Whether you are pregnant and looking for inspirational birth stories through your pregnancy, trying to conceive, a first time mom or a veteran mother of multiple children, you can learn, laugh and maybe even cry a little at these moving childbirth stories from women willing to share one of the most intimate moments of their lives.
Here's the Latest Episode from The Birth Hour – A Birth Story Podcast:
Joanna shares her experience with gestational diabetes and an epidural hospital birth.
Lindsay and her husband, Jeff, live in Detroit, Michigan, with their son, Rivers. Lindsay has had type one diabetes since she was a child, and with it came some obstacles to navigate in order to start her journey to become pregnant. Lindsay became pregnant shortly after her team of doctors gave her a green light; and, her pregnancy went well until she was unexpectedly hospitalized at 27 weeks due to pre-eclampsia.
Julia transferred to a midwife group at 30 weeks. She went into labour at almost 38 weeks, had a 30 hour labor at home with mostly back labor, and after a quick drive to the hospital, Frankie was born two hours later.
Jennifer’s husband was diagnosed with cancer two months after they were married. They were able to bank his sperm before he started chemotherapy and knew that IVF would be the only way to have children in the future. After years of battling cancer they decided they didn’t want to let cancer hold them back from living life. They implanted one embryo through IVF and were shocked when they found out their one embryo had split into two. They were expecting twins!
On this episode, Cassi shares her four hospital birth stories and some great resources.
Julia planned for an unmedicated, hospital water birth. After having to have her water artificially ruptured and finding meconium, the water birth was no longer an option. After laboring for nearly 26 hours, pushing for 4.5 hours and narrowly avoiding a c-section, Julia was able to have an unmedicated vaginal birth.
Danielle shares her two cesarean birth stories
On this episode, Victoria shares her pregnancy, birth, and postpartum stories. After dealing with Gestational Diabetes that was insulin dependent for her fasting numbers and finding out she had Group B strep, Victoria had the most amazing, beautiful birth. She labored for 24 hours, pushed for 3 hours, all with the wonderful support of her doula and birth center. Unfortunately things got harder postpartum.
Carrie, an experienced doula, had an unexpectedly emotionally-difficult pregnancy. She worked hard throughout to release secondary trauma from being a birth worker, all in hopes of having a home birth with a truly community-centered birth team.
Before getting pregnant with her first child, Brittany had hoped and planned for an unmedicated birth. Due to an unnecessary induction and several interventions her first birth ended in a cesarean. Immediately following that birth, she began preparing for a VBAC.
At 37 weeks, Katie went in for an induction due to an ICP diagnosis (thanks to learning about it from this show and Nicole Phelps' story!) Hoping for a very low-intervention birth experience, the team of midwives and nurses were amazing at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass in providing as gentle of an induction as possible.
Tash shares her two cesarean section birth stories, one traumatic, the other redemptive.
After Shannon found out she was pregnant with her first, there was no question that she wanted an unmedicated, untouched birth. The questions were: where, and with who.
Rebecca is the founder of Evidence Based Birth® and the author of Babies Are Not Pizzas: They’re Born, Not Delivered! On this episode she shares two of her birth stories and discusses the impact those experiences had on shaping her life.
Hannah shares her surprise road side delivery and homebirth stories.
While planning on an intervention free birth center birth, Taya and her husband prepped by doing the Know Your Options childbirth course. At 39 weeks, Taya was diagnosed with preeclampsia and, after being turned away from a local hospital for refusing certain medical treatments, finally ended up at the university of Washington medical center.
Katie and her husband, Dave, conceived twins through IVF after four years of intensive fertility treatments. Katie’s conception story includes a vasectomy reversal, two rounds of embryo generation, miscarriage, embryo loss, genetic studies, and seemingly endless trans-vaginal ultrasounds.
On this episode, Valerie shares her two birth and postpartum stories.
On this episode, Lina shares her hospital and home birth stories.
Rachel shares her birth story and discusses using the Ava bracelet to get pregnant, as well as being diagnosed with both Hyperemesis Gravidarum & Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER).
Kyra and her husband Oscar uploaded their first video to OKbaby in 2015. At the time, they were 18 years old and expecting their first child, dealing with the challenges many teen parents face, such as finishing high school and finding financial stability.
After years of sharing their lives with the world (as well as two more babies), they have engaged millions of devoted fans and now host two wildly popular channels and have a massive Instagram following.
OKbaby features the entire family as they share their experiences - from everyday activities to travel and adventure. Fans love watching the family grow and explore life together as they face the challenges of being a young family with love, humor, and tons of fun. Connect with Kyra on Instagram and YouTube.
On this episode, Carly shares her experience getting pregnant as a queer couple as well as planning for a homebirth that ended up in a cesarean transfer.
On this episode, Valerie shares her loss and birth stories.
On this episode, Mia shares her two birth stories: a c-section and VBAC.
Sierra shares her experience with two early miscarriages as well as her birth story. She discusses being diagnosed with placenta previa, her resulting cesarean section, and postpartum complications afterwards.
After an easy pregnancy with few complications, Melissa endured prolonged labor with Group-B Strep, leading to her son contracting bacterial meningitis after birth. After a three week stay in the hospital, he is now 18 months old and happy and healthy! Melissa dealt with Postpartum Depression and anxiety stemming from her experience, and hopes to shed light on GBS and its possible complications at birth. She hopes to encourage women to be their own advocate and take charge of their own health research as they prepare for pregnancy and birth.
On this episode, Erica tells her two birth stories.
Erica planned a birth center birth with her first child. After a low risk pregnancy, she went into labor at 39 weeks and 6 days. After having early labor contractions all night she checked into the birth center at 6 am on November 6th. She labored there all day and eventually started to run a low grade temperature resulting in her midwife risking her out of the practice and insisting on a hospital transfer. After a total of 33 hours, she welcomed her daughter at a Houston Hospital.
After her first birth experience Erica knew she wanted to try again for an unmedicated birth. Thinking her previous hospital transfer was necessary she opted for a group of midwives at a local hospital for prenatal care. After an upsetting encounter with one of the midwives in the group she followed her gut and switched to planning for a homebirth. Erica had another low risk and straight forward pregnancy and welcomed their son at home at 38 weeks and 4 days after only 6 hours of labor.
On this episode, Lauren returns to share her second birth story.
Mari became pregnant with her second child in September of 2018. After an anxiety-ridden fearful c-section 2 years prior, due to failure to descend, she was determined to have a VBAC! She experienced a lot of push back from doctors, family, and her partner. Ultimately after facing her anxiety, getting her partner on board and breaking down all her VBAC fears, she was successful in birthing her son via VBAC in May of 2019. She shares the journey of her healing birth, including breaking up with two doctors in her both her second and third trimester and her empowered labor and delivery with a full female staff.
On this episode, Claire shares her two very different birth stories.
On this episode, Amy shares her very different hospital birth stories.
On this episode, Michelle shares two birth stories and her in-between cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, and recovery.
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On this episode, Megan discusses how her uneventful pregnancy, marathon labor, and difficult postpartum opened her eyes to the various resources within her local birth community and sparked a fire in her to advocate for new and expecting moms about what their options truly are when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
On this episode, Sarah shares her empowering hospital birth story.
Annie has three children with about 2 years between each. She has had a hospital induction with epidural due to being almost 42 weeks with her first, an unmedicated vaginal hospital birth, and a hospital induction to have a specific midwife with her third. Having a male provider for her second birth brought up some unresolved sexual traumas from her past so she did everything she could to heal and find a supportive care team for her last birth. She discusses suffering postpartum depression after her second and third births and pelvic floor issues.
Alicia Eastes is a screenwriter/writer, documentary filmmaker, and founding co-President of an emerging chapter of Women in Film and Television International in Austin, Texas. On this episode, Alicia shares her birth story and her experience of neurological restoration through her first pregnancy.
When I received an email from Gina explaining that after three medicated hospital births, she had successfully had a natural birth with her fourth baby and that she credited listening to other women's birth stories on The Birth Hour, I knew I had to hear her stories.
On this episode, Emma shares the story of her quick hospital birth and the challenges of having a low milk supply.
Megan became pregnant with her first child unexpectedly after 4 years with an IUD. Fortunately, the pregnancy was healthy and viable and continued uneventfully until her son decided to enter the world earlier than she anticipated (37 weeks and 3 days). After being in labor almost a full day without realizing it, Megan made it to the hospital at 10 cm and delivered a healthy baby via waterbirth almost 3 hours later.
Emmalina experienced a traumatic birth with her first baby and did extensive EMDR therapy to recover emotionally; so, when she found out she was pregnant again, she knew she had a chance to make this birth experience a healing one. After much contemplation, she decided to have a scheduled cesarean. 10 days before her cesarean date, she spontaneously went into labour. A few hours later her baby boy was born by a positive and healing cesarean and she moved through her postpartum period with health and no complications.
Today's episode features Jesse Coulter who is going to share the birth stories of both her son, born at a birth center, and her twins who were born vaginally in a hospital. The twins' birth story is fast and furious as they arrived before the hospital staff even had a chance to put the IV in Jesse.
On this episode, Erika shares her two quick hospital births and discusses the importance of trusting your body.
Aleesha shares her two birth stories, PCOS, gestational diabetes, and suffering a postpartum fever.
Karyssa has known she wanted to be a mother since she was very young so she and her husband started trying for a family right away and now have two girls who are currently 2.5 years and 8 months old. After giving birth to her babies, Karyssa became fascinated with what women's amazing bodies are capable of and she hopes to become a doula herself. Today she shares her two daughter's birth stories, the first born in a hospital and more recently her birth center birth.
Today's birth story episode features Marissa Lawton who discusses getting pregnant with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and dealing with fertility treatments.
On this episode, Mirah shares her birth story and experience using the Ava Fertility bracelet to help her conceive.
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Paige lives in Northern California where she is a stay at home mom to her 17 month old son. She had him via planned c-section due to his breech position and was excited to for the opportunity to share her experience and encourage other moms who may find themselves preparing for a planned c-section. (Spoiler alert: she loved it.) She enjoys any time she can get to be creative and crafty. You can catch her blogging periodically at TheRampaige.com.
Elana's birth story went as she hoped - she had a planned hospital birth with an epidural that was 12 hours start to finish. The doctors & hospital were kind & compassionate, and really helped create a special experience.
On today's episode, Emily shares her fourth birth story. After experiencing extreme pain in her foot that traveled to her calf, Emily begrudgingly went into the ER and a HUGE DVT blood clot was discovered in her calf.
Cristina shares her two hospital birth stories.
After a healthy pregnancy and relatively normal 12 hour labor, Kelly’s birth took a sharp turn when her baby needed immediate resuscitation after delivery at their birthing center. Her daughter, Emilia, was transported by EMS with her husband to the nearest hospital. Even though her birth was frightening, Kelly felt cocooned in peace and safety by her care team back at the birthing center. Later on in the evening Emilia began to experience seizures. After a substantial amount of testing it was determined that she had bleeding in her brain with an unknown cause. Kelly’s family spent a miraculous four days in the NICU and were able to go home with a healthy baby. In the months following her daughter’s birth, Kelly suffered from some postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts regarding her daughter’s resuscitation and NICU stay. After seeking treatment she has come closer to a place of understanding and empowerment.
Cassandra always planned to have a homebirth and accidentally took her newly-conceived baby on a 1000 mile motorcycle camping trip before she knew she was pregnant. She had a rather uneventful pregnancy up until the last trimester, when her active baby girl wouldn't stop flipping breech and back up until 39 weeks. She had to make alternate plans in the event the baby decided to stay breech (in the state of California, breech home births are unfortunately illegal); but, fortunately Cassandra was able to stick to her original dream of a birth at home with her entire family present. After 36 long hours of labor (24 of which consisted of strong contractions 2-3 mins apart), Cassandra pushed her baby out in 30 minutes and had a beautiful golden hour with her whole family in the room.
Amy had a fast and furious birth with her first born: her water broke at 9pm and Eli was born by 1am! With rising blood pressure and transitioning so quickly, Amy blacked in and out of consciousness, but was able to have her planned unmedicated birth. Her nurses joked that she’d need to “camp out” for any subsequent babies, but when Amy delivered her daughter 3.5 years later, she had a very different birthing experience. While both babies came exactly 9 days before their due date, Juniper’s labor was slow and steady and much less chaotic.
On this episode, Linnaea shares her two birth stories and relates complications with breastfeeding after her second.
When Jenna found out about Ava bracelet she was thrilled to become pregnant again after a year of use! The bracelet helped her and her husband understand her cycle and body better. It taught her what her most optimum days were and, took a lot of the stress out of trying to conceive. She loved that it was very easy to use and see the data daily. Her pregnancy was anything but easy but this she expected.
She ended up having to be hospitalized the last month of her pregnancy due to severe preeclampsia. On the day of her baby shower, Jenna was rushed into an emergency cesarean section at 30 weeks and gave birth to her tiny 3.5 pound rainbow baby boy Wesley Arlo. Jenna and Patrick feel completely blessed to have him and can't wait until he can come home from the NICU. Jenna wanted to share her story to give hope to those who have gone thru similar circumstances
Ashley has had three hospital births. They were all different, and she became more and more informed about birth and her options each time. She had an epidural with her first and then was made to wait two hours for her doctor after being fully dilated and ready to push which resulted in a three day NICU stay for her daughter. With her next birth, she really didn't want to be induced but was ultimately scheduled for an induction. For her most recent birth she went in knowing she wanted a natural birth — listen to find out how it went.o find out how it went.
Sarah had planned on an unmedicated hospital birth with her first child, but eventually got an epidural after becoming frustrated with a difference in cervical checks done by the nurse and the on-call doctor. For her second labor, she decided to try again for an unmedicated birth and decided to hire a doula for extra support. Her second labor was much easier and quicker and she was able to achieve the birth she had hoped for.
A doctor told Chelsea there were no trophies for women who have an unmedicated birth; but, Chelsea felt passionate about having a serene, med-free experience in the hospital. When she had to be induced at 38 weeks with gestational hypertension, her preparation and self advocacy paid off for a successful hypnobirth experience.
Nicole Phelps shares her experience being pregnant while her partner, Michael Phelps, was training for the Olympics. She hired a doula and prepared to possibly give birth without Michael there. A few weeks before her due date, Nicole started experiencing extreme itchiness, especially on the palms of her hands, and was tested for Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). However, she went into labor before the results came back. Michael made it just in time, and her son, Boomer, was born healthy. The test result came back positive and she knew she'd have to be on the lookout for another ICP diagnosis with future pregnancies. On this episode, she also shares her second pregnancy and birth story and how her doctor monitored her for ICP leading up to her son Beckett's birth. Nicole wanted to share her story to raise awareness about ICP so other women can be on the lookout for the symptoms.
After a traumatic c-section, Allison knew she wanted to try for a VBAC. During her pregnancy she did everything she could to stay healthy, both mentally and physically She found the online birth community and learned everything she could about birth. After 42 weeks, she was induced at the hospital and had the most empowering and healing VBAC while surrounded by her incredible birth team of women and her supportive husband.
Long before even trying to conceive, Lindsey knew she wanted an intervention-free birth. Despite her intentions, research, planning, and extensive preparation, Lindsey and her husband learned their first parenting lesson (you are no longer in control!) at seemingly every turn, from pregnancy through delivery and postpartum. An induction lead to a 28 hour labor which ultimately ended in a cesarean section. Lindsey spent much of the fourth trimester trying to understand her birth experience and heal physically and emotionally.
After the OB she loved left the office a month before her due date, Felicia was left having to advocate for her birth plan when the new doctor attempted to scare her into an early induction. She was finally induced at almost 42 weeks. After Cervidil didn’t change anything overnight, Felicia received a small amount of pitocin, which jumpstarted what ended up being her ideal birth without an epidural.
Kate and Andy live in Portland, Oregon, and were delighted to become parents after meeting in college. They were in no rush, after being together nearly 13 years before the birth of their daughter, Caroline, but were thrilled when their pregnancy-journey began so swiftly. Both recognized that is often not the case and felt so grateful because of this! Kate knew she wanted to prepare for an unmedicated birth. She felt good and remained super active throughout her pregnancy. However, at 34 weeks, her pregnancy took a turn when Kate learned her baby was in the breech position. On top of this, Kate had developed gestational thrombocytopenia, which can cause a greater risk of postpartum hemorrhage. With the pending arrival of their breech baby, Kate was fearful this would mean she would have to be put under and have a c-section to deliver. At week 37, in an effort to preserve her wish to have an unmedicated birth, Kate and Andy made the decision to undergo an external cephalic version (ECV) to turn their breech baby and were thrilled when it was successful.
Kate's labor began just shy of 39 weeks, and after a fast journey to transition, Kate stalled at 9 cm for several hours because the baby was posterior. In the end, Kate was proud of her dedication to an unmedicated birth, the preparation she did to be successful, and the choices she made to get to that point. Even so, Kate suffered from a retained placenta that was not discovered until 5 weeks postpartum. She describes the pain and symptoms to watch for so you can advocate for yourself during the postpartum period.
Haylie and her husband, Jeffrey, had been married for a year when they decided to try and get pregnant. With many tales from friends and family members that it could take a while to conceive (it was news to Jeffrey that you actually had to "try" to get pregnant) they were surprised when a pregnancy test came back positive only a few months later. Haylie had a history of depression but was adamant about getting off antidepressant medication while pregnant. At first she felt fine, both emotionally and physically. But right around her second trimester, serious signs of depression and anxiety began to creep in. This made for a difficult pregnancy in which Haylie sought help from a number of sources to cope with the mounting feeling that she was unprepared for motherhood. As she prepped for an unmedicated hospital birth, she also battled a constant fear that she wasn't ready to be a mom. As you'll hear on this episode, there were several unexpected twists and turns during Haylie's labor and delivery that ultimately led to an epidural and a long but successful vaginal delivery. Haylie also shares how experiencing depression during pregnancy morphed into postpartum depression and talks about the lifesaving support she received after her son was born.
My mom was in town for Memorial Day, and I thought it would be fun to have her record her birth stories. She actually has four birth stories, but only shared her first two: my older brother and me. We were both born in the hospital unmedicated with episiotomies. I remember when she first told me her birth stories, the main thing that stuck out was that they were fast! Imagine my surprise when my first labor was over 34 hours! Hear my mom share her experience having hospital births in the 1980s in this episode of The Birth Hour.
Linda Williams is the best-selling author of over two dozen books on science & technology including: Chemistry Demystified; Careers in Forensics; and, 5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science and Nanotechnology Demystified. A former biomedical researcher at NASA-Johnson Space Center and Rice University, Linda now works at the University of Arkansas Medical School in the Research department. She is the mother of Bryn Huntpalmer, founder of this podcast!
This episode is sponsored by CollegeBacker. CollegeBacker is the easiest way to save for college with help from family & friends. In just 5 minutes, you can open a tax-advantaged 529 Plan, and then invite family & friends to contribute – even before your child is born!
Sign up at CollegeBacker.com/TheBirthHour and receive a $10 match when you start saving for your child, or when you send a gift to kickoff someone else’s college fund.
On this episode, Tristin shares her three, very different, birth stories.
On this episode, Jenn shares the story of how she advocated for, and successfully had, a vaginal twin breech birth.
Brooke gave birth to baby Shiloh Lane on March 30th, 2018 at 4:12am. Her pregnancy was fairly textbook with the normal aches and pains towards the end. At 40 weeks Brooke and her Husband, Zack decided to allow the doctor to strip her membranes in hopes that that would give the extra bump she needed to get the birth going. Sure enough, 24 hours later labor started at 3:00pm. By 11pm things had really picked up, Zack called the doulas and they agreed that they should head to the hospital. Zack and Brooke arrived at the hospital at midnight where Brooke was checked and was 4cm with contractions 3 minutes apart. At 2:30am Brooke began to feel the urge to push but did not want to inform the nurses because she knew it could be a while of pushing and she wanted to stand as long as possible. At 3:15am the nurses heard she had been pushing and immediately checked her and made it very clear she was NOT to push until she was fully dilated to a 10 (she was only 7cm at this time). Lots of prayers were said during this time and 5 minutes after only being 7cm she was checked again and had fully dilated to 10cm. There was about 20 mins of active pushing and Shiloh was born. She was 9lbs 1oz and mama was left with a pretty significant 3rd degree tear.
Postpartum was a wild ride for Brooke who was not expecting the emotions and physically recovery that was needing to happen. Breastfeeding went well, with the occasional latch issue and fear that baby wasn’t getting enough but going to a lactation consultant set all of their fears aside. Brooke's biggest hurdle was that she had postpartum bleeding for 9 weeks PP which everyone told her was “not normal” after many OB appointments and an extra ultrasound to make sure nothing was retained inside Brooke finally stopped bleeding and soon learned about the importance of seeing a Pelvic floor therapist postpartum.
On today's episode, Morgan shares her two birth and postpartum stories.
Sarah approached birth wanting whatever type of birth her baby needed to arrive safely; but, she did want to start her labor naturally and hired a doula to help her cope with labor. She ended up having a 33-hour unmedicated hospital birth with a midwife! I loved hearing how despite very little birth-preparation, Sarah completely trusted her doula to guide her through her labor and benefited so much from her doula’s knowledge and guidance. She shares some of the positions and tools that were most helpful to her during her long labor at the hospital.
On today's episode, Allyson shares about her experience with a planned c section birth as a first time mom. She talks frankly about how it felt meeting her son for the first time and how her introduction to motherhood did not go as planned.
Hannah is a first time mom who discovered the birth community during the middle of her pregnancy, and fully embraced it. After lots of research, planning, and self-discovery, she planned for an unmedicated hospital birth with little to no interventions.
Caitlin and her wife had a difficult time navigating the barriers faced by queer couples trying to conceive. After two years and many failed IUIs, they decided to take a different route and try at home inseminations with a known donor. She hoped that removing the stress of the fertility clinic would help her body welcome pregnancy. She was right! And shortly thereafter Caitlin finally got the positive pregnancy test she had been longing for.
Elisabeth gave birth to her first child, Owen, on April 5th, 2019. The pregnancy itself was mostly uneventful minus persistent nausea at 20 weeks that caused to switch from OBs to a midwife. Then a follow up ultrasound brought up concerns that Owen had a potential heart issue. This added some worry to the end of the pregnancy and required sticking with OBs. So, then Elisabeth’s plan was to have an unmedicated childbirth in the hospital. Her due date came and went and as her induction date loomed closer.
Luckily, after two acupuncture sessions, labor started on the day of her induction but she developed a high leak in her amniotic fluid. Instead of using any medications, her OB broke her water completely. She went from 1cm to 3 cms in 2 hours, then felt the urge to push 3.5 hours later. After almost 3 hours of pushing, Owen entered to world accinclitic and at 9lbs 1 oz! Elisabeth had an immediate severe postpartum hemorrhage that only got under control after administering multiple rounds of pitocin, misoprostol and methergine. About 2 hours later, she had another bleed that required more medications and eventually two blood transfusions. This may have contributed to her current struggles with low milk supply.
After having a fairly easy and healthy pregnancy, Vidita was excited to meet her daughter soon as her due date approached. Unfortunately, she never went into labor and at 41.5 weeks hesitantly agreed to go in for an induction, as recommended by her doctor. Not knowing the strong correlation between inductions and C-sections, Vidita was completely blindsided when her induction stalled and led to a non-emergency C-section due to “failure to progress”.
In the months after her daughter was born, Vidita spent endless hours nursing her round the clock while simultaneously thinking about all the things she would do differently when she became pregnant again. She was convinced that the choices she had made had led to her first C section and she was determined that her birth outcome would be different the second time around. She felt like somehow she had failed by not achieving a vaginal birth. She read all about VBACs and researched everything that could possibly increase her chances of success.
Heather is the creator and editor at My Life Well Loved! She created her site out of a deep passion to empower women, inspire confidence, and elevate living a life well loved. She is mom to three year old Leyton and 8 month old Finn, wife to Eric, and healthy lifestyle advocate! Heather is defined by her faith in Jesus, her southern roots, and her deep love for people. She admits she is just learning to balance it all! MLWL is a place where she strive to affirm women, to embrace the balance, get their sweat on, enjoy a glass of wine, and savor the little things. MLWL is a destination for fitness, fashion, mom hacks, wellness tips, travel guides, and most importantly FUN! Heather would love for you to follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! You can read about her son Leyton's birth here and Finn's birth here.
Danielle’s birth is not what she expected. Danielle knew she would have a c-section because of a trauma to her hip in the past but she did not expect it to be at 29 weeks. Danielle went in for her 28 week check up only to find her blood pressure dangerously high and traces of protein in her urine. Upon being admitted to the hospital it became increasingly hard to control her blood pressure.
Along with preeclampsia, Danielle was developing HELLP syndrome, causing her platelets to plummet and her alt levels to rise. Eventually it became too dangerous for Danielle to remain pregnant. At 8am on 10/24 the doctor decided it was time to have a baby. Danielle was wheeled into the OR with tears in her eyes. She feared it was too early for her baby.
On this episode, Kathleen discuses her fertility journey, accreta diagnosis, and cesarean section.
For Phyllis (a once-upon-a-time doula) and Phil (born at home in England) homebirth was an easy decision to make. A trusting midwife and a lot of introspection helped them navigate an unexpected premature rupture of membranes at 41 weeks -- with Phyllis GBS positive and severely allergic to most antibiotics, they waited 30 hours until mama decided she was comfortable augmenting labor. And from there, it was off to the races! After just 4 hours of active labor their daughter, Beatrice, was born at home in the water just as they had hoped.
Melissa's children were born in Iowa under the care of midwives but in a hospital setting. In Iowa all midwives who are legally practicing are Certified Nurse Midwives and many of them are providing care within a hospital setting. The hospital that Melissa gave birth at was set up more like a birth center than the typical hospital image that you may have in your head. It had a large tub as well as other comfort measures that aided her with finding more natural methods of coping with labor than typical hospital pain medications. Melissa also practiced Hypnobirthing which really made a big difference with her births and kept her from even considering asking for an epidural.
Bek entered her pregnancy wanting an unmedicated birth. She went with a midwifery group in a hospital because of wanting to be in the best possible place in case she needed help due to her disability. She was confident that her limitations wouldn't be an issue and her midwives were confident in supporting her. But when she went into labor at 34 weeks and her son was in an incomplete breech position and a whirlwind labor, she had to get an emergency c section. Baby and mama were safe and spent 11 days in the NICU before heading home. Even though it was much different than what Bek wanted, they made it through and look back knowing they were safe and didn't have any complications making it home for unlimited snuggles.
Leah Rodrigues had two natural, unmedicated child births at the hospital. It was not her first choice to give birth in the hospital but she felt that she didn’t have another option due to insurance. She wanted to share her story and the ways she advocated for what she wanted and navigated the medicalized environment.
Megan gave birth to her first child in December 2012. Her only “birth plan” was to get an epidural...unfortunately that didn’t go as planned! When her daughter was born in March 2016, Megan was induced at 38 weeks due to possible cholestasis (ICP). She was able to get her epidural that time and the induction went relatively smoothly. For her last baby, born April 2018, Megan was induced at 37 weeks after it was confirmed she had cholestasis. She delivered her baby girl about 4 hours after the induction process started. Her daughter had to spend about a week in the NICU due to respiratory distress. Between her three pregnancies and births, Megan has dealt with just about every pre and post natal situation there is!
Tara went into childbirth knowing that she would have a cesarean delivery. As a Type 1 Diabetic, the expected birth weight of her daughter had reached 8 pounds by her 36th week of pregnancy, and shoulder dystocia had already complicated her first delivery. She and her husband, Adam, were informed on May 29th that her delivery had been scheduled… for the very next morning! Lowering blood sugar levels were pointing to possible problems with her placenta, and baby looked good, so all doctors involved agreed that the wait was over!
After suffering from an autoimmune condition most of her life, Caroline approached pregnancy with trepidation, initially unsure she would be able to successfully conceive. After becoming pregnant in Fall 2016, her initial elation gave way to concern when a 12 week scan revealed her son was suffering from a condition called megacystis. When not resolved in utero, megacystis proves fatal. Careful monitoring continued until 24 weeks when she was finally given the "all clear" to enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Meeting with a doula around the same time gave Caroline and her husband, Brett, the confidence to pursue a homebirth; and, despite insurance difficulties, they secured the services of an incredible homebirth midwife.
At 38 weeks, Caroline’s waters broke and after an intense but pain free night (thanks hypnobirthing!) her son was born after a posterior labor in the bedroom of their home. When her placenta tore after delivery, Caroline was transferred to the local hospital for a D&C where her impeccable care continued.
Sofia shares her experience with the maternity health care system in India as well as her dissatisfaction with her birth experiences and finally the amazing postpartum care she received from family.
In this episode January Harshe shares her first four birth stories: a cesarean, a homebirth transfer to cesarean, a hospital VBAC after being dropped from care by her homebirth midwife, and a very healing unassisted homebirth. You can hear her 5th and 6th birth stories on her podcast that she hosts with her husband, The Harshe Podcast.
After a 20 hour labor, Liesel delivered her son epidural-free at the hospital (and department) where she worked. Liesel battled an OP presentation during labor, with her biggest hurdle being back labor. She stuck it out at home until she was 5cm dilated, and then got admitted to the hospital where she had her doctor break her water. After many position changes, a few doses of IV pain medication, and pushing on hands and knees, she was able to successfully vaginally deliver her son epidural-free. She prepared for her birth by reading countless birth stories, interviewing her co-workers, and studying “Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth”.
Gaela delivered both of her babies in Paris, France. For her first birth, Gaela took HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method classes, which got her incredibly excited to give birth. She labored at home and kept waiting for the pain to arrive and it never did. Her daughter was born 47 minutes after Gaela arriving at the maternity ward in a birth tub with hardly any water in it! Gaela became a HypnoBirthing instructor after her daughter’s birth. She gave birth to her son 23 months later in a birth center. She was able to deploy all of the techniques that she teaches in order to stay focused and have a peaceful birth. She was able to “breathe” her baby down and have him auto-latch during the sacred hour. She had two distinct yet wildly empowering childbirth experiences.
Mabel is 31 years old and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Tim, and son, Darasimi. She married her college sweetheart in 2013 and the couple decided to wait for a year before actively trying to get pregnant. After learning she had fibroids shortly after she started her TTC journey, Mabel decided to have a laparoscopic myomectomy done to remove multiple fibroids from within her uterine wall. The journey to get pregnant continued on for another 2 years before she got a positive pregnancy test which was a both a surprise and relief. She had a relatively smooth pregnancy with a few hiccups which included fibroid degeneration and gestational diabetes. Her son was born vaginally in a hospital in September 2018 after a 36 hour labor. Mabel works as an education specialist for her local school county and enjoys spending time with her close circle of family and friends and learning about birth work. She is also a new doula, ready to support women in advocating for their desires regarding birth and pregnancy. You can find her on Instagram @mabedababe (personal) and @withinherbirth (doula business).
Clarice Amorim Freitas was planning to give birth at a birth center, but at 37 weeks was diagnosed with intra-uterine growth restriction and needed to be induced immediately. They were in the hospital for 39 hours before their little one was born via vaginal birth. The hospital and birth center staff were both incredibly supportive and they had a very positive experience despite the abrupt change of plans. They were able to continue their postpartum care through the birth center even though they did not physically deliver their baby there.
On this episode, Neram discusses giving birth in Amsterdam as well as Bogata, Columbia, where she was encouraged to enjoy weeks of postpartum rest and care.
Rachel had always envisioned herself having an unmedicated home or birth center birth, but when she found out she was considered high risk she knew that wouldn’t be possible. So, she and her fiancé hired a doula and chose a hospital and team that best fit their birth wishes. Rachel delivered her daughter vaginally and unmedicated 3 weeks early and just 14 hours after arriving at the hospital! As smooth as her pregnancy and delivery went, she’s still dealing with some unexpected postpartum complications 3 months later.
Kelle shares the story of her daughter Nella's birth. Nella was born with Down Syndrome unexpectedly, so it obviously came as a huge shock to Kelle. Kelle is open about her grief surrounding that initial news. She talks about those first days in the hospital and how little she knew about Down Syndrome before her daughter was born. Her daughter Nella is seven today, and Kelle looks back on her birth story with a lot of emotion, sharing how her family and friends supported her through that time, and how she offers hope to mothers who contact her today when they get a Down Syndrome diagnosis. I loved this episode not only because Kelle tells it so beautifully, but also because I personally was very uninformed about Down Syndrome and learned a lot through her story.
When I got the following message from Danielle Knapp, I was brought to tears knowing the affect that this podcast had had on her unexpected birth experience and knew I had to have her on the show! In this episode she shares her experience giving birth while drive down the interstate.
Good afternoon, Bryn.
I just wanted to send you a note to let you know how impactful your podcast was for me!! I listened to your empowering birth stories almost everyday during my third trimester. I laughed and cried and clung to the hopes that I too would have an empowering birth. My first birth was in the hospital and it was 31 hours. An epidural in the last 3 hours after a goal of all natural. I felt defeated and 'less than' bc I couldn't do it.... Well, I gave birth almost three weeks ago to my second daughter. My plan was a to have a peaceful water birth at the Austin Birthing Center. Baby had other plans. I ended up delivering her myself... in the car... on the highway, while my husband was speeding to try to get us to the birthing center on time. I didn't even tell him bc I was afraid he would pull over or crash or I don't even know. I just quietly pulled her up on the back bench of our expedition. I feel like the collective confidence I absorbed through all those women's stories is why it happened the way it did. I was never fearful, and even in the most absurd circumstances, it was still a calm and peaceful experience for both me and my daughter. And best of all, I feel so empowered from the experience.
So thank you for doing what you do! I really am not sure how I would have handled a precipitous birth and highway delivery had I not had all those beautiful women on my mind!
The Knapp's welcomed their first daughter, Piper Clementine on January 20th, 2013. It was a grueling 31 hour labor. Looking for a different experience, Danielle planned to give birth at The Austin Area Birthing Center for baby girl number two. After a precipitous birth, Posey James was born in the car, northbound on Interstate 35 on the way to the birth center in Austin.
After a long pregnancy battling severe hyperemesis gravidarum, Hannah gave birth to her first son in a birth center at nearly 41 weeks. Ten months later, she became pregnant again, this time with a set of twins! Despite living in a state that considers twins to be a "high-risk" pregnancy, they were able to work with an OBGYN and midwife team to deliver their babies out-of-hospital. She carried her twins for 38+5 weeks until her water broke and they shot out of her body in just 1.5 hours! Hannah struggled with breastfeeding all of her children, due to tongue-ties and tight jaws. She was forced to exclusively pump with her son, but was able to breastfeed her twins successfully after a difficult 3 month journey working with a lactation consultant and occupational therapist.
LC gave birth to her first child on Feb. 22, 2017 (her four year wedding anniversary)! After a complicated pregnancy involving blood thinners, gestational diabetes, and a degenerating fibroid that landed her in the hospital at twenty weeks, LC still hoped to have as natural a hospital birth as possible. Her hopes were dashed when she realized she would need to be induced; but, she was not expecting all the ways that her birth story would ultimately surprise her! After slowly progressing for the first eight to ten hours, she quickly progressed from a 3 to a 10 in only 90 minutes - so soon, in fact, that her husband almost missed the birth when he stepped out to grab a snack!
LC is a writer, activist, and entrepreneur residing in Columbus, OH. She is the founder of Zora's House - the first coworking and community space created by and for women of color in Ohio. In her spare time (what does that even mean?!) LC enjoys reading, watching HGTV, and hanging out at local breweries with her dog, hubby, and two year old son. Connect with her on Instagram at @no1doesitlikelc
Both of Charity’s babies were born in the UK. After excitedly planing for an unmedicated hospital birth centre birth, Charity had to quickly change her expectations when she was told her baby would be delivered via cesarean section. Her body and baby disagreed with the doctor, and her son was born vaginally on the operating table as preparations were being made for surgery. For her second birth, Charity was determined to have a greater ability to advocate for herself and her baby, so she and her husband hired private midwives to help deliver the baby at home. Her second son was born in a birthing tub in the living room of her small flat in central London.
On this episode, Mika shares her three homebirth stories and discusses the importance of advocating for yourself.
Heather shares her experience laboring and pushing at home, until her midwife noticed her baby's heart tones were not recovering after contractions while Heather pushed. She was rushed to the hospital, and the ER doctor on call gave her one chance to push with forceps before taking her in for a cesarean birth. Her son was born with that one push and she describes her hospital experience as being very positive. They spent one night at the hospital before heading home.