Failed Epidural & Preeclampsia Induction, then a Doula-supported, Healing Hospital Birth

Despite an autoimmune condition that can interfere with fertility, Amy Leigh became pregnant easily with her first son. It was uneventful – besides nausea until 23 weeks, and having to cut off her wedding ring due to being so swollen. Amy Leigh approached birth with great avoidance and the hopes that she would get an epidural, sleep through labor, wake up, and push a baby out without feeling any of it. She was instead induced with preeclampsia and her epidural did not work. This left her facing the reality of birth stuck in bed, hooked up to wires, and drowsy on magnesium. After pushing for 2 hours, her son was born, whisked away to be bathed, and Amy Leigh was left with a placenta that had to be manually extracted. Migraines, NICU time, constant pumping, and sleep deprivation finished out this traumatic experience that left her afraid of having another child.

dad skin to skin

After learning of her pregnancy with baby 2, Amy Leigh sought the help of a perinatal therapist. She was able to process and grieve her traumatic birth and approach the new birth with an open heart. Amy Leigh and Kevin hired a doula and worked with supportive OB. Her second son came on his own a few days before his due date. She decided to go for it at the last second and try an epidural again- this time it worked (inserted right as she hit transition). She and Kevin rested all night, and she peacefully gave birth with her doula and husband by her side, all within 12 hours. Her son remained on her chest for 2 hours after birth and was not bathed until the next day. With both births, a military PCS move followed shortly after, though the second time she was on a plane with a 2 year old and newborn just 12 days after giving birth.  

Amy Leigh Fernandez Bio

Amy Leigh is a mom to 2 boys (Ryan, 3.5 years and Finn, 14 months), partner to Kevin. They are a military family living in Southern California with their boys & two black labs. Amy Leigh was inspired by healing from her own traumatic first birth to use her role as a clinical social worker to help other families. She is a licensed therapist for Hold Space Healing, a private psychotherapy practice in Temecula, CA, where she works with new moms, perinatal mental health and all “mom life” issues, as well as military family readiness and weight-inclusive wellness for those who want to stop dieting and make peace with food and body. She is currently working on her Perinatal Mental Health certification (PMH-C) with Postpartum Support International. Contact- holdspacehealing.com or @holdspacehealing on Instagram.

Resources

Motif Medical

Motif Medical 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

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.

Epidural Hospital Birth & Unmedicated Hospital Birth

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.

unmedicated birth hospital

Resources

Expecting Better by Emily Oster
Birth Matters
Spiritual Midwifery
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
The Milky Way documentary
KellyMom.com for breastfeeding
Evidenced Based Birth podcast
The Birth Hour podcast, of course!

Expectful

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.

911 Call Roadside Delivery Birth

911 Call Roadside Delivery

Jerika planned a hospital birth with her first. She saw an OBGYN and had a very textbook pregnancy. Her water broke the evening of July 2nd, 2016 and contractions started when she was given Pitocin. Her labor and delivery were very textbook as well. She experienced a lot of pain for about two weeks after giving birth which influenced her to opt for an unmedicated birth for her second child. She had been going to a midwife and was planning to deliver at a birth center. Her second pregnancy was very textbook as well.

911 call roadside birth

Unlike her first pregnancy, she did experience some Braxton hicks and cramping for about three weeks before she went into labor. The morning of May 18th, 2018, Jerika started having contractions that eventually turned into active labor. By 1:30 pm she called her husband to come home from work and things escalated quickly. He arrived at 1:45 pm and by 2:00pm contractions were only minutes apart and very intense. They quickly got in the car to make the 30 minute trip to the birthing center. 10 minutes into the drive her water broke and she quickly realized they were not going to make it. Her husband called 911 and was instructed to go to the nearest hospital. While in route to the hospital they realized they they wouldn’t make it there either. The operator instructed them to pull over and walked her husband through the delivery of their second daughter. Paramedics arrived about 5 minutes after their daughter was born and they were transported to the hospital only a mile down the road.

Jerika Crews Bio

Jerika is 24 years old and lives in Utah with her family of four. She got married in 2015 and shortly after became pregnant with her first daughter, Grace. Grace was born in a hospital in July of 2016 and is now two years old. Jerika got pregnant for the second time in 2017 and had her second daughter, Martie, in May of 2018. She has been a stay at home mom for two years but has recently started a career in bookkeeping. Connect with her on Facebook.

Crane

This episode is sponsored by Crane Humidifiers. Crane’s colorful humidifiers are a nursery necessity to help relieve your baby’s tiny congested nose, which can make feeding and sleeping a struggle for both baby and mom. A happy baby is a healthy baby. Crane is generously offering $10 OFF and free shipping on all of their full-priced 1 gallon adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH18 at www.crane-usa.com.

Infertility Journey, Pregnancy and Birth Story

Dealing with Infertility and Pregnancy

After years of hoping and praying for a baby, Camille was amazed to find her infertility treatments had finally worked—she was actually pregnant! In this episode, she shares her story and talks about how much love she and her husband experienced as they grew together in the pain of longing for a baby. She discusses how after years of disappointments, infertility overshadowed many joys and experiences in letting her pregnancy be real. Ultimately, she and her husband were able to find joy through the ups and downs of pregnancy complications, and expand their love through the birth of their miracle baby.

Connect with Camille on Instagram or her blog Friday We’re in Love where she shares creative dates with her husband and story of finding love again after loss faced another hardship.

infertility baby

Resources

Camille’s blog posts mentioned in the episode:

Theralogix

ovavite

This episode is sponsored by Theralogix, makers of the TheraNatal line of nutritional supplements. TheraNatal supplements are specifically formulated to meet a woman’s unique nutrient needs before, during, and after pregnancy. TheraNatal preconception vitamins contain all the nutrients you need to prepare your body for pregnancy, including folate and vitamin D. For women 35 and over, TheraNatal OvaVite also contains CoQ10. All TheraNatal vitamins are dye-free, gluten-free, and cost less than the typical insurance co-pay. Use this link to get a discount of approximately 15% off your purchase and enter our $250 giveaway below!

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Mama Natural’s Birth Stories

Mama Natural shares her two birth stories

Genevieve’s first labor with her son, Griffin, was long (27 hours with 4 hours of pushing,) and she had a hard postpartum recovery. With her second pregnancy, Genevieve was proactive in preparing for birth and credits her nutrition and healthy lifestyle to the super-quick and much easier birth of her daughter, Paloma.

mama natural birth

Genevieve Howland Bio

With over sixty million views on her YouTube channel, Genevieve Howland’s funny-but-informational videos have empowered millions of women to embrace natural pregnancy and parenting. Now, Genevieve is turning to the page and offering up the first ever week-by-week pregnancy book from a natural perspective.
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth is the modern (yet ancient) approach to pregnancy and childbirth. “Natural” recognizes that pregnancy and birth are normal, and that having a baby is a wondrous biological process and rite of passage—not a medical condition. Full of weekly advice and tips, Howland covers vital pregnancy nutrition, natural remedies for common concerns, and the appropriate (and inappropriate) uses of medical interventions. Peppered throughout are positive birth and pregnancy stories from women of all backgrounds (and all stages of their natural journey,) along with advice and insights from: a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM); a Registered Nurse (RN); a doula; and, a lactation consultant.
Genevieve also offers a free pregnancy week-by-week series (email or text) from a natural perspective, and is the creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course, the #1 most popular online childbirth education class.

Vital Proteins

Vital Proteins helps people feel better and live fuller lives through sustainably-sourced nutrition products, and promotes health by providing nourishing collagen: an essential nutrient stripped from our diets by modern food-processing.

Vital proteins collagen is a tasteless powder you can add to any beverage to help you reach those daily protein goals, especially during pregnancy.  Of course, you should always check with your doctor before taking anything. At the end of this episode, I chat with today’s guest, Genevieve, about the benefits of vital proteins, and how she uses it in her diet and with her kiddos!

Gummy Recipe from Mama Natural