Unexplained Infertility, Twin Pregnancy, ICP, & Cesarean Birth + PPD Discussion

After over 4 years of dealing with infertility Gisselle and her husband Lynneric found out they were pregnant due to an IUI. A few weeks later they found out they were having twins! After a mostly uneventful pregnancy to that point, Gisselle was diagnosed with cholestasis at 30 weeks. At 32 weeks they found out both babies were breech and began to plan to have a cesarean. She delivered at 36 weeks and the babies never had to go the NICU. Postpartum she dealt with some postpartum depression and sought help from her doctor for medication and also attended therapy on a regular basis. 

twin-pregnancy-after-infertility

Gisselle Topham Bio

Gisselle and her husband Lynneric live in Ogden, Utah with their 4 yr. old boy girl twins. Her husband works for the government and she is a trained doula and childbirth educator working on her certification. She became involved in the infertility world while trying to get pregnant and has since also joined her local twin moms club. She enjoys watching movies and reading books. With her family she likes to have dance parties. Her kids keep her busy and she loves laughing at the crazy things they say and do. Connect with her via Facebook (gisselletopham) or by email gisselle.topham@gmail.com. Gisselle is also an active member of The Birth Hour Patreon group!

twins cholestasis

Resources

  • Gisselle’s husband’s Partner Podcast episode
  • UIRC- Utah Infertility Resource Center
  • Resolve 
  • The Birth Hour
  • Dr Berlins Informed Pregnancy Podcast
  • Evidence Based Birth (website and podcast)
  • Plus mommy (website, facebook, and podcast)
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
  • The Birth Partner
  • When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Barbara Luke
  • What to do when you’re having two – Natalie Diaz
  • Searched twins in podcast app and google
  • PSI International
  • Facebook groups for infertility and twins
  • Asking about a therapist and psychiatrist
  • Local Twins club
  • Other twin moms

Wumblekin

This episode is sponsored by Wumblekin. Life’s busy and there’s a lot of noise out there, that can be especially true during pregnancy. Wumblekin breaks down pregnancy, labor and birth with evidence-based education and expert-curated products for mom and baby. Easily buy or gift single boxes, or subscribe to receive them throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Be informed and prepared by ordering Wumblekin pregnancy, birth and postpartum essentials, today! Get 15% off your first box by using promo code BIRTHHOUR at checkout. Visit wumblekin.com to order or subscribe, today!


Loss, Failed IVF Cycles, & then Getting Pregnant Naturally During Covid

Angela and her husband got married in 2015. They always knew they wanted 2 children. She got pregnant easily on the first try in 2016. They felt so extremely lucky. Unfortunately, at 23 weeks they lost their sweet baby girl. They did genetic testing to find some answers on why there were such major abnormalities. Their baby had a rare heart defect, where the heart did not form properly. They also found out the baby had a rare chromosome deletion. After finding out Angela’s husband carries that gene, they decided to do IVF with PGD genetic testing. They wanted to avoid passing on the gene, as it was a 50/50 chance each pregnancy.

Angela had major complications from the D&E/D&C, which led to hemorrhaging. They started IVF in May 2017, and after 5 stim cycles, 4 egg retrievals and 4 failed transfers, they did not have any luck. They went to two doctors in two different states. Angela also underwent two hysteroscopies and many other minor procedures to see what was going on and why she wasn’t having any success. Her first doctor recommended surrogacy after her 3rd failed transfer because everything “looked good on paper”.

After her 5th IVF transfer with her new doctor was cancelled in March 2020 due to COVID, they decided to leave it up to chance and try again naturally. Shockingly, it worked the first try and she was pregnant. She had not seen a positive pregnancy test in 4 years. After undergoing a CVS (for genetics) and a fetal echo with an MFM following her whole pregnancy, all came back normal and they started to relax a bit more. Getting the phone call from the genetic counselor that the baby did not inherit the genetic condition was the best news of their lives. The rest of their pregnancy was “uneventful”, as they say…which is a good thing! The silver lining to being pregnant during the pandemic was getting to take more time off than she would normally have.

ttc story

Angela was due on December 28, 2020. On Christmas Eve, she started having contractions but they were irregular and far apart. They did not think the baby was coming soon since she had an appointment a few days earlier where her doctor said baby had not dropped and she wasn’t dilated at all.

Angela’s one wish was for the baby not to come on Christmas Day. But of course…her water broke at 1am in bed and water went everywhere! It was just like in the movies! She labored all night at the hospital and got an epidural at 10:30am on Christmas morning. Her doctor saw that baby was in distress and her heart rate was dropping so they recommend an emergency cesarean right away.

At 12:38pm, Aria was born. Angela didn’t get to meet her right away as Aria’s cord was wrapped around her neck and she wasn’t crying. Shortly after the team took her away, they heard Aria scream loud and clear. It was a huge sigh of relief. The rest of the 3 night hospital stay was a blur and then all of a sudden, they were clear to go home and start their new adventure. Life has been so busy for the new family of three but has been the best year of their lives. Aria has been the biggest blessing and joy in their lives. She is so smart, alert and is absolutely adorable. She is a constant reminder that miracles DO happen!

Angela Fong Bio 

Angela is a first time mom in Los Angeles. She is originally from Vancouver, BC, Canada. She has lived in the US for 12 years. She works in marketing. Once upon a time, she was a professional wrestler and traveled the world performing in front of thousands (but that is a whole different story for another time!) You can connect with Angela on Instagram: @missangelafong1

Owlet

Today’s episode is sponsored by Owlet. Meet the Owlet Pregnancy Band, an at-home pregnancy monitor using innovative, passive technology to give you daily insights into your pregnancy. You can track Mom’s sleep position, get manual kick count prompts, hear heartbeat recordings and see Baby’s trends through the night and over several days, plus read weekly pregnancy milestones all in the Owlet Pregnancy App. Right now get exclusive access to the Owlet Band in its beta program at owletcare.com/band.

Birth in Saudi Arabia: Unmedicated Hospital birth vs Cesarean & Healing Diastasis Recti Postpartum

This episode is shared in two parts.

Zahra’s first birth was an unmedicated hospital birth followed by a 5 day NICU stay. Her second birth was a Cesarean birth after a prolonged labor due to weak abdominal muscles. A few days after her second birth, she explains that her tummy “fell apart”. She is now doing rehab to heal an eight finger wide diastasis recti from the navel down.

Zahra talks about how birthing practices are different in Saudi Arabia than in the United States and wanted to shed light on the issue of diastasis recti and how this serious condition can affect your quality of life to a large extent. Also, many people might be surprised to hear that there is hope for fixing your diastasis recti through physical therapy rather than surgery even when, as in her case, your doctor might say that surgery is your only option.

Zahra Alawami Bio

Zahra lives in Saudi Arabia with her husband and two children. She lived in Milwaukee, WI for five years while studying psychology at UWM. She doesn’t miss the snow or the winter even though it’s been six years since she returned home. But she would love to visit Milwaukee during the summer anytime! She is very passionate about everything relating to child rearing and raising children (A degree in psychology is to blame!. She enjoys snuggling her babies, cooking, drinking coffee, listening to podcasts, and has recently picked up Sourdough baking at home!

Connect with Zahra on Facebook or via email at zalawami1990@gmail.com.

Resources

Motif Medical

Part I 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

Wumblekin

Part II of this episode is sponsored by Wumblekin. Life’s busy and there’s a lot of noise out there, that can be especially true during pregnancy. Wumblekin breaks down pregnancy, labor and birth with evidence-based education and expert-curated products for mom and baby. Easily buy or gift single boxes, or subscribe to receive them throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Be informed and prepared by ordering Wumblekin pregnancy, birth and postpartum essentials, today! Get 15% off your first box by using promo code BIRTHHOUR at checkout. Visit wumblekin.com to order or subscribe, today!

Preeclampsia, Long Failed Induction and Emergency C-section

Cara and her husband, George decided they wanted to begin their family immediately after getting married in 2019. They were shocked at how quickly they fell pregnant in October. Cara is a medical student so during the beginning of her pregnancy, she was taking classes like human anatomy which involved dissecting a human cadaver all while being 10 weeks pregnant. 

Cara’s pregnancy was uneventful until around 28 weeks when her husband and parents all came down with COVID, which caused her to miss several appointments with her Ob/Gyn.

When she finally got back to the doctor, her blood pressure was high and they knew she was most likely developing preeclampsia. Cara was diagnosed with preeclampsia around 31 weeks of pregnancy. This led to her needing an induction at 37 weeks. Cara’s labor was long, and involved multiple interventions, like cytotec, a foley bulb, and epidural, until ultimately she went forward with a c-section due to suspicion of chorioamnionitis (infection of amniotic sac and placenta). Prior to the decision to go ahead with the c-section she developed a high fever which was indicative of an infection in her uterus. After 47.5 hours of labor, she and her husband welcomed their son, Lucas into the world on June 2, 2020 at 5:26 pm weighing 7 lb 10 oz and measuring 21.5 inches. 

emergency cesarean preeclampsia

Cara continued to struggle with an elevated blood pressure due to preeclampsia even after she gave birth, but was able to completely stop taking blood pressure medication at 12 weeks postpartum. 

Connect with Cara on Instagram at @caragrudziak___ .

Resource

Owlet

Today’s episode is sponsored by Owlet. Meet the Owlet Pregnancy Band, an at-home pregnancy monitor using innovative, passive technology to give you peace of mind and the reassurance you crave through daily insights into your baby’s well-being. You can listen to your baby’s heartbeat, see Baby’s trends through the night and over several days, track Mom’s sleep position, and read weekly gestational updates about your pregnancy all in the Owlet Pregnancy App. Right now get exclusive access to the Owlet Band in its beta program and save $100. Get yours now, before spots fill up, at owletcare.com/band.

Emergency Cesarean after Reduction in Fetal Movement + NICU Stay

Lottie found out she was pregnant in May of 2020. She originally established care with an OB but after listening to so many birth stories where moms mentioned the importance of trusting your care providers, she transferred care to a midwife group at 24 weeks. Pregnancy was pretty easy and uneventful (Lottie LOVED being pregnant) until she noticed some brown spotting at 33 weeks. An ultrasound revealed asymmetrical intrauterine growth restriction—her baby’s head was measuring consistently with 33 weeks, but her abdomen was measuring abnormally small. To be safe, the midwives decided to do NSTs twice a week to monitor the baby. 

A few days later Lottie listened to episode #512 of The Birth Hour where Grace Green shared one of her birth stories and discussed the importance of monitoring fetal movement, the stillbirth rates in America, and the Count the Kicks app. She was particularly struck by this episode and downloaded the app and started counting her baby’s kicks right away. Five days later, on December 8th, Lottie noticed her baby hadn’t been moving all morning. She spent the next hour actively trying to get baby to move while her husband packed the hospital bag. When there was still no movement, she went into the midwives for an NST. 

count the kicks story

The NST was non-responsive so they did a biophysical profile (BPP) which showed no breathing movements, fetal movements, or tone. At this point Lottie was sent to the hospital where she had an emergency c-section. Their baby girl, Clementine, was born not breathing but miraculously was alive. They found out later that Clementine had hemorrhaged in the womb and the decreased blood levels caused her brain to be deprived of oxygen (HIE). As a result, she had a grade III/IV intraventricular hemorrhage (brain bleed) that led to seizures and hydrocephalus. This led to a 50-day NICU stay but by the grace of God she is home now and thriving. Lottie and Kelly are loving their new life as a family of three. 

Lottie O’Sullivan Bio

Lottie lives just outside of Winston Salem, NC with her husband, Kelly, and four-month-old daughter, Clementine. When she is not busy working as a credit analyst or snuggling Clementine, she enjoys making pottery, cooking, sewing, reading, visiting vineyards, being involved at her church, and hanging out with her “flossy posse.”

Resources

Kindred Bravely

Today’s episode is brought to you by Kindred Bravely. From adorable maternity wear to comfortable nursing bras, this mom-owned company has you covered.  See all of their comfy clothing at kindredbravely.com! I especially love their Simply Sublime nursing tank, their high waisted leggings (for pregnancy AND postpartum). Listen to this episode for a special coupon code and to hear about my new favorites in their summer line of clothing and loungewear!

Pregnancy and Childbirth After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Angela and her husband Rich had to put their plans to start a family on hold when Angela was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2016 at age 27. They underwent IVF prior to treatment in hopes of being able to have a baby later, if everything went well. After a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, and 3.5 years out from diagnosis, Angela was able to conceive naturally in January 2020. 

After her experience with cancer, Angela wanted to have an unmedicated birth without many of the medical procedures she associated with treatment. She even thought that maybe birth would be the experience that healed her relationship with her body. Angela and Rich planned a hospital birth with midwives. In the couple of weeks before the birth, they learned that the baby was in the posterior or “sunny side up” position, but that these babies would usually turn during labor. Angela’s labor lasted 40 hours, 30 hours of which were unmedicated and the last 10 hours with pitocin and an epidural. The baby got stuck in the posterior position with her head turned to the side, and eventually Angela, Rich, and their midwife agreed that a cesarean would be the best option. Their daughter came into the world at 7:20 p.m. on October 24th via a “belly birth.”

pregnancy after breast cancer

In the days after birth, both Angela and Rich had a hard time recovering. Angela struggled with her posterior labor and cesarean birth being so different from what she had imagined, and wondered if she could have done more to make things go differently. Angela also faced challenges breastfeeding, since she was feeding on just one side after her mastectomy. They ultimately did “triple feedings” with donor breastmilk until Angela’s milk came in and the baby was steadily gaining weight, about two weeks after birth. She has since had a positive breastfeeding journey with her daughter.

Angela Hronek Bio

Angela, a five-year breast cancer survivor, spends her days working in historic preservation consulting. She and her husband Rich live in Madison, Wisconsin, in a 112-year-old house with their busy and smiley baby girl. You can reach her on Instagram @angelahronek.

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.