Jess found out she was pregnant with her first child in January 2019. After an initial ectopic pregnancy scare she had an easy and straightforward pregnancy. Jess didn’t experience any negative pregnancy symptoms and loved being pregnant. She stayed active her entire pregnancy working as a nanny and caring for seven children, long-lining her horse, cleaning stalls, and taking yoga classes. She chose to see midwives and planned a birth center birth. She loved the individualized care that comes with choosing midwifery and especially the extensive postpartum care her midwives offered.
As her due date came and went Jess did everything she could to encourage labor. She started experiencing prodromal labor at 40+3 that continued until she went into labor after taking castor oil at 42 weeks the day before her scheduled induction. Her water broke on the way to a scheduled appointment with her midwife and upon arrival she was 3cm dilated and 85% effaced. After laboring all day without progress they made the decision to transfer to a hospital.
The hospital experience was positive for Jess and she was still able to have many of the experiences she hoped for when choosing a birth center birth. After a 36 hour labor and 6 hours of pushing Jess delivered her baby girl with vacuum assistance and discovered she had a nuchal hand that was the cause of the weird labor patterns and difficulty pushing. Her daughter Ailey was born September 27th (42+1) weighing 9lbs 6oz. Jess had a relatively easy postpartum experience despite needing to have stitches redone at one week postpartum.
Almost exactly two years later Jess found out she was pregnant again and was due just 4 days before her daughter’s due date. She had another enjoyable pregnancy but was less active this time around due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She chose to have care with the same midwife group and planned to have a birth center birth. This time she expected to go post dates and told anyone who asked that the baby was due by September 23rd (42+1). She was not surprised when her due date came and went with no sign of labor.
After a sweep at 41+6 Jess began to have consistent contractions at 10:05 PM. An hour later she checked in with her midwife and was instructed to call back when contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute for an hour. When contractions reached this point around midnight Jess called back and during that call began to shake uncontrollably and had 3 contractions on top of each other. Jess and her husband jumped in the car and headed to the birth center and their midwife left her home to meet them there. Once in the car Jess’ contractions slowed down and she actually enjoyed laboring in the car.
At 12:24am her midwife called to check in and they were both about 25 minutes from the birth center. After hanging up Jess had another contraction, felt her water break, and immediately felt the baby drop into the birth canal. At 12:33am they were pulled over on the side of the road and calling 911 as the fetal ejection reflex kicked in. A firefighter escorted them to a fire station a mile up the road (exactly halfway to the birth center) where Jess delivered her son in the parking lot in the front seat of their car with the help of firefighters and EMTs. Sean was born at 1:05AM on September 22nd (42w) exactly 3 hours after labor had started.
He was a very calm baby and didn’t cry at all but was perfectly healthy. After delivering the placenta they were taken to the hospital where they learned Sean weighed 9lbs 8oz. They were discharged to the care of their midwives and were settled at home by 4pm that day, less than 24 hours after labor had started. Jess loved both of her births and felt positive and empowered despite having two births that didn’t go to plan!
Jess Maki Bio
Jess lives in a small town in central Massachusetts with her husband Pat and their two children Ailey and Sean. She found her calling in early childcare and has worked as a nanny for the past six years. Jess finds the most joy working with infants and toddlers. She is passionate about respectful childcare and loves to share this passion with the families she works with. She would love to connect through Instagram @jessmaki or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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All of Charity’s babies were born in the UK. Her oldest son was born vaginally on the operating table as preparations were being made for an emergency cesarean section, and her second son was born in the complete opposite atmosphere – peacefully in a birth tub in the living room of her small flat in central London. When Charity found out her third pregnancy was a twin pregnancy, she was utterly shocked. She immediately went to work preparing and advocating for an unmedicated twin birth in hospital, and the arrival of her babies after a gentle induction and through-the-night labor was powerful.
Charity is a mom of four that recently relocated from London, England (where all her babies were born) to Provo, Utah. Her oldest had just turned four years old when her twins were born – so her stay-at-home mom life is chock full of chaos … and joy! Charity’s professional background is in education, and she is passionate about women educating themselves about the wonder and power of pregnancy and childbirth. Connect with her on IG @CharityEyreWright or via wrightnowblog.com.
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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
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Lauren’s birth journey began with her first pregnancy, which was easy and uneventful. She planned on a drug-free delivery, but was pleasantly surprised with her experience of getting an epidural after being induced and laboring 8 hours without pain medication on Pitocin. Her first birth was followed by an early miscarriage on her daughters first birthday. She got pregnant again a few months later with her son, Jack. The pregnancy was going smoothly until the 20 week anatomy scan when she discovered he had a fatal condition called bilateral renal agenesis – when the baby’s kidneys are completely absent. She and her husband made the heart wrenching decision to end her pregnancy with Jack instead of having him potentially suffer. Lauren wanted to give birth to Jack naturally, but placenta previa prevented her from doing so and at 21.5 weeks gestation she needed a D&E.
Two months after Jack passed away Lauren fell pregnant again but she knew something was off from the start. After weeks of what was presumed to be an ectopic pregnancy, she miscarried naturally on the day she was to get an injection of methotrexate – a medication that would have delayed another attempt at conception for at least three months. A month later she became pregnant with her second daughter, who was conceived on Jack’s due date. She went on to have a healthy, yet heavily anxiety-riddled pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 39.5 weeks after an elective hospital induction.
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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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After trying for about a year, Tiffany found out she was pregnant in February 2020. After the first visit with her midwife, the stay-at-home orders went into place. Navigating a pregnancy during a pandemic had a lot of pros and cons but one thing she enjoyed was being able to rest as much as she could. Aside from dealing with a global pandemic and some fatigue and nausea during the first trimester her pregnancy was textbook and she enjoyed it.
Tiffany labored for as long as she could at home, which was about 11 hours, then went to the hospital and labored for another 7. Although she has some mixed feelings about her doula support, in the end her unmedicated hospital birth was what she wanted and she feels empowered that she was able to do it the way she wanted at 41w5d.
Tiffany Smith Bio
Tiffany is a full time stay-at-home mom. She works part time as a nutrition coach and pilates instructor. She has been married to her husband for 4 years and they have a son, Maverick, a cat and 2 dogs. They live in Maryland in a suburb just outside of DC.
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