Switching Care Providers During Pregnancy + Birth Center Birth Story

After a bad experience with a small town OBGYN and switching care providers at 35 weeks pregnant with her first pregnancy, Amanda knew the importance of finding the perfect care provider during her second pregnancy. Amanda chose a team of CNMs who had delivery privileges at a local hospital. However, her labor and delivery plan was thrown out the window when COVID hit, and she and her husband made the decision to deliver their son at the only freestanding birth center in the Louisville metro area. 

Amanda went from planning a traditional hospital birth with midwives and pain medication to preparing for a drug-free labor and delivery outside of the hospital. She prepared for the birth by learning hypnobirthing techniques, and utilized the techniques throughout her entire labor. 

coping in labor

When labor started on her due date, Amanda accidentally slept through the first 6 hours of labor, and finally arrived at the birth center almost ready to push. After trying nitrous oxide (and hating it), Amanda pushed for 2.5 hours in the birth tub, where her son was born en-caul. Amanda lovingly refers to him as her “double water” baby because he was born both in the tub and in his bag of waters. 

Amanda struggled with undiagnosed postpartum depression and anxiety after her first pregnancy, but did not realize that what she had experienced was not normal until talking to the midwives during her second pregnancy. She experienced the onset of postpartum depression at seven weeks postpartum with her second baby, and recognized what she was experiencing right away. Amanda received help via prescription medication and a licensed therapist whose specialty was postpartum mood disorders. Amanda is now an advocate for helping women recognize the signs of postpartum mood disorders and pushing to end the stigma behind receiving professional help.

laboring in bathtub

Amanda Dant Bio

Amanda is lives in Louisville, KY with her husband and two kids, Henrietta (2) and Harrison (4 months). She and her husband met while working together at the Louisville Zoo, and they have a goal to visit every accredited zoo in the nation. Amanda now works as an environmental engineer in the chemical manufacturing industry, and loves working as a woman in STEM. Amanda enjoys traveling, playing video games with her husband, reading, and early morning workouts. You can find her on Instagram @raisinghattie or via email at amandadant2017@gmail.com

Resources

https://fit4mom.com/

Motif Medical

This episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour

4th Homebirth is a Wildcard After 3 Previous Home Waterbirths

After having peaceful home waterbirths for all three of their sons, Kaitlin knew she wanted to go the same route when she found out she and her husband were expecting their fourth baby. 

With a history of three similar, slow labors, Kaitlin felt confident as she prepared for another waterbirth with her same, trusted midwife.
After an uncomfortable third trimester and a weekend of false starts, baby made entrance with a wildcard labor and birth. In a flurry of chaos, with the three big brothers in the home, Kaitlin gave birth (out-of-water) to a surprise baby girl!

Kaitlin Tolkkinen Bio

Kaitlin is a 28-year-old self-proclaimed ‘flower child’. She lives in rural Minnesota with her husband, Aaron, and their four kids, aged 5, 3, 2, and 7 months.She relishes the daily frenzy and humor of raising four young kids, balanced by minimalism and simple living. She runs a small herbal skincare shop between arts & crafts and story time, and can be found on Instagram @modernbotanicalco or occasionally talking about cloth diapers @modernbottombabies

Resources

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting moms find the perfect pump for her lifestyle. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda and more. And the best part, they take care of everything – including getting all required paperwork, dealing with your insurance company, and explaining your options in order to get your free pump shipped straight to your door. 

Bonus — you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes. 

All you have to do is go to the Aeroflow Breastpumps website and fill out their free and easy Qualify Through Insurance form. Be sure to go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour so they will know I sent you!  

IVF, Hospital Inductions, Post-birth Hemorrhage, & Doula Support

Lauren’s three children were conceived via IVF. Luckily, Lauren had a live birth with every IVF cycle she completed-this is not the typical outcome and she considers herself truly lucky and blessed.  Lauren has had three totally unmedicated births.  The birth of her first child Gigi was quite fast and uneventful.  She felt ill all day (flu-like) and her bag of waters partially broke while lying on the couch.  She felt no contractions and was not in pain at all.  Lauren began feeling some pressure and her OB asked that she come to the hospital to be checked.  Approximately 45 minutes later she gave birth to Gigi at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC with her OB (Dr. Richard Beckerman) and her amazing doula, Ursula Sabia-Sukinik.  

Lauren’s second unmedicated, vaginal birth was extremely traumatic.  Since Gigi’s labor was so fast, the decision was made to induce labor with Valentina in a hospital setting.  Traffic in DC can be terrible and Lauren’s birth team decided it would be best to deliver in a controlled environment rather than a car in traffic!  Lauren was admitted to the hospital and her bag of waters ruptured.  With a little bit of Pitocin, she delivered Valentina within 90 minutes.  Again, she felt no contractions and no pain!  During her perineal repair, Lauren kept complaining about feeling excessive hemorrhage/blood loss as well as chills and uncontrollable twitching.  The medical team assured Lauren that nothing was wrong and that it was normal hormonal fluctuations. 

Marc (Lauren’s husband) left the room approximately 1 hour after birth to walk Gloria (Lauren’s mother) to the car.  Ursula (Lauren’s doula) decided to stay behind with Lauren and Valentina until Marc returned.  As soon as Marc left the room, Lauren felt a huge gush of blood and arrested (cardiovascular shock).  She was immediately resuscitated with epinephrine, atropine, intravenous fluids and blood transfusions while the doctors attempted to find the source of the severe hemorrhage.  After several unsuccessful attempts and Lauren’s critical condition, she was rushed to emergency surgery.  Lauren received 5 blood transfusions and had a DNC to retrieve a retained placenta.  

retained placenta birth story

Lauren’s second birth experience was so traumatic, that she had a hard time deciding on a birth plan for her third child.  She again decided on an in -hospital induction.  Lauren had a very safe  and fast delivery after a small amount of Pitocin.  She was closely monitored in the hospital for 48 hours for any excessive blood-loss given her history.  Luckily, history did not repeat itself. 

Lauren suffered severe emotional trauma surrounding the traumatic birth of Valentina but has since healed.   She thanks her body every day for birthing three healthy children and she wants women to know that birth is a beautiful process, but it should not be taken for granted.  The beauty can change in an instant and it is vital for women to voice their concerns and make sure they are heard. 

Dr. Lauren Talarico Bio

Lauren is a board certified veterinary neurosurgeon in the DC-metro area. She completed her veterinary training and neurology/neurosurgery residency at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. Dr. Talarico specializes in surgical correction of cranial cervical junction malformations in dogs in addition to surgical removal of brain tumors and various spinal surgeries.  She also enjoys all aspects of medical neurology including neuromuscular disorders and autoimmune brain diseases.  

Dr. Talarico has two daughters (Gabriella Gloria -7/27/2016 and Valentina Lavender-6/25/2018), one son (Alain Phoenix 8/7/2020) and four dogs (Prefontaine, Phelps, Raven and Bunny).  She is an avid marathon/distance runner who also enjoys indoor cycling and yoga.  Dr. Talarico and her husband Marc Cohen are involved in several philanthropic efforts at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston MA as well as Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC. 

March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention Month

Today’s episode is sponsored by March of Dimes. March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. They support research, lead programs, and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. During Birth Defects Prevention month, March of Dimes is partnering with the CDC to generate awareness among women of childbearing age, families, and health care providers about things they can do to help prevent birth defects. At the end of this episode, I spoke with Dani Kilgore about her journey to motherhood as well as the main tips from March of Dimes and the CDC to help you be a healthy mom and have a strong baby. You can also find out more at marchofdimes.org/TheBirthHour.

Positive Hospital Vaginal Birth with Unplanned Interventions

After conceiving quickly, Jeni had an easy pregnancy apart from fear and changing plans due to COVID-19. She planned a unmedicated childbirth at the birthing center in the University Hospital System where she worked. 2 days before her due date, she went for 2 2-mile walks and did some prenatal yoga, only to start to have some irregular contractions that evening.

She went through early labor throughout the night, and went to the hospital the next morning, and learned she was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced (only 1 cm more than at her last antenatal appointment). She continued to labor through the day both outside the hospital and then at home again, and things intensified further that evening. She returned to the hospital at midnight, only to find out she was still 3 cm. Jeni’s lack of progress resulted in her birth-plan changing to include 2 walking epidurals, a spinal block, an epidural (which was delayed for almost 5 hours for multiple reasons), and Pitocin. After an epidural, she had a peaceful, mindful, and quick second stage labor and her beautiful daughter Teagan was born on her due date, after 36 hours of labor. Despite things not going to plan, she had a very positive experience and wouldn’t have changed a thing. Her knowledge as a pelvic health physical therapist, combined with a good breastfeeding experience, has resulted in a wonderful postnatal experience despite her fears about this time period. 

positive hospital birth

Jeni Thornton-Jones Bio

Jeni Thornton-Jones lives with her husband, daughter Teagan, and dog Bowie in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a board-certified specialist physical therapist in Women’s and Pelvic Health, registered yoga instructor, and certified pregnancy yoga instructor. She is the creator of Mama’s First Steps, a blog for pregnant, birthing, and postnatal persons, designed to provide evidence-based education and improve holistic physical and emotional health. Connect with her via Email at www.mamasfirststeps.com or on Instagram, @jenimjones.

Resources

Crane

This episode is sponsored by Crane Humidifiers. Crane’s colorful humidifiers are a nursery necessity to help relieve your baby’s tiny congested nose, which can make feeding and sleeping a struggle for both baby and mom. A happy baby is a healthy baby. Crane is generously offering $10 OFF and free shipping on all of their full-priced, 1 gallon, adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH20 at www.crane-usa.com. Check out their new top fill drop humidifier here or via Wal-Mart.

Pregnancy & Childbirth at 25 vs 40+ years old

Having her first baby at 25 years old as a single mom, Michelle Johnson thought she was done having children until she got married and gave birth to  her second child at 41 and her third child at 43 years old. Delivering her daughter naturally in a hospital by a midwife, Michelle knew that she absolutely wanted an epidural when she became pregnant again at 40. However, an impromptu induction, as a result of her son having IUGR, her second labor was longer and more painful than the first.

Michelle had a planned induction for her 3rd son as well as a very clear birth plan – making it as pain-free as possible. Her last labor was perfect until the last hour when she had too much of an epidural to the point that she couldn’t push because she couldn’t feel anything. Tune in to hear all of Michelle’s very different birth stories and her experiences of miscarrying, having a subchorionic hemorrhage, acid reflux, gestational diabetes, swelling, fetal growth restriction (IUGR), being induced and the experience of having multiple babies in her 40’s.

Michelle Johnson Bio

When Michelle, an attorney in Atlanta, became pregnant at the age of 40, she immediately scoured the internet for pregnancy information for women her age, only to be inundated with daunting statistics and risks from medical professionals, individuals and articles.

Not succumbing to all of the negative information, Michelle began a private Facebook Group to both give and receive encouragement to other women in the same situation. The “Pregnancy After Forty Private Group” now has over 5,000 members and has been the catalyst to creating a website and the “Pregnancy After 40” Podcast, which she now hosts.

Michelle is also a Speaker who shares her “Pregnancy After 40”  story and journey and encourages other women that it’s possible to have a healthy baby or babies after 40 years despite having pregnancy issues. 
Connect with her at http://www.PregnancyAfterForty.com
or via her Private Facebook Group: @PregnancyAfterFortyPrivateGroup
She also hosts a Facebook Page: @PregnancyAfterForty
and Instagram: @PregnancyAfterForty. Finally check out her Podcast!

Peanut

Peanut is an app that helps you make meaningful connections throughout all stages of motherhood. Peanut provides a safe space for mothers, expectant mothers and those trying to conceive to build friendships, ask questions and find support by introducing you to others nearby who are at a similar stage in life, Peanut provides access to a community who is there to listen, share information and offer valuable advice: Whether it’s understanding IVF, adoption, pregnancy, baby’s first years or beyond, Peanut is a place to connect with other moms in the thick of it.

Download the app for free today!

Hypnobirthing Hospital Birth & Birth Center Birth + Postpartum Anxiety & Breastmilk Oversupply

With her first pregnancy, Kate had a bleeding scare early on which ended up being a subchorionic bleed that resolved itself, and she had an otherwise healthy pregnancy. Kate felt pressured around her due date to get a membrane sweep and induction, but advocated for what she wanted and was able to labor at home until transition. She used hypnobirthing and went very inward and solitary for her labor. She describes her birth as a great unmedicated hospital birth but was frustrated that the staff never called her midwife whom she was hoping would attend her birth. She ended up delivering with an OB from the practice instead. She talks about her good postpartum period physically but unfortunately struggled with undiagnosed PPA.

With her second pregnancy, Kate used the Ava bracelet and got pregnant on the first attempt. She had a rough first trimester with nausea and exhaustion all while juggling a toddler. Kate ended up changing OBs after what happened with her first delivery, but ended up not being happy with her new OB either. She hired a doula who helped encourage her to switch to a birth center at around 28 weeks and she was very happy with her decision.

Kate used spinning babies techniques and saw a chiropractor during her pregnancy and drank tons of red raspberry leaf tea and ate dates every night during her third trimester. She struggled with some anxiety issues and what she describes as pregnancy rages which caused her to have high blood pressure. She started taking 5-HTP which helped tremendously with her moods.

Kate’s second labor was very similar her first as she labored pretty independently but this labor progressed more quickly. Her midwife told her to contact her when contractions were 7-1-1, but her contractions jumped out of nowhere from 8-1-1 to 4-1-1 and they still had a 45 minute drive up to the birth center. She describes that experienced as the worst drive of her life. She could feel her baby descending but didn’t tell her husband because she was worried it would freak him out while driving.

When they got to the birth center and got checked immediately, the baby’s head was crowning. She says her body completely took over, and the fetal ejection reflex happened. Within 6 minutes of getting to the birth center, her baby was born in one contraction without any conscious pushing.

She describes her immediate postpartum recovery this time as amazing. They had one hour of uninterrupted time, and then four more hours after his birth at the birth center before they headed home.

Unfortunately, she had a lot of issues with mastitis due to over-supply but the haaka was a big help. She had to go dairy-free due to her baby’s intolerance and it helped baby a lot. Kate found support for this via a Facebook group.

Resources

Kate Statti Bio

Kate is 31 years old, married to Casey and they have two sons Hudson and Ronan. They live in Davenport, Florida and both work for Disney World as VIP Tour Guides but were unfortunately recently laid off along with 28,000 other Cast Members.

Babylist

This episode was sponsored by the people at Babylist believe that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry lets you add any item from any store. Even add cool services and favors like prenatal yoga, doula support, home-cooked meals or dog walking. Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth up to $190 while boxes last.

The Decision Around Terminating Pregnancy Due to Multiple Congenital Anomalies + Hospital & Home Birth Stories

Devastated by a 21 week loss due to multiple congenital anomalies, followed by a miscarriage at 8 weeks, blessed by two, unmedicated births (one at a hospital and one at home during the pandemic). 

Jana walks through their complicated and heartbreaking decision to terminate a 21-week baby boy with multiple, congenital abnormalities.  She highlights *some* of their decision-making process and the incredible medical care they received along the way.  Shortly after that loss, Jana and her husband were then hit with a miscarriage at 8 weeks.  As healthcare providers, they struggled with what this meant for future pregnancies, how this impacted their marriage and professional life.  

After fertility consults that said, “everything is fine,” and several months of trying, they were successful with another pregnancy.  While this pregnancy seemed to outsiders as “routine,” it was riddled with stress and anxiety, fearful they would loose this baby too.  Specialists assured them, that this was a healthy pregnancy.  Friends and family were an irreplaceable support system, constantly reminding them to take in one day at a time.  Jana remembers, “our family and friends were so kind, listening to our worries and helping to share in some of our burden.”     

In early November 2018, after 10 hours of laboring at home (in denial) with her husband and doula, Jana admitted she was in labor and agreed to go to the hospital.  Jana delivered a healthy, baby boy, 10 minutes after arriving to the hospital.  While that delivery was “quick,” it was also not the birth experience she had hoped for.  Jana knew if there was another pregnancy, the delivery would be different; she wanted a more positive, natural childbirth experience.      

Their fourth pregnancy came in fall of 2019— they never expected to be making the decision about this pregnancy/delivery in the middle of a pandemic.  As the pandemic worsened, they decided to hire a homebirth midwife and deliver the baby at home.  Jana labored again with her doula, husband and midwife birth team.  Start to finish, this process was just over 4 hours.  In June 2020, Jana and her husband celebrated a successful homebirth and welcomed another baby boy; so much joy amidst the pandemic sorrow and previous losses.  The homebirth was the best choice for their family and 100% supported the natural child birthing experience. 

Jana Parrish Bio

Jana and her husband live in Michigan with their two boys.  When she’s not working as a nurse, she can be found doing projects with her husband, baking, amateur strawbale gardening and trying to keep two, tiny humans alive.  Instagram: @jfrenchie        


Resources

  • Expecting and Empowered- all things pelvic PT
  • Safe in the Seat- Newborn carseat safety
  • Taking Cara Babies- sleep training, but really all things newborn/baby 
  • Building Blocks Family- family dynamics, bringing home baby #2, all things toddler
  • Modern Michigan Doula
  • Compassionate Hands Birth Services
  • Expecting Better by Emily Oster

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting moms find the perfect pump for her lifestyle. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda and more. And the best part, they take care of everything – including getting all required paperwork, dealing with your insurance company, and explaining your options in order to get your free pump shipped straight to your door. 

Bonus — you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes. 

All you have to do is go to the Aeroflow Breastpumps website and fill out their free and easy Qualify Through Insurance form. Be sure to go to aeroflowbreastpumps.com/birthhour so they will know I sent you!  

Hospital Births with Midwives, In Person vs Virtual Doula

On July 28, 2016 Alexis gave birth to her first child after 8 hours of labor. Despite dealing with back labor, she was able to have an unmedicated labor and delivery with the support of her husband Kurt, their doula, and midwives at the local hospital. 

In the spring of 2020 Alexis and Kurt were preparing for the birth of their second child. The plan was to again have a hospital birth with the same midwifery group and be supported by a doula. When the world started rapidly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they found themselves navigating the unimaginable.

With the use of technology, Alexis was able to have her doula support her virtually as well as help coach her husband to support her throughout labor and delivery. That combined with the calming expertise of her midwife and nurse, Alexis was able to have the birth that she wanted feeling fully supported by her birth team. They welcomed their second daughter into the world on April 28th, 2020. 

Alexis Heller Bio

Alexis lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Kurt, her two daughters (Phoebe and Quinn), and their two cats. She works in operations for a local pediatric hospital. Alexis and her family love spending time listening to music, cooking, traveling, spending time outdoors, and they cannot wait until they can go to concerts again.  You can connect with her on Instagram @alexishellmaster.

Resources 

Motif Medical

This episode was sponsored by Motif Medical. Motif designs insurance-eligible products for busy moms. With a focus on innovation and empowerment, Motif’s line of breast pumps and maternity compression garments are sophisticated, yet discreet, and made to support mothers as they navigate new motherhood. Discover why moms are reporting more milk in less time with the Luna breast pump, and see how you can get it covered through insurance at motifmedical.com/birthhour

Virtual Doula Support for High Risk Birth During COVID-19

After a traumatic experience with postpartum Hellp Syndrome, two blood transfusions, a 24 hour magnesium drip several hours after the birth of her daughter in 2017, and a miscarriage in 2019, Vered and her husband had garnered a solid and trusted medical team in her new OB and Doula, and felt mentally prepared to safely welcome their son in 2020. Then the Covid19 pandemic hit just one month before her due date. The doula she had hired would have to participate in the birth virtually and each day leading up to the birth it was unclear if she would be allowed to have her husband in the delivery room with her. For anyone this would be a frightening experience, but even more so for a high-risk patient. 

covid19 virtual doula support

Vered Asta Bio

Vered lives in Maryland with her husband, 3 ½ year old daughter and 7-month-old son. She is the Co-Founder and Event specialist at Vela Events where she helps couples, families, and organizations coordinate and celebrate milestone moments. Vered is currently looking to engage in projects that educate women about preeclampsia and Hellp syndrome. You can find her @veredsasta or @velaevents.

Crane

This episode is sponsored by Crane Humidifiers. Crane’s colorful humidifiers are a nursery necessity to help relieve your baby’s tiny congested nose, which can make feeding and sleeping a struggle for both baby and mom. A happy baby is a healthy baby. Crane is generously offering $10 OFF and free shipping on all of their full-priced, 1 gallon, adorable animal shaped humidifiers and drop humidifiers with the code BIRTH20 at www.crane-usa.com. Check out their new top fill drop humidifier here or via Wal-Mart.

Prodromal Labor, Birth Center Birth, and Amazing Postpartum + Breastfeeding Experience

Amanda had a smooth, yet uncomfortable, pregnancy but then had to navigate giving birth and finding support during the pandemic. She experienced a day of prodromal labor before real labor started the day after her due date. After arriving at the birthing center, she labored most of the day in the water supported by her husband and sister. Labor was intense yet peaceful and she progressed steadily throughout the day. She delivered her baby on a birth stool and after a short scare with the baby not immediately breathing, they had an immediate bond. Postpartum was the happiest time of her life and loved breastfeeding from the start. She had a significant tear but had a great experience working with a pelvic floor physical therapist to heal. 

birth center birth

Amanda Johnson Bio

Amanda lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a tech recruiter. She and her husband, David, have been married 5 years and welcomed their first baby in May of 2020. She enjoys traveling, baking, and long walks with her St. Bernard. You can connect with her online on instagram at @amandajoejohnson.

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Ergobaby is dedicated to helping families bond, grow, and thrive by creating premium baby products where function and quality are not compromised. Ergobaby has created a broad range of award-winning baby carriers, strollers, swaddlers, nursing pillows, and related products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably and safely. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet.