Surrogacy: Vaginal Twin Birth Story

A Surrogate’s Pregnancy and Birth Story

Having had a very unsupported home to hospital transfer birth in Louisiana (a not very midwifery friendly state) Whitney knew one end of the spectrum of hospital birth, something she would happily never opt to experience again. 4 years later, having a swift, cozy, super-supported home birth in Austin, TX with a 10lb, 4oz boy—she experienced the rosey, ideal, other side of the spectrum.

After two very different births of her own children, Whitney was eager to support another family’s desire for children and experience the excitement and awe of birth again. Through consistent ‘flukes’ her gestational carrier journey resulted in the birth of life-long friends and identical twin boys, born naturally (one footling breech). Whitney knew her gestational carrier journey would automatically fall somewhere in the middle—something, as the birthing goddess title she allowed herself to own, she knew she could face either way.

With the twins, she asked her providers for what she wanted and to know all the possible options throughout the entire pregnancy. As with every birth there are some unpredictable turns (literally in this case) and knowing all the options, allowed for the best experience and smoothest recovery she and the twin’s parents could have hoped for.

Whitney LeBlanc Bio

Whitney LeBlanc is the mother to her little lady, Hazel, age 6 and her big boy, Cypress, age 2. Their birth stories are huge contributors to her decisions and experiences along her journey with the twins, and a balancing reminder of the gift it is to be involved in such an experience. She also owns a retail storefront and online specialty store called Enlightened Baby; the atmosphere of expecting women and small children was the perfect nurturing environment for her journey through another pregnancy. She and her husband  trust the process, and welcome what the future holds.

Connect with Whitney on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or via her shop Enlightened Baby.

twin surrogacy birth


Surrogates Birth Naturally FB Group

Photography by Austin Birth Photos


This episode was sponsored by Babylist. Babylist believes that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry lets you add any item from any store. Even add cool services and favors like prenatal yoga, doula support, home-cooked meals or dog walking. Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth up to $190 while boxes last.

Pitocin, Induction, Epidural Birth Story After Infertility

Infertility Journey and Hospital Induction Birth Story

After dealing with infertility for over a year, Beth and her husband Wes were surprised to find out they were pregnant on the day of their consultation for IVF. Beth enjoyed a smooth pregnancy up until she was 39 weeks along, when on Halloween morning, her OB discovered that her amniotic fluid levels were low, and she needed to be induced. She was induced with pitocin, and labored in the hospital with an epidural for 12 hours before giving birth to her son. Bexley was born at 2:50 am on November 1st, weighing 7lbs and 1 oz, with a full head of hair.

Beth Belt Bio

Beth is a 31 year old first time mom, to her adorable son, Bexley. She and her husband Wes have been married for 4 years, and live together in Clinton, Utah. As a family, they enjoy quiet nights at home, cuddling and watching movies together. Beth works as Graphic Designer for HARMAN, a SAMSUNG company. You can connect with her on Instagram @beth_belt, and you can see her adorable son grow @bexleybelt.

hospital epidural pitocin birth story


The Birth Hour
Beat infertility podcast
Pea in the Podcast
Pregnancy Confidential Podcast

The Birth Journal

Today’s episode is sponsored by The Birth Journal, a journal for mamas to write their birth story, pen to paper, through the nostalgic magic of their handwriting. Birth stories are simply too amazing to be tucked away on computers, or not written at all. The beautiful, quality design of The Birth Journal makes it an incredible gift mamas can one day pass down to their babies. They can read about the story of their birth written in the same handwriting that was found on the notes in their lunch box.

The Birth Journal also includes a gentle, supportive birth story writing guide, which provides inspiration and encouragement to write your authentic story, along with some practical writing tips. Birth Hour listeners receive 20% off their first purchase of The Birth Journal at Use code birthhour at check out.

the birth journal

Preparations for a Redemptive VBAC

Cooper’s Unplanned Cesarean Birth

Caitlin’s birth experience with Cooper was not what she had hoped for; but, looking back she wouldn’t change a thing as it’s really impacted her passions and mindset. Caitlin made the common choice of going into the hospital too early, and the doctor on call starting intervening before it made sense. Though Caitlin was at 3 cm and healthy, the doctor decided it was time to break her water and start pitocin. This intervention propelled her into a day that wasn’t at all what she had envisioned. Her progress slowed and her son was no longer handling labor well; and, after about 24 hours, Caitlin had a c-section. Thankfully, all went well with the c-section and Cooper Andrew was born a healthy 8 lbs. 2 oz. She knew for her next experience that she wanted something different. She craved a birth experience that was empowering and what she had envisioned birth to be.

Charlie’s VBAC Birth

Given Caitlin’s birth experience the first time, she knew she wanted to do whatever she could to have an unmedicated VBAC. She spent her pregnancy doing research and exploring her options, and chose care providers that would set her up for success. She went into labor in her own home on New Year’s Day and continued to labor there for about 12 hours with the support of her husband. Once she could no longer manage at home, she left for the hospital with her husband and mom. Her doula and birth photographer met her at the hospital where she continued to labor for about 5 hours. She experienced an amazingly progressive and supportive hospital environment, which really let her doula lead the way. And after an hour-and-a-half of pushing, her 9 lb. 3 oz VBAC baby, Charlie Maxwell, was here!

Caitlin Shrum Bio

Caitlin lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Andrew. They have their hands full with two boys, Cooper (2.5) and newborn Charlie. Caitlin works in human resources for Netflix, but on the side finds herself immersed in all things birth. She is excited to return to The Birth Hour after sharing her unplanned/unwanted c-section story, and to provide support and information to any moms looking for a different birth experience.

The Shrums are frequent farmer’s market visitors and playground enthusiasts, always with coffee in tow. Caitlin would love to connect with other moms via Instagram @caitshrum or Facebook.


ICAN Facebook Page
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
The Birth Partner

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Today’s sponsor, Aeroflow Breastpumps, helps new and expecting moms qualify for a free, top-brand breast pump through insurance. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh and more. Visit Aeroflow’s website today to get started on receiving your free breast pump through insurance! From dealing with insurance, getting a prescription and handling all paperwork – your dedicated Breastpump Specialist will take care of everything for you. Go to and they will know I sent you!

Giving Birth in Germany

Hospital Birth in Germany

Ana gave birth like a champ in a hospital in Germany after being assured that it was baby-friendly. That didn’t end up being her experience and although everything ended up ok, she shares how it felt to be treated in a way that wasn’t respectful of her wishes.

Ana Maria Guardia Bio

Ana is a graphic designer and a yoga teacher. She lives in Germany with her husband Ralph and 21 month old Anton. She’s originally from Panama, a country that made it to the World Cup for the first time this year. Connect with her on Twitter @anagrama, Facebook, Instagram and check out her writing on Elephant Journal.


One Bad Mother podcast for honest talk, laughs and judgment-free motivation. And their book: You’re Doing a Great Job!: 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting
La Leche League local groups and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book.
The mantra: «Divine mother flows through me»

Earth Mama Organics

From the positive test to the big push, from the first latch to the thousandth diaper, Earth Mamamakes 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 Megan and I discussed at the end of today’s episode!

OB vs Midwife—One Mom’s Experience

4 Hospital Births—Obstetrician versus midwives

In Michele’s first labor, she delivered a healthy 8lbs 9oz baby boy. Along the way, she had the epidural she planned on, and then found herself ignored and talked about, not talked to, while she labored. While very happy with the healthy outcome, she felt like something was missing, and sought out care providers for her next pregnancy who might do things differently. For her 3 subsequent pregnancies, she was cared for by a team of midwives who listened to her and valued her as a partner in her labors.

Michele Ankrim Bio

Michele is a mother of 4 young kiddos, living outside Seattle, Washington. She has been a Doula, studied to be a Childbirth Educator, and is now about to begin nursing school, ultimately to be a Certified Nurse Midwife. She believes women should be heard, respected, and valued during their labors, and encourages people to find care providers that they trust. Connect with her on Instagram @michele.midwife


The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
Expecting Better by Emily Oster

Crane Humidifiers

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 full-priced 1 gallon adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH18 at

Processing Miscarriage + Rainbow Baby Homebirth

Sharing a story of miscarriage and subsequent homebirth

After having miscarried in 2016, Karsyn became pregnant early 2017 with her first baby. She didn’t plan a homebirth from the beginning, but changed plans midway through her pregnancy and never looked back. After an uncomplicated pregnancy, Karsyn went into labor in her home eleven days after her due date. Five hours of early labor and five hours of active labor throughout her home and an intense fetal ejection reflex waterbirth brought her Phoenix. Though her pregnancy and labor were pretty ideal, she struggled with breastfeeding and getting Phoenix to gain weight. She’s currently feeding her son exclusively breastmilk and has worked hard to make that possible despite odds stacked against them.

karsyn homebirth

Karsyn DuPree Bio

Karsyn is a blogger, integrative health coach and podcast host in Nashville, TN. She lives with her 3-month old baby boy, Phoenix, husband Collin and two dogs.


The Birth Hour


This episode was sponsored by Ergobaby. Ergobaby creates innovative solutions to meet the needs of today’s parents. With over 30 baby carriers in five different categories, Ergobaby is dedicated to building a global community of confident parents with smart, ergonomic solutions that enable and encourage bonding between parents and babies.

ergobaby carrier

Three Unplanned Cesarean Birth Stories

Three Cesarean Birth Stories

Afra has undergone 3 C-sections mainly due to intervention. With her first she was induced at 41+2 with cervidel to prepare me for an induction and went into labor shortly after. She was 3 cms when admitted to the hosptial, but was put on a bed, not allowed to move around much, and also given some pain meds through an IV which slowed things down alot. She was naive and didn’t know much about the importance of movement, and advocating for herself. She labored and got to 8cms, but baby wasn’t engaged even though she was 80% effaced. Her baby quickly moved and went transverse as the OB says and so she ended up with an emergency c-section.

With her second she ended up having a c-section again after her water starting leaking. She wasn’t getting any contractions and so she was induced at 41 weeks, and she progressed to 8.5cms after about 30/40 hours or so. Her daughter was eventually at station 0 and Afra was 100% effaced but baby wasn’t descending as they later found in the c-section the cord was around her neck. Her cervix had swollen with all the constant cervical checks, water ruptures, and catheters inserted. she had been on the IV, antibitocis and eventually had an epidural which helped her progress to 8.5 from 7.

With her 3rd baby, she couldn’t find a supportive provider or midwife that could take her on except for an OB who agreed to allow her to TOLAC provided everything was going well. She dilated and went into labor on her own this time and without her approval got a sweep from her OB which set off active labor. Her baby ended up being posterior in brow presentation which gave her back labor and was the reason why her labor wasn’t progressing well causing decals. She ended up having her 3rd C-section shortly after.

Afra Said-Ahmed Bio

Afra is a Mommy Blogger & Influencer at “Through Mama’s Eyes’ is a wife & stay at home mom of 3 (aged 4, 2 & 4 months). She uses her experiences as a mother and an entrepreneur to connect with & support mothers in their journey as new moms, moms with young toddlers and moms who want to work from home. She loves keeping it REAL and talking about managing birth, breastfeeding, managing motherhood, toddler tantrums, teething, baby wearing, life as a work from home mom (previous corporate world workaolic), the best products for babies, to toddlers & moms. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook. Check out more from Afra’s Birth and her Birth Plan Template & VBAC Preparation Checklist here.


This episode is sponsored by Bestow — smart, affordable term life insurance you can buy online instantly. If you’re like most expecting mothers, you’re probably concerned about your family’s financial future yet have zero time to plan for it. Bestow helps you embark on life’s journey with confidence knowing your family is protected. The process is easy—you answer simple questions about your lifestyle and health, and if approved you can buy a policy online in minutes. And it’s affordable too. For example, a healthy 25-year-old mom could buy $50,000 in coverage for as low as $2.50 per month. Visit to learn more.

Hospital Birth With Nitrous Oxide & Birth Tub

Unmedicated Hospital Birth Coping Strategies

After initially planning on receiving an epidural (due to fear of pain), L’America researched and decided to prepare for a natural, water birth instead. Her fear of pain was overshadowed by her fear of needles, delivery interventions, and the potential lingering effects on mother and child. By using alternative pain management options (nitrous oxide, hydrotherapy, birthing ball, counter-pressure, and aromatherapy) and having a very supportive birthing team, L’America had a 17-hour natural labor and delivery (which included only 28 minutes of pushing) without any complications!

L’America Brown Bio

L’America is the mother of 2 children; a 1.5 year old daughter and a 7 year old ‘bonus’ stepson. She has been married for 5.5 years to her husband. Instagram – @1merbelle Facebook – L’America Brown

natural hospital birth with tub


The Birth Hour
Anthem—Future Moms program—Check with your insurance company
What to Expect Pregnancy phone App
Nurture Pregnancy phone App
Baby Nursing phone App
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!

Ava Women

This episode is sponsored by Ava Women. Wear the Ava bracelet while you sleep for effortless insight about your fertility, your cycle, and your health. Ava monitors nine physiological parameters and is clinically proven to detect the beginning of the fertile window in real time. You can use the promo code: BIRTHHOUR for $20 off each order at

Chiropractic Care and Pregnancy

Throughout your pregnancy, have you ever found yourself worrying about all the problems that could arise in those nine months? If so, you’re not alone. Many women worry about things like pain and discomfort, baby’s positioning, pre-eclampsia, swelling, etc.

Although there is no shortage of advice, opinions or articles on “Dr. Google”, there’s one thing that can be a real game changer during your pregnancy that is often overlooked…prenatal chiropractic care.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking…isn’t chiropractic what people use to help with neck pain and low back pain?

Yes it is…but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Women who receive chiropractic during pregnancy report benefits such as; an increase in overall comfort during their pregnancy, less headaches, less swelling, normalizing of blood pressure, decreased labor time, less need for intervention during labor and delivery, and an optimal head down position for baby.

How is it that chiropractic helps in pregnancy?

We know the brain controls all of the functions in the body. It tells your intestines how to digest and absorb food, it instructs your heart when to beat and your uterus how to grow that beautiful baby. In order for the brain to function properly, the spine needs to be in alignment and moving correctly.

Enter: Prenatal Chiropractic.

Chiropractic adjustments to the spine help the joints move better and improve the alignment of the body. This enhances the communication between the brain and the body. Which is why pregnant women see such huge benefits ranging from decreased rib pain to breech babies turning head down!

Another huge benefit of chiropractic care during your pregnancy is for baby’s positioning. Adjustments done to the pelvis help create plenty of room for baby to grow and move around. This also helps the baby to be in an optimal position when it comes time for delivery.

Webster’s technique is a specific technique used by prenatal chiropractors, especially if the baby is breech. This technique involves a gentle adjustment to the pelvis as well as soft tissue work to balance the pelvis. The improved balance and increased communication between the brain and body allows baby enough room to naturally move into an optimal position for delivery.

So ladies, the concerns about if you will feel better come delivery time, or if the results of your gestational diabetes test will be positive, etc. will lessen when you are informed, empowered and supported.

Women who are under prenatal chiropractic care feel that they are ensuring the best possible outcomes for their pregnancy, birth and baby. I hope this has shed some light on just how powerful and, potentially life-changing, prenatal chiropractic care can be for women.

Things you can do at home to support a healthy pregnancy

I often have women asking me if there are things they can do at home to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Exercise and making sure your joints are getting proper movement is vital to your health, whether you’re pregnant or not.

With that being said, there are specific joints and muscles groups that you want to make sure are functioning properly during pregnancy.

Stretch Your Hamstrings

There are a variety of ways to stretch the hamstrings; I recommend using whichever stretch is most comfortable.

The simplest way this can be done is sitting on the ground with your legs straight in front while leaning forward.

Although the hamstrings are located on the back part of your leg, there is a very crucial connection between this large muscle group and the pelvis. Allowing the hamstrings to be loose and supple will lead to better overall alignment of the pelvis.

Get Upside Down

Ok, well maybe not completely upside down! This second exercise is called the forward leaning inversion.

For this exercise, you can simply kneel on the edge of a couch about 2 ft high. Carefully, lower your hands to the ground while keeping your knees on the couch. I recommend taking 2-3 deep breaths while inverted and then come back to the upright position. (Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before doing this exercise.)

It’s a good idea to have someone help lower you down and bring you back upright.

Incorporating this exercise into your daily routine can help keep baby in the optimal head down position. It can also be helpful to get baby head down if he/she is currently presenting breech. The forward leaning inversion allows certain muscles and ligaments to release creating more room in the lower part of the uterus for baby to move into a great position for birth.

Spear, David, & Alcantara, Joel. “The Chiropractic Care of a Pregnant Patient Presenting with a Breech Pregnancy.” Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health. 2016.1 (2016): 32-34.

Spear, David, & Alcantara, Joel. “Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) in a Pregnant Woman with Placenta Previa, Migraines, Neck & Back Pain Undergoing Subluxation Centered Chiropractic.” Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health. 2016.1 (2016): 18-21.

International Chiropractic Pediatric Association
Dr. Heidi Haavik
Spinning Babies

This guest post was written by Dr. Lauren Pennetti. Dr. Lauren is deeply passionate about helping people live a well-balanced, healthy life. Her and her husband, Matt, created Prime Chiropractic because they wanted to give their Denver community hope without having to rely on drugs and medication. When she’s not at the office, Dr. Lauren is the “Olivia Pope” of the household and is constantly chasing around her 8-month-old son, Braxton, who she is absolutely obsessed with. Reach out to Dr. Lauren Pennetti at

Two Unmedicated Hospital Births & Home Waterbirth Birth Stories

First Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story

Elise and her husband took The Bradley Method birth class to prepare for what turned out to be a marathon birth, 45.5 hours. After being sent home once from the hospital, Elise was finally admitted after 26 hours of labor needing some fluids and rest. Elise finally delivered her firstborn he next day on all fours unmedicated with her midwife, the NICU team, her husband, her birth photographer, and her mom all in the room. She found out she delivered a boy, Shepherd, just moments before having to hand him over to the NICU team for meconium.

Second Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story

Much like her first birth, Elise felt regular contractions early in the morning a day after her due date. She and her husband were determined to make her labor go faster than her previous birth by walking labor out and pumping frequently. Unfortunately, prodromal labor set in just like the previous birth and Elise was only 5cm after 27 hours of labor. After walking around the midwifery clinic twice, Elise went and checked into the hospital with her husband and mom. Her birth photographer showed up within the hour. Although laboring was almost identical to her first baby, the pushing phase was completely different. Elise progressed to 10cm within 3 hours but experienced shoulder dystocia as she started to push. Finally after 32.5 hours of labor, Elise’s baby was born and she found out she had another boy, Judah, before again having to pass him off to NICU for meconium.

waterbirth baby first glimpse

Third Birth—Home Waterbirth Story

Although meconium was a real factor with the third baby, Elise was hoping for a quicker labor and no meconium. Contractions started in the early morning from nursing her 2nd son and they never stopped. Elise labored all day going to the chiropractor, resting, walking, and bouncing on the ball, but this labor was looking just as long as the previous two. She crawled into bed early that night trying to rest as much as possible but still needing to get up every 10-12 minutes to manage each contraction. The next morning she finally called her midwife, doula, and birth photographer to come over to her house. Her contractions felt so much more intense than her previous births with counter pressure or positions barely alleviating any pain. Elise sat at 7-8cm dilated for almost 4 hours but finally stretched to 10cm with consented help from her midwife. Elise moved to the birth pool and pushed her surprise baby girl out in 7 minutes. Thus, River was born in the water with no meconium after 31 hours of labor.

birth photographer postpartum

Elise Hurst Bio

Elise has 2 fiery sons and one spoiled daughter and lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, Josh. Elise is a speech-language pathologist by trade but has been a professional birth photographer for 2 years now with Elise Hurst Photography. In addition, Elise just recently founded and launched The Photo Regimen to inspire everyday parents and professional photographers to document their families more often in a creative way. You can connect with her on Instagram at either @elisehurstphotography or @thephotoregimen. Here is her photography Facebook page and The Photo Regimen’s Facebook page. You can find her website here.


Bradley Method 
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin 
The Business of Being Born
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke
Why Not Home documentary 
Birth Becomes Her

BabyGlimpse by HumanCode

This episode is sponsored by HumanCode. HumanCode is a personal genomics company that developed the first DNA-powered app, BABYGlimpse. It gives couples a fascinating preview of their children’s potential genetic traits ranging from ancestry to eye color to behaviors and preferences. They are currently running a promotion: 2 kits for $99.98! Visit to find out more.