Beautiful, Serene “Gentle Cesarean” Birth for Breech Baby

After Caroline and her husband, Matt, learned they would be welcoming their first baby in July 2020, they established care with a midwifery practice and hoped for a low-intervention birth experience. Except for a brief bleeding scare about 6 weeks into the pregnancy, and a case of gestational thrombocytopenia that resolved itself in the third trimester, Caroline had an easy and active pregnancy. 

At their 20-week anatomy scan, the technician laughed that they had a little breech baby, knowing that babies constantly change positions that early in the pregnancy. However, at every subsequent ultrasound, baby continued to present in the breech position. Around 32 weeks, the midwives discussed possible interventions to turn the baby (whose sex was a surprise), explaining that no one in the state of Maine would perform a vaginal breech birth. During this time, COVID-19 hit and they learned that their hired doula would no longer be able to attend their birth. 

Caroline and Matt began trying everything under the sun to turn their baby head down in an effort to avoid a c-section: moxibustion, acupuncture, Spinning Babies, flips in the pool, and two ECVs. Ultimately, Caroline found acceptance in a scheduled c-section and loved her birth experience. She was able to advocate for all of the gentle cesarean practices including immediate skin to skin, a clear drape, arms free, music playing, etc. Aila Mae Roy was brought into the world in a beautiful, serene birth on July 2, 2020 at 9:25am. 

caroline-culbertson

Caroline Culbertson Bio

Caroline Culbertson is a ‘southern girl transplant’ living on a farm in the Portland, Maine area with her husband Matt, daughter Aila, and a menagerie of animals. She is a life-long equestrian. Follow her on Instagram @caroline.culbertson

Resources

Partial Molar Pregnancy, Epidural and Epidural-free Midwife Hospital Births

After experiencing a miscarriage due to a partial molar pregnancy Meghan & Ryan knew they wanted to try again once they were given the ok by their doctor. Five months after experiencing the loss, Meghan was pregnant. Over the course of the pregnancy she prepared for an unmedicated birth but was open to going with the flow. After three sleepless nights filled with contractions, Meghan’s contractions finally picked up. After days of no sleep, labor stalling at 8-9 cms, a fever, and her body trying to push starting at 6 cm Meghan decided on getting an epidural for rest. A few hours after the epidural, Isla Rose was born into her dad’s hands.

Once Isla turned one, Meghan found out she was pregnant with baby #2. The pregnancy was smooth and the plan for an unmedicated birth was the same. This time Meghan’s water broke but labor was not picking up. Meghan was positive for group b strep this pregnancy and had to go to the hospital earlier than intended. Despite wanting no interventions and intravenous monitoring, Meghan ended up with pitocin and being hooked up to a monitor. Luckily, the hospital provided a wireless monitor so she could still move around working through contractions. After another long labor, Tatum Robert was born and Meghan had the epidural free birth she desired.

epidural free pitocin

Meghan Hubbard Bio

Meghan lives in Seacoast New Hampshire with her husband Ryan and their two kids. Isla is 2.5 and Tatum will be one in March. Meghan teaches first grade but is also hoping to work with mothers in some capacity at some point soon. She can be found on instagram at: Meg.hubbard6. 

Resources

  • Local Kriya Birth Class
  • Isla Grace Sleep – https://islagrace.ca/sleep-courses/ Instagram: islagracesleep
  • Local Resource- baby led sleep & wellbeing specialist: Instagram: chelsea.macphail
  • Local (and virtual) Resource – Beth Janelle, Prenatal and postpartum workout plans and personal training. Instagram: Beth.janelle

Expectful

This episode is sponsored by Expectful – the #1 guided meditation & sleep app for your fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood journey. Just like you probably take a prenatal vitamin for your body, Expectful’s meditations are like a prenatal vitamin for your mind and can help you have a happier, healthier journey to parenthood. Whether you are TTC, pregnant, or postpartum, everything in the Expectful app was made just for this special moment in your life and created based on interviews with hopeful, expecting, and new parents just like you. Ready to reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one? Go to expectful.com/birthhour or download Expectful in the App Store to get started with a free trial today. 

Healing Repeat Cesarean and VBA2C Birth Stories

First pregnancy and birth

Victoria’s first pregnancy with her honeymoon baby went smoothly. She watched “The Business of Being Born,” and decided that an intervention free birth was what she wanted. She chose a hospital with certified nurse midwives and the lowest cesarean rate in town. She believed she was all set, and decided not to hire a doula or pursue comfort measure classes. Labor started at 40 weeks and 3 days. 

After seventeen hours of labor, most of it with an epidural, she consented to a cesarean and met the newest love of her life under a large blue drape. The meeting was shortened when she started feeling pain during suturing. Her son was whisked away to be measured while her husband and the nurse anesthetist tended to her. Once the suturing was completed, and the cocktail of drugs took effect, she was back in bright spirits and was able to breastfeed during the golden hour, before introducing her son to his extended family. 

OR for birth

Second pregnancy and birth

Despite an emotional first labor and birth, and a Graves’ Disease diagnosis four months postpartum, Victoria and her husband were eager to add another baby to their family. They found out about baby number two on Black Friday, when their oldest son was nine months old. 

This time they hired a doula, saw a pelvic floor therapist, and was involved with their local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) chapter. She decided to continue prenatal care at the same hospital as her oldest son’s birth, hoping for a redemptive birth. Around 24 weeks, she received a letter from her medical insurance saying that this hospital was no longer in network and she needed to find care elsewhere. 

Shortly after receiving that letter, Victoria and Jeff met a well-known, VBAC supportive doctor at an ICAN Q&A meeting. They decided that night to switch to his care.

At her 40 week and 5 day prenatal appointment, Victoria and her doctor had “the talk” about options. She expressed her recent feelings that she was supposed to have a cesarean, and he advised her to call her husband and to pray about it. After a short phone call in office, they decided to go ahead with a repeat cesarean, and scheduled it for that evening. Their family centered cesarean was the healing birth she hoped for. At a day old, her son was diagnosed with sagittal synostosis, a birth defect where the suture lines of the skull fuse prematurely. To further complicate things, Baton Rouge and surrounding areas experienced a 1000 year flood only two days after his birth.

Third pregnancy and Birth

Two years after their second son was born, Jeff and Victoria felt the time was right to add to their family, and got pregnant on the first try-again! Sadly, their pregnancy ended in a miscarriage two and a half weeks later. Eleven months and one more early miscarriage later, they were finally pregnant again. This time, they saw the very first heartbeats of their baby girl at five weeks and five days, and found out that she shared a due date with her oldest brother.

They wrestled with the decision to hire a doula and ultimately decided to take a comfort measures class at 38 weeks instead and to keep their labor as a bonding moment between the two of them. Labor started at midnight at 40 weeks and 4 days. Fifteen hours later they were holding their sweet VBA2C baby!

Victoria Lero Bio

Victoria is a stay at home mom from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her husband, Jeff, is a firefighter and they’ve been married since 2014. Their three incredible kids bring so much joy and laughter to their lives! Victoria is a self-proclaimed birth nerd and hopes to one day support families through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in some capacity (be it through doula support, midwifery, or a podcast).

 She loves to connect with others, and you can reach her through Instagram @LoveLero or Gmail victorialynnlero@gmail.com

Babylist

Today’s episode is sponsored by Babylist. The people at Babylist believe that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry easily lets you add any item from any store. Plus, Babylist helps you each step of the way with their customized checklist, product guides and reviews, and personal registry consultants. They’ve even got group gifting! Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth over $100 while boxes last.

Cesarean Breech Delivery with Oligohydramnios

Georgiana describes the first half of her pregnancy as pretty stress-free and idyllic; from a fairly easy conception process, to loving the midwifery practice they chose, and learning everything she could about hypnobirthing /natural birth, Georgiana and her OBGYN husband, Salvatore, felt like they were coasting through pregnancy.

Things began to intensify between 22 – 32 weeks.  The pandemic broke out and was particularly severe in their home of the New York City/ Long Island region. Salvatore became a front line worker during Georgiana’s third trimester. Just as they had received news that the baby was breech and started discussing options, Georgiana was diagnosed with oligohydramnious and began twice weekly monitoring by Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors. After being faced with needing to transfer care at 34 weeks, Georgiana wound up letting go of the “hypnobirth of her dreams” due to the need for an urgent caesarean section at 37 weeks. This story ends with a wonderful, healthy baby boy born in the middle of the pandemic, with a finale of post partum anxiety that no one saw coming.

Georgiana Bio

Georgiana is a Mental Health Counselor in New York City, currently finishing her post-graduate training at New York Anxiety Treatment. Georgiana and Salvatore met in 2015 in Brooklyn, New York as he was about to start an OBGYN residency and she was beginning graduate school. Their son, Tomo Cosimo was born in June 2020. In her free time, Georgiana enjoys writing, running and trying new restaurants…  and she looks forward to doing so again once the pandemic is over!

Resources

Kindred Bravely

Today’s episode is brought to you by Kindred Bravely.  From adorable maternity wear to comfortable nursing bras, this mom-owned company has you covered.  See all of their comfy clothing at kindredbravely.com! I especially love their Simply Sublime nursing tank, their high waisted leggings (for pregnancy AND postpartum). Listen to this episode for a special coupon code and to hear about my new favorites in their loungewear including the Clea Bamboo PajamasBetsy Ribbed Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Nightgown, and Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Lounge Pants.

Epidural-free Induction and Insufficient Glandular Tissue Postpartum

After a fairly normal pregnancy, Nicky developed high blood pressure at 37 weeks and had to be induced. Despite a long labor she was able to have the epidural-free birth she’d hoped for. Postpartum, she struggled with triple feeding and was diagnosed with Insufficient Glandular Tissue.

Nicky lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Nick, son Ellis, cat (Turkey Sandwich) and dog (Guinness). She is on Instagram @nickywiesenfeld

Resources

Hire a doula! Nicky worked with Rachael Wilson from Brave Birth Doula Care (https://www.bravebirth.com/)

Motif Medical

This episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour

Unmedicated Hospital Birth During Covid + Postpartum Brain Surgery

Rachael and her husband, Zane, found out they were pregnant in September of 2019. The pregnancy was very easy and she felt great the whole time. Rachael was planning for an unmedicated birth with the mid-wife practice at her local hospital. Her and her husband did the Know Your Options birth class to prepare and it was very helpful and informative. On May 23, when she was 39 weeks and 1 day, she started having cramps that quickly moved into near constant contractions. She labored at home for a few hours and then finally timed the contractions, realized they were 2 min apart, and rushed to the hospital. Once at the hospital, she labored in the tub and also on the ball. Her water broke and almost immediately she started pushing. Her daughter, Juniper, was born at 7:26pm, so labor and delivery took just over 9 hrs.

covid pregnancy

Initial postpartum went well, just some nipple pain and baby blues. After the first few weeks, Juniper and Rachael were able to exclusively breastfeed and Rachael was feeling much better emotionally and mentally. However, Rachael started running around 8 weeks postpartum and developed a debilitating headache. The splitting headache was present most of the day, every day. It would go away when she lay down, but the minute she sat or stood up it would come back. After trying chiropractic care, massage and physical therapy, she finally got an MRI and the doctors discovered she had a subdural hematoma, bleeding on her brain. In order to find relief from the headaches, she needed brain surgery to drain the blood and fix the blood vessel on the covering of her brain that the surgeon suspected was causing the bleeding. Also, while all of this was happening, they moved into a new house and Rachael turned 30. 

She had the surgery on August 31st and even though she was discharged a few days later, her husband knew that there was something wrong. She went back to the hospital and they found more fluid had accumulated on her brain, so a week after the first surgery she had a second surgery. After the second surgery, recovery went much better and she was headache free and home from the hospital at the end of the week. 

Coming home from the hospital was wonderful but also really hard. Rachael felt like she had come home to a different baby, because Juniper had changed so much in the 2 weeks Rachael was gone. Because of this Rachael experienced postpartum anxiety. Also, her milk supply was down so she worked really hard with pumping to get it back up. They finally landed on feeding Juniper with a mix of formula and breastmilk. It took a few months, but Rachael, Zane and Juniper fell into a great rhythm and Rachael is feeling much better physically and mentally. 

Rachael DeGraffenried Bio

Rachael DeGraffenried is married to Zane DeGraffenried and they have a daughter, Juniper, who is almost 9 months old. They live in New Castle, CO. Rachael is currently a stay at home mom and Zane is a programmer for Getty Images. You can contact Rachael on Instagram at rachael.deg and Facebook as Rachael DeGraffenried.

Resources

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting moms discover the motherhood essentials covered by their insurance. From breast pumps to maternity compression and postpartum recovery products, they take care of everything – including all paperwork, working with your insurance company, and explaining your options to get your free motherhood essentials shipped straight to your door.

Aeroflow offers all major breast pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda, Elvie, Willow and more. Bonus —  use the promo code “TBH15” in their online shop for 15% off all supplies and accessories. All you have to do is go to the Aeroflow Breastpumps website and fill out their free and easy Qualify Through Insurance form. Be sure to go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour so they will know we sent you!

VBAC with Twins & Baby Born with Hearing Loss

Shortly after getting married Kalen and her husband were lucky to become pregnant quickly with their son and had a healthy, uneventful pregnancy. She was induced at 41 weeks and 1 day but after 24 hours of labor and a cascade of interventions, her son Maverick was born via emergency c section. Determined to try for a VBAC, Kalen found a supportive provider 50 miles away. During her first ultrasound, she and her husband were shocked to find out they were expecting identical twin girls. She was induced a day shy of 37 weeks and after 30 hours of labor she was able to push out Baby A and had a breech extraction of Baby B. She talks about being readmitted to the hospital a few days after birth for the girls’ low temps and birth weights and triple feeding for 6 weeks until being able to exclusively nurse for 17 months. Kalen also talks about the processing of the news that her son was born with hearing loss and how he’s doing now. 

hearing loss baby

Kalen Andelin Bio

Kalen, 33 and her husband Ian live in Kenosha, Wisconsin with their 3 children: Maverick, 3.5 and their identical twin daughters Indy and Bowie, almost 2. They enjoy spending time in their newly renovated home and taking advantage of the four seasons the midwest has to offer.  In what little free time three toddlers during COVID have to offer, she enjoys listening to audiobooks for her book club and podcasts about pregnancy and birth while doing some therapeutic cleaning and organizing. Scrolling social media while enjoying a glass or two of wine is her favorite way to unwind, as well as couch surfing or playing some board games with her husband. There’s always a DIY project going on in their house and cute kid videos that can be found on her instagram, @kalenamy. 

Resources

Cord Blood Registry

We are so excited to introduce our new partnership with @CordBloodRegistry, also known as CBR. CBR has helped millions of parents bank their children’s newborn stem cells. Newborn stem cells have amazing potential for treatments in the future and cord blood stem cells have already been used for thirty years in stem cell transplants. It’s kind of like investing in your baby’s future health.

For a limited time, CBR is offering The Birth Hour listeners some pretty big discounts. Go to cordblood.com and use code: HOUR to get 60% off the Newborn Stem Cell Bundle which includes both cord blood and tissue banking. Visit their website to learn more about how newborn stem cell preservation could protect your whole family and why CBR is the #1 most recommended cord blood bank by families and OB/GYNs.

International Home Birth During COVID-19

Charlotte found out she was pregnant with her 2nd child in December 2019. In January, while still in her first trimester, it was confirmed that she was moving to Singapore from London with her 2 year old daughter and husband in May. However, due to coronavirus their moving plans were changed and they ended up spending 6 months in her husband’s home country of New Zealand.

Charlotte talks about navigating three different birthing systems as well as external uncertainty through pregnancy. About choosing homebirth coming out of a hospital birth culture. And choosing homebirth again even as she was living rurally and in temporary accommodation. Finally Charlotte talks about welcoming a second child into this world and navigating postpartum while moving countries in the middle of a global pandemic. 

homebirth abroad during covid

Charlotte Meyer Bio

Charlotte is Danish. She is married to an incredibly supportive partner. They have two children; 2 year old Isabella and 5 month old James. She lives in Singapore. You can connect with Charlotte on Instagram @alliedsince84.

Resources

Expectful

This episode is sponsored by Expectful – the #1 guided meditation & sleep app for your fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood journey. Just like you probably take a prenatal vitamin for your body, Expectful’s meditations are like a prenatal vitamin for your mind and can help you have a happier, healthier journey to parenthood. Whether you are TTC, pregnant, or postpartum, everything in the Expectful app was made just for this special moment in your life and created based on interviews with hopeful, expecting, and new parents just like you. Ready to reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one? Go to expectful.com/birthhour or download Expectful in the App Store to get started with a free trial today. 

Induction for Gestational Hypertension and Painless Epidural Free Birth

At 37 weeks pregnant, Elizabeth went to the hospital for a scheduled induction due to gestational hypertension that developed the prior week. After she was admitted into the labor room, everyone was surprised to find out that she was already in active labor and unable to feel contractions. Due to the lack of pain even after receiving pitocin, she was able to give birth without an epidural and deliver a healthy baby boy.

Elizabeth Houston Bio

Elizabeth, her husband, Billy, and their one-year-old son, Booker, live in the Washington, D.C. metro area. After law school and graduate school, Elizabeth pursued a nontraditional legal career in public health law rather than becoming a licensed attorney. She is now a Social Scientist at FDA, and her husband is a stay-at-home dad while he pursues his graduate degree.

Connect with her on Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok @bookersquared and Twitter @bookersquared1. Blog: bookersquared.blog

gestational hypertension

Resources

Kindred Bravely

Today’s episode is brought to you by Kindred Bravely.  From adorable maternity wear to comfortable nursing bras, this mom-owned company has you covered.  See all of their comfy clothing at kindredbravely.com! I especially love their Simply Sublime nursing tank, their high waisted leggings (for pregnancy AND postpartum). Listen to this episode for a special coupon code and to hear about my new favorites in their loungewear including the Clea Bamboo PajamasBetsy Ribbed Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Nightgown, and Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Lounge Pants.

Two Unmedicated Hypnobabies Births: Birth Center & Homebirth

Genny had a peaceful birth center birth in January of 2018. After switching care providers twice (once at 26 weeks and again at 37 weeks) she knew the birth center was the right fit. She found a doula who also taught hypnobabies and prenatal yoga. At 8pm the night before birth, contractions started with slight cramping. The midwife and doula said to get sleep and rest as much as possible. At 2:30am, Genny could no longer sleep through the “waves.” Upon arrival at the birth center at 4am, the midwife checked Genny & she was dilated to 7cm! Genny felt at peace and supported throughout the entire process thanks to her husband, doula and midwife. Just before noon and after pushing for 3 hours, baby girl was born into water. The midwife gently unwrapped the cord from her neck and placed her onto her chest. Mom, dad and baby went home 4 hours after baby was born.

For the birth of her second baby, Genny really wanted to give birth at the same birth center her daughter was born. Unfortunately, the birth center closed down 2 months before baby was due. They found a midwifery practice in late June (baby was due in September) because they had just moved back to Jacksonville after being in Pennsylvania on military assignment. Contractions started at 4pm and at 1am (9 hours later) baby boy was born into water in the comfort of her own bedroom. I recall the look on my sister’s face when the doula went in and woke her up to come meet her nephew. My sister was staying the night to care for our toddler and she had her fears for me doing homebirth so it was cool for her to see a healthy happy baby born at home.

genny siemion

Genny Siemion Bio

Genny is a military wife, mother of two, and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator who prepares pregnant women and their partners for birth and parenting. Genny knows that childbirth education truly drives birth satisfaction, partner involvement, and how the mind, body, and spirit need proper preparation for birth and the postpartum period.

Genny has supported evidence-based research on birth long before becoming a mother herself. She became certified through Lamaze International and currently teaches at the local hospital and private classes through Zoom. Genny is featured in Jacksonville Moms Blog, Jacksonville Maternity Directory, and funforfirstcoastkids.org Connect with her on Instagram @gennychildbirthclass.

Resources

Peanut

Peanut is an app that helps you make meaningful connections throughout all stages of motherhood. Peanut provides a safe space for mothers, expectant mothers and those trying to conceive to build friendships, ask questions and find support by introducing you to others nearby who are at a similar stage in life, Peanut provides access to a community who is there to listen, share information and offer valuable advice: Whether it’s understanding IVF, adoption, pregnancy, baby’s first years or beyond, Peanut is a place to connect with other moms in the thick of it.

Download the app for free today!