Laura and her husband got pregnant the first month they tried, then were shocked to discover that it was twins! Her pregnancy was pretty easy aside from a subchorionic hematoma in the first trimester. Laura was able to continue with midwife-led care and was planning to give birth at a local hospital without a NICU as long as she reached 35 weeks gestation before giving birth. That went out the window when her water broke at 33 weeks. She was transferred to an academic medical center with a NICU, and spent a week in the hospital receiving antibiotics; at 34 weeks, she had her labor induced. The induction was long and difficult, and she ended up delivering both babies vaginally but with forceps.
Lola and Phoebe spent 2 weeks in the NICU/Continuing Care Nursery until they could maintain their body temperature and take feedings from bottles. Laura had really wanted to breastfeed, although knew that with twins there were many possible challenges. She pumped exclusively for the first several weeks, then worked on getting the babies to latch. Lola transitioned to breastfeeding at 2.5 months, but Phoebe didn’t start breastfeeding until 5 months! Laura is really glad that breastfeeding worked out, but also realizes that it was only possible because of the many supports she had, including a long parental leave.
Laura Attanasio Bio
Laura is a faculty member in public health whose research focuses on quality and equity in maternity care. She and her husband, Adam, have fraternal twin girls, a dog, and two cats. They live in Western Massachusetts.
FamilyAlbum Photo Sharing App
Today’s episode is sponsored by FamilyAlbum. FamilyAlbum is a family-focused photo sharing app with over 5 million users worldwide. FamilyAlbum helps you save, share, and remember the special moments in your baby’s life. You can even get started before baby is born and document your pregnancy.
FamilyAlbum app offers unlimited free storage, is completely ad-free, and provides smart, automatic organization. But my absolute favorite thing is that you can invite friends and family to view your photos privately and securely. You can even specify which family members see which photos. Your family will be notified when new photos are added and they can leave comments creating a fun conversation! You can also use suggested ideas for monthly photobooks, or create your own and then have them shipped straight to your door. The app keeps your memories safe, allowing you to recover them even if your phone is lost or damaged. To download this fun app head to the apple or google play app store and search for FamilyAlbum, or go to family-album.com!
Gabey’s relatively easy pregnancy with her first child hit some trouble when the baby stubbornly stayed in breech position. An external cephalic version at 37 weeks was very intense but luckily successful on the third try. Their daughter Inez came a week early, and labor was fast – about 8 hours start to finish. As a first timer, Gabey was in denial about her labor progression until the very end, which is why her baby was born right into the hospital toilet – unattended except for her husband! Gabey’s second child, a boy, was even faster. She managed to give birth on the hospital bed that time.
Gabrielle lives in Washington DC with her husband Luke, daughter Inez (3) and son Eamonn (6 months). Gabey works at the FDA on drug quality issues, and Luke is at the State Department. Outside of work Gabey loves to garden, cook, and make art. Her biggest struggle is making time for all the things she wants to do juggling work and two small kids. She loves the birth hour podcast and binge listened before both of her births.
Today’s episode is brought to you by Britax Child Safety, Inc. For over 50 years, Britax has been focused on safety you can trust from the very first day. They welcome new moms and dads to parenthood with award-winning car seats and strollers for every lifestyle while providing extra confidence for the journey ahead. At the end of today’s episode, I spoke with Britax safety advocate, Sarah Tilton, all about Preparing for the First Ride Home. Learn more about Britax products and safety tips at us.britax.com.
I interviewed Rebecca Dekker from Evidence Based Birth on April 13, 2020, for an expert interview bonus episode exclusive to our patreon listener supporters. We scheduled that interview months in advance before Coronavirus was on anyone’s radar in the U.S.
She was so generous to stick around for an extra conversation about the existing evidence/research around COVID-19 and I wanted to make sure that portion of the interview was available to our entire audience. Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of research on this novel coronavirus because it’s still so new but Rebecca is working overtime to keep her Coronavirus page up-to-date on Evidence Based Birth and I was so grateful for the insight she provided. I honestly felt more at ease after talking with her and I hope many of you will as well. Be sure to also check out Rebecca’s book, Babies Are Not Pizzas: They’re Born, Not Delivered!
Many of these links are referenced in the full bonus episode if you want to listen to the rest of our conversation as well as monthly interviews with other experts, you can become a listener supporter by going to Patreon.com/birthhour. If you can’t listen to the full episode, these are wonderful resources to check out.
The people at Babylist believe that you should be able to get exactly what you need for your unique and growing family. That’s why their baby registry lets you add any item from any store. Even add cool services and favors like prenatal yoga, doula support, home-cooked meals or dog walking. Start your registry today to be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box of goodies for baby worth up to $190 while boxes last.
Katie has had three very different birth journeys delivering her babies. She delivered her first baby with midwives in a hospital and used an epidural to help her meet her baby girl, Elliette. For her second birth, Katie chose to have care through a birth center. After pushing for four hours, Katie transferred to a hospital to meet her second baby via c-section. Her second birth sparked her interest in becoming a birth doula, which she has been doing for the past two years.
Just recently, Katie met her third baby by delivering him unassisted in her car. Her birth with her son was fast and furious but turned out to be very peaceful even during this time of change and unease with COVID-19. Katie and her husband Eric were blown away and touched by the care they received from their midwife after they drove to the hospital. Their stay was safe and calm and more than they could’ve asked for.
Katie White Bio
Katie works as a birth doula and postpartum doula in Denver, Colorado with her company Denver Born. She graduated with a degree in nutrition from UNCO, Greeley and loves focusing her birth-work around nutrition, community and empowering women to love their births and stories no matter what journey they take.
Katie lives with her husband of 11 years, Eric and their three kiddos, Elliette (5), Kinsley (3) and Bennett (born March 28th). Their tribe loves to snowboard, camp and hike and be in the mountains.
You can connect with Katie via Instagram @kate_white or her doula page @denverborn. You can also find her doula website at www.denverborndoulas.com
The Birth Hour!!!
The VBAC Link Podcast
Birth Without Fear Book
Spinning Babies (especially the Three Sisters Exercises)
After a very early miscarriage, Melanie was surprised to find out she was expecting twins shortly after. She spent her pregnancy focusing on preparing for postpartum, both nutritionally and emotionally, and she struggled with SPD pain (Pelvic pain) and trying to decide on the best way to birth her girls. Towards the very end of her pregnancy, COVID-19 began to spread, adding a new layer of anxiety and uncertainty to Melanie’s birth and postpartum experience. She elected for a C section, which went incredibly well, and is now one-week postpartum.
Melanie is a Canadian who’s been living in the North of the UK for 8 years. She’s a nutritional consultant and focuses primarily on Ayurvedic cooking, women’s hormonal health, and more recently, pre and postpartum nutrition. She also owns her own small, specialty food business. Connect with her on her Website: www.melaniehadidanutrition.com or on Instagram: @melaniehadida and @spiecandgreen
When Danielle and Sam conceived in early July, 2019, they didn’t realize the journey that was planned for their first child’s birth. The COVID-19 pandemic began to hit the US in force in early March, 2020, causing concern over the birth plan for Danielle’s March 28th due date. The original concerns were what many expecting parents currently worry about, “Will my partner or support-person be allowed in the room?” “Will my doula be allowed there?” However, on March 22nd, all those concerns changed.
Sam took a nap due to having a headache. His Apple Watch woke him up stating his heart rate was high (120-140bpm). Sam has a history of his heart beating too fast in a different rhythm so this was obviously concerning. Not wanting to, but knowing it had to happen, Danielle drove Sam to the ER and sat in the car in the parking lot, since visitors weren’t allowed while he was treated for dehydration to lower his heart rate. It was then when they discovered Sam had a fever; he was told they didn’t think he had COVID-19 but they did send out a viral panel for flus and other viruses. He was later released that night from the ER to go home.
Monday and Tuesday Sam didn’t feel great but didn’t feel too horrible (headache, low grade fever, fatigue). Tuesday, Danielle had a midwifery appointment and was the only one allowed in the office. She had a check and a membrane sweep (was 4cm, 70-80% effaced) and left to go home. On the way home, the hospital called and said all of Sam’s viral panel results came back negative and it was being sent out for a COVID-19 test. Danielle’s heart sunk.
Wednesday, March 25th in the evening, the dreaded call came; Sam tested positive for COVID-19. Hours of phone calls later to the midwife on call and Danielle’s doula, there were a few plans in place. Plan A: Keep the baby in until 41 weeks when Sam would be off quarantine. Plan B: Sam would be unable to be at the birth and Danielle’s doula would stay with her the whole time for their hospital stay. Well, the baby didn’t cooperate with Plan A because on March 26th around 4:30am, Danielle went into labor. She labored at home from 4:30am until 3:45pm on the 26th managing contractions and having Sam support with pressure on her lower back and changing positions regularly.
After a call with their doula, it was suggested to head to the hospital as contractions were one on top of the other and very painful. Sam drove Danielle to the hospital where he dropped her off at the front door. Danielle was met by her doula and nurse with a mask to wear because Danielle was presumed positive for COVID-19 since Sam was also positive. Danielle’s labor continued in a negative pressure, isolation room in the labor and delivery unit with everyone caring for her and baby in full personal protective equipment. It was during this time that the pediatric provider on call had to provide information on why it was recommended mom and baby be separated at birth. Danielle and Sam declined this and a waiver was signed.
Sam was present for the labor and delivery via FaceTime. Danielle continued to labor in the tub and then moved to the bed. She labored unmedicated through it being time to push (around 12:00am on March 27th). Danielle pushed from 12:30am until 2:32am when baby was born. Danielle and Sam didn’t know the sex before so it was then announced that their baby was a girl, named Eleanor. Danielle and Eleanor stayed in the hospital for a little over 28 hours until being released home. Sam picked Danielle and Eleanor up and met his daughter in person for the first time. They’re now recovering at home, riding out the isolation period for COVID-19.
Danielle Stone Bio
Danielle is a 28 year old living in the Springfield, Massachusetts area. She works full time as a Program Director for a community mental health agency in the mental health crisis division. Danielle is married to Sam, 29, from Retford, England. Sam works as a director at a local child care agency. Danielle and Sam met at summer camp in 2014, dating long distance for about one year, and Sam moving to America in September, 2015 to study his masters degree. The couple got engaged in August, 2016 and married in October, 2018. They now live together with their new baby, Eleanor (10 days old on April 6, 2020), Dog – Harley, and Cat – Ash. Connect with her on Facebook: Danielle Stone, via Instagram: @Danielle.EK.Stone or by Email: DanielleEKStone@gmail.com
Part I of this episode was sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow has helped thousands of new and expecting moms find the perfect pump for her lifestyle. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda 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.
Bonus — you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes.
All you have to do is 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!
Part II of 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.