Three Births: Postdates Birth Center Birth, Cesarean Birth & Homebirth VBAC
For her first birth, Jessica and her husband chose an out of hospital birth center and they welcomed their daughter Josie after a 41 week and 6 day long pregnancy. Her second birth was with the same midwives; but, due to cord issues, their son Elliott was born in the hospital by c-section. After a cross country move half way through her third pregnancy, Jessica and Chris decided they wanted to attempt a homebirth VBAC. At 40 weeks and 6 days, and after a week of prodromal labor, Jessica finally went into active labor while out at a pizza place with her family! After a very intense 8 hours of back labor, she pushed for 8 minutes and her third baby, 10lb 7oz Ian, was born at home with the help of their amazing midwives.
Jessica Higgins Bio
Jessica has been married for 8 years to her husband, Chris, and is a busy mom of 3 who works as a statistical programmer. When not working or chasing around her wonderful and crazy kids, she is a Scottish highland dancer and enjoys knitting items for said crazy kids. You can find her on Instagram @jk_higgins.
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1st birth: Landon Dec 27 2007
41+1 weeks- Hospital
Contractions started around 1am, arrived at hospital around 4am, got the epidural as soon as possible after throwing up and really struggling with the pain in triage (panicking, really) at 4 cm. Then we really just hung out in our room waiting for dilation. Once i got to 9.5 cm, they told me to do a couple practice-pushes, then left me for an hour to finish dilation. I pushed for 2.5 hours, then they realized baby was sunny side up. So I was sent to get a c section, but sat in the “prep room” for an hour waiting for the cesarean, when my doctor finally showed up and flipped baby and I was able to push baby out in half an hour. He was born in the prep room, at 9lbs even.
2nd birth: Hudson May 6 2011
40+3 weeks – Hospital
Woke up at 4am to contractions, calmly walked around the house working through them until my husband got up for work and told him he wasn’t going to work and to call his mom for our oldest, and then headed to the hospital. Arrived at the hospital around 7:30 am. Contractions were 2 min apart, lasting 1 min and I received the epidural. Again, just hung out waiting for dilation with my mom and husband. Reached 10cm and I wasn’t pushing “well” so I asked them to turn off the epidural so I could feel what I was doing. After an hour of pushing, baby was born! He came out 11lbs 12oz. By far my easiest, least eventful birth! (just like him! easy going boy)
3rd birth: Ashton March 11 2014
41weeks- Hospital: Induction
Morning of the 41 week mark, I was called in for induction. Arrive at the hospital around 1:30pm, I was 2cm dilated so they simply broke my waters. Broke my water around 2pm, sent us walking for 2 hours. at 4pm I wasn’t contracting regularly, so they said they were going to start pitocin in 15 min, by the time they came back to they room to start the pit, I was contracting and 5.5cm, so they left the pit. I worked on the birth ball for a while, then headed to the tub and hit transition hard in the tub with puking and ask for gas. Gas made me panic and I begggggggged for the epidural. They asked to check me (knowing I was almost there) but I refused. they brought the epidural and I was secretly pushing while they put it in. as soon as he left the room, i told them, “ I’m pushing!!” and they checked and baby was right there. but I begged to let the epidural start up, and then 20 mins later he was born. 4 hours of labor and he was out at 9lbs 12oz.
4th birth: Winifred Dec 10 2017
40+6 weeks- Home
Woke up at 6am to 5 intense back to back contractions, for some reason, I didn’t believe I was really in labour, and let my husband go to work still (at our barn, 30 sec from our house) waited to see if they were consistent (and real) then finally my doula talked me into calling the midwife and they sent one out right away (not my midwife, unfortunately). Midwives arrived around 8:30 (I was 5cm), followed by my doula, photographer and finally my husband. My doula and husband set up the pool while I did my makeup with my photographer. Once the pool was ready, contractions were starting to get more intense so I went in the pool. once I got in the pool, I never came back out. I was never checked after the initial check, and she was born 1.5 hours after I went in the birthing pool. She was born at 9lbs 9oz. These are very brief and quick descriptions, there are much more juicy details to them all for the podcast!
Nicole Vandenberg Bio
Nicole, mom of 4, welcomed each pregnancy as a new learning opportunity. By pregnancy #4, and after supporting her sister-in-law through her home births, she was a complete birth junkie and realized birth was her calling, she decided to go forward with her doula certification and chose to have the home birth she had always dreamed of. Nicole had four wonderful, uncomplicated, easy pregnancies, resulting in three hospital births with her 3 boys, two with epidurals, and one unmedicated induction. And recently welcomed her first baby girl at home with a beautiful, empowering water birth, with the help of her amazing birth team. Connect with her on Instagram @nicole_ellaine.
The Birth Hour
Doing it at home
Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth (mainly the birth stories)
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
The Business of Being Born (movie + episodes)
Why Not Home
The Beginning of Life on Netflix
This episode is 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. Check out The Birth Hour’s sample registry here!
Homebirth & Surprise Unassisted Hospital Bathroom Birth
JJasmine’s first birth story was an amazing heartfelt home waterbirth —while her second birth left her in literal shock. Jasmine gave birth to her baby girl on the hospital bathroom floor, unassisted. Jasmine goes through her journey of many hardships in such a short amount of time — from having her delivery bag stolen while in labor and not having the hospital water-birth she had planned, to struggling through back pain, diastasis recti, and an umbilical hernia after giving birth to two children 14 months apart.
Jasmine is a true believer in turning your adversity into art; using one’s experiences to help and heal others. Her desire is to share her story, encourage others to never give up, and to motivate us all to share our stories with hopes of creating a more compassionate world for her children to live in.
Jasmine Wilde Bio
Jasmine is the owner of Hey Baby Ultrasound Boutique in Atlanta, Georgia. She’s a lover of women’s empowerment and healing. Jasmine is a single mother with great hopes for coparenting, and she is the mother of two beautiful Irish twins; A & Z. She’s a superwoman in every sense — from operating a small business in Atlanta with two toddlers, dealing with the journey of having been a military wife, and healing after a major surgery from an injury she suffered from pregnancy — she’s unbreakable.d
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Gina Shares a bit about her Homebirth Cesarean and Homebirth VBAC below.
“Our wild Zelda Francis was born by a homebirth cesarean during one of the hottest summers in Austin. I was surrounded by my husband, sister (who was 6 weeks pregnant!), dear friend and my amazing midwife and friend. 17 days past my due date, it was breast pumping that convinced my body it was time to go into labor. It was a gentle beginning that turned into a hard, long haul. I labored for 36 hours at home. I walked, got in and out of the pool, took showers, changed positions many times and napped as much as I could. Then I stalled at 7cm and become tired and dehydrated. After trying everything we could at home, we made the call to go to the hospital. I immediately got an epidural and slept for 5 hours! I was excited to wake up fully dilated. I then pushed for 4 hours. Her head never came down past a certain point so we decided it was time for her to be born by cesarean at 331am. I remember looking into her dark eyes as soon as she was given to me and I knew she was going to grow up a persistent and loving creature. So far, I was right.
Our sweet Oona Rosemarie was born at home during a quiet spring morning. Surrounded by our wonderful birth team…my husband, our magical midwife GB, her assistant, and my bestie and doula (who made it all the way from San Fran!). Contractions started in the middle of the night and I immediately knew labor was happening. I was enjoying my alone time so I didn’t wake the family. After they got up, my husband took our oldest to school. During that time, I turned music on and let the contractions take over. During the day, my husband and I watched a movie, ate, walked and went to acupuncture. It wasn’t until that evening, when my water broke, that things became more intense. Worried that I was in for another long haul, I asked my midwife to check me. I was 9cm! Pretty quickly after, I started pushing and just a couple of hours later, she was born in our living room at 310am. I remember the room becoming very quiet when she came out. So peaceful and so intentional. It was just us taking her in and meeting her gentle spirit for the first time.”
Gina Giordano Bio
Gina Giordano is a doula and a creator. Originally from Miami Florida, she grew up in a close family unit. As the oldest of five children, she was taught how to support and nurture at a very young age. After studying fine arts in college, she moved to New York City where she was introduced to the idea of doula work. Just after one training, her passion for working in pregnancy, childbirth and beyond was ignited. In 2005 she started a business, offering birth and postpartum doula services and education to families. Through her work she learned how to offer compassionate, dignified care for ALL families during childbirth and the postpartum time, no matter their choices. She also saw a need for more doulas. Driven to serve that need, she co-founded Doula Training International (DTI) in 2010 with her business partner Tara Brooke. DTI is a mission based community that trains and certifies birth professionals unified in reproductive health and justice for all bodies. By working as the creative director of DTI, Gina’s mission is to bring awareness to all birth and reproductive options through innovative and curated design. She is the honored mother to two wild girls, married to her lifelong sweetheart and lives in Austin, TX. Connect with her on Instagram via @ginamgiordano or @DoulaTrainingsInt!
Born Into This Conference
The Birth Hour’s Know Your Options Childbirth Course
We just re-launched the course in honor of Mother’s Day! Go here to enroll, and hurry because the first 25 new students will be getting some amazing goodies from Earth Mama Organics ($40 value!).
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 here and they will know I sent you!
Male Factor Infertility, IVF, Twins and Homebirth
After receiving devastating news about their chances of conceiving due to a severe case of male factor infertility, Ashley and her husband Andrew were thrown into the unknown world of infertility. Ashley of @ashleyizsak found out she was pregnant on her 28th birthday from their first round of IVF with ICSI. Two weeks later, on new years eve, they found out she was expecting mono di twins.
From the start, Ashley struggled with her desire to do things as naturally as possible while being told delivery would take place in an OR with a team of about twenty people. At 20 weeks, they discovered her cervix was shortening and at 24 weeks, they gave her steroid injections to help mature the babies’ lungs. Surprising everyone, she went on to carry the twins past her due date and successfully delivered her twins vaginally at the hospital in an OR.
For five years, they were a happy family of four; yet, every December a bill arrived reminding them of their frozen embryo that remained at the fertility clinic. Ashley struggled with first wanting another baby, then feeling done, and then finally wanting to try for that third baby. In a crazy coincidence, the third embryo would be transferred into Ashley exactly six years later, to the day. At 20 weeks, she and her husband made the decision to switch to midwifery care and pursue a homebirth. Hours shy of the twins sixth birthday, Ashley gave birth at home, in a birth pool, to a beautiful baby boy.
Ashley Izsak Bio
Ashley has been blogging and writing for close to a decade. She is the author of a series of essays including heartfelt glimpses into motherhood and normalizing infertility. Nestled in a small village outside of Ottawa, Ashley, her husband, their twin daughters and baby son, strive for simplicity, joy, and lots of glamping. You can connect with her on Instagram at @ashleyizsak and on her blog Calmly Chaotic.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Birthing From Within
Navigating the Land of IF
How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup: A Guy’s Guide to the World of Infertility (Wonderful book to support men during infertility and amazingly helpful as it guides them to deal with the hormone rollercoaster that is IVF and their female partners.)
Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding & Caring for Twins or More!
One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular
Forum for Infertility Support in Canada
Products I love: Snuggle Me Organic, Earth Mama Organics Perineal Spray & Balm, Kindred Bravely Postpartum Underwear
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Stillbirth, Waterbirth and Accidental Unassisted Homebirth
After losing her first daughter to stillbirth, Heidi had a complicated pregnancy journey to her second birth. But the storm clouds lifted when she heard her rainbow baby’s first cries after a long and difficult, but empowering, waterbirth that led her down the path of becoming a birth doula. Despite having been to many births by the time she had her 3rd, Heidi was completely shocked when she didn’t recognize her own labor signs and ended up having a surprise, accidental, unassisted homebirth on her toilet with nobody around but her 3 year old. But things got complicated when the ambulance showed up.
Heidi Kim Bio
After the heartbreaking loss of her first daughter, Heidi turned to her YouTube channel HeidikimTV as a way of journaling. She never expected people to watch, but so many parents connected with her experience as she went on to become pregnant again. Later, when Heidi was working as a birth doula in Tucson, AZ, she and her husband, Ken, realized how little moments you never expect can have an impact on the person you will become. So they set out to capture these moments on their family’s daily YouTube vlog, Sudden Kimpact, which follows their lives as a stay-home mom and teacher-dad. You can find Heidi on YouTube as well as in her Facebook breastfeeding support group More Than Milk.
This episode is sponsored by BabyDoppler.com. Baby Doppler specializes in pregnancy monitors that give parents peace of mind. Their fun and modern products are clinically proven and tested, and provide parents an increased bonding experience by allowing them to listen to their baby’s heart beat in the comfort of their own home.