Unmedicated Birth Center and Home Birth Stories + Congenital Heart Defect

Unmedicated Birth Center Birth Story and Home Birth Story

With her first son, Nolan, Stephanie went four days past her due date and had an 18 hour labor (6 hours pushing). Afterwards, Stephanie realized how much fear she had tucked away, and that it caused her to resist and nearly stop her contractions while in the pushing phase. For her next birth, Stephanie knew that she couldn’t push for 6 hours, physically, and that she probably wouldn’t be allowed to either. She did research and decided to practice an at home study course with Hypnobabies. She also completed her DONA birth doula training one day before her second son, Remi, was born. Thankfully she had learned a technique to keep her baby in because he came fast and furious (two pushes), being born approximately five minutes after her midwives arrived. The speedy labor and birth was a complete shock. The possibility of having a baby before 40 weeks had never crossed her mind, but (surprise!) Remi was born at 36 weeks 3 days.

Postpartum Experience Baby with Congenital Heart Defect

Stephanie’s second postpartum experience was a stark contrast to her first. Exactly two short weeks after Remi’s birth, it was discovered that he was born with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) called Critical Pulmonary Stenosis. Thankfully Remi’s doctor followed up closely on his heart murmur, checking on him for three days in a row. The murmur was not improving or worsening but she suggested that Remi be taken to Seattle Children’s Clinic to have an echocardiogram. Remi had shown no other obvious signs that he wasn’t a perfectly healthy baby until the moment they walked into the clinic. “Right place at the right time” is an understatement. Shortly after the echocardiogram began, Remi’s saturation levels (oxygen was not circulating well throughout his body) dropped and he was transferred quickly to Seattle Children’s Hospital where he received a life-saving procedure that kept him here, healthy, and with his family. Stephanie is thankful every day that Remi’s birth was exactly where and what they needed to have two weeks to bond, co-sleep, spend days and nights skin-to-skin and establish breastfeeding. After that two weeks they spent the next nine days, including Christmas, at Seattle Children’s Hospital, going home a day before the new year. The experience, as awful and traumatic as it was, went absolutely perfectly and thanks to Seattle Children’s Hospital, Remi’s first birthday (and many more to come) was celebrated on December 6th.

home birth story picture

Stephanie Hoverson Bio

Stephanie is a full time mom to two sweet boys, Nolan, who is three months away from turning four, and Remi, who just turned one year old. When she isn’t running six different directions after her two boys (three if you include her husband) she can be found deepening her yoga practice, studying and learning about pregnancy, birth and postpartum and adventuring outdoors with her family in the beautiful pacific northwest. She lives in Snohomish, Washington. Connect with her on Instagram, @the.double.mama.

Resources

Hypnobabies Self Study Course

Aeroflow Breastpumps

This episode is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow helps new and pregnant moms qualify for breast pumps through their health insurance. They carry all of the major brands, including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh, Evenflo, and more. Visit their website to get started today, and your dedicated breast pump specialist will take care of all of the paperwork for you, including getting a prescription from your doctor and filing the claim with your insurance. Go here to get started!

Self Care Gift Ideas for New Parents

Adjusting to a new baby always comes with its challenges. Whether it’s your first or your fifth, you’re dealing with lack of sleep, hormone shifts, putting the needs of this new human before your own AND figuring out what your relationship with your partner looks like now that there’s another person in the picture. These are some of our favorite recommendations for new parents to ensure that everyone is practicing some self care while caring for their new bundle of joy.

Sleep

Sleep is obviously the biggest hurdle so let’s tackle this one first.

  • Hire a postpartum doula – this is an invaluable gift you can give to new parents that will help them get some extra zzz’s.
  • Smart Nora – the last thing you need when you finally do get to lay your head down is to be woken up by your partner’s snoring. I’ve been truly AMAZED at how well the Smart Nora has worked to curb my husband’s snoring. It’s been priceless to not only get more sleep but also to not be annoyed at him for waking me up several times a night!
    • You can see in the picture below how it works, the box powers it and hides under the bed and then there’s a pillow insert that inflates when he starts snoring and it moves his head just enough to get him to stop.
    • The egg looking thing on our night stand is the sensor that detects the snores and activates the pillow.
  • Eye Mask – I was one of the first supporters when this mask launched on Kickstarter and I can’t say enough good things. It completely blacks out the room which is so great when you are trying to get your sleep in at odd times.

gifts for new parents

Eat

Nourishing your body with good food when you’re new parents is almost as important as sleep. Some great gift ideas are.

  • Home cooked meals – easy meals that can be frozen and popped into an oven or crock pot are ideal.
  • Take out gift cards. Or how about this Katz’ deli meal you can order on amazon?!
  • Gift card to a meal prep service. Either one that makes complete meals or one that sends the ingredients and you make the meals like Blue Apron. My best friend’s husband loves to cook and got sick of eating meals people brought so this was a great option for them, especially when he was on paternity leave and had some extra time.
  • Grocery shopping – either offer to do this for them and stock them up with some staples or gift them with a credit to a grocery delivery service in their area. Instacart is one many people use and Amazon Fresh is a newer one.
  • Nursing snack station – Fill a basket with healthy and quick snacks for the nursing mom (trail mix, granola bars, jerky, nuts, etc).
  • A great book that outlines specific meals that are nutritious and healing during the 4th trimester is this one!
  • Monthly subscription for healthy snacks or fresh fruit.

photo: @danihampton

Household

  • House cleaning service!!! (This is the #1 recommended by all parents I interviewed!).
  • Dog Walking Service or doggy day camp gift cards.
  • Take the older kids somewhere on the weekend and/or offer to do school drop off/pick-up for a week!
  • Laundry Service.
  • Cloth diaper service (obviously check with them first on this one!)
  • Monthly subscription for flowers.
  • Amazon prime membership (check to see if they have one first).

Comfort

Here’s where you can have some fun and do some pampering for both parents. Almost all of these ideas came from new moms!

  • At home massage visit or spa gift card. There are massage therapists that specialize in postpartum.
  • Since they will be spending most of their time lounging around the house, a really nice robe or set of pj’s is a great gift especially since baby likely already has tons of sleepers, treat the parents instead!
  • Nice sheets or a cozy blanket (maybe even one to commemorate baby)
  • Herb baths – Mom shouldn’t be using any bubble baths or bath bombs right after baby but an herbal bath that’s specifically meant for postpartum is a great gift. I love this one for sitz baths and this one for full tub soaks.
  • One mom suggested a special body wash or shampoo to motivate her to take showers and practice that basic form of self care! Try an organic option!
  • High end face wash and moisturizer to help mom feel fresh and self indulgent at the beginning and end of each day.
  • Diffuser and essential oils.

Pre-eclampsia Induced Birth at 36 Weeks

Induced Birth for Pre-eclampsia

After Kara and her husband got the surprise of a positive pregnancy test, they immediately began planning for a medication free hospital birth to follow in the footsteps of Kara’s mother and sisters-in-law. After receiving the diagnosis of fetal hydronephrosis at their anatomy scan, things seemed to go down hill. Kara began having trouble with weight gain and high blood pressure, although her doctor seemed unconcerned. At 36 weeks Kara was admitted to the hospital for a 24 hour urine screening. After the screening was completed, her protein levels were more elevated than expected and she was heading towards an emergency induction. Multiple interventions followed, and Dorsey Commander was born at 36 weeks weighing 6lb 7oz.

Kara Lewis Bio

Kara is a 22 year old mother of a precious 6 month old baby boy, Dorsey Commander. She and her husband, Randall, live in Mobile, AL. As a family, they enjoy traveling, being outside, and playing with their three dogs. Kara works as an executive assistant for a gym owner and personal trainer. You can connect with her on Instagram @karaflewis96, and on Facebook.

Crane Humidifiers

This episode is sponsored by Crane Humidifiers. Crane’s colorful humidifiers are a nursery necessity to help relieve your baby’s tiny congested nose, which can make feeding and sleeping a struggle for both baby and mom. A happy baby is a healthy baby.  Crane is generously offering $10 OFF and free shipping on all of their 1 gallon adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH17 at www.crane-usa.com.

Fast Unmedicated, Breech Cesarean & Unsuccessful VBAC Birth Stories

Birth Summaries

Despite needing to be induced because of dangerously low amniotic fluid levels, Rebekah was able to have a natural and fast delivery with her first baby. Her hopes for repeating her natural delivery with baby number two were smashed when they discovered the baby was breech. After several attempts to encourage the baby to flip, eventually Rebekah delivered her second baby via c-section.
Rebekah dreamed of having a VBAC with her third baby, but knew that her history of low amniotic fluid could get in the way. Eventually, her low fluid did require Rebekah to be induced. The VBAC was not successful, and Rebekah had another c-section. However, a surprising discovery in the operating room confirmed that the c-section was meant to be.
rebekah hoffer birth stories

Bio

Rebekah Hoffer used to bare her heart on stage as an actress, but now she bares her heart online. She still has a flare for the dramatic, but thankfully family appreciates that about her. Rebekah blogs at SimplyRebekah.com. She shares money saving tips, parenting advice, and all the things she is learning about natural living. Rebekah can often be found expressing her hatred for cleaning and her deep passion of Oreos and reality TV.
Rebekah is also a regular co-host on the Sorta Awesome podcast. Every week the co-hosts strive to find the awesome in the every day as they explore everything from the silly to the serious.
You can find Rebekah Hoffer on her blogInstagramFacebook, and Twitter. You can find Sorta Awesome in your favorite podcast app.

Resources

Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Bad?

Read Rebekah’s Birth Stories on her blog: Grace’s Birth Story – Fast & NaturalNoah’s Birth Story – Breech C-Section and Isaac’s Birth Story – Failed VBAC

Earth Mama Organics

At the end of this episode I talked to Westley about her favorite products from Earth Mama Organics, today’s sponsor. I’m a HUGE fan of their bottom spray and bottom balm! Plus be sure to check out their new deodorants coming soon!

Hospital Birth Stories & Unexplained Secondary Infertility

Hospital Birth stories

Kristin Croxton shares her 2 very different hospital births. The first, her oldest son Jack, was born sunny-side up after Kristin received an epidural and multiple other interventions. After months of trying to conceive again, Kristin was diagnosed with unexplained secondary infertility. With the help of Femara and intra-uterine insemination, she was able to get pregnant with her second son, and had a medication-free hospital birth.

Kristin Croxton Bio

Kristin is a 34 year old mom of two precious little boys: Jack, who is 5 and Eli, who is 11 months. She lives in Taylorsville, KY with her husband of 7 years, Jeremy. They love being outside, hiking, kayaking, and playing sports with their oldest son. Kristin works as a nurse transplant coordinator and is passionate about promoting organ transplantation. You can connect with her on Instagram @khbe14, and Facebook.

Resources

The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
A non-hospital based birthing class
The Birth Hour and reading other’s birth stories!

Fairhaven Health

This episode is sponsored by Fairhaven Health, who proudly introduces IsoLove – a new line of isotonic, paraben-free, glycerol-free, and oil-free products to support vaginal health. The IsoLove line currently includes three products: IsoFresh, a vaginal balancing gel that helps stop unwanted odors and supports a healthy vaginal ecosystem and BabyIt, the only product specifically designed to be used with perineal massage during pregnancy. Today, we talked about BabyDance, a fertility friendly lubricant that helps supplement natural lubrication during intimacy for trying-to-conceive couples. Fairhaven Health is generously offering 10% of all IsoLove products with the code BIRTHHOUR at www.fairhavenhealth.com.

Unmedicated Hospital birth, Healing After Loss & Rainbow Baby Birth Story

Unmedicated Birth at the Hospital, Healing After Loss & Chaotic Rainbow Baby Birth Story

Kasey’s first pregnancy and labor was slow and steady. After almost 3 days of labor, her first son was born vaginally and unmedicated in a hospital. Eleven months later, at 21 weeks in her second pregnancy, she experienced a loss of a daughter through fetal demise, induction, and delivery. After a journey of grief for her unborn, and for another pregnancy loss in her family, she found strength in herself and her body again. A year later, to the date, she and her husband found out they were expecting another baby. Through a few rough patches in her pregnancy, Kasey planned for a healing birth center birth made it to 39 weeks and 4 days when she went into labor. When that day came, it was nothing short of chaotic. She delivered her baby at an ultrasound appointment with a doctor she never knew, nurses who had never attended birth, and a few teams of paramedics. After a transfer to the hospital for postpartum care and a short stay in the NICU, she was able to escape the chaos, take her rainbow baby home and begin as a family of 4.

Kasey McComas Bio

Kasey McComas is a mother to Elijah (3) and Ezra (7 months). She is also a labor doula working towards certification. She and her husband have been together for 10 years and married for 6. In those past six years, they have resided in North Carolina, Arizona, California, and back to North Carolina. Her passion is birth and informing and supporting women through their options in the journey to and through parenthood. Her message is to always take hard times and find strength in your personal journey. When you can own what you do with conviction, nothing can bring you down.

Resources

Thinking Womans Guide to a Better Birth – Henci Goer
StillBirthday.com and NowILayMeDowntoSleep.org
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Doula Search – CAPPA.com
DONA.org – DoulaMatch.net/ Ask Providers / Chiropractors

Aeroflow Breastpumps

This episode is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow helps new and pregnant moms qualify for breast pumps through their health insurance. They carry all of the major brands, including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh, Evenflo, and more. Visit their website to get started today, and your dedicated breast pump specialist will take care of all of the paperwork for you, including getting a prescription from your doctor and filing the claim with your insurance. Go here to get started!

Three Vaginal Breech Births – Hospital, Birth Center & Homebirth

Breech Hospital Birth

It was Jessica’s first breech birth. Vaginal breech had just been legalized in her part of Canada again, after over a decade of being illegal.  And Jessica’s nurses were not prepared! Thankfully, her doctor was confident and trained. Jessica ended up having a very fast birth.

Breech Birth Center Birth

For this birth, Jessica and her husband lived in the southern United States, in a place where if you have a breech at the hospital, a c-section was inevitable. So, in case this baby was breech, Jessica hired a midwife who was experienced delivering breech babies and chose to birth at a birth center instead of the hospital. Again, Jessica had a very fast birth.

Breech at Home Birth

For her third breech birth, Jessica hired the same midwife, but chose to deliver at home where she wouldn’t have to pack up the baby in a carseat right away and drive anywhere! This birth was only 3 hours, but Jessica hadn’t prepared her body or mind for the birth, and more people were present than she would normally choose; so, the experience was different than her previous two births. In this one, the pain took her by surprise. It was Jessica’s most painful birth experience by far. It showed her that her previous birth preparations were VERY important. Still, everything went very well and baby was healthy and born fast.

breech homebirth pictures

Jessica Gray Bio

Jessica is a mother of 4 dynamite children. She currently lives in North Carolina. She birthed her children in two different countries, two in a hospital, one in a birth center and one at home. She is in love with writing, the beach, spending time with her kids, and being the general of her household tribe. But her biggest passion is empowering other moms that vaginal breech birth is possible. She speaks to and teaches women about breech being just a variation of normal. Currently, she is writing a book about Frank Breech birth. She is the face behind the Instagram account @breechbirth. You can also find her on her personal Instagram @thegeneralofthetribe and learn more at breechbirth.com!

Solly Baby

This episode is sponsored by Solly Baby, the makers of Solly Baby wrap carriers, Solly swaddles and Solly Dolly wraps. At Solly Baby, closeness is what matters. The power of touch, the strength in being together, and that the most enduring relationships are not only in love but in experiencing life together. Solly Baby is generously offering $5 off your order with the code BIRTHHOUR at www.sollybaby.com.

 

Photo credit: Lora Denton Photography 

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Looking for some of the best deals for pregnancy, baby and even the older kiddos (and adults) in the family? I’ve rounded up my faves and will continue adding to this list as I discover more great deals!!

TOP FAVORITES

Other Fun Stuff

A Twin Story, from a Healthy Pregnancy to a Powerful Birth

After a healthy pregnancy with twins, Amy and her husband were planning another home birth. Their first two children were born at home. Amy and her midwives were hoping to make it to 37 weeks. When labor began at 36 weeks, they all decided that giving birth in the hospital would be the smartest and safest choice. The midwives wanted to be confident that the babies were fully developed and 37 weeks was the goal.

Amy, her husband and two midwives (who came to the hospital to offer labor support) were met with resistance since Baby B was breech. The doctor wanted to take Amy immediately to the OR for a C-section. Baby A was head down, both babies heart rates were strong and there were no signs of distress, so Amy refused the cesarean. She said “I trust in my body, and I trust in my babies. We deserve a chance to labor.”

This statement would be one that she repeated each time a fear tactic was thrown at her. She was bullied by the doctors and administrative staff but never gave up hope on her body or her babies. She simply wanted the opportunity to labor and birth Baby A vaginally. After that, she was hopeful Baby B would find the position he needed.

Even in the face of fear, doubt and control from the doctors, Amy remained confident in her voice. She filled her birth story with trust and surrender.

The twins had their own unique journeys into the world. While it wasn’t the homebirth Amy had planned on, she has found acceptance for the story they wrote together. From their pregnancy, to birth, to mothering twins, the boys have taught her the power of patience, surrender and trust.

twins birth story

Amy Griffith Bio

Amy Griffith is a mom of 4, including twins. She transitioned from a career as a Broadway dancer and Radio City Rockette, to the world of yoga as an instructor specializing in prenatal and postnatal yoga. Amy’s pregnancy and birth with her son inspired her to film her own prenatal yoga dvd’s with her daughter, her second child. Her pregnancy and birth with the twins reinforced the importance of slowing down, trusting her body and surrendering to their path. Amy says she is mindfully-stumbling through motherhood as she juggles the demands of 4 children. A focus on the good in the present moment is how she handles the challenges that arise in motherhood. More information on Amy, her pre/postnatal dvd’s and social media links can be found at ExercisingBalance.com.

Resources

When you’re expecting twins, triplets or quads By Dr. Barbara Luke
Expectful
Earth Mama Organics

Expectful

This episode was sponsored by Expectful which is a digital platform that makes meditation easy for expectant and new moms. Each one of their guided meditations has been created to support you throughout your pregnancy and motherhood journey.

Their mission is to give babies the best start in life, and that begins with you. If you’re pregnant or a new mom, go to expectful.com and sign up for their 30 day free meditation trial. It may just change your life.

3 Positive Epidural Births + PPD Discussion

Positive Vaginal Hospital Epidural Birth Stories & Postpartum Depression Discussion

Bert Anderson had three positive vaginal births in hospitals. She used epidurals for all three births and for the most part she had uncomplicated pregnancies. After her first birth she was diagnosed with postpartum depression when her son was four months old. Since then she has become aware of her mood and depression so she can recognize the warning signs.

Bio Bert Anderson

Bert is a Minnesota mom of three, blogger at FirstTimeMommn.com and the author of the upcoming book Me Before Mom: Putting on Your Oxygen Mask First. Her writing has been featured in Huffington Parents and TODAY Parents.