Dr. Rebecca Dekker of Evidence Based Birth Shares her Birth Stories

When Rebecca was pregnant with her first baby, she planned to go to the hospital and do as she was told. She was giving birth at the same hospital where she was finishing her PhD in Nursing, and so one of her goals for this birth was for the nurses to like her! She didn’t want to be one of “those” patients they gossiped about at the nurse’s station. But when Rebecca arrived at the hospital, she received treatments that were more than 20 years out of date. She also experienced complications that seemed preventable. Worst for Rebecca, though, she spent hours after the birth begging to see her own daughter!

rebecca dekker birth stories

Three years later, and pregnant again, Rebecca had done enough research to know that she would do things differently this time. She hired a midwife and planned a home waterbirth using Hypnobabies® techniques. The kind of care she received ended up being drastically different from her first birth. Rebecca felt so empowered after this birth, and it changed the entire course of her life.

Rebecca Dekker Bio

Rebecca is the founder of Evidence Based Birth® and the author of Babies Are Not Pizzas: They’re Born, Not Delivered! Dr. Dekker is the mother of three children, ages 5, 7, and 10, and she has earned a bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD in Nursing. She has built a strong reputation in maternal and infant health circles for her pioneering work as the founder of Evidence Based Birth.® The mission of EBB is to raise the quality of childbirth care globally, by putting accurate, evidence based research into the hands of families and communities, so they can make informed, empowered choices.

Social media contact info: You can follow Dr. Dekker by signing up for her newsletter at the home page of at EvidenceBasedBirth.com, and you can follow EBB on Facebook (Evidence Based Birth) and Instagram (@ebbirth). Her book, Babies Are Not Pizzas, is available on Amazon.

Resources

Motif Medical

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

Hospital Induction, Homebirth Transfer & Two Very Different Postpartum Experiences

First Birth: Val became pregnant when she and her husband were living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while she pursued a PhD at the age of 25. They got pregnant the first month they tried, which was a bit of a surprise! As a highly sensitive person Val quickly realized she needed to work with care providers who would listen to her and respect her body and wishes. After watching The Business of Being Born, Val and her husband decided to seek the care of a midwife/obstetrician group because they wanted to work with midwives, but also wanted to have an obstetrician available if something were to happen. Val had an uneventful pregnancy and loved working with the midwife group who were very focused on her well being emotionally and physically. Val and her husband hired a doula who was also a huge part of their pregnancy and birth. At 41+5 days, after an uneventful stress test, Val’s favorite midwife coerced her to come in later that night for induction, as she said she would drop her from care if she refused. Val’s labor lasted 31 hours, had many ups and downs, and resulted in a forceps delivery and a very difficult and emotional postpartum experience. 

Second Birth: Due to Val’s difficult birth and transition to motherhood she decided to wait until she finished her PhD and had instrumental support from friends and extended family near by to try for another baby. During her second pregnancy, Val was a lot less anxious and again found a midwife/obstetrician group within a hospital. Unfortunately, the midwife group they chose only had one midwife. While Val connected quickly with the midwife, she soon realized she was overworked and under supported. She forgot to call regarding test results and made errors with appointments and scheduling. After a hurtful discussion with the scheduler, Val hung up the phone and felt like she couldn’t breathe. At that moment, Val’s husband brought up the idea of homebirth, and they decided to meet with some homebirth midwives to see if it would be a good fit.

After getting a low risk anatomy scan Val and her husband made the switch to homebirth care. Val was empowered by her midwife and they made a lifelong bond. Her midwife helped her process a lot of her birth trauma from the first time around, and provided care that was above-and-beyond. At 38 weeks and 40 weeks Val’s family caught the flu and then a bad cold which hit their family hard.

At 41+1 day, Val started having contractions after receiving acupuncture. She experienced contractions every 15 minutes for the next two days which made her feel very uncomfortable and made it hard to rest. After two days of prodromal labor, Val’s water broke. The midwife, birth assistant, doula, and Val’s sister and mom arrived shortly after her water broke, and contractions sped up to 7 minutes apart. At this time, Val and her husband got in the groove of managing contractions.

After 3 days of labor, 24 hours after her water broke, Val decided to transfer to the hospital when she was still only 6.5 centimeters and they realized baby’s presentation was asynclitic. In tears, Val hugged her midwife as she headed off to the hospital. Val was met with extreme love and respect from all of the nurses at the hospital. They quickly got her admitted and gave her pain management and an epidural. Val took a nap, and when she woke up it was time to push. The hospital doctor was absolutely terrible, but the nurses had their back and they had a smooth vaginal birth. Val recovered quickly, and because of the flu risk Val and her husband bonded with baby for two uninterrupted days. At 6 months postpartum, Val is not experiencing anxiety and depression thanks to the help of family, friends, a counselor she sees regularly. 

Valerie Cronin-Fisher Bio

Valerie has been married for 7 years, and is a mom of two sons living in the south suburbs of Chicago. Val is a Professor of Interpersonal Communication focusing on the underrepresented areas of family communication, birth, and motherhood. She has a passion for close relational communication and helping (herself) and others learn names for behaviors/experiences in order to understand themselves and their close others better. 

Val became pregnant during the first year of her PhD program and quickly became engrossed in birth and motherhood culture. After a difficult first birth, and feeling like the rug was pulled out from under her during her transition to motherhood, Val found her passion. Over the last 4 years, Val’s research has focused on understanding the complexity of birth and dissatisfaction with the transition to motherhood from a cultural and relational perspective. She has published research examining dissatisfaction during the transition to motherhood. Val also used The Birth Hour podcast interviews for her dissertation data focusing on traumatic birth and communication during pregnancy, birth, and the transition to motherhood. Recently, she started facebook and instagram account to share her research and connect with other mothers who are “in the thick of it”. You can find her at @life.after.birth.phd on instagram and facebook. 

Resources

Episode Sponsor: Grove Collaborative

Today’s episode sponsor is Grove Collaborative. Grove makes it easy to discover amazing natural home and personal care products. Grove selects only the best non-toxic products, so you can shop with confidence knowing that everything on their site is good for you, your family, and the planet. Grove’s VIP membership provides our customers with: unlimited free shipping, a free full-sized gift every few months, price match guarantee, and amazing personal service.

Go to this link and when you sign-up you’ll get a free sign-up gift!

College Mama’s Empowering Homebirth after Traumatic Hospital Birth


Lina unexpectedly found herself pregnant with her first baby while she was a senior in high school. Although she was excited for the arrival of her bundle of joy, her pregnancy was difficult because she suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Lina planned to have an unmedicated hospital brith, but when Lina was 36 weeks and 6 days she felt a tear in her water sack that caused her to need an induction.

Although the events of Lina’s hospital birth weren’t traumatic, the way the nurses at the hospital spoke to her and treated her caused Lina to have a great deal of anxiety and sever postpartum depression. So, when Lina found out she was pregnant with her second baby, she knew she needed to do something different. After weeks of research, speaking with her partner, and listening to her intuition she knew she needed to have a homebirth assisted by a midwife to heal the part of her that was broken during her hospital birth.

Again, Lina’s water tore when she was 36 weeks and 5 days, but this time instead of having a hospital induction she induced herself naturally using castor oil and homeopathic remedies, as instructed by her midwife. At exactly 37 weeks, her second baby was born in the home Lina grew up in and it was the most empowering, encouraging, magical and amazing experience of her life. 


Lina El-Saieh’s Bio

Lina El-Saieh is a 22 year old mama of two boys, Dexter and Scott. She is currently a social science major in college looking to become a successful lawyer (and maybe even a politician) one day. Lina, her boys, and her high school sweetheart, Jack, live with her parents and little sister in New York. Lina identifies as a crunchy mama. She loves baby wearing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and she recently started homeschooling her eldest boy. Lina’s goal as a mom is to encourage other mamas, especially younger moms, that they are able to still chase their own dreams even though they have little ones. Balancing school and babies is hard, but it’s so, so worth it! You can find Lina on Instagram @itscrunchylina.

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 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.

Queer Birth, Homebirth Cesarean, Gender-Creative Parenting

Carly (she/they) and her spouse Ky (they/them) conceived via IUI at home with a midwife. After only a few months of tracking her cycle, a host of recommended supplements, acupuncture, and magic; Carly got pregnant on the first try. At 9 weeks they moved from Brooklyn to Colorado and started their new life while preparing for a homebirth. Working with a Denver midwife, Carly and Ky followed all the suggestions for preparing for a homebirth, participated in pregnancy and birth circles of ceremony and community, and eagerly awaited their firstborn. Pregnancy was a roller-coaster of emotions, particularly those centered around the hyper-feminization of pregnant people and some physical discomfort; but, overall it was enjoyable.

queer couple birth team

After a castor-oil induction, Carly’s water broke with meconium present and they knew labor would need to progress quickly if they were to birth at home. After 24 hours the call was made to transfer to the hospital where Carly labored on Pitocin for 10 more hours without pain medication before the baby’s heart rate skyrocketed and staff strongly urged a cesarean. A trained doula and birth nerd, Carly knew the evidence for tachycardia was clear, so she consented.

Four minutes to midnight the night before the summer solstice, Rune was born. Carly’s incision struggled to heal, and she had to return to the doctor every 3 days for dressing changes and went on two rounds of antibiotics before it finally fully closed around 8 weeks postpartum.

skin to skin

Ky and Carly are practicing gender-creative or gender-open parenting. Knowing gender identity isn’t fully conceived until at least around 4 or 5 years of age, they have chosen not to assign their baby a gender. Instead, they use the singular they/them pronouns for Rune and do not disclose the baby’s genitalia. This allows for the child to grow into their own identity while stalling the pressure, assumptions, standards, stereotypes, and boxes of society. 

Carly Bio

Carly (she/they) is a dance educator and choreographer located in Colorado. She is also a trained doula currently on hiatus. Carly lives with her spouse Ky, their two rescued Pitbulls (Rex & Brooklyn Hope) and two cats (Stud & Giles) and their new baby Rune Io. Carly and Ky can be found on Instagram at @cknudme and @radically_ky where they share about their experiences as queer & sober parents raising a kid without an assigned gender. 

queer couple postpartum

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode was sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby is dedicated to building a global community of confident parents with smart, ergonomic solutions that enable and encourage bonding between parents and babies. Ergobaby offers a broad range of award-winning baby carriers, strollers, swaddlers, nursing pillows, and related products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably and safely. At the end of today’s episode I spoke to Kelly all about the new Embrace carrier from Ergobaby.

Homebirth with NICU Transfer for Meconium Aspiration

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.

waterbrith home

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.

NICU baby meconium aspiration

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.

NICU transfer for homebirth

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.

Episode Sponsor: Grove Collaborative

Today’s episode sponsor is Grove Collaborative. Grove makes it easy to discover amazing natural home and personal care products. Grove selects only the best non-toxic products, so you can shop with confidence knowing that everything on their site is good for you, your family, and the planet. Grove’s VIP membership provides our customers with: unlimited free shipping, a free full-sized gift every few months, price match guarantee, and amazing personal service.

Go to this link and when you sign-up you’ll get a free glass spray bottle two-piece concentrates pack to use in the spray bottle, and a 3 pack of microfiber cloths! Grove will add some suggested items to your cart to get you started and you can swap those out for whatever you need for your home.

Resources

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!
evidencebasedbirth.com
reddit.com/r/babybumps
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

Unmedicated Hospital Birth & Homebirth with Breastfeeding Complications

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.

midwives at homebirth

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.

sibling at homebirth

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: linnaeaheadleeborden@gmail.com

Resources

Know Your Options Childbirth Course 
Kellymom 
La Leche League – Solano County 
Birthstream Midwifery 
BirthTube on Facebook 
The Birth Hour
All About Breastfeeding Podcast
The Longest Shortest Time Podcast

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 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.