Sharing a story of miscarriage and subsequent homebirth
After having miscarried in 2016, Karsyn became pregnant early 2017 with her first baby. She didn’t plan a homebirth from the beginning, but changed plans midway through her pregnancy and never looked back. After an uncomplicated pregnancy, Karsyn went into labor in her home eleven days after her due date. Five hours of early labor and five hours of active labor throughout her home and an intense fetal ejection reflex waterbirth brought her Phoenix. Though her pregnancy and labor were pretty ideal, she struggled with breastfeeding and getting Phoenix to gain weight. She’s currently feeding her son exclusively breastmilk and has worked hard to make that possible despite odds stacked against them.
Karsyn DuPree Bio
Karsyn is a blogger, integrative health coach and podcast host in Nashville, TN. She lives with her 3-month old baby boy, Phoenix, husband Collin and two dogs.
The Birth Hour
This episode was sponsored by Ergobaby. Ergobaby creates innovative solutions to meet the needs of today’s parents. With over 30 baby carriers in five different categories, Ergobaby is dedicated to building a global community of confident parents with smart, ergonomic solutions that enable and encourage bonding between parents and babies.
Unmedicated Hospital Birth Coping Strategies
After initially planning on receiving an epidural (due to fear of pain), L’America researched and decided to prepare for a natural, water birth instead. Her fear of pain was overshadowed by her fear of needles, delivery interventions, and the potential lingering effects on mother and child. By using alternative pain management options (nitrous oxide, hydrotherapy, birthing ball, counter-pressure, and aromatherapy) and having a very supportive birthing team, L’America had a 17-hour natural labor and delivery (which included only 28 minutes of pushing) without any complications!
L’America Brown Bio
L’America is the mother of 2 children; a 1.5 year old daughter and a 7 year old ‘bonus’ stepson. She has been married for 5.5 years to her husband. Instagram – @1merbelle Facebook – L’America Brown
The Birth Hour
Anthem—Future Moms program—Check with your insurance company
What to Expect Pregnancy phone App
Nurture Pregnancy phone App
Baby Nursing phone App
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!
This episode is sponsored by Ava Women. Wear the Ava bracelet while you sleep for effortless insight about your fertility, your cycle, and your health. Ava monitors nine physiological parameters and is clinically proven to detect the beginning of the fertile window in real time. You can use the promo code: BIRTHHOUR for $20 off each order at avawomen.com.
First Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story
Elise and her husband took The Bradley Method birth class to prepare for what turned out to be a marathon birth, 45.5 hours. After being sent home once from the hospital, Elise was finally admitted after 26 hours of labor needing some fluids and rest. Elise finally delivered her firstborn he next day on all fours unmedicated with her midwife, the NICU team, her husband, her birth photographer, and her mom all in the room. She found out she delivered a boy, Shepherd, just moments before having to hand him over to the NICU team for meconium.
Second Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story
Much like her first birth, Elise felt regular contractions early in the morning a day after her due date. She and her husband were determined to make her labor go faster than her previous birth by walking labor out and pumping frequently. Unfortunately, prodromal labor set in just like the previous birth and Elise was only 5cm after 27 hours of labor. After walking around the midwifery clinic twice, Elise went and checked into the hospital with her husband and mom. Her birth photographer showed up within the hour. Although laboring was almost identical to her first baby, the pushing phase was completely different. Elise progressed to 10cm within 3 hours but experienced shoulder dystocia as she started to push. Finally after 32.5 hours of labor, Elise’s baby was born and she found out she had another boy, Judah, before again having to pass him off to NICU for meconium.
Third Birth—Home Waterbirth Story
Although meconium was a real factor with the third baby, Elise was hoping for a quicker labor and no meconium. Contractions started in the early morning from nursing her 2nd son and they never stopped. Elise labored all day going to the chiropractor, resting, walking, and bouncing on the ball, but this labor was looking just as long as the previous two. She crawled into bed early that night trying to rest as much as possible but still needing to get up every 10-12 minutes to manage each contraction. The next morning she finally called her midwife, doula, and birth photographer to come over to her house. Her contractions felt so much more intense than her previous births with counter pressure or positions barely alleviating any pain. Elise sat at 7-8cm dilated for almost 4 hours but finally stretched to 10cm with consented help from her midwife. Elise moved to the birth pool and pushed her surprise baby girl out in 7 minutes. Thus, River was born in the water with no meconium after 31 hours of labor.
Elise Hurst Bio
Elise has 2 fiery sons and one spoiled daughter and lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, Josh. Elise is a speech-language pathologist by trade but has been a professional birth photographer for 2 years now with Elise Hurst Photography. In addition, Elise just recently founded and launched The Photo Regimen to inspire everyday parents and professional photographers to document their families more often in a creative way. You can connect with her on Instagram at either @elisehurstphotography or @thephotoregimen. Here is her photography Facebook page and The Photo Regimen’s Facebook page. You can find her website here.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
The Business of Being Born
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke
Why Not Home documentary
Birth Becomes Her
BabyGlimpse by HumanCode
This episode is sponsored by HumanCode. HumanCode is a personal genomics company that developed the first DNA-powered app, BABYGlimpse. It gives couples a fascinating preview of their children’s potential genetic traits ranging from ancestry to eye color to behaviors and preferences. They are currently running a promotion: 2 kits for $99.98! Visit BABYGlimpse.com to find out more.
Short birth story info
Lisa always knew that she wanted a home birth, but she never anticipated having a marathon labor that would require extra support, including visits to the acupuncturist, the chiropractor, and the hospital. She eventually delivered her perfect daughter at home after over 75 hours of labor with her superstar support team.
Lisa Redfern Bio
Lisa lives in Olympia, Washington with her husband, Mitch, and their 4-week-old daughter, Nora. They spend their days hiking with their dog, foraging for mushrooms, snowboarding, and raising their ducks and chickens.
The Birth Hour!
Pregnancy Forum on Reddit
And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives
Mama Natural pregnancy and birth affirmation cards
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Three Birth Stories
Before she met her midwife, Jessey assumed that her births would be long and full of complications. However, once she switched to a certified nurse midwife practice to birth at the hospital her goals were changed and fears diminished. Jessey has 3 births that all went smoothly with only a couple of minor exceptions. Each time Jessey’s waters were broken there was meconium in the fluid, which caused last minute changes to the water births she had planned. With her first daughter the tub was used for laboring (but not delivery), at her second daughter’s birth there was not time to fill the tub upon arrival, and her third daughter’s birth was technically in the tub, but not without a (literal) twist!
Jessey Christian Bio
Jessey is a mom of three girls, an aspiring birth doula, and a biomedical technician at an AMS facility. She and her family live in north-central Indiana and are very involved with their church community as Sunday School teachers and small group leaders. As a family they enjoy gardening, camping, and reading together. Her goals in life include becoming a midwife, learning to play the banjo, and keeping a rose bush alive. Connect with Jessey on Instagram @jjchristian her doula website.
Rainbow Relaxation video:
Free Birth Affirmation Printables
Her personal birth playlist compiled from several online
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Rachel Wilber’s Journey to Becoming Pregnant & Giving Birth
Rachel Wilber is a criminal defense attorney, alongside her husband of four years, in private practice. Three years ago she quit her job as a public defender to pursue health and wellness, in part because she was having difficulty conceiving. Intuitively, she knew that stress was likely contributing to her infertility, and that she needed to create balance in her life if becoming a mother was to become a reality. After three years of infertility struggles (including surgery, procedures, four rounds of IUI, and three rounds of IVF) Rachel finally became pregnant with her daughter.
She had a healthy and complication-free pregnancy, which slowly re-instilled the confidence she had in her body. Despite being advised against giving birth outside the hospital due to a scar on her uterus, she chose a birth-center at 32 weeks pregnant. After years of medical interventions to achieve pregnancy, her natural water-birth was the empowering, gentle, and healing experience she had hoped for. You can read more about Rachel’s infertility journey and her life as a mom to her daughter and two Great Danes at www.twodanesandababy.com or on Instagram @rachwilber.
Rachel shared a more in depth summary of her experiences, which I’ve included below!
Beat Infertility App
Business of Being Born
Ina May Gaskin
Rachel and her husband married in 2013 when she was 35 years old, so they wasted no time trying to conceive, literally starting on their wedding night! Six months later, Rachel saw her regular OBGYN to get the regular tests done to make sure everything looked okay since they had no luck up to that point. The tests all came back fine and the doctor simply told her to keep trying and that at 35, it could take a while.
Another six months passed with no success, and Rachel knew they needed more help. Up to that point, she had been tracking her ovulation, having sex on the right days, eating healthy, exercising, and generally doing everything she could think of to prepare herself for pregnancy. But at 36, and working an extremely high-stress job, Rachel knew she would regret it if she didn’t take drastic measures to lower her stress levels to allow her body to become pregnant.
So, in January 2014, she gave notice at her job (shocking her boss, colleagues, and husband), and enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Health Coach. During 2014, Rachel went through four medicated rounds of IUI and did acupuncture; she also saw a chiropractor, a therapist, a shaman, changed her diet, and generally tried anything and everything to conceive. But she never saw a positive pregnancy test. At the end of the year, Rachel and her husband knew it was time to try IVF after an HSG revealed that her left tube was blocked and her right ovary was missing due to a prior surgery in 2011 to remove a tumor.
They did their first round of IVF in February 2015, which resulted in only 5 eggs: all immature. The RE told them that all eggs being immature was rare (about 4 cases out of 1,000), and that alongside her other issues, Rachel had a less than 1% chance of success if they did another round with her own eggs. Donor eggs would provide a much more promising 60% likelihood of success, but it was a huge leap to make emotionally and financially and Rachel felt devastated by the news. She took the rest of 2015 off from trying to conceive, of course still holding out hope for a natural miracle, and slowly came to terms with the idea of using donor eggs. By the end of that year, Rachel and Ryan had decided that they could live without the genetic connection between Rachel and a baby, as long as Rachel still got to experience pregnancy and birth; so, they made the decision to choose an egg donor.
Choosing a donor is a whole story in-and-of-itself! But to make a long story short, the stars seemed to align, and when Rachel and Ryan met their donor at the agency, they fell in love with her and everything felt right. They did their first fresh cycle alongside the donor and that attempt failed; however, they succeeded in creating enough embryos to freeze for future tries, and on the second round Rachel became pregnant!
Pregnancy and Birth Story
Rachel’s pregnancy was strong and healthy from the very start, which was such a relief after so much disappointment! The anxiety of being pregnant after so much failure was still there, but with each successful doctor’s visit it started to fade away. In 2011, prior to starting fertility treatments, Rachel had undergone a myomectomy (surgery to remove a fibroid from her uterus) which was similar to a c-section. Her right ovary was also removed at that time. After that surgery, she was told that when she became pregnant she would have to have a scheduled C-section. At the time, she didn’t care and was fine with that idea. And while going through infertility, she was so focused on just achieving a healthy pregnancy that the type of birth she would have was the furthest thing from her mind. She never allowed herself to think that maybe she would have a choice in the matter. But the further along she got in her pregnancy, the more she realized she felt grief over the idea of losing the opportunity to give birth vaginally and to go into labor spontaneously. She wanted to share that experience with her husband, and something about the scheduled C-section just started to feel wrong. She started doing her homework (watching the Business of Being Born, reading Ina May Gaskin’s books) and decided she would ask her doctor about the possibility of what would essentially be considered a VBAC.
Rachel’s doctor looked at her chart and approved her to attempt a VBAC, although she cautioned her not to do a home birth and that she’d have to be monitored. Rachel was just thrilled to be approved so she didn’t argue! It spurred her on to do more research about VBACs and what would be the best way to try and avoid a C-section. After more reading, taking a Hypnobirthing class, and listening to lots of episodes of the Birth Hour, she was convinced that the best way to avoid ending up in a C-section was to avoid any and all interventions if possible.
At the start of her third trimester Rachel calculated her out-of-pocket estimate for the birth at the hospital and was shocked at the cost. She realized that it was only a fraction more expensive to choose a birth center, which opened her mind to that option. Even though it scared her, she consulted the midwives there and talked to her doctor about it; and, at 32 weeks pregnant she switched her care over to the birth center. The prenatal visits were night and day from her visits to her doctor! She immediately felt surrounded by love and that the midwives trusted her body to give birth. Instead of instilling fear in her about what could go wrong, the midwives focused her on what was going RIGHT with her body, and assured her that they were prepared should she need to transfer to the hospital which was only five minutes away. Rachel and Ryan took a birthing class at the birth center that was encouraging and useful. They also hired a doula for support.
When Rachel reached 39 weeks, she was feeling ready to have the baby and was concerned about doing everything possible to come as close to 40 weeks as possible. That week she saw an acupuncturist who specialized in pregnancy, and immediately after the appointment she lost her mucus plug. The next day at home, while on the birth ball, she started leaking amniotic fluid and was so excited, sure she would go into labor that night! She called the midwives and everyone was on alert, but all that happened that night was mild cramping. The next day she went to the acupuncturist again, but still nothing happened. That night, she and Ryan checked into a hotel close to the birth center (they lived 30 minutes away and wanted to be close by). She rubbed clary sage on her belly, did lots of squats and lunges, and still nothing happened. By the next day, she agreed with the midwife to check into the birth center to do a natural induction. At noon that Saturday, they checked in. Rachel’s water had been broken for 44 hours at that point and the midwife wanted to try and get things moving. She started Rachel on the breast pump and on cottonwood bark for a few hours. When that hadn’t gotten things going by 4pm, they decided to induce with castor oil. She had Rachel take a dose, walk for 45 minutes, take another dose, do more breast pumping… and by 8:30 pm, Rachel FINALLY felt her first REAL contractions. They stayed 4-5 minutes apart for about an hour: just enough time to call the doula, her cousin, and her birth photographer. By 9:30 pm, Rachel’s labor was full-on and extremely intense with no breaks between contractions,and it stayed that way until 12:45 am when she was fully dilated and ready to push. The tub was the only place she felt comfortable, and she spent almost her entire labor in the water. When it was time to push she got out briefly but almost immediately got back in ~ it was the only place that felt remotely comfortable.
Ryan got in the tub with Rachel and she pushed for two hours with Ryan behind her. After the first hour Rachel remembers feeling like she might die and that she was making no progress. She considered asking to go to the hospital or giving up, but remembered all the stories she had listened to and how the women had pushed through the pain and gotten their babies out. She embraced the pain, and decided that the sooner she pushed through it, the sooner it would be over. That thought somehow gave her the strength to push into the pain and use it as a guide. From that point forward, every push brought the baby closer to being born, and at 2:47 am Isla Grace came out and was placed right on Rachel’s chest. She started crying almost immediately and they all laughed because she sounded like a little goat!
After the birth, Rachel got out of the water and tried to birth the placenta, but it was soon obvious that there was a problem. The midwife gave her a shot of Pitocin, but nothing happened. After about 20 minutes the midwife gently pulled the cord to try and loosen the placenta, and the cord broke off. She leaned over Rachel and said to her, “I’m so sorry but you have to face your biggest fear today ~ I have to go in and get the placenta.” (At her last prenatal appointment, the midwife asked Rachel what her biggest fear was, and she told her it was a retained placenta. Somehow she knew it was going to happen to her, and it turns out she was right.) Luckily there was at least nitrous oxide available to help Rachel cope as the midwife went in and retrieved the placenta with her hand. The pain and fear Rachel felt during that procedure were intense and she remembers screaming into the mask while Ryan laid next to her on the bed holding Isla. Five minutes later, however, it was over and she wasn’t bleeding too badly. All she remembers feeling at that moment is relief that it was over and that she didn’t have to go to the hospital.
The midwives helped get Rachel and Isla all cleaned up and snuggled into bed, and helped Isla nurse for the first time. They spoon-fed Rachel yogurt and made her breakfast. The care they provided was loving and amazing! Rachel didn’t tear, and by 10:30 a.m. they were headed home as a family.
After the birth, recovery was fast and easy, which Rachel credits to her choice to give birth naturally and to the care she received from her midwives and her doula.
Earth Mama Angel Baby
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