Wild pregnancy, Kaylee’s birth story (Part 1)
In this podcast episode, I chat with Kaylee, a mother of 4 currently in Missouri, USA, and get to know her incredible journey of birth.
Listen to this podcast episode below
Nurturing Faith and Connection: The Power of Intuition and Support
Through Kaylee’s awe-inspiring story, we witness the unwavering faith she and her husband possess, trusting in their bodies and surrendering to the process of birth. Discover how Kaylee’s preparations, including immersing herself in birth knowledge and cultivating a supportive environment, shape her empowering journey.
As the labour unfolds, you’ll be captivated by Kaylee’s unwavering conviction, navigating moments of doubt and physical challenges with unwavering determination. Witness the profound connection between Kaylee and her husband, as they serve as pillars of strength and unwavering support.
“My journey challenged me physically and emotionally, but with each moment of doubt, I tapped into my inner strength. I discovered a power within me that I never knew existed.”
Kaylee’s remarkable journey will inspire you to embrace your inner strength and celebrate the miraculous beauty of birth.
Prepare to be moved, empowered, and forever transformed by the transformative experience of free birth.
Enjoy this episode and let the power of Kaylee’s story ignite the flame of possibility within you.
Transcript of this episode (Part 1)
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode. Today, we have the amazing Kaylee joining us to share her free birth after Caesarean story. I discovered Kaylee on Instagram, where I saw her beautiful photos and videos of the raw and real birth experience. I reached out to her personally and invited her to share her story on the podcast, and she immediately said yes. Kaylee, you were in your postpartum phase, right?
Kaylee: Yes, that’s correct. It’s been three months since last Sunday. So I’m very excited to be here.
Ashley: Yes, yes, I’m thrilled to have you here. I’m a big fan of your podcast. When you reached out, I was really excited. I prayed that I would have a birth experience worthy of sharing on a podcast, and here we are.
Kaylee: That’s great. Thank you so much for the warm welcome.
Ashley: You’re most welcome. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Share anything you’d like, such as your location, your lifestyle, and the number of children you have.
Kaylee: Sure. I’ve been married to my husband, James, for 10 years. Our first daughter is adopted from Africa. We lived there with her for 19 months from 2016 to 2018. During that time, we went through the adoption process. Our second daughter is biological, and I’ll talk about her birth. Our third daughter is adopted from Nigeria in 2021, and she is deaf. We’ve been learning sign language and teaching her as well. She had no language before joining our family, so it’s been quite an interesting challenge. She’s almost 8 years old now. Lastly, my fourth child is a little boy born through free birth, and he’s the first boy with several older sisters taking care of him.
Ashley: Wow, that’s amazing. I’m really interested in your adoption journey too. How did you get into that? Can you tell us about the process and your experiences in Africa?
Kaylee: Certainly. We actually went on a mission trip to Africa before embarking on the adoption journey. But even as a little girl, I felt a calling from God to adopt a girl from Africa. When I met my husband, I shared this with him, but initially, he wasn’t open to the idea. However, I had a strong feeling that we were meant to be together and adopt, and I told him that God would change his heart. Eventually, God did change his heart. In 2016, we went on a mission trip to Kenya, and when we returned, we felt it was time to start the adoption process. We saw our daughter Emmanuella’s picture and instantly knew she was the one. Within four months, we were on a plane to bring her home. The whole story is documented on our YouTube channel, condensed from two years into a 12-hour video.
Ashley: That’s incredible! Could you please share the name of your YouTube channel so our listeners can check it out if they’re interested?
Kaylee: Sure, it’s just under my name, Kaylee Joy Wilson. We have other adoption-related content there, as well as the free birth video.
Ashley: That’s great! I’ll make sure to include the link in the show notes for our listeners. Now, let’s dive into your first birth story. By the way, where are you currently located?
Kaylee: I’m located…
Oh, sorry. Currently, we are in Missouri, and we were off-grid during the birth. However, we recently got electricity, so technically we’re now partially connected to the grid. But we still don’t have running water or toilets. So we’re still partially off-grid. And that’s where I gave birth to him, in the middle of our field.
Ashley: Well, I have a lot of questions, but I’ll wait for your birth story to unfold, and if I have any questions along the way, I’ll ask. I’m really intrigued and excited to hear your stories. So let’s start with your first pregnancy.
Kaylee: Sure, yeah. So my first pregnancy… We had just returned from Africa about six months prior after adopting our first daughter. It was six months when I got pregnant. We were moving back to Southern California. At first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I had gone through some traumas and emotional challenges during our time in Africa. Initially, I thought I would take the easy way out and have a hospital birth with drugs. But then I started hearing about home births and meeting people who shared their positive experiences. Their faces would light up when talking about their home births, and it intrigued me. So after hearing those testimonies, I decided I wanted a home birth. However, home births were expensive in California at the time. My insurance would cover a birth center, so we opted for that. We went to a birth center with different midwives, and I had my main midwives who were supposed to be with me throughout the entire process. I had a great pregnancy and denied many tests. I didn’t want to know my weight and trusted that my body was doing what it needed to do. The midwives respected my decisions. My husband and I also read books on birthing to prepare ourselves. We thought we needed a professional present during the birth, so we didn’t know about free birth at that time.
As my due date approached, my midwives informed me that if I went past 42 weeks, they would have to transfer me to a hospital due to California state law. This news caused panic, as I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I had been with these midwives throughout my entire pregnancy. They tried some natural methods, such as herbs and Castor oil, to induce labour. I was about four days away from reaching 42 weeks when these methods put me into labour, but it wasn’t true labour. It was uncomfortable and rough. My baby wasn’t ready to be born, but I felt the pressure to make labour happen so that I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital. I allowed them to do a membrane sweep and tried everything I could. They eventually allowed me to come into the birth center to check my progress after being in labour for about a day. However, I wasn’t progressing fast enough and wasn’t dilated enough, so they sent me home to rest. This happened on the day I reached 42 weeks. My labour started to intensify at home, but when I asked to go back to the birth center, they refused to let me in. It was crushing and heartbreaking.
Ashley: It’s interesting how just a matter of a day or two can make it difficult for midwives to support women. The due date calculation isn’t always precise. It’s frustrating when you’re so close to the end.
So yeah, after Pitocin, my dilation wasn’t progressing because my baby wasn’t ready. They made me feel like my body was failing, and they kept telling me my dilation numbers. They said I needed an epidural because my body was tired. I was exhausted and felt like my body couldn’t do it anymore. So I agreed to the epidural. It was a weird feeling, not being able to feel anything, but at least I wasn’t in pain. However, I still didn’t dilate beyond 7 centimeters.
The hospital staff decided it was time to get the baby out after 24 hours in the hospital. I just wanted to meet my baby. I felt like I had tried everything, but the law in California had control over my birth, and I felt under that authority. It ended in a C-section, and it was a horrible experience. I was heavily drugged, and I couldn’t hold my baby properly. I couldn’t see her face, and it just wasn’t what I wanted. It was a traumatic and disappointing experience.
Ashley: I can understand how that would be difficult. The feeling of not giving birth the way you wanted, not being able to hold your baby properly, and the whole experience being different from what you had hoped for. How did you cope with the postpartum period and breastfeeding, if you chose to breastfeed?
Kaylee: My daughter breastfed right away in the hospital, which was a blessing. However, I felt a disconnect during breastfeeding. It wasn’t until my free birth experience with my son that I realised the deep, immediate connection that was missing with my first. I had to process what had happened and question if I had done something wrong. It took time to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t have changed anything because I didn’t have the knowledge then. Eventually, I worked through it and accepted that it was just the way things happened. I knew I wanted to have another baby someday, but when my first daughter was six months old, we started the adoption process for our third daughter from Nigeria. The pandemic hit, and there were concerns about traveling with our whole family. But we went through with it. When we returned, I became pregnant again.
At first, I considered going back to the midwives in California because I was familiar with them, but then I connected with a woman from Northern Ireland who had three C-sections and had just had a free birth. Learning about her experience sparked something in me. It made sense. Why did I think I needed someone else to tell me about my body? That’s when I discovered free birth and decided it was something I wanted to explore. I didn’t tell my husband right away. I wanted to be sure and positive about my decision. When I finally discussed it with him, he agreed that it sounded cool and that we could do it together as a team.
Kaylee: Just got really excited. I was 8 weeks pregnant when we decided to do free birth, so we had a long time to research and prepare. We started listening to birth podcasts every time we got in the car. My husband would say, “Birth podcast time,” and he was really enthusiastic about it. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I’m dependent on him and lean on him a lot. He had to be my motivator, my encourager, and help me get through this.
We read Heather Baker’s book, “Home Birth: Doing It on Your Own Terms,” which was one of our favorite books. We also watched many birth videos. My daughters wanted to be a part of the birth and enjoyed watching birth videos, so I prepared them for it. We discussed the noises I might make and how it would hurt but in a good way, knowing that the baby is coming. It was okay if I made noises because it’s all part of the positive and amazing miracle of birth. They were well-prepared for it.
Yeah, so 40 weeks passed, then 41, and 42 weeks. I thought, “I’m glad I’m not in California right now.” Finally, at 42 weeks and six days, or actually 42 weeks and one day, my water broke. I should mention that my pregnancy was unconventional. I never took a pregnancy test or monitored myself. I wanted to be free from the pressure of knowing all the details. I believed in my connection with my baby. I trusted my body and God. When my water broke, it was just a little trickle, and I started to notice a bit of mucus plug showing.
I was so excited because something was finally happening. I had experienced some pre-labour off and on, and it was a good sign. That’s when labour really began. It started on an early Tuesday morning and continued intensifying on Wednesday and Thursday. It was a blur of different signs and stages, and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where I was in the process, even though I felt prepared and knowledgeable. The labour would be really intense at night and then dissipate a bit during the day.
Because I had to trust my body and rely on my faith, I felt a deep connection with my baby. I could feel him moving and knew he was healthy and doing well. When my water broke on the 41st week and one day, it was just a small trickle. I also started noticing some mucus plug showing, and I was thrilled because it meant that something was finally happening. I had experienced sporadic pre-labour, and I was relieved to see progress.
Labour officially began on an early Tuesday morning and continued intensifying throughout Wednesday and Thursday. I constantly questioned which stage of labour I was in because it all seemed blurred together. Despite feeling well-prepared and knowledgeable from watching videos and listening to podcasts, the signs were spread out, and I struggled to pinpoint my exact stage. It was a unique experience because the intensity of labour would increase significantly at night, but then during the day, it would start to ease a bit.
Kaylee: For three days, that’s how it went. My husband and I would sleep during the day, and luckily, my mom came to visit. She would take my girls to stay at a friend’s house overnight. It was a truly beautiful time.
Ashley: It’s wonderful that you had your mom’s support during that crucial period. It’s important to have loved ones who understand and respect our choices, even if they differ from the norm. Speaking of support, were there any other significant individuals or communities that provided support and guidance throughout your journey?
Kaylee: Absolutely. My mom learned that we tend to approach things in unconventional ways, and when we shared our decision with her, she embraced it and became incredibly supportive. She understood that when we set our minds to something, that’s what we’re going to do. It meant a lot to have her backing us up.
Ashley: That’s truly heartening to hear. Having loved ones who stand by us and support our choices can make all the difference. Now, I’m curious about your RV lifestyle. Did you and your family start traveling in your RV before the pandemic or was it a result of the pandemic?
Kaylee: We actually purchased our RV after returning from Nigeria in December of 2021. We began traveling and eventually bought property in Missouri. So, we started living in our motorhome and embraced the RV lifestyle.
Ashley: That’s fascinating! It sounds like a unique and adventurous way of living. I imagine it provides a lot of freedom and flexibility. And you mentioned earlier that you and your husband both come from Christian backgrounds and were homeschooled.
Ashley: That’s good to hear. So, Kaylee, you were in labour for quite some time, with your waters leaking but not completely broken, right?
Kaylee: Yes, that’s correct. It was just a little trickle here and there. The contractions were stronger at night and would taper off during the day. But at night, they became quite intense, occurring every 2 to 3 minutes. By the third or fourth day, they started to stay consistent during the day, signaling that things were progressing.
Ashley: It sounds like the labour became increasingly painful as time went on. Did you have moments of frustration or disbelief, considering the accounts you had heard from other women on birth podcasts?
Kaylee: Oh, definitely. During the six-day labour, I turned to my husband and expressed my confusion about the women on the podcasts who made it seem like labour was a beautiful experience. I couldn’t understand how they found it beautiful when it was so incredibly painful. We both had a brief moment of feeling delirious and questioning how women could endure this process.
Ashley: I can only imagine how exhausting and challenging those days must have been for both of you. It’s incredible to hear that your husband was by your side, supporting you through every contraction, and never checked out. His dedication and care must have been invaluable.
Kaylee: Absolutely. James was my rock throughout the entire process. He never slept unless I was sleeping, and he provided constant support and counter pressure. He helped me with whatever I needed, whether it was pushing on my back or preparing meals to ensure I had enough protein. His presence and care truly kept me going.
Ashley: That’s truly remarkable. Having such a supportive partner can make all the difference in the birthing experience. It’s wonderful to hear how he was actively involved and attentive to your needs.
Ashley: Did consuming protein during labour help you maintain your energy levels?
Kaylee: Yes, absolutely. I had learned about the benefits of healthy red meat for our bodies, although I understand that it’s a topic of debate. During the last six months of my pregnancy, we followed a carnivore diet, consuming about 80% meat. It may sound unusual, but it made us feel great. We also incorporated some fruit, along with animal products like cheese and yogurt. So during labour, I made sure to have my beef liver capsules, magnesium, hamburger meat, apples, and cheese—anything that would provide me with energy. Nourishing myself through food was essential, and my husband made sure I stayed hydrated by encouraging me to drink water. It was a long process, and they say giving birth is like running multiple marathons, so staying nourished was crucial.
Ashley: That’s fascinating how your dietary choices played a significant role in supporting your energy levels throughout labour. It’s clear that you were intentional about nourishing your body with the foods you believed would provide the necessary nutrients.
Ashley: It’s interesting how they compare giving birth to running a marathon. It emphasizes the need for nourishment and energy during labour.
Kaylee: Absolutely. Nourishment is essential to keep going. At some point, I started experiencing uncontrollable urination. It was bizarre because I couldn’t control my bladder. I wondered if it was my water breaking again, but it was definitely urine. I had to stand over the tux pads, and at times, I preferred being on my knees on the bed. The combination of intense contractions and uncontrollable urination made for a strange and uncomfortable experience. I found solace in the podcasts and birth testimonies we had listened to because whenever I encountered something unusual, James would remind me that other women had gone through it too. It provided a sense of reassurance and reminded me that I wasn’t alone in this journey. However, around the fifth day, something happened with my bladder, and I couldn’t urinate at all, which was concerning.
Kaylee: That was a concerning sign because if my bladder was full, it could potentially hinder the baby’s descent. We realised that labouring for such a prolonged period wasn’t typical. We suspected that the baby might not be in an optimal position, but it was difficult to confirm. Despite that, I could feel him moving around, assuring me that he was doing well.
Kaylee: Yeah, she’s had 11 children and I think 6 of them were free births. So she was a great resource for us. And she had told me that the fetal ejection reflex is this amazing thing where your body just takes over and pushes the baby out. And I remember her saying, “You won’t be able to stop it. Your body will just do it.” And that’s exactly what happened. It was like this uncontrollable force within me. And I had to surrender to it. So every contraction, my body would push and it was just so intense. It felt like my bones were opening, my pelvis was opening, and the sensation was both surprising and overwhelming. I didn’t anticipate how everything would feel. It wasn’t always painful, but it was certainly intense and filled with sensations that I couldn’t have imagined. I could literally feel my body opening up, and it was mind-blowing.
Kaylee: So, anyways, my neighbor’s daughter-in-law, Bethany, who is an unlicensed midwife, came over to observe and offer some guidance. We were getting exhausted at this point, and something needed to change. It was day five, Saturday night, and they were trying to help me go to the bathroom. Bethany felt around my stomach and could tell that the baby was in a transverse position, not in the correct alignment for birth. This was later confirmed after he was born, as his head was misshapen from being stuck. Both Bethany and her mother-in-law were really encouraging and asked how I was feeling.
I had a strong feeling that my baby was doing great throughout the labour. I wasn’t worried about him at all. It’s interesting because initially, I thought the baby was a girl, but I was completely wrong. I had a 50% chance of being right, though. When I first suspected I was pregnant with him, I had a dream where God assured me that my baby had a strong heartbeat, above average in strength. This dream was significant to me because I had experienced a miscarriage a couple of months prior. God’s message in the dream reassured me that this baby would be okay. During the six-day labour, I held onto that promise and had faith that my baby would be okay.
So my midwife friend, she. They were there till. Really late at night and then eventually I said, OK, why don’t you guys go? I’m just going to keep labouring, come back in the morning, come back Sunday morning and so they came back Sunday morning and that was just like. Saturday night was just so horrible because I couldn’t sleep at all and I was having these pushing contractions. It was just oh, your body is not meant to push like that for so long.
Ashley: Can I ask like when you had the your underground midwife or traditional midwife friend come? So she observed you? She asked you how you felt, how you felt about your baby and so. I’m interested to know have you spoken to her afterwards about the situation?
Like, what were her thoughts at that period of time? Had have you spoken and asked her about that or? Yeah. So what was her thoughts? Because she’s gone away and she hasn’t recommended anything to you.
Kaylee: Right, right, she. Yeah, she was. She was very hands off. She said that she knew that. You know it it could. You know, be in not good situation, just being in labour for that long. There would be a chance of, you know like. Possibly something not, you know, being OK with the baby, but she trusted when I said that I felt like everything was okay with the baby.
Kaylee: After the birth, she confided in me that she felt nervous. However, she noticed my confidence and my unwavering belief that the baby was okay. Because of that, she trusted my intuition. Even though she recognised the potential complications due to the baby’s position, she emphasised the importance of me listening to my body and my innate knowledge that my baby was fine. Her advice to me was to stay active and keep moving. She used a scarf to shift my stomach back and forth during each contraction. It was a way to help the baby adjust.
On Sunday morning, they returned and continued their efforts to help with the birth. We were determined to bring this baby into the world. I sought her advice on what we should do next. She suggested walking around and lifting my stomach during contractions. She also asked if I wanted to try any spinning babies’ movements. However, during the six-day labour, I had looked at different positions on a website, but none of them felt right to me. Additionally, during my first daughter’s labour, the positions recommended by the midwives and doula were extremely painful. The thought of going through that again was a bit traumatic, and I didn’t want to introduce that energy into this birthing experience.
I made the decision that I didn’t want to try any of those positions or techniques. I felt that my body would instinctively do what it needed to do. Looking back, I realised that when my body entered the pushing phase, it did so because it understood that it had to step up and position the baby correctly. That’s why the pushing reflex kicked in. However, pushing for over 30 hours was definitely the most challenging part of the labour. It felt like everything was forcefully expanding outward. It’s a difficult sensation to describe, but if you’ve experienced it, you understand what I mean. Just imagine going through that for 30 hours with every contraction.
Ashley: Yeah, there was a difference in our pushing experiences. I pushed for about 10 hours, but it wasn’t a continuous 10 hours. I had breaks between contractions, which allowed me some time to recover. On the other hand, you were pushing back-to-back for 30 hours due to the challenging position of your baby. Your body was working hard to push the baby through the birth canal despite the awkward posterior position.
Check Part 2 of Kaylee’s birth story here.