Emily’s first birth was a c section. She was planning to give birth unmedicated, with midwives and her doula at the Connecticut birthing center in Danbury. After she found out her son was breech, she did everything she could to try to get her son to flip. Wanting to still give birth vaginally, Emily desperately tried to find a breech provider to no avail. She was absolutely devastated and finally decided on a planned, family centered c section.
It took years to work through the pain and disappointment of not being “allowed” to birth her baby. She spent three years preparing her mind, body, and soul to have a triumphant, healing VBAC.
At 37 weeks and 4 days into her next pregnancy, Emily attended a family wedding in Lancaster, PA. After the wedding, she and her husband, Travis, went back to the hotel room to go to sleep. A half hour later at midnight, her water breaks. Labor hadn’t started and she knew she probably had a long night/day ahead of her, so she decided to get some rest before they drove back to New York, and eventually to Danbury, CT. At 3am, contractions started and were immediately intense and close together. They packed up the hotel room and hopped in the car around 4am making their way back. All Emily had was her gentlebirth contraction timer and a water bottle in the back seat.
A whirlwind 1 hour and 45 minute later, their daughter, Rosemary, was born unassisted while her husband was still driving. She didn’t know she was that close until she felt her head crowning. Emily credits her calm, empowering birth to all her birth preparation and training as an opera singer. The total labor from first contraction to baby was 2 hours and 45 minutes! Emily’s birth story has gone viral, and has been featured on the Today show, Inside Edition, USA Today, Good Morning America, People, and more.
Emily Geller Hardman Bio
Emily is a professional opera singer and mom to Wesley (3 years old) and Rosemary (6 months). She lives with her husband, Travis, in Westchester, NY. She’s passionate about all things birth and is happy to connect via social media. www.emilygeller.cominsta:@emilygellerfacebook: Emily Geller Contralto
Gentlebirth App and contraction timer
Webster certified chiropractor and spinning babies
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Melissa sometimes hears that she leads a charmed life, and the fact that her baby arrived on his due date was no surprise. She was fortunate to have what they call a “textbook pregnancy”, in which she was swimming and running until the day before the baby came. She had some minor contractions on the day before her due date – which her husband recognized as contractions before she did. She woke up to strong contractions at 2 am, and spent a few hours at home before heading to the hospital. Her doula Nicole met her there shortly, which was a good thing because Melissa was clinging to the side of the hospital bed and didn’t want to move until Nicole coaxed her away. Melissa was aiming to have an unmedicated birth experience if it was possible, and she was successful in that goal. Having her doula and her husband by her side were immensely helpful, as well as the support from the hospital’s nurses in achieving a natural birth.
After only 4.5 hours at the hospital, it was time for the baby to enter the world – though labor took an unexpected turn just as she started pushing. The baby’s heart was decelerating with each push, and the doctor thought it might be necessary to do an emergency C-section. Melissa was wheeled to the operating room, where she was greeted by bright lights, a cold sterile table, and eight clinicians in the room. There she was given one more opportunity to push, and push she did. With the help of six nurses cheering for her, she was able to deliver the baby in only a few minutes. (Melissa was very glad that she had trained for a half Ironman prior to birth).
After almost two days in the hospital, she and her husband decided to name their son Emerson. The next few days were the absolute highest that Melissa has ever been on life, as she was so thrilled to have Emerson join their family. With the help of physical therapy and gradual recovery, Melissa is back to her regular active lifestyle. Emerson is now 16 months old and continues to be her greatest joy.
Melissa Noel Bio
Melissa lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Mark, her son Emerson, and goldendoodle named Griffey. She works at the Mayo Clinic where she partners with clinicians to bring innovative care models and new clinical services to life. Melissa holds degrees in bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and business administration from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of St. Thomas. She enjoys competing in triathlons, spending time outdoors with her family, and traveling the globe. She can be contacted on Instagram at @melissa.m.noel.
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.
Kelly’s birth journey began with her first pregnancy, which despite the long bout of nausea, was smooth and low-risk. She had a hospital induction at 40+3, and delivered her daughter after 36 exhausting hours of labor with the aid of an epidural.
A few years later and after a miscarriage at 8 weeks, she got pregnant with her second daughter. Though this pregnancy, like her first, was relatively smooth and low-risk, it was anxiety-inducing after her recent loss. However, after a lot of prayer, she felt at peace and eventual excitement for the new baby.
After the birth experience with her first daughter, which was long and not particularly empowering, Kelly knew she wanted something different this time around. After researching and listening to various birth stories, she decided she wanted a birth center birth. Her second daughter came as a result of spontaneous labor with her water breaking at 40+3. After laboring for 13 hours, though only 3 hours were active labor, Kelly got the water birth she’d dreamed of, and the empowering birth experience she’d wanted this second birth to be.
Kelly Batchelder Bio
Kelly is 37 and lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband Steven of 11 years and their two daughters, Estella (age 4) and Pearl (1 month). She teaches English at Kennesaw State University for her professional gig, and teaches group fitness at a local gym for her personal gig. While both of those jobs bring her joy, the most fulfilling parts of her life are being a wife and mother. You can connect with Kelly via Instagram @kellybatchelder
Part I of this 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.
Part II of this episode is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow has helped thousands of new and expecting parents discover the breastfeeding and postpartum essentials covered by their insurance including breast pumps and 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 these free essentials shipped straight to your door.
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After preparing for an unmedicated hospital birth, Annie and Eric were taken by surprise when Annie’s water broke and labor didn’t start on its own. They ended up with quite a few interventions they were hoping to avoid but eventually, 43 hours after her water breaking, Annie gave birth to their first son, Alexander (“Lex”). Postpartum was challenging and just as things started settling down, Annie and Eric were faced with Eric being diagnosed with leukemia and the roller coaster that sent them on. The 2+ years of treatment that followed were really difficult but thankfully Eric did really well with it all. Knowing they wanted to grow their family, they preserved their options by banking sperm before Eric’s treatment began.
Once Eric was doing well and out of the most intense treatment stages, they went through 2 rounds of IUIs and then a round of IVF to conceive their second baby. The second birth was a totally different experience than the first, beginning with a long early labor at home and a very fast active labor at the hospital where Annie went from 2cm to pushing in just over 2 hours and they welcomed their second son, Theodore (“Theo”). Even though it was a whirlwind birth, it was the unmedicated birth they had wanted and was redeeming in a lot of ways after the difficulty of their first birth.
When they began thinking of having a third, they debated going back to IVF but decided to try on their own first and were surprised to conceive right away. For this pregnancy they began pursuing a home birth with a midwife practice, something Annie had always wanted but which hadn’t been an option until now. Sadly, that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at almost 11 weeks. After processing and recovering from the loss and experiencing a chemical pregnancy a few months later, they decided to go back to the fertility clinic to explore doing a frozen embryo transfer cycle. The day before their appointment to move forward with the cycle, they got a positive pregnancy test. They were cautiously optimistic that this would be their rainbow baby and began planning again for a home birth. The pregnancy went smoothly, everything was very normal, and it was a surprise when the night before 38 weeks Annie rolled over in bed and felt her water break. Despite fears that this birth might go similarly to their first, labor kicked in (with the help of a few suggestions from the midwives) and the next evening Annie gave birth to their third son, Finnian (“Finn”), in the water at home after another whirlwind active labor (the midwives only arrived about an hour and a half before Finn was born).
They decided to try for one more baby and on their wedding anniversary, March 3, they found out they were pregnant again. Although this pregnancy was challenging, it was bittersweet for Annie knowing it would likely be her last. They again planned for a home waterbirth with a nurse midwife but things didn’t go quite according to plan. After more than a week of on and off contractions Annie second guessed whether it was the real thing when contractions started on the night of her due date. Not wanting to wake anyone up in the middle of the night, she labored mostly alone and was surprised by a swift labor which resulted in the midwives arriving only minutes before baby (another boy) was born.
Annie Kerwin Bio
Annie lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, Eric, and their 4 children – Alexander (Lex), Theodore (Theo), Finnian (Finn), and Oliver (Ollie).
Biologically Normal Infant Sleep (Facebook group)
The Beyond Sleep Training Project (Facebook group)
Jess found out she was pregnant with her first child in January 2019. After an initial ectopic pregnancy scare she had an easy and straightforward pregnancy. Jess didn’t experience any negative pregnancy symptoms and loved being pregnant. She stayed active her entire pregnancy working as a nanny and caring for seven children, long-lining her horse, cleaning stalls, and taking yoga classes. She chose to see midwives and planned a birth center birth. She loved the individualized care that comes with choosing midwifery and especially the extensive postpartum care her midwives offered.
As her due date came and went Jess did everything she could to encourage labor. She started experiencing prodromal labor at 40+3 that continued until she went into labor after taking castor oil at 42 weeks the day before her scheduled induction. Her water broke on the way to a scheduled appointment with her midwife and upon arrival she was 3cm dilated and 85% effaced. After laboring all day without progress they made the decision to transfer to a hospital.
The hospital experience was positive for Jess and she was still able to have many of the experiences she hoped for when choosing a birth center birth. After a 36 hour labor and 6 hours of pushing Jess delivered her baby girl with vacuum assistance and discovered she had a nuchal hand that was the cause of the weird labor patterns and difficulty pushing. Her daughter Ailey was born September 27th (42+1) weighing 9lbs 6oz. Jess had a relatively easy postpartum experience despite needing to have stitches redone at one week postpartum.
Almost exactly two years later Jess found out she was pregnant again and was due just 4 days before her daughter’s due date. She had another enjoyable pregnancy but was less active this time around due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She chose to have care with the same midwife group and planned to have a birth center birth. This time she expected to go post dates and told anyone who asked that the baby was due by September 23rd (42+1). She was not surprised when her due date came and went with no sign of labor.
After a sweep at 41+6 Jess began to have consistent contractions at 10:05 PM. An hour later she checked in with her midwife and was instructed to call back when contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute for an hour. When contractions reached this point around midnight Jess called back and during that call began to shake uncontrollably and had 3 contractions on top of each other. Jess and her husband jumped in the car and headed to the birth center and their midwife left her home to meet them there. Once in the car Jess’ contractions slowed down and she actually enjoyed laboring in the car.
At 12:24am her midwife called to check in and they were both about 25 minutes from the birth center. After hanging up Jess had another contraction, felt her water break, and immediately felt the baby drop into the birth canal. At 12:33am they were pulled over on the side of the road and calling 911 as the fetal ejection reflex kicked in. A firefighter escorted them to a fire station a mile up the road (exactly halfway to the birth center) where Jess delivered her son in the parking lot in the front seat of their car with the help of firefighters and EMTs. Sean was born at 1:05AM on September 22nd (42w) exactly 3 hours after labor had started.
He was a very calm baby and didn’t cry at all but was perfectly healthy. After delivering the placenta they were taken to the hospital where they learned Sean weighed 9lbs 8oz. They were discharged to the care of their midwives and were settled at home by 4pm that day, less than 24 hours after labor had started. Jess loved both of her births and felt positive and empowered despite having two births that didn’t go to plan!
Jess Maki Bio
Jess lives in a small town in central Massachusetts with her husband Pat and their two children Ailey and Sean. She found her calling in early childcare and has worked as a nanny for the past six years. Jess finds the most joy working with infants and toddlers. She is passionate about respectful childcare and loves to share this passion with the families she works with. She would love to connect through Instagram @jessmaki or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s episode is sponsored by Premama Wellness. Premama creates doctor-backed supplements that support every stage of your maternity wellness journey. From balancing hormones, to trying to conceive, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding nutritional support. All Premama supplements are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan or vegetarian, with no additives and no synthetic flavors. Discover why moms (and dads-to-be!) trust Premama wellness for their nutritional support by visiting Premamawellness.com. You can use the code BirthHour25 for 25% off your purchase!
All of Charity’s babies were born in the UK. Her oldest son was born vaginally on the operating table as preparations were being made for an emergency cesarean section, and her second son was born in the complete opposite atmosphere – peacefully in a birth tub in the living room of her small flat in central London. When Charity found out her third pregnancy was a twin pregnancy, she was utterly shocked. She immediately went to work preparing and advocating for an unmedicated twin birth in hospital, and the arrival of her babies after a gentle induction and through-the-night labor was powerful.
Charity is a mom of four that recently relocated from London, England (where all her babies were born) to Provo, Utah. Her oldest had just turned four years old when her twins were born – so her stay-at-home mom life is chock full of chaos … and joy! Charity’s professional background is in education, and she is passionate about women educating themselves about the wonder and power of pregnancy and childbirth. Connect with her on IG @CharityEyreWright or via wrightnowblog.com.
Today’s episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Pregnancy and new parenthood can be extremely stressful and many struggle with their mental health. Which is why we want you to Check out BetterHelp.combirthhour. BetterHelp will assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist so you can Connect in a safe and private online environment and you can start within 48 hours of signing up!
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