After trying to conceive for 7 months and and experiencing an early loss Sionann fell pregnant with her first child, Goldie, in May of 2019.
Her pregnancy with Goldie was mostly uneventful other than navigating a decision to change insurance providers in order to open up Birth Centers as an option. Sionann chose to have an out of hospital birth and loved the midwifery model of care.
Going “post dates,” Sionann resorted to taking a midwives brew of castor oil to induce labor at 41+5. It worked and Sionann worked through early labor by walking laps around their property (unbeknownst to her husband who was doing yard work with huge ear protection on so he couldn’t hear her in labor).
They eventually made their way to the BC (a harrowing drive) and Sionann was 6-7cm! It was go-time! After coping well through a manageable labor through lots of position changes, nitrous oxide, tears, and long pushing phase due to an asynclitic presentation and cervical lip, Goldie Jo finally joined us in the world on 2/10/2018 after almost 15 hours of labor. 8lbs 5oz!
The choice to have a second child came easily but conceiving took some work. Sionann suffered 3 miscarriages before becoming pregnant with Layla in May of 2019.
They were excited to plan a home birth for this 2nd baby but a placenta previa diagnosis changed those plans. They decided to pursue a hospital birth due to being in limbo about whether Sionann would be cleared for a vaginal birth.
In the end she was cleared and things moved forward! Sionann finally went into labor at 40+5 (late again lol) after a rough membrane sweep. The hospital experience was much different than the birth center and Sionann wasn’t as prepared for that as she could have been.
She was admitted at 4cm but in pretty excruciating pain the entire labor. This was just different than her previous experience, likely made Worse by her anxiety surrounding hospitals in general and unneeded intervention. She wasn’t coping well this time and needed some relief. The nitrous oxide the hospital provided wasn’t working well (it was later discovered that the tank had been empty the whole time!)
Morphine was administered for some relief while at the same time Sionann’s bulging water bag was broken. The water bag had been preventing baby’s descent and after a few short minutes it was time to start pushing. No long pushing phase this time! Baby Layla was born after 20 hours of labor on 2/8/2020 (narrowly avoiding all the Covid insanity). 8lbs 7oz!
Sionann and Cyrus had always wanted at least 3 kids and planned to start trying for #3 (their last baby) around Layla’s 1st birthday. Sionann began tracking ovulation early to get the hang of it and get a feel for her cycle. They kind of randomly conceived around Christmas of 2020 as a result. They were thrilled fit the opportunity to finally have a home birth!
The pregnancy was much harder this time due to having multiple littles to care for. Sionann’s morning sickness was awful and it was hard for those first couple months.
Things were moving along smoothly until an NIPT result flagged the baby for something called 22q Deletion Syndrome. It’s a “grey diagnosis” with a wide spectrum of things that can be affected. This was gutting news and not knowing how the baby’s quality of life would be was so hard. After a lot of testing and an amniocentesis it was determined that both Sionann AND the baby had 22q Duplication (so not the deletion). This served as a little relief because at least Sionann knew she was a living example of the duplication having minimal interference in her ability to live a happy and healthy life.
The diagnosis required more testing and scans than a usual pregnancy so they were tied to an OB practice until around 36 weeks.
Things with the midwives were so amazing and supportive the entire time. When Sionann went post dates AGAIN they helped her come up with a plan for homeopathics and castor oil that eventually put her into labor at 41+5 after a full day of walking curbs and taking herbs
She was joined by her amazing doula Katie and team midwives in their home around 9pm and worked through the contractions using her hypnobabies techniques and watching the Office on the birth ball. After a couple of hours everyone decided to go to sleep and get some rest. Sionann tried to just meditate and breathe but needed to move around more. She decided to labor on hand and knees in the shower and quickly realized she was going to need an extra set of hands soon. The doula and midwives came and held space while Sionann mooed, spit, and growled her way through transition. At 12:47 after just 5 hours of labor Austra (Ozzy) was born into Cyrus’ hands. 9lbs 8oz!
It was a really amazing experience to get back the agency she felt had been taken in the hospital. Being able to follow her intuition and birth the way that felt right was so positive and redemptive for everyone.
Through all three postpartum experiences low-supply/ IGT in breastfeeding and postpartum OCD were common themes.
Sionann Ghahremani and her husband, Cyrus, recently relocated to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, CA. They live with their 3 young daughters (Goldie, Layla, and Ozzy), their pug Tallulah, and their cat Marcella. Sionann works as a stay at home mom and Cyrus is in creative marketing and content development. Sionann can be reached on Instagram @sionann_shreds
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.
Sarit and Jakob lived in Geneva, Switzerland when they first started trying to have a baby. Sarit was diagnosed shortly thereafter with PCOS, so she learned to advocate for herself within the Swiss medical system. Almost a year later and with the help of letrozole, she was pregnant. Sarit then used her newfound skill of self-advocacy and the privilege of good health insurance to surround herself with kind, evidence-based providers for the birth of their son. This eventually translated into choosing a birth center in central Geneva close to the university hospital and hiring a doula. Sarit and Jakob also self-educated and prepared for the birth as much as possible, taking multiple courses including the Know Your Options birth course, and practicing coping techniques such as Hypnobabies hypnobirthing.
Their son’s birth, 48 hours from start to finish, was a powerfully positive experience and almost entirely painless. Elena Piantino, their doula, was instrumental support, preventing the need for a hospital transfer on two occasions. Though the labor itself was calm, Sarit and Jakob’s son August entered the world to the sound of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine and Sarit roaring “ow, my asshole!”.
Almost two years later, Sarit and Jakob found out they were pregnant again. By this time, they had moved to Bonn, Germany, and the only birth center was booked out by the time Sarit was 7 weeks pregnant. Through a friend, they had the luck of hiring a midwife that could attend both hospital and home births. Though Jakob and Sarit planned a hospital birth, Sarit had a feeling it may be worthwhile to prepare for a home birth. This time, they mostly prepared by rewatching the Know Your Options videos and using them as dialogue prompts, and skimming The Birth Partner book. Sarit also meditated with Hypnobabies and Expectful meditations.
On the day they were meant to induce, Sarit woke up from a nap with a mild, painless contraction. Less than 4 hours later, a very surprised Jakob caught baby Aurelia, using what he remembered from their son’s birth. While waiting for the midwife to arrive, Jakob ran to the bookshelf for The Birth Partner and double checked the unassisted birth checklist. Luckily everyone was healthy and it was another positive and empowering birth.
Sarit Quirin Bio
Sarit lives in Bonn, Germany with her husband Jakob and children August and Aurelia. She feels lucky to have lived in New York City, Buenos Aires, Hamburg, and Geneva after growing up in the Northeast United States. Now she works in next-generation computing and in her free time joyfully makes spreadsheets about everything from social movements to Halloween parties to the birth of her children. She would love to connect via Instagram @saritish or via email at saritquirin (at) gmail.com.
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Claire shares her pregnancy and birth story which includes misdiagnoses during labor, a hospital transfer from a birth center, and an empowering and joyful postpartum experience.
Claire and her partner became pregnant in May 2020, a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit California. She sought hospital care and experienced some anxiety during pregnancy which she worked with a therapist to move through and process. Claire transferred to a birth center late in her second trimester to prepare for a low-intervention birth.
Claire’s labor was complicated. At 41.2 weeks, she agreed to have her membranes swept. Beginning around 10am that day, she experienced regular contractions that grew in intensity and frequency. All signs pointed to active labor. By the afternoon, her duration and frequency of contractions were such that her midwives recommended she come to the birth center to be checked and hopefully admitted. When she was checked, she learned that she had not yet progressed enough to be admitted to the birth center, and was sent home. Around midnight, her contractions and labor had progressed again. Her husband, sister (doula), and midwife recommended she come back to the birth center to be admitted and deliver the baby.
Claire got in the tub at the birth center and labored for another 6 hours, experiencing back labor and frequent, intense contractions which she worked through attempting spinning babies positions and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques. Her sister and husband were her champions, both pressing on her back with their full force of pressure with every frequent contraction.
To help her concentrate, Claire had requested that she not be told her dilation progress when she was checked. After over 20 hours of early and active labor she learned that was 3cm dilated- the same amount she had been when first checked that day. At the time the midwife team assessed her as experiencing prodromal labor and recommended she leave the birth center to rest at home. Claire decided to transfer to the hospital and elect for an epidural and therapeutic rest to support her progression.
Claire was assessed at the hospital and learned that prodromal labor was not an accurate diagnosis, in fact, the baby was asynclitic (positioned with her head pressing into Claire’s hip socket rather than engaged on the cervix) and posterior (backward). She was wholly positioned on the right side of Claire’s uterus and because of her odd positioning, she was not able to progress labor.
At the hospital, Claire received a growth ultrasound measuring the baby’s size and her amniotic fluid. She had not received a growth ultrasound in her third trimester at the birth center. The baby was diagnosed as having IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and Claire and Kasey were advised that the baby would likely need to spend time in the NICU after delivery, and that she was at high risk.
Claire received an epidural and Pitocin and after many hours more of labor and practicing spinning babies’ positions to try and flip the baby, Claire dilated to 10cm and was able to push. After nearly 3 hours of pushing Claire birthed a healthy, aware and strong baby! She was a healthy weight and was not in fact IUGR. Octavia did not need to be admitted to the NICU. She was able to do a golden hour of skin-to-skin contact and a breast crawl where she latched at her own direction for the first time.
Claire had tremendous support during postpartum from her sister who is a board certified lactation consultant and postpartum nurse. Claire’s breastfeeding journey was empowering and successful for parent and baby, and although Octavia was on the smaller side when she was born, by her 2-day pediatric appointment she had gained back her full birth weight. Octavia has continued to make health gains since then. Claire worked to maintain breastfeeding even through the distracted 4-month-old phase, and her experience breastfeeding inspired her and her sister to start a business, Boop Bead Shop, where they design and handmake fidget necklaces as breastfeeding tools to engage babies during feeding.
Claire credits the mental health work she did during her pregnancy as setting her up for a healthy and empowering postpartum experience. She is an advocate for reproductive justice and for all people to have the autonomy and access to make the reproductive choices that suit their lives.
Claire de Leon Bio
Claire de Leon (she/her pronouns) works as a communications strategist for health equity. She’s mom to Octavia and partner to Kasey. Claire studied public health education and in her career has worked to advance birth justice. She is the co-founder of Boop Bead Shop with her sister Rose who is an internationally board-certified lactation consultant. Together with her sister, Claire designs and hand makes fidget necklaces for chestfeeding that respect babies, parents, and the planet. Claire is a creative enthusiast who loves flower arranging, playing with natural dyes, and reading. She lives with her family in Long Beach, California. Connect with her on IG @deleonclaire.
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Cara and her husband, George decided they wanted to begin their family immediately after getting married in 2019. They were shocked at how quickly they fell pregnant in October. Cara is a medical student so during the beginning of her pregnancy, she was taking classes like human anatomy which involved dissecting a human cadaver all while being 10 weeks pregnant.
Cara’s pregnancy was uneventful until around 28 weeks when her husband and parents all came down with COVID, which caused her to miss several appointments with her Ob/Gyn.
When she finally got back to the doctor, her blood pressure was high and they knew she was most likely developing preeclampsia. Cara was diagnosed with preeclampsia around 31 weeks of pregnancy. This led to her needing an induction at 37 weeks. Cara’s labor was long, and involved multiple interventions, like cytotec, a foley bulb, and epidural, until ultimately she went forward with a c-section due to suspicion of chorioamnionitis (infection of amniotic sac and placenta). Prior to the decision to go ahead with the c-section she developed a high fever which was indicative of an infection in her uterus. After 47.5 hours of labor, she and her husband welcomed their son, Lucas into the world on June 2, 2020 at 5:26 pm weighing 7 lb 10 oz and measuring 21.5 inches.
Cara continued to struggle with an elevated blood pressure due to preeclampsia even after she gave birth, but was able to completely stop taking blood pressure medication at 12 weeks postpartum.
Connect with Cara on Instagram at @caragrudziak___ .
Today’s episode is sponsored by Owlet. Meet the Owlet Pregnancy Band, an at-home pregnancy monitor using innovative, passive technology to give you peace of mind and the reassurance you crave through daily insights into your baby’s well-being. You can listen to your baby’s heartbeat, see Baby’s trends through the night and over several days, track Mom’s sleep position, and read weekly gestational updates about your pregnancy all in the Owlet Pregnancy App. Right now get exclusive access to the Owlet Band in its beta program and save $100.Get yours now, before spots fill up, at owletcare.com/band.
After becoming pregnant in January of 2020, professional marathon runner Sarah Crouch continued training at a high level throughout her pregnancy (listening to The Birth Hour every single day as she ran!) and pursuing work as a birth doula as Covid overtook the country and changed the landscape of birth work. Sarah was one of the 5% of women who go into labor on their due date and labored at home for several hours with her husband and her doula, Betsy, before traveling across town in the middle of the night to the Flagstaff Birth and Women’s Center.
A completely unmedicated 16-hour labor completely rewrote the pain threshold that Sarah thought she had maxed-out as a professional endurance athlete and finally, just before eight in the morning, her daughter Charlotte was born.
The next four months were the hardest of Sarah’s life as she battled severe Postpartum Depression, anxiety and insomnia that resulted in a trip to the Emergency room among other hardships. Sarah’s birth story is all about the process of relearning what the body is capable of and the power of accepting the new role of motherhood.
Sarah Crouch Bio
Sarah Crouch, 31, is a professional endurance athlete and is one of the fastest marathon runners in America. She is also a running coach and a certified Birth Doula. Sarah currently lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband, Michael and their seven-month old daughter, Charlotte. You can follow Sarah on Instagram @sarahcrouch1989.
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.
Natalia was camping when her water broke in the middle of the night at 34 weeks pregnant. She’d planned to birth at a birth center but instead had to go straight to the hospital, a place she’d avoided since the onset of Covid early in her pregnancy. She initially felt empowered & positive about the unmedicated birth that followed. After a challenging two-week NICU stay, her postpartum recovery seemed to stall. The physical results of birth — including pelvic congestion, hypertonic PF, urethral hypermobility & prolapse — have led to a slow journey of healing from birth’s physical & emotional tolls.
Natalia Hurt Bio
Natalia met her husband a decade ago while backpacking in Nepal. He’s from Luxembourg & she’s half German, so they’ve lived in Europe for most of their relationship. They now live in Portland, Oregon, with their son Tristan & are excited to share the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with him. She’s not very active on social media but can be reached via her instagram account: @afarcorner.
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!