Epidural-free Hospital Birth with Nitrous Oxide + NICU Stay in the UK

By the time the baby was ready to arrive on a warm London day, Poppy’s birth preparation gave her the tools she needed to labor at home for 15 hours with her husband, Tom, using just a birth ball, water therapy, and vocalization. Poppy arrived at the hospital fully dilated, and two hours later baby Juniper was born. Poppy shares how it wasn’t picture perfect, but rather “a beautifully awkward moment, two human beings meeting for the first time”.

After an empowering birth experience, things took a turn for the worse as Juniper was rushed to the NICU. Poppy and Tom were told that ‘Due to COVID’ there were limited visiting hours and no beds available for the parents. Poppy, dazed and exhausted after giving birth, didn’t know how to react. Tom stepped in to advocate for their family and argued that mum and baby could not be separated.  Five days later the three of them were home and healthy, all the closer for the experience.

poppy child bio

Poppy Child Bio

Poppy is a birth educator and podcaster from London. After giving birth to her daughter, Juniper, she felt “a fire ignite inside her” and knew she had to spread the positive message about birth. Since then she has devoted all of her time sharing knowledge on her ‘Pop That Mumma’ podcast. Topics include, pregnancy mental health, empowered birthing, and conscious parenting. Poppy coaches pregnant people and their birth partners to view pain in labour as healthy, functional, and powerful. She runs Power Hour sessions and full courses both in-person and online. If you’d like to get in touch with Poppy, head over to her IG page: @ Popthatmumma



Today’s episode is sponsored by Esembly- a new diapering system for sustainability. Esembly provides EVERYTHING you need to to radically reduce diaper waste, from organic diapers and skincare, to upcycled storage bags and specially-formulated diaper-cleaning detergent. Their complete system, coupled with their 4 step wash instructions, make cloth diapering simple enough for any sleep deprived new parent to master. And just 44 of their reusable diapers is all you’ll need from birth to potty training- compared to 6500+ diapers if you’re using disposables! Esembly diapers don’t just save thousand of diapers from sitting in landfills, they save you thousands of dollars too! Not to mention, they are blowout-proof and insanely adorable.

Head to esemblybaby.com to learn more. And use code BirthHour15 for 15% off your first order. Also available on Amazon and Target.com.

Two Births Abroad in the Middle East

Keelie and her partner decided to start their family while living abroad in the Middle East. Keelie’s first pregnancy was smooth until a concern at 34 weeks of low amniotic fluid levels. While subsequent ultrasounds remained moderately concerning, the health of the baby remained strong. At 38 weeks Keelie began having prodromal labor until she experienced premature rupture of membranes. This resulted in an induction and birth – 3 hours later – without an epidural. Keelie’s second pregnancy included a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and an epidural-assisted birth at a joint midwife/doctor practice at a different hospital in the country. Both births were followed by postpartum hemorrhage which was quickly addressed by the medical professionals. While her first birth was a moderately traumatic whirlwind, her second was a far more peaceful, mother-led birthing experience.

keelie sorel birth story

Keelie Sorel Bio

Keelie is an American Student Affairs professional living and working in the Middle East. Originally from Colorado, she and her partner, Jake, have 2 kids: 2-year-old Amara and 2-month-old Nadir, and a fur baby, a 6-year-old mutt. 

Zahler Prenatal Vitamins

Today’s episode is sponsored by Advanced Nutrition by Zahler. Zahler offers  complete nutrition at a crucial time when it matters most. Zahler kosher Prenatal + DHA contains a potent blend of 26 vitamins & nutrients including 300mg of DHA and the active form of Folate. Zahler’s Prenatal provides the full spectrum of nutrients you and your developing baby require. Enjoy an exclusive 25% off toward your purchase on Amazon using code PREDHA25.

Nairobi, Kenya Home Water Birth Story

Before she was even pregnant, Loi had read all there is to read about pregnancy and childbirth. She knew that she wanted an unmedicated birth, and began to prepare herself by learning all she could about labor and delivery. After a smooth pregnancy, Loi had a home water birth with a midwife attending in Nairobi, Kenya!

Loi Awat Bio

Loi Awat is a creative and business writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She has eight years’ experience as a TV writer, creative writing coach, and organizational grant writer. She’s an aspiring author with a passion for children’s books, fantasy, and Afrofuturism.

water birth kenya

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

International Home Birth During COVID-19

Charlotte found out she was pregnant with her 2nd child in December 2019. In January, while still in her first trimester, it was confirmed that she was moving to Singapore from London with her 2 year old daughter and husband in May. However, due to coronavirus their moving plans were changed and they ended up spending 6 months in her husband’s home country of New Zealand.

Charlotte talks about navigating three different birthing systems as well as external uncertainty through pregnancy. About choosing homebirth coming out of a hospital birth culture. And choosing homebirth again even as she was living rurally and in temporary accommodation. Finally Charlotte talks about welcoming a second child into this world and navigating postpartum while moving countries in the middle of a global pandemic. 

homebirth abroad during covid

Charlotte Meyer Bio

Charlotte is Danish. She is married to an incredibly supportive partner. They have two children; 2 year old Isabella and 5 month old James. She lives in Singapore. You can connect with Charlotte on Instagram @alliedsince84.



This episode is sponsored by Expectful – the #1 guided meditation & sleep 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 and can help you have a happier, healthier journey to parenthood. Whether you are TTC, pregnant, or postpartum, everything in the Expectful app was made just for this special moment in your life and created based on interviews with hopeful, expecting, and new parents just like you. Ready to reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one? Go to expectful.com/birthhour or download Expectful in the App Store to get started with a free trial today. 

Same-Sex Couple in China Returns to U.S. During COVID for Birth

Elizabeth and her wife Kelli found out they were pregnant in the summer of 2019 after their second IUI. Elizabeth had a great pregnancy and continued teaching, practicing yoga, and traveling throughout. She sought all prenatal care at an international hospital in Beijing. Elizabeth and Kelli made arrangements to come home to Michigan in the spring to give birth to their baby, to avoid any legal issues that might come up in China as same-sex parents.

In January, due to the COVID19 outbreak in China, their school decided to transition to online teaching. With that decision, Elizabeth and Kelli moved their flights sooner and arrived in Michigan at the end of January. They rented a long-term AirBnB so that they would have their own space when baby came, and continued to excitedly await baby’s arrival while enjoying the extra time catching up with friends and family back home.

Their plan, and Elizabeth’s dream, was to have an all-natural, vaginal delivery at the same hospital where Kelli was born. They were feeling positive with all the preparations they had made.  The due date came and went without any sign of labor and no dilation, even though baby seemed good and “ready”.  A few days later, Elizabeth started experiencing contractions and decided to track them on a contraction tracker app.  Twice throughout the day the app told her she was in active labor and that she should head to the hospital. Elizabeth thought it was too soon so they waited a while longer. They finally headed to the hospital later that evening and were admitted. While her contractions were strong and regular, she was not dilating at all. The next morning, after nearly 12 hours of laboring with Pitocin and no pain medication, Elizabeth requested an epidural.  Contractions continued strong and steady, but Elizabeth was still not dilating as she should have and there were now concerns about the baby’s heart rate. Throughout the day, her OB and the nurses decided to try a variety of interventions such as sweeping the membranes, manually breaking her water, assisting her into a variety of different positions, but nothing seemed to help.

expats in china birth story

After a full 24 hours in hospital, Elizabeth and Kelli discussed a c-section with their OB and decided to do it. It was the furthest thing from their birth plan but it seemed nothing else was helping and there were now some growing concerns for both the baby and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had never even had surgery before, so the c-section experience wasn’t great. But their beautiful daughter, Frankie Adeline, was finally born at 9:23pm on March 23.

The postpartum period was both amazing and challenging.  It’s hard to have a newborn during a pandemic; breastfeeding proved to be trying; Elizabeth was diagnosed with postpartum depression. With the help of a lactation consultant, seeing a therapist, returning to yoga, and the support of her wife, Elizabeth has been able to bond with her daughter, is enjoying being a new mom, and is on the path to healing.

Elizabeth Tucker Bio

Elizabeth and her wife Kelli are international teachers who met in Kuwait and are currently teaching in Beijing, China. They are new moms to Frankie, born in March on the first day of Michigan’s Covid-19 lockdown. Elizabeth loves yoga, reading, and all things organizing. Kelli is an avid runner who has a new-found love for triathlons and completed a full IronMan in Taiwan. Elizabeth can be found on Instagram @liztheeuro and Kelli blogs about their experiences at https://kelliacochran.wixsite.com


  • The Birth Hour
  • Taking Cara Babies
  • Holliday Tyson on YouTube
  • @drcassidy (instagram)
  • @expectingandempowered (instagram)

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting moms find the perfect pump for her lifestyle. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda and more. And the best part, they take care of everything – including getting all required paperwork, dealing with your insurance company, and explaining your options in order to get your free pump shipped straight to your door. 

Bonus — you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes. 

All you have to do is go to the Aeroflow Breastpumps website and fill out their free and easy Qualify Through Insurance form. Be sure to go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour so they will know I sent you!  

Giving Birth in India + Postpartum Care

To listen to this episode, and more than 350 other birth stories in The Birth Hour archives, join our listener supporter group here!

Sofia Abdul Ali shares her experience with the maternity health care system in India as well as her dissatisfaction with her birth experiences and finally the amazing postpartum care she received from family. Sofia didn’t have any pictures she wanted to share and prefers to communicate with listeners via the comments on this page.

Sakura Bloom

This episode is sponsored by Sakura Bloom. Baby carriers crafted in California with the softest hand-dyed linens, hand-loomed silks, coziest bamboo & cashmere. Sakura Bloom covers you from the newborn days through toddlerhood with three unique carrier styles – The Ring Sling, The Onbuhimo and The Scout. Sakura Bloom believes in keeping waste to a minimum and attention to detail high, which means crafting in small batches in their coastal San Diego workshop. Learn more via their customer Facebook Group or on Instagram.

sakura bloom scout