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!

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!

After Five Out of Hospital Births, Blythe Fike Decides it’s Time for an Epidural

Blythe Fike Shares Her Sixth Birth Story – The Epidural Birth

Y’all, I’m not gonna lie, this episode strays a bit from what you are typically hearing on The Birth Hour, but it was actually one of my favorite episodes to record. Blythe Fike is a mom of 6 and wife of 1 living in Southern California. After 5 unmedicated, out of hospital births, she went rogue for number 6 and headed to the hospital… on purpose. She loves talking all kinds of birth and you can find her sometimes doing that at thefikelife.com.

Blythe’s episode is pretty light hearted and will definitely make you laugh but I also think it’s so valuable in that she wasn’t afraid to trust her gut and go for the type of birth she wanted even though she had done things very differently the first FIVE times! I love how Blythe and her husband tease each other about how funny the hospital birth experience is after having so many homebirths. These two obviously really know each other on all sorts of levels and make an awesome birthing team.

Resource Links

The Bradley Method

Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin

The Business of Being Born

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 

Empowering Family-Centered Cesarean Birth Story

Birth Center to Hospital Transfer and Unplanned Cesarean Birth

Pregnant with her first, Alyssa thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of her low-risk first and second trimesters. She had gathered her trusted team of an incredible husband, midwives, doula, and childbirth education via Stephanie Spitzer-Hanks, and made all of her plans surrounding a birth at the Atlanta Birth Center. Luckily, when signs of preeclampsia started creeping up in the third trimester, she was well-prepared to navigate throwing all of those plans out the window and heading to the hospital for an induction (and eventual emergency family-centered cesarean).

Alyssa Oliha Bio

family centered cesarean

Alyssa is currently based in Atlanta with her husband, Felix and their little one, Orion. She has a minor obsession with travel planning, a major sweet tooth (hello, ice cream!), drinks too much coffee, and has watched Moana (Orion’s favorite movie) more times than she can count. As a family, the Oliha’s love to travel, hike, and daydream about road trips across the country. Alyssa works full-time from home, alongside Orion and the two family pups, Thomas & Mika. Connect with her on Instagram @alyssaoliha

Resources

The Birth Hour’s Know Your Options Childbirth Course
Atlanta Birth Center
Chanda Williams (Doula/Photographer)

gentle cesarean photos

Earth Mama Organics

Earth Mama Organics is today’s sponsor. I’m a HUGE fan of their bottom spray and bottom balm and really all of their products!

Birth Center Birth Story in Brooklyn, NY

Summary

The minute Nijsha found out she was pregnant was an instant shock to her and her partner, as they were not actively trying to conceive. They knew it was a blessing though, and that for them there was no real perfect time to start a family. Nijsha had heard stories from her own mother about how her birthing experiences were extremely difficult; and, Nijsha had always wanted her experience to be different. When she did find out she was pregnant she began to do her own research. She wanted to have an unmedicated birth with no interventions in an out-of-hospital setting.

Her partner was not completely sold on the idea of a home birth (fearing a medical emergency) so they made the decision to meet in the middle with a birthing center. Nijsha read books, listened to The Birth Hour podcast, and watched birth videos on YouTube to prepare. She went into labor the day after her due date on March 21st and had the support of her partner, doula, and midwives who helped her get through 18 hours of labor. She used all the breathing and active laboring techniques to help bring her beautiful daughter Gia Ryan earth side on March 22nd, 2017 at 3:51PM. Gia weighed 6 pounds 8.5 ounces and was 26 inches long.

Nijsha Nesbitt Bio

Nijsha is a 27 year old mother from Brooklyn, New York. She recently gave birth to her 5 month old daughter Gia Ryan in March. She is currently a stay at home first time mother. Prior to that, she was in the fashion industry as a Buyer and store manager. Nijsha continues to have a love for fashion, and now an added love for natural birth, breastfeeding, and being a support and guidance to other first time mothers. You can see pictures of her family and reach out to her on her Instagram at @cremencakes.

Aeroflow Breastpumps

This episode is sponsored by Aeroflow BreastpumpsAeroflow 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!