Elizabeth and her wife Kelli found out they were pregnant in the summer of 2019 after their second IUI. Elizabeth had a great pregnancy and continued teaching, practicing yoga, and traveling throughout. She sought all prenatal care at an international hospital in Beijing. Elizabeth and Kelli made arrangements to come home to Michigan in the spring to give birth to their baby, to avoid any legal issues that might come up in China as same-sex parents.
In January, due to the COVID19 outbreak in China, their school decided to transition to online teaching. With that decision, Elizabeth and Kelli moved their flights sooner and arrived in Michigan at the end of January. They rented a long-term AirBnB so that they would have their own space when baby came, and continued to excitedly await baby’s arrival while enjoying the extra time catching up with friends and family back home.
Their plan, and Elizabeth’s dream, was to have an all-natural, vaginal delivery at the same hospital where Kelli was born. They were feeling positive with all the preparations they had made. The due date came and went without any sign of labor and no dilation, even though baby seemed good and “ready”. A few days later, Elizabeth started experiencing contractions and decided to track them on a contraction tracker app. Twice throughout the day the app told her she was in active labor and that she should head to the hospital. Elizabeth thought it was too soon so they waited a while longer. They finally headed to the hospital later that evening and were admitted. While her contractions were strong and regular, she was not dilating at all. The next morning, after nearly 12 hours of laboring with Pitocin and no pain medication, Elizabeth requested an epidural. Contractions continued strong and steady, but Elizabeth was still not dilating as she should have and there were now concerns about the baby’s heart rate. Throughout the day, her OB and the nurses decided to try a variety of interventions such as sweeping the membranes, manually breaking her water, assisting her into a variety of different positions, but nothing seemed to help.
After a full 24 hours in hospital, Elizabeth and Kelli discussed a c-section with their OB and decided to do it. It was the furthest thing from their birth plan but it seemed nothing else was helping and there were now some growing concerns for both the baby and Elizabeth. Elizabeth had never even had surgery before, so the c-section experience wasn’t great. But their beautiful daughter, Frankie Adeline, was finally born at 9:23pm on March 23.
The postpartum period was both amazing and challenging. It’s hard to have a newborn during a pandemic; breastfeeding proved to be trying; Elizabeth was diagnosed with postpartum depression. With the help of a lactation consultant, seeing a therapist, returning to yoga, and the support of her wife, Elizabeth has been able to bond with her daughter, is enjoying being a new mom, and is on the path to healing.
Elizabeth Tucker Bio
Elizabeth and her wife Kelli are international teachers who met in Kuwait and are currently teaching in Beijing, China. They are new moms to Frankie, born in March on the first day of Michigan’s Covid-19 lockdown. Elizabeth loves yoga, reading, and all things organizing. Kelli is an avid runner who has a new-found love for triathlons and completed a full IronMan in Taiwan. Elizabeth can be found on Instagram @liztheeuro and Kelli blogs about their experiences at https://kelliacochran.wixsite.com
The Birth Hour
Taking Cara Babies
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Both of Meghan’s births were, coincidentally, hospital inductions at 37 weeks. After a normal, healthy pregnancy with her first son, Gabriel, she was induced for low-fluid. She had an intervention-heavy but textbook induction that included pitocin, a foley bulb, and an epidural. Gabe was born after 45 min of pushing. They had a 6 day hospital stay due to jaundice.
After that, Meghan became a “birth nerd” and knew that she wanted a different experience for her next birth. When she got pregnant again in 2018, she switched providers and went to see midwives at a different hospital. This pregnancy was much more eventful with several hospital stays for bleeding in her third trimester. Even though she was hoping to go into labor on her own, Meghan consented to an induction after another round of bleeding at 37 weeks. This induction was so different from her first. She was supported by her friend and doula, Jes, as well as her partner. After only three hours of active labor her second son, Jasper, was born.
Meghan Pow Bio
Meghan is raising two boys with her husband, Tyler, in North Carolina. She is a birth doula and owns a handmade, modern jewelry business called imperfectly co.
After an uneventful pregnancy, Deborah thought she had planned for all aspects of her labor and delivery; but, she never anticipated having an unexpectedly quick labor and unassisted delivery. Deborah and her husband, Michael, prepared to have a home birth with their midwife, her sister, and her mother present.
Deborah went into labor at 40 weeks and 2 days. After her mucus plug came out she went into intense labor that lasted 5.5 hours. Before her midwife and sister could arrive, and after just 10 minutes of pushing, Deborah delivered with her husband catching their surprise baby girl! Although it was quick, it was very peaceful and everything happened the way it was supposed to.
Deborah Woodson Bio
Deborah is a 28-year-old Massachusetts native who recently relocated to Maryland with her husband. She works for a consulting firm that contracts with government and public agencies. Deborah considers herself to be a pregnancy and birth junkie and can often be found listening to birth stories and encouraging new soon-to-be mamas. She aspires to one day become a midwife. Deborah is passionate about forming connections with other women and mothers via social media and can be found on Instagram: @Deborahmichel
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Tayla shares her three birth story summaries in her own words below:
My first birth was six years ago. I was very uneducated and unknowingly unprepared for the birthing process. My water broke on April Fool’s Day and I was induced after 12 hours. There was no informed consent practiced during my induction, no support, verbal abuse from my OB and ultimately an emergency C-section (due to fetal distress) where I was put out under general anesthesia and my poor husband was left waiting in the dust. It left me shocked and traumatized. My postpartum period was also Traumatic. I did not have any breast-feeding support and I struggled immensely!
My second labor was two years later. In the town I live in we do not have midwives as an option so I was forced to have an OB again. He was not supportive of my VBAC and always mocked me when I reminded him that was my plan. Two weeks before my due date our entire city was evacuated due to a wildfire that destroyed 1/3 of the city. It was extremely stressful as the closest city was five hours away and I had no family in the province I live in.
My husband and I are both firefighter EMTs with the city department and I was actually at work when I was sent home and told to get out of the city. My husband was torn whether he should stay and fight the fire or drive with me for five hours to the closest city. I made him come with me because I was scared that I would go into labor on the side of the road by myself. He drove me to the closest city dropped me and my toddler off at a friend’s house and left to come back up to fight the fire.
The very next morning a midwife contacted me and said she would be honored to take me on as her patient. It was a silver lining because she was so supportive of my VBAC goals! The next two weeks were very stressful as I had nowhere to live and I couldn’t stay in my friends guest room with a toddler and expecting a new baby. I finally found a rental house and as I was nesting trying to make it as comfortable as possible I went into labor naturally. My husband was actually on his way to leave to go back up to Fort McMurray to fight the fire and I told him he would need to stay because labor was starting!
I ended up having back labor because baby was posterior and I labored alone in my rental house for many hours. My husband had to drive across a strange city to drop off my son at a friend’s house during rush hour. Not being from the city we didn’t realize that huge mistake we made. So I was alone entering active labor! I called a friend who had also been evacuated and she drove me to the hospital where the midwife met us. I was not prepared to cope with the pain of labor because I think in my mind I wasn’t really convinced I was going to have a VBAC. I ended up getting an epidural and had a successful vaginal birth! My postpartum period this time was a lot less stressful and I had great support from my midwives. Breastfeeding went better and recovery was like night and day compared to my c section recovery.
In 2018, I got pregnant again with my 3rd! I was determined to have a different birthing experience this time around. The crazy part of my story is that I didn’t slow down my doula business while I was pregnant. I even delivered a baby during a precipitous birth while I was eight months pregnant! I attended my last Doula birth two days before I went into labor.
My water broke on a stormy night 10 days before my due date. I had lined up midwifery care in the closest city which is five hours away. My plan was to have a water birth in the birthing center and I was scheduled to leave in two days when the baby had other plans. My husband was working nights when my water broke and when he got home he was shocked to see that I had my kids packed in the van and all of our stuff packed and ready to go to Edmonton five hours away. He thought I was crazy and perhaps I was! There was just no way that I was going to have my baby in our local hospital. I was invested and I was determined to have my water birth.
Contractions hadn’t started so I figured if we left right away we might make it. I labored at my Doula’s house and got to the birthing center only 45 minutes before my baby was born. If I could do it again tomorrow I would! It was the most empowering day of my life and I’m so glad that I got to experience an unmedicated birth. My postpartum recover was amazing as well aside from being in a city far away from my own home. I came home that night after having the baby to sleep on an air mattress in my doula’s living room!
You would think that being an IBCLC, breastfeeding would go swimmingly, but again I struggled with low milk supply. A lot of people are shocked by this because of my profession, but it just goes to show that sometimes even with the best support women can still struggle! I feel like women are told or made to feel that the only real goal of birth is to walk out of it alive and with a healthy baby. What women need to understand is that there is so much more to the process than that goal. It’s a journey and a life altering event. I feel this is the biggest moment in a women’s life and it deserves respect and support. How a woman views her birth will stay with her forever.
Tayla Malott Bio
Tayla is a 34 year old paramedic firefighter full-time and I have my own business called mamasaurus. I am a certified birth Doula, childbirth educator, IBCLC, one of Canada’s only spinning babies parent educators and a few other things! I live in Fort McMurray Alberta with my husband who is also a firefighter/paramedic and our 3 crazy and beautiful boys. Hoping to have one more!
Prenatal education, a doula, and lactation support
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After a disempowering birth with her first son that nearly ended in tragedy, Erica vowed to have a different experience when she got pregnant again and planned to have an unmedicated VBAC with her twins. With the help of the Birth Hour, doulas, and a supportive practice after a switch of providers at 28 weeks, Erica successfully had the VBAC she worked so hard to get. As a black woman navigating the healthcare system, Erica is excited to share her story in the hopes that it may help some other mom or mommy-to-be.
Erica Beal Bio
Erica is an educational consultant located in Greenbelt, Maryland. She lives with her husband and three wonderful children, including an inquisitive (perhaps maniacally so) three-year-old and her 9-month-old twins that are starting to get into everything. Erica enjoys Rose, Netflix, reading, and cuddles on the couch with her hubby. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.
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Ashley’s labor started late on the evening on May 3rd 2018. She was unable to fall asleep that night after what she thought was an upset belly and turned out to be the beginning of her laboring journey.
For hours in the early morning of May 4th, Ashley tossed and turned, unable to sleep thinking she was just having an upset stomach. She contacted her midwife when she realized labor was in fact beginning. She woke her husband Tobin, and even though they began the day excited and together, their togetherness didn’t last as Tobin became severely ill. The midwife arrived shortly after and although Ashley’s labor continued to progress, Tobin continued to feel so ill that he wasn’t able to offer the physical support they had both expected he’d be able to.
After laboring in the bed, in the tub, walking around, their son Jasper finally arrived in a rush on the living room floor on the evening of May 4th. Ashley was euphoric after the birth of her son and nearly immediately after giving birth said, “I’d do that again tomorrow,” to be sure that everyone knew exactly how much she enjoyed the process. Looking back, Ashley describes her birth as a pain free, enjoyable, rich experience.
Ashley Renwick Bio
Ashley grew up in southern New Hampshire. Her first career was as a circus performer, until she had an injury. It was while recovering from that injury that she started taking yoga classes and she fell in love with yoga immediately. Six months later she got her yoga teachers certificate. After teaching yoga for a few years, Ashley bought and ran her own yoga studio in Massachusetts until she became pregnant in 2017 and subsequently sold her business to be able to spend more time with her family.
Ashley met her husband, Tobin, in elementary school, although they didn’t begin dating until they were in their early twenties. Like Ashley, Tobin also became a traveling circus performer, a job that has taken him and Ashley all over the world.
Ashley, Tobin, and Jasper have moved back to New Hampshire where Ashley is a stay at home mother, teaches the occasional yoga class, and runs an informative podcast about Waldorf education, Waldorfy.
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.
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