Hospital and Birth Center Stories
This episode features Denver mama, Alaina, who struggled to get pregnant and had two miscarriages before using Clomid for her 3rd pregnancy, and gave birth in a hospital setting. She found out she was pregnant again without any outside assistance just a year later and gave birth at a birth center, having an unexpected waterbirth.
Alaina Isbouts Bio
Alaina and her husband Philip met while living abroad in Prague, and quickly bonded over their mutual love of travel and shared view of the world around them. Though they got engaged very quickly, they enjoyed their time together traveling before they bought a house, settled down, and decided to try for a family. It unexpectedly took them a year and a half before they got pregnant with their first, a natural miscarriage at home. Eight months later, in a new home and new city, they found out they were once again pregnant. Once again, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Alaina and Philip went through fertility testing and were finally able to have a healthy pregnancy with the help of Clomid. Her first birth was a 20-hour natural birth in a hospital.
Shortly after celebrating their baby’s first birthday, Alaina found out she was unexpectedly pregnant, though she was still nursing and not taking any fertility medications. This time they decided to go with a birth center, and ended up with a beautiful and unplanned waterbirth. She currently calls Denver home, along with her husband of eight years and their two boys, Julian (3) and Finley (11 months). Alaina is a freelance editor and writer, and you can find her online at alainaisbouts.com. She is on Instagram and Twitter @alainaisbouts.
Alaina recommends reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and taking a birth preparation class.
Listen to me chat with Whitney about BabyList at the end of today’s episode and check out my sample registry of some of my favorite items for pregnancy and postpartum!
*photos by Monet Nicole Birthing Stories. Monet has also shared her birth stories on The Birth Hour.
4th Degree Tear and Postpartum Depression
Heather struggled with a 4th degree tear, postpartum depression, and was told she couldn’t walk past the mailbox for the first 6 weeks of recovery after her first birth. Terrified to have the same struggles with her second birth, she dwelled on the word PEACE and speaks life into women about how she got through PPD, and how different pregnancies and births can be.
Heather Brown Bio
Heather is the creator and editor at My Life Well Loved! She created her site out of a deep passion to empower women, inspire confidence, and elevate living a life well loved. She is mom to three year old Leyton and 8 month old Finn, wife to Eric, and healthy lifestyle advocate! Heather is defined by her faith in Jesus, her southern roots, and her deep love for people. She admits she is just learning to balance it all! MLWL is a place where she strive to affirm women, to embrace the balance, get their sweat on, enjoy a glass of wine, and savor the little things. MLWL is a destination for fitness, fashion, mom hacks, wellness tips, travel guides, and most importantly FUN! Heather would love for you to follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! You can read about her son Leyton’s birth here and Finn’s birth here.
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, Lansinoh 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. All you have to 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!
Preeclampsia & HELLP Syndrome at 28 Weeks Birth Story
Danielle’s birth is not what she expected. Danielle knew she would have a c-section because of a trauma to her hip in the past but she did not expect it to be at 29 weeks. Danielle went in for her 28 week check up only to find her blood pressure dangerously high and traces of protein in her urine. Upon being admitted to the hospital it became increasingly hard to control her blood pressure.
Along with preeclampsia, Danielle was developing HELLP syndrome, causing her platelets to plummet and her alt levels to rise. Eventually it became too dangerous for Danielle to remain pregnant. At 8am on 10/24 the doctor decided it was time to have a baby. Danielle was wheeled into the OR with tears in her eyes. She feared it was too early for her baby.
66 Day NICU Stay
Sean William was born at 8:35am weighing 3 pounds exactly and 15 3/4 inches. Danielle saw Sean briefly before he was brought to the NICU. That would be the last time she saw him until the next day. Danielle spent every day in that NICU even though it was the hardest place to be. Sean is a strong boy. He spent 66 days in the NICU and is now a sturdy 14 pound boy.
Danielle Foster Bio
Danielle lives in Hanson, Massachusetts and works as a quality assurance coordinator for an insurance tracking company. Danielle and Brian have known each other since high school but never spoke in high school. The magic of the Bruins playoffs in 2011 brought them together and it’s been love ever since. Danielle and Brian began their journey to start a family in October 2016 and she finally got her big fat positive in April of 2018. Connect with her on Facebook.
Nicu moms Facebook
Ava Communities on Facebook
This episode is sponsored by Ava Women. Wear the Ava bracelet while you sleep for effortless insight about your fertility, your cycle, and your health. Ava monitors nine physiological parameters and is clinically proven to detect the beginning of the fertile window in real time. You can use the promo code: BIRTHSTORIES for $20 off each order at avawomen.com
Fertility Journey, Placenta Previa/Accreta Diagnosis and NICU Stay
Kathleen spent 2 years in pursuit of conception, hitting a few roadblocks along the way, including an auto-immune thyroid disease diagnosis and the death of her mom, which took a toll on her mentally and emotionally as she grieved. After year 1 of casually trying without success, Kathleen decided to take a more serious approach and worked in a group with fertility coach Lisa Hendrickson-Jack of the Fertility Friday Podcast. Lisa guided a small group of women for a 10 week session on learning the Fertility Awareness Method of cycle tracking. This method can be used for conception or pregnancy avoidance, and it enabled Kathleen to pinpoint the best days for conception based on several key signs she had not previously been able to recognize with confidence. She also learned ways to support her thyroid, which seemed to improve her cycle.
When Kathleen became pregnant naturally in January of 2018, she and her husband were elated. Besides the standard sickness and cramping of early pregnancy, everything was going smoothly up until midway through the 2nd trimester. Around week 13, her doctor observed the placenta was low-lying over the cervix. At her 20 week anatomy scan, everything with the baby looked wonderful except the placenta was still in the way and had not budged. At this point, Kathleen was diagnosed with complete posterior placenta previa; but, there was still the hope of it moving because it was diagnosed so early. This condition comes with a high risk of hemorrhage so the doctor advised Kathleen to limit her activity considerably.
Kathleen joined a facebook group for previa and began learning all she could. Through this group, she also discovered that women with previa are at a higher risk for another, even more dangerous condition called placenta accreta. Somewhere in the back of her mind, fears of accreta began to eat away. Kathleen started experiencing frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, pressure, and cramping. Around week 24 she had regular contractions for 48 hrs and decided to visit L&D at her area hospital. The residents observed her contractions and immediately performed an internal ultrasound, and discovered something was “wrong with her cervix”. Although it was closed, it appeared distorted. They chose to observe Kathleen overnight and she was ultimately discharged with a diagnosis of irritable uterus + polyhydramnios, and a follow up ultrasound was scheduled to look further into previa/cervical complications.
After an emotional visit and an MRI, it was determined Kathleen indeed had an accreta where the placenta was growing into her cervix. She and her husband were devastated, as this would mean their first baby would need to be delivered at least a month early via c-section and she would require a hysterectomy at delivery. Her case was taken over by the MFM department of Yale New Haven hospital—the same team of doctors she saw at week 24. Even with the accreta diagnosis, these doctors hoped for the best. Thankfully, Kathleen avoided a major bleed that typically occurs in complete previa pregnancies, the polyhydramnios and irritable uterus resolved, and she was able to deliver on her scheduled date at 36 + 0 weeks. Her son was delivered successfully, and it was discovered that she did not have an accreta. The placenta was removed without issue. What Kathleen did actually have was an even more rare condition called cervical AVM, or arterio vascular malformation of the cervix. Her doctors printed her a case study which claimed to be the only known case. The cause is unknown. Unfortunately, Kathleen’s son suffered complications from being born pre-term and spent 12 days in the NICU overcoming respiratory issues. After 6 months postpartum, both mom and baby are doing well and enjoying the semi-calm after the storm.
Kathleen Harrington Bio
Kathleen is 33 years old and lives in Connecticut with her husband, Dennis, their 6 month old son, Cassian Robin, and 2 rambunctious rescue hounds Edie and Juno. Kathleen has a film degree and spent some time post-college working in TV production as a personal assistant; but, she has since branched out into other fields, including most recently, biotechnology. After learning she had hashimoto’s thyroiditis during her 2 year conception journey, Kathleen dove into the deep well of fertility knowledge the internet has to offer and began to learn ways to support her body from a functional medicine perspective. She truly enjoys connecting with other women and sharing what knowledge she has gleaned from her personal experience. Connect with her on instagram @kateye85
Fertility Friday | Fertility Awareness Method Cycle Charting
Placenta Previa & Accreta Support Group
Hope for Accreta Foundation- Placenta Accreta, Increta and Percreta
The Birth Hour
Fertility Friday Podcast
Homebirth Birth Story
For Phyllis (a once-upon-a-time doula) and Phil (born at home in England) homebirth was an easy decision to make. A trusting midwife and a lot of introspection helped them navigate an unexpected premature rupture of membranes at 41 weeks — with Phyllis GBS positive and severely allergic to most antibiotics, they waited 30 hours until mama decided she was comfortable augmenting labor. And from there, it was off to the races! After just 4 hours of active labor their daughter, Beatrice, was born at home in the water just as they had hoped.
Phyllis Brasenell Bio
Phyllis is married to a Brit-expat named Philip, which causes a lot of confusion in their house. She is an entrepreneur, toddler mom, yoga pant collector and over user of unicorn emojis. Phyllis is an obnoxiously enthusiastic morning person and secretly hates doing sidewalk drawings with her daughter, Bea, because she can’t stand the feeling of chalk on her hands. Phyllis lives near Austin and when she’s not enjoying the sunshine with her fam (including their two big rescue dogs) you can find her helping other mamas build purposeful businesses.
– must-read book at every stage of pregnancy/postpartum to navigate the emotional/spiritual demands of motherhood. I take away something different every time I read it <3
And Baby Makes Three
– people don’t spend nearly enough energy considering how their partnership will change with a baby – this book has great, practical tools for couples to navigate the transition.
Three Empowering & Peaceful Births with Melissa Emler
Melissa’s children were born in Iowa under the care of midwives but in a hospital setting. In Iowa all midwives who are legally practicing are Certified Nurse Midwives and many of them are providing care within a hospital setting. The hospital that Melissa gave birth at was set up more like a birth center than the typical hospital image that you may have in your head. It had a large tub as well as other comfort measures that aided her with finding more natural methods of coping with labor than typical hospital pain medications. Melissa also practiced Hypnobirthing which really made a big difference with her births and kept her from even considering asking for an epidural.
Melissa Emler Bio
is a mom to three kids, Cooper, Addilyn and Conner and lives in Wisconsin where she works in education. She connects schools with the best and most useful tools available to them in the 21st century! Melissa also has a podcast called On the Vender Floor where she connects educators and entrepreneurs in conversations that positively impact learning.
Zahler Prenatal Vitamins
Today’s episode is brought to you by Advanced Nutrition by Zahler. Zahler offers a unique and comprehensive Prenatal + DHA supplement that contains a potent blend of 25 vitamins & nutrients including 300mg of DHA. Zahler’s Prenatal is a synergistic formula providing the full spectrum of nutrients you and your developing baby require. Enjoy an exclusive 25% off toward your purchase on Amazon using code PREDHA25.