The Decision Around Terminating Pregnancy Due to Multiple Congenital Anomalies + Hospital & Home Birth Stories

Devastated by a 21 week loss due to multiple congenital anomalies, followed by a miscarriage at 8 weeks, blessed by two, unmedicated births (one at a hospital and one at home during the pandemic). 

Jana walks through their complicated and heartbreaking decision to terminate a 21-week baby boy with multiple, congenital abnormalities.  She highlights *some* of their decision-making process and the incredible medical care they received along the way.  Shortly after that loss, Jana and her husband were then hit with a miscarriage at 8 weeks.  As healthcare providers, they struggled with what this meant for future pregnancies, how this impacted their marriage and professional life.  

After fertility consults that said, “everything is fine,” and several months of trying, they were successful with another pregnancy.  While this pregnancy seemed to outsiders as “routine,” it was riddled with stress and anxiety, fearful they would loose this baby too.  Specialists assured them, that this was a healthy pregnancy.  Friends and family were an irreplaceable support system, constantly reminding them to take in one day at a time.  Jana remembers, “our family and friends were so kind, listening to our worries and helping to share in some of our burden.”     

In early November 2018, after 10 hours of laboring at home (in denial) with her husband and doula, Jana admitted she was in labor and agreed to go to the hospital.  Jana delivered a healthy, baby boy, 10 minutes after arriving to the hospital.  While that delivery was “quick,” it was also not the birth experience she had hoped for.  Jana knew if there was another pregnancy, the delivery would be different; she wanted a more positive, natural childbirth experience.      

Their fourth pregnancy came in fall of 2019— they never expected to be making the decision about this pregnancy/delivery in the middle of a pandemic.  As the pandemic worsened, they decided to hire a homebirth midwife and deliver the baby at home.  Jana labored again with her doula, husband and midwife birth team.  Start to finish, this process was just over 4 hours.  In June 2020, Jana and her husband celebrated a successful homebirth and welcomed another baby boy; so much joy amidst the pandemic sorrow and previous losses.  The homebirth was the best choice for their family and 100% supported the natural child birthing experience. 

Jana Parrish Bio

Jana and her husband live in Michigan with their two boys.  When she’s not working as a nurse, she can be found doing projects with her husband, baking, amateur strawbale gardening and trying to keep two, tiny humans alive.  Instagram: @jfrenchie        


Resources

  • Expecting and Empowered- all things pelvic PT
  • Safe in the Seat- Newborn carseat safety
  • Taking Cara Babies- sleep training, but really all things newborn/baby 
  • Building Blocks Family- family dynamics, bringing home baby #2, all things toddler
  • Modern Michigan Doula
  • Compassionate Hands Birth Services
  • Expecting Better by Emily Oster

Aeroflow Breastpumps

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, 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!  

Hospital Births with Midwives, In Person vs Virtual Doula

On July 28, 2016 Alexis gave birth to her first child after 8 hours of labor. Despite dealing with back labor, she was able to have an unmedicated labor and delivery with the support of her husband Kurt, their doula, and midwives at the local hospital. 

In the spring of 2020 Alexis and Kurt were preparing for the birth of their second child. The plan was to again have a hospital birth with the same midwifery group and be supported by a doula. When the world started rapidly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they found themselves navigating the unimaginable.

With the use of technology, Alexis was able to have her doula support her virtually as well as help coach her husband to support her throughout labor and delivery. That combined with the calming expertise of her midwife and nurse, Alexis was able to have the birth that she wanted feeling fully supported by her birth team. They welcomed their second daughter into the world on April 28th, 2020. 

Alexis Heller Bio

Alexis lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Kurt, her two daughters (Phoebe and Quinn), and their two cats. She works in operations for a local pediatric hospital. Alexis and her family love spending time listening to music, cooking, traveling, spending time outdoors, and they cannot wait until they can go to concerts again.  You can connect with her on Instagram @alexishellmaster.

Resources 

Motif Medical

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

Virtual Doula Support for High Risk Birth During COVID-19

After a traumatic experience with postpartum Hellp Syndrome, two blood transfusions, a 24 hour magnesium drip several hours after the birth of her daughter in 2017, and a miscarriage in 2019, Vered and her husband had garnered a solid and trusted medical team in her new OB and Doula, and felt mentally prepared to safely welcome their son in 2020. Then the Covid19 pandemic hit just one month before her due date. The doula she had hired would have to participate in the birth virtually and each day leading up to the birth it was unclear if she would be allowed to have her husband in the delivery room with her. For anyone this would be a frightening experience, but even more so for a high-risk patient. 

covid19 virtual doula support

Vered Asta Bio

Vered lives in Maryland with her husband, 3 ½ year old daughter and 7-month-old son. She is the Co-Founder and Event specialist at Vela Events where she helps couples, families, and organizations coordinate and celebrate milestone moments. Vered is currently looking to engage in projects that educate women about preeclampsia and Hellp syndrome. You can find her @veredsasta or @velaevents.

Crane

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.

Prodromal Labor, Birth Center Birth, and Amazing Postpartum + Breastfeeding Experience

Amanda had a smooth, yet uncomfortable, pregnancy but then had to navigate giving birth and finding support during the pandemic. She experienced a day of prodromal labor before real labor started the day after her due date. After arriving at the birthing center, she labored most of the day in the water supported by her husband and sister. Labor was intense yet peaceful and she progressed steadily throughout the day. She delivered her baby on a birth stool and after a short scare with the baby not immediately breathing, they had an immediate bond. Postpartum was the happiest time of her life and loved breastfeeding from the start. She had a significant tear but had a great experience working with a pelvic floor physical therapist to heal. 

birth center birth

Amanda Johnson Bio

Amanda lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a tech recruiter. She and her husband, David, have been married 5 years and welcomed their first baby in May of 2020. She enjoys traveling, baking, and long walks with her St. Bernard. You can connect with her online on instagram at @amandajoejohnson.

Resources

Ergobaby

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby has pioneered the gold standard for comfortable, ergonomic soft structured carriers. Ergobaby is dedicated to helping families bond, grow, and thrive by creating premium baby products where function and quality are not compromised. Ergobaby has created a broad range of award-winning baby carriers, strollers, swaddlers, nursing pillows, and related products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably and safely. In 2020, they launched Everlove by Ergobaby, a first of its kind baby carrier buy back and resale program, a sustainability effort to support families and the planet.

Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome Induction Birth Story

Sara was able to get pregnant pretty quickly and had a routine pregnancy up until 35 weeks. At her 35 week appointment she had high blood pressure and had to go to the hospital for monitoring. After a couple of days her blood pressure began to climb higher and she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Sara was induced and after a fairly quick labor gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Patrick. She had to stay in the hospital a little longer than usual while the doctors got her blood pressure under control and found the right mix of medications. By 12 weeks postpartum she was back to somewhat normal and they have all been settling in as a family of three.

35 week preemie

Sara Ryan Bio

Sara Ryan is originally from Sacramento, California but currently lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina. After graduating from University of California – Davis, she moved to Washington, DC where she met her husband, Chris. After a few years working in DC, Sara decided to move to North Carolina to get her MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler (Go Tarheels!) and settled in Charlotte after graduation in order to start her career in banking. After a couple years in Charlotte, Sara and Chris decided they were ready to expand their family and welcomed a baby boy, Patrick, in the fall of 2019. Sara enjoys yoga, gardening, knitting, and convincing her husband to take on increasingly ambitious house projects.

Resources

Peanut

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.

Download the app for free today!

Military Base Birth in Japan During COVID & Postpartum Preeclampsia

When Laurel found out that she would give birth to her first child at an overseas military base,  she was elated! Although she was committed to choreographing a local production of Mary Poppins in her third trimester, she thought her pregnancy, having started smoothly, would be run-of-the-mill. However, Laurel’s on-base OBGYN clinic recommended  inducing Laurel due to blood pressure concerns.

Her baby made a fast, exciting, and healthy entrance into the world after 38 weeks of travel and dance adventures in the womb. Tiny Marguerite was born stubborn and perfect in under 14 hours. Laurel, Dave, and Margo ended up back in Urgent Care three short days later when Laurel developed preeclampsia. Luckily for them, the hospital was at the edge of their neighborhood and a 2 minute drive away. Laurel never pictured a global pandemic, postpartum preeclampsia, and being separated from family for months as part of her birth story but can confidently say that the road to motherhood  was anything but dull. 

Laurel Simon Bio  

Laurel Simon is a former professional dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, and stagehand who  currently spends her days singing musical soundtracks to her daughter at home. The wife of an  Air Force pilot, she has lived in various U.S. cities and counts Seattle as the top contender for  hometown. Marguerite is her first child; she and her husband also have a lovable Sheltie pup and  an irascible cat. Laurel’s public-facing account is @Sheltie_in_place_pup on Instagram. It features their dog and his adventures, with occasional human appearances.

pregnancy-covid-military-base

Resources

Aeroflow Breastpumps

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, 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!