Innate Wisdom Podcast

Season 1 | Episode 9

Everything You Need to Know About Home Birth with Katelyn Fusco

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What It's About:

Today's episode features Katelyn Fusco, a homebirth mother, a childbirth educator, experienced home birth attendant, and the host and creator of the Happy Home Birth Podcast. She has dedicated herself to providing support, education and encouragement to those seeking to give birth at home through her podcast and comprehensive childbirth education program, Happy Homebirth Academy. If you’ve been thinking about home birth or just want to become more empowered in the birthing process in general, regardless of where you’re choosing to birth, this episode is for you.

Listen to hear more about:

- The history of birth

- Birth as a social and community event
- Your partner's role in your labor & delivery
- The fetal ejection reflex (FER)
- Second births versus first births
- The transition to mother & father
- Birth as a bonding experience
- Risks of birthing at home versus elsewhere
- How to know if homebirth is right for you
- How to choose a midwife
- Katelyn's homebirth story


[00:00:00] Loren: Thanks so much for coming on, Katelyn. I'm so excited to have you. We've talked before, I've been on your podcast, the Happy Home Birth podcast, and it's an absolute pleasure to have you on here. You share so many amazing stories of women having their home births and it's just so inspiring and really reassuring to anyone who is considering this type of birth, and I would just love to introduce you to all the listeners here. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what led you on the path you're on today? 

[00:00:30] Katelyn: Yeah, definitely. Well, it's a huge honor to be here, Loren. I, like, jump at the idea of getting to talk to you at any time because my mind is always blown by what you have to say. So I'm really excited to be able to have this conversation.

But yes, to those who don't know me, my name is Caitlin Fusco. Like Loren said, I have a podcast, the Happy Home Birth podcast. And the way that I got there is like most things, I feel like such a twisty turn-y adventure. But really when it started was I started working as a student midwife. I had decided from lots of other decisions led to me realizing that, “Oh my gosh. Birth is amazing. It is the most incredible, most empowering thing that can happen to a woman.”

 And I don't even mean just home birth. I just mean birth. However it happens, oh my gosh, it's life changing, life altering. And I realized that. So I went down this little road, ended up being connected with a midwife who was a home birth midwife, who later became my home birth midwife.

But she was incredible and she breastfed in front of me, which was the most at the time. It was like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. Like I'd never seen somebody breastfeed. So she was just opening up all these doors and I was just hooked. So I was kind of experiencing, this was before I had children, so I was experiencing this taste of like what motherhood is and then also what midwifery was.

And it was just all of the amazing emotions. I was able to go to a home birth with her of one of her other apprentices, and that's when it clicked. I mean, it was just like, wow, I can never unsee the most glorious event that I've ever witnessed. You know? It was just, standing, crying in the corner. I was literally no help.

I just was watching this scene unfold in awe. The mom just roared her baby out on the bed in hands and knees with her two year old right beside her face, like looking at her doing it. It was just so empowering. So I started working as a student midwife with this midwife attending births. I became pregnant with my first, when I was apprenticing, so I got to go through my pregnancy while being an apprentice and caring for other moms. So that was a really neat experience, getting to kind of feel what it was like on both sides. I did give birth to my daughter at home with that midwife, and then once my daughter hit toddlerhood, my midwife happened to be moving at the same time. I tried apprenticing with another midwife locally who's a wonderful midwife, but it was just really clear like, okay, this is actually time for me to step back for now.

I need to be at home with my daughter. Being on call and taking care of her at that time was just like, this kind of outta the question for right now. So I just focused on being a mom to her the best that I could.

And then about a year later is when I started feeling this like creative itch of there's gotta be more information. I saw so many clients that had the same issue, and that was that they felt isolated for giving birth at home. Less than 2% of moms give birth at home. That's less than 2% of moms give birth outside of the hospital.

That's birth centers and things like that. So the amount they're actually giving birth at home, it's pretty small. That's a very isolating feeling sometimes when you don't know anybody else around you that's making this decision. So I thought, well, I could bridge that gap, I guess. So I started creating resources for home birth mothers to have support, education, encouragement, community, and that's where the Happy Home Birth podcast came from.

And so I started it when I was pregnant with my second, so it was really cool. Once again, I feel like I'm like doing the learning and the creating at the same time where I'm listening to all these amazing birth stories and learning all of these new perspectives while growing life. And then when I gave birth to her, I was like, oh, I have all these new experiences that I've learned about to draw from, and I had gave birth in a very different way, it felt like from my first. Both glorious and amazing, but it was just such a different experience. And so once that happened, childbirth education for home birth mothers really became the focus of like, okay, we can do this and we can feel so empowered doing it, and we can really capitalize on the fact that this is a rite of passage.

So that's how I've gotten to where I am. 

[00:05:12] Loren: Oh man. That's amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I love hearing everyone's story about how they got to where they are. Cause usually, especially if you're in the wellness space, usually there's a very personal aspect to the story and how our paths have unfolded and so that's beautiful.

Really beautiful to hear that. And I think the work you're doing is really important. I agree that there's not a lot of resources out there for, I think birth in general. Yeah. But to be able to support these women in that way is amazing. So thanks for all of your work. 

[00:05:49] Katelyn: Thank you.

[00:05:50] Loren: Yeah. So let's talk about home birth.

This is your specialty. And I think a lot of women, especially in the past two years, for various reasons, whether they feel more called to give birth at home, whether they feel more called to give birth at home because they feel like it's a safer space. I would be really curious to see, I don't know if you know, but, if there's been an increase in home birth over the past two years.

[00:06:16] Katelyn: So in my state, I'm in South Carolina.

In my state alone, there's been 117% increase in home birth. Wow. Yeah. from 2020, so short period of time. And it's just, for me, I'm like, well, it's about darn tootin’ and time, but, you know? 

Loren: Yeah. But yeah. well, that's incredible. 

And I guess on that note, Can you talk a little bit about the history of home birth or birth in general?

How home birth has sort of been less of an option in this sort of modern era, but it's making it comeback. It's making it comeback, obviously. So let's unpack that because that means it was a thing previously. Mm-hmm. And I would love to know the history of birth and the history of home birth as well. If you could share some of that.

Katelyn: Yeah, okay. It was a thing for, all of creation up until about the early 19 hundreds, late 18 hundreds, early 19 hundreds, and this is home birth in the United States. So if we look at other cultures, other countries, their experiences, a lot of them are vastly different, and they have maternal and infant mortality rates to show for it. And you might think like, oh, well they're probably worse. Uh, they're not. So what's interesting is, like I said, from the beginning of time, we've been giving birth at home with midwives supported by a community of women typically. So birth was sort of a social event for a lot of people. So it was your aunt, your mother, your sister, all of these people seeing birth.

And so by the time you were actually at the age to give birth, you've seen it happen a number of times. You've seen your sister give birth on her hands and knees, and you've seen her catch her own baby, but then what happened in the late 18, early 19 hundreds, hospitals became a thing and doctors, especially in the United States, realized like, wait a minute, we could probably capitalize on birth.

And before they were not interested in like attending births and being involved in that. That was like a family thing. Like, Ugh, gross. Like keep it at home. But then they realized like, wait a minute, there's probably money in here. So it became a smear campaign against midwives, actually. And there are a lot of pictures, I mean, you can look online. There became this smear campaign where it would be like midwives, they're uneducated, they're filthy, they're just like disgusting, horrible people. They're witches, they're all of these negative things, and they would like show in pictures on newspapers and stuff like these scraggly faces and act like they're just, why would you ever wanna give birth in such a way? 

You need to come to this new facility, you need to come to this new hospital, give birth safely with a doctor. And so it was around that time where the perspective of what birth actually was started to change. So it changed from this normal physiological event that happens to everybody. It’s very normal. It's beautiful. It's amazing, became that to this is something that needs to be managed. This is a pathology. This is concerning and you need me, Mr. Doctor, to take care of you and you don't know anything about this. You are not educated. I can't remember which movie it is, but he is like, no, no Dia, you are not qualified.

So like, so that's kind of like the way that it was. Like all of a sudden women aren't qualified to know anything about their bodies. A doctor needs to take care of them. It got to the point where they were strapping them up and having to use lamb skin around their wrists. They were drugging them so heavily, but if they didn't use lambkin, then there would be these horrible bruises and things, and the husbands would start asking questions.

Cuz of course, obviously your husband is not in the hospital with you knowing what's going on. And what's really sad is a lot of the medication that they were using, it wasn’t actually preventing pain. It was preventing the memory of what was going on. So these women were like wild animals tied to bed posts.

Giving birth and just the absolute opposite of what had been known and what is physiologically appropriate in the United States especially, we really lost connection with what is normal, what is birth, what does it mean to transform into motherhood? We lost that experience and I think that like in a lot of other realms, right now, we're kind of digging back and being like, wait, hold on a second. 

Like, is this the way it's supposed to be? Or are we missing out on something absolutely vital, and I think that that's what's happening now. There's been such a resurgence. You know, I think about the eighties, the nineties. I was born in 91 and my mom had all three of us by a C-section, and she did not want to give birth.

I actually did a birth story with my mom and she was terrified. She wanted a C-section. She preferred abdominal surgery over giving birth because she was so scared because she didn't think that her body could do it. And she grew up believing that. And so for me, when I was growing up, I thought, oh well I'll definitely have C-sections cause I can't, like I can't have babies.

It's not connected to anything. It's just a story that we've been told that's not real. Obviously it's not real or else we would not have survived as a human race. So now people are starting to really dig into it, I think, I've noticed, and the rates, like we said, they're, especially in these last couple of years where just more and more questions are coming up as to like, okay, well why are we doing things the way that we're doing them?

Is this the way it really needs to be done? More people are choosing home birth.

[00:12:14] Loren: Yeah. Wow. Thank you so much for elaborating on that. Yes, I have seen those photos of women, you know, in the early 19 hundreds, maybe 1910 or 1930s, and the sleep, it was called Twilight Sleep, right? Yes. Oh my goodness. Yes. And so yeah, we've evolved past that too.

So hospital birth is not Oh, for sure. Yeah. Like that anymore. It's not that. But it's so interesting how we went from one sort of very long history of giving birth at home to this completely drastic other extreme, and now we're kind of like finding our way back somewhere in the middle again, that's how it goes with a lot of things in general.

We go from one extreme to another and then the really right answer can be a lot of times in the middle. 

[00:13:02] Katelyn: Exactly. Exactly, because you know, there have been so many benefits. In medicine, obviously from the early 19 hundreds, there are so many things that can be cared for in the hospital regarding birth, when it does become pathological.

Mm-hmm. The concern is that, It is not in and of itself a pathology. It is not in and of itself a medical issue. Sometimes medical issues come up and great, I'm glad we have a place for that. But in the past it's like, okay, we've just decided this is a medical problem. When, for generations before, it's never been considered a medical problem.

[00:13:54] Loren: Right. Yeah, I completely agree , and we shouldn't be pathologizing normal physiological functions like birth when the need arises, I'm very grateful for the fact that other interventions exist. I think you mentioned you had two home births correct. So I would love to hear your story and you know, if you could talk a little bit more about what a home birth is like.

[00:14:03] Katelyn: As I mentioned, kind of alluded to earlier, both of my births were two really different experiences. With my first, I was so excited at the prospect of giving birth, which is huge. I think that a lot of times right now, even moms who are wanting to embrace the idea of giving birth physiologically. There's still that element of kind of scared or nervous. For me, I wasn't really scared or nervous. I was so excited, like, oh my gosh, it's finally coming. I almost was kind of wishing away the time those last few days because I just wanted to experience labor so badly. And that led to me making some decisions like going for a five mile run to try to induce labor, things like that, that looking back, I'm like, yeah, I would never do that again. But I was so excited and, and it really ended up causing a very long, early labor and just a longer labor in general. I think if I would've just sat on my hands and waited for it to happen on its own, instead of really pushing to encourage it, I probably wouldn't have experienced the long labor that I experienced.

And then the other issue along with that was that I so desperately wanted it to be a party. Like, I don't know what. I think it's because I have a friend, now she's had seven children, and she always invites a bunch of people to her birth and that's who she is, and she can do that. She let me come to her birth three months before I'd had my first baby.

It was a party. There were like 11 people in the room. It was amazing. So I thought, well, I could be like that too. And it turns out, spoiler alert, no I can't. It was also in December, and so I wanted it to be like a Christmas party. So I had my midwife and all of the apprentices, everyone attending the birth wear their pajamas, and I had hot chocolate that was made for them.

So that was all the setup. It's cute and funny to think back on. It was a long labor, and one of the things that my husband and I talk about and really try to educate on now is that we thought we were on the same page. We thought that we knew what was going to happen between one another and we had not actually talked about it.

So we had taken a childbirth education program together. But we had not considered like, Hey, what are you gonna need from me in labor? And like, Hey, this is what I think I'd like for you to do for me during labor. Never had that conversation. He thought, well, you're a pro at this. Like you live and breathe this stuff. You've got it. 

Like, he's like trying not to get in the way, but I really wanted him to be like, an essential part of what was going on. So we kind of missed each other on that, and we learned from that and totally changed it for our second birth. It wasn't like, oh, and it just ruined our relationship. It was just like, oh, that was kind of a missed opportunity.

So I like to mention that because you may think that you're on the same page, but you really need to sit down and and have a conversation. So I went into labor at like nine something early labor, like nine something on a Thursday. It actually like hit a ton of bricks. Once it started, I was having really intense contractions and I started feeling really nauseous, started throwing up, and so I was like, oh my gosh, I'm gonna have this baby in no time.

This is going really, really fast. And then as soon as everyone arrived at my house, it just totally petered out. Like I said, I do think part of that is probably related to me trying to encourage labor. The other part is that my uterus needs peace and quiet and just total alone darkness, just like every other mammal, believe it or not, you know, like surprise.

So Thursday night, then I ended petering out for a while and I didn't have her until Saturday morning at like two 30 in the morning. So it was a long experience. Yeah. I went to the chiropractor in between during that. So on that Friday I went to the chiropractor and he, he told me later, he looked out of the window as he was adjusting somebody, he was like just getting somebody on the table and he was like, “Um, someone's coming in and she's in labor.” Like he didn't even know. He just saw me from the parking lot and was like, she's in labor. Can I just take care of her real quick? So I got my chiropractic adjustment, went home rested, then labor started back, and I just didn't want anybody there.

I knew at that point I was like, I don't wanna mess with this situation at all. Mm-hmm. So, waited to have everyone come until much later. What was interesting was once I began pushing, it was 11 minutes. I mean, it was so fast once she actually was in the right position. So looking back, a lot of this was that her head was cocked to the side, so inside of my pelvis, she was a little asynclitic, she wasn't perfectly lined up. Once she got lined up, she just shot through like a bullet. It was, I was like, wow, Katelyn, your pelvis is really amazing. Like this is awesome. It is. But it’s amazing. So, and I just remember my midwife and the apprentice, like I went from just like kind of being like calm and then I felt my water break, and then I was like, “Ahh!” and I knew intuitively, I put my hands down on my perineum and was the fetal ejection reflex. So it was happening my body was just, pushing, I had zero control over the mechanisms. It was happening on its own. And hormones are amazing. And I remember the apprentice turned to my midwife and she was like, is she really that close to having the baby?

Cause like it was just such a massive change. And Elizabeth was like, Melissa, my midwife. She was like, I think so Katelyn, can you feel the baby? And I'm just like, yes. Can't really say anything because I'm crowning. So she came out, it was amazing. It was such an empowering experience and really in a lot of ways what I needed, it was a gift that it was kind of a long, intense labor.

It set me up to know like, Hey, you can go through really hard stuff and you can still achieve something magnificent. And I just remember holding that child for the first time in my own home with Christmas tree behind me, twinkle lights, and just seeing her and just saying in my dolphin hormonal voice, like, here, here we did it just, ugh, just overflowing with emotion. That was my first birth compared to my second birth that was two and a half hours long, totally different experience. Wow, that's so fast. Just totally different. Some of the differences, I think that, well, number one, my pelvis had experienced this before and she had a little bit more room, I think at the top of my pelvis to get situated well.

And then I had just put together so many techniques that I now teach to others. But really, so much of it came down to mindset. And honestly, I would've been fine if it had been another long labor just because I was prepared and I knew that I was going to soak up the joy in every single moment of that labor.

And I think especially with those really, really fast labors, that is critical because if you're not willing to experience every moment of it, those waves can feel like you're like being pulled into a riptide. But if you are mentally there and saying like, okay, well I'm feeling this, either way I can choose to be present and be a part of it, or I can let it overwhelm me.

If you are able to have that thought, you can capture it and you can choose to enjoy every single moment and just be there. So that's really what I focused on. And then of course deep relaxation. And my oldest daughter was able to be there during the birth. I had my sister there watching her, so she was two and a half at this time.

And so she would kind of come in at different points and ask me how I'm doing and rub my belly and play and then go out and bake a cake with my sister. And then she was able to come in at the very end and she was putting her hands all in the birth pool, cause as the baby was being born, trying to touch her. And, what was so cool was I was convinced that this child was a boy, mostly because everyone around me was convinced that it was a boy. It was such a different pregnancy and labor, but my daughter was adamant that it was a baby sister. She just was so adamant. So when we pulled her up out of the water, and I have a birth video, I actually can send it to you and we can link it in the notes if you want.

We pull her out of the water and I'm still convinced it's a boy umbilical cord is in front of her. And so I can't see. So finally we moved the umbilical cord and I'm like, Janie, it's a baby sister. And she was like, “A baby sister, wished for”. Oh my goodness. That's so sweet. So, so, yeah. Totally different experiences, both so empowering and what I like to think of and what I like to remind moms is when it comes down to it, it really doesn't matter how it happens, you can choose the perspective with which you view your birth and your experience, and you can choose to be empowered by it. 

[00:23:15] Loren: Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for sharing your story. That's incredible. And I love the advice that you're sharing is really, it doesn't matter where it takes place. It doesn't have to be a home birth either.

It could be at the hospital, and I've spoken to many women who have had really empowering births at the hospital too. Maybe the ratio isn't quite so much leaning towards that, but it's really about perspective and kind of also going in. I think knowing your truth and being a really good advocate for yourself too is an important skill that can help in that situation too.

But all of that. Thank you so much. That's so beautiful. I loved hearing your story. Oh, thank you. Oh my goodness. It makes me so excited for mine.

[00:23:58] Katelyn: Oh good. I'm so, whenever I hear somebody just say like, oh, I'm actually excited, you know, that's the biggest thing. It's like, yes, we should be so excited about this.

You're only gonna birth this baby one time. Like, this is huge. This is massive for you and your child, and I just want you to be so joyful going into that, that excited anticipation. 

[00:24:23] Loren: Yeah, absolutely. And it's one of the most pivotal moments in, I think, a woman's life, but also the partner's life as well, father or whoever it is, cuz it's changing your world. Pretty much forever.

[00:24:35] Katelyn: Totally. I guess that it's really about how the two of you prepare as well, but I think that it facilitates, that's one of the things about home birth that is nice is that it does facilitate such a level of easy bonding. And I saw my husband become a father in the split second, you know, that it took for her to emerge, and that's something that is, yeah, sometimes not even discussed, but is so powerful is the experience for them too. Like this is their child just as much as it's mine and just how we get to relate to one another. He was right there. He had his hands with my first, I'm like squeezing his hands as this child is just like, pushing herself out of me. And with the second, like he's like over my shoulders and I can like feel his head, you know, right beside my head, watching as she emerges from the water.

It's such a beautiful bonding experience and I know that there are beautiful bonding experiences everywhere that people give birth, but yeah, being in your own space can really facilitate that. 

[00:25:43] Loren: Yeah. That's awesome. I would love to shift the conversation a little bit. I'm curious if you would have any sort of advice for a couple that's thinking about home birth or trying to evaluate their options right now and sort of guide them through how they can decide or figure out, at least at a high level, whether home birth might be right for them or maybe not so good an idea for them?

[00:26:06] Katelyn: Yeah. Oh, that's a great question. When we talk about just like the medical, like should you or shouldn't you? 90% of moms are low risk, 90%, and that's a really very conservative estimate. And if you are low risk, then statistically, you are a phenomenal candidate for a home birth, so that's 90% of us. Just off the bat, then we need to consider what you are actually comfortable with because just because I feel comfortable giving birth at home doesn't mean that you, Loren, will feel comfortable giving at home, and you do need to consider that because, if you are making a decision out of fear, how often does that go well for you?

Like, you know, like when I think of myself, I think of my business. I think of any aspect. If I am making a decision out of fear, whether it's I'm scared of the hospital, so I'm gonna have a home birth, or I'm scared of home birth, so I'm gonna have a hospital birth. It doesn't usually play out from a sense of empowerment.

So really considering like, okay, well, am I comfortable giving birth at home? Am I comfortable giving birth at the hospital? And then deciding what your risk tolerance is. One of the things that people wonder, and this is really related to like should you give birth at home or not, is the risks that come along with it.

And I so often hear like home birth, like, isn't that super dangerous? Isn't that super risky? But rarely do I ever hear, like, hospital birth, like what are the risks that come along with having a hospital birth? So I think that we really need to have a more well rounded discussion of risk and understand the fact that yes, there is risk in having a home birth.

There's also risk in having a hospital birth. I'm gonna give you like a little hint. There's risk in giving birth. It's not a 100% guarantee that everything's gonna go perfectly well and everyone's gonna end up perfect. That's not life. And gosh, I wish it were, I really wish that we could just say like, yeah, everything's great no matter what.

That's a lie. I could walk out of my house right now and something could happen that I'm not expecting. That's just not how life works. And birth is a microcosm of the macrocosm of life. So it's really more about deciding like, okay, what is my risk tolerance? What risks am I comfortable with? For me personally, I'm very comfortable with the risks that come along with giving birth at home.

I have an entire podcast episode, which it's episode 59 if we wanna link that in the show notes. But it's all about the safety of home birth, like what happens if something goes wrong, because that's always. The question, like what happens when it doesn't go 100% right? Because yeah, sometimes it doesn't go 100% right.

And so when I think through those things, I think about like, okay, well if it doesn't go 100% right at home, what are we going to do? Number one, midwives and midwifery care in general is so hands on during the prenatal care aspect, whereas the traditional OB route is typically a lot less hands on prenatally.

It's short in and out. You may not even know what doctor's going to be there when you give birth. You may have never met the person. Whereas midwifery care, it's way more about establishing relationship, establishing the benchmark normal for you and your baby, so that then we can see like, oh, hey, this is diff, your blood pressure has risen.

Let's figure out what's going on with that so that we can get it back in like a normal range. We can see the red flags in midwifery care, prenatally. And if something arises, then either we're gonna do something to shift it, or maybe you have become high risk at this point and it would be a good option for you to give birth in the hospital.

So there's a lot of that prenatally. And then the other thing is that because those relationships are so well established, when labor has begun, if there are any signs, and because midwives are so skilled in physiological birth as opposed to typically OB’s are much more skilled in the pathologies of birth.

So a midwife has seen hundreds and hundreds of physiological births. That means that when something is not within the realm of normal, it's an immediate like, “Oh, this isn't normal. Okay, we need to fix this. We need to problem solve here. We need to change situations.” So I'm comfortable with those things.

I'm comfortable with the way that a shoulder dystocia is managed at home. I'm, I know what midwives offer and provide, and I am comfortable with those things. For me, I'm less comfortable with the way that a shoulder dystocia is managed in the hospital. You know, I'm less comfortable with some of those things.

It's great if there is a super shocking emergency and it's a true emergency, that's great to be there at the hospital. It's also important to know that typically when there is an emergency at home that requires transport, you can get to the hospital, like you can always go to the hospital. There's EMS, there are things in place. 

But on that note, it's also important to know that the vast majority of midwifery transports that happen are due to maternal exhaustion. So there's a lot that can actually be done to prevent that. AKA don't run five miles to put yourself in labor, Katelyn. But yeah, so majority of those are maternal transport.

The rest of them. All of them are non-emergent transports still. Even if we need to go, because there is something wrong, it's a okay. Yeah, it's looking like it's time. What do you think? Are you ready to go into the hospital? Okay, well, let's get in the car and we'll drive ourself to the hospital. It's not like a ding, ding, ding, alarms going off, like the sky's falling. Sometimes. I'm not saying that's never happened, of course, things happen at the hospital, but that's how I have come to feel in my mind about it. Now, if you think like, no, I am not comfortable with that, even after looking at all of the statistics, even after watching all of the birth videos, all of that, then yeah, I mean, you don't have to be medically high risk to feel like you would feel better in the hospital.

[00:32:19] Loren: That's great perspective. That's really helpful. I think for sure, because everyone is so different and everyone has different risk tolerances and even that's very applicable to just different foods in pregnancy. That's something that I talk to a lot of my clients and students about, you know, if they're not comfortable with the potential risk that comes with eating deli meat. Okay, then let's heat it up. Or we can look for other alternatives to replace that protein intake. But it doesn't have to be so black and white either. I love that you described how there are options too. It's not just, definitely if you're going with a midwife, it's going to absolutely have to take place at home.

[00:33:00] Katelyn: Mm-hmm. 

[00:33:01] Loren: There’s this sort of side by side monitoring and it's really a partnership too. That's kind of why I, I, I really appreciate midwifery so much is because it's not this kind of turnsdial thing that happens when you go to the doctor, they're checking in with you, and you have this one person that you go to every time and it's more frequent and they really monitor you so that you have the best outcome for your situation.

That's really great advice there. And I think also the fear aspect too, as you started out with, I agree that if we're making decisions based on fear, it's usually not going to turn out well for us. And it also goes back to the mindset piece that you are also talking about earlier. If you think that the world's gonna fall around you, probably something bad's gonna happen.

[00:33:53] Katelyn: If I wake up thinking like, oh, this is gonna be the hardest day. Like, I know my kids are gonna be unhappy about this task we have to do, you know, that rarely breeds excitement in me and positive energy that they can then feed off of. It's the same with all of that. Like if we go into it thinking, well this is gonna be terrible. Like, well, yeah, probably so. 

[00:34:17] Loren: Yeah, absolutely. And another thing that I talk about often is sort of this aspect of manifestation. I think it's more so the manifestation of really how it connects to our emotions and sort of our cellular biology. Our body's listening to every single thing that we say, and if you're pregnant too, your baby's gonna feel those emotions too.

Mm-hmm. It can feel emotions from the moment it's conceived, and so it's really powerful to be able to regulate those emotions. Create the environment that you want, regardless of where it is, it matters what the environment that's going to make you feel the best and at peace. Mm-hmm. So thank you so much for sharing all of that.

That was really, really awesome.

[00:35:01] Katelyn: Oh yeah, of course. 

[00:35:05] Loren: So another question too for you, home birth, if you do go through a home birth, sometimes it's a free birth, so that's a different topic though. But how would you go about planning a birth, you know, your birth if you wanted to have a home birth? What's involved in that process? 

[00:35:21] Katelyn: Yeah. So I think that part of this starts off with, okay, what kind of care provider do I want to have? We think of a midwife, well, there are all kinds of different midwives. There's a certified nurse midwife, a certified professional midwife, a traditional birth keeper, radical birth keeper, you know, all of these different types of care providers.

So the first thing is to really think through, you know, what do I want my care to be like? What am I expecting to get from this? So it starts with you doing research and deciding what's best for you. Then once you are clear on this, I have another episode where I recently talked about how to choose the correct midwife for you.

But so once you are clear on what you want, then you can start looking for midwives in your area that jive with you. Obviously, we don't wanna work with someone who views birth totally differently than we do, and maybe you want someone who's very medical who's gonna offer you A to Z lab testing and a thousand ultrasounds and whatever.

So you need to find that midwife. You don't want somebody who’s not like that. You know what I mean? Like there's a midwife for every type of person. Now, recently, I have learned just through polling my listeners, that in a lot of areas there aren't as many choices. So obviously we have to work with what we've got and decide what we're going to do based on what we have available.

But really a lot of it comes down to like, okay, what is it that I want? Figuring that out first and then looking for a midwife that jives with you. So then once you have your midwife selected, you don't have to see an OB. You don't have to ever start down that path. You can, some people do co-care. Some people will start with an OB or see them at the same time as a midwife just to have like established care should they need it.

But you can just initially start off with your midwife and midwives are amazing. They educate on a level that typically you're not gonna be able to get within the hospital system, but, that doesn't mean that you don't have responsibility to educate yourself, and I think that that's something really important for everyone to recognize is that you ultimately are the responsible party in your birth.

Whether you want that responsibility, whether you like that responsibility, doesn't really matter. You are the responsible party, and that means even if you hire an obstetrician, even if you're going the typical hospital route, please don't give your power away to somebody else just because they're wearing a white coat.

This is still your birth and you still know your body and your baby better than anybody else. So to say all of that, a lot of this comes down to education. It comes down to preparing yourself the best that you can prenatally, so that once you're first set up with different options and tests throughout pregnancy, you can decide, do I want this or do I not want this?

Why do I want it? Why do I not want it? You can be informed on the things that are going to be offered to you. You can be informed on your options as you go into labor. So a lot of it is reparation, it's education. And then of course we can talk about nutrition, you know, preparing yourself, hopefully preconception, and then carrying that on into your pregnancy.

Nourishment is one of the best ways to prepare. It just is. If you are nourished, fully nourished in your body, then your body has what it needs to go through pregnancy and labor, and obviously those are very intense bodily activities. That's a lot to ask of ourselves to do. So being able to support your own body in that is massive.

So you're finding your care provider, you are educating yourself. If you are choosing to have anybody else, like a doula present, you're finding them. And like I said earlier, really working with your partner and, because this can be an event that brings you together like nothing else. This is such a transformative event for the both of you and for you to be a team going into that and for you to feel so confident in what the two of you have done to prepare,vIt's magical. It's amazing. 

So doing that, and then once again when it comes to education with that partner of like, what are we going to decide to do as parents? Some, some of those early decisions that you have to make for your baby. Talking about those before you get there so that we're all on the same page and there's no like, wait, what, you know, like as soon as the baby's born and leading into postpartum, making sure that you're on the same page for postpartum.

Making sure that you have in your schedule rest for a long time, and taking that super duper seriously. Making sure that you have boundaries established with friends and family understanding that this is your baby, and whether it's your first or your fifth, if you're breastfeeding, like you need to be breastfeeding your baby, you need to be bonding with your baby, skin to skin.

We're not passing the baby around the room all the time and those kinds of things, like just figuring out those boundaries beforehand. It's actually really fun. It's really exciting. It can invoke so many emotions of excitement and joy just doing that preparation. If we see it as, wow, this is like a really positive, incredible experience that we get to have and we get to prepare.

[00:40:58] Loren: Yeah, absolutely. I think those pieces of advice are so solid, especially the education piece. I think that that is so important in all aspects of life too, and I see that a lot working with many women, men as well a lot of the time, I don't really want to describe it this way, but it's almost like this, like you mentioned, just passing off the ownership to somebody else.

When in reality if we are doing that, we're really not going to ever truly be super empowered to know our truth, to advocate for ourself to actually know what our body needs, and so, informing ourselves, becoming educated is one of the most powerful things we can do because if we know our truth, that can be our North Star to guide us and we don't have to worry about really anything.

It kind of takes a weight off our shoulders because we know that we're going to be guided on the right path regardless of what's being thrown at us.

[00:41:54] Katelyn: And that's the meat of life anyway, right? Like that's really the nectar of life is learning more about yourself, learning more about this world that we live in, that we get to experience every single day.

It doesn't have to be this, ugh, grueling, painstaking, like, oh, now I've gotta go do childbirth education. No, this is amazing. This is awesome. We get to learn so much, we get to experience every single moment and we can capitalize on every single moment, just like with labor. 

[00:42:27] Loren: Absolutely. Absolutely. And the sort of preparation piece too, you mentioned as far as with your partner, just understanding where his head is at, where your head is at, talking about those things even the way you're gonna raise your child can be a good idea to start doing earlier than later because you might find that things clash a little bit. And so figuring that out sooner than later will be easier in the postpartum period, and that's when you really want to rest. And sort of having that preparation can really allow that to happen.

And I will just make a plug to really start building your community and meal prep if you can, because you will not be upset that you did that. 

[00:43:13] Katelyn: Totally agree. Maybe invest in an Instant Pot for you to throw meal prep and then throw it in the Instant Pot. Let it go like that is. Yes. Or the crock pot, whatever.

But yes, I totally agree. I really recommend six weeks of just intentional time with your baby. You never get those six weeks back. Like, would you ever regret six weeks of intentional time with your baby? No. It seems so hard in the moment. It's like, oh my gosh, six weeks. I'm just gonna lay here for six weeks, or what am I gonna do?

Just spend that time. You will miss it, you'll miss it so much once it's gone. 

[00:43:55] Loren: It'll go by faster than you think, for sure. Mm-hmm. Well, thanks so much. That was really great advice. One of the things that I would love to talk to you about is if a couple has decided that they want to pursue a home birth, what are some of the questions they should be asking their midwife to determine that they're the right practitioner to support them with their desired birth outcome?

[00:44:17] Katelyn: Hmm. There really are a few key questions and then dependent on what you want, you would be able to kind of ask more in depth questions. But some of the main things are understanding what is your philosophy of birth compared to your midwives philosophy of birth? I think that's really the biggest one.

And I'll just give an example. You know, for me, I want a midwife who is hands on prenatally, who knows everything about what's going on with me, who's palpating my baby, who can tell me like, oh yeah, she is like right occiput anterior, left occiput anterior. You know, like she can tell me everything. But then once labor happens, I want hands off.

I want you in the corner watching from afar cheering me on until I need you and that's what I want. I don't want someone who feels like they need to like tell me what to do during labor. And you may be totally different. You may be like, no, I want someone who's coaching me through every contraction telling me what I need to do next.

I should try this position, that position. But finding out what is this midwife’s philosophy of birth? Is she gonna be comfortable watching me give birth? Is she gonna be comfortable with me catching my own baby? Understanding that philosophy. And then I would be wondering, okay, like what are your transport rates?

How often do you transport? What were the reasons for those transports? Because. She can't help. She's doing the right thing by transporting the transport is not really a failure, but I would just like to know a breakdown of like, okay, well how often does it happen? Why does it happen? We talked about maternal exhaustion is often times one of those reasons. So that one, you can know that and you can prepare for that. You can do the things to prevent that as much as possible. I would want to know about that. Of course, you can always ask like, well, what's your experience? How long have you been a midwife? Like, how did you train? What's your experience been so far?

How many babies have you caught? Those are great questions though. Not like I would choose a midwife that I loved and trusted and felt comfortable with, who's maybe a newer midwife versus someone who's been doing it a long time, but I'm like, Ugh, I don't feel like we're a good fit. But it's still a good question to ask.

You can ask, you know, are you comfortable with water births? Are you comfortable with me declining things? That's a huge one. For someone like me whose favorite word is decline, I wanna make sure that you are gonna be okay. When I say no, I don't want that. And of course there are tests like gestational diabetes.

Are you comfortable with me either declining or choosing something other than the glucola drink? Are you comfortable with me testing my blood sugar levels? Are you okay with me drinking orange juice instead? Finding out if she's flexible and if there are some things that she's not flexible with, knowing what those are up front and then deciding for you, is that a deal breaker?

For example, you know, some midwives are gonna say like, you have to have, for me, you have to have a 20 week anatomy scan, like that's how I feel. And if that's how she feels and you don't want a 20 week anatomy scan, then okay, well yeah, you guys probably aren't a good fit unless you're comfortable saying like, okay, well that's not that big of a deal to me.

I'll do it anyway. But finding out what her boundaries are, even if she were to say, okay, fine, I'll take you on, if she's not comfortable with the decisions that you're making, that's not gonna be good. She's gonna be in an uncomfortable place. I don't want that. I want a care provider who's like, yeah, Katelyn, that's awesome. You say decline, like, go for it. 

A lot of them would be like, okay, so if I get to 41 weeks and no signs of baby here yet, how are you going to handle that situation? What things are going to make you want to transfer care? Just finding out beforehand what are all of the things that you would be uncomfortable with so I can know beforehand, well, is this okay or not?

Like another one, we said gestational diabetes, but also GBS. Are you gonna be okay with me declining that test? Or if I get my results back and I have it, what's your protocol? All of those questions so much better to ask them at the beginning instead of waiting and then realizing just like we were talking about with your partner, like, let's find out beforehand so that we have time to work together and figure something out and share this decision making as opposed to like, okay, we'll do it.

And then later on down the road being like, oh, well I didn't know about that. And feeling in a tizzy at that point. 

[00:48:52] Loren: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Those are really, really great tips. I will definitely be re-listening to this and writing them all down. I hope everyone does that because those are really important questions that you don't wanna find out later on.

Or too late that you can't, because it becomes harder to switch providers at that point too. Right. And you want to be with somebody that's going to be able to support you in the way that you want to be supported, especially during the delivery. So that kind of energy you want to be right. And so great, great tips.

I love them all. One more question for you. Are there any home birth stories that you'd like to share that stand out to you in your mind that were super special, whether it's from your podcast or your amazing course? 

[00:49:40] Katelyn: Mm oh man. I, I honestly feel like every story that I listen to is just so special and unique and I guess that's what's so cool about it.

You just never run out like, oh, this is boring now. No, it's new life every time. And it happens so differently for each person. I think that one of my favorite births that I've actually attended was one of my good friends, her sister, who had struggled with fertility before. She really wanted to be pregnant, had struggled with fertility, had suffered a loss.

It was just super hard. Her husband had been deployed for a while, and then they conceived. She was all the way across the country at this time and then she found out that they were going to be stationed away, which is huge cuz they're like best friends. And so that was gonna happen like just a few weeks before she was giving birth.

So she moved, got all set up. She had thought that she had found a midwife that was going to work, but then once she got there, she realized like, oh, this isn't a good fit. So she ended up hiring a midwife in our town and she was a Happy Home Birth Academy student as well. So we were really close. We'd worked together and she came up in labor.

She drove, I think she actually had like a six hour drive. Wow. She drove in labor, rented an Airbnb that her sister had to get all set up while she's in labor, driving up, having to find a house for her. Cuz it happened earlier than we were really thinking it was gonna happen. She was so amazing. She just had the most beautiful labor.

Even with all of these like crazy things going on. She's giving birth in an Airbnb and I remember she just wanted to lay on the floor and I was putting such intense pressure on one of her hips. She's like lying on her side, so I'm putting intense pressure on her hip and she's like letting the hardwood floor put the pressure on the other hip.

It was just like the most interesting. That's just what she wanted for so long. She was not convinced that she was even really in labor when it was, oh my gosh, you're gonna have this baby up less than an hour, for sure. So then the midwife arrived probably 30 minutes before she had the baby. She gave birth with her husband.

He was like lying on the bed and she was kneeling in front of the bed. I just remember she just reached down and picked this baby up and the look of just, I mean, it was just the most serene face I've ever seen. Like all of the emotion, but also like the exhaustion just intermingled and just like the reality of what birth is, and that's what it is.

Like there's just this beautiful surge of emotion and then there's this physical, just you did something so physical. The most physical thing, I think you can do the most life experience I think you can have is bringing forth life. And just seeing all of that on her face was amazing. Just the most amazing thing.

So that one definitely sticks out as just, oh, such a beautiful experience for me.

[00:52:56] Loren: Wow. To be a fly on the wall.

[00:52:57] Katelyn: And actually, I will say that video is inside of our Happy Home Birth Academy video library, so incredible. Yeah. 

[00:53:05] Loren: Wow. Oh my gosh, Katelyn. Well, thank you so much. This was amazing. I can't thank you enough for coming on to talk about this topic.

You're so passionate about it and it really shines through and you're so informed and willing to educate others, and it's just really inspiring. So thank you so much.

[00:53:23] Katelyn: And well, I feel the same way about you, Loren, just so you know.  

[00:53:28] Loren: Oh, thank you so much. That means a lot. So where can people find you?

[00:53:31] Katelyn: Yep.

So Happy Home Birth Podcast is my handle on Instagram. If you just look up Happy Home Birth in any of your podcasting apps, you will be able to find information there. My Happy Home birth dot com is my website, and that's where you can find information about Happy Home Birth Academy and the Home Birth Collective, which is a new cohort that I'm coming up with. So it's gonna be like a prenatal cohort way beyond childbirth education, but really preparing for birth with a group of women and just milking that experience for all that it's worth. So yeah, you can just find me on my website, find me on Instagram. I'm happy to connect.

[00:54:15] Loren: Wow. Talk about community. That's awesome. I've listened to so many of your episodes. They're so inspiring, and your course is amazing. So if anyone's interested or thinking about having a home birth, definitely check Katelyn’s workout. It's incredible. One last question, I promise. This is the last one. If you could provide one single piece of advice for our listeners to take action on today, what would that be?

[00:54:39] Katelyn: Yep. I think that it really comes back to knowing that you are in charge, like we talked about earlier, it can feel easier sometimes to pass off responsibility to others, but that's really an illusion. You are in charge and that's beautiful. It's better that way. I promise it's better that way. And so just take full ownership of that.

When you take full ownership of the fact that you are in charge and this is your birth, this is your experience, then you get to accept all of the joy that comes with that. So don't be afraid, do research, feel empowered and know that this is your birth, this is your baby, and you can do it. 

[00:55:23] Loren: That's incredible. Beautiful. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Katelyn. Really appreciate you coming on, and maybe we can continue the conversation sometime again soon. 

[00:55:30] Katelyn: Believe it or not, I always love to talk about home birth, so I would love to. Thank you so much for having me, Loren. 

[00:55:36] Loren: All right, that sounds good. Thank you so much, Katelyn.

Talk soon.