Tiara shares her experience being pregnant while serving active duty in the Navy and planning a home birth. For Tiara’s first birth, she planned a home birth instead of birthing in a military installation hospital. The driving force behind this decision was that Tiara had suffered a traumatic sexual assault while serving in the military and she wanted to be in a protected space where she could have some control and be heard.
Although Tiara had thoroughly researched the statistics of birth disparities and maternal moralities among black women, Tiara began to welcome her birthing time confidently because of the wealth of knowledge and support from her amazing midwives and loving husband. After 21 hours of active labor and 10 minutes of pushing, their daughter, Zoe was born February 19 at 11:19am.
Tiara Perry Bio
Tiara, originally from Cincinnati, enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after graduating high school. While stationed in Japan, she met her husband Devaun. After navigating their marriage through Tiara’s various lengthy deployments and finally being on shore duty, they weren’t trying to conceive but found out that they were expecting their first child. Connect with her on Instagram @tiaralashae.p
Today’s episode is brought to you by Britax Child Safety, Inc. For over 50 years, Britax has been focused on safety you can trust from the very first day. They welcome new moms and dads to parenthood with award-winning car seats and strollers for every lifestyle while providing extra confidence for the journey ahead. At the end of today’s episode, I talk with Britax safety advocate, Sarah Tilton, all about the importance of rear-facing. Learn more about Britax products and safety tips at us.britax.com.
Naria and her husband, Luther, received unexpected news of their first pregnancy in January 2019. Though unexpected, years of being exposed to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences through family and education had prepared Naria to make informed decisions about the birth experience she wanted. Alongside her husband, nurse-midwife, doula, and mother, Naria was able to experience the unmedicated vaginal birth she wanted as she welcomed her baby girl Samaria Eve Menard. During her postpartum period, Naria struggled greatly with baby blues and with her adequacy as a mother. The words of wisdom from her doula sustained her during her time of transition into motherhood: ‘Surrender to the process’.
Naria Josefina Menard Bio
Naria was born and raised in NYC to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. Her ethnicity as an Afro-Latina played a huge role in her upbringing and how she views the world around her. These cultural ideals shaped her decisions on her pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum experiences. She currently resides with her husband of almost four years and her beautiful 7-month-old daughter in South Florida. There, Naria serves as a teacher to 9th grade students while also working on completing her doula certification in hopes to be a voice for women of color in the birthing world and to further educate women of color on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. You can connect with Naria on Instagram @mamanarnar30 and on Facebook at ‘Naria Josefina Menard’.
Shannon went into the labor naturally, the day she was scheduled to be induced. It was snowy outside and her husband timed contractions starting at 3 minutes, two minutes, then 90 seconds apart as they enjoyed walks, brunch, lunch, and labored at their favorite restaurant over dinner.
They texted family and friends with updates and were giddy and nervous thinking thier baby boy may come within a few hours…they didn’t plan on a few days.
Shannon took a peaceful nap in her room and packed last minute items in her hospital bags. She still remembers laying in her quiet bedroom and feeling close and cozy. She went to the hospital and ended up having to stay the night because it had been several hours since her water broke.
Shannon labored through the night and as the sun rose the next morning. She and her husband walked around the hospital, outside, and even home because they lived ten minutes from the hospital. Shannon’s Sister, close friend Gina, and Mom came in the afternoon. They took turns rubbing her back, walking with her, using essential oils, and breathing along with her. They said she was doing an amazing job, they added more Beyonce to her playlists, laughed and cried with her. Shannon labored on.
Shannon used Nitros gas, the robozo, a birthing ball. She dialated, but not enough. She used Citotec to get contractions started, then pitosin, then the jacuzzi tub and finally, after 36 hours, an epidural.
Marcos, was as close to an extension of Shannon as a partner could be. He held her hand as she squeezed through painful contractions. He counted with her, he made her a hospital mix with “Cheery Music.” He got into the tub and held Shannon as she moaned in pain. He whispered over and over that he loved her and was so proud of her from the first hour and as they approached the end of the second day of labor. His words kept Shannon breathing and hopeful.
At hour 43, Shannon’s midwife held her hand, while Marcos held the other. She explained that while Shannon’s contractions were strong the baby was showing signs of distress in the birth canal. Shannon was not dilating and the risk of infection and further complications was increasing. The thing Shannon wanted to avoid was a c-section and the next step, for a safe delivery, was a c-section.
The surgeon sat by Shannon’s bed and with a bright and peppy voice listed off the risks that could occur during surgery, including the removal of my uterus or death and if yes, Shannon was giving permission to go ahead…umm…Sure!?
Shannon remembers having to take off her gold earrings and give them to her Sister and also that she was SO thirsty. As they wheeled Shannon into the operating room she was shaking from the medication and Marcos held her shoulders still. She kept licking her lips and just wanting for it to be over so I could drink a gatorade. They pinched Shannon and asked ” Do you feel this Shannon?” She did. They said “Really?” Then they pinched further down… “Does this feel the same as this?” The two pinches felt the same. She felt the blade of the knife and it hurt. Eventually it numbed but it was more than a little pressure. Shannon just kept staring up at Marcos. Then, quiet.
The baby was having trouble breathing. They were about to take him to the NICU and then… he took a big breath of air and was breathing on his own. No NICU. Shannon heard laughter and saw relief in Marcos’s eyes as he brought Shannon their baby.
Fitz had so much hair and they laid his body haphazardly on my chest while they finished stitching Shannon up. Shannon was shaking and when they laid him on her chest he calmed. His feet and lips looked exactly like Marcos. Shannon remembers the Dr. saying “Shannon, we are just putting your uterus back.” She didn’t love this real time update but was relieved it was over and the baby was actually here. Shannon had started to doubt he would ever come out.
The sweetest moment was when they were wheeling Shannon and the baby into recovery. Shannon explains that her baby was nestled beside her and he confidently grabbed her fingers, like “we got this.”In that moment Shannon felt like they did it together, and they were fine. Shannon felt proud for bringing him here, and strong, and a huge cloud of relief surrounded her new little family.
In the recovery room Marcos held the baby while Shannon rested. They had both been up over 46 hours at that point. Shannon heard grunting and movement like Marcos was trying to wrestle a bull or something. The baby wanted to nurse and was trying to latch onto Marcos. Marcos brought the baby over and his little body melted onto Shannon. He was instantly quiet. Marcos kept saying “Wow, that is what you were looking for. ” He was looking for his Mama… and he found her.
Shannon McQueen Bio
Shannon works at a Startup in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley California with her husband Marcos and three year old son. Connect with her on Instagram @babywokemama and www.babywokemama.com.
Part II of 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.
Ndeya and her wife, Kourtney, knew even before they were expecting that they wanted to have a home birth. After a simple IUI in January 2018, they were pregnant! Armed with knowledge and the support of her wife and fabulous midwives, Ndeya went into labor and birth feeling confident and excited. After 20 hours of early labor, 10 hours of active labor and 25 minutes of pushing (in a squat) their daughter, Aminah, was born, in the middle of their living room.
Ndeya Snow Bio
Ndeya is a queer woman of color who works in the San Francisco Bay Area creating learning and development programming at a local non-profit. When she’s not at work she enjoys singing all the high notes in her community choir, crocheting granny squares, and singing silly songs with her wife and daughter. Connect with her via her Blog: ndeyasnow.com or on Instagram: @ndeyaloves.
Crate and Kids
This episode of The Birth Hour is sponsored by Crate and Kids. Crate and Kids believes in rooms that welcome little ones and their grown-ups. Ready for each stage of childhood, their inspiring, versatile designs celebrate your family’s unique way of living, and help make yours a creative home to grow in.
Use code TheBirthHour10 at checkout to receive 10% off your full-price purchase of Kids furniture and more at crateandkids.com. It’s valid online only, and some exclusions apply, so see their website for details.
When Monique got pregnant she didn’t have a lot of information on birth. She only knew that it was her desire to have a vaginal birth. At 34 weeks she decided to switch from having a hospital birth to a homebirth. Labor started at 38w6d, but contractions were only lasting 35 seconds on average. Waiting for them to reach the 1 minute mark, she almost waited too long to call the midwife, who arrived only 15 minutes before her baby was born.
Monique Lamhut Bio
Monique is a stay-at-home mom to her 2 year-old-daughter. She is from Brazil, but currently lives in The Netherlands where she just finished her doula training. Connect with her via email at email@example.com
Today’s episode was sponsored by Grove Collaborative. Join over 2 million families who have shopped Grove Collaborative to buy products that are good for their homes, their family, and the environment. Make your home more sustainable this year. Now for a limited time when my listeners go to Grove.co/birthhour, you’ll get a FREE FIVE PIECE set from Grove so you can swap out plastic in an easy way. Plus, you’ll get free shipping AND a free 60-day VIP trial!
Jackie and Albert tried for a year to get pregnant before they had a successful IVF transfer. Jackie had a pretty good pregnancy until the end when she had kidney stones and then the wild ride of the twins’ birth! 48 hours from beginning to end, baby A came vaginally on September 10th, and 15 hours later, baby B was born on September 11th from an emergency C section. The babies were in the NICU for about a week before they got to take them home and they are now happy and healthy!!
Jackie Laino Bio
Jackie lives in New Jersey and works at a medical device company as a Marketing Manager for the US Region. She is happily married to her husband, Albert, who is a solutions consultant and they’ve been married for three years. They have identical twin girls named Amelia and Shea, and a 90lb fur baby named Gus. You can follow their life with twins on Instagram @jakk__ & her husband @all_day_alay, or you can join her twins community @tipsfortwinning.
March of Dimes
Today’s episode was 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. 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 we’ll be discussing 5 main tips from March of Dimes and the CDC to help your baby have a strong start. You can also find out more at marchofdimes.org/TheBirthHour.