TTC: 4 Rounds of IUI, 3 Rounds of IVF + Waterbirth Birth Story

Rachel Wilber’s Journey to Becoming Pregnant & Giving Birth

Rachel Wilber is a criminal defense attorney, alongside her husband of four years, in private practice. Three years ago she quit her job as a public defender to pursue health and wellness, in part because she was having difficulty conceiving. Intuitively, she knew that stress was likely contributing to her infertility, and that she needed to create balance in her life if becoming a mother was to become a reality. After three years of infertility struggles (including surgery, procedures, four rounds of IUI, and three rounds of IVF) Rachel finally became pregnant with her daughter.

She had a healthy and complication-free pregnancy, which slowly re-instilled the confidence she had in her body. Despite being advised against giving birth outside the hospital due to a scar on her uterus, she chose a birth-center at 32 weeks pregnant. After years of medical interventions to achieve pregnancy, her natural water-birth was the empowering, gentle, and healing experience she had hoped for. You can read more about Rachel’s infertility journey and her life as a mom to her daughter and two Great Danes at www.twodanesandababy.com or on Instagram @rachwilber.

Rachel shared a more in depth summary of her experiences, which I’ve included below!

Resources

Beat Infertility App
Resolve
Business of Being Born
Ina May Gaskin

Infertility Journey

Rachel and her husband married in 2013 when she was 35 years old, so they wasted no time trying to conceive, literally starting on their wedding night! Six months later, Rachel saw her regular OBGYN to get the regular tests done to make sure everything looked okay since they had no luck up to that point. The tests all came back fine and the doctor simply told her to keep trying and that at 35, it could take a while.

Another six months passed with no success, and Rachel knew they needed more help. Up to that point, she had been tracking her ovulation, having sex on the right days, eating healthy, exercising, and generally doing everything she could think of to prepare herself for pregnancy. But at 36, and working an extremely high-stress job, Rachel knew she would regret it if she didn’t take drastic measures to lower her stress levels to allow her body to become pregnant.

So, in January 2014, she gave notice at her job (shocking her boss, colleagues, and husband), and enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Health Coach. During 2014, Rachel went through four medicated rounds of IUI and did acupuncture; she also saw a chiropractor, a therapist, a shaman, changed her diet, and generally tried anything and everything to conceive. But she never saw a positive pregnancy test. At the end of the year, Rachel and her husband knew it was time to try IVF after an HSG revealed that her left tube was blocked and her right ovary was missing due to a prior surgery in 2011 to remove a tumor.

They did their first round of IVF in February 2015, which resulted in only 5 eggs: all immature. The RE told them that all eggs being immature was rare (about 4 cases out of 1,000), and that alongside her other issues, Rachel had a less than 1% chance of success if they did another round with her own eggs. Donor eggs would provide a much more promising 60% likelihood of success, but it was a huge leap to make emotionally and financially and Rachel felt devastated by the news. She took the rest of 2015 off from trying to conceive, of course still holding out hope for a natural miracle, and slowly came to terms with the idea of using donor eggs. By the end of that year, Rachel and Ryan had decided that they could live without the genetic connection between Rachel and a baby, as long as Rachel still got to experience pregnancy and birth; so, they made the decision to choose an egg donor.

Choosing a donor is a whole story in-and-of-itself! But to make a long story short, the stars seemed to align, and when Rachel and Ryan met their donor at the agency, they fell in love with her and everything felt right. They did their first fresh cycle alongside the donor and that attempt failed; however, they succeeded in creating enough embryos to freeze for future tries, and on the second round Rachel became pregnant!

infertility then waterbirth at birth center

Pregnancy and Birth Story

Rachel’s pregnancy was strong and healthy from the very start, which was such a relief after so much disappointment! The anxiety of being pregnant after so much failure was still there, but with each successful doctor’s visit it started to fade away. In 2011, prior to starting fertility treatments, Rachel had undergone a myomectomy (surgery to remove a fibroid from her uterus) which was similar to a c-section. Her right ovary was also removed at that time. After that surgery, she was told that when she became pregnant she would have to have a scheduled C-section. At the time, she didn’t care and was fine with that idea. And while going through infertility, she was so focused on just achieving a healthy pregnancy that the type of birth she would have was the furthest thing from her mind. She never allowed herself to think that maybe she would have a choice in the matter. But the further along she got in her pregnancy, the more she realized she felt grief over the idea of losing the opportunity to give birth vaginally and to go into labor spontaneously. She wanted to share that experience with her husband, and something about the scheduled C-section just started to feel wrong. She started doing her homework (watching the Business of Being Born, reading Ina May Gaskin’s books) and decided she would ask her doctor about the possibility of what would essentially be considered a VBAC.

Rachel’s doctor looked at her chart and approved her to attempt a VBAC, although she cautioned her not to do a home birth and that she’d have to be monitored. Rachel was just thrilled to be approved so she didn’t argue! It spurred her on to do more research about VBACs and what would be the best way to try and avoid a C-section. After more reading, taking a Hypnobirthing class, and listening to lots of episodes of the Birth Hour, she was convinced that the best way to avoid ending up in a C-section was to avoid any and all interventions if possible.

At the start of her third trimester Rachel calculated her out-of-pocket estimate for the birth at the hospital and was shocked at the cost. She realized that it was only a fraction more expensive to choose a birth center, which opened her mind to that option. Even though it scared her, she consulted the midwives there and talked to her doctor about it; and, at 32 weeks pregnant she switched her care over to the birth center. The prenatal visits were night and day from her visits to her doctor! She immediately felt surrounded by love and that the midwives trusted her body to give birth. Instead of instilling fear in her about what could go wrong, the midwives focused her on what was going RIGHT with her body, and assured her that they were prepared should she need to transfer to the hospital which was only five minutes away. Rachel and Ryan took a birthing class at the birth center that was encouraging and useful. They also hired a doula for support.

When Rachel reached 39 weeks, she was feeling ready to have the baby and was concerned about doing everything possible to come as close to 40 weeks as possible. That week she saw an acupuncturist who specialized in pregnancy, and immediately after the appointment she lost her mucus plug. The next day at home, while on the birth ball, she started leaking amniotic fluid and was so excited, sure she would go into labor that night! She called the midwives and everyone was on alert, but all that happened that night was mild cramping. The next day she went to the acupuncturist again, but still nothing happened. That night, she and Ryan checked into a hotel close to the birth center (they lived 30 minutes away and wanted to be close by). She rubbed clary sage on her belly, did lots of squats and lunges, and still nothing happened. By the next day, she agreed with the midwife to check into the birth center to do a natural induction. At noon that Saturday, they checked in. Rachel’s water had been broken for 44 hours at that point and the midwife wanted to try and get things moving. She started Rachel on the breast pump and on cottonwood bark for a few hours. When that hadn’t gotten things going by 4pm, they decided to induce with castor oil. She had Rachel take a dose, walk for 45 minutes, take another dose, do more breast pumping… and by 8:30 pm, Rachel FINALLY felt her first REAL contractions. They stayed 4-5 minutes apart for about an hour: just enough time to call the doula, her cousin, and her birth photographer. By 9:30 pm, Rachel’s labor was full-on and extremely intense with no breaks between contractions,and it stayed that way until 12:45 am when she was fully dilated and ready to push. The tub was the only place she felt comfortable, and she spent almost her entire labor in the water. When it was time to push she got out briefly but almost immediately got back in ~ it was the only place that felt remotely comfortable.

water birth story with pictures

Ryan got in the tub with Rachel and she pushed for two hours with Ryan behind her. After the first hour Rachel remembers feeling like she might die and that she was making no progress. She considered asking to go to the hospital or giving up, but remembered all the stories she had listened to and how the women had pushed through the pain and gotten their babies out. She embraced the pain, and decided that the sooner she pushed through it, the sooner it would be over. That thought somehow gave her the strength to push into the pain and use it as a guide. From that point forward, every push brought the baby closer to being born, and at 2:47 am Isla Grace came out and was placed right on Rachel’s chest. She started crying almost immediately and they all laughed because she sounded like a little goat!

After the birth, Rachel got out of the water and tried to birth the placenta, but it was soon obvious that there was a problem. The midwife gave her a shot of Pitocin, but nothing happened. After about 20 minutes the midwife gently pulled the cord to try and loosen the placenta, and the cord broke off. She leaned over Rachel and said to her, “I’m so sorry but you have to face your biggest fear today ~ I have to go in and get the placenta.” (At her last prenatal appointment, the midwife asked Rachel what her biggest fear was, and she told her it was a retained placenta. Somehow she knew it was going to happen to her, and it turns out she was right.) Luckily there was at least nitrous oxide available to help Rachel cope as the midwife went in and retrieved the placenta with her hand. The pain and fear Rachel felt during that procedure were intense and she remembers screaming into the mask while Ryan laid next to her on the bed holding Isla. Five minutes later, however, it was over and she wasn’t bleeding too badly. All she remembers feeling at that moment is relief that it was over and that she didn’t have to go to the hospital.

The midwives helped get Rachel and Isla all cleaned up and snuggled into bed, and helped Isla nurse for the first time. They spoon-fed Rachel yogurt and made her breakfast. The care they provided was loving and amazing! Rachel didn’t tear, and by 10:30 a.m. they were headed home as a family.

After the birth, recovery was fast and easy, which Rachel credits to her choice to give birth naturally and to the care she received from her midwives and her doula.

Earth Mama Angel Baby

Learn more about all of the wonderful products from Earth Mama Angel Baby here. Some of my favorite products are their teas, postpartum spray and balm and lotion/body wash for baby!

Painless & Laughter-filled Birth with Birth Singer

A Redemptive Second Birth

After a long (64 hours) and traumatic first birth, Melissa decided to take a wholistic approach in preparing for her second birth by addressing aspects of mind, body, and soul. The book Mindful Birthing was pivotal for Melissa in holding an open hand about what her second birth would look like. Melissa had a team prepared to support her, including a birth doula, birth photographer, and a birth singer.

After going to 41 weeks and 2 days with zero contractions, Melissa went into labor while hiking by herself. After a long first birth Melissa was expecting the same for her second. After mooning the entire town on a speedy car ride, Melissa gave birth minutes after arriving at the birth center. Melissa had never imagined that she could give birth without feeling pain and laughing throughout the entire process. This is a story you have to hear to believe. Her birth singer, Meghan, is featured on this episode singing some of the songs that were sung over Melissa before and after her daughter arrived.

Melissa Dohse Bio

Melissa is a mother of two and a licensed clinical social worker living in Flagstaff, AZ. Melissa is an avid travel, passionate about building community, and seeks to create spaces for survivor voices to be heard. Melissa has a private counseling practice, Cultivate Counseling, and can be reached at melissa.dohse@gmail.com.

Meghan Callaghan MT-BC Bio

Meghan is a board certified music therapist and music director for the Flagstaff Threshold Choir, a women’s choir that sings in small groups at the bedside of those nearing end of life. Meghan draws upon her background in facilitating music experiences with young children, women’s circles, and people in hospice care to provide supportive music for laboring and birth celebration. Find out more at mountainhealthmusic.com, meghan.callaghan@gmail.com.

birth singer

 

Resources

Cultivate Counseling Flagstaff
Mindful Birthing
Affirmation Cards
Parenting with PTSD

BellyBuds

Today’s sponsor is Wavhello. BellyBuds by WavHello are adhesive speakers that gently adhere to mom’s baby bump and safely play music to the womb. BellyBuds help relax and reduce stress, stimulate early development and promote positive connectivity in the brain through music. Learn more about BellyBuds at wavhello.com. Right now take 10% OFF BellyBuds on their website with code BBMOTHERSDAY through 5/14/17.

Hospital Waterbirth Story with Tayler Gunn

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 golden birth story

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.

Resources

Bellybelly.com.au
Childbirth Connection
Hypnobirthing

Babylist

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!

Transcript Episode 156 – “Hospital Waterbirth Story” Taylor Gunn

[Music Intro]

[Voice 1] Uh, I think my water just broke!

[Voice 2] I think that things really intensified..

[Voice 3] She was right there, and she was coming…

[Voice 4 It was…it was an amazing feeling.

[Voice 5] I could cry just thinking about it. I could FEEL her HEAD!

[Voice 6] (choking up) We heard her cry. We were holding hands and she was SCREAMING (chuckles)!

I’m Bryn Huntpalmer and you’re listening to The Birth Hour. This podcast is designed as a safe place for women to come together to share their childbirth stories. Stick around to hear informative and empowering birth journeys from women all over the world.

[Music]

[Bryn] This episode is sponsored by Baby List. Baby List’s mission is to make baby registries more personal and less overwhelming. You can put anything on your baby registry from any store. Aside from being able to pull in items from various stores, you can also add neat things like mommy-and-me workout classes, photography sessions, doula support, and postpartum stuff like home-cooked meals and dog-walking. At the end of this episode I’ll be talking to Alexis about her experience using Baby List.

[Bryn] Today’s guest is Taylor who has two little boys. She’s going to be mostly focusing on her most recent birth story today. Hi Taylor – welcome to The Birth Hour. Thanks for coming on the show today.

[Taylor] Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

[B] Can you start by telling listeners a little bit about you and your family?

[T] So I’m Taylor Gunn. I have two boys Remy is 3 and Sage is – he just turned 7 months old. And we just recently moved to California. My husband is originally from here so he wanted to get back to the surf life, and we’ve been having so much fun at the beach. And yeah – we’re just super happy down here.

[B] Awesome. Well, I know we’re mostly gonna focus on your most recent pregnancy and birth story, but is there anything you can kind of share about Remy’s real quickly before we get into Sage’s?

[T] So Remy’s birth – my pregnancy was really generally easy like I, you know just, normal pregnancy stuff – just being uncomfortable but his birth. I actually I went a week past my due date, which I was fine with, but my labor was really long. And looking back now I feel like I understand why it was so long. I was just really fighting each contraction and having pretty hard contractions for about 36 hours. And I kind of felt like I got hit by a car after – like it was a really rough labor, and I had a hard time. And so going into Sage’s, I was very nervous because I had my experience with Remy, which was really hard. Even though I still loved it, I was still very proud of my birth, it was just very hard.

[B] Yeah. Well is there anything that you did differently like during your second pregnancy to kind of prepare for maybe a quicker labor? Or just different circumstances?

[T] Yeah, so there’s this class I took, um… it’s in Utah. It’s by Laurel and Curtis and I just loved it. She like really understood that I had the fear of a long labor again and I did lots of exercises to practice like how I could make my labor shorter. One of the main things I did was I really focused – and I know that like everyone knows this, and I knew this with my first time around too, but I really was able to implement it in my second labor – I was able to really relax during my contractions. And my keyword with Sage’s labor was “opening” and it was so crazy like I could literally – like there are a few contractions that I had, and I remember I was sitting on the toilet and I was having a contraction, and I just remember saying like “opening…opening” like over and over in my head, and I could feel myself dilating. It was amazing. And I feel like that’s what made it go faster.

[B] That’s awesome. What was your prenatal care like?

[T] I always like to do a lot of yoga while I’m pregnant. It gets a little harder – like I feel like I always, you know, you have the excuse when you’re pregnant – it’s a little more tiring. I always try to eat really healthy. I was trying to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Um, lots of chocolate ends up happening for me too (chuckles).

[B] Very important (chuckles).

[T] But yeah, I don’t know. I just say exercise and eating good food was really important for me.

[B] Did you feel differently with your second pregnancy versus your first?

[T] You know, first trimester I felt like is generally a harder time for lots of people, including me. And with Remy I was pretty nauseous, and then the second time was Sage I was just way more fatigued. I didn’t feel as much nausea and I would definitely take the fatigue over the nausea. Being nauseous is so hard. But just very tired and I just wanted to lay in bed. Good thing Remy wanted to watch lots of movies with me during that time.

[B] (chuckles) I remember when we met just how much of a snuggle bug he was.

[T] Yeah, he is such a cuddler and he still is. I love it.

[B] Great, well let’s get into your birth story. Unless there’s anything else about pregnancy you want to share?

[T] No, that sounds great.

[B] Okay so what were some of the first signs that you were going into labor?

[T] So with Sage, I tend to carry my babies to 41 weeks. I’ve learned that because I’ve done it twice now, and so with Sage I was – let’s see – I was seven days over my due date. And the next day was September 11th. I was like – and you know, that’s kind of a hard day to be born on.

[B] Yeah.

[T] And I was like okay let’s let’s just not have the baby tomorrow – let’s have it on Monday, which is September 12th. But of course around like 10 o’clock that day – 10 a.m. I was like, “Oh!” Feeling some twinges, I think “today is going to be the day.” So I started feeling some contractions, and they started getting a little more consistent. I was like ‘Okay this is it. Here we go!’

[B] Were they strong right away? Or did you kind of ease into it?

[T] Um no. They definitely eased into it. I I remember…so I feel like because my labor was so long with Remy, like I was home for most of my labor, I think – we went to the hospital and we got turned back because I was only dilated – even though my contractions were pretty strong. Like I couldn’t even walk through them. And so I feel like that made us think that things had to be really, really intense to go to the hospital. And so for the first part of Sage’s labor I just feel like we were just in denial. I was like, ‘No, it’s fine. I’m good. Like, it’s not intense.’ Even though I was getting pretty close. Like my labor total with Sage was five hours.

[B] Wow (laughs)!

[T] So they started out pretty easy. That’s even including, like, pre twinges.

[B] Mm-hmm. Did you have Remy there with you during that early labor?

[T] Yeah, so it’s so funny – so we called his parents to let him know when we thought it was like real. It was around 10 o’clock and we’re like, ‘Okay, so we think it’s happening.’ I’d called my doula to let her know. I called the Midwife at the hospital and I let them all know that I think this is it, but I wasn’t sure yet. And things picked up pretty quick, and I kind of needed Nate, my husband, to like help me at that point, but I was still in denial that it was picking up faster. I felt like the whole time he was just – because Remy was very concerned about me.

[B] Mm-hmm.

[T] And he kept trying to touch me and… You know, some people like to be touched – but I was just at a point where I just needed to be in my own head. So being touched was kind of hard. So Nate was trying to entertain Remy. He had called his parents to come get Remy, but I don’t know…(laughs) We still to this day have no idea where. (laughs)

[B] (laughs)

[T] I don’t know. They said they were coming for hours and hours but they took a really long time to show up.

[B] Oh my goodness. So when did you finally make that decision that it was time to go?

[T] So, I had been laboring at home. Things got more and more intense. I think, you know, sometimes in labor it’s kind of a fog – everything that happened, but I know I was moving to different places in my house, just walking around. I was able to really enjoy my downtime from my contractions. I was able to actually talk to Rem and talk to Nate, and that was one of my big goals this time around: to enjoy the downtime body would give me. And I feel like I accomplished that for sure. Umm, let’s see. So things got more and more intense. Like, I remember at one point, I told Nate, ‘I need a bowl.’ I was just sitting on the rug, but I couldn’t move And yeah, I just puked everywhere. Luckily, Nate came with a bowl at the very last second. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. Where are your parents? We need to go. I’m so ready to go and be at the hospital.’ And they were still like 20 minutes away, and I was in pretty hard labor at that point. I was deep moaning through each contraction. They showed up…let’s see… they showed up and I remember Nate’s mom came inside. I was in the middle of a contraction. It stopped, I ran out to the car, we hopped on, and took off. I’m pretty sure I was in transition in the car, which was terrible.

[B] (sympathising) Oh, yeah…

[T] Yeah, it was really rough. I was in the front seat. I was kneeling backwards on the seat and just hanging onto the headrest. Nate was just trying, you know, he was very good – like he had my tapes on, he was trying to rub my back as he drove… and I dunno.

[B] (chuckles)

[T] I mean, he was like trying to, I don’t know… get that really quick. So, we pulled up. We got to the hospital, and it was Sunday – so they didn’t have their valet service. So he just parked the car at the fron. He wheeled me in all the way up. I didn’t want to be checked, but when we got there I was like, ‘Yeah I’m like curious to see where I’m at.’ I was at a nine and a half already. And my doula just met us at the hospital. And so they checked me, and I remember I just had this super intense contraction. I was standing at the time and it brought me all the way down to my knees. Then they got the bath ready for me. I hopped in the bath, and Nate wasn’t there. I had no idea where he went. So I was like trying to hold on for him. I was like, ‘Where did where did he go?’ He had to go park the car because he had just left it in the front.

[B] Mmmm. Ohhhh…

[T] (laughs) I know, so I was just like in the bath. I was still really good. I had my Doula there. She was breathing with me through the contractions. He showed up, and then I like I felt Sage coming, and I wasn’t pushing at. I just felt my body pushing him out, and I was just trying – because I really didn’t want to tear so, I was just like trying to pant through him coming because I felt my contraction just pushing him out.

[B] So is that something that you learned in your class or just intuitively?

[T] Yes, that was something I learned in my class. Because I tore with Rem, and it was – you know, tearing is never fun. You don’t want to tear down there, so I really wanted to… cuz with Rem, I was at the point where I pushed for two hours with him, which was so hard. I was just pushing so hard with him, and I was like, when he started to crown and stuff I was like – I just want him out, and I just pushed so hard. And, you know, I just tore because I wasn’t patient anymore.

[B] I totally did the same thing. My midwife was like, ‘ You need to slow down now.’ And I was like, ‘No (laughs) I need to get this baby out.’

[T] (through a smile) Yeah, I know. It would have been so much better if I was just patient!

[B] Yeah…

[T] But yeah I was like, ‘I just need this baby out.’ And you just push him out real quick. You know, cuz it had been too long. So that was like another thing in my birth class – that I really…I did not want to tear. So I guess a good way like when you know some… I don’t know I experienced it both ways. You know I experienced where I had to push the baby out, and I experienced when my body just kind of pushes the baby out. Which was really cool that I got to feel both ways that it can happen.

[B] Mmm-hmmm. So, when you say that you having you ‘pant’ do you mean like literally…

[T] (laughs) like a dog, yeah!

[B] Okay, like a dog.

[T] Yeah, I don’t know. It was just something I learned. I guess it helps tighten that muscle. I – I don’t know. It’s like that muscle right there it just helps it relax.

[B] Mmmm-hmmm.

[T] So you’re not like pushing down on it. I don’t know.

[B] Very cool

[T] Um, so yeah. I was like just panting. Trying not to tear at all, because I felt him coming so fast, and I knew if I bear down at all he would just come out so quick. So while my body was pushing him out, I just reached down into the water because I was in the tub and there was – I felt like it felt like a jellyfish, almost. And I was like, ‘What is that? !hat is not the top of its head.”

[B] (chuckles)

[T] The sac was still intact. So he was starting to come out and he came out all the way and he was born “in call” – meaning he was fully in the sac.

[B] Oh wow!

[T] Which was so cool. Like, I could see him under the water and as soon as I grabbed him – because I really wanted to grab my baby this time – so I grabbed him, and it broke. I pulled him up out of the water. The cord was wrapped around his neck a few times. The Midwife just untwisted it, and put him straight on my chest. And it was… it took him a few minutes to cry, but it was fine. He was good. It was amazing. That moment when they put them on your chest is the best.

[B] Mm-hmm. So was this like a birth center within a hospital? Or just an amazing hospital with birth tubs?

[T] It’s an amazing hospital so the U of U Hospital is super – like their Midwife group is amazing. You can have the best birth there. They’re just so naturally minded focus midwives.

[B] This is back in Utah?

[T] Yes. Yeah this is in Utah at the U-Hospital. And they have birth tubs there. I don’t know. I had both my kids with them and they were just so amazing. Like with Remi, my midwife – I wasn’t I was in the room for eight hours, and she was there doing counter pressure the whole time. She was just with me. And she taught me. She was amazing. I love the midwives there. I could not speak highly enough for them.

[B] Awesome. So did you have any tears?

[T] I had a little tiny one, but it seriously healed within like a week. It was amazing. It was super, super tiny.

[B] Awesome. Well, how was your postpartum recovery overall?

[T] So right after he was born, I felt so amazing! I just compared it to my first time with Remi – after that, I felt like I got hit by a car. I was just dead. It was hit the middle of the night, I was in labor for two days, I was just so tired. My labor was Sage – I started at 10 a.m. and he was here by like three. We had dinner as a family, and I just had so much energy. I felt so good. And even after, I stopped bleeding within five days.

[B] Wow!

[T] Yeah. So compared to Remi, when I blood for eight weeks night and day, it was so different.
Yeah. It was really amazing.

[B] And how is it once you got home, and this time you had a toddler, and breastfeed.

[T] Yeah.

[B] All that. How’d that go?

[T] So I’ve always been lucky with breastfeeding. You know, it’s always hard at first when you’re super engorged, and newborn’s trying to figure it out. But I’ve been very fortunate with my breastfeeding experiences with both my kids. Figuring out that the two kid thing kind of threw me for a loop. Just learning how to split my time between them was really hard. Luckily, Nate my husband, was super helpful with Remy. And I was so nervous with Remy because he’s very clingy to me, and so I didn’t know how he was gonna take it. But he handled it very well. He was so in love with Sage. And he still is. And jealousy was never a problem, which is something I was really worried about. So it was really good.

[B] That’s awesome. It’s like the sweetest thing to see.

[T] It really is. I did have some postpartum anxiety. It started around two weeks postpartum and lasted till about eight weeks. I just was needed to be like compulsively clean about the house. I don’t know what was wrong with me. It was really it was frustrating on everyone. But I was just – I don’t know… you know, those hormones – they really mess with you.

[B] Was it anything that you had experience the first time? Or totally new?

[T] Totally new. I’m a clean person, but if the house was even a little bit messy it would stress me out so much I couldn’t even enjoy my baby. It was super weird. I’m grateful for everyone who helped me through that. But it was a hard little thing.

[B] Yeah. What did you do to get through that?

[T] Nate was really sweet. He got a housekeeper a few times for me to help ease my worries about it. And just talking it through with some people – with my friends. I had a few really supportive friends, and when I would have those urges that would build up all the sudden – just learning some coping skills, like to just breathe and, you know, just trying to put it out of my mind in the moment.

[B] Yeah.

[T] And telling myself that it wasn’t that big of a deal.

[B] Mm-hmm. I’m sure people can relate. Even if cleaning wasn’t their thing, but something else that was super stressful.

[T] Totally.

[B] Well, are there any resources, aside from that course that you mentioned, that you recommend to pregnant or new moms?

[T] I’m a little nerdy about birth I just love reading stuff online. There’s this website that I just love reading their articles on called bellybelly.au It’s an Australian company. I really like that website and reading lots of their articles. I like childbirthconnection.org and I like hypnobirthing websites, as well. And I loved watching, I’m sure I know every pregnant person loves doing this, but reading birth stories online and watching YouTube videos.

[B] Mm-hmm. And now listening to them? (laughs) With the podcast.

[T] Yes! (laughs) Exactly!

[B] That’s kind of how the idea for the podcast came for me. Because I was so into reading the stories all the time.

[T] Yeah! It’s amazing! I know. You can’t get enough of it when you’re pregnant.

[B] Yeah. Well, can you share with listeners where they can find you online?

[T] So you can find me on Instagram. I’m Tayler Golden. I also have a baby wearing company. It’s called Wild bird. www.wildbird.com

[B] Vry cool. I know lots of people probably know you already. I work with Baby List, and people always talk about how they register for your slings on their on their baby registries.

[T] Oh, that makes me feel so good!

[B] Well thank you so much for coming on to share your birth story with us!

[T] Of course! Thank you so much for having me! It was so fun to talk about it.

[B] Now we’re going to talk to Alexis about her experience using Baby List. Hi Alexis! Thanks for coming on The Birth Hour to talk about Baby list. Can you start by just tying listeners a little bit about you and your family?

[Alexis] Yeah my name is Alexis Beach and I live in Kansas City with my boyfriend, my four year old son and three week old daughter. I’m a doula with Kansas City Doulas.

[Brynn] Great. And did you use Baby List, I’m guessing, probably not with your first – and then discovered it with your second pregnancy?

[A] Yeah, I did. I actually discovered it through this podcast!

[B] Oh yeah yeah!

[A] It’s been so great. I wasn’t even sure I was gonna have a baby shower with my daughter, but I did end up having one and using it. I got it like as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I was like, ‘I need to get on Baby List!’ So I got it and started adding things. And I just used it still to this day – even for my own personal list of things that I need to get for baby because there’s so many things that I want to get, but it’s from different places. Like, a lot of stuff from Amazon is on there, from Target, Etsy, all kinds of place. So yeah, it’s been such a good organizational tool.

[B] Yes, exactly.

[A]I’m using it even still now for things that I know in the future I’ll want to get with her. Or even for my son – different ideas. It’s just a nice place – a central location -to make a list of things to remember to get for your baby. And it’s been really great – another really great thing about Baby List is that they’ll send you an email when you have price changes on your items. So there have been times where you know something’s decreased in price or even increased in price, so I know that’s a good deal – I should get that now, or no I should wait. So it’s been really great.

[B] Yeah. Do you use it on the computer?

[A] Mostly just the app. I mostly use the app.

[B] O,h cool. So can you talk a little bit about how that works?

[A] Yeah, it’s super, super user-friendly. It’s just the Baby List app, and you just get on there and you can click ‘add items.’ You can type in a store or they have all the major stores there for you. Just click on – – I use it for Amazon a lot, so I click on Amazon – and up in the corner there’s ‘add.’ You can add as much as you want. You can also separate stuff into categories, like clothes, and books, and toys, and just general items. There’s all kinds of categories you can have.

[B] And I know that also you can add stuff on there that is not an item but more like a gift – like placenta encapsulation, which is something that I did with my daughter, and like donate to charities, and all kinds of stuff like that.

[A] Yeah.

[B] Do you ever recommend it to your doula clients? Because I know a lot of people use it to kind collect funds to pay for their doula.

[A] Oh yes, all the time. That’s a really great thing to do. To say, ‘You know, wel,l we don’t need a car seat – we already have one car seat, so you know, we would rather you contribute to paying for our doula.’ Which is a really great thing. Or even a postpartum doula.

[B] Yeah, definitely. Especially if you live in an area without a lot of family or friends close by to help out after the baby arrives.

[A] Yeah, exactly.

[B] Cool. I’m glad it’s been working out for you and that you’ve continued using it.

[A] Yeah, it’s really great.

[B] Thank you so much again to Tayler for coming on and sharing her stories with us, and to Alexis for talking to us about Baby List. You can connect with me on social media at The Birth Hour. And you can get information from today’s episode at thebirthhour.com Thanks so much for listening (& reading!). If you enjoy today’s show, head to thebirthhour.com and click ‘become a member’ to pledge your support. As a thank you, you’ll get an invitation to join our private Facebook group and have access to exclusive episodes. Your vote of confidence and support means the world to me.

[Music]

3 Unmedicated Births – Hospital & Birth Center Stories

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

birth center birth story
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
Bottom Spray
Bottom Balm
Postpartum Herb Baths

Siblings’ Perspective on Birth – Bonus Episode!

Older Siblings at Younger Siblings’ Birth

In honor of International Sibling Day I thought it would be fun to interview kids who were present for their younger sibling’s births! The resulting episode was so sweet, funny and moving. Below is a slideshow featuring photographs from the births these kids attended along with their perspective on the experience via short audio clips but be sure to listen to the whole episode to get their full responses which will have you laughing one minute and tearing up the next. It is such a sweet, sweet episode!

What it Looks Like to Be There the Moment They Became a Big Brother or Sister

The below photos represent what it really looks like to have one of your older children at your birth. It’s so powerful for these kids to see their mothers going through labor and birth and to be there when their siblings first come into the world.

mom pushing birth big sister at birth

Above images Laura Lo Photography

sibling at homebirtholder brother at birth big brother homebirth

Above images Fox Valley Birth and Baby

sibling birth at hospital sibling hospital birth

Above images K Reeder Photography

Lily Jade

This episode was generously sponsored by Lily Jade Diaper Bags! Be sure to check out their #momhuddle campaign on Instagram and use #momhuddle and #ljmomhuddle to tag pictures and stories of the mom friends in your life that have been support for you through your motherhood journey!

Hospital & Home Births Including Footling Breech

Five Birth Stories – Hospital and Home Births

Mary shares the stories of her three planned homebirths (two in water); one crazy-fast, planned hospital birth; and one unplanned hospital birth that resulted in a natural footling breech birth. She also has experienced a natural miscarriage at home.

hospital footling breech

Mary Haseltine Bio

Mary is a mother to five on earth and one in eternity. She works as a certified birth and bereavement doula, birth educator, and as a writer at Better Than Eden. There, she shares about birth, her faith, mothering, homeschooling, miscarriage, raising boys, and more. She is also a featured writer at Elizabeth Ministry International. A theology graduate, she has a passion for helping women experience their God-given “feminine genius” through birth, motherhood, and in the very design of their body. She believes that treating babies and women with the utmost dignity and respect at every moment during pregnancy and birth is necessary for building strong families and a culture of life and love. You can find her writing at Better Than Eden or connect on Facebook and Instagram.

home births

Birth Resources

Evidence Based Birth
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices by Sarah Buckley
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger and Diana West 
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
The Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II
On the Dignity and Vocation of Women by Pope John Paul II

Earth Mama Angel Baby

At the end of this episode I spoke to a Andrea about her favorite products from Earth Mama Angel Baby, today’s sponsor.

Bottom Spray
Bottom Balm
Postpartum Herb Baths
Milkmaid Tea