Bowie came a week early at 39 weeks. The morning of his birth, Cristina lost her mucus plug and could feel her body preparing for labor. She checked in to the hospital around midnight and was already 5cm dilated. Making sure to share her plan for an unmedicated birth, Cristina was happy her nurses followed her requests even though she was screaming for drugs somewhere around 8cm. After laboring on a medicine ball for hours, around 5:30 am she insisted they check her again and she was at 9cm. Minutes later her water broke. She pushed for nearly 2 hours and had Bowie at 7:31am.
Photo by Alysha Rainwater
Grey’s Birth Story
Cristina was already 4cm dilated at 38 weeks and had a feeling he was going to come soon. The morning of Grey’s birth, contractions started around 11am and never let up. Around 3pm, the contractions were about 10 minutes apart but still no pain. Cristina and her husband said a very tearful goodbye to Bowie, their older son, and headed to the hospital. They checked into the hospital at 3:30 and Cristina was 6cm dilated with contractions about 5 minutes apart.
Cristina had her water bag popped around 7cm and was asked to empty her bladder. She could barely make it back to the bed, having to stop and breathe through a contraction while walking from the bathroom to the bed which was maybe 6 feet away. Within minutes, she went from 7cm to 10cm. After pushing for 5 minutes in between 30 second contractions, Grey made his arrival at 8:31pm.
Cristina Bocanegra Bio
Cristina is a full-time freelance wardrobe stylist and founder of Love Child, Mini Market, and co-founder of Current. She lives in Austin with her husband, Michael, and two baby boys, Bowie and Grey. Connect with her on Instagram at @cristinafacundostylist, @lovechildmag, @minimarketatx and @currentconference.
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Birth Center Birth, Newborn Resuscitation, and NICU Stay
After a healthy pregnancy and relatively normal 12 hour labor, Kelly’s birth took a sharp turn when her baby needed immediate resuscitation after delivery at their birthing center. Her daughter, Emilia, was transported by EMS with her husband to the nearest hospital. Even though her birth was frightening, Kelly felt cocooned in peace and safety by her care team back at the birthing center. Later on in the evening Emilia began to experience seizures. After a substantial amount of testing it was determined that she had bleeding in her brain with an unknown cause. Kelly’s family spent a miraculous four days in the NICU and were able to go home with a healthy baby. In the months following her daughter’s birth, Kelly suffered from some postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts regarding her daughter’s resuscitation and NICU stay. After seeking treatment she has come closer to a place of understanding and empowerment.
Kelly Pedrozo Bio
Kelly is a mother to Emilia Scarlet, freelance writer (birth stories are her favorite) and DTI trained birth and postpartum doula. She lives with her Brazilian husband and daughter in Austin, Texas. Forever called to mama-hood, Kelly is passionate about the transformational journey through birth as well as mothering the mother. Her wild-child, Emilia, is the gift of her life. Kelly’s loves include baby giggles, healing through food and enjoying a glass of red wine. Connect with her on Instagram @kellpedrozo.
8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS, Dr. Fiona McCulloch
How to Get Healthy and Get Pregnant Podcast (Chinese Medicine guide to fertility)
Pregnancy Brain, Parijat Deshpande
Birthing From Within, Pam England
Ancient Map for Modern Birth, Pam England
Podcasts: The Birth Hour, Birthful, Yoga Birth Babies
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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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Amy had a fast and furious birth with her first born: her water broke at 9pm and Eli was born by 1am! With rising blood pressure and transitioning so quickly, Amy blacked in and out of consciousness, but was able to have her planned unmedicated birth. Her nurses joked that she’d need to “camp out” for any subsequent babies, but when Amy delivered her daughter 3.5 years later, she had a very different birthing experience. While both babies came exactly 9 days before their due date, Juniper’s labor was slow and steady and much less chaotic.
Amy Richardson Golia Bio
Amy is the CEO and founder of kids e-commerce brand, June & January. They make bright and colorful kids basics, shoes, and accessories at an affordable price point. You can find them @juneandjanuary
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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: email@example.com
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Sarah had planned on an unmedicated hospital birth with her first child, but eventually got an epidural after becoming frustrated with a difference in cervical checks done by the nurse and the on-call doctor. For her second labor, she decided to try again for an unmedicated birth and decided to hire a doula for extra support. Her second labor was much easier and quicker and she was able to achieve the birth she had hoped for.
Sarah Jones Bio
Sarah lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, Roger, and their two little boys, Catesby (2) and George (2 weeks). Sarah is an occupational therapist and works in home health. She enjoys time with family and friends, cooking, music, and traveling. She has a strong passion for birth and breastfeeding. You can find her on Facebook as Sarah Croft Jones and Instagram @sayrahrah.
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