Epidural Hospital Birth with Midwives

At 39 years old, Christi was happy to find out she was pregnant for the second time. This pregnancy was more challenging than her first in terms of routine discomforts, but thankfully there were no serious complications. She received a big surprise, however, when, in her third trimester, she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. She decided to use the diagnosis as a wake up call to be more intentional about healthy eating and daily exercise. She was a little over a month into working on her diabetes plan when she got an even bigger surprise—her water broke at 36 weeks and 5 days!

She had planned for a medicated hospital birth, just like her first, so it was very exciting when, a few hours later, she and her husband found themselves in labor and delivery discussing her options with the midwife.  She advocated for waiting to see if contractions would intensify on their own, but after ten hours without any progression, she agreed to augmentation with IV medication as well as her first cervical exam which showed she was 3 cm dilated.  Shortly after starting the medication her contractions began to intensify and gradually got stronger as the medication was increased.

After about seven hours, she received an epidural right around the time the contractions started coming very quickly. Once the nurse did a second cervical check, the midwife was immediately called back to the hospital. At 5am—24 hours and 30 minutes—after her water broke, she delivered a healthy late preterm baby girl weighing 6 lb 10 oz at 36 weeks, 6 days gestation.  In the first 72 hours of life, her baby struggled with weight loss, rising bilirubin levels and insufficient intake, along with a diagnosis of ABO incompatibility so they returned to the hospital for phototherapy to treat the jaundice. The therapy worked wonderfully and she was able to take her baby home for good after less than 24 hours in the hospital. 

christi silano

Christi Silano Bio

Christi has been married to Anthony Silano for fourteen years. They spent the first ten years of their marriage living in Hawaii and happily working, studying and traveling. In 2017 they landed in California and began their new adventure: raising a family. They have two daughters, Naomi, age three and Leona, two months. They live with their adopted dog, Dez, in Santa Rosa, California where Christi works as a nurse practitioner specializing in geriatrics. In her spare time she relaxes by baking, Bible study and jogging. She can be reached at csilano9@gmail.com.

Resources

Wumblekin

This episode is sponsored by Wumblekin. Life’s busy and there’s a lot of noise out there, that can be especially true during pregnancy. Wumblekin breaks down pregnancy, labor and birth with evidence-based education and expert-curated products for mom and baby. Easily buy or gift single boxes, or subscribe to receive them throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Be informed and prepared by ordering Wumblekin pregnancy, birth and postpartum essentials, today! Get 15% off your first box by using promo code BIRTHHOUR at checkout. Visit wumblekin.com to order or subscribe, today!


TTC+ Induction for Gestational Hypertension turned Unplanned Cesarean Birth

Chae gave birth at 37+2 weeks via unplanned c-section.  Chae planned on having an unmedicated birth, but gestational hypertension caused a hospital stay and an induction.  After 2 days in labor and a few interventions (Cytotec, Cervadil, water broken, Pitocin) only helping to progress to 2 centimeters dilated, it was decided a c-section would be best.  Postpartum was emotionally taxing with issues breastfeeding and her daughter not initially gaining weight. After lots of work with a trusted lactation consultant, breastfeeding and weight gain became issues of the past.  Carter is now a healthy 6-month old!

Chae Ray

Chae Ray, 33, is an Assistant Principal living in Richmond, Texas.  She lives with her husband, Cameron, her 6 month old daughter, Carter, and their two German Shepherds, Zeus and Hera. Chae and Cameron have been married for 9 years, and have been so excited to start their own family. Email her to connect at chaeray7@gmail.com.

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

Read more from lactation consultant, Ashley Georgakopoulos here.


Gentle Cesarean with Wonderful Birth Team

Hadar started her pregnancy hoping for a birth center birth for her first born, but midway through her pregnancy a partial placenta previa was discovered. She continued to receive midwifery care through her pregnancy but ultimately required a scheduled c-section because her placenta never corrected itself. Her gentle cesarean ended up being very positive thanks to a wonderful birth team!

Hadar Spector Bio

Hadar Spector is currently a stay-at-home mom who previously spent her career in the hospitality industry. In her free time she enjoys being in nature, spending time hiking or at the beach, listening to documentary style podcasts, and spending time with family. You can connect with Hadar on Instagram at H8er18 or through email at .

hadar spector

Resources

Cord Blood Registry

Today’s episode was sponsored by @CordBloodRegistry, also known as CBR. CBR has helped millions of parents bank their children’s newborn stem cells. Newborn stem cells have amazing potential for treatments in the future and cord blood stem cells have already been used for thirty years in stem cell transplants. It’s kind of like investing in your baby’s future health.

For a limited time, CBR is offering The Birth Hour listeners some pretty big discounts. Go to cordblood.com and use code: HOUR to get 60% off the Newborn Stem Cell Bundle which includes both cord blood and tissue banking. Visit their website to learn more about how newborn stem cell preservation could protect your whole family and why CBR is the #1 most recommended cord blood bank by families and OB/GYNs.

Pregnancy During Covid, Induction at 41 Weeks + Hiring a Postpartum Doula

Allison longed to have a baby for years. It wasn’t the right time until she completed a 10 month teaching fellowship in China. Once she got back home, she and her partner Devin moved quickly. They bought a house, got married and became pregnant all within 5 months. 

She had a physically easy pregnancy but it took a toll on her emotionally once COVID-19 hit in her second trimester. She was very grateful for her healthy pregnancy but felt like she was robbed of her first pregnancy experience due to the pandemic. Her husband couldn’t come to her ultrasounds or appointments, her baby shower was canceled and she couldn’t share her pregnancy with her family and friends. 

Allison’s due date came and went and after a valiant attempt at inducing labor naturally, she ended up getting medically induced at 41 weeks. After a long 36 hour labor, nearly 5 hours of pushing and a forceps delivery, her daughter Finley was born. 

The 4th trimester was challenging for Allison, but breastfeeding was successful. She decided to hire a postpartum doula and that was a total game changer. Nearly 3 months after Finley’s birth, Allison ended up in the ER due to a gallbladder attack. She opted to have her gallbladder removed and hasn’t looked back since.

pregnancy during covid

Allison Katayama Bio

Allison lives in Vallejo, CA with her husband Devin and 7 month old daughter Finley. She is a stay at home mom at the moment but an ESL teacher by trade. She has been a big fan of the Birth Hour for a very long time and is a graduate of the Know Your Options course. Allison hopes that her story will resonate with other moms and moms-to-be! She is very happy to connect with anyone who would like to reach out. Connect with Allison at demerise89@gmail.com.

Resources

Aeroflow Breastpumps

Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting parents discover the breastfeeding and postpartum essentials covered by their insurance including breast pumps and maternity compression and postpartum recovery products, they take care of everything – including all paperwork, working with your insurance company, and explaining your options to get these free essentials shipped straight to your door.

Aeroflow offers all major breast pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda, Elvie, Willow and more.

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 we sent you! Bonus — use the promo code “TBH15” in their online shop for 15% off all supplies and accessories.

Three Births: PROM, Prodromal Labor, Irritable Uterus, and Precipitous Birth

First Birth: Oshiolema Atogwe in 2015. Age 24. 

We used the Bradley method and really wanted a water birth but knew our birth center would only allow laboring in the water but not delivering in the water since it was attached to the hospital. Incredibly easy pregnancy. Water broke at 38 weeks to the day after a cervical check that morning and my body simply wasn’t ready. I was told at the 22 hour mark that if some progress wasn’t made soon, I’d have to start considering other options. I was devastated when the team switched over to the midwife I was least fond of since it had been 12 hours but that midwife added essential oils to my belly that finally started progression. After 24 hours of labor with a plateau (natural alignment plateau) after the water, a cervical lip and two hours of pushing, I gave birth on a birthing stool and delivered him myself. My placenta fell right onto the floor, he punched his way out and I had absolutely horrible tearing. Postpartum healing and breastfeeding were incredibly challenging and it was a traumatic experience. 

using-water-in-birth

Second Birth: Keogena Atogwe in 2016. Age 26. 

I dedicated so much time and effort to making sure I learned how to push and to better prepare my body for labor through spinning babies, six dates a day, borage oil, red raspberry leaf tea and so on. I got really painful varicose veins and had placenta previa so the pregnancy was a bit more challenging, especially since my son was 11 months old when I found out I was pregnant. We moved late in my third trimester and I quickly found a midwife team and doula. I had false labor a few times and started to get so discouraged but at 39 weeks, went into labor and it was six hours start to finish. Relaxing worship music and focus were so helpful. She was born in the water and it was the most healing birth-exactly what I had prayed for. I had the teeniest tiniest tear and recovery was so much more smooth. 

Miscarriage in 2018

Third birth: Zeameh Atogwe in 2020. Age 30. 

I found out I was pregnant less than a month after my sister’s full term stillbirth. This pregnancy was filled with physical and emotional difficulty. Pregnancy after loss (my miscarriage and my sister’s stillbirth) and my first pregnancy with autoimmune disease made me really have to battle for hope and confidence. I was diagnosed with “irritable uterus” at 9 weeks which I thought was a joke, but it set the tone for the pregnancy. I had Braxton Hicks very early and contractions that would follow a pattern from 22 weeks. I kept hearing about precipitous birth at every turn and began to think it might happen for me. The pandemic hit right as I entered my third trimester and changed everything. Added so much anxiety and sleep became almost impossible. For the final couple months, I was waking up and staying up every night with Braxton Hicks and for the final three weeks, I had prodromal labor every single night. Sometimes my contractions lasted 5 minutes which I learned was my body trying to get the baby in position— the pandemic meant no chiropractor or prenatal massage which I had previously relied on. I tore my abdomen, my varicose veins were off the charts and I was just so deeply uncomfortable that I started to feel depressed and scared I wouldn’t even be excited to have the baby. The very day I expressed that thought, my water broke at 11pm. My parents came, I labored until morning and I thought I was going to give birth in the car. I went from a 4 to a 10 in about a 15 minute period. Labor from the first hard contraction to holding her in my arms was two hours. Recovery was a dream, she was a dream and I was back home three hours later. 

Postpartum: pandemic postpartum was difficult and lonely. I felt so sorry my husband was taking care of everything and everyone. We also ended up getting COVID-19 when she was 4 weeks old and that meant we needed to be even more isolated which was devastating but I’m thankful to have walked through it. 

jill atogwe birth stories

Jill Atogwe is a wife to Oshiomogho and mother to Oshiolema, Keogena and Zeameh living in Dallas, Texas. She is an artist and lifestyle blogger behind Gold & Graphite and is always searching for the beauty in every day life. 
Connect with her via her website: goldandgraphite.com, instagram.com/jillatogwe or Email: jkatogwe@gmail.com

Resources

Expectful

This episode is sponsored by Expectful – the #1 guided meditation & sleep app for your fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood journey. Just like you probably take a prenatal vitamin for your body, Expectful’s meditations are like a prenatal vitamin for your mind and can help you have a happier, healthier journey to parenthood. Whether you are TTC, pregnant, or postpartum, everything in the Expectful app was made just for this special moment in your life and created based on interviews with hopeful, expecting, and new parents just like you. Ready to reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one? Go to expectful.com/birthhour or download Expectful in the App Store to get started with a free trial today. 

Two Unmedicated, Empowering Births for a Preterm Baby and a High-Risk Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes

Surprise Preterm Birth at 34 Weeks

Lauren got pregnant relatively easily at age 34 years. The early weeks of this pregnancy were marked by uncertainty and anxiety, after an abnormal result on the nuchal translucency screening in the first trimester. Non-invasive prenatal testing later showed normal results, and she was followed closely by Maternal Fetal Medicine during the second trimester with additional ultrasounds and an echocardiogram. At 27 weeks, Lauren was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which she managed with diet and exercise. At 34 weeks, she unexpectedly went into preterm labor. Her baby was born after an unmedicated labor that happened quickly toward the end (from 7 cm to baby in 30 minutes!). Charlotte spent 23 days in the NICU, which was stressful but the parents were thankful that she mostly needed to feed and grow.

Complicated Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes, ending with an Empowering Unmedicated Birth

Once Lauren turned 37 years old, she felt her biological clock ticking and felt a strong desire to have their second baby earlier than originally planned. Surprisingly (but thankfully!) she got pregnant on the first cycle after her IUD was removed, and suspected she was pregnant three days before she got the positive test on the early response test. This pregnancy was more medically complicated than the first – she had gestational diabetes once more, and it required insulin this time. She also had weekly progesterone shots from 16 to 36 weeks to prevent another preterm birth. By the third trimester, when she walked into the Maternal-Fetal Medicine office, the staff knew both her name and date of birth without Lauren having to tell them! Lauren did prenatal yoga, mindfulness practice, and lots of walking during this pregnancy. She also used her research skills as a professor to read up on original empirical research studies and ACOG recommendations to educate and advocate for herself. Despite this complicated pregnancy, at 38 weeks Lauren had a spontaneous, natural, beautiful, empowering unmedicated birth that was everything she wanted. Baby Madeline completed their family and Lauren is thankful for all she learned about her body and mind during her two pregnancies.

Throughout both birth stories, Lauren speaks about educating yourself, surrounding yourself with supportive birth partners, and advocating for yourself in a medical setting. She believes that it is of utmost important for a birthing person to feel heard, supported and valued by her providers.

Lauren Jax Bio

Lauren Jax lives in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania with her husband Steve and kids Charlotte (2015) and Madeline (2018). She is a college professor, and she teaches and researches about developmental psychology.

Resources

Babylist

Today’s episode is sponsored by Babylist. 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 easily lets you add any item from any store. Plus, Babylist helps you each step of the way with their customized checklist, product guides and reviews, and personal registry consultants. They’ve even got group gifting! Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth over $100 while boxes last.

Hospital Birth During COVID-19 + Low Milk Supply Challenges

After deciding to stop trying for a baby, Taylor and Brian were surprised with a positive pregnancy test in 2019. After a nausea ridden, but uncomplicated first and second trimesters, COVID 19 hit and everyone went into lockdown. The rest of Taylor’s pregnancy went smoothly, and the pair was surprised when their doula called them a few weeks before her due date, saying that their hospital was now allowing two birth partners. After three days of laboring at home, and one day laboring in the hospital, their daughter Charlie was born. The first couple of days in the hospital were a blur, and Taylor really struggled with breastfeeding and with her supply, but after many visits with her IBCLC and countless attempts at breastfeeding, they figured out a way to make it work.  

Taylor Trew Tenggren Bio

Taylor lives outside of Boston, MA, with her husband, Brian, seven-month-old baby girl, Charlie, and two dogs. Brian is a software consultant and Taylor is in graduate school for her Master’s in Interior Architecture. You can reach out to her on Instagram @trew_love or on Facebook – Taylor Trew Tenggren. 

Resources

Kindred Bravely

Today’s episode is brought to you by Kindred Bravely. From adorable maternity wear to comfortable nursing bras, this mom-owned company has you covered.  See all of their comfy clothing at kindredbravely.com! I especially love their Simply Sublime nursing tank, their high waisted leggings (for pregnancy AND postpartum). Listen to this episode for a special coupon code and to hear about my new favorites in their summer line of clothing and loungewear!

Water Breaks on wedding day + Home birth with Castor Oil


Aubrey had planned on having a homebirth ever since she rotated on a labor and delivery unit as a medical student, she just knew it was not the setting where she would feel safe – and where her cervix would relax! – to give birth. She had some painful seasons waiting to get through medical school, intern year, two back surgeries, three years of residency, and her now-husband’s PhD before they had the ability to welcome a baby. She was ecstatic and in disbelief when they got pregnant on their first try. She was in disbelief a lot throughout her pregnancy and birth, which taught her a lot about the expectations and assumptions she was carrying without realizing it. She thought women in her family didn’t get morning sickness: she had all-day-sickness for 15 weeks straight. She thought she *knew* she was having a boy: nope, girl. She would never have dreamt that the COVID-19 pandemic could last her whole second trimester, let alone still be going on. She thought there would be at least – at least! – a week overdue – she was so sure of this in fact that when Seattle courthouses opened up for weddings when she was 38 weeks pregnant she scheduled their long-delayed wedding for 38 weeks and 6 days…and her amniotic sac tore as they were waiting for the judge!

going into labor on wedding day

What followed was a marathon and then a sprint of a labor that spanned from that Friday to the following Monday when she and her husband decided to take the plunge and take castor oil. She went from eating the castor oil at noon to jumping out of bed at 2pm in the heat of transition. She realized in retrospect she had never seen a woman in an unmedicated birth, let alone in transition in her home where she could really express the pain and raw fear she was experiencing. She dissociated for a time and within two hours felt the urge to push. Her midwives made it to the house by 4pm, declared her ready to push, and she delivered her daughter’s head herself in a birth tub in their living room with all the doors and windows open just shy of 6pm.

Aubrey Demajh Bio

Aubrey is first a wife to Brian and mama to their daughter Reverie. They live in Seattle with their two pups and enjoy hiking, skiing, and all laying in a big pile on the couch together. She is also a psychiatry resident, set to graduate in a few months with plans to launch her maternal psychiatry practice offering both therapy and medication support to mamas at all stages from preconception to deep in the trenches. She is committed to bridging the gaps that make it so difficult for mothers, especially in the precious first year postpartum, to access the therapy and psychological support they deserve in order to process and navigate the incredible and immense shift of bringing a child into the world. Her practice, The Postpartum Psychiatrist, will offer video-based therapy and medication support from the comfort of mothers’ homes. You can follow her @thepostpartumpsychiatrist or on her personal page @thedoctoraubz or email her at aubreydemajhmd@gmail.com.

Resources

Wumblekin

This episode is sponsored by Wumblekin. Life’s busy and there’s a lot of noise out there, that can be especially true during pregnancy. Wumblekin breaks down pregnancy, labor and birth with evidence-based education and expert-curated products for mom and baby. Easily buy or gift single boxes, or subscribe to receive them throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Be informed and prepared by ordering Wumblekin pregnancy, birth and postpartum essentials, today! Get 15% off your first box by using promo code BIRTHHOUR at checkout. Visit wumblekin.com to order or subscribe, today!

Unmedicated Hospital birth during COVID-19 and Hurricane + Postpartum Anxiety

After planning for a baby for years, the time finally came for Kayla and her husband to start trying. They successfully got pregnant fairly quickly, but found their timing to be all but perfect as news of the pandemic began to spread. Although adapting to this new way of life during pregnancy was difficult, Kayla had a relatively normal pregnancy and planned for an unmedicated hospital birth with midwives.

At her 38 week appointment, Kayla was told that she was 4cm dilated, fully effaced, and her water bag was bulging. Later that afternoon, contractions began and really picked up later in the evening. Around midnight, contractions were intense so her and her husband headed for the hospital. Upon arrival, Kayla was 8cm dilated, but contractions slowed way down and labor continued for 9 hours before pitocin was administered and she finally reached 10cm. She had a little cervical lip, so with the help of her midwife, she was able to push baby Denver out after a little over an hour. Her healthy baby boy was born at 11:33am on August 4, 2020.

Her postpartum period was relatively smooth since her mom was able to come down to Virginia for 3 weeks. However, after the initial excitement wore off, Kayla realized that she was dealing with some postpartum anxiety and saw a counselor for help with dealing with her scary thoughts. Seeing the counselor and working with some self-help techniques really helped, and Kayla is thoroughly enjoying being a momma!

Kayla Sikes Bio

Kayla lives in Portsmouth, Virginia with her husband, Trevor, and son, Denver. Her and her husband are both from North Pole, Alaska and came to Virginia because of Trevor’s job in the Navy. Kayla works for local government as a Wellness Coordinator and loves working with people so much that she’s currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health. She enjoys being active and spends as much time outdoors with her son and husband as possible. Connect with her on Instagram @kayradee.

Resources

BabyCube

This episode is sponsored by BabyCube. Your baby’s first year can really fly by and if you’re like me you may feel guilty for not keeping up with that baby book you got at your shower. BabyCube is a simple & easy way to capture memories by adding photos as you go in a user-friendly platform that organizes your baby’s first year week-by-week in a visual timeline. Then, at the end of the year (or when you’re ready) each weekly note & photo is printed and sent to you in a beautiful engraved wooden box. My favorite part is that you can start and finish at your own pace so it’s perfect for parents who need flexibility! And, it is definitely a great alternative to those baby books or journals we all feel like we should be filling out but somehow never do! For a limited time, BabyCube is offering 20% off to birth hour listeners with the coupon code BIRTHHOUR20 at babycubeglobal.com.

Induction at 37 weeks for Pre-eclampsia without an Epidural

Jasmine dealt with constant nausea for the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, but after it subsided she started to focus on hynobirthing techniques, exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. She worked with her doula each week to prepare for the birth and hoped to have an unmedicated birth without interventions. 

At 37 weeks, Jasmine went into the birth center for what she thought was a typical checkup. During the appointment the nurse reported her blood pressure was elevated at around 140/100. She was advised to go to the emergency room, where her blood pressure increased even more and she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia with severe features. She was admitted to labor and delivery where she discovered she was already 5 cm dilated. Due to the pre-eclampsia she was put on magnesium and could not leave the bed. This meant she could not utilize most of the pain management techniques she had been practicing during her pregnancy. 

After 8 hours of seeing if her body would progress naturally, she ended up needing to be induced with pitocin and breaking her waters. After her waters were broken, she started to really feel the contractions and was able to breathe through each one with her husband. At 9 cm and a lip, she got the urge to push. The doctor manually moved the lip and she was able to start pushing. 

She pushed for about 20 minutes and the baby’s heart rate started dropping, so she had to get the baby out a soon as possible. Soon after, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Listen to her husband’s perspective of their birth story here by becoming a Co-Producer and gaining access to our Partner Podcast!

preeclampsia 37 weeks

Jasmine McFarlin Bio

Jasmine is a first time mom who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Tom and daughter Louise, who is 7 months old. She recently left her job at a tech startup to care for her daughter full time. 

Resources

Zahler Prenatal Vitamins

Today’s episode is sponsored by Advanced Nutrition by Zahler. Zahler offers  complete nutrition at a crucial time when it matters most. Zahler kosher Prenatal + DHA contains a potent blend of 26 vitamins & nutrients including 300mg of DHA and the active form of Folate. Zahler’s Prenatal provides the full spectrum of nutrients you and your developing baby require. Enjoy an exclusive 25% off toward your purchase on Amazon using code PREDHA25.