Same-sex couple Mariel and Viviana knew they always wanted a baby; so, a year into their marriage they began trying to conceive by the traditional route of IUI’s with frozen sperm via a sperm bank. After nearly a dozen failed tries, they switched gears to a known-donor and were quickly pregnant. Early on in Viviana’s pregnancy she began having complications, and on the same day of her anatomy scan at 20 weeks and 6 days, Viviana’s water bag prolapsed and broke. Tune in to hear the details of their devastating infant loss due to incompetent cervix and the redemption story of their boy/girl rainbow babies conceived within 7 days of each other and born only three days apart. Follow their journey on Instagram at @moderndaytwins.
I don’t have a hometown, but if I had to claim one, it would be Dallas, TX. I met Mariel in college at UNT and quickly fell in love. A few years into our dating, and after moving to Austin, she asked me to marry her; so, we had a ceremony in TX and made it legal in NYC when I was 29 and she was 22. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and never could have guessed the road to realizing it would be so hard. Now the Mama to my “modern day twins” and my little angel baby in heaven, I’m at peace. My loss and the birth world has been truly inspirational to me so I share as much as I can on social media and hope to give back somehow. Connect with me on Instagram at @vivianarchy.
I grew up in Brownsville, TX, which is on the Texas/Mexico border and never lived anywhere else until I left for college where I met Viviana and instantly fell in love. Up until meeting her, my life was pretty vanilla: I had a set goal, and was meeting every expectation my very traditional Mexican family set out for me. Then, all of a sudden, I threw all of that out of the window and started taking risks I’d never imagine were possible – I graduated college in three years and moved to the most expensive city in Texas without a job just so I could finally live passionately. It’s been a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs, but despite the uncertainties, we’ve always managed to land on our feet and have been blessed beyond measure. I love to tell our story to anybody that will listen so that people see that there is hope so long as you don’t give up and are willing to take as many detours as life throws your way. Connect with me on Instagram at @cafesitamami.
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Lida battled chronic pain throughout her teens and twenties, and underwent laparoscopic surgery at age 24 to remove adhesions caused by endometriosis. In order to inhibit the disease’s progression and to preserve her fertility, Lida took continuous hormonal birth control until she and her husband were ready to begin trying to conceive. The endometriosis started to return immediately, but with the help of a minor fertility intervention, Lida was able to conceive after only seven months.
Unmedicated Hospital Birth with Midwives
Once her pregnancy was deemed healthy and low-risk, Lida opted to leave her OB-GYN for the care of midwives within the same hospital-based practice, and she committed to an un-medicated birth. After years of working to achieve a healthy reproductive system with the expert and faithful aid of medical intervention and surgeons, Lida approached pregnancy and birth as a process that doesn’t necessarily require either. Despite an end-of-pregnancy preeclampsia scare and prodromal labor, Lida was able to have a healthy birth without intervention. She credits having battled a disease with readying her for childbirth; not merely because pain prepared her for pain, but because over the years she has learned how to balance asserting her personal agency with releasing control and fear. Lida of course believes that chronic illness isn’t the only vehicle for learning this lesson, and she wishes for all mamas their own version of their best births!
Lida Sunderland Bio
Lida lives with her husband, Mark, their infant son, Rocky, and two fat cats in Washington, DC. Together they love to explore both the city and its greener surrounds. Lida is an art therapist and art educator. She has years of experience promoting mental health in schools, but also works with a broader variety of clientele through private practice. You can learn more about her work at www.lidasunderland.com
As an art therapist, Lida is a champion of new mamas and mamas-to-be taking charge of their mental health. Although a sleepless night before recording and the gooey-sweet feeling that overcame her while talking about the birth of her son resulted in her failure to mention it, Lida feels deeply indebted to two important resources for her post-partum mental health: a subsidized psychiatric clinic focused on pregnancy and post-partum, and a support group for new moms run by mental health educators. She encourages all to look into similar resources in their communities during their pregnancy journeys.
This episode is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow helps new and pregnant moms qualify for breast pumps through their health insurance. They carry all of the major brands, including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh, Evenflo, and more. Visit their website to get started today, and your dedicated breast pump specialist will take care of all of the paperwork for you, including getting a prescription from your doctor and filing the claim with your insurance. Go here to get started!
In spite of being a Large Animal Veterinarian (Board Certified in Animal ObGyn) and a Reproductive Physiologist studying human fertility, Dr. Joanna Ellington was surprised when the flu threw off her ovulation cycle and an unplanned pregnancy occurred. Using excellent classic references like Active Birth and Spiritual Midwifery, Joanna used perineal massage to prepare for childbirth, and was maybe a little too active with a 2 mile hike that turned into 5 miles the day before her membranes began leaking. An induction resulted in a normal birth where Joanna used her knowledge of birth and lactation in animals to enjoy the process as much as possible, even telling her midwife “That was kind of fun!”
Joanna’s second son was born within 10 minutes after she arrived at the hospital. In the chaos and discomfort of having two male doctors she had never met working on her son and her private parts, Joanna coped by switching into “medical professional mode” and talking to them about her research. But, she lost her focus on her baby and the moment. Sadly, she forgot to invite her waiting son and mother in to see the birth, as she had planned. This was a valuable lesson of not “taking care of others” or outwardly focusing during birth, but staying centered and baby focused.
Between her two births, Joanna used her knowledge of the safety of isotonic (balanced salt) environments and her discovery of a plant sugar that protected sperm, to create the first FDA approved Fertility Lubricant safe to use while trying to conceive (Pre-Seed). Along with her Doctorate-of-Pharmacy husband, Joanna has gone on to create a new platform of isotonic women’s healthcare products in partnership with Fairhaven Health. These include: BabyIt Perineal Massage and Postpartum Comfort Gel. Best practice medical-evidence now supports perineal massage to increase a woman’s chance of intact perineum (not tearing or having an episiotomy), decrease the risk of chronic postpartum pain and increase a woman’s sense of control and positive feeling about labor and delivery.
Lindsey Bliss shares her six births in four stories: a birth center birth with Mia (now 11); a vaginal twin birth in the hospital with surprise-twins, Birdie & Hazel (now 8); another surprise set of twins, Luke & Rocco (now 5.5) who were born at home; and finally, baby Olympia (1) who was also born via a planned homebirth. I love Lindsey’s down-to-earth approach to birth, postpartum, and parenting!
Lindsey Bliss Bio
Lindsey Bliss is the co-director of Carriage House Birth, an experienced birth doula, and the mother of seven. Lindsey is considered to be a multiples expert after giving birth to and parenting two consecutive sets of twins. Lindsey takes on her role as a birth doula and childbirth educator with serious passion and commitment. Her mission is to hold space for expectant families through education and informed decision making. Being prepared, and knowing what options are available increases the likelihood of an amazing birth. Lindsey facilitates that process, giving people the tools and inspiration to empower themselves. Her unwavering support and gentle guidance have benefited over two hundred families. Lindsey supports first time parents, multiparas, single parents, LGBT families, twins births, medicated and non medicated vaginal births, cesarean births, and VBACs.
Connect with her on Instagram at @doulabliss and @carriagehousebirth
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After a long (64 hours) and traumatic first birth, Melissa decided to take a wholistic approach in preparing for her second birth by addressing aspects of mind, body, and soul. The book Mindful Birthing was pivotal for Melissa in holding an open hand about what her second birth would look like. Melissa had a team prepared to support her, including a birth doula, birth photographer, and a birth singer.
After going to 41 weeks and 2 days with zero contractions, Melissa went into labor while hiking by herself. After a long first birth Melissa was expecting the same for her second. After mooning the entire town on a speedy car ride, Melissa gave birth minutes after arriving at the birth center. Melissa had never imagined that she could give birth without feeling pain and laughing throughout the entire process. This is a story you have to hear to believe. Her birth singer, Meghan, is featured on this episode singing some of the songs that were sung over Melissa before and after her daughter arrived.
Melissa Dohse Bio
Melissa is a mother of two and a licensed clinical social worker living in Flagstaff, AZ. Melissa is an avid travel, passionate about building community, and seeks to create spaces for survivor voices to be heard. Melissa has a private counseling practice, Cultivate Counseling, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meghan is a board certified music therapist and music director for the Flagstaff Threshold Choir, a women’s choir that sings in small groups at the bedside of those nearing end of life. Meghan draws upon her background in facilitating music experiences with young children, women’s circles, and people in hospice care to provide supportive music for laboring and birth celebration. Find out more at mountainhealthmusic.com, email@example.com.
Today’s sponsor is Wavhello. BellyBuds by WavHello are adhesive speakers that gently adhere to mom’s baby bump and safely play music to the womb. BellyBuds help relax and reduce stress, stimulate early development and promote positive connectivity in the brain through music. Learn more about BellyBuds at wavhello.com. Right now take 10% OFF BellyBuds on their website with code BBMOTHERSDAY through 5/14/17.
With her first son, Remy, Tayler went a week past her due date and had a very long labor (over 30 hours). Looking back, she realized that she had been resisting every contraction. So for her second birth, Tayler wanted to do things a little differently. During her pregnancy, Tayler practiced hypnobirthing; and during labor, she remembers repeating the word “opening,” and actually feeling herself dilating. Tayler’s second son, Sage, was born in the water and en caul very shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Tayler Gunn Bio
Tayler lives with her three boys and two kitties in Southern California. She and her husband Nate both own their own businesses and love what comes with it. Tayler owns Wildbird ring slings, a babywearing company. They spend a lot of their free time at the beach and running around with their boys. Connect with Tayler at @taylergolden or @mywildbird and see her ring slings at Wildbird.co.
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