148 episodes

Birth Stories in Color is a podcast for Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latino, and Multiracial individuals to share their birthing experiences - a space that specifically celebrates, mourns with and supports them and their transformation through birth.

Birth Stories in Color also emphasizes the role of storytelling as a way to equip future parents. Listening to real birth stories is one way to discover the expected and unexpected parts of the journey.

We realize that there are birth stories not being heard. Our hope is that all who share and listen find this platform to be a community near and far, and an invaluable resource for navigating their own journey.

Birth Stories in Color Laurel Gourrier & Danielle Jackson

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.8 • 44 Ratings

Birth Stories in Color is a podcast for Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latino, and Multiracial individuals to share their birthing experiences - a space that specifically celebrates, mourns with and supports them and their transformation through birth.

Birth Stories in Color also emphasizes the role of storytelling as a way to equip future parents. Listening to real birth stories is one way to discover the expected and unexpected parts of the journey.

We realize that there are birth stories not being heard. Our hope is that all who share and listen find this platform to be a community near and far, and an invaluable resource for navigating their own journey.

    148 | A Midwife’s Unplanned Homebirth - Gianna Fay

    148 | A Midwife’s Unplanned Homebirth - Gianna Fay

    Gianna and Evan have welcomed three children into the world. The words joy, blessing, and purpose have marked each pregnancy and birth. They learned that they would be having a girl after the birth of two sons. Their daughter's birth would make her the first girl born on Evan's side of the family in over 100 years.

    At 38 weeks and six days, Gianna would go into labor while preparing for the Super Bowl party they were hosting. She managed her surges and dismissed them as Braxton Hicks contractions increasing because she had been busy that day. After putting the kids to bed, she realized that she could be in active labor. In her solitude, she drifted into "laborland." Evan joined her and started timing her surges, they began to get ready to leave, and her water broke. The surges intensified as they waited for her cousin to arrive to be with the children. A few strong surges would pass, and they would notice meconium in the leaking fluid. Her midwife brain would click and shift her focus and alarm Evan.

    The pressure would set in, and she had to determine if they would stay home or go. Baby Chloe decided for them and arrived with additional support for Evan from the 911 dispatcher. They knew they would still want to go to the hospital, as it was the original plan. The baby was fine and vocal as they awaited their transport to the hospital. The EMTs arrived and helped them get situated for the ride; the energy shifted as they thought they were coming to intervene in complicated home birth. She informed them that she was a midwife. Once they arrived at the hospital, Gianna would be in midwife mode and ready to be checked over and welcomed into L&D. Everyone was doing well except for a tear that would help her come back to her body and feel pain.

    Postpartum planning happened prenatally, and that was helpful for the whole family. Evan and Gianna worked through a plan and garnered the support they needed. They were intentional about getting what they needed most, including paying for a Mom's helper, nutritional meals from a meal planning company, and in-home support from the women in their family. Communication every few weeks as they determined what they needed at each stage was a key to maintaining their sanity with three young children. Although they had a great birth and supportive care, postpartum anxiety became evident through symptoms like irritability. She connected with her therapist and is still navigating those waters with grace.

    • 54 min
    147 | On their Terms - MyLin & Lindsay Stokes Kennedy

    147 | On their Terms - MyLin & Lindsay Stokes Kennedy

    MyLin and Lindsay started their lives together after marriage with the hopes of expansion. When they decided to have more children, they were not fully aware of the obstacles they would encounter. The sticker shock regarding Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) expense steered them towards traditional or old-school insemination with a known donor. Patience over almost two years and a devastating anembreyonic pregnancy would lead them to the full-term pregnancy and consequent birth of their first child together.

    Lindsay chose to carry the baby, and they managed their insemination personally with advice from a fertility specialist. The fertility specialist validated their concerns and guided them through the most straightforward ways to help them. Despite having PCOS, she could make adjustments in their fertility journey and conceive. Her pregnancy was amazing, and there were no issues until the end of the pregnancy. She presented with itchy hands and feet, which was one indicator of Cholestasis. Cholestasis can affect the liver and can be dangerous for mom and baby. An induction was ordered at 37 weeks to avoid complications to their health. After two days of labor, Lennox would join the family. Shortly afterward, Lindsay developed preeclampsia and would need additional monitoring.

    Postpartum for Lindsay included healing and challenges with breastfeeding. Thankfully, MyLin had started the induced lactating process prenatally with the hopes of sharing the work of feeding the baby. She was able to nourish the baby while Lindsay worked through latching issues with Baby Lennox.

    MyLin’s pregnancy required more preparation as she wanted to deliver at home. They were able to have all of the birth-related services to make her dream homebirth come true with the generous support of the Victoria Project, a nonprofit organization serving Southern California. The Victoria Project provided full financial support for a midwife (not the deposit), chiropractor, pelvic floor therapy, hypnobirthing, and childbirth education.

    MyLin labored with her family and doula as they awaited the intensity of active labor. Lindsay busied herself preparing the tub for her but found her work was futile. MyLin found herself in “labor land” and talked her baby out as he quickly slipped out. The midwife would arrive later and attend to the newly expanded family. She had four postpartum midwifery visits and was able to spend a lot of time in bed, healing physically and mentally.

    Finding the right avenues to expand their family was pivotal in their birthing experiences. MyLin and Lindsay share their knowledge with other same-sex couples to make themselves an accessible resource. Patience, grace, and softness are essential aspects of their continued parenting journey.

    • 39 min
    146 | Outward Growth from Within - Michah Thomas

    146 | Outward Growth from Within - Michah Thomas

    Michah met pregnancy with sickness in the form of a heavy dose of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, also known as HG. It is a condition that presents in pregnancy as severe and persistent nausea and vomiting caused by hormone fluctuations. HG caused Michah to experience weight loss, food aversions, and anxiety about her baby's growth. She found comfort in the power of watermelon and OTC nutrition shakes.

    Despite her challenges, she moved forward with planning a homebirth with her partner. The midwife they chose was informative and supportive, helping ease any concerns. Everything was going as planned until the baby started measuring smaller than expected. She started having routine growth scans until her provider discovered an amniotic fluid leak.
    An amnioinfusion can treat an amniotic fluid leak. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Michah. She reported to her local hospital, where she would receive excellent care during her induction and subsequent labor. Michah delivered her baby with the help of forceps due to heart decelerations at the pushing stage to avoid a surgical birth. Her baby was sunnyside up, challenging her descent into the birth canal.

    Physical recovery from the forceps assisted birth added to her healing process, but she was supported by her husband. Michah has connected with herself on different levels as postpartum has taught her grace and patience. Her work has been affected as it has become the focus of her Master's degree program. Building supportive relationships and honoring boundaries to grow as human beings and build healthy, strong families, they manage life on the other side of birth. Stepping in to support each other without local family support has been challenging, but again grace is sufficient, and Michah is slowly coming back to herself.

    • 43 min
    145 | Fear & Triumph - Ashlee Grant

    145 | Fear & Triumph - Ashlee Grant

    Fear and triumph are two words that Ashlee Grant uses to describe her collective birthing experiences. She would navigate the uneasiness of a first pregnancy after miscarriage culminating in a surgical birth of her and her husband's choosing, solidifying their bond as partners. She found the still, small voice that strengthened their resolve.

    Ashlee entered the second pregnancy as a new version of herself. She had found her voice after coming to grips with previous trauma and made space to process the layers of her first birth. A deepened knowledge of her body and spirit's needs deepened as her second son grew. She would again seek the support of her sister-in-law as her doula; this time, they had both grown and prepared to bring Ashlee's vision to life. Her doula was now working with ROOTT and had added more perinatal education to her skillset. Complications with the pandemic's beginning presented uncertainty as Ashlee and her husband, Jerod, considered how they would manage if their doula were not present. Thankfully labor would ensue before the hospital's temporary ban on doulas would start.

    Ashlee labored at home with her family and doula as planned. The atmosphere was peaceful and undisturbed. They would leave for the hospital when the contractions (surges) were three minutes apart. She arrived in triage and consented to a cervical check that revealed she was 4cm dilated. Instantly defeated and whisked back to the same progression of her first labor Ashlee could feel a shift in her demeanor. Her doula quickly reminded her that it wasn't the same, her body was doing the work, and she would birth the way she wanted to this time. The redirection allowed her to connect to the present and continue balancing movement and rest in the labor room. She had the birth she wanted, delivering a healthy second son, this time without the epidural and minimal interventions.

    Today, Ashlee encourages women to find their voices, seek support, and be their own best advocates. She is the host of her own self-coined "preachcast," Planted, where she speaks to the heart of women and opens their eyes to their unique gifting.

    • 59 min
    144 | Letting Go of Expectations - Danielle Henderson & Shandell Rosa

    144 | Letting Go of Expectations - Danielle Henderson & Shandell Rosa

    Visualization is a powerful tool, especially for preparing for labor; it can turn our hopes into expectations. Much was the case for Danielle Henderson as she and her husband, Jeff, began preparing for a home birth for their first child.

    Danielle created the environment she had envisioned by having calming music and lighting during her labor. The midwife arrived and was deeply committed to being present and supporting Danielle. She even had the support of her mother and sister as planned. Delivery drew out longer than they thought, and there was a family history of short or precipitous labors. However, a tilted uterus would make her work feel more intense and give the feeling that she had progressed. Her mother and sister would eventually leave as time went on. During labor, Danielle found herself coming out of her calmness and felt that hindered her progression. The next day Shandell returned to the porch awaiting the baby’s arrival. Little did she know that she would be entering the birth space. Jeff would ask her to come into the home and support the team. Shandell recalls knowing how vulnerable her sister would feel, and she cautiously stepped in and avoided looking at her to help her maintain her mindset and not face her disappointment. In a word, she held a boundary for her sister while also holding space. Despite having a nuchal arm and double wrapped umbilical cord impeding his descent, Baby Jackson would make a healthy entrance earthside in his parents’ bed.

    After her birth, Danielle could feel herself detaching from the experience as she would continue to live where she had delivered her baby. Connecting memories with spaces were hard on her mentally. The newness of motherhood was an adjustment, with full support from her family, and her husband has helped with the adjustment of new motherhood.

    • 52 min
    143 | The Journey, the Pain , the Promise - Brittany Turner

    143 | The Journey, the Pain , the Promise - Brittany Turner

    Before meeting her partner Tony, Brittany Turner didn't think it would be possible for her to have children. After suffering three miscarriages, she had been on a journey to understand the cause of her losses. There is undergoing bloodwork, genetic testing, and numerous ultrasounds, with no definite answer. So when she and Tony decided they were ready to expand their family together, they were pleasantly surprised when she became pregnant. But having both experienced the loss of children, they both were carrying an immense amount of anxiety, at times causing tension between them.

    At 34 weeks pregnant - the longest pregnancy she had carried, Brittany noticed that her Braxton Hicks contractions were coming quite frequently. There was an uneasiness that something wasn't right that she was holding. Brittany decided that she would sit with the feeling throughout the night and see how she felt in the morning. But in the morning, the contractions and feelings were still there, accompanied by a small amount of bleeding. Sharing this with Tony, they both decided going in for monitoring would be best.

    They did not expect that monitoring would shift to the need for an emergency surgical birth. Brittany reflected that nurses began rushing into her room without warning, explaining to her that due to her son's heart rate dropping, they were going to need to take her to the operating room (OR). Having to be entirely under anesthesia, the last thing Brittany remembers is saying a prayer to God to keep her and her son safe. She awoke, wondering what had happened and where her baby was. And when she was reunited with Tony, he placed their son on her chest - her son placed his little hand on her cheek. A sign that Brittany says was her son telling her that her prayers were answered, and they were ok.

    • 1 hr 15 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

Kyeiwaaglover ,

Grateful

Ain’t nothing like a podcast that is for YOU. The hosts are so gracious and affirming with each episode guest.

Sugar3fifty ,

Amazing Show

I love this show so much! I’ve been binging birth stories during my pregnancy and as a black woman I wanted to hear stories from the experience of black birthers and other birthers of color. Love the interview style and the diversity of stories that are shared. Thank you much for creating this space.

Jemini Jey ,

Helped me prepare for my first birth

Wow. I never realized how little I knew about how other women, especially WOC, experienced birth. This really helped to demystify pregnancy and childbirth. I listened to this podcast during my daily 2-miles walks in my third trimester. It was so helpful especially during this pandemic when I’m isolated from a lot of my support systems

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