’s mother arrived at her house.  Around that time, Mia called her midwife and asked her to begin heading her way.  Her midwife said, “Well, you’re still talking through your contractions.  I’ll call you back in about half an hour to reevaluate.”  About 15 minutes later her midwife received another call—this time from Mia’s mom—telling her she couldn’t talk through contractions anymore!
  • Mia says that she had a perfect birth team. Her aunt, who has had homebirths, and her mom, played a huge role in her first labor, so she knew they would be important in her second birth, too.  Her two cousins came, and even Mia’s little sister, who is 6 wanted to be a part of the special day.  Mia had a photographer, and of course her midwife, as well as a second midwife and an assistant.  Her fiancé was there taking care of her, too!  Everyone was at her house by 9pm.
  • “And really what helped me most through contractions this time was listening to worship music and just trying to sing through them, which I loved.” 
  • Mia’s midwife kept asking her to go pee, but Mia was unable to each time. Her midwife finally said that she felt like Mia was a bit overstimulated with having everyone around her.  She asked her to go lie down in her bed with her fiancé, promising that they would come in and check on her. 
  • Mia laid in her room for the next 2 hours, her midwife coming in to check on her every 30 minutes or so. At one point, her midwife said again, “Listen, you need to go pee, or I’m going to catheter you.  If you’d like, I can check and see how dilated you are.”
  • Mia decided to be checked, and when checked, her midwife let her know that she was fully dilated.
  • She notes that she had been feeling the desire to push, but was thinking it couldn’t possibly the right time. She though she needed to let the pain do its job, and if she had pushed, it would be counter to what she needed. 
  • Mia says she thinks her midwife came in right at the perfect time, because she probably would have had the baby alone in her bed had she come in any later!
  • “Get in the water and push your baby out!” About 5 pushes later, Mia had her baby!
  • Mia describes how with her first baby, even though they didn’t find out the gender, she knew she was having a boy. With this baby, she was completely convinced it was a girl.  However, once baby was born…. She reached down and found a surprise!
  • “I was so convinced I was having a girl this time….I reached down and I felt balls!”
  • After having the placenta, Mia got out of the tub and realized that she was hemorrhaging. Her midwife began doing all of the common interventions for too much bleeding.  She began by giving Mia hem-halt, which is an herbal supplement to help stop the bleeding.  Her midwife then gave her a catheter since she knew that Mia hadn’t been able to pee for quite a long time. 
  • Neither treatment worked, so her midwife examined her internally to see if there was any clear reason as to why she was bleeding. Upon examination, nothing could be found.  The bleeding continued, so her midwife gave her a shot of Pitocin and 3 Cytotec (another drug used to contract the uterus) rectally.
  • After all of these interventions, Mia was still bleeding. Her midwife made the decision to have someone call 911 and transport her to the hospital, as the bleeding was not stopping. 
  • As the ambulance was on its way, Mia’s midwife recommended that she put together a hospital bag, should she have to stay for any reason. She also told her that her baby’s car seat needed to be installed so that he could come to the hospital. 
  • At this point, Mia refused. Her baby had only been on her chest so far, and she was not going to put him in a car seat so quickly.  Her midwife told her that when EMS arrived, they would tell her that she couldn’t take him with her in the ambulance.  Mia said, “Well I’ll just throw a fit, because he’s not going away from me.”
  • Once the ambulance arrived, Mia did as she said she would and advocated for herself. She told the EMS team that the baby would be riding on her chest- that she would take responsibility.  They conceded and Mia was able to take the baby with her.
  • Once they arrived at the hospital, they had to wait for the OB to come down from the maternity floor. While waiting, Mia’s midwife April checked her again and told her that her bleeding was much better.  She said they would probably just check her out and send her home. 
  • Before being sent home, the OB wanted to physically feel inside of Mia to see if she could figure out why she had been bleeding. She felt internally as deep as she could, and Mia describes this as the worst pain she can remember experiencing. 
  • After receiving IV fluids and stitching, Mia was able to return home.
  • “It doesn’t always have to be 100% perfect at a homebirth. Your midwife knows what’s going on and is going to send you in when you need to be sent in.” (Katelyn)
  • Mia mentions how she didn’t feel any panic during the hemorrhage because she knew her midwife was on top of the situation.


Episode Roundup:


  1. The body works so much better when given space to work! During her hospital birth, Mia ended up pushing for 3 hours lying on her back.  With her second birth, she was in a pool of water on her knees.  Her baby was out within just a few pushes.  Position makes such a difference!
  2. Always, always, always advocate for yourself or have someone present who will. When Mia had to be transported for bleeding, she made sure that her baby was able to stay with her the entire time (clearly, she knows the importance of postpartum skin to skin!).  She stood up for herself and her baby and kept him with her at all times, even when it was considered unconventional. 
  3. Having a “Happy Homebirth” does not mean everything has to go perfectly. It’s not always going to be butterflies and rainbows.  Sometimes things go awry.  The Happy Homebirth experience is being supported and surrounded by care providers that you trust to keep your health and safety (not only physical, but mental and emotional) as the top priority.  Sometimes this includes hospital transports.  This can also include hospital births! 


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!:
  • com/believeinmidwifery

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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