Learnings from a Cascade of Interventions

Emergency Cesarean Birth Story

Caitlin Shrum lives in the Bay Area, California with her husband, Andrew, and their son, Cooper (2). Her first birth caught her by surprise as she found herself in an emergency c-section situation. She quickly realized her experience wasn’t normal and has spent the past two years educating herself in order to set up her future births for success, and has found within herself a passion for the birth space and maternal care. In this episode, she walks us through her pregnancy and childbirth experience and how she has taken that experience and is channeling it into education and learning for herself and hopefully others down the line.

Caitlin Shrum Bio

Caitlin Shrum is a wife and working mom living in the Bay Area, California with her husband, Andrew and their son, Cooper (2), and have one baby on the way. She’s a Southern California native and beach girl at heart, but is enjoying her time living in in the tech boom. When not chasing around her toddler, she enjoys a great brunch, training for half marathons, spending time with friends and family, and traveling. You can connect with her on Instagram @caitshrum.

postpartum

Resources

Business of Being Born
The Birth Hour
Why Not Home
ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network)
Spinning Babies
LinkedIn Blog Post on Maternity Leave experience
Birthing Normally after a C-Section
Childbirth Without Fear
Mindful Birthing
Expecting Better
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

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!

Planned Hypnobirth turned Breech Cesarean Birth Story

Yunji and her husband Kent had planned for a natural hypnobirth with a doula in a hospital. They spent weeks taking classes and practicing hypnosis at home, only to learn that their baby girl was breech at 36 weeks. Yunji did everything she could to get the baby to turn including acupuncture, moxibustion, yoga, special chiropractic treatments, handstands in the pool (yes really, every day!) and even an external cephalic version at the hospital. Nothing worked. She ended up having a scheduled c-section at 39 and a half weeks. Their baby girl Kaya was born on August 19, 2017, just over 8 pounds – her head was in the 98th percentile, which doctors told Yunji and Kent may explain why Kaya didn’t or couldn’t turn.

Yunji de Nies Bio

Yunji is a freelance journalist in Honolulu. Raised on the Big Island, Yunji is a graduate of Yale University with a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. She is a former ABC News White House and National Correspondent, and spent five years anchoring the evening news at KITV, the ABC affiliate in Honolulu. Long before she was even thinking about having a baby, she interviewed Ricki Lake about her documentary, The Business of Being Born, a film that deeply impacted her and one she now recommends to all expectant mothers. Yunji loves being a mom and has been blessed to be able to spend most of her time at home with her baby, while still carving out time to stay engaged in journalism. She works for a variety of media outlets in Hawaii, including PBS Hawaii and Civil Beat. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @yunijd

Resources

Ricki Lake’s documentary – The Business of Being Born
Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
Everything written by Ina May Gaskin!

Munchkin

At the end of today’s episode we chatted with Munchkin founder of Milk Makers products, Emily and LATCH specialist, Allison. Check out their Milkmakers products, Latch™ bottles and accessories, and STEP™ Diaper Pail.

Twin Homebirth Birth Story

Giving Birth to Twins at Home

Rebekah’s third pregnancy (twins!) came as a surprise to her and her husband, Adam; but, it was welcomed, though with some hesitation. The hesitation initially being that they lived in a very small home built by Rebekah’s grandfather. Their hesitation was eased quickly with some 2×4’s and shiplap that split their bedroom in half to create a third bedroom. Prior to the twins’ birth, Rebekah gave birth to her second child, her daughter, at the local midwife-birthing center, and she desired to replicate that experience by using the birthing center and water to relieve her labor pains, so she could again enjoy a natural birth where she felt safe and respected. So Rebekah established care with the same local midwives and attended her regular routine appointments. During those appointments, one heart beat was heard and Rebekah wasn’t measuring unusually large, so there weren’t any signs of twins, though she joked about it at each appointment.

On Christmas eve at 18 weeks, Rebekah, her husband, and their 2 kids went to her anatomy ultra sound. The moment the ultrasound tech placed the wand on her belly she immediately explained that they were her second set of surprise twins today. Rebekah was speechless, Adam attempted to hold back his nausea from the shock. They weren’t aware of any twins in their family and felt this was a joke and completely impossible. Through the ultrasound they found they were expecting fraternal boy girl twins!

Rebekah struggled with the thought of twins. Questions raced through her mind: How was she going to breast feed twins? Could she still have a natural birth-center birth? And could she handle four kids??? She was beyond upset about risking out of the local midwife birthing center and felt abandoned with trying to find new and natural care.

In an attempt to still have an epidural-free birth, she found another local midwife center affiliated with a very large hospital. She did not agree with the ethics of that hospital but felt that this midwife group was her only chance at a natural birth. She assumed “midwife” meant they would be a good fit for her holistic approach to her care and birth. Boy was she wrong. Every appointment she wore her imaginary brass knuckles and fought for freedom of birthing position, birth in a birthing suite not an OR, no epidural or IV fluids, and most importantly, to keep the intimate atmosphere without an audience of students, nurses, and doctors. But every time she brought it up she was knocked back down with their responses. She felt disrespected, belittled, and unsafe. She felt that God was calling her to look into home birth, and that particular midwife group scared her and Adam enough to make this decision very difficult. After a couple appointments and verbal beatings from the midwifes group, she finally made the decision to look hard into home birthing.

At 27 weeks, Rebekah established care with home birth midwives and the weight of the world was taken off her shoulders. She felt respected, celebrated and safe. After describing her anxiety and stress of the pregnancy fueled by the hospital affiliated midwives, one of the midwifes knocked her out of her pity-party and reminded her of how blessed she was to be carrying two healthy babies. From that point on she could actually breath and began enjoying her pregnancy. Her birth team was assembled and thanks to a generous baby shower thrown by her friends, the funds were not a burden!

Labor came on at 36 weeks and 6 days. During her 12 hour labor, Rebekah and Adam took advantage of birthing at home and together baked a birthday cake for the twins between contractions. Their home was filled with songs of praise and worship from Rebekah and her birth team. She birthed both babies in a birthing pool, in the house that her grandfather built, in the very room that the twins lay their heads every night.

Rebekah Tarbert Bio

Rebekah is the coordinator of chaos in her south-of-Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania home. She and her husband, along with 4 children and two dogs live together in her late grandfathers home. Before she became a mom, she received her Masters Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology and worked at a local hospital as an exercise specialist in the cardiac rehab unit. Rebekah has taken that passion for exercise, holistic health and faith, and transformed it into something she is able to do in conjunction with being a stay-at-home mom. She uses her passion to fuel others through her personal training and fitness ministry. In her spare time, if she gets any, she enjoys weight training, attending bible studies, and being creative. You can read her entire birth story on her Facebook page under the name: Rebekah Ashley and also on Instagram: @rebekahashley

Resources

Ina May Gaskin Books

Birthing from Within

Tea to Prepare for Postpartum

Find supportive like-minded Facebook groups.

Brentwood Home

Go natural in the nursery with Brentwood Home! This family-owned company has been crafting mattresses and bedding essentials in Los Angeles for decades, using natural, ethically sourced materials that are safe for your family and the environment. Outfit your nursery with their top-rated crib mattresses, changing pads, and nursing pillows, made with healthy fibers like organic cotton and organic coconut husk. Visit brentwoodhome.com/birthhour and use the code birthhour for 15% off your purchase!

Birth Center to Hospital Transfer Birth Story

Pheonix shares a little bit about her 27 hour labor and birth. “My birth was pure chaos. Everything that I didn’t plan to happen, was manifested to the tenth degree. With no knowledge of the inner meditation and control required of childbirth, I found myself relying on my midwife, partner and family to help usher in the birth of my son. Little did I know that the journey was only for me to take. My birth experience was this way though for a purpose. As a reminder to mamas everywhere to OWN their birth. To SILENCE their voices and tune into the new soul awaiting its earthbound entrance. Even in the midst of chaos, the journey was bliss. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

pheonix wild birth

Pheonix Wild Bio

Pheonix is at her core, a creative writer. For now, she creates works of poetry and short essays challenging the standards of modern society. Promoting equality within the human race through her unisex brand and photography, humanitarianism is not just a philosophy for her, it is a lifestyle. Following the birth of her son, her social media has allowed her to further speak her truths, mesmerizing the thought patterns of the most closed minded individuals on topics of circumcision, formula use and gentle parenting. Wisdom is her daily prayer as she hopes to transform her own life to be a light to others. Connect with her on Instagram @pheonix.wild

Resources

Expectful Meditation App

Babylist

Listen to me chat with Amanda about today’s sponsor, BabyList, at the end of today’s episode and check out my sample registry for some of my favorite items for pregnancy and postpartum!

When You Want an Epidural But Can’t Get One

After an especially tough pregnancy, Megan was more than ready to welcome her third daughter into the world. Being that this was her third child, she went into this sure of two things: this child will be born on or before her due date (like her older sisters) and this mama definitely wanted an epidural. It wasn’t until she found herself 4 days past her due date without a sign of labor that she started to suspect that this birth might not go as planned. Little did she know that was only the beginning.

Megan Baca Bio

Megan is a mama of three girls living with her husband of 11 years in Seattle, WA. She is a writer and blogger who writes about life and family adventures on her blog Discover Diaries. Connect with her on Instagram.

megan baca birth story

Resources

Business of Being Born
YouTube Videos
Birthing Class
BabyCenter Communities

Earth Mama Angel Baby

At the end of this episode I talked a bit about some of my favorite products from Earth Mama Angel Baby, today’s sponsor.

Bottom Spray
Bottom Balm
Postpartum Herb Baths
Milkmaid Tea
Angel Baby Bottom Balm
Angel Baby Body Wash and Shampoo
Natural Nipple Butter
Healing Heart Comfort Kit for Loss

Unplanned C Section, Breastfeeding Struggles and PPA

Cesarean Birth Story

A self-described “professional Type-A planner,” Courtney feels she spent “too many hours” crafting the “perfect” birth plan… only to toss it out the window during labor and delivery. At 38 weeks, after learning Jackson was breech, and that she was Group B positive and only dilated .5CM, Courtney scheduled an induction for 40W6D; but, she went into labor 1.5 days before induction day.

At the hospital, Courtney learned that meconium in her fluid would require a NICU team at birth; and, while Jackson had turned, he was still in the occiput posterior position. Eventually, after several hours on Pitocin, Courtney’s amniotic sac had resealed (which required an amnio-hook) and her contractions were ineffective, causing her cervix to swell and making the situation potentially dangerous for mama and baby.

After taking what she describes as “hit after hit,” her birth story ends via C-section, including a failed epidural and hemorrhage. She and Wes welcomed baby Jackson at 8:38PM… 8 minutes after her previously scheduled induction time.

During postpartum, Courtney struggled with breastfeeding Jackson, and made the very difficult decision to stop after a few weeks. She also experienced intense postpartum anxiety for which she eventually (around 6 months pp) sought professional help through her Primary Care Provider and licensed therapist. During this time, Courtney relied on the tremendous amount of support she received from her husband, family, friends, and even her client, Sarah, who candidly shared her own new motherhood stories and encouraged Courtney to make the best decisions for her and her family. Today, about a month shy of Jackson’s first birthday, Courtney has established her “new normal” and couldn’t imagine life without the stubborn, giggly, busy little boy she made.

Professionally, Courtney is one of the voices behind Sarah Wells Bags as Sarah’s primary marketing consultant. She loves supporting other new mamas in their breastfeeding and pumping journeys, wherever (and for however long) it may take them, and can’t get enough new baby pics. Feel free to reach out to her anytime at courtney@sarahwellsbags.com.

birth plan to cesarean

Courtney Byrd Bio

Courtney and husband, Wes, welcomed their first (and likely only!) child, Jackson, in August 2016. Courtney experienced a miscarriage in October 2014, had a somewhat difficult pregnancy, and ultimately delivered Jackson via C-section. Given her experience working with Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags and the several newborn and breastfeeding classes she attended, Courtney was confident her fourth trimester would be a breeze … until she began experiencing difficulty breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety. Now, her advice to new moms is: “Set yourself up for success even if you have to ‘fail’ first.” For example, she recommends knowing what your breastfeeding resources are and who to talk to if you’re experiencing any type of postpartum depression or anxiety. Courtney and family now live in Austin, Texas, where they survive off of breakfast tacos and “weird” vibes. Courtney works with Sarah Wells Bags and is one of the several voices behind @sarahwellsbags on social media and their blog.

Resources

KellyMom (“For those 3AM feeding SOS searches.”)
Motherly (Courtney subscribes to the week-by-week motherhood guide.)

“Don’t be shy about asking for help. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it only means you’re wise.” – Unknown

Sarah Wells Bags

This episode is sponsored by Sarah Wells Bags. With thoughtful functionality and chic styling, Sarah Wells offers breast pump bags and accessories to help you reach your breastfeeding goals. An all-in-one bag for your breast pump, pumping accessories, laptop, phone and more, Sarah Wells Bags also transition to a diaper bag or purse when you’re done pumping. See the full collection, including the Pumparoo—a wet/dry bag and staging mat for pump parts at sarahwellsbags.com. Use promo code: BIRTHHOUR15, good for 15% off all orders at sarahwellsbags.com. Be sure to check out their World Breastfeeding Week Giveaway and FB Live over on their FB page.