Ep 53: Bring a Beginner’s Mind to Birth

Do you bring a beginner’s mind to your births?  What do I even mean by that? I look forward to Amber’s stories today specifically for this reason.  Even with 5 births, Amber learned that each baby will be born in his or her own unique way. 

Learning to let go of all of the assumptions of what birth is or is not is a great way to enter labor.  Recognizing that this is a new birth, a new baby, a new experience can help us let go of expectations and become intuitive with what we need and want each time. 

Before we get started, I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!  This year, I am thankful for you.  I’m so thankful for the mothers I’ve met, the stories I’ve heard, and the listeners I’ve connected with.  You’ve all been such a blessing to me, and I pray each day that this podcast will be a blessing to you, wherever you are in your journey.  I hope this brings you comfort, encouragement, and the understanding that you are so powerful and so incredible.  I’m honored to be able to play a small part in your birthing or motherhood journey. 

If you’re feeling a little loving, I’d be so grateful for you to take a moment to leave a review on iTunes.  This is such a helpful way for the podcast to grow.  If you’re selected as the reviewer of the week, I’ll be sending you a Happy Homebirth Podcast Sticker.  You can also take a quick screenshot of you listening to this episode and upload it to your Instagram stories.  Tag @happyhomebirthpodcast and I”ll be sure to share it in my stories, too! 

Finally- looking for a great gift for your midwife, homebirth mama friend, or yourself?  Happy homebirth t shirts are available again!  You can score yours through the website or the link in my Instagram bio!  3 different styles to choose from, and several colors in each!  I personally love the baseball tee.   

Okay, let’s waste no time.  Amber has such goodness to share with us!

Please remember that the opinions of my guest may not necessarily reflect my own and vice versa, and neither one of us are medical professionals, so continue to see your doctor, midwife, or if  you’re like me, your chiropractor. 


  • Amber is a British born mom who has had babies both in the US and abroad
  • She’s a doula of 10 years
  • Her first 2 babies were hospital births because she lived in Missouri, where midwifery was practically illegal at the time
  • After her first 2 births, she and her family moved to Scotland, where she had her third baby, a surprise breech birth
  • They moved back to the States when she was heavily pregnant with her fourth baby
  • Moved bac to Missouri and had a homebirth
  • Her first baby was rather textbook, with contractions getting longer, stronger and closer together. However, her hospital experience was upsetting when after her baby was born, they would not allow her to bond immediately, taking the baby off for they routine procedures.  All the while, Amber was saying, “My baby! My baby!”
  • Her second baby was born basically unassisted with the doctor and nurse missing the birth!
  • One great thing about the UK is that there is a duty to provide care, so even if you’re “high risk”
  • Her third pregnancy was hard because she had Symphisis Pubic Disorder
  • She spoke to a midwife on the phone and realized one she liked was about to be on call—she immediately began having contractions
  • When the midwives got there, she wanted to get in the pool. They didn’t discourage her, but it was obvious they thought it was too soon.
  • Within 45 minutes she was pushing
  • As baby was “crowning”, she put her hand down and realized a bottom was coming out
  • Her head was still inside, but she can feel the baby swimming in the water with her legs!
  • Luckily, the relaxed midwife was there, and she said, “It’s fine, just wait for your next contraction and everything is fine and her head will come out.
  • Amber is so grateful she didn’t have a vaginal exam
  • She mentions how her third birth felt quite different- she didn’t want pressure on her back like she had before, but appreciated pressure on her sides.  She also had a desire to lean forward.  Later, she learned that this is often how moms feel and respond to breech babies
  • The midwives didn’t touch the baby at all as she emerged, though she did keep her hand on Amber’s back to remind her to keep her body in the water.
  • Once baby was born, she was alert, but not breathing. The midwives cut the cord a few minutes after being born and gave her a few breaths.  Amber says in hindsight she would have asked them to wait.
  • Amber made certain that her midwife with her next baby would be comfortable catching a breech birth just in case the next was breech as well.
  • Her next birth was incredibly uncomfortable—the opposite of her breech birth

The Miles Circuit eventually helped baby get into a good position.  http://www.milescircuit.com/

  • Once again with this midwife, she was discouraged from getting into the pool—she decided not to get in because the “expert” didn’t think it was a good idea. The baby was born 30 minutes later in the pool with an inch of water
  • With her most recent birth she decided to hire a doula, even with two midwives there.
  • She came up with a fantastic idea: She did not want her midwife to ask her anything. She wanted all questions to come through her husband or doula—because Amber knew she could say no to them, but would not necessarily feel comfortable saying no to her midwife.
  • Her 5th baby came way out of Amber’s normal range (40+2- 40+5) This baby came at 41+3!
  • This birth was magical- she had an accidental unassisted birth with just her husband present (midwives were on the way)
  • Because this was so fast, the photographer did not make it.


Episode Roundup: 

My two favorite takeaways from this episode?

  1. If you ever think you’ve got this birth thing down and know exactly how it goes, watch out! Amber’s stories show us that each baby has his or her own special story and way of entering the world.  Be it time, position or labor pattern, there’s always something new to experience as we bring our babies Earthside, so remember to bring a beginner’s mind and a sense of humor to each birthing experience
  2. And now I want to mention my very favorite takeaway: Amber discussed how she realized after her fourth birth that her decisions in labor could be very heavily swayed by her perception of what her midwives, the professionals, thought.  Because of this, she decided to have her doula and husband work as gatekeepers.  All questions were to go through them so that Amber could respond in the way that she felt most comfortable.  Although this ended up not even being a necessity since the birth ultimately happened before anyone could arrive, this approach is just mind-blowingly amazing to me, and I love it.  I love the sense of true consent this brings to the birthing situation. If you feel you might be swayed by your care provider’s opinions, even when they mean the very best, which of course the typically do, consider using this approach.  Let them know beforehand that you’d like to approach your birth this way—and give them this episode as a resource!  I’m sure they’ll be grateful for the new idea.