After a bad experience with a small town OBGYN and switching care providers at 35 weeks pregnant with her first pregnancy, Amanda knew the importance of finding the perfect care provider during her second pregnancy. Amanda chose a team of CNMs who had delivery privileges at a local hospital. However, her labor and delivery plan was thrown out the window when COVID hit, and she and her husband made the decision to deliver their son at the only freestanding birth center in the Louisville metro area.
Amanda went from planning a traditional hospital birth with midwives and pain medication to preparing for a drug-free labor and delivery outside of the hospital. She prepared for the birth by learning hypnobirthing techniques, and utilized the techniques throughout her entire labor.
When labor started on her due date, Amanda accidentally slept through the first 6 hours of labor, and finally arrived at the birth center almost ready to push. After trying nitrous oxide (and hating it), Amanda pushed for 2.5 hours in the birth tub, where her son was born en-caul. Amanda lovingly refers to him as her “double water” baby because he was born both in the tub and in his bag of waters.
Amanda struggled with undiagnosed postpartum depression and anxiety after her first pregnancy, but did not realize that what she had experienced was not normal until talking to the midwives during her second pregnancy. She experienced the onset of postpartum depression at seven weeks postpartum with her second baby, and recognized what she was experiencing right away. Amanda received help via prescription medication and a licensed therapist whose specialty was postpartum mood disorders. Amanda is now an advocate for helping women recognize the signs of postpartum mood disorders and pushing to end the stigma behind receiving professional help.
Amanda Dant Bio
Amanda is lives in Louisville, KY with her husband and two kids, Henrietta (2) and Harrison (4 months). She and her husband met while working together at the Louisville Zoo, and they have a goal to visit every accredited zoo in the nation. Amanda now works as an environmental engineer in the chemical manufacturing industry, and loves working as a woman in STEM. Amanda enjoys traveling, playing video games with her husband, reading, and early morning workouts. You can find her on Instagram @raisinghattie or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
After having peaceful home waterbirths for all three of their sons, Kaitlin knew she wanted to go the same route when she found out she and her husband were expecting their fourth baby.
With a history of three similar, slow labors, Kaitlin felt confident as she prepared for another waterbirth with her same, trusted midwife. After an uncomfortable third trimester and a weekend of false starts, baby made entrance with a wildcard labor and birth. In a flurry of chaos, with the three big brothers in the home, Kaitlin gave birth (out-of-water) to a surprise baby girl!
Kaitlin Tolkkinen Bio
Kaitlin is a 28-year-old self-proclaimed ‘flower child’. She lives in rural Minnesota with her husband, Aaron, and their four kids, aged 5, 3, 2, and 7 months.She relishes the daily frenzy and humor of raising four young kids, balanced by minimalism and simple living. She runs a small herbal skincare shop between arts & crafts and story time, and can be found on Instagram @modernbotanicalco or occasionally talking about cloth diapers @modernbottombabies
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Lauren’s three children were conceived via IVF. Luckily, Lauren had a live birth with every IVF cycle she completed-this is not the typical outcome and she considers herself truly lucky and blessed. Lauren has had three totally unmedicated births. The birth of her first child Gigi was quite fast and uneventful. She felt ill all day (flu-like) and her bag of waters partially broke while lying on the couch. She felt no contractions and was not in pain at all. Lauren began feeling some pressure and her OB asked that she come to the hospital to be checked. Approximately 45 minutes later she gave birth to Gigi at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC with her OB (Dr. Richard Beckerman) and her amazing doula, Ursula Sabia-Sukinik.
Lauren’s second unmedicated, vaginal birth was extremely traumatic. Since Gigi’s labor was so fast, the decision was made to induce labor with Valentina in a hospital setting. Traffic in DC can be terrible and Lauren’s birth team decided it would be best to deliver in a controlled environment rather than a car in traffic! Lauren was admitted to the hospital and her bag of waters ruptured. With a little bit of Pitocin, she delivered Valentina within 90 minutes. Again, she felt no contractions and no pain! During her perineal repair, Lauren kept complaining about feeling excessive hemorrhage/blood loss as well as chills and uncontrollable twitching. The medical team assured Lauren that nothing was wrong and that it was normal hormonal fluctuations.
Marc (Lauren’s husband) left the room approximately 1 hour after birth to walk Gloria (Lauren’s mother) to the car. Ursula (Lauren’s doula) decided to stay behind with Lauren and Valentina until Marc returned. As soon as Marc left the room, Lauren felt a huge gush of blood and arrested (cardiovascular shock). She was immediately resuscitated with epinephrine, atropine, intravenous fluids and blood transfusions while the doctors attempted to find the source of the severe hemorrhage. After several unsuccessful attempts and Lauren’s critical condition, she was rushed to emergency surgery. Lauren received 5 blood transfusions and had a DNC to retrieve a retained placenta.
Lauren’s second birth experience was so traumatic, that she had a hard time deciding on a birth plan for her third child. She again decided on an in -hospital induction. Lauren had a very safe and fast delivery after a small amount of Pitocin. She was closely monitored in the hospital for 48 hours for any excessive blood-loss given her history. Luckily, history did not repeat itself.
Lauren suffered severe emotional trauma surrounding the traumatic birth of Valentina but has since healed. She thanks her body every day for birthing three healthy children and she wants women to know that birth is a beautiful process, but it should not be taken for granted. The beauty can change in an instant and it is vital for women to voice their concerns and make sure they are heard.
Dr. Lauren Talarico Bio
Lauren is a board certified veterinary neurosurgeon in the DC-metro area. She completed her veterinary training and neurology/neurosurgery residency at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. Dr. Talarico specializes in surgical correction of cranial cervical junction malformations in dogs in addition to surgical removal of brain tumors and various spinal surgeries. She also enjoys all aspects of medical neurology including neuromuscular disorders and autoimmune brain diseases.
Dr. Talarico has two daughters (Gabriella Gloria -7/27/2016 and Valentina Lavender-6/25/2018), one son (Alain Phoenix 8/7/2020) and four dogs (Prefontaine, Phelps, Raven and Bunny). She is an avid marathon/distance runner who also enjoys indoor cycling and yoga. Dr. Talarico and her husband Marc Cohen are involved in several philanthropic efforts at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston MA as well as Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.
March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention Month
Today’s episode is 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. During Birth Defects Prevention month, 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, I spoke with Dani Kilgore about her journey to motherhood as well as the main tips from March of Dimes and the CDC to help you be a healthy mom and have a strong baby. You can also find out more at marchofdimes.org/TheBirthHour.
After conceiving quickly, Jeni had an easy pregnancy apart from fear and changing plans due to COVID-19. She planned a unmedicated childbirth at the birthing center in the University Hospital System where she worked. 2 days before her due date, she went for 2 2-mile walks and did some prenatal yoga, only to start to have some irregular contractions that evening.
She went through early labor throughout the night, and went to the hospital the next morning, and learned she was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced (only 1 cm more than at her last antenatal appointment). She continued to labor through the day both outside the hospital and then at home again, and things intensified further that evening. She returned to the hospital at midnight, only to find out she was still 3 cm. Jeni’s lack of progress resulted in her birth-plan changing to include 2 walking epidurals, a spinal block, an epidural (which was delayed for almost 5 hours for multiple reasons), and Pitocin. After an epidural, she had a peaceful, mindful, and quick second stage labor and her beautiful daughter Teagan was born on her due date, after 36 hours of labor. Despite things not going to plan, she had a very positive experience and wouldn’t have changed a thing. Her knowledge as a pelvic health physical therapist, combined with a good breastfeeding experience, has resulted in a wonderful postnatal experience despite her fears about this time period.
Jeni Thornton-Jones Bio
Jeni Thornton-Jones lives with her husband, daughter Teagan, and dog Bowie in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a board-certified specialist physical therapist in Women’s and Pelvic Health, registered yoga instructor, and certified pregnancy yoga instructor. She is the creator of Mama’s First Steps, a blog for pregnant, birthing, and postnatal persons, designed to provide evidence-based education and improve holistic physical and emotional health. Connect with her via Email at www.mamasfirststeps.com or on Instagram, @jenimjones.
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. Check out their new top fill drop humidifier here or via Wal-Mart.
Having her first baby at 25 years old as a single mom, Michelle Johnson thought she was done having children until she got married and gave birth to her second child at 41 and her third child at 43 years old. Delivering her daughter naturally in a hospital by a midwife, Michelle knew that she absolutely wanted an epidural when she became pregnant again at 40. However, an impromptu induction, as a result of her son having IUGR, her second labor was longer and more painful than the first.
Michelle had a planned induction for her 3rd son as well as a very clear birth plan – making it as pain-free as possible. Her last labor was perfect until the last hour when she had too much of an epidural to the point that she couldn’t push because she couldn’t feel anything. Tune in to hear all of Michelle’s very different birth stories and her experiences of miscarrying, having a subchorionic hemorrhage, acid reflux, gestational diabetes, swelling, fetal growth restriction (IUGR), being induced and the experience of having multiple babies in her 40’s.
Michelle Johnson Bio
When Michelle, an attorney in Atlanta, became pregnant at the age of 40, she immediately scoured the internet for pregnancy information for women her age, only to be inundated with daunting statistics and risks from medical professionals, individuals and articles.
Not succumbing to all of the negative information, Michelle began a private Facebook Group to both give and receive encouragement to other women in the same situation. The “Pregnancy After Forty Private Group” now has over 5,000 members and has been the catalyst to creating a website and the “Pregnancy After 40” Podcast, which she now hosts.
Michelle is also a Speaker who shares her “Pregnancy After 40” story and journey and encourages other women that it’s possible to have a healthy baby or babies after 40 years despite having pregnancy issues. Connect with her at http://www.PregnancyAfterForty.com or via her Private Facebook Group: @PregnancyAfterFortyPrivateGroup She also hosts a Facebook Page: @PregnancyAfterForty and Instagram: @PregnancyAfterForty. Finally check out her Podcast!
Peanut is an app that helps you make meaningful connections throughout all stages of motherhood. Peanut provides a safe space for mothers, expectant mothers and those trying to conceive to build friendships, ask questions and find support by introducing you to others nearby who are at a similar stage in life, Peanut provides access to a community who is there to listen, share information and offer valuable advice: Whether it’s understanding IVF, adoption, pregnancy, baby’s first years or beyond, Peanut is a place to connect with other moms in the thick of it.
With her first pregnancy, Kate had a bleeding scare early on which ended up being a subchorionic bleed that resolved itself, and she had an otherwise healthy pregnancy. Kate felt pressured around her due date to get a membrane sweep and induction, but advocated for what she wanted and was able to labor at home until transition. She used hypnobirthing and went very inward and solitary for her labor. She describes her birth as a great unmedicated hospital birth but was frustrated that the staff never called her midwife whom she was hoping would attend her birth. She ended up delivering with an OB from the practice instead. She talks about her good postpartum period physically but unfortunately struggled with undiagnosed PPA.
With her second pregnancy, Kate used the Ava bracelet and got pregnant on the first attempt. She had a rough first trimester with nausea and exhaustion all while juggling a toddler. Kate ended up changing OBs after what happened with her first delivery, but ended up not being happy with her new OB either. She hired a doula who helped encourage her to switch to a birth center at around 28 weeks and she was very happy with her decision.
Kate used spinning babies techniques and saw a chiropractor during her pregnancy and drank tons of red raspberry leaf tea and ate dates every night during her third trimester. She struggled with some anxiety issues and what she describes as pregnancy rages which caused her to have high blood pressure. She started taking 5-HTP which helped tremendously with her moods.
Kate’s second labor was very similar her first as she labored pretty independently but this labor progressed more quickly. Her midwife told her to contact her when contractions were 7-1-1, but her contractions jumped out of nowhere from 8-1-1 to 4-1-1 and they still had a 45 minute drive up to the birth center. She describes that experienced as the worst drive of her life. She could feel her baby descending but didn’t tell her husband because she was worried it would freak him out while driving.
When they got to the birth center and got checked immediately, the baby’s head was crowning. She says her body completely took over, and the fetal ejection reflex happened. Within 6 minutes of getting to the birth center, her baby was born in one contraction without any conscious pushing.
She describes her immediate postpartum recovery this time as amazing. They had one hour of uninterrupted time, and then four more hours after his birth at the birth center before they headed home.
Unfortunately, she had a lot of issues with mastitis due to over-supply but the haaka was a big help. She had to go dairy-free due to her baby’s intolerance and it helped baby a lot. Kate found support for this via a Facebook group.
Kate is 31 years old, married to Casey and they have two sons Hudson and Ronan. They live in Davenport, Florida and both work for Disney World as VIP Tour Guides but were unfortunately recently laid off along with 28,000 other Cast Members.
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