Homebirth During a Pandemic and Civil Rights Movement

After a happy and straightforward birth with her first child, Priscilla, Katherine started thinking about the idea of home birth. While many mothers in 2020 chose home birth after the beginning of the pandemic Katie and her husband Seth made the decision a few months beforehand. Their location, the ease of Katie’s first birth, and desire to try it were just the push they needed. Born a day after his due date with a swift, two hour labor start to finish Langston James came barreling into this world at 9lbs 8oz caught by his daddy. He was born in his nursery, in Seth and Katie’s 150-year-old Victorian home outside of St. Paul, MN. His birth was a true joy and one Katie reflects on often. 

homebirth

Katherine DeGroot Bio

Katherine is first and foremost a wife and mom. She and her husband call quaint Stillwater, Minnesota home and are raising their family in a 150-year-old Victorian home they found on a whim after living in the city. Her days are spent running after {and photographing} two-year-old Priscilla and four-month-old Langston. Though she doesn’t consider herself particularly crunchy her high school self would be shocked to learn she’s a home birther, a chicken mom to two Brahmas named Tupac and Biggie, and a drinker of raw milk.

Katie’s hobbies include reading, studying up on history, baking, memory keeping, CrossFit, photography, and of course, having babies. Grounded by her faith, she feels a kinship with the hard working and tenacious women in her ancestral line. Natural birth, nursing, and healthy living are ways in which she feels connected to those who came before her. Each and every day she is grateful. Katie may be contacted via email: katiedegroot86@gmail.com and she posts nearly daily on Instagram: @katherinelouisedegroot/

katherine degroot

Kindred Bravely

Today’s episode is brought to you by Kindred Bravely.  From adorable maternity wear to comfortable nursing bras, this mom-owned company has you covered.  See all of their comfy clothing at kindredbravely.com! I especially love their Simply Sublime nursing tank, their high waisted leggings (for pregnancy AND postpartum). Listen to this episode for a special coupon code and to hear about my new favorites in their loungewear including the Clea Bamboo PajamasBetsy Ribbed Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Nightgown, and Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Lounge Pants.

4th Homebirth is a Wildcard After 3 Previous Home Waterbirths

After having peaceful home waterbirths for all three of their sons, Kaitlin knew she wanted to go the same route when she found out she and her husband were expecting their fourth baby. 

With a history of three similar, slow labors, Kaitlin felt confident as she prepared for another waterbirth with her same, trusted midwife.
After an uncomfortable third trimester and a weekend of false starts, baby made entrance with a wildcard labor and birth. In a flurry of chaos, with the three big brothers in the home, Kaitlin gave birth (out-of-water) to a surprise baby girl!

Kaitlin Tolkkinen Bio

Kaitlin is a 28-year-old self-proclaimed ‘flower child’. She lives in rural Minnesota with her husband, Aaron, and their four kids, aged 5, 3, 2, and 7 months.She relishes the daily frenzy and humor of raising four young kids, balanced by minimalism and simple living. She runs a small herbal skincare shop between arts & crafts and story time, and can be found on Instagram @modernbotanicalco or occasionally talking about cloth diapers @modernbottombabies

Resources

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!  

Unmedicated Hospital, Birth Center & Homebirth Births

Christina labored for two days before her first un-medicated birth in a hospital. Despite having an incredibly supportive partner and doula, the birth was a stressful experience followed by a long 3 month recovery.

She carefully chose her midwife for her second birth at the local birth center, which ended up being a much more positive and redemptive birth. For her third birth, she had originally planned to use the birth center again, but her plans changed half way through her pregnancy and she found herself planning her dream homebirth in the midst of a pandemic.

Her third birth was as peaceful and beautiful as she had imagined it, but when her daughter stopped breastfeeding after routine lip and tongue tie revisions at 5 days old, she struggled with an unexpectedly difficult and emotional immediate postpartum period.  

homebirth waterbirth
All photos by Brittney Hogue of Peoria Births

Christina Reynolds Bio

Christina (or Tina) lives in central Illinois and currently works in investment services, though she still isn’t sure what she wants to do “when she grows up”. She and her husband Chris have been married for 7 years and they have 3 children. She loves everything relating to pregnancy and birth and hopes to become a natural childbirth educator when her own children are older. She also enjoys caring for her collection of houseplants, listening to podcasts and baking. Message her on FB or Instagram @tina.rey3

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Ergobaby is dedicated to helping families bond, grow, and thrive by creating premium baby products where function and quality are not compromised. Ergobaby has created 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. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet.

Repeated False Labors, Bedrest, & Homebirth Birth Story

After a successful home birth with her eldest son in 2017, Caroline and her husband Brett sought the same birth team to deliver their second son in January of 2020 at home again. When Labor started at 35 weeks they spent the night at their local birth center where the staff readied themselves to deliver a preemie but by morning labor had stopped. A few more false starts and almost a month of bedrest, they finally welcomed their son in the afternoon light on a cold late January afternoon.  

Caroline Snider Bio

Caroline lives in upstate NY with her Husband Brett and their two young sons Casper and Rufus Originally from the UK Caroline has called America home for over a decade now; first on the West Coast in Los Angeles where she and Brett met working in advertising and now the East Coast in the beautiful Hudson Valley where she’s a full time Mom and aspiring writer. You can connect with her on Instagram where she loves to talk openly and honestly about her experience of motherhood.

caroline snider waterbirth

Resources

Hypnobabies Home-study Course

Peanut

Peanut is an app that helps you make meaningful connections throughout all stages of motherhood. Peanut provides a safe space for mothers, expectant mothers and those trying to conceive to build friendships, ask questions and find support by introducing you to others nearby who are at a similar stage in life, Peanut provides access to a community who is there to listen, share information and offer valuable advice: Whether it’s understanding IVF, adoption, pregnancy, baby’s first years or beyond, Peanut is a place to connect with other moms in the thick of it.

Download the app for free today!

Two VBACs (One During Wildfire Evacuation) after Cesarean Birth

Tayla shares her three birth story summaries in her own words below:

My first birth was six years ago. I was very uneducated and unknowingly unprepared for the birthing process. My water broke on April Fool’s Day and I was induced after 12 hours. There was no informed consent practiced during my induction, no support, verbal abuse from my OB and ultimately an emergency C-section (due to fetal distress) where I was put out under general anesthesia and my poor husband was left waiting in the dust. It left me shocked and traumatized. My postpartum period was also Traumatic. I did not have any breast-feeding support and I struggled immensely!

My second labor was two years later. In the town I live in we do not have midwives as an option so I was forced to have an OB again. He was not supportive of my VBAC and always mocked me when I reminded him that was my plan. Two weeks before my due date our entire city was evacuated due to a wildfire that destroyed 1/3 of the city. It was extremely stressful as the closest city was five hours away and I had no family in the province I live in.

My husband and I are both firefighter EMTs with the city department and I was actually at work when I was sent home and told to get out of the city. My husband was torn whether he should stay and fight the fire or drive with me for five hours to the closest city. I made him come with me because I was scared that I would go into labor on the side of the road by myself. He drove me to the closest city dropped me and my toddler off at a friend’s house and left to come back up to fight the fire.

The very next morning a midwife contacted me and said she would be honored to take me on as her patient. It was a silver lining because she was so supportive of my VBAC goals! The next two weeks were very stressful as I had nowhere to live and I couldn’t stay in my friends guest room with a toddler and expecting a new baby. I finally found a rental house and as I was nesting trying to make it as comfortable as possible I went into labor naturally. My husband was actually on his way to leave to go back up to Fort McMurray to fight the fire and I told him he would need to stay because labor was starting!

I ended up having back labor because baby was posterior and I labored alone in my rental house for many hours. My husband had to drive across a strange city to drop off my son at a friend’s house during rush hour. Not being from the city we didn’t realize that huge mistake we made. So I was alone entering active labor! I called a friend who had also been evacuated and she drove me to the hospital where the midwife met us. I was not prepared to cope with the pain of labor because I think in my mind I wasn’t really convinced I was going to have a VBAC. I ended up getting an epidural and had a successful vaginal birth! My postpartum period this time was a lot less stressful and I had great support from my midwives. Breastfeeding went better and recovery was like night and day compared to my c section recovery.

firefighter paramedic pregnant

In 2018, I got pregnant again with my 3rd! I was determined to have a different birthing experience this time around. The crazy part of my story is that I didn’t slow down my doula business while I was pregnant. I even delivered a baby during a precipitous birth while I was eight months pregnant! I attended my last Doula birth two days before I went into labor.

My water broke on a stormy night 10 days before my due date. I had lined up midwifery care in the closest city which is five hours away. My plan was to have a water birth in the birthing center and I was scheduled to leave in two days when the baby had other plans. My husband was working nights when my water broke and when he got home he was shocked to see that I had my kids packed in the van and all of our stuff packed and ready to go to Edmonton five hours away. He thought I was crazy and perhaps I was! There was just no way that I was going to have my baby in our local hospital. I was invested and I was determined to have my water birth.

Contractions hadn’t started so I figured if we left right away we might make it. I labored at my Doula’s house and got to the birthing center only 45 minutes before my baby was born. If I could do it again tomorrow I would! It was the most empowering day of my life and I’m so glad that I got to experience an unmedicated birth. My postpartum recover was amazing as well aside from being in a city far away from my own home. I came home that night after having the baby to sleep on an air mattress in my doula’s living room!

You would think that being an IBCLC, breastfeeding would go swimmingly, but again I struggled with low milk supply. A lot of people are shocked by this because of my profession, but it just goes to show that sometimes even with the best support women can still struggle! I feel like women are told or made to feel that the only real goal of birth is to walk out of it alive and with a healthy baby. What women need to understand is that there is so much more to the process than that goal. It’s a journey and a life altering event. I feel this is the biggest moment in a women’s life and it deserves respect and support. How a woman views her birth will stay with her forever.

wildfire evacuation birth story

Tayla Malott Bio

Tayla is a 34 year old paramedic firefighter full-time and I have my own business called mamasaurus. I am a certified birth Doula, childbirth educator, IBCLC, one of Canada’s only spinning babies parent educators and a few other things! I live in Fort McMurray Alberta with my husband who is also a firefighter/paramedic and our 3 crazy and beautiful boys. Hoping to have one more!

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Ergobaby is dedicated to helping families bond, grow, and thrive by creating premium baby products where function and quality are not compromised. Ergobaby has created 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. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet.

Switching from Hospital to Homebirth During COVID-19

At 30 weeks, Megan changed her birthing plan from a hospital birth to a home birth after finding out she might not have any support person (including her partner) in the room due to Covid-19. At 39 weeks, after 26 hours of labor, Megan welcomed her baby girl into the world with a blissful water birth in her home.

Megan Halicki Bio

Megan is 23 years old from Astoria, Oregon. Labor doula @north star doula service. Social media: Instagram @megzhalicki

Resources

Britax

Wondering about what to expect at a Car Seat Check? During today’s episode Sarah Tilton, Britax safety advocate, explains how caregivers can best prepare themselves for a successful car seat check. NOTE: In light of most car seat checks being closed around the country, Britax is offering 1:1 Virtual Car Seat Checks with Sarah Tilton, Child Passenger Safety Technician and Certified Instructor. If you’re interested in this FREE service for your car seat (any brand welcome!), please complete this questionnaire to set an appointment:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VirtualCarSeatCheck.