In spite of being a Large Animal Veterinarian (Board Certified in Animal ObGyn) and a Reproductive Physiologist studying human fertility, Dr. Joanna Ellington was surprised when the flu threw off her ovulation cycle and an unplanned pregnancy occurred. Using excellent classic references like Active Birth and Spiritual Midwifery, Joanna used perineal massage to prepare for childbirth, and was maybe a little too active with a 2 mile hike that turned into 5 miles the day before her membranes began leaking. An induction resulted in a normal birth where Joanna used her knowledge of birth and lactation in animals to enjoy the process as much as possible, even telling her midwife “That was kind of fun!”
Joanna’s second son was born within 10 minutes after she arrived at the hospital. In the chaos and discomfort of having two male doctors she had never met working on her son and her private parts, Joanna coped by switching into “medical professional mode” and talking to them about her research. But, she lost her focus on her baby and the moment. Sadly, she forgot to invite her waiting son and mother in to see the birth, as she had planned. This was a valuable lesson of not “taking care of others” or outwardly focusing during birth, but staying centered and baby focused.
Between her two births, Joanna used her knowledge of the safety of isotonic (balanced salt) environments and her discovery of a plant sugar that protected sperm, to create the first FDA approved Fertility Lubricant safe to use while trying to conceive (Pre-Seed). Along with her Doctorate-of-Pharmacy husband, Joanna has gone on to create a new platform of isotonic women’s healthcare products in partnership with Fairhaven Health. These include: BabyIt Perineal Massage and Postpartum Comfort Gel. Best practice medical-evidence now supports perineal massage to increase a woman’s chance of intact perineum (not tearing or having an episiotomy), decrease the risk of chronic postpartum pain and increase a woman’s sense of control and positive feeling about labor and delivery.
Use coupon code BIRTHHOUR to get 10% off at Fairhaven Health.
Lindsey Bliss shares her six births in four stories: a birth center birth with Mia (now 11); a vaginal twin birth in the hospital with surprise-twins, Birdie & Hazel (now 8); another surprise set of twins, Luke & Rocco (now 5.5) who were born at home; and finally, baby Olympia (1) who was also born via a planned homebirth. I love Lindsey’s down-to-earth approach to birth, postpartum, and parenting!
Lindsey Bliss Bio
Lindsey Bliss is the co-director of Carriage House Birth, an experienced birth doula, and the mother of seven. Lindsey is considered to be a multiples expert after giving birth to and parenting two consecutive sets of twins. Lindsey takes on her role as a birth doula and childbirth educator with serious passion and commitment. Her mission is to hold space for expectant families through education and informed decision making. Being prepared, and knowing what options are available increases the likelihood of an amazing birth. Lindsey facilitates that process, giving people the tools and inspiration to empower themselves. Her unwavering support and gentle guidance have benefited over two hundred families. Lindsey supports first time parents, multiparas, single parents, LGBT families, twins births, medicated and non medicated vaginal births, cesarean births, and VBACs.
Connect with her on Instagram at @doulabliss and @carriagehousebirth
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! We are also giving away a Wildfern mattress to one lucky winner. Enter below!
With her first son, Remy, Tayler went a week past her due date and had a very long labor (over 30 hours). Looking back, she realized that she had been resisting every contraction. So for her second birth, Tayler wanted to do things a little differently. During her pregnancy, Tayler practiced hypnobirthing; and during labor, she remembers repeating the word “opening,” and actually feeling herself dilating. Tayler’s second son, Sage, was born in the water and en caul very shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Tayler Gunn Bio
Tayler lives with her three boys and two kitties in Southern California. She and her husband Nate both own their own businesses and love what comes with it. Tayler owns Wildbird ring slings, a babywearing company. They spend a lot of their free time at the beach and running around with their boys. Connect with Tayler at @taylergolden or @mywildbird and see her ring slings at Wildbird.co.
Listen to me chat with Alexis about today’s sponsor, BabyList, at the end of today’s episode and check out my sample registry of some of my favorite items for pregnancy and postpartum!
Three Unmedicated Births – Hospital & Birth Center
In her lighthearted and quippy style, Crystal hilariously details her three births: a hospital birth at 42 weeks involving “The Devil’s Urine” and a hemorrhage; a 3 week early and extremely fast water birth; and, a one-push water birth with a hospital transfer solely to get a rest from her preschooler and toddler at home. Crystal talks about how her love of ramen noodles made from placenta-broth helped her adjust to the news of an unexpected pregnancy, and about how her “Birth Boss” midwife and doula made all the difference through three unmedicated births. Crystal’s births taught her that she has an extremely high tolerance for pain, and that absolutely anything is possible if you trust your body and allow yourself to be nurtured and supported by the community of people who love you.
Crystal Harris Bio
Crystal has made it her mission to make life easier for pumping moms. After she nursed her two sons as a work-from-home mom, the birth of her daughter (during an on-site contract that could not be breeched) led her to invent the Brauxiliary Band: a bra attachment that turns any bra into a hands-free pumping bra. She has three “amazingly gorgeous children” John IV (5), Bennett (3), and Josette (1) who “look and act just like their mama,” and is married to her husband John III, a man who “understands and celebrates her particular neurosis.” Church, Dunkin Donuts, solo grocery trips, and the fact that all three of her children were born on Sunday mornings make Sundays her favorite days. Her family resides in Charlotte, NC. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram (@Brauxiliary) or visit Brauxiliary.com.
Earth Mama Angel Baby
Below are the products and resources from Earth Mama Angel Baby that I talked about at the end of today’s episode!
Lying in Postpartum Plan
Postpartum Herb Baths
Vani Hari Bio
After overcoming a severe case of endometriosis in her 20s, Vani changed her diet and lifestyle, but still worried that she’d have trouble getting pregnant. When she and her husband were finally ready to have a baby at age 38, she conceived after just one month of trying! Vani chose to have a natural hospital birth, and assembled a team to help her get there. She says she couldn’t have achieved a natural child birth without the coaching of her doula, supportive doctor, and a very positive and helpful nurse. She also says there were a few moments during labor where she asked the team “can I do this?” and they would say “yes, you can do this,” and that really motivated her. Taking drugs, however, didn’t enter her mind once. She says that after having her daughter a few months ago, she has been in pure bliss enjoying breastfeeding; and, that the happy-hormones from nursing help her overcome the sleep deprivation that comes with juggling motherhood and business.
Connect with Vani on Instagram at @foodbabemama where she shares natural and organic pregnancy and motherhood tips! You can read more about her journey at foodbabe.com
How to Conceive Naturally after 30
Mama Natural Affirmation Cards
Latched Mama is on a mission to support new moms with affordable and functional nursing wear. Using comfortable fabrics and modern designs that work for both tandem feeding and pumping, Latched Mama is helping moms nurse confidently and comfortably wherever they are. Also, check out their new labor dress! Made from a super-soft fabric, it features snaps up the front and back for monitoring and epidural placement, and snaps at the shoulders for skin-to-skin and breastfeeding access. The Latched Mama labor dress can truly bring a little extra comfort and confidence to your next birth. Latched Mama also has an extensive plus size line up to 4X.
18 Hours of Labor, Hospital Birth
Sarah gave birth to Hayden Rainwater on January 15th, 2017 at 7:27pm, after almost 18 hours of natural labor. Hayden was born at 40 weeks and 2 days gestation. Sarah started labor at 1:30am on Sunday morning. She was convinced that the contractions were “fake” and tried everything in her power to get them to “go away.” After a hot bath and plenty of water, she woke up her husband, Travis, and they decided to head to the hospital (located in Cottonwood, over an hour away). Contractions were around 6 mins apart at this point.
Sarah met her midwife, Stephanie, at the hospital around 6:00am. Stephanie checked her and declared she was still only dilated to 2cm (same as a week prior). Due to living so far away from the Cottonwood hospital, they agreed to stay and labor, expecting a baby sometime later that night. After walking the hallways and laboring in the tub, Sarah was checked again at 4:30pm. She had dilated to a 5. Contractions were now incredibly intense and were coming 45 seconds – 1 min apart, and lasting every bit of 60 seconds.
Sarah was checked again at 6:30pm and was then a 7. At this point Stephanie broke Sarah’s water upon her request. Sarah progressed fast and was dilated to a 9 only 25 mins later. Sarah began pushing at 6:50pm and pushed for 45 mins. Hayden was born at 7:27. Sarah had a long unmedicated childbirth. Hayden weighed 7lbs 4oz.”
Sarah Rainwater Bio
Sarah is 28 years old and is the owner of two large hot yoga studios located in Northern Arizona. She started her first business shortly after turning 25 and has learned a lot about being a woman in the fast paced world of business. Sarah and her husband Travis Rainwater collectively own 4 separate businesses and live a very busy lifestyle. Sarah and Travis met in 2008 and married in 2013. Sarah is now the mom to a wonderful, two month old baby boy named Hayden Troy Rainwater. Sarah loves being a mom and absolutely loved her natural childbirth experience. She has found a lot of joy in sharing her experience with new expecting mothers. Sarah and Travis look forward to continue growing their family and businesses.
– Hypnobabies: Travis and I completed the program prior to birth.
– Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Natural Childbirth
– The Birth Hour (Of course!)
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.
We are giving away two MheartM bags of the winner’s choice (navy, greige, or black-and-white) and there is also a promo code: BIRTHHOUR15, good for 15% off all orders at sarahwellsbags.com. Enter giveaway below!