Birth Story: On Giving Birth Where You Feel Peace with Martha Henon

Show Notes:

[2:14] Our Reviewer of the Week, Cakes3054, "I am 35 weeks pregnant and just discovered this podcast last week. OMG I have been binge listening and have learned so much already. You ladies are amazing and I’m really hoping to get the birth I have envisioned this time around with my second. Thank you so much for all the information and all the tools you are providing to achieve our birth related goals!"

[3:01] Our guest today is Martha Henon, a mom of 2 and both of her birth experiences were at home! She is from Kentucky and a yoga instructor!

[3:46] Martha talks about the differences between her two pregnancies. She didn't find out the gender for either. 

  • 1st Birth (Daughter Cora): no morning sickness; one provider; inflatable tub; cervical lip; GBS+
  • 2nd Birth (Son): morning sickness; midwife; no tub

 [7:46] Stephanie asks Martha why she decided to do a home birth even when no one in her life had done one before. Martha said she's always been kind of naturally minded and she wanted to give birth the most physiologically natural way. She understands that does not give some people peace, but it did for her to do it that way.

[8:05] She had a miscarriage before her first birth at eight weeks. She said, "I did not feel that that baby died. I felt like it was my daughter, Cora. She just left and came back. Like she was in a little bit of a hurry. When we conceived, she was like, "Okay, I'm coming down." My job was really stressful at the time. It was kind of bad timing. I ended up miscarrying, and she just kind of left. I remember speaking to her and saying, "Why did you leave?" Everything was fine, and I miscarried tissue. Then the next opportunity, my job had changed. I was working from home, and she came back. So that's just a different perspective. I don't hear a lot."

[12:20] For Martha, she just decided no fear that first pregnancy. She just remembers thinking, "No fear. There's no fear in this house about this. We're not having any fear surrounding the birth."

[12:46] Her second pregnancy experience was very different. She was very sick for 5 months of her pregnancy and lost a significant amount of weight. She talks about how she listened to the My Essential Birth podcast and felt that Stephanie spoke so normally about a home birth and a hospital birth. Martha feels that women who give birth at home can get very attached to the idea of a home birth being the best way to do something. She doesn't think that's true even after having a home birth herself. She said, "I think the best way for a mom to give birth is the way that's going to give her the most peace in the moment." She switched her midwife a little half way through her pregnancy because she felt more at ease with a different midwife.

[17:11] Martha asked herself, "Why don't I want to end up in the hospital?" It really came down to the idea of powerlessness. She was so afraid of being powerless in this moment where pregnant women are the most powerful form of human. In listening to the MEB podcast, she felt so much peace from birth stories of these women in this hospital setting, still maintaining their power.

[19:07] Martha had low iron levels, and she if they remained low, she would risk out of having a home birth. In order to get her iron levels up, she took Hemaplex and also organ supplements.

[24:30] She also felt that her second pregnancy was more intentional with her mental state. She did a lot of meditations and connected with the baby. She also would get into the freestand tub and practice how she wanted to give birth. 

[30:23] Martha walks through the first contraction to birth for her son. Her water broke at 39.5 weeks.  She labored for a while in the tub but started to feel like she couldn't do it. Her midwife suggested she get out of the tub and push on the toilet. She tried pushing but ended up listening to her body and stood up. When she did, his head came out and she had her midwife hand the baby to her. She ended up hemorrhaging and needing four stitches. 

[44:14] Martha talks about how she did not have support for her home birth. Her mother did not support it, and Martha told her she was not allowed in her birth space because she was going to bring too much fear with her. 

[46:48] Martha shares her best advice: "For birth partners, it would be to both have faith in the birthing woman, but also give her space. You want to simultaneously encourage her that she knows what she's doing, her body knows how to do this, right? But also giving her space to make the decisions she needs to for her birth experience. 

For pregnant women, don't be afraid. Decide not to be afraid. Don't let the fear control you either. Nutrition is a big one. Eat your organs and eat your collagen. Don't skimp on the good stuff. When you're pregnant, it makes a big difference. 

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