Homebirth Birth Story
Cassandra always planned to have a homebirth and accidentally took her newly-conceived baby on a 1000 mile motorcycle camping trip before she knew she was pregnant. She had a rather uneventful pregnancy up until the last trimester, when her active baby girl wouldn’t stop flipping breech and back up until 39 weeks. She had to make alternate plans in the event the baby decided to stay breech (in the state of California, breech home births are unfortunately illegal); but, fortunately Cassandra was able to stick to her original dream of a birth at home with her entire family present. After 36 long hours of labor (24 of which consisted of strong contractions 2-3 mins apart), Cassandra pushed her baby out in 30 minutes and had a beautiful golden hour with her whole family in the room.
NICU Transfer for Baby
A few hours after being born, the midwife noticed that the baby was not doing as well as she would like with her breathing and they were rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. The baby was diagnosed with Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, a rare (0.04% of all births) issue that can happen when newborn babies breathe meconium into their lungs before or around the time of birth, where it inhibits lung functioning. The baby was admitted in the NICCU where she received extreme intervention for 3 weeks before being released healthy and happy and ready to head home. Fortunately, the baby didn’t experience any brain damage and will have no lasting effects from this rare condition. Cassandra suffered from severe Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, likely due in no small part to this traumatic event after her birth. But with the help of her loving and supportive family, friends, and most importantly therapists, Cassandra has recovered and settled into her new normal. She is enjoying the newfound strength and power that this experience gifted her while raising her wild, happy, adventurous baby girl.
Cassandra is forever grateful to her birth team including: her husband, Michael; her two older step-kids; her sister in law, Brenda; her Mom and Dad; her sister, Pattie; her midwives; and, her lovely doula. Cassandra hopes that in sharing her story, she gives the same insight and hope to other moms that she received hearing so many birth stories during her own pregnancy. She believes in the power of the story, the beauty of each person’s personal journey, and feels incredibly lucky to have been the portal between two worlds in her path to becoming a mother. And, yes, she’s also still riding her motorcycle.
Cassandra Barragan Bio
Cassandra grew up in a small town in the desert and lives in a rustic little pocket of Los Angeles with her husband, baby, 2 beautiful step-kids, horse, dog, chickens, and rabbit. She works in the fashion industry and as a photographer. She has been riding motorcycles since she was young and met her husband, Michael, through their shared love of vintage Harleys. Cassandra chased adventure and adrenaline her entire life and always knew she wanted to have a homebirth, in hopes of completing the ultimate physical adventure and test the limits of her body. After a beautiful empowering birth experience, an unexpected few weeks in the NICU, and an intense postpartum depression ride, Cassandra is settling into her new normal and feeling more loved, powerful, and humbled than ever. Connect with her on Instagram at @dustdiablo.
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Expecting Better & Crib Sheet by Emily Oster
Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
Precious Little Sleep by Alexis Dubief
All the Ina May books (Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding)
More Business of Being Born- 4 part follow up to the original movie
The Birth Hour of course!
Carriage House Birth for the doulas, classes and IG account
Gracefull Birth Center in Los Angeles for the classes
Jocelyn Brown my midwife in LA
Julie Matheny, amazing IBCLC who gives classes/ has a private practice/ does clinics
postpartum.net texting hotline
The fourth Trimester by Kimberly Johnson
Legendary Milk supplements but most importantly their insanely educational instagram account (this has been my #1 breastfeeding/pumping resource!!) @legendairymilk
The movie Tully
Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields
Natural Hospital Birth
Linnaea and her husband, Justin, opened their hearts to welcome a child a few months after they were married. It didn’t take long to find out that they were pregnant with their first son. Linnaea’s first pregnancy was relatively normal with no complications and they decided on an OB and a natural hospital birth. Linnaea went into labor at 36 weeks and 6 days when her water broke at around 7:30 in the morning. As they had agreed with her OB, they packed their bags and headed to the hospital. Initially she didn’t really feel any contractions, but within a few hours, the contractions began and continued to increase in frequency and intensity throughout the day. Her son Henry was born just before 6pm.
Peaceful Home Birth with Breastfeeding Complications
When their first son, Henry, was 17 months old, Linnaea and Justin learned that they were expecting their second child. After experiencing the challenges of having a natural birth in a hospital and feeling like they had to fight to avoid interventions with the hospital staff and OB, Linnaea and Justin decided to plan to have their second baby at home with midwives.
After interviewing a couple of different midwives, they felt very comfortable with the midwives at Birthstream Midwifery and began seeing them for Linnaea’s prenatal visits at around 15 weeks. A couple of days before reaching 38 weeks, Linnaea started having mild contractions. After laboring pretty easily for most of the night, she went into active labor Saturday morning. Once Henry, now 2 years old, left to stay with a friend, she called her midwife, Leslie. After about 2 hours of active labor and 5 minutes of pushing, Oliver was born at 11:28am.
Linnaea was very thankful for having the amazing, supportive, and peaceful home birth that she had hoped for. Unfortunately, her postpartum period brought on some unexpected breastfeeding challenges.
Oliver initially seemed to latch well in the first hours after birth, but after the first few days, Linnaea was experiencing significant nipple pain and damage along with a clogged duct and threatened mastitis. Linnaea started pumping while continuing to try to breastfeed in order to make sure that Oliver received enough milk and to establish and maintain her milk supply. Over the next couple of weeks, Linnaea’s midwives helped her connect with two lactation consultants who each suggested that Oliver likely had a posterior tongue tie and a high palate; both recommended alternative latching positions and techniques as well as craniosacral massage therapy for Oliver to help improve his breastfeeding effectiveness and reduce Linnaea’s pain. The lactation consultants also proposed the option of having a tongue clipping procedure performed that could release Oliver’s tongue and allow him to breastfeed. After trying all of the other options, Linnaea and Justin decided to take Oliver to a pediatric dentist to have his tongue released with a laser procedure. The day after the procedure, Linnaea was in severe pain from another clogged duct that had again turned into mastitis, and went to see an OB to get antibiotics. Unfortunately the clog had turned into an abscess and required surgical intervention. The wound took about 2-3 months to heal completely. During that time, Linnaea continued to work on breastfeeding with Oliver, but he decided that he was not really interested in breastfeeding. However, he was doing very well with breastmilk in bottles, so Linnaea continued pumping to provide breastmilk for him until he was 1 year old.
Linnaea is very grateful for the support she received from her family, friends, midwives, and lactation consultants throughout the journey and hopes that in sharing this story, she can help other moms who may face similar challenges. Once piece of advice that helped her through the toughest times was to never give up in your worst or most difficult moment, and to try to keep going until you can reach a state of mind where you can make the best decision for you, your baby, and your family.
Linnaea Headlee-Borden Bio
Linnaea is 33 years old and lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband, Justin, and 2 sons, Henry and Oliver. She is a part time engineering contractor, full time mom, and enjoys crafting, cooking, and gardening in her spare time. You can connect with her on Instagram at: linnaea.hb or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Know Your Options Childbirth Course
La Leche League – Solano County
BirthTube on Facebook
The Birth Hour
All About Breastfeeding Podcast
The Longest Shortest Time Podcast
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Tristin’s first pregnancy was not planned, but it truly changed her heart forever. She had a good pregnancy and a hospital birth experience that made her rethink using the hospital setting if she had more children. Tristin speaks about breastfeeding struggles with her first pregnancy and was thankful it wasn’t as hard with her other kids.
During her second pregnancy, Tristin was in nursing school and graduated right before her due date. She chose to use a group of midwives, had a quick birth center water birth, and discusses the difference midwife care made for her.
For her 3rd pregnancy, Tristin decided to plan for a home birth, found midwives she loved, and got her husband on board. Tristin had a tougher pregnancy this time around and struggled with varicose veins and a lot of pelvic pain.
Tristin thought her 3rd birth would be quick because her second labor lasted about 5 hours. This birth was quite long and her son was born en-caul after around 18 hours of labor.
You can connect with her on Instagram @tristintindallrnbsn
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Birthing the Bradley Way
Business of Being Born
Abs core pelvic floor program by Natalie Hodson and Monique Middlekauff
Back Labor and Postpartum Anxiety
Morgan’s first baby was born during her 3rd year of medical school. She and her husband (then-fiance) planned a home birth with local midwives and took Hypnobirthing classes at the birth education center in San Diego. Contractions started the evening of her son’s due date and he was born two days later, at home, after an exhausting 36-hr back labor with a 9lb 3 oz posterior baby. Morgan’s postpartum was marked by multiple layers of breastfeeding complications that lead to recurrent mastitis and the development of postpartum anxiety that stuck around for the first 10 months of her son’s life. This was a Dark Night of the Soul learning experience for her, and it has shaped her life and practice with women in her practice.
Fast Intense Birth and Postpartum Bliss
Morgan’s second baby was born three years and two days later – they had the same due date! The birth of her daughter was a wildly different experience. She had more than 24 hours of light early labor that then quickly turned into a 1.5hr active labor that totally shocked her in its intensity and speed. She felt like dancing right after birth, even though her daughter was exactly the same weight as her son, and had a nuchal hand like him! Her postpartum was characterized by pure baby bliss and she was equipped with the skills and knowledge to navigate the breastfeeding struggles that inevitably came from having another tongue tied baby.
Morgan MacDermott Bio
Dr. Morgan MacDermott is a rising leader in women’s reproductive health dedicated to transforming the struggles of the modern mother. As a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and mother of two young children, she blends medical expertise and gathered communal wisdom to help women in-person and online to navigate wellness throughout this revered metamorphosis. Although she felt very prepared for motherhood the first go-around, she felt gut punched by the universe with her postpartum issues of recurrent mastitis and postpartum anxiety. These experiences helped her immensely – not only in how she would go on to create an entirely different postpartum for her second child, but also with the women she works with as patients in her private practice. She currently lives in Encinitas, California with her husband and their 3 year old son and 4 month old daughter, as well as a good friend who has shown them the power of living communally. Morgan believes that the best way to advance the health of future generations is by revolutionizing the health and wellbeing of our current mothers, and she is a powerful voice for natural medicine in the fields of preconception, fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum. Connect with Morgan on IG: morganmacdermott or at milkmedicine.com
Jack Newman breastfeeding videos
The Farm with Ina May Gaskin
The Beginning of Life series
The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff
Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra
Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Childcare by Sally Fallon Morell
Unassisted Birth by Laura Shanley
The Motherly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger
My Mastitis E-book, coming soon!
Podcasts besides The Birth Hour: Health Births Happy Babies; Nourishing the Mother; Freebirth Podcast; and, Birthful podcast
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Trying to Conceive as a Queer Couple
Caitlin and her wife had a difficult time navigating the barriers faced by queer couples trying to conceive. After two years and many failed IUIs, they decided to take a different route and try at home inseminations with a known donor. She hoped that removing the stress of the fertility clinic would help her body welcome pregnancy. She was right! And shortly thereafter Caitlin finally got the positive pregnancy test she had been longing for.
Homebirth Birth Story
Caitlin never felt more at home in her body than when she was pregnant. When Caitlin’s water broke in the middle of the night at 37 and a half weeks she instantly forgot everything she spent months learning about labour and birth. Luckily her ever practical wife came to the rescue and encouraged her to go back to bed. Caitlin then spent the next 45 minutes googling “how to tell if your water really broke”. Contractions began shortly after that and by 6:30 a.m. Caitlin and Shona stopped pretending to sleep and got up for the day. After a short early labour things picked up quickly. In her own bed, being held by her wife (the most amazing labour partner), Florence came flying into the world. The trio has been flying high on the most amazing love ever since.
Caitlin Thompson Bio
Caitlin lives in Canada in a lovely small town called Uxbridge. She works for a large bank in Leadership Development but her new job as a parent has taken much higher priority. She is married to the love of her life and best friend Shona. Together they are explorers and adventurers! They enjoy visiting craft breweries, going to music festivals, hiking with their two rescue dogs, playing hockey, and binge watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Most recently, Caitlin and Shona became mamas to their amazing daughter, Florence. Caitlin didn’t know just how magical, raw, challenging and beautiful bringing a child into the world could be. She cares deeply about social justice and is an unapologetic feminist. It is her hope that she can play a part in creating a more caring and compassionate world. Connect with her on IG @cait.rainford
Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth
Mama Natural: Week to Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, Genevieve Howland
The Birth Hour
Expectful is the #1 guided meditation app for your fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood journey. Just like you probably take a prenatal vitamin for your body, Expectful’s meditations are like a prenatal vitamin for your mind that can help you conceive and have a happier, healthier pregnancy and baby. Their guided tracks – which were made specifically for hopeful, pregnant, and new moms – help you reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one. You can go to expectful.com/birthhour to get a special offer: an extended 14-day free trial of Expectful.
Homebirth Birth Story
For Phyllis (a once-upon-a-time doula) and Phil (born at home in England) homebirth was an easy decision to make. A trusting midwife and a lot of introspection helped them navigate an unexpected premature rupture of membranes at 41 weeks — with Phyllis GBS positive and severely allergic to most antibiotics, they waited 30 hours until mama decided she was comfortable augmenting labor. And from there, it was off to the races! After just 4 hours of active labor their daughter, Beatrice, was born at home in the water just as they had hoped.
Phyllis Brasenell Bio
Phyllis is married to a Brit-expat named Philip, which causes a lot of confusion in their house. She is an entrepreneur, toddler mom, yoga pant collector and over user of unicorn emojis. Phyllis is an obnoxiously enthusiastic morning person and secretly hates doing sidewalk drawings with her daughter, Bea, because she can’t stand the feeling of chalk on her hands. Phyllis lives near Austin and when she’s not enjoying the sunshine with her fam (including their two big rescue dogs) you can find her helping other mamas build purposeful businesses.
– must-read book at every stage of pregnancy/postpartum to navigate the emotional/spiritual demands of motherhood. I take away something different every time I read it <3
And Baby Makes Three
– people don’t spend nearly enough energy considering how their partnership will change with a baby – this book has great, practical tools for couples to navigate the transition.