VBALM Birth Story
Mabel planned for an unmedicated hospital birth with an OB practice. This desire was prompted by her deep research of VBALM — vaginal birth after Laparoscopic Myomectomy. After years of searching for an OB who would support her desire to have a vaginal birth, she found Dr. John Gonzalez, who encouraged her of his support. However, upon the unexpected death of Dr. Gonzalez, she switched to Centreville OBGYN, a midwife/OB practice, at 35 weeks. The plan changed to having a midwife, instead of an OB, deliver her son. Due to her history of GD and fibroid removal, the midwives and OBs decided that if a vaginal birth was desired, Mabel should not be induced but she should instead hope for a spontaneous labor.
At 40 weeks and 6 days, Mabel went into labor at home and labored at home as long as possible. She checked into the hospital at 4 pm on September 14th and labored with support of her doulas, husband, and midwife. After almost 14 hours of slowly progressing, she opted for an epidural at 9.5 cm. After a total of 36 hours, she welcomed her son after almost 2 hours of pushing. Upon delivering the placenta, she experienced a major hemorrhage which resulted in the placement of a Rusch balloon and a blood transfusion. Despite how crazy things got after delivery, Mabel was still very proud of her pregnancy and birth experience. After being told that a vaginal birth was not possible for her, she is proud that she stood her ground, did her research and sought for the right medical team to support her wishes. She attributes her pregnancy and birth experience to the great support of her husband, doula, her determination, and the grace of God.
Mabel Bashorun Bio
Mabel is 31 years old and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Tim and son, Darasimi. She married her college sweetheart in 2013 and the couple decided to wait for a year before actively trying to get pregnant. After learning she had fibroids shortly after she started her TTC journey, Mabel decided to have a laparoscopic myomectomy done to remove multiple fibroids from within her uterine wall. The journey to get pregnant continued on for another 2 years before she got a positive pregnancy test which was a both a surprise and relief. She had a relatively smooth pregnancy with a few hiccups which included fibroid degeneration and gestational diabetes. Her son was born vaginally in a hospital in September 2018 after a 36 hour labor.
Mabel works as an education specialist for her local school county and enjoys spending time with her close circle of family and friends and learning about birth work. She is also a new doula, ready to support women in advocating for their desires regarding birth and pregnancy. You can find her on Instagram @mabedababe (personal) and @withinherbirth (doula business).
Mama Natural Youtube, blog, book
Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize
Baby Center app
Medical articles on VBALM
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Clarice Amorim Freitas was planning to give birth at a birth center, but at 37 weeks was diagnosed with intra-uterine growth restriction and needed to be induced immediately. They were in the hospital for 39 hours before their little one was born via vaginal birth. The hospital and birth center staff were both incredibly supportive and they had a very positive experience despite the abrupt change of plans. They were able to continue their postpartum care through the birth center even though they did not physically deliver their baby there.
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Neram’s Birth Story
After two completely different birth experiences in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – the first, a birth center to hospital transfer; and, the second a home water birth – Neram planned as well to birth her third child in the comfort of her home accompanied by a traditional midwife in Bogotá (Colombia), where she had just moved with her family. According to the ultrasounds she had done during her pregnancy, her baby seemed to be measuring a bit behind, which had resulted in a recalculation of her due date for exactly two weeks later than originally indicated. So, when Neram started to feel contractions three weeks before her new due date (they didn’t feel like Braxton Hicks nor like real labour surges) , she just went ahead with arranging her home which still needed a lot of nesting after the recent move.
When contractions persisted but didn’t gain much more intensity, Neram called her midwife but didn’t feel the need yet for true assistance. Little did she know that her baby was just about to be born. After ending that phone call, Neram lived what can happen when birth is undisturbed and the body takes over with all its power and rawness, focusing on one single thing only: birthing the baby! Her waters broke, and followed by the Fetal Ejection Reflex, her body birthed her baby in such a short time that she, her husband, and their 4 year old son experienced their first unassisted birth.
When her midwife finally arrived, Neram was still where she had just birthed her baby, on the floor in the shower, on a complete birth high, holding her newborn son in her arms! When measuring her child, Neram kind of expected to hear a rather light weight – something which had been predicted by the last ultrasound just four days ago. However, when Neram learned that her baby had the weight and size of a full term baby (and same like his siblings when they were born), she understood once and for all that technology is not everything, that she could indeed trust her instincts and her body, and that her baby had been perfectly ready to be born into this world.
After the birth, Neram experienced the most amazing postpartum care provided by her team of Colombian midwives, which included 40 days resting time, emotional, physical, and nutritional support, and a full closing ceremony around rituals that truly honored her body and allowed her to close this pregnancy and birth cycle in a respectful and reflective way.
Neram is a mother of three little kiddos and a complete birth nerd who followed her heart and traded a career in Public Relations to enter the world of birthkeepers and become a doula. Originally from Germany with German-Chadish roots, she lived in France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Panama before moving to Bogotá where she gave birth to her third child and is now studying with traditional midwifes all things womb and beyond. On her page and blog, she shares her motherhood journey and all the wisdom she’s learning, hoping to inspire women around the world to claim their right and space to choose the pregnancy, birth, postpartum and overall women’s health experience they wish for! connect with her on Instagram at @thereal_littlebirdsmama or www.littlebirdsmama.com
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina – May Gaskin
HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan
The First Forty Days by Heng Ou with Amely Green and Marisa Belger
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Rachel had always envisioned herself having an unmedicated home or birth center birth, but when she found out she was considered high risk she knew that wouldn’t be possible. So, she and her fiancé hired a doula and chose a hospital and team that best fit their birth wishes. Rachel delivered her daughter vaginally and unmedicated 3 weeks early and just 14 hours after arriving at the hospital! As smooth as her pregnancy and delivery went, she’s still dealing with some unexpected postpartum complications 3 months later.
Rachel is a 31 year old first time mom from WA state. When she was 17 she suffered a spinal cord injury from a car accident that left her using a wheelchair for most of her mobility. After finding out she was pregnant, she realized there were hardly any resources available to expecting moms with paraplegia, so she decided she wanted to share her story of pregnancy and postpartum life with a spinal cord injury. Connect with her on Instagram @rachel_halladay or on Facebook, Rachel Halladay.
The Calm Birth Method: Your Complete Guide to a Positive Hypnobirthing Experience
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children
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Kelle Hampton’s Birth Story
Kelle shares the story of her daughter Nella’s birth. Nella was born with Down Syndrome unexpectedly, so it obviously came as a huge shock to Kelle. Kelle is open about her grief surrounding that initial news. She talks about those first days in the hospital and how little she knew about Down Syndrome before her daughter was born. Her daughter Nella is seven today, and Kelle looks back on her birth story with a lot of emotion, sharing how her family and friends supported her through that time, and how she offers hope to mothers who contact her today when they get a Down Syndrome diagnosis. I loved this episode not only because Kelle tells it so beautifully, but also because I personally was very uninformed about Down Syndrome and learned a lot through her story.
Kelle Hampton Bio
Midwest born-and-raised preacher’s kid, escapee of fundamentalism but lover of good, Kelle Hampton is today a wife, mother to three, and step-mother to two. Residing in Naples, Florida with a bit of her heart still in Michigan, she is a writer, photographer, speaker, and celebrant of life’s large little things. Her heartfelt blog post about the birth of her daughter Nella and her surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome led to the writing of Bloom, a New York Times best-selling memoir. Connect with Kelle on her blog or Instagram.
Down Syndrome Resources
National Down Syndrome Society
National Down Syndrome Congress
Changing the Face of Beauty
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Born Driving Down the Highway Birth Story
When I got the following message from Danielle Knapp, I was brought to tears knowing the affect that this podcast had had on her unexpected birth experience and knew I had to have her on the show! In this episode she shares her experience giving birth while drive down the interstate.
Good afternoon, Bryn.
I just wanted to send you a note to let you know how impactful your podcast was for me!! I listened to your empowering birth stories almost everyday during my third trimester. I laughed and cried and clung to the hopes that I too would have an empowering birth. My first birth was in the hospital and it was 31 hours. An epidural in the last 3 hours after a goal of all natural. I felt defeated and ‘less than’ bc I couldn’t do it…. Well, I gave birth almost three weeks ago to my second daughter. My plan was a to have a peaceful water birth at the Austin Birthing Center. Baby had other plans. I ended up delivering her myself… in the car… on the highway, while my husband was speeding to try to get us to the birthing center on time. I didn’t even tell him bc I was afraid he would pull over or crash or I don’t even know. I just quietly pulled her up on the back bench of our expedition. I feel like the collective confidence I absorbed through all those women’s stories is why it happened the way it did. I was never fearful, and even in the most absurd circumstances, it was still a calm and peaceful experience for both me and my daughter. And best of all, I feel so empowered from the experience.
So thank you for doing what you do! I really am not sure how I would have handled a precipitous birth and highway delivery had I not had all those beautiful women on my mind!
The Knapp’s welcomed their first daughter, Piper Clementine on January 20th, 2013. It was a grueling 31 hour labor. Looking for a different experience, Danielle planned to give birth at The Austin Area Birthing Center for baby girl number two. After a precipitous birth, Posey James was born in the car, northbound on Interstate 35 on the way to the birth center in Austin.
Danielle Knapp lives with her husband and two daughters in beautiful San Marcos, Texas. She is momma to Piper Clementine, Posey James, and one old brown dog. Danielle studied Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech and received a masters in Professional Counseling from Texas State University. She is currently home with the girls where they spend time stalking the neighborhood peacock, tending the garden, creating lots of useless crafts and basically just living and loving life.
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