Ep. 38 – Filing a Hospital Complaint | Dr. Tracey Vogel
Dr. Vogel walks us through the bureaucratic structure of hospitals and how they receive and process grievances. We also discuss how people can effectively use their voice during birth in advocating for themselves, and the must-have details that you want to be captured if you are pulling together a formal written complaint.
Ep. 37 – “Advocacy is putting the birthing person first” | Sabia Wade
“There’s so many different ways that you can advocate for somebody, and even with the clients that I work with, I feel like advocacy and what they expect from advocacy looks different depending on who they are…”
Ep. 36 – Giving Birth in 1979 | Michelle Pascucci (Cristen’s Mom)
As I celebrated my birthday this month, I realized I had never really talked to my mother about my own birth story. Join me in reliving that experience with my mom, Michelle Pascucci.
Ep. 35 – From the Doulas: Expert Advice for Birthing Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We are really in the midst of some major disruption for birthing families, in an already fragile healthcare system. In this episode of Birth Allowed Radio, I called on two seasoned doulas and members of the Birth Monopoly "Know Your Rights" community to provide a...
Ep. 34 – “I Love My Scar” | Melissa Pizzo on Why Cesarean Moms Need Doulas, Too!
Melissa Pizzo has had four babies by Cesarean, and four completely different experiences! With her last birth, a scheduled Cesarean, she knew what she wanted and she made sure she got it. That included hiring a doula to hold emotional space for her and her husband in...
Ep. 33 – “We Are Changing the Conversation on Doulas & Advocacy” | Doula Trainer Nickie Tilsner
“Feeding your purpose is knowing that you’re effective in the work and being able to really embody the work. And in think that’s what’s going to keep people really going in this and feeling great about the work they’re doing and enjoying it.”
Ep. 32 – “I’m not vulnerable any more.” | Katherine DiPaulo on Alleged Sexual Assault During Labor
**TW: Alleged Sexual Assault and Birth Assault** This is Katherine DiPaulo's story. She alleges she was sexually assaulted by an obstetrician at a Philadelphia-area hospital in 2005. She has not been able to hold him accountable. Ms. DiPaulo would like to connect with...
Ep. 31 – Support After (Home) Birth Loss | Mother Ada Johnson and Midwife Sarah Butterfly
**TW: Stillbirth, Infant Loss** What do you do when someone in your life has a stillbirth? In this episode of Birth Allowed Radio, Ada Johnson talks about losing her baby Button during birth and the aftermath of that event, and, along with her midwife Sarah, shares...
Ep. 30 – “I’m not here to please everybody” | Author Janelle Hanchett
“There’s this idea that we are saved by motherhood, that we are washed clean by it, that we are redeemed by it, and that the dark part of our self can be erased through love of our children. Spoiler alert, I think that’s bullshit.”
Ep. 29 – “I Found My Voice & I’m Not Stopping” | Sexually Assaulted by Her OB, Marissa Hoechstetter Fights Back
Marissa Hoechstetter is one of more than 17 women currently suing Columbia University and its associated hospitals for a 20-year "massive coverup" of Ob/Gyn Dr. Robert Hadden's sexual abuse of patients. In this episode, she talks about her long path to justice for the...
Ep. 28 – “It was like torture.” C-section Without Adequate Anesthesia | Amy Woods
In a town with one hospital and two doctors, Amy Woods describes her labor and subsequent surgery without pain medication. She also talks about the effects on her and her family afterwards and the hospital's response to the incident. "The doctor said I had...
Ep. 27 – “As a Doula, I Felt Like a Witness to Rape” | Kirsten Clark
I walked away from that feeling responsible in a way for what had happened, and knowing that this mom had just experienced something that shouldn’t have happened, that something was really wrong. I knew I didn’t want to be in that position again, feeling so helpless and frozen.
Ep. 26 – “I Couldn’t Scream Out”: A Non-Consented Cesarean | Jennifer Smith
In this emotional episode, New Mexico mom Jennifer Smith describes having a Cesarean without consent after medical staff ignored her decision to have a vaginal birth rather than repeat surgery, and her trauma afterwards. "I'm numb from the waist down and I...
Eps. 24-25 – “They Wouldn’t Let Me Call it Assault Because We Need to Protect the Doctor” | Anon. Nurse
WARNING: This story includes graphic detail and may be difficult to listen to. In these stomach-churning episodes (Parts 1 and 2), nurse "Britany" describes witnessing what she describes as a violation and assault on a laboring woman: a so-called "manual...
Ep. 23 – After a Non-Consented C-Section, “I’ll Be Damned if This Happens To Somebody Else” | Sara Conrad
Following a traumatic, non-consented Cesarean and dismissal of her complaints about it, Sara Conrad says, “I have a lot of rage and I want to use that to propel me forward and try to prevent it from happening to other people.”
Ep. 22 – “My Injury is Forever and a Lifetime” | Kimberly Turbin
Kimberly Turbin made headlines and history when she sued her doctor for assault when he gave her a medically unnecessary and botched episiotomy during the birth of her child. The case was resolved in 2017, but Kimberly is still dealing with the effects of the assault.
Ep. 21 – Birthing While Black in Alabama | Sabrina Azemar
Black, overweight, on Medicaid, in Alabama, AND wanting a vaginal birth after Cesarean? Our special guest Sabrina Azemar recounts her difficulties convincing her maternal care providers to “let” her do what pregnant bodies have been doing for centuries.
Ep. 20 – Plus Size Birth | Jen McLellan
Often, birth care professionals often alienate plus-size moms-to-be with shaming, inadequate equipment, and mistreatment. In this episode of Birth Allowed Radio, we talk about plus size birth and how to find a practitioner who will treat you like a person, not a set of risk factors.
Ep. 19 – Clinicians & Preventable Birth Trauma | OB Insider Dr. Tracey Vogel [Mother May I Series]
“There is a big gap between how providers think they are doing, and how patients think those providers are doing.” Obstetric anesthesiologist Dr. Tracey Vogel talks about how clinicians can and must do better when it comes to birth trauma.
Ep. 18 – Doulas, Advocacy, and Oppressing Ourselves | Rebecca Dekker [Mother May I Series]
When “lower” groups fight amongst themselves, they never come together and create change. Hurt and traumatized by the system, their lashing out is a side effect of the oppressive system in which they participate.
Ep. 17 – Birth, Death, and the Future of Midwifery | Karen Webster
Midwife Karen Webster has been investigated and charged in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia for practicing midwifery–and she says she would do it all again to ensure women can give birth on their terms.
Ep. 16 From Doula to Obstetric Violence Activist | Lindsay Askins
My special guest is Lindsay Askins, a birth doula and birth photographer, and my partner in Exposing the Silence, a photography and interview project about birth trauma and obstetric violence. www.exposingthesilenceproject.com/
Ep. 15 – Marijuana and Pregnancy | Heather S. Thompson, PhD
In this episode, we talk about the world of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and marijuana use. Heather Thompson, PhD, helps us sort the science from the pearl-clutching to help us make sense of this thorny topic.
Ep. 14 – The Problem with Implied Consent | Lawyer Hermine Hayes-Klein
Implied consent is a concept that has become skewed, in all aspects of life on the sexual spectrum, including birth. Whether in the hospital or the bedroom, implied consent never overrides explicit non-consent.
Ep. 13 – Getting Dads and Partners Involved in Birth | Gena Garcia-Kirby
A must for doulas! In this fun episode, Cristen speaks with Gena Kirby, doula trainer extraordinaire, about her remarkable success at getting dads and partners motivated, engaged, and involved in the birth room.
Ep. 12 – A Lawyer on “State-Sanctioned Rape” of Arkansas Midwifery Clients
In a scenario right out of the world of A Handmaid’s Tale, women in Arkansas seeking to avoid the hospital for birth must submit to a state-mandated vaginal exam. Advocates are trying to change that.
Ep. 11 – How to Advocate Without Getting Kicked out of the Room | Doula Traci Weafer
Doulas navigate tricky waters in the birth room, between advocating for their clients and earning the good will of the medical team. Here’s one doula who doesn’t believe those things are mutually exclusive.
Episode 10 – An Injured Mother/$16M Lawsuit Winner Offers Her Perspective on Doulas & Abuse
Caroline Malatesta famously won millions from her hospital for a botched birth. But it was the lack of support for her case from local doulas that left her with trauma long after.
Ep. 9 – A Labor & Delivery Nurse Talks Obstetric Violence, How to Make Change
An experienced Labor & Delivery nurse shares about the obstetric violence she has witnessed and even participated in, plus how we can all push for change against a misogynistic system.
Ep. 8 – Woman Records Confrontation with Hospital re: Consent, Experts Refute Hospital Defense
Here the actual recording of a hospital misinforming a violated woman about her clinical care and legal rights, plus commentary from experts on why the hospital is so wrong.
Ep. 7 – Georgia Mothers Fight a Hospital Monopoly (with Video)
What happens when a doctor who laughs at her patients and cuts them without their consent is in charge of the whole department? Find out what happened when one of her former patients sought more respectful care with a new provider.
Ep. 6 – A Feminist OB Puts Patients in Charge, Outcomes Improve
Dr. Jesanna Cooper found that once her clinic implemented a feminist care model–putting women in charge of their own healthcare decisions–Cesarean rates, NICU admissions, breastfeeding, and other outcomes began to improve.
Ep. 5 – A Doula Watches Culture Shift in Alabama, Assault in Labor & Delivery
Cristen speaks with an anonymous doula in Alabama who describes the cultural shift that is happening there slowly, but where maternity care is still largely disempowering and even, at times, physically and emotionally violating.
Ep. 4 – Supreme Court Pioneer and Anti-Trust Lawyer Supports Midwives Against “Organized Medicine”
Cristen talks with Susan Jenkins, probably the most experienced midwifery law lawyer in the U.S., about the decades-long struggle of midwives and consumers vs. “Organized Medicine.”
Birth Allowed Radio – Episodes 1-3
How are women “allowed” and “not allowed” to give birth on their own terms? In our first three episodes,
we discuss the Kentucky birth monopoly, home birth, obstetric violence, bans on vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), and the tricky business of being a doula in an abusive system.