Birth Story: NICU Nurse, Carly McMunn, Shares Her Unmedicated, Hospital Birth Story

Show Notes:

[1:11] Our reviewer of the week is Madi Mackley, and she said: “I started listening to the podcast as soon as I found out I was pregnant. My goal was to give birth at the hospital with a walking epidural, and I was hoping to be induced. After listening to every episode and learning every unbiased aspect of birth, my perspective changed, and I had an unmedicated birth at a birth center at 41 weeks and 1 day! I owe it all to this podcast and the My Essential Birth course for achieving the birth I wanted! :) Just found out baby number 2 is on the way and it’s time to start listening to every episode again!

We’ve had Madi on our podcast before, and she shared her birth story! You can listen to it here! Thank you to all of those who love listening to the podcast and who have left a review! 💜

While it's so important to be prepared for birth, labor, and delivery, at the end of the day, you need to get out of your own way! You can do all the things, but your body knows what it's doing and was made to birth your baby! Carly McMunn shares her birth story with us this week, and I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did!

[2:21] I have another My Essential Birth Course student with us today to share her birth story! 🎉

[2:30] Carly introduces herself, her husband, and her daughter, who was born in January. She identifies as a “crunchy” mom and how having an unmedicated birth was important to her. She currently lives in the Pittsburgh area. She is a NICU nurse, and her husband is a medical doctor! 👨đŸŧ‍⚕ī¸đŸ‘ŠđŸŧ‍⚕ī¸ They are both familiar with what hospital births look like but were very open to having a low-intervention, natural birth. 

[4:27] As a NICU nurse, Carly shares how she had to put aside her anxiety surrounding pregnancy and the birth process because she has seen the range of things that can go wrong throughout pregnancy. As part of preparation for birth, she had to compartmentalize her work and her own pregnancy experience. 🤰đŸŧ

[5:50] Carly enjoyed being pregnant and even misses it at seven-months postpartum! She didn’t experience many of the normal pregnancy woes, and she felt like her best self while pregnant! 🙌đŸŧ

[7:35] She had a midwife group that she had her eye on before she got pregnant. They are certified nurse-midwives with delivery rights at a large hospital in their area. She felt comforted that a NICU and operating room were available if they needed it, but they also were able to have a more holistic birth team. The best of both worlds! đŸ’Ģ

[10:00] She knew she wanted an unmedicated, low-intervention birth. Carly binge-listened to the podcast and came up with questions to ask each of the midwives in her rotation. She knew that hospital policy dictated what the midwives were allowed to do. đŸĨ

[12:16] Carly talked about her husband, Trevor, who is not as “crunchy” as she is. She started telling him how she felt about her birth experience and sending him podcasts to listen to. She had to bridge the gap between what she wanted and her husband’s Western medicine approach to birth. They hired a doula to be extra support, and she shared techniques with Trevor to support Carly during birth. They also took the birth course together, which was helpful in getting them both on the same page. 😏

[15:38] At 37 weeks pregnant, Carly and her husband got COVID. 😷 Her doula called and told her that the hospital changed their visitor policy so she could not be present. She walks through the emotional rollercoaster of dealing with not having her doula. She ended up having a husband/doctor/doula combo!

[18:08] I ask about how Carly used her spirituality and faith to channel her anxiety and nervousness into a different head space. She shares about Scripture she meditated on, the Find It and Flip It affirmations she learned in the birth course, and also creating her own mantras. 🙏đŸģ

[20:54] I ask Carly what her preparation looked like for her birth. She had lots of ideas from the podcast and birth course. She took the 75g of protein a day very seriously and was intentional about her water intake. She shares what she did for her diet and exercise and how exciting it was for her. She drank the raspberry leaf tea and ate dates. She also shares books she read as well. She wanted to hear all the positive birth stories! 📚

[25:03] Carly shares what she did to alleviate her pelvic girdle pain. She encourages other mamas to see a pelvic floor therapist! She also used the birth ball and did the three free exercises from My Essential Birth. 🧘đŸŧ‍♀ī¸ 

[26:51] She lists the meditations and podcasts that she would listen to for pregnancy and labor. 🎧 She had a pregnancy essential oil blend that she would use. She did the miles circuit the day she hit her due date and one more time after that. 

[28:16] Carly walks us through her birth experience starting from the first contraction. She was surprised that her water broke three days after her due date with no other labor signs. She was also GBS positive and felt like the clock was ticking once her water broke. ⏰

[31:48] She had her first contraction, which she felt were like period cramps. She started to labor on her own with contractions six minutes apart lasting for one minute. She was in denial and tried to finish packing her hospital bag. đŸ§ŗ

[34:45] She continued to labor and started to rely on her husband to help her through. She focused on her breathing, diffused essential oils, etc. She described her contractions to her doula as: “...starts low back and wraps around to front. Worst pain is low across the abdomen. Can’t move during and definitely need to breathe and focus. Takes a little bit to recover after and the back pressure stays.” đŸ˜Ŗ

[37:10] Her doula came and helped take over for Carly’s husband. She did counter pressure and did the rebozo method. After noticing that Carly had started to push during her contractions, her doula said she needed to get to the hospital. 😅

[40:19] Carly knew she needed to get antibiotics for her GBS. She was already pushing with each contraction on her 27-minute drive to the hospital. 🚙 She was 7 cm by the time they got there and got her antibiotics. 

[42:35] Once her midwife got there, Carly felt a calming presence. She felt like her cervix dilation stalled at 7 cm because of the chaos of the car ride, but her body was pushing without her! 😭

[44:18] Carly was told that once the midwife came back, they would have to talk about other options if she didn’t make any progress because she was experiencing fetal ejection reflex before she was fully dilated. She and her husband were left alone for a few hours and changed positions frequently. She made a cheat sheet of positions to try for each stage of labor for her husband to reference. 📝 The most intense part for her was trying to fight the urge to push while her body was bearing down.

[46:15] Her husband made her get in the shower where she sat in the deepest squat that she could. When she returned to the bed, she felt her baby turning. ↩ī¸

[47:11] The midwife returned and baby’s head was crowning. Carly finally succumbed to pushing and was able to watch her baby be born. Once she actually started to push, it only took five minutes for her daughter to be born. 🤱đŸŧ She had cervical tearing because her body wanted to push before her cervix was open. They were able to repair it without needing to go to the OR.  

[50:03] Carly talks about the amazing experience it was to have her baby on her chest and the love she felt come over her that made the last several hours of labor seem like minutes. đŸĨ°

[50:58] What’s your best advice for new moms? Prepare and find a birth team that you can fully trust! In the end, know that your body knows what to do! Carly felt like she was studying for a test with all the knowledge she tried to attain, but the thing she had to do was get out of her own way. Knowledge is power, but don’t sweat it! Your body knows what it’s doing! 🤩

I feel such gratitude for Carly for sharing her birth story. I know that this will help so many women and empower them! I love that she shared her wisdom and everything that she did to prepare for her birth. 💜

To Leave a Review â­ī¸

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  5. Select “Write a Review” and tell us what was the most amazing, comforting, eye-opening thing that you loved!

ALL the best,


Links Mentioned:

My Essential Birth Course

My Essential Birth Instagram  

Episode 142: Birth Story: Madison Mackley's Unmedicated, Birth Center Birth

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