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.
Sarah Wells Bags
This episode is sponsored by Sarah Wells Bags. With thoughtful functionality and chic styling, Sarah Wells offers breast pump bags and accessories to help you reach your breastfeeding goals. An all-in-one bag for your breast pump, pumping accessories, laptop, phone and more, Sarah Wells Bags also transition to a diaper bag or purse when you’re done pumping. See the full collection, including the Pumparoo—a wet/dry bag and staging mat for pump parts at sarahwellsbags.com.
We are giving away a $150 shop credit and there is also a promo code: BIRTHHOUR15, good for 15% off all orders at sarahwellsbags.com.
Mary is a mother to five on earth and one in eternity. She works as a certified birth and bereavement doula, birth educator, and as a writer at Better Than Eden. There, she shares about birth, her faith, mothering, homeschooling, miscarriage, raising boys, and more. She is also a featured writer at Elizabeth Ministry International. A theology graduate, she has a passion for helping women experience their God-given “feminine genius” through birth, motherhood, and in the very design of their body. She believes that treating babies and women with the utmost dignity and respect at every moment during pregnancy and birth is necessary for building strong families and a culture of life and love. You can find her writing at Better Than Eden or connect on Facebook and Instagram.
Subchorionic Hemorrhage, Long Labor, Failed Epidurals
Amy shares her experiences dealing with her fair share of complications in pregnancy and birth. She has had 3 births within a hospital setting and has dealt with a subchorionic hemorrhage (vaginal bleeding for six weeks) during pregnancy, miscarriages, epidurals that haven’t worked, NICU stays and so much more. She also talks about how intuitive birthing helped her cope with the pain of labor and childbirth during each of her three births.
Amy Pence-Brown Bio
Amy Pence-Brown is a fat feminist mother who believes in opening her mouth and her heart. From both of these places she tells a powerful story of vulnerability, courage, and body positivity and the importance of taking a stand for something you believe in. As a body image activist, Pence-Brown became famous in 2015 for her radical stand for self-love in a black bikini and a blindfold in Boise, Idaho, which was documented in a blog post, photographs, and a video viewed 200 million times. Her message about the value of all bodies, no matter their size, has been covered by numerous media outlets, including CNN, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, People, TODAY, Huffington Post, Upworthy, HLN, WGN Morning News Chicago, SHAPE, the Dr. Oz show, MSN and NPR. She is also an artist and writer and advocate for both death positivity and historic structures, as a architectural historian and researcher with Preservation Idaho. For more information on Amy’s activism, writing, art and press links, visit her website.
This episode features Denver mama, Alaina, who struggled to get pregnant and had two miscarriages before using Clomid for her 3rd pregnancy, and gave birth in a hospital setting. She found out she was pregnant again without any outside assistance just a year later and gave birth at a birth center, having an unexpected waterbirth.
Alaina Isbouts Bio
Alaina and her husband Philip met while living abroad in Prague, and quickly bonded over their mutual love of travel and shared view of the world around them. Though they got engaged very quickly, they enjoyed their time together traveling before they bought a house, settled down, and decided to try for a family. It unexpectedly took them a year and a half before they got pregnant with their first, a natural miscarriage at home. Eight months later, in a new home and new city, they found out they were once again pregnant. Once again, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Alaina and Philip went through fertility testing and were finally able to have a healthy pregnancy with the help of Clomid. Her first birth was a 20-hour natural birth in a hospital.
Shortly after celebrating their baby’s first birthday, Alaina found out she was unexpectedly pregnant, though she was still nursing and not taking any fertility medications. This time they decided to go with a birth center, and ended up with a beautiful and unplanned waterbirth. She currently calls Denver home, along with her husband of eight years and their two boys, Julian (3) and Finley (11 months). Alaina is a freelance editor and writer, and you can find her online at alainaisbouts.com. She is on Instagram and Twitter @alainaisbouts.
Today’s birth story is with Jenna who also happens to be my best friend. First, she shares the story of her son Greyson’s birth; Greyson was stillborn at almost 34 weeks gestation due to unknown causes. I was with Jenna when the doctor told us there was no heartbeat and walked with her in her grief for the days, weeks and months after his birth.
Her pregnancy with Greyson’s little brother, Gavin, was so exciting but also very stressful for Jenna as she was always concerned about losing another baby. The day she and her husband, Adam, met their rainbow baby was a day they will never forget.
Greyson on the left and Jenna meeting Gavin through the clear drape during her cesarean on the right.
Jenna Edwards Bio
Jenna Edwards is the mother of two boys, Greyson Lewis, who was stillborn in September 2014, and Gavin Lee, who is 7 months old. She and her husband live in Austin, TX and are learning each day how to parent one child in heaven while having one in their arms.
Jessica shares the story of her miscarriage at home, and her experience coming to terms with that unexpected loss of a child. She also shares her subsequent pregnancy and birth stories including the anxiety that often accompanies a pregnancy after loss, as well as the indescribable joy that came with welcoming her rainbow baby.
Dr. Jessica Zucker Bio
Jessica Zucker, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles. She specializes in women’s reproductive and maternal mental health. Dr. Zucker is the creator of the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign, and a line of pregnancy loss cards. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, anthologies, and elsewhere. Jessica has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and NPR. Connect with Jessica on her website where she sells cards to send to women who have suffered a loss as well as her new rainbow mama and babe tees. Instagram: @ihadamiscarriage.
Rainbow Mama and Babe Tees
photo by Vaughn Danny
“Rainbow babies” are babies born after loss. Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies result in loss and therefore there are lots of rainbow babies out there. I recently found out that I myself am a rainbow baby—my mom had a miscarriage between my older brother’s birth and me.
With the rainbow tees, Dr. Jessica Zucker aims to break the silence and shatter taboos around this very poignant and ubiquitous experience, honor our losses, and connect women who have experienced loss.
Buy a Rainbow Tee
These tees work against the shame and guilt that often surround loss and instead show a sense of pride for our histories/journeys and allow women to say “I had a miscarriage/pregnancy loss(es) and I stand with and support all the other women who have been there or are currently going through this.” All proceeds from the sale of these tees are being generously donated to The Birth Hour as we work together to destigmatize pregnancy and infant loss.