Same-Sex Couple in China Returns to U.S. During COVID for Birth

Elizabeth and her wife Kelli found out they were pregnant in the summer of 2019 after their second IUI. Elizabeth had a great pregnancy and continued teaching, practicing yoga, and traveling throughout. She sought all prenatal care at an international hospital in Beijing. Elizabeth and Kelli made arrangements to come home to Michigan in the spring to give birth to their baby, to avoid any legal issues that might come up in China as same-sex parents.

In January, due to the COVID19 outbreak in China, their school decided to transition to online teaching. With that decision, Elizabeth and Kelli moved their flights sooner and arrived in Michigan at the end of January. They rented a long-term AirBnB so that they would have their own space when baby came, and continued to excitedly await baby’s arrival while enjoying the extra time catching up with friends and family back home.

Their plan, and Elizabeth’s dream, was to have an all-natural, vaginal delivery at the same hospital where Kelli was born. They were feeling positive with all the preparations they had made.  The due date came and went without any sign of labor and no dilation, even though baby seemed good and “ready”.  A few days later, Elizabeth started experiencing contractions and decided to track them on a contraction tracker app.  Twice throughout the day the app told her she was in active labor and that she should head to the hospital. Elizabeth thought it was too soon so they waited a while longer. They finally headed to the hospital later that evening and were admitted. While her contractions were strong and regular, she was not dilating at all. The next morning, after nearly 12 hours of laboring with Pitocin and no pain medication, Elizabeth requested an epidural.  Contractions continued strong and steady, but Elizabeth was still not dilating as she should have and there were now concerns about the baby’s heart rate. Throughout the day, her OB and the nurses decided to try a variety of interventions such as sweeping the membranes, manually breaking her water, assisting her into a variety of different positions, but nothing seemed to help.

expats in china birth story

After a full 24 hours in hospital, Elizabeth and Kelli discussed a c-section with their OB and decided to do it. It was the furthest thing from their birth plan but it seemed nothing else was helping and there were now some growing concerns for both the baby and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had never even had surgery before, so the c-section experience wasn’t great. But their beautiful daughter, Frankie Adeline, was finally born at 9:23pm on March 23.

The postpartum period was both amazing and challenging.  It’s hard to have a newborn during a pandemic; breastfeeding proved to be trying; Elizabeth was diagnosed with postpartum depression. With the help of a lactation consultant, seeing a therapist, returning to yoga, and the support of her wife, Elizabeth has been able to bond with her daughter, is enjoying being a new mom, and is on the path to healing.

Elizabeth Tucker Bio

Elizabeth and her wife Kelli are international teachers who met in Kuwait and are currently teaching in Beijing, China. They are new moms to Frankie, born in March on the first day of Michigan’s Covid-19 lockdown. Elizabeth loves yoga, reading, and all things organizing. Kelli is an avid runner who has a new-found love for triathlons and completed a full IronMan in Taiwan. Elizabeth can be found on Instagram @liztheeuro and Kelli blogs about their experiences at https://kelliacochran.wixsite.com

Resources 

  • The Birth Hour
  • Taking Cara Babies
  • Holliday Tyson on YouTube
  • @drcassidy (instagram)
  • @expectingandempowered (instagram)

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. 

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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!  

Two VBACs (One During Wildfire Evacuation) after Cesarean Birth

Tayla shares her three birth story summaries in her own words below:

My first birth was six years ago. I was very uneducated and unknowingly unprepared for the birthing process. My water broke on April Fool’s Day and I was induced after 12 hours. There was no informed consent practiced during my induction, no support, verbal abuse from my OB and ultimately an emergency C-section (due to fetal distress) where I was put out under general anesthesia and my poor husband was left waiting in the dust. It left me shocked and traumatized. My postpartum period was also Traumatic. I did not have any breast-feeding support and I struggled immensely!

My second labor was two years later. In the town I live in we do not have midwives as an option so I was forced to have an OB again. He was not supportive of my VBAC and always mocked me when I reminded him that was my plan. Two weeks before my due date our entire city was evacuated due to a wildfire that destroyed 1/3 of the city. It was extremely stressful as the closest city was five hours away and I had no family in the province I live in.

My husband and I are both firefighter EMTs with the city department and I was actually at work when I was sent home and told to get out of the city. My husband was torn whether he should stay and fight the fire or drive with me for five hours to the closest city. I made him come with me because I was scared that I would go into labor on the side of the road by myself. He drove me to the closest city dropped me and my toddler off at a friend’s house and left to come back up to fight the fire.

The very next morning a midwife contacted me and said she would be honored to take me on as her patient. It was a silver lining because she was so supportive of my VBAC goals! The next two weeks were very stressful as I had nowhere to live and I couldn’t stay in my friends guest room with a toddler and expecting a new baby. I finally found a rental house and as I was nesting trying to make it as comfortable as possible I went into labor naturally. My husband was actually on his way to leave to go back up to Fort McMurray to fight the fire and I told him he would need to stay because labor was starting!

I ended up having back labor because baby was posterior and I labored alone in my rental house for many hours. My husband had to drive across a strange city to drop off my son at a friend’s house during rush hour. Not being from the city we didn’t realize that huge mistake we made. So I was alone entering active labor! I called a friend who had also been evacuated and she drove me to the hospital where the midwife met us. I was not prepared to cope with the pain of labor because I think in my mind I wasn’t really convinced I was going to have a VBAC. I ended up getting an epidural and had a successful vaginal birth! My postpartum period this time was a lot less stressful and I had great support from my midwives. Breastfeeding went better and recovery was like night and day compared to my c section recovery.

firefighter paramedic pregnant

In 2018, I got pregnant again with my 3rd! I was determined to have a different birthing experience this time around. The crazy part of my story is that I didn’t slow down my doula business while I was pregnant. I even delivered a baby during a precipitous birth while I was eight months pregnant! I attended my last Doula birth two days before I went into labor.

My water broke on a stormy night 10 days before my due date. I had lined up midwifery care in the closest city which is five hours away. My plan was to have a water birth in the birthing center and I was scheduled to leave in two days when the baby had other plans. My husband was working nights when my water broke and when he got home he was shocked to see that I had my kids packed in the van and all of our stuff packed and ready to go to Edmonton five hours away. He thought I was crazy and perhaps I was! There was just no way that I was going to have my baby in our local hospital. I was invested and I was determined to have my water birth.

Contractions hadn’t started so I figured if we left right away we might make it. I labored at my Doula’s house and got to the birthing center only 45 minutes before my baby was born. If I could do it again tomorrow I would! It was the most empowering day of my life and I’m so glad that I got to experience an unmedicated birth. My postpartum recover was amazing as well aside from being in a city far away from my own home. I came home that night after having the baby to sleep on an air mattress in my doula’s living room!

You would think that being an IBCLC, breastfeeding would go swimmingly, but again I struggled with low milk supply. A lot of people are shocked by this because of my profession, but it just goes to show that sometimes even with the best support women can still struggle! I feel like women are told or made to feel that the only real goal of birth is to walk out of it alive and with a healthy baby. What women need to understand is that there is so much more to the process than that goal. It’s a journey and a life altering event. I feel this is the biggest moment in a women’s life and it deserves respect and support. How a woman views her birth will stay with her forever.

wildfire evacuation birth story

Tayla Malott Bio

Tayla is a 34 year old paramedic firefighter full-time and I have my own business called mamasaurus. I am a certified birth Doula, childbirth educator, IBCLC, one of Canada’s only spinning babies parent educators and a few other things! I live in Fort McMurray Alberta with my husband who is also a firefighter/paramedic and our 3 crazy and beautiful boys. Hoping to have one more!

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.

Disempowering Cesarean Followed by Twins VBAC

After a disempowering birth with her first son that nearly ended in tragedy, Erica vowed to have a different experience when she got pregnant again and planned to have an unmedicated VBAC with her twins. With the help of the Birth Hour, doulas, and a supportive practice after a switch of providers at 28 weeks, Erica successfully had the VBAC she worked so hard to get. As a black woman navigating the healthcare system, Erica is excited to share her story in the hopes that it may help some other mom or mommy-to-be.

Erica Beal Bio

Erica is an educational consultant located in Greenbelt, Maryland. She lives with her husband and three wonderful children, including an inquisitive (perhaps maniacally so) three-year-old and her 9-month-old twins that are starting to get into everything. Erica enjoys Rose, Netflix, reading, and cuddles on the couch with her hubby. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.

erica beal pregnancy

Resources

DC Birth Doulas (my doula group)
GW Obstetrics
La Vie Breast Massagers

8 Sheep Organics

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Two Homebirths and Cesarean Birth Due to Placenta Previa

Having grown up the daughter of a birth worker, Audra always knew she wanted home births just like her Mom. After two wonderful home birth experiences in a small NYC apartment, her family moved to Chicago for more space. When she and her husband found out they were expecting baby #3, Audra was excited to experience home birth again, this time in a house with her kids present. Plans had to change suddenly when during her 3rd trimester she discovered she had a complete placenta previa and would need a scheduled C-section at 37 weeks. Despite some initial devastation at having to change plans right in the middle of lockdown due to Covid-19, the birth ended up being a mostly positive experience, and gave her a deeper understanding for a variety of ways to give birth beautifully.

second homebirth

Audra Fullerton Bio

Audra is a mom of 3 living in the Chicago area. She and her husband lived in NYC for many years before heading back to her midwestern roots in 2016. After many years working in theatre, Audra started her food blog called The Baker Chick in 2011 where she posts recipes for desserts and other goodies. In addition to cooking and baking Audra loves knitting and sewing, all of which she posts about on her instagrams (@audrafullerton for personal and life content, @audra_thebakerchick for recipes!) 

cesarean birth placenta previa

Resource

Manhattan Birth

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.

Pregnancy after 40 and Gentle Cesarean Birth with Meg Tietz

Meg Tietz turned 42 years old the day before her youngest baby, Nikolaus, was born. She likes to call Niko her “hey, you’re still fertile in your 40s!” baby, and she and her husband, Kyle, and four older children cannot imagine life without him now.

The most challenging aspect of her pregnancy with Niko was not advanced maternal age, but was instead gestational diabetes, a diagnosis that came early and ultimately led to Niko’s birth at 38 weeks. He’s also the fourth of her Cesarean births, and the only birth in which she was allowed to hold and nurse him directly after he was delivered. She loves to share her story of pregnancy and birth in your 40s to encourage other women that bringing a baby into the world in this decade of life can be very awesome.

meg tietz birth story

Meg Tietz Bio

Meg is the creator and host of the Sorta Awesome podcast, a podcast dedicated to bringing the awesome to women and their conversations, friendships, and communities. She and her husband Kyle live in Oklahoma City with their five children ranging in age from a year old to teenagers and twin boys in the middle. She can be found on social media @sortaawesomemeg and you can check out Sorta Awesome in Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

meg tietz babywearing

Resources

Lily Nichols’ books: Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes

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

Scheduled Cesarean Birth for Breech Baby During COVID-19 Pandemic

Gwenyth was born on June 8, 2020, at 7:35am via cesarean at 39+1 weeks due to being breech.  Megan’s pregnancy went relatively smoothly, except for mild nausea in the first trimester and headaches in the 2nd trimester. Then at week 32, Megan was diagnosed with gestational hypertension, which raised concerns that baby was still breech. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also hit right at start of third trimester.  Megan had been working throughout her pregnancy but stopped at the start of her third trimester due to her family’s expected move (which was postponed due to COVID).  She began having weekly doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds and non-stress tests at this point and was put on blood pressure medication. 

Megan tried spinning babies, ECV, chiropractic care (The Webster Method), moxibustin, ice, music, yoga, etc. to get baby to flip but she stayed breech so a cesarean birth was scheduled at 39 weeks, 1 day.  Megan was initially hugely disappointed about having a cesarean birth because she had prepared and really been looking forward to an unmedicated birth.  She was also initially angry that a breech vaginal delivery wasn’t common in U.S.  She had heard of providers (such as Dr. Stu) who performed vaginal breech home births, but her provider wasn’t comfortable with a vaginal breech delivery and she decided that at the end of the day she wanted to do what was considered safest in Colorado.

Megan’s cesarean birth was a really positive experience, with no complications, aside from baby needing a little extra help breathing initially.  Recovery overall went well; they were in the hospital for 3 days postpartum.  Everyone was super helpful at the hospital, with the exception of one of the pediatricians who was a bit of an alarmist about baby’s initial weight loss.  Megan’s blood pressure was pretty well managed throughout pregnancy, then skyrocketed postpartum, then went back to normal around 3 weeks postpartum.  Postpartum has been exhausting, but wonderful. 

Megan Johnson Bio

Megan lives in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband, 7-week-old baby girl and 2 Boston Terriers.  She is from California and moved to CO in 2018 for husband’s work.  She is a mental health therapist and is currently staying home with baby and is finishing a doctorate degree in psychology.  Connect with her on Instagram @meganrose87.

Resources

britax safety tips

Britax

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 talk with Britax safety advocate, Sarah Tilton, all about traveling safely with a newborn. Learn more about Britax products and safety tips at us.britax.com.