Unplanned Cesarean Birth After “Doing Everything Right”

Planned Unmedicated Hospital Birth turned Cesarean

Catherine Gray planned an unmedicated hospital birth and did everything she could to have a low-risk pregnancy. She took Bradley classes, exercised, followed the Brewer’s diet, interviewed numerous care providers, had chiropractic care and acupuncture, practiced relaxation techniques…and ended up with an unplanned cesarean birth after a long labor at 42 weeks. Sometimes you do everything right, and the part of birth that is a mystery takes over. In processing her birth as a mother, Catherine has explored how her experience as a survivor of emotional and sexual abuse affected the decisions she made during labor and the feelings she had afterward. She has pursued the question, “What if my cesarean was my healing rather than my scarring?”

Catherine Gray Bio

Catherine Gray is a wife, mother, and writer in Mississippi. She writes her blog Unsilenced Woman about her experiences navigating motherhood, marriage, sexuality, and all things human after emotional and sexual abuse. She has trained with Birthing From Within as a Birth Art facilitator and Birth Story Listener, drawn to the experience of birth as a powerful rite of passage to motherhood. Connect with her on Instagram at @unsilencedwoman.

unplanned c section birth story

Resources

Milkies Milk Saver
Earth Mama Organics Belly Oil
Meal Train

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps helps new and expecting moms qualify for a free, top-brand breast pump through insurance. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh and more. Visit Aeroflow’s website today to get started on receiving your free breast pump through insurance! From dealing with insurance, getting a prescription and handling all paperwork – your dedicated Breastpump Specialist will take care of everything for you. Go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour and they will know I sent you!

 

Peaceful Unmedicated Hospital Birth + Choices Around Miscarriage

Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story

Suzy had been planning the birth of her first child long before she was pregnant. When she found out she was pregnant, she went to work right away preparing for the birth. She knew she wanted to have an unmediated birth with as few interventions as possible. After lots of preparation during her pregnancy, Suzy was able to give birth naturally, peacefully, and joyfully in the hospital. This was all in spite of the fact that her labor only lasted five and a half hours.

Miscarriage and what Suzy wishes she had known

When her son was 15 months old, Suzy found out she was pregnant again. After going for her routine ultrasound, she discovered that though she has conceived, the fetus never developed. She had been so prepared in her previous pregnancy, but felt totally unprepared to make informed decisions regarding the treatment of her miscarriage. Eventually she miscarried that pregnancy, but wished she had more information to make better choices during the loss of her pregnancy.

Suzy Nuñez-Babb Bio

Suzy is a stay at home mom to her son, Darwin. She is a teacher by trade, but decided to take some time off after becoming a mother. She is currently training to become a natural childbirth educator. She and her husband, Jonathan, have been married for 5 years and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can connect with her online via Facebook or Instagram @motherili or email her at motherilibirth@gmail.com.

natural hospital birth

Resources

The Bradley Method
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel
Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Kelly Mom
Pregnancy Podcast
Sollybaby Wrap
Miscarriage Association

Earth Mama Organics

From the positive test to the big push, from the first latch to the thousandth diaper, Earth Mama makes effective organic and natural herbal products for the whole journey of motherhood: pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, and baby care. They’ve been safely nurturing mamas this way since 2002 — and they wouldn’t do it any other way. Be sure to check out some of their latest products like the organic deodorant (that really works!) that Megan and I discussed at the end of today’s episode!

Double Whammy Twin Birth Story

After a bout with infertility and IVF, Julie was thrilled and terrified to be pregnant with twins! But after an uneventful pregnancy, and making it to 38 weeks, Julie experienced the thing all twin moms dread: the “double whammy” birth.

Julie Burt Nichols

Julie is Twiniversity’s “Wizard Behind the Curtain,” serving as Editor-in-Chief of Twiniversity.com, Account Manager, and Instructor for Chicago Twiniversity classes. Julie is a full-time working mother to twin boys, born on Halloween. She loves serving as a resource and support for new parents, soon-to-be parents, and we-want-desperately-to-be parents. Julie is proud to be a certified child passenger safety technician, and the Twiniversity Resident Songstress/Jingle Writer.

twins birth story

Resources

Twin Classes
Parent-to-Parent Mentorship Program
What To Do When You’re Having Two

Babylist

This episode was sponsored by Babylist. Babylist believes that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry lets you add any item from any store. Even add cool services and favors like prenatal yoga, doula support, home-cooked meals or dog walking. Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth up to $190 while boxes last.

Hospital Induction Turned Cesarean Birth Story

Leslie was 40+3 when she went in for a Non stress test. The NST showed baby’s heart rate was declining after each contraction so she was admitted to the hospital that same day. She was induced around 7pm Thursday, April 14th. After almost 24 hours of labor, baby wasn’t moving down the birth canal so it was decided to go ahead with a cesarean birth. Jaxon Maggit was born via cesarean at almost 8pm Friday night.

Leslie Maggit Bio

Leslie and her husband of two years, Quincy, live in the suburbs of Seattle, WA with their son Jaxon and stepson, Evan. She works as an eCommerce Lead for a local technology sales company. Leslie and her family love to watch movies, play sports, and laugh! Leslie loves connecting with other moms so feel free to reach out to her on twitter at @LeslieBurns_.

cesarean birth story

Resources

Babycenter & birth month group
Reddit BabyBumps
Reddit BeyondTheBump

Favorite birth/parenting podcasts:
The Birth Hour
The Mom Hour
One Bad Mother
Mom and Dad Are Fighting
What Fresh Hell

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 full-priced 1 gallon adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH18 at www.crane-usa.com.

Unmedicated Hospital Birth with a Male Doula

Michele Shares Her Birth Story and Why She Chose a Male Doula

Michele had a typical pregnancy with all the glam of exhaustion, great hair, makeup induced glow, and self described cankles. She used her male doula and husband to coach her through contractions with a system of position changes. By preparing for labor with music and essential oils, she was able to push through with an unmedicated hospital birth. Wilder was born to Beyonce as Michele roared her out. She had a “normal” postpartum with the highs of having a new beautiful baby girl and food coming on speed dial, and lows of husband hatred due to lack of sleep and toe curling nursing.

Michele Pellicer Bio

Michele lives in St. Augustine, Florida with her husband, Teeny, daughter, Wilder, and dog, Sailor. She and her husband have been married for 5 years living the whole time in their hometown where they are surrounded by a village of family and friends. They take in the lush Florida landscape by boating, camping and hiking all year long. You can connect with The Pellicer Family on Instagram @pellicerfamilyroots.

Resources

Expectful
Nursing and Cursing
Active Labor by Janet Balaskas
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

ErgoBaby

Ergobaby creates innovative solutions to meet the needs of today’s parents. With over 30 baby carriers in five different categories, Ergobaby is dedicated to building a global community of confident parents with smart, ergonomic solutions that enable and encourage bonding between parents and babies.

What’s Behind Racial Disparities in Pregnancy & Childbirth

Today we are doing things a little differently on the podcast. I’m going to be replaying an episode from Denene Millner, who shared her experience with pregnancy and childbirth as a black woman in America back in 2016 on The Birth Hour. But first I’m going to share some clips from NPR’s Code Switch podcast which recently covered this topic. NPR reports that, “black women in the United States are 243 percent more likely than white women to die of pregnancy or childbirth related causes. There’s evidence that shows this gap is caused by the “weathering” effects of racism. Weathering is a term coined for stress-induced wear and tear on the body.” This statistic is true across all socioeconomic classes because “it’s a type of stress for which education and class provide no protection.”

Denene Millner of My Brown Baby shares her experience

Today’s birth story features Denene Millner, who shares her experience giving birth to her daughter at a teaching hospital in Harlem, NY. Denene had a doctor that she loved, the support of her husband, and made plans ahead of time for what she thought would be a great hospital birth experience. Unfortunately, she was treated like a second-class citizen for the majority of her time at the hospital. In this episode, she shares her story and discusses some of the issues that many black women face when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth in America.

Sadly, Denene’s experience was not a unique, as this is a common thread among the maternal healthcare system in the U.S. Too many black mothers are not only being treated poorly but are dying from preventable causes.

The Center for Reproductive Rights put together the Black Mamas Matter: A Toolkit for Advancing the Human Right to Safe and Respectful Maternal Health Care, in response to this problem and spoke out saying, “the risk of dying from a pregnancy complication should not depend on one’s race or zip code. But the reality is that women in the South are at much higher risk than women in other areas of the country. A Black woman in Mississippi is almost twice as likely to die as a White woman in Mississippi or a Black woman in California.” Every mother deserves safe and respectful maternal health care.

Thank you so much to Denene for sharing her experience and for helping inform women about these issues. You can connect with Denene on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or her website MyBrownBaby.

Denene Millner Bio

denene millner
New York Times best-selling author Denene Millner is a hotly sought after award-winning journalist whose insightful and captivating pieces have secured her foothold in the entertainment, parenting, social media and book publishing industries.

The former Parenting magazine columnist has penned 25 books, including Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, co-written with Steve Harvey, an upcoming memoir with iconic actress Taraji P. Henson and The Vow, the novel on which the hit Lifetime original movie, “With This Ring” was based.

She also is the founder and editor of MyBrownBaby.com, a critically acclaimed blog that examines the intersection of parenting and motherhood through the multi-cultural experience. Under Millner’s leadership, MyBrownBaby has won numerous awards, solidifying it as one of the most respected and celebrated niche blogs on the web.

Her work across the parenting, social media and publishing spaces led to her recent founding of Denene Millner Books, her new imprint that will publish books about African American kids, created by African American writers and illustrators. Millner also frequently contributes as an entertainment writer and essayist for various national publications, including Essence, Ebony, Family Circle and Redbook; her extensive broadcast experience includes appearances on The Today Show, The Meredith Vieira Show, HLN, MSNBC, NPR and the Rachel Ray show. The former political reporter and entertainment journalist lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two daughters.

Resources on Black Women Giving Birth in the U.S.

Books

Know Your Options Childbirth Course

This episode was sponsored by The Birth Hour’s Know Your Options Childbirth Course and Back-2-Work Breastfeeding Course. Enroll for a limited time today!

placenta birth center birth

75 Hour Marathon Home Birth Story

Short birth story info

Lisa always knew that she wanted a home birth, but she never anticipated having a marathon labor that would require extra support, including visits to the acupuncturist, the chiropractor, and the hospital. She eventually delivered her perfect daughter at home after over 75 hours of labor with her superstar support team.

Lisa Redfern Bio

Lisa lives in Olympia, Washington with her husband, Mitch, and their 4-week-old daughter, Nora. They spend their days hiking with their dog, foraging for mushrooms, snowboarding, and raising their ducks and chickens.

homebirth pictures

Resources

The Birth Hour!
Pregnancy Forum on Reddit
And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives
Mama Natural pregnancy and birth affirmation cards

Mother’s Select

Are you in need of a high quality Prenatal or Postnatal Vitamin? Well then Mother’s Select might have just what you are looking for. Mother’s Select is a manufacturer of high quality health supplements for mothers and infants in the USA, including products for preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. They specialize in breastfeeding and lactation supplements, so if you are in need of a jump start or increase in your breast milk supply. If you order on their website you can also enjoy 30% off with coupon code BIRTHHOUR30.

Empowering Epidural Births + Navigating Postpartum & Bottle Feeding

Supportive Medicated Hospital Birth

Before becoming a mom, Jessica had few expectations about pregnancy, birth, or motherhood. Her only close friend that had given birth did so unmedicated, and most of the language in her birth classes and the surrounding Brooklyn community was largely about “going natural,” followed unconditionally by breastfeeding. But her journey took a different turn—she had epidurals for the births of both of her daughters, and breastfed neither. Both births, she says, were empowering experiences thanks to a trusty team of medical providers.

Postpartum, Breastfeeding + Bottle Feeding

Jessica concedes that postpartum was much more challenging. She struggled early on with breastfeeding and experienced a lot of formula feeding judgement—both from other mothers, and herself. She was also surprised by how many people demean a “medicated” birth as being not natural. It’s one of the reasons she’s so committed to sharing a wide range of women’s pregnancy, birth, and motherhood experiences on her website Well Rounded.

jessica pallay birth stories

Jessica Pallay Bio

Jessica Pallay is the editor and co-founder of Well Rounded, a website focused on modern pregnancy & parenting, where she oversees editorial content and direction. Jessica is has been quoted about parenting and pregnancy in a wide range of publications including Vogue.com, Huffington Post, heymama and more, and has served as an expert panelist at industry events. She lives in Brooklyn with her two daughters, Libby & Elsie, and her husband Andrew. Read more on WellRoundedny.com and follow her at @wellroundedny and @jpals25 on Instagram.

BabyGlimpse by HumanCode

This episode is sponsored by HumanCode. HumanCode is a personal genomics company that developed the first DNA-powered app, BABYGlimpse. It gives couples a fascinating preview of their children’s potential genetic traits ranging from ancestry to eye color to behaviors and preferences. They are currently running a promotion: 2 kits for $99.98! Visit BABYGlimpse.com to find out more.

PCOS + New Zealand Homebirth Birth Story

Cristian and Lena struggled to conceive for three years. After one-and-a-half years of trying they sought help through the fertility clinic, which diagnosed Lena with PCOS and an under-active thyroid. After proceeding through all the appropriate tests (like checking for fallopian tube blockage, semen checks, and ruling out all other possible causes) they embarked on the very basic fertility care: Letrozol (similar to Clomid). After trying 3 rounds of Letrozole, they fell pregnant in November 2016.

With the myriad health issues Lena had (asthma, hypothyroidism, hasimotos disease, PCOS and allergies) there was some talk of needing special care on the mainland, which would make her island-based homebirth out of the picture. However, Lena had a very special and amazing midwife who looked deep into the “rules” and said that, provided things were carefully monitored, they could stay with midwifery care on the island. A homebirth was planned, and Lena did many things to promote a very healthy pregnancy in order to keep her dream a reality. The thought of having to travel by boat to get to a birth center or hospital while in labor was unbearable for Lena.new zealand homebirth

 

At 9 days over-due, Lena went into labor on a Sunday afternoon at 1pm. The midwife arrived at 3pm, and by then labor was in full swing. Her contractions were intense and back- to-back with little to no breaks in between. Once 10cm dilation was reached, Lena’s midwife helped baby get past a small cervical lip and then performed a very nifty maneuver to help baby drop and get past the pubic bone that he appeared to be stuck on. Moments later, Lena’s waters gushed everywhere and pushing commenced. 45 minutes later (10 hours of labor + 45 minutes of pushing) baby was here at 10:36pm. Cristian caught baby and announced the sex.

Lena suffered a 3rd degree tear and was stitched up nicely by her midwife shortly after. The evening closed with a delicious cheese toastie and bubbles in bed to celebrate.

Lena Whetton Bio

Lena Whetton is a 29-year-old Cake maker and decorator from New Zealand. Her and her husband live on an Island 35 minute ferry ride from the biggest city Auckland. Waiheke is a small Island with a permanent population of around 8,000 however during the summer months it rises to a whopping 20,000!

Lena has recently birthed her first child with Husband Cristian who is a chef so life is all about food! She is currently on maternity leave so spends her days nursing, playing and caring for baby Marlon. Once falling pregnant Lena became birth obsessed and that is how she came across the birth hour, listening to episodes back to back while making cakes all day long. Her mother was a childbirth educator and La Leche League leader back in the day so birth was a very normal thing in her life although she had never witnessed a birth in real life.

Earth Mama Organics

From the positive test to the big push, from the first latch to the thousandth diaper, Earth Mama makes effective organic and natural herbal products for the whole journey of motherhood: pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, and baby care. They’ve been safely nurturing mamas this way since 2002 — and they wouldn’t do it any other way. Be sure to check out some of their latest products like the organic deodorant (that really works!) that Caitlin and I discussed at the end of today’s episode!

Journey to a Fear-Free & Empowered Birth

Hospital Birth with Rectal Intervention

Birth of Vienna—December 08, 2015: Amber planned an unmedicated hospital birth with her first daughter Vienna using Vanderbilt Midwives & a volunteer doula. She found herself in the midst of transition feeling ill-prepared for coping through the pain & highly disappointed with the lack of care from the midwife on call. With the help of her doula, she pushed through transition using guided breathing.

However when it came time to push, her baby’s heart rate began to decelerate & a resident doctor stepped in with no introduction or warning to perform an aggressive rectal intervention where he inserted his hand into her rectum to force a fast delivery of the baby’s head. It was very painful & left her feeling traumatized for months. A different midwife later apologized to Amber and affirmed that the doctor’s actions were aggressive & unnecessary. That experience ultimately set Amber on a journey to have an empowered fear-free natural birth at a Birth Center with her second, as well as to become a Birth & Postpartum Doula herself.

baby and co birth center birth story

Baby + Co Fear-Free Birth Center Birth

Birth of Lydia—October 03, 2017: Amber planned her second natural birth at the Baby + Co Birth Center in Nashville. She immersed herself deep into the birth world and sought a highly educated and empowered redemptive unmedicated birth. Amber said she didn’t just want a good birth experience, she wanted the best birth possible. She wanted fear-free, pain-free, orgasmic, supernatural—ALL the things! In addition to listening to a birth story a day, Amber created a birth team around her with her husband and sisters and gave them each roles & tools to help her cope through labor.

Her plans were shaken however when her baby turned out to be in a persistent transverse lie, which can only be delivered through C-Section. She took the reigns again and used Spinning Babies, Acupuncture, Webster Chiropractic, and Moxibustion to help her baby turn at 37 weeks. Amber went on to have her dream birth. She says she got all the things and then some! Her favorite memory was when her midwife finally checked her and she turned out to be 10 cm. Amber remembers laughing out loud and exclaiming “This is awesome!” because she still hadn’t felt a moment of fear or pain and didn’t even know she went through transition yet! Her daughter Lydia was born 20 minutes later in the water. Amber’s first words after catching her baby were “That’s how God designed birth to be! That was perfect!”

Amber Keeler Bio

Amber Keeler is a Birth & Postpartum Doula living in Middle Tennessee with her husband Nathan and two daughters, Vienna & Lydia. She is also a birth & lifestyle blogger at HandyApron.com and is an active Instagramer @doulaamber. Amber is passionate about helping women take charge of their birth experience and believes that with the right preparations, every kind of birth can be a positive empowering one! You can also check out Amber’s Handy Apron blog.

Resource links

How to be your own Doula
Coping Tools & Techniques for a Fear-Free Pain-Free Childbirth

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps helps new and expecting moms qualify for a free, top-brand breast pump through insurance. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh and more. Visit Aeroflow’s website today to get started on receiving your free breast pump through insurance! From dealing with insurance, getting a prescription and handling all paperwork – your dedicated Breastpump Specialist will take care of everything for you. Go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour and they will know I sent you!