In this episode January Harshe shares her first four birth stories: a cesarean, a homebirth transfer to cesarean, a hospital VBAC after being dropped from care by her homebirth midwife, and a very healing unassisted homebirth. You can hear her 5th and 6th birth stories on her podcast that she hosts with her husband, The Harshe Podcast.
January Harshe Bio
January owns Birth Without Fear where she blogs and runs its social media sites. January recently published Birth Without Fear: The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum. She also blogs at the Harshe.blog and hosts The Harshe Podcast with her husband Brandon. She also organizes MeetUps and Conferences, speaking at those and other events across the country. January has formula fed, pumped, breastfed, tandem nursed, used a crib, co-slept, homeschooled, and sent them all to school. Basically, she does what she can with what she has, learns from it, then does her best. No matter what she’s doing to survive the craziness of motherhood, she loves her children and knows she’s a good mother.
Quiz: Where Should You Give Birth?
Take this fun quiz and find out where you should give birth based on your daily preferences and personality type?
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Breech Baby A and Vertex Baby B Twins
Jenn knew from the moment she found out she was having twins that this was going to be an exceptionally exciting journey and birth. As the ultrasounds continued and the pregnancy progressed, baby A continued to present breech while baby B was snug in vertex position all along.
With each ultrasound, Jenn prayed and prayed that baby A would turn head down because her OB continued to tell her that she absolutely would not deliver a breech baby A. Not understanding…or being convinced…of the risk, Jenn simply asked -specifically- “what are the risks of a vaginal breech baby A?” She requested that her OB provide her with actual research of breech baby A and all the risks that go along with that. She was told interlocking chins (they were di/di and each in their own sacs), cord entanglement, prolapsed cord, still birth, cerebral palsy, and what seemed like a host of other fear-based possibilities. Finally, with hesitation, research in the form of scholarly journal entries, were provided to her. Nothing that she read convinced her that there was any real risk…certainly that outweighed the risks associated with a c-section!
Advocating for a Vaginal Breech Twin Birth
After several intense visits with her doctor, Jenn was able to express to her OB that being given a chance to deliver breech baby A was necessary and that if not given the opportunity to at least try, there was a chance that she would opt to deliver at home. Upon hearing that, her OB finally got on board. Because, let’s remember, the doctors work for the patient. As patients, we are autonomous beings who are in charge of the decision making for our own bodies. She reached out to a doctor that she heard about from a mommy board. His name was Dr. Stuart Fischbein. Jenn reached out to him via email and he was able to provide information to help her with her research of a natural, twin, breech baby, vaginal birth. (Please see his amazing website, www.birthinginstincts.com)
In the early morning of 37+5 Jenn’s water broke while she was sleeping. Leisurely she and her husband headed to the hospital. They were accepted into the triage area of the maternity ward where they spent an additional 2 hours minimum. Several doctors came in and attempted to talk her out of having a vaginal birth of a breech baby A. In fact, she was forced to hand write a statement of understanding of the risks associated with this birth, releasing the hospital of responsibility. She complied and finally was admitted into a birthing suite. Approximately 12 hours after her water broke, there was no sign of any contractions and no progress made otherwise. At this point she agreed to start pitocin, around 5pm. She really wanted it to be a completely intervention-less birth, but knew progress needed to be made. Several hours after the pitocin started, contractions finally began. Around 10:30pm severe contractions began and she was 7cm at this point. At midnight, Jenn had what felt like circular contractions where the next one started before the previous one was even able to stop. There were no breaks at all in the contractions for about an hour. Feeling concerned about her energy to push out not one, but two, she asked to be checked for any more progress. She was still only at 7cm. Sadly, she decided she needed some help with the pain and opted for a very last minute epidural. No sooner did the medicine get into her body did she feel baby A move into position and the urge to push. Oddly, the epidural was not put in the correct spot and she felt everything but just on one side. Jenn told her doula that she felt the urge to push and orders were given to the doctors to get the OR prepped…it was time to have these babies.
At 1:45am Jenn was wheeled down to the OR. She was fully dilated and the baby was definitely making her appearance. Jenn pushed TWO TIMES and in less than ONE MINUTE the little breech baby A made her exciting and healthy appearance at 1:55am! Baby B was transverse all day long, but as soon as baby A was born, B went head down and into pushing position. Baby B was born at 2:13am. Two very healthy babies who were born vaginally, first breech and second vertex. No problems, no issues, no complications, just an absolutely perfect and beautiful unique birth!
Follow Jenn on Instagram @jennifer.mancuso
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Vaginal Twin Birth after Cholestasis Diagnoses
Molly knew she wanted to try for an unmedicated birth before she became pregnant. When she found out she was having twins though, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to have the birth that she wanted. She educated herself on pregnancy and birth by taking Bradley method classes, and sought out other twin moms who had unmedicated births and listened to their stories. These two things greatly encouraged her and made her feel like it was possible. She switched doctors halfway through, developed cholestasis, and twin B was breech, but in the end she was still able to have the birth she had dreamed of.
Molly Savage Bio
Molly lives in Jackson, Mississippi. She and her husband, Adam, are parents to twin boys who are 4 months old. Connect with her on Instagram @mollynsavage.
What to Do When You’re Having Two: The Twins Survival Guide from Pregnancy Through the First Year
This episode is sponsored by Diono, who has rekindled their ambition, has a rejuvenation, and reinvigoration of the business and is strengthening its foothold out in the great frontier. Diono, (the award winning manufacturer of the tried and trusted Radian RXT Convertible Car seat), has brought some new faces on board, to compliment the excellent team who were already making great strides to celebrate a unique Seattle based company. Staying true to their car seat legacy, new products are launching soon along with strollers, baby carriers and a whole lot more! Sign up for their newsletter to stay on top of all their latest news at us.diono.com.
We’ve been using a Diono carseat with our daughter ever since she outgrew her infant carseat and now that baby #3 is on the way we’re excited to be able to use Diono to accomplish a three across setup in our Prius. Stay tuned for a Facebook Live on Aug. 24 that I’ll be doing with Mat York of That Dad Mat.
Surprise breech delivery and 12 days overdue, 14 days overdue birth stories
Callie’s first birth was a planned water birth that ended up a surprise breech delivery. It was a terrifying experience that no one saw coming; but, with the help of the right on-call OB, Callie safely delivered her first son in a breech position.
After that experience, Callie knew a doula was necessary for her next pregnancy so she would feel more emotionally supported and prepared going into the unexpected. She found Mal Warning and immediately clicked with her based on her previous experience working in Special Education. With her pregnancy going 12 days overdue, Callie relied heavily on Mal for information to make informed decisions about how to proceed as her medical team pressured her to be induced. Her second birth was an unmedicated delivery, and the best experience overall.
For her third and last birth experience, Callie again found herself in a similar position of being overdue by 14 days when she was being pressured into induction by her midwife. With the assistance of Mal again, Callie went in with a similar plan as for her second birth; but, it didn’t turn out the same way and pitocin was used to start induction. The drug created a very intense third and final birth experience that Callie thinks back on and is happy she never has to do again.
Callie Christensen Bio
Callie is a mother and Special Education Teacher. She started Slumberkins with her best friend Kelly Oriard while on maternity leave together from their careers in education. She lives in Vancouver, WA, with her husband Tyson and four children: Logan, Henry, Owen, and Cora. She is passionate about promoting healthy social-emotional development in the next generation by empowering parents and caregivers to create intentional time with their children.
Milkies by Fairhaven Health
The episode is sponsored by Milkies by Fairhaven Health. Milkies is a line of thoughtfully designed products for ,moms, by moms, to help support all women in their breastfeeding journey. Products include breast milk collection and storage, supplements, teas, nursing pads and much more! Milkies is generously offering 10% off all products with the code BIRTHHOUR at www.fairhavenhealth.com.
Breech Hospital Birth
It was Jessica’s first breech birth. Vaginal breech had just been legalized in her part of Canada again, after over a decade of being illegal. And Jessica’s nurses were not prepared! Thankfully, her doctor was confident and trained. Jessica ended up having a very fast birth.
Breech Birth Center Birth
For this birth, Jessica and her husband lived in the southern United States, in a place where if you have a breech at the hospital, a c-section was inevitable. So, in case this baby was breech, Jessica hired a midwife who was experienced delivering breech babies and chose to birth at a birth center instead of the hospital. Again, Jessica had a very fast birth.
Breech at Home Birth
For her third breech birth, Jessica hired the same midwife, but chose to deliver at home where she wouldn’t have to pack up the baby in a carseat right away and drive anywhere! This birth was only 3 hours, but Jessica hadn’t prepared her body or mind for the birth, and more people were present than she would normally choose; so, the experience was different than her previous two births. In this one, the pain took her by surprise. It was Jessica’s most painful birth experience by far. It showed her that her previous birth preparations were VERY important. Still, everything went very well and baby was healthy and born fast.
Jessica Gray Bio
Jessica is a mother of 4 dynamite children. She currently lives in North Carolina. She birthed her children in two different countries, two in a hospital, one in a birth center and one at home. She is in love with writing, the beach, spending time with her kids, and being the general of her household tribe. But her biggest passion is empowering other moms that vaginal breech birth is possible. She speaks to and teaches women about breech being just a variation of normal. Currently, she is writing a book about Frank Breech birth. She is the face behind the Instagram account @breechbirth. You can also find her on her personal Instagram @thegeneralofthetribe and learn more at breechbirth.com!
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Photo credit: Lora Denton Photography
Two Hospital Births Attended by Midwives
John was born July 12, 2015, at the local hospital under the care of one of the Certified Nurse Midwives on staff. The Midwife was assigned under an OBGYN at the hospital in town. Lindsay’s water broke in her home at 9:00 pm on July 11. She arrived at the hospital at 11:00 pm and was 4 cms. John was head down but turned side-facing which created back labor for Lindsay. After hours of not progressing, Lindsay was given 10 mg of Nubin; and, after an hour-and-a-half of trying to sleep, the medication wore off and John had rotated facing back. Lindsay delivered John at 9:28am on July 12th with the help of a CNM. Lindsay and John were discharged 24 hours after giving birth to go home.
Sybil was born June 12, 2017, at the same local hospital and under the same CNM as John. Lindsay arrived at the hospital at 1:30 am on June 12 and was considered a “stretchy” 5 cms. After the vitals of the mom and baby were checked, Lindsay began laboring and her water broke. Shortly after, Lindsay felt pressure to deliver Sybil and when they thought Sybil was crowning they saw the roundness start to poop and realized that she was breech. Lindsay delivered her with the next contraction and she was born at 2:05 am, 35 mins after checking in to the hospital. Sybil was unaffected by being breech and was checked multiple times by the nurses and pediatrician on duty during their 24 hours stay. Lindsay and Sybil were discharged 24 hours later with a good bill of health.
Lindsay Forehand Bio
Lindsay is a mother of two beautiful children, John who is two years old, and Sybil who is three months old. She is a birthing enthusiast and loves to encourage those who are excited about the journey of their birth and to share the joys and obstacles of other’s birth stories. Lindsay lives in Minot, North Dakota and loves the birthing community that has established itself in this city. John was born in July 2015 with the help of a CNM, and Sybil was born June 2017, breech, with the help of the same CNM.
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskins
Business of Being Born
The Positive Birth Movement on Facebook
Evidence Based Birth by founder and author Rebecca Dekker PhD, CN
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 1 gallon adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH17 at www.crane-usa.com.