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.
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!
With her first pregnancy, Keshia decided on the best OBGYN for her, taking into consideration that she is a type 1 diabetic. Keshia’s waters broke shortly after attending a Latin street festival with her fiancé and parents. Back and forth from the hospital, Keshia, exhausted, gave birth to her daughter on her own terms, with a very supportive partner and medical staff after 22 hours of labor. Second time around, having had so many events occur during her pregnancy with her son, Keshia ended up having a calm and tranquil Hypnobirth.
Keshia Gesundheit Bio
Keshia, a Wedding Photographer with a Bachelor of Exercise Science and Half a Doctor of Physiotherapy, is a type 1 diabetic and mother of two. Keshia and Steve, knowing there was the possibility of fertility challenges ahead, decided to start “not trying not to” have a family in 2014, falling pregnant with there first daughter in January of 2015, and again, with their son in August of 2016. She talks about her journey through both pregnancies, subsequent process of self education and two eventful natural births.
Melissa Spilstead Hypnobirthing (online option)
Why Not Home
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.
Megacystis Diagnosis & Homebirth with Hypnobirthing
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.
Caroline Snider Bio
Caroline moved to Los Angeles from her native England back in early 2008 to further her career in advertising. There she met her husband Brett who directs TV commercials and together they’ve pursued many adventures, most notably the 18 months they spent living in a Winnebago traveling the widths and breadths of the United States. Caroline now lives in Upstate NY with Brett, their son Casper, dog Knuckles and Cat Artemis Pizza where she is a writer, professional photographer, mother and homemaker. Connect with her on Instagram.
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.
Eight Birth Stories
Jayme has had 8 unmedicated births. One was induced, 5 were in the hospital, and 3 were home water births. Each one was unique and has its own special story. She learned something new with each pregnancy. After her 7th baby, 9 years ago, she was sure her birthing career was over. But then Jayme met her current husband Ben (who had 2 children by adoption); and, they decided to have a baby together. She struggled a bit with getting pregnant. After finding out she had an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, she tweaked her diet, took some supplements, and was able to get pregnant! Jayme knew she wanted a home water birth, and was supported 100% by her husband. As she prepared for the birth she took prenatal yoga (with her husband!) and attended a hypnobabies class. Even though she was almost 40, she had a completely uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, and gave birth to her son, Atticus, who was 7lbs 10oz.
Jayme Crockett Bio
Jayme is the mother to 10 children, and 1 loss. She has 7 children from a previous marriage, 2 step children, and a 6 month old with her current husband, Ben. Her children range in ages 22 years – 6 months. Jayme was 18 when she got pregnant with her first live baby and 39 when she gave birth to her last! Ben and Jayme own a photography/videography business called Tribe Creative Media. They recently traveled to “The Farm” in Tennessee to be a part of a documentary called Birth Undisturbed. Jayme also recently launched an Etsy store called Tribe Baby Boutique. Jayme fell in love with the beauty of birth during her first pregnancy, and loves to encourage other mothers to believe in their bodies. She has the unique experience of giving birth in the United States, Germany and Doha, Qatar. She has had hospital and home births. If she wasn’t busy having so many of her own babies, she would have been a midwife! You can connect with her on Instagram @jaymecrockett or Facebook: Jayme Malloy Crockett She also has a blog at www.ourtribelife.com.
Choosing Waterbirth: Reclaiming the Sacred Power of Birth by Lakshmi Bertram
The Waterbirth Book by Janet Balaskas
Birth Without Fear (Facebook group)
Childbirth Without Fear Grantly Dick-Read & Michel Odent
Anything Ina May Gaskin
Being Videographers we documented our Pregnancy and Birth. The films are on YouTube:
Boba Baby Carriers
Be sure to listen to my conversation at the end of this episode about today’s sponsor, Boba! We talked about the Boba Wrap and how great it is for the newborn days. I’m obsessed with this new pattern that almost looks like a woven wrap!
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.
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.
Hypnobabies Self Study Course
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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.
The Bradley Method
Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin
The Business of Being Born