Shortly after getting married Kalen and her husband were lucky to become pregnant quickly with their son and had a healthy, uneventful pregnancy. She was induced at 41 weeks and 1 day but after 24 hours of labor and a cascade of interventions, her son Maverick was born via emergency c section. Determined to try for a VBAC, Kalen found a supportive provider 50 miles away. During her first ultrasound, she and her husband were shocked to find out they were expecting identical twin girls. She was induced a day shy of 37 weeks and after 30 hours of labor she was able to push out Baby A and had a breech extraction of Baby B. She talks about being readmitted to the hospital a few days after birth for the girls’ low temps and birth weights and triple feeding for 6 weeks until being able to exclusively nurse for 17 months. Kalen also talks about the processing of the news that her son was born with hearing loss and how he’s doing now.
Kalen Andelin Bio
Kalen, 33 and her husband Ian live in Kenosha, Wisconsin with their 3 children: Maverick, 3.5 and their identical twin daughters Indy and Bowie, almost 2. They enjoy spending time in their newly renovated home and taking advantage of the four seasons the midwest has to offer. In what little free time three toddlers during COVID have to offer, she enjoys listening to audiobooks for her book club and podcasts about pregnancy and birth while doing some therapeutic cleaning and organizing. Scrolling social media while enjoying a glass or two of wine is her favorite way to unwind, as well as couch surfing or playing some board games with her husband. There’s always a DIY project going on in their house and cute kid videos that can be found on her instagram, @kalenamy.
We are so excited to introduce our new partnership with @CordBloodRegistry, also known as CBR. CBR has helped millions of parents bank their children’s newborn stem cells. Newborn stem cells have amazing potential for treatments in the future and cord blood stem cells have already been used for thirty years in stem cell transplants. It’s kind of like investing in your baby’s future health.
For a limited time, CBR is offering The Birth Hour listeners some pretty big discounts. Go to cordblood.com and use code: HOUR to get 60% off the Newborn Stem Cell Bundle which includes both cord blood and tissue banking. Visit their website to learn more about how newborn stem cell preservation could protect your whole family and why CBR is the #1 most recommended cord blood bank by families and OB/GYNs.
Charlotte found out she was pregnant with her 2nd child in December 2019. In January, while still in her first trimester, it was confirmed that she was moving to Singapore from London with her 2 year old daughter and husband in May. However, due to coronavirus their moving plans were changed and they ended up spending 6 months in her husband’s home country of New Zealand.
Charlotte talks about navigating three different birthing systems as well as external uncertainty through pregnancy. About choosing homebirth coming out of a hospital birth culture. And choosing homebirth again even as she was living rurally and in temporary accommodation. Finally Charlotte talks about welcoming a second child into this world and navigating postpartum while moving countries in the middle of a global pandemic.
Charlotte Meyer Bio
Charlotte is Danish. She is married to an incredibly supportive partner. They have two children; 2 year old Isabella and 5 month old James. She lives in Singapore. You can connect with Charlotte on Instagram @alliedsince84.
When Shaun was Born (Da Knud kom ud), Jesper Manniche and Susanne Warming (Danish)
The Radical Womb Podcast
To the Moon, Honey (Danish) UK Birth Resource: Triyoga: Active Birth Course Singapore Birth Resources: Red Miller, Love Based Birth
This episode is sponsored by Expectful – the #1 guided meditation & sleep app for your fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood journey. Just like you probably take a prenatal vitamin for your body, Expectful’s meditations are like a prenatal vitamin for your mind and can help you have a happier, healthier journey to parenthood. Whether you are TTC, pregnant, or postpartum, everything in the Expectful app was made just for this special moment in your life and created based on interviews with hopeful, expecting, and new parents just like you. Ready to reduce stress, improve sleep, and connect with your little one? Go to expectful.com/birthhour or download Expectful in the App Store to get started with a free trial today.
At 37 weeks pregnant, Elizabeth went to the hospital for a scheduled induction due to gestational hypertension that developed the prior week. After she was admitted into the labor room, everyone was surprised to find out that she was already in active labor and unable to feel contractions. Due to the lack of pain even after receiving pitocin, she was able to give birth without an epidural and deliver a healthy baby boy.
Elizabeth Houston Bio
Elizabeth, her husband, Billy, and their one-year-old son, Booker, live in the Washington, D.C. metro area. After law school and graduate school, Elizabeth pursued a nontraditional legal career in public health law rather than becoming a licensed attorney. She is now a Social Scientist at FDA, and her husband is a stay-at-home dad while he pursues his graduate degree.
Connect with her on Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok @bookersquared and Twitter @bookersquared1. Blog: bookersquared.blog
Genny had a peaceful birth center birth in January of 2018. After switching care providers twice (once at 26 weeks and again at 37 weeks) she knew the birth center was the right fit. She found a doula who also taught hypnobabies and prenatal yoga. At 8pm the night before birth, contractions started with slight cramping. The midwife and doula said to get sleep and rest as much as possible. At 2:30am, Genny could no longer sleep through the “waves.” Upon arrival at the birth center at 4am, the midwife checked Genny & she was dilated to 7cm! Genny felt at peace and supported throughout the entire process thanks to her husband, doula and midwife. Just before noon and after pushing for 3 hours, baby girl was born into water. The midwife gently unwrapped the cord from her neck and placed her onto her chest. Mom, dad and baby went home 4 hours after baby was born.
For the birth of her second baby, Genny really wanted to give birth at the same birth center her daughter was born. Unfortunately, the birth center closed down 2 months before baby was due. They found a midwifery practice in late June (baby was due in September) because they had just moved back to Jacksonville after being in Pennsylvania on military assignment. Contractions started at 4pm and at 1am (9 hours later) baby boy was born into water in the comfort of her own bedroom. I recall the look on my sister’s face when the doula went in and woke her up to come meet her nephew. My sister was staying the night to care for our toddler and she had her fears for me doing homebirth so it was cool for her to see a healthy happy baby born at home.
Genny Siemion Bio
Genny is a military wife, mother of two, and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator who prepares pregnant women and their partners for birth and parenting. Genny knows that childbirth education truly drives birth satisfaction, partner involvement, and how the mind, body, and spirit need proper preparation for birth and the postpartum period.
Genny has supported evidence-based research on birth long before becoming a mother herself. She became certified through Lamaze International and currently teaches at the local hospital and private classes through Zoom. Genny is featured in Jacksonville Moms Blog, Jacksonville Maternity Directory, and funforfirstcoastkids.org Connect with her on Instagram @gennychildbirthclass.
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.
Following an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured one of Shana’s fallopian tubes, she unexpectedly got pregnant almost immediately after her first loss. At the time, she was living in London, England and preparing for her husband, Doug, to move in early 2020. During the first half of Shana’s pregnancy she dealt with heavy bleeding from a subchorionic hematoma, untreated prenatal depression and anxiety, and was working towards submitting her PhD dissertation all whilst living on her own. As she and her husband were preparing for his transatlantic relocation, COVID-19 began shutting down borders, which prompted Shana to move back home to the DC area instead.
With the help of Shana’s long-time therapist in Maryland, she was introduced to both a psychiatrist specializing in perinatal mental health as well as Ursula, a doula and founder of Birth You Desire. With all three of their support and a special shout out to modern technology allowing for virtual services, Shana was able to do all she could to get her mind, body, and spirit prepared for the second half of pregnancy and everything ahead. At the start of her third trimester, Shana and Doug learned their baby was intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) and was breech, which required weekly visits to the midwife and OB for fetal monitoring as well as countless hours spent practicing Spinning Babies exercises, yoga, and receiving repeated chiropractic care. Whilst the conversations around the necessity of an early emergency cesarean section intensified as the weeks went on, their daughter had a miraculous growth spurt at 36 weeks, allowing her to reach full term (but was still stubbornly breech). An external cephalic version (ECV) was scheduled at 39 weeks.
Leading up to the ECV, it was uncertain whether their doula would be able to be physically present during the birth because of quickly changing COVID-19 restrictions. In a rare situation, Ursula’s virtual presence was a blessing because after 3 attempts of trying to get the baby to turn, Shana was taken into the operating room to deliver their daughter, Poppy, by cesarean section, whilst Ursula was on the phone with headphones shared between Shana and Doug offering support and guidance the entire time (even without COVID-19, it was unlikely she could be present for the ECV and certainly not in the OR).
Aside from being more mucousy than what’s considered normal, Shana, Doug, and Poppy had a blissful first 24 hours together in the hospital. After that, however, an incredibly astute nurse noticed that Poppy would turn slightly blue when feeding and took her to the NICU for a quick peek. There everyone learned that Poppy was born with a fairly common congenital abnormality called tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) and esophageal atresia (EA), an abnormal connection between the esophagus and trachea and between the esophagus and stomach. She was immediately transferred an hour away to the NICU at Johns Hopkins Hospital with Doug, whilst Shana waited to be discharged the following day. Poppy had a successful primary repair of her esophagus and trachea at 3 days old and then proceeded to be in the hospital for the better part of 4 months. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only one parent could be present in the hospital with Poppy at a time, so with the support of their families, Shana and Doug relocated to Baltimore to live in a nearby hotel. They encountered various complications including a blood infection, repeated narrowing of her esophagus, trouble feeding, terrible reflux, and very poor weight gain, which all required prolonged hospitalizations and several procedures. After 4 months, it was discovered that Poppy had a hiatal hernia caused from her initial surgery. She received a final surgery to address the hernia and had a gastric-tube put directly into her belly to help with feeding, which, so far, has made a tremendous difference in everyone’s quality of life.
Poppy is now nearly 6 months old and her parents are very much enjoying settling into their home as a family of 3 at long last. Shana is currently working through the cumulative trauma and complicated emotions around Poppy’s journey. Despite the challenges, Poppy wakes up every morning with the biggest smile on her face and is a stunning example of resilience and strength.
Shana Silverstein Bio
Shana lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband, Doug, their six month old daughter, Poppy Chaya, and their first baby, Marcel the Poodle. She is on the precipice of receiving her doctorate in neuroscience from University College London and the National Institutes of Health. Her research focuses on social learning and memory around empathy related behaviors. Shana is also a certified yoga teacher. Connect with her by 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.
In the fall of 2019 after a crazy year of changing jobs, moving states, buying a house, and adopting a puppy, Sarah and her husband, Joe decided to start trying for a baby. They were fortunate enough to conceive after the first month of trying. Once COVID- 19 hit in March of 2020 both Sarah and her husband moved out of their respective offices and into the home office, where they’ve been ever since.
Sarah loved being pregnant and was able to remain active throughout her pregnancy. Despite loving her pregnancy, Sarah started experiencing severe anxiety surrounding the birth at the beginning of her third trimester. Sarah was sexually assaulted in her first year of graduate school and although she had done extensive therapy to heal, underlying issues surrounding bodily autonomy and consent threatened her positive birth experience. Through working together with a birth coach and her husband Sarah was able to overcome her anxiety and develop a plan to cope with any situation that would present itself during labor and delivery.
Labor and delivery were demanding and despite her best efforts to naturally induce labor Sarah had to be medically induced at 41 weeks. While joyful, her postpartum period was physically difficult, and she and baby Grace had a challenging time establishing breastfeeding.
Sarah Sushchyk Bio
Sarah lives in central Massachusetts and works in regulatory affairs at a large pharmaceutical company in the area. She and her husband, Joe, met in Baltimore in 2012 where they were both pursuing their PhDs in Pharmaceutical Science. They were married in 2017 and moved to Massachusetts shortly after. They welcomed their first child, Grace, on July 25th, 2020. The family enjoys taking long hikes with Cooper, their 85-pound fur baby. You can connect with Sarah on Instagram @ssushhythoms
Be My Breast Friend – Instagram Account @bemybreastfriend
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.
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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!