[Birth Story] So Was It A Waterbirth?

Hailey McHone’s first birth was what her OB called “a textbook hospital delivery,” which came with an epidural-Pitocin combo, and, frankly, little consent. She talks with Adriana about getting more intentional with her wishes and choices for her second birth and ending up with a confidence-boosting, self-affirming, physiological experience that included a concoction of grape juice and papaya nectar, some much-wanted chicken nuggets, and waiting for her sister to arrive.

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[Birth Story] So Was It A Waterbirth?

Welcome to Birthful, Mighty Parent or Parent-To-Be. I’m Adriana Lozada and today we’re gonna be doing birth stories as part of our Birth Beyond the Clinical Experience series. 

So, my guest today is Hailey McHone, whose first birth was what her OB called a “textbook” hospital delivery, which came with an epidural-Pitocin combo, and frankly little consent, so during her second pregnancy Hailey got more intentional about her wishes and her choices, and that led her to switch to the care of midwives at a birth center. 

Now, one of the things that really stood out to me from Hailey’s second birth is how closely her experience matches Whapio’s Holistic Stages of Birth. Especially since Hailey had never heard those episodes and for example, she had no reference point for the Quietude or “rest and be thankful” phase that can happen between transition and active pushing. In fact, at that point, Hailey even thought that something was wrong with her labor because she felt like it had stalled. 

Also, see if you notice how when Hailey talks about her story when she was deep in Laborland— so while she was pushing and as her baby was born— how at that point she doesn’t quite remember those moments or even has a hard time finding words to describe it. And again, that makes total sense to me when you consider she was in such deep physiological non-thinking-brain states. 

Oh! And then at one point Hailey suddenly stands up, not really knowing why she did that, and then also after her baby is born, during that first hour after birth, there really wasn’t an urgency to get her placenta out.

So there are just so many similarities between Hailey’s story and Whapio’s Holistic Stages that you may even want to go back and relisten to the second of Whapio’s episodes on Holistic Stages after listening to this one. It might just blow your mind.

You’re listening to Birthful. Here to inform your intuition. 

Adriana: Welcome, Hailey! It is great to have you here on the show.

Hailey: Hi! Thank you so much for having me.

Adriana: My pleasure. Thanks for wanting to share your story. And you have two kids, but we are gonna focus on your second story. Before we do that: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Hayley: My name is Haley McHone and I live in South Carolina. I have two kids. I have a little boy named Oliver, and I have a daughter named Winter.

Adriana: Let me guess what season she was born in… 

Hailey: February! 

Adriana: My daughter’s from March, so I can appreciate it. That was my favorite winter ever, because I wasn’t cold!

Hailey: Yes, it definitely helps!

Adriana: Right? It’s so great. So take us back, just briefly. Give us a little bit of what happened with your son’s birth, so that then we can do a little bit of, you know, that journey that you’ve been through and how you prepared differently or what you did for your second birth.

Hailey: Alright. So with my son, I got pregnant when I was 17 and I actually had him when I was 18. So I was, you know, the more “typical” young mom. I didn’t really research into anything much. I just kind of went by what my OB recommended. His birth wasn’t what I would consider “bad” or traumatic or anything— it was a typical hospital birth. 

I wasn’t induced. I went into labor naturally the day before my due date, had the epidural and everything. One of the big red flags for me with his birth is that when I got the epidural, you know, they bring all your papers to sign and, I guess in there was a consent for Pitocin, and they started me on Pitocin without even telling me they were going to do it.

And when I asked about it, they said that I had signed the papers when I signed for the epidural. But his birth wasn’t bad. That was just kind of the “This isn’t right…” moment for me. But he was born and everything was okay. It wasn’t too bad, so…

Adriana: And it’s so interesting that you mentioned that, because I re-broadcasted Cristen Pascucci’s episode on Informed Consent and Refusal.

Hailey: It was actually that episode of yours that I listened to when I was preparing for my natural birth with my daughter that made me stop and go, “Huh! Something wasn’t right there.”

Adriana: Right, because informed consent is not a form.

Hailey: Yes, exactly.

Adriana: And it was a vaginal birth, right?

Hailey: It was a pretty fast labor, to be a first laborer. It was— from the time I started having contractions until he was out— was about eight hours. So for a first baby, it was pretty quick!

It was a “textbook” delivery, is what my OB called it. So it wasn’t anything… like, of course it was my baby, so it was special, but it wasn’t, you know, anything bright and flashy. It was just a normal hospital birth.

Adriana: So one of the things that I love to say is that birth can be very boring, and I like “boring” births, right? Because it means then it’s just flowing. It’s going, there’s nothing, it’s just happening. Yeah. 

Now, so you said you listened to the podcast I did with Cristen Pascucci. And it kind of clued you in like to, “Huh! Something was wrong.” Did you feel something was wrong even before listening to the episode?

Hailey: Yeah, you know, it was one of those, I actually had a family member that I was texting during the time that I was in the hospital. And she had texted me and said, “Don’t let them give you to Pitocin unless you absolutely need it.” And of course at that time they had already started it, but she’s a PA, so she’s in the medical field. And, you know, from that point is when I really started kind of researching after he was born about Pitocin and, you know, then you go down a little rabbit hole of hospital births. Which, hospital births can be great, but with certain providers that don’t always do the consent and some of the research behind out-the-hospital, birth centers, homebirth, and just kind of, you know, that whole long rabbit hole that you end up going down when you start researching stuff!

Adriana: Yeah, the research for place of birth is super interesting.

Hailey: Yes, it is.

Adriana: Now I’m still curious about this… So they gave you Pitocin. It was on without your consent. Did it stay on the whole time? Did it… Were you able to go, “oh, can you turn it off” after you realized it was on? 

Hailey: No, I was told that as long as they had the epidural and I was required to have Pitocin at the same time, which yeah, is not how it works now, but I know that. But… Which it kinda makes me mad ’cause I was progressing fine, clearly. I had him in eight hours! There… In my opinion, there was no need for Pitocin.

Adriana: And the whole idea of just cuz you have an epidural, you need the Pitocin. Those two things aren’t evidence-based.

Hailey: Yes.

Adriana: What other “a-ha” moments did you have, or what did the research give you?

Hailey: So I’m more of, like, a crunchy mom, I guess you would say? So, kind of, just talking with some of my friends that are the same, like-mindedness. And, when I started trying for my daughter, I actually started listening to your show and a lot of the stuff that I’d heard on there kind of leaned me towards— when I did get pregnant— the midwifery model of care. So I definitely think once I looked into that, I’ve realized that that was more for me, than the hospital setting.

Adriana: And let’s clarify that because you can have midwifery model of care at a hospital, so place of setting and care provider create all kinds of different variations and combinations, right? So, did you end up going midwifery care at home?

Hailey: I did a midwifery care at the birth center, and it’s interesting that you said that— the midwife I actually went through partners with our local hospital, so you can choose to do an in-hospital birth with her or the birth center. So you have both options there. So I know one of my friends was kind of nervous about being outta the hospital for first baby, so I recommended it ’cause you have… you can still have the midwifery model, but you’re still have this (I guess) comfort of a hospital for moms that aren’t comfortable doing it outside of that setting.

Adriana: So you switched to midwifery model of care, were at a birth center. Was there anything else that you did differently?

Hailey: I definitely tried to take care of myself more this pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, it was “I’ll eat whatever I want. I don’t have to walk. I’m just gonna sit at home and enjoy being pregnant.” So with this pregnancy, I definitely tried— you know, took all the vitamins I was supposed to, tried to eat a little healthier, be a lot more active, and I think that definitely helped with my labor and delivery, compared to the delivery with my son.

Adriana: So let’s fast forward to how labor started. Did you know that things were happening? How did it all start? 

Hailey: So we went out for my mom’s birthday. My mom’s birthday is February 24th, and at this point it was the day before my due date and I was getting a little antsy (to say it lightly). So I went to bed grumpy. I was like, “I’m gonna go over, I know it,” which is not the end of the world, but it’s not exactly what you wanna do.

So I woke up about two o’clock, and just kind of adjusted in bed, and when I did I felt like a little warm gush and I was like, “Oh, okay.” I guess I just had some discharge, well, I stood up because I had to go to the restroom, as you always do when you’re almost 40 weeks pregnant. And then it was a really big gush.

So at that point I was kinda like, “Okay, I think that was my water.” So I walked out to my husband, who was… had fell asleep on the couch watching TV, and I was like, “I’m pretty sure my water just broke.” And he woke up! He said, “Oh, okay. So I don’t have to go to work then, right?” So that’s pretty much how that one went!

We called his parents, ’cause they were gonna come watch our two year old. And they got there and they’re like, “Okay, great! So are you gonna head to the birth center now? What’s up?” And I was like, “You know… I should probably call my midwife.” For some reason that was an afterthought, but I called my midwife and she basically told me to go back to bed that if I wasn’t having contractions and the fact that I was laughing on the phone meant that I just needed to go back to bed, that I wasn’t far enough into labor.

One thing that kind of added a little bit of difficulty is that I was GBS positive. So, they wanted me to get the antibiotics after so long. So it was about 2:30 a.m. when I called her and she told me she wanted me in the office at 10:00 a.m. if things hadn’t picked up, to get that first round of antibiotics.

My adrenaline was pumping and I just could not go back to sleep. So we ended up going to Waffle House to have some breakfast, and then we finished at Waffle House and it was my husband and my mom with me at this point. And we went to the mall and started walking, ‘cause I figured, you know, maybe walking, we’d get something stirred up.

We walked until it was time to go back to the midwifery office. When I got there they were like, “So has anything picked up? Have you started having contractions?” And it was a definite “no.” So they wanted to get… check me, just to make sure that my water had broken before they started the antibiotics.

So she swabbed me. She couldn’t quite get it with the first one, so they had to put the speculum in to get farther back. Swabbed it. Of course it tested positive and I asked her to go ahead and check me while she was in there just to see, ’cause I was curious. I was at a one, which was kind of… to hear that was kind of disappointing.

Like, my water’s broken, nothing’s happening, and I’m at a one. So they told me, at that point… sent me over to get the IV started with the first round of antibiotics. It was… I think it was around 10:30 a.m. by the time they actually got it started and all.

Adriana: Where did they do it? They… You said “They sent me over.” Was it still at her office or did you go to the birth center or hospital?

Hailey: It was the birth center (and office was together), but she sent me from an exam room to… I guess it was just, like, a little IV room where they do all the blood draws and IVs and stuff. So I just sat in there until they finally got all of that pushed out.

Adriana: See, and that’s very different from what we do here. And that’s why it’s so important to know the nuances of the different practices in your area. Because if… So if you went in for GBS, if your water broke and you went in, I don’t know that there’s an office around us that would just do it in the office, give you the antibiotics and send you home! Usually it’s you come into the hospital and then now you’re there for the duration.

Hailey: Yeah. Once we finished the antibiotics, they gave me the natural induction techniques, which we’ll discuss more in a minute. But they basically told me, “Go do stuff and we’ll see you again in four hours.” So they kicked me out! They were like, “Bye! We’ll see you later,” which I was thankful for, ’cause I didn’t really wanna sit there all day, especially when nothing was happening.

Adriana: No, and I love that. I wish that they would do more of that, like, over here, just because if nothing’s happening sitting in the hospital or sitting… we don’t have a birth center, so sitting in the hospital is just, you’re being watched.

Hailey: Yeah.

Adriana: Or you’re walking around or it’s just annoying. But I think they don’t trust that you’ll come back in four hours is the problem.

Hailey: Yeah. But so when they sent me on my way, they gave me this little card with some natural induction techniques on it. Have you ever heard of “Midwives’ Brew”?

Adriana: So tell me about it.

Hailey: So it is a combination of… I’m trying to think exactly what was in it off the top of my head. I should have had it written down. It was the Welch’s, like, sparkling grape juice, castor oil, almond butter, the nectar stuff that you get in the little Hispanic aisle— the papaya, I think, was the specific flavor. And yeah, I think that was all that was in it!

Adriana: Okay, I’m gonna come back to you later to get actually what was in there, and so I can put it in the show notes, ’cause you said grape juice, nectar— the papaya nectar, almond butter, and then the castor oil?

Hailey: Yes. It’s a really weird mixture.

Adriana: It’s a very interesting smoothie.

Hailey: Yes. It wasn’t the best ever.

Adriana: Yeah. So you did it?

Hailey: I did, we went to Walmart and got all the stuff and I went back to my sister-in-law’s house because she was closest to the birth center. I didn’t really feel, because I was an hour from the birth center, I didn’t feel like driving all the way home. so I just hung out with her and she had had a baby two weeks before, so I got to play with her baby. And my son was there also. 

So I drank it at about… It was probably about 12:00 when we finally got home, and I got it situated and finished and was just hanging out. And then one o’clock hit and it went from zero to 10 within a matter of minutes!

Adriana: Oh, do you remember how much castor oil was in the dose that you took?

Hailey: It was a very, very small amount. It wasn’t even enough to make me go to the restroom. I didn’t use the restroom from that point until a week after I had my daughter.

Adriana: Well, that’s a whole different conversation!

Hailey: Yes. That wasn’t exactly healthy either, but yeah, it was a very, very small… I have a picture of the app tool/recipe on my phone somewhere I can send to you after.

Adriana: I absolutely wanna see your card!

Hailey: Yes, I will look for it when we are done here. But, once I take… took it, like I said, about one o’clock contractions finally started. And I was super excited. So I was supposed to be back at the birth center at 2:00 p.m., for the every four hours of antibiotics. So, me and my husband and mom headed back to the birth center to get the next round of antibiotics.

Told them contractions were finally starting. And they’re like, “Okay, great!” I think at this point they were four minutes apart, lasting for about 45 seconds, which is decent. I mean, it’s progress.

Adriana: Oh yeah, absolutely. You must have been so excited! 

Hailey: Yeah, it was. And they were at the point where, compared to the my in labor contractions, they weren’t that intense. And I guess my midwife knew that because I asked if they were gonna check me or send me down. She said, “No— you’re still smiling, you’re happy, you’re joking. You’re not ready to be here yet.”

So I was like, “Oh… okay.” So I did my next round of antibiotics, and at this point I was getting a little hungry again. So there’s a Chick-fil-A directly across the street from the birth center. So we ended up leaving the birth center. It was a little later, ’cause I had to wait in the waiting room, to get the antibiotics.

We left the birth center at about 3:15 p.m. and I was eating my nuggets when transition hit. And it hit hard and it hit fast. I’m sure all the lovely Chick-fil-A patrons were like, “Is this lady seriously gonna push out a baby while she’s trying to eat her nuggets?” Yes. I was going to finish my nuggets before we called my midwife.

So it was about four o’clock when we called her again. And I had to have my husband call her, ’cause I was at the point where I couldn’t speak on the phone and my contractions were a minute apart, lasting for about a minute. So they were pretty close together and pretty intense at this point.

Adriana: Totally on top of each other!

Hailey: Yes. I was getting maybe 10 seconds between contractions. So, yeah, that was fun. But, she was like, “Okay… so maybe it’s time to come back and we’ll check you and see about where you are.” 

Adriana: You were no longer smiling and chatty!

Hailey: I was not. I was kinda irritated at that point, but we headed back… Thankfully since it was just across the street, we headed back to the birth center, which I was up in the midwifery care waiting room. And we were up there until about 4:30 p.m. Like I said, they were busy. The midwife said they had a lot of last minute emergency appointments. So I was laboring in the midwifery, waiting room for about 30 minutes in transition.

I’m sure I kind of scarred some of the other ladies sitting in there, but when I finally got back there, she was like, “Okay, let’s just see where you’re at.” And I was like, “Please, please let me be more than a two.” So she checked me and she was like, “Okay! You’re at an eight, so we need to send you downstairs now.” So at that point, I guess I probably got another burst of adrenaline and I got super excited and it didn’t seem that bad at that point.

Adriana: And you had gone from… I’m trying to review my notes. When you went in for the antibiotics and they checked you, you were one centimeter at 10:00 a.m.?

Hailey: Yes.

Adriana: And now it’s, like, 4:00 p.m.— and you weren’t even in labor then, really, like, nothing was happening? And now it’s 4:00 p.m. around and you’re eight.

Hailey: Yes. I’m pretty sure I started dilating when contractions started at one. So I would say probably went from one to an eight, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Adriana: Mhm! Birth is not linear. 

Hailey: Yes.

Adriana: Just saying!

Hailey: Yeah. 

Adriana: So you went… Then they sent you downstairs to the birth center.

Hailey: They did. And I don’t know if this is common, I’ve never really experienced it before, but my body just kind of… like it… the intensity decreased a lot. Like, I was happy again. I was able… the contractions weren’t quite as close together. And I could kind of talk through them. I’m not sure if it was just the excitement of “She’s gonna be here soon,” or if it’s like my midwife kind of described it, as “laboring down” (so, to where I was super intense having to focus on getting through them). When we got in the room, I was relaxed— you know, joking again, it almost didn’t seem like I was in labor.

Adriana: Mhm. So did you ever hear the episode with Whapio on the Holistic Stages of Birth.?

Hailey: I don’t think I did actually!

Adriana: So— and this is something that she talks at length in that episode, but it’s something that I learned about in my doula training— of the “rest and be thankful” stage. Whapio calls it the Quietude, and it’s that time between when you’re done with transition and fully dilated to 10 but, but baby has still to rotate and like your midwife saying “labor down,” like, get further in the birth canal. And so this is part of the “rethinking the pushing stage” is that when you get to 10, it’s just the door opening, but the uterus, the lower uterine segment is still holding the baby’s head. And if that head hasn’t rotated— if the lower uterine segment is holding that head and you start pushing— it won’t work. So that Quietude, that “rest and be thankful” phase is that letting that uterus come on up, clear the head, so the head can rotate, come down more into the canal. 

And I do see it often that contractions spaced out a little bit more and people get more of a break and it’s just… it’s a different, different view, different sensation.

Hailey: Yeah, it is. Okay, so I’m glad I’m not crazy! 

Adriana: No! You’re not crazy at all.

Hailey: ‘Cause I was kinda like… I was scared at that point. I was like, “Is my labor stopping?” like, “Am I gonna stop at eight centimeters?” like “I’m so close at this point.” So to hear that is actually a little bit of after-relief.

Adriana: Yeah. No, no, no. It’s totally… and we need to tell people more about this calm in-between, that stage, that Quietude, that “rest and be thankful.” Not everybody experiences it, but contractions tend to spaced out. It’s… They feel different. It’s… yeah.

Hailey: Yeah. It was definitely like at this point! I had went in the bathroom when we got all our stuff in. I was doing my makeup. And they had a rebozo hanging from— I think that’s what it’s called, the big swing that was hangs from the ceiling?

Adriana: And they might have had… The rebozo itself is just like a very traditional Mexican or Central American scarf that’s kind of woven, so if they had it in a swing way, it might be something similar, yeah. Something for you to hang from.

Hailey: Yes, I think it was, like, the similar idea of a rebozo, but we were just kind of playing around in that. I was waiting on my sister-in-law to actually get there. I think I kind of joked that my body was waiting for her to get there. She’s the one that had had the baby two weeks prior and she’s my best friend, so I really didn’t wanna have this baby before she got there!

Adriana: And I believe it! I don’t doubt it, because I see it’s a mind-body connection. I’ve seen people wait for doctors. I’ve seen people wait for doctors to leave. I’ve seen people for moms get there. Yeah, that makes sense to me.

Hailey: Yeah! It was about 5:30 p.m. when she finally got there, and probably five minutes after she walked in the door, things picked back up very hard, very fast again. And my midwife had come in and she had filled the tub in between waiting for my sister-in-law to get there. And when things started picking back up again, she was like, “Do you wanna go ahead and get in the tub?” ’cause I had planned a waterbirth. And I told her “I’m a little scared. I don’t wanna get in it too early.” And she kind of made fun of me for it a little bit. She was like, “You’re probably at a 10. I’m not gonna check you. But I don’t think it’s too early.” 

Adriana: Yes.

Hailey: I got in the tub and once I got in the tub, I had maybe two contractions, and then I got that very intense urge to push. There’s no way to describe it— just the very, I guess, heavy feeling in your pelvis?

I honestly… I kind of blacked out on that. Not black out… I don’t remember it very well. So I think it was only maybe four or five pushes? And I was in the water at this point, and then I switched to being on my hands and knees. And maybe one contraction later, my daughter was born.

Adriana: So amazing! 

Hailey: And it was… It was… And it’s like the feeling of, “Oh my gosh, I just did this and it was amazing!” And meeting your baby for the first time? There’s no words to describe how incredible it was.

Adriana: And you did the tub help? 

Hailey: Yeah, I think it did a lot. The contraction that she was born, for some reason, I just stood up. So I guess I don’t know if you could technically consider that a waterbirth, because she had came out, like, in the air. But as soon as she was out, the midwife handed her to me and I sat back down. So I’m not sure why that last minute I stood up so fast, but…

Adriana: So one of the things that, like, you were saying, you kind of blacked out and you don’t quite… but it’s just time gets really fluid and fuzzy when you’re in labor. And it’s because you go into, like, deeper brainwaves, more like when you’re sleeping (but you’re awake). You’re conscious, but you’re just so internal— especially if you’re having that fetal ejection reflex— like you are just in connection with everything happening with you, that I find that when people are able to do that, then they do stuff like this, that you don’t know why you did it, but you did it. Like you don’t know why you stood up, but you stood up.

Hailey: That makes a lot of sense now looking back, ’cause it was… I wasn’t focused on what was going on around me and there weren’t distractions in the room. And I think that’s… I think that helped a lot that I was able to kind of focus on getting the baby out for a minute. Because up to this point, you know, we had been in public for a good majority of my labor and delivery, and I wasn’t really able to— I’m trying to think of the words to use here— to, I guess, “grasp” what was going on with my body. So at that point, I think it was kind of like it was the actual reality moment, like “This is happening,” and it’s crazy that it took to the pushing stage for me to realize that. 

Adriana: What time was she born?

Hailey: She was born… So her time on her certificate says 5:55 p.m., but I was looking back at the camera and she was out by 5:53 p.m., so somewhere between 5:53 p.m. and 5:55 p.m. Generally, I just say 5:55 p.m.

Adriana: That’s probably easier to remember!

Hailey: It is. 

Adriana: Yeah. So, and you mentioned you stood up and then delivered to her and the midwife, you know, caught her… put her… you sat down, baby came back to your chest. Did you guys hang out in the tub for quite a while? Did she start feeding? Did you, how did that after birth happen?

Hailey: So I was really surprised when she was first born. I was used to, you know, with my son and I had just been there for my niece’s birth two weeks prior. Usually from what I had experienced up to that point, they come out very angry and screaming and fighting. My daughter didn’t do that. I was actually a little bit worried because she’d come out… Once we got back down in the water, she just laid on my chest and fell back asleep.

So I tried to nurse her, she wasn’t having any of it. She just cuddled up to me and fell right asleep. And that was kind of… I did a little bit of research afterwards and apparently, waterbirth (if you can consider her a waterbirth), babies tend to be a lot calmer when they enter the world.

Adriana: And I will also link in the show notes the episode I have with Barbara Harper about waterbirths, and she did say that that’s part of what the research says.

Hailey: So, we hung out in the tub for about an hour, just getting to know each other. It was mostly her sleeping, and me staring at her saying, “Oh, how cute,” you know, that first infatuation that you have? After about an hour, my husband did some skin-to-skin time. I did have a second degree tear, which was a lot better with my son. I had a third degree tear and my midwife said, “Yeah, it was rough.” My midwife said that she doesn’t think I would’ve tore as bad if I hadn’t torn with my son.

Adriana: You are like giving us so much good information that I can pick up back on— scar tissue doesn’t stretch as much, so you do tend to not only tear again if you had a tear, but it tends to go on the scarline, yes. 

Hailey: Yeah. And I think that’s what happened again. Which is, despite having a third degree tear, postpartum with him wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be to have a tear. And I think that’s because I kept it very clean and babied it a little bit. So she stitched up the tear, while my husband was doing skin-to-skin. At that point, I guess, my daughter got a little mad that she was with daddy and not mommy, which is fine with me! 

So, they delivered the… Well, they had already delivered the placenta at that point. But they were stitching up the tear, and when they finished stitching up the tear, I got situated in the bed, put a robe on, and finally got her latched in nursing and she nursed through two visitors— so it was probably about an hour and a half straight that that baby latched and just kept nursing. The nurses looked at her and she said, “This baby nurses like a pro already!” So… And I had breastfed my son for almost two years, so I guess, breastfeeding for that long and having a baby like that, it kind of came pretty natural to us. Thankfully, we didn’t have many problems with breastfeeding.

Adriana: So the, so breastfeeding was smooth and your milk came in and she kept, you know, latching well? No tongue ties, no lip ties, gaining weight? All the good things.

Hailey: Yes, she did great. With my son I was working, so I had to pump all the time with her. I’m staying home, so I haven’t had to pump. She actually won’t take a bottle, but breastfeeding her has definitely been a lot easier than with my son, thankfully.

Adriana: And once you do it, there tends to be… well, ’cause obviously you know more of what you’re doing, but when you breastfeed, you create more glandular tissue, so the fact that you’ve breastfed before, allows for better milk production for the next time.

Hailey: Okay! And I had a little bit of oversupply with my son also. 

Adriana: You mentioned that the placenta was already delivered before they stitched you. So they delivered it in the tub?

Hailey: They actually had me, like, kind of get out of the tub for a minute to deliver it. Well it was actually when— right as I was handing her to my husband and getting out— is when they delivered the placenta. And looking back on it now, that was probably the absolute worst part of labor and delivery. Like, I would rather have the whole labor and delivery process with the baby up until… It wasn’t even delivering the placenta as it was getting stitched up. But like I said, with my son, I had the epidural, so I didn’t care. I couldn’t feel anything. you know, they gave me the numbing shot when they were stitching me up with my daughter, but it only helps to a certain extent.

Adriana: Yeah, and depending on the tear, it can take a longer time to do a proper repair. So, yeah, I completely empathize with you that that is… For me, it was also the worst.

Hailey: Yeah. And I think it was a combination of getting stitched up and I wanted my baby back immediately, despite having her for an hour. You know, it’s just that mother-baby connection, where you want the baby that you just grew inside of you for almost ten months. You want her in your arms all the time.

Adriana: Yeah. And so with the placenta, you said it was as you were getting out of the tub. I’m trying to paint a picture. Is it more that just when you stood up, gravity took over and it was already ready and kind of came out? Or did they actually have to try to get it out?

Hailey: Pretty much when I stood up gravity kind of took over. I kind of held it in between my legs as I hobbled over to the bed, ’cause I didn’t want it just popping on floor. But once I laid down, it kinda came on out by itself.

Adriana: And so this was about an hour after she had already been born?

Hailey: Yes, that’s why they made me get out. They’re like, “The placenta needs to come out now.” So, yeah, I’d already… They’d already got… tried to get me out before and I was like, “Well, just gimme a little bit longer!” So, I think, in general, they kind of were a little uncomfortable with how long it had went with the placenta not being fully out yet.

Adriana: Yeah, and this is something… I wanna make this distinction, because this is something that I see more at homebirths, where there is no rush to get repair done to get the placenta born, to do all these things like I find in the hospital, it’s very much within those next 15 minutes (like “as soon as possible”) they wanna see all the things done.

Hailey: Yes.

Adriana: And that sort of laid-back… I really appreciate that laid-backness of a birth center or homebirth. Not that I’m saying I am not recommending anything for anybody— I’m just pointing out differences. You make the choices that are right for you, just adding that in there. But there is that laid-backness to it, be that unless there’s a hemorrhage, unless there’s something really happening, I have seen and heard this from other people and you are confirming it of, you know, it can take up to an hour and it’s okay to take up that time, and biologically, it’s not that there’s an urgency for it to be done so quickly unless there’s something up right.

Hailey: Yes, definitely. And it’s not like they just left us there by ourselves. They were doing both of our vitals every 15 minutes. Definitely keeping a check on my color to make sure I wasn’t paling out or anything. So they were making sure that I was okay, by letting me wait that long.

Adriana: Mhm. And I’ll link on the show notes an episode that I have with Maryn Green from Indie Birth on postpartum hemorrhaging, which was super interesting. And then she has this whole… she switched my thinking about placenta delivery, and, taking it one step further: Why does somebody need to deliver your placenta? Why can’t you deliver your own placenta? You know, of continuing on that if this is a physiological process, how much does it really need to be managed? And I never considered… I was like, “Yeah, why can’t you deliver your own placenta?”

Hailey: Yeah!

Adriana: So now that you’ve had both experiences. How are you feeling about all of it?

Hailey: It was definitely night and day from having my son to having my daughter. Just even the difference in how labor started, how quick they were. And of course the birth themselves, they’re extremely different. And I think I learned a lot from both of them. My son’s birth kind of, you know, set me on this little research binge— and it wasn’t just birth that I researched during that time, you know, it was breastfeeding, circumcision, like all of the hot mom topics that you end up researching. 

My daughter’s… I wanna say my daughter’s was more spiritual. So, with my son, I feel like his was setting me on a path to be the best mom that I can be, and to teach me like the first lessons of motherhood, where my daughter’s birth was more of a confirmation of myself that I’m enough and I don’t need… you know, it’s great to have all the information, but that my instincts can handle (and my body and myself as a whole can handle) motherhood without having to rely on other people for it, if that makes sense.

Adriana: That does totally make sense. It’s such a wonderful transformation that you’ve experienced and gone through and I really appreciate how you’re saying your son put you in the research track and of, sort of, trying to figure out how to be the mom that you wanted to be. And then your daughter bringing you… sort of confirming it, like, “Yeah, this is you. You got it. You got it. Now you’re good.”

Hailey: Yes. Yeah. And you know, having the first very medicalized traditional hospital birth, which there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want, but having that kind of led me into realizing what I wanted. ‘Cause, you know, when you tell people that you want a natural waterbirth, everybody— well a lot of people!— tend to give you that kind of weird, like, “Okay…” kinda look.

You know, I think a lot of having my children a lot younger than a lot of people, you do get a lot of comments— and I’m sure every mother does— but a lot of different comments. Like when I was breastfeeding my son, there was a ton of people there like, “You’re so young! There’s no reason to do that. Just give him formula.” 

And I think it was the same thing with the natural birth. Everybody was like, “You know, there’s no reason not to get the epidural. Just get it. You’ll be thankful for it.” And I think overcoming both of those, despite what a lot of the people around me were saying, it was very healing in a way, and it really boosted my self-confidence for both and helped me, I guess, realize that I’m doing the best that I can and that my best is good enough.

Adriana: I am so happy for you that you’ve had this whole… that transformation that you’ve had. And was there anything that we haven’t gotten to that you wanna make to make sure we mentioned?

Hailey: One thing that did help me when labor did get a little more intense is I created a little Pinterest board and I saved birth affirmations on there. And it sounds super cheesy (and it is), but it’s helpful. So one of my favorite birth affirmations that I just kind of kept repeating to myself when things were getting a little more intense was, “Women all over the world are birthing with me.” So there’s so many people that are going through the same thing that I am and babies being born at the same time. And it was really… I guess it just kind of gave you, like I was saying, the more spiritual aspect of it.

Adriana: Yeah, and they’re doing it in hundreds of different ways— everyone is specifically unique and for what they need at that time!

Hailey: Yes!

Adriana: Mhm. Yeah, I love that. And yes, affirmations can be cheesy, but they work! They work!

Hailey: They do, yeah. At the time I was saving ’em, I was like, “I’m never gonna look at these. I don’t know why I’m doing it.” And then it went… It ended up being my go-to during labor.

Adriana: I love it. Thank you so very much for sharing your stories with us today. I really truly appreciate it.

Hailey: Thank you so much for having me! I listened to the podcast all the time while I was pregnant. I had a driving job, so I would sit there and listen to like five episodes at a time, and I honestly can say that it was probably one of the most helpful resources that I had to prepare me for labor and delivery.

Adriana: Thank you so much. I’m glad it was so helpful.

Hailey: Thank you.

Adriana: That was mother of two children and many horses, Hailey McHone. Hailey is also the owner of Olive and Grace Photography where she captures stunning portraits and wedding photos. Learn more at oagphoto.com or take a look at Olive & Grace Photography on Facebook. 

You can connect with us on Instagram at @birthfulpodcast.

In fact, if you are not driving, it would be lovely if you would take a screenshot of this episode right now and post it to Instagram sharing your biggest takeaway from the episode. Let me know if indeed, the similarities blew your mind. Make sure to tag @birthfulpodcast so we can see it and amplify it.

You can find the in-depth show notes and transcript of this episode at birthful.com, where you can also learn more about my birth and postpartum preparation classes and download your free postpartum preparation plan. 

Also, if like Hailey, you find this podcast to be one of the most helpful resources in helping you to prepare for labor and delivery, then I highly suggest you join me for one of my birth preparation courses, where we really go deep into the physiology and how you can own your birth. So, yeah, come join me or you can also support us by trying out some of the wonderful products made by our sponsors. Truly, your support is what allows us to continue doing this work. 

Birthful is created and produced by me, Adriana Lozada, with production assistance from Aysia Platte.

Thank you so much for listening to and sharing Birthful. Be sure to follow us on Goodpods, Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere you listen and then come back for more ways to inform your intuition.


Lozada, Adriana, host. “[Birth Story] So Was It A Waterbirth? Birthful, Birthful. March 22, 2023. Birthful.com.



Hailey McHone, a pregnant white woman with brown hair, is wearing a turquoise bikini top and is smiling while she labors in a birthing tub

Image description: Hailey McHone, a pregnant white woman with brown hair, is wearing a turquoise bikini top and is smiling while she labors in a birthing tub

About Hailey McHone

Hailey McHone lives in upstate South Carolina, and is passionate about her two kids, her horses, and taking stunning portraits and wedding photos through her business, Olive and Grace Photography. Learn more on her website!

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